Mousse-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.14.13 Whip It Good

This is a quickie. It's for those of you still casting about for the ideal, luscious Valentine's Day dessert. (Not that it wouldn't be just as irresistible any other day of the year.) I made it yesterday and it was an astonishing sight to behold, considering that it's a chocolate mousse made only of chocolate and a bit of water. No eggs, no cream, no fuss. Melissa Clark of the Times got the recipe from molecular gastronomist Hervé This. (Not to be confused with his colleague Henri That.) It's intense and ridiculously simple, sort of like falling in love. But with more whipping.

Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Halloween-790-xxx
photo courtesy of mi ly

10.28.11 Tricks & Treats

I think I told you last year that Halloween was always a rather conflicted holiday for me as a child. It was my mother's birthday, and I felt very torn between wanting to stay and celebrate with her and itching to get out there with my pillowcase to haul in as many Sugarbabies and Milky Ways as possible. As you can see from the photo above, I did not hesitate to give in to my baser desires. (It appears my old friend and I both opted for the hobo route that year. She was probably looking for any excuse to dress up like a man, and I seem to have been working out some "cigar" issues of my own.)At that time, I had no qualms about scarfing down my ill-gotten gains, and my parents, usually sticklers for good nutrition, were strangely (but luckily) not among those who sorted through their child's stash leaving behind only those stupid little boxes of raisins we all resented. But now I cringe at the thought of the veritable rivers of high-fructose corn syrup, and am sad that homemade treats are frowned upon as Halloween giveaways. (The old razor-blade in the apple, remember?) Still, I'm going to offer you some options to that ubiquitous candy jar that seems to show up around this time of year and stay more or less replenished throughout the coming few months. Treats? For sure. But a few tricks to make them just a little healthier.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Choc-chip-cookies-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

10.26.11 Kiss Me Tate's: Gluten-Free Giveaway

If any cookie can be said to have a cult, it would be Tate's. G was an early convert, after discovering them during his summers in the Hamptons. The original Tate's Bake Shop opened its celadon-green doors more than 20 years ago in Southampton. Founder Kathleen King eventually capitulated to the near-hysterical demand for her insanely crisp and addictive chocolate chip cookies (and other divine baked goods), and they can now be found at select, discriminating retail venues, as well as the brand's online store. Through a coincidence that I prefer to think of as destiny, I wound up practicing yoga with someone who works with Tate's and, learning of G's love of the cookies and sad intolerance of gluten, he very generously sent us a large box of their gluten-free products! Frankly, we did not have high hopes. Gluten-free versions of things so very rarely live up to the originals. But these? Just as good. No less than a miracle.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Sammy-1-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.6.11 'Wichcraft: Ultimate Sammys

These are the best ice cream sandwiches. Yes. I know we all have a certain fondness for those semi-industrial rectangular ones we enjoyed as children—with that thin, cakey cookie that sticks to your fingertips, right? But these trump those. These are so big and fat they turn Chipwiches to shame and bring grown men to their knees. These are rustic, hand-hewn beauties. It's about the cookie, sure: melted bittersweet chocolate, best-quality cocoa and semisweet chips make for a lot of rich, fudgy goodness. But what you put between that dark embrace can send you soaring to the heavens. Might I suggest homemade mint ice cream? Or perhaps a creamy vanilla speckled with real seeds and offset with a slather of sweet, sticky cajeta (goat's milk caramel)? We served both on the 4th and I heard no complaints, only soft moans of ecstasy. If you have a big mint patch out back in some shady spot, all the better. I use our spearmint with its subtly cooling, herbaceous flavor, but you can experiment to see what you like. And no, it doesn't taste like toothpaste. By the way, forget the food coloring. The very pale green you'll get is so much more beautiful than that lurid artificial hue.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Askinosie-790-xxx
shawn askinosie (all photos courtesy of askinosie)

2.1.11 The Ask: Shawn Askinosie

You may remember a post from a couple of months ago about a fantastic chocolate company, Askinosie. Not only do I love their chocolate, but I love what they stand for and how they give back. The Candy Man is a cultural icon—a jolly, twinkly-eyed fellow with a big heart and a fondness for children—and while Shawn Askinosie is nowhere near as eccentric as Willy Wonka, I do think he delights in the power of chocolate.About 10 years ago, Shawn's career as a criminal defense attorney began to exact too high a toll. He was arguing back-to-back murder cases, and you only have to watch so much Law & Order to know how stressful that would be. But he couldn't really see any way clear of it, so he began to pray that an alternative would reveal itself. At the same time, he tried distracting himself with cooking, which led to baking, which led to an obsession with cupcakes (which even led to a pilgrimage to New York's Magnolia Bakery). After about 5 years of this, he up and decided he was going to try his hand at making his own chocolate, from scratch. At the time, he had no concept of what this even meant, but within 2 months he was up to his elbows in cocoa beans in the Amazon. We should all be so bold.
 

Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Sticks1-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.14.11 Totally Incensed

I didn't do much shopping in Mexico, other than buying entirely too many "traditional" candies at the Mexico City airport. Cajeta, a decadent goat's milk caramel, is a life-long obsession of mine, ever since it was first served to me as a tiny girl in Guadalajara. At the airport stall I discovered a delicious guava paste stuffed with cajeta and pecans that was out of this world, and a sticky yellow coconut confection that slammed me straight back to childhood. In fact, I may have to pick up a copy of Fany Gerson's much-lauded My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treatshello, sweet tamales, tres leches cake, milk fudge, flan. (Although my waistline is begging me not to do it!) I tasted some of her treats at a Mexican-themed dinner at Txikito last year and they did not disappoint.But I digress. One thing you truly shouldn't miss when traveling in Mexico is the indigenous incense, known as copal, pictured above. It has a very particular smoky-piney-resiny smell that conjures up Indians, Catholic churches and desert nights. I find it mesmerizing, with a rich, heady smell reminiscent of frankincense and myrrh.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Caramelized-fruit-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.25.10 Holiday Cheer

Merry Christmas! I hope you're doing whatever makes you happy today, whether on your own or en famille. I know that this is a big time of year for loneliness and heartache. There is so much pressure on us to resemble the classic picture: parents, grandparents and children all gathered together in good health with plenty of food and lots of presents. Reality is so much messier, what with divorce, Alzheimer's, diabetes and all the human foibles that stand between us and perfection. The point is to do your best and to be grateful for what you have, whatever that may be. I launched this blog a year ago with the hope that I might be able to share my passions with kindred spirits, and the time has gone by in the blink of an eye. I've explored and learned a great deal, including how wonderful it is to get support from so many friends, both old and new. Thank you from the bottom of my heart: without you, I'm nothing.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Grinch-790-xxx
some stories never get stale

12.15.10 Moving Images

In the movie of my life, I'm sitting on the couch in front of the fire watching a movie. I have done this, plus or minus the fireplace—and assorted family members—ever since I can remember. I definitely associate holiday time with watching movies and eating See's. So I thought I might take this opportunity to create a list for you of movies that would make great viewing during all the downtime you'll hopefully be having in the next few weeks. Of course I'm assuming you'll also be doing the requisite skiing and snowshoeing to offset all that lounging and the inevitable onslaught of calories. We've got a light snow cover here and I'm praying for more. I may even learn to ice skate this year! (I am a horrible, knock-kneed skater but G has promised to school me.) Perhaps you feel I've been shirking my duties and not posting enough holiday-relevant recipes. You're not wrong. Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to the insanity of shopping and wrapping and schlepping. But it's not that we haven't been eating well. Last night there was a delicious salad of fresh Tuscan kale with roasted delicata squash, pecorino and fresh pomegranate.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
Pouring-790-xxx
photos by george billard

12.10.10 Cottage Industry

Around this time every year, our house turns into a veritable hive of activity. Of course there is the requisite wrapping of presents, but mostly it centers around the annual caramel bonanza. There is something about the convergence of salt and sweet and butter and chew (and chocolate) that makes these humble candies so addictive. We pour lots of love into them and send them out into the world as a reminder that something homemade, something from the heart, is the most wonderful gift of all. If you've never made candy, I recommend these as a starting point. All you need is a big, heavy pot, a baking sheet and a candy thermometer. It's a bit like baking in that you need to follow the instructions closely as far as temperature and proportions, but the rest is all stirring and wrapping. Always use the best ingredients because the flavors are quite concentrated. And give yourself plenty of time, because it's best to avoid panic when there is molten caramel around.

Read More...
Tagged — sweets

12.7.10 Get Baked

Peels-790-xxx
photo by george billard
Have you been to Peels yet? It's the new restaurant from the people behind Freemans, that early proponent of old-timey-taxidermy-comfort-foody hipness, where downtowners still go for their mac 'n' cheese and hot artichoke dip. Owner Tavo Somer has described his new venture as "kind of supposed to be Freemans' girlfriend. He's all old New England, and she's like a feminine, Southern girl.” Hmmm. Not sure if that really comes across since I haven't had a proper meal there, but I did pop in early one morning for a cup of tea and really liked the cozy atmosphere downstairs in this 2-story restaurant. Nowness, LVMH's über-coolness blog, featured the place on Thanksgiving; check out their photos. It turns out that pastry chef Shuna Lydon, whose blog rants are as amusing as her desserts are divine, has taken up residency here and is overseeing a baking extravaganza of homey treats that elevates Peels way above your average downtown cafe. I had a buckwheat muffin flavored with rosemary and lemon marmalade that was truly delicious.
Read More...
Tagged — sweets
BACK TO TOP