This has been a most excellent week for food. RVANews.com published a recipe of mine for their 4th of July grilling installment, and I received a slew of positive feedback on it. My mom’s boss is using the recipe for his next supper club. Precious.
Work has been going absolutely brilliantly for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been concentrating on improving the desserts, and I’ve had some wonderful successes:
This is the Boca Negra from Baking With Julia, one of my favorite cookbooks. I love BWJ because the recipes are lovely and, for the most part, well written despite being compiled from a group of disparate ‘pastry elites’ from Gale Gand to Marcel Desaulniers. Actually, one of the main reasons I love it is because I know that when I see a recipe allegedly from Marcel, it really means its from Kelly Bailey. There’s one for mint chocolate night caps, and I swear I can hear her dictating the recipe when I read it.
The Boca Negra is a flourless* chocolate cake that uses bourbon to enhance the natural awesomeness of the bittersweet chocolate. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much I enjoy using bourbon and chocolate together. (“You know what this cake needs? Booze” Jim Gaffigan.)
*The Boca Negra from BWJ actually has approximately 2 T of flour in it, but because Paul Keevil, an owner of Millie’s, was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s disease, I substitute a gluten-free flour mix from Bob’s Redmill, and it works like a dream.
Then there was the blueberry mango pie. I’m in the process of perfecting my pie crust (and who among us isn’t, really?) I’m having more successes than failures in the crust department, and this was one shining example. However, the fillin’ could’ve used another tablespoon or so of binder, as the fruit was quite juicy. In further pursuit of pie crust, I made an apple tart yesterday, for which I resurrected KB’s totally awesome BOURBON pie filling (someone’s got a problem, and that someone is me.) The tart was a smashing success. Dongettes in attendence, Susie, Kendra, and Angie, were completely enamored with the light, buttery crust and the delicious corn-syrupy fillin’.
Tart Fillin’ (Inspired, per usual, by KB)
2c. corn syrup
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. bourbon (I usually use jim beam for this kind of thing.)
4 T melted butter
1 T vanilla
Bring the first 5 ingredients to a simmer. Lightly whisk eggs. Temper hot liquid into the eggs. Cool in an icebath.
(This makes more than enough for a 9 in. pie and can stay refridgerated for about 2 weeks.)
I’ve also been practicing my devotion to the cold soup, most recently exhibiting itself in a chilled cucmber soup with smoked salmon and dill blossoms. I just adore dill blossoms because they look like fireworks. Regard:
Finally, in the personal cooking realm, I was positively thrilled to be the recipient of someone else’s culinary skills. Since I began cooking professionally, it’s been pretty rare for someone to want to cook for me, and usually I’m fine with that. I mean, I do it because I love it. When I have a household of people over, I want to be cooking and feeding and hostessing. But occasionally, I want someone else to cook for me, and it’s usually at breakfast that this need most fully expresses itself. I want to be lazy. I want to watch. I want to put on a Three Dog Night album and pad around the apartment barefoot as though I were a stranger in it.
Such was the case when stinky marc made me the most winningest breakfast sandwich……EVER. I’ve been reliving the breakfast sandwich experience until as recently as today, when I finished off the last of the English muffins.