Saturday, June 28, 2008

brownie sundaes for saturday

cookie or brownie sundaes are my ultimate comfort food. i can't seem to eat a cookie or brownie without heating it up and serving it with ice cream and fantastic dessert sauces. these brownies are the culmination of a lifetime of recipe tests. to my palate they are the absolute best. they are super chocolaty and decadent and very fudgey so if you like a lighter cakier brownie these might not be for you. i'm serving these tonight for friends. we are out of homemade ice cream so i'm using my standard favorite, haagen daaz vanilla. i did however make up a new dessert sauce to go with them, white chocolate caramel!!!!! yum!!!! and i'm also doing my standard fave homemade hot fudge too. i call these million dollar brownie cause they aren't cheap to make if you use the good stuff i recommend. i'd say at least $20 a sheet pan but sooooooooo worth it.
here are pics and all the recipes. i'm taking these with me to a friends house but fox was happy to let me make one up for him for a lunch dessert so i could take pics.

for those of you that can eat brownies naked.

sundae style with both sauces

dessert after lunch? um . . .yes!

million dollar fudge brownies

4 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

12 ounces mixed semi sweet, milk and white chocolate chips or chunks (use any mix of semi sweet and any chips you like, peanut butter is really good too)

6 ounces scharfen berger or valhrona unsweetened chocolate (at gourmet stores or whole foods in baking aisle, usually sold in a block) chopped
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced toasted pecan or walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound semi sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

white chocolate caramel

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream warmed in microwave
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6- 8 ounces good quality chopped white chocolate

Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add chopped white chocolate and continue stirring till melted and combined. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.

hot fudge

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add all chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2 tabboulehs for britney

i am not cooking this today but britneys request for this reminded me that i hadn't made it in a while. tabbouleh really is one of my fave summer salads. i especially love it mixed with hummus and wrapped in a curry tortilla or naan. i fell in love with it when i worked at real food daily in college. there they wrapped it up in a square shape then cut it on the bias and called it "love triangles" - i never forgot that dish and usually make my own version of it off the whole foods salad bar. when i make tabbouleh though its usually as some part of a summer bbq with tandoori chicken, grilled veggies and some sort of hummus.
i like traditional tabbouleh which is much heavier on the herbs than on the bulghur but because the americanized version tends towards a higher proportion of bulghur, i decided to publish two recipes. both are great.

#1 traditional tabbouleh

makes about 1 quart

1/2 cup bulgur , fine or medium grain, rinsed under running water and drained
1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil

Table salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
2 medium tomatoes , halved, seeded, and cut into very small dice
4 medium scallions , green and white parts, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves (or 1 rounded teaspoon dried mint)

1. Mix bulgur wheat with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice in medium bowl; set aside until grains are tender and fluffy, 20 to 40 minutes,depending on age and type of bulgur.

2. Mix remaining lemon juice, olive oil, salt to taste and red pepper, if desired. Mix bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, scallions, and mint; add dressing and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend, 1 to 2 hours. Serve.

#2 tabbouleh (more american style)

2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat)

1 large bunch parsley
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
4 green onions
3/4 pound tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Place bulgur in large bowl. Pour enough warm water over to cover generously. Let stand until bulgur softens, about 15 minutes. Drain well, pressing out excess water. Return bulgur to same large bowl.

Meanwhile, finely chop parsley, mint and green onions in processor. Add bulgur. Mix in tomatoes, then lemon juice, oil and cumin. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

your recipe requests

its my busy time of year as a photographer so i'm cooking and baking less for sure. but i do have 3 volumes of huge binders stuffed full of my favorite recipes , from soup to salad, to main dishes and dessert, that i can blog with no effort. so why don't you all comment here on recipes you want my favorite version of. i'll publish whatever i have and do some research on the rest. just comment on this post and i'll get blogging.

the perfect cheeseburger

i love cheeseburgers and i love blue cheese but there is something magical about the combination of blue cheese and round beef that makes the sum exponentially better than its parts. before the rilo kiley show this past wednesday night, eric, stephanie, fox and i all ventured into the roosevelt hotels hip burger joint 25 degrees omg it was burger heaven! first of all, its the swankest little fab/diner anywhere! the cheese selection is something out of a fine french restaurant and that combined with other superlative toppings like pesto and carmelized onions made for the most fabulous build your own burger menu ever. i had a sirloin burger with gorgonzola, carmelized onions and arugula. it was too die for. check this place out!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my favorite miso dressing and edamame hummus

we watched our dear friend jo's son today while she was at work so i treated her with a yummy vegetarian dinner when she came to pick him up. we had a salad of spinach, snow peas, carrots, water chestnuts and almonds with marinated tofu and my famous miso dressing. i served that with homemade chili garlic pita chips and edamame hummus. i didn't take pics because i was too hungry to wait! but here are recipes for the two main things.

Edamame Hummus

3 cups shelled soybeans, defrosted
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 lemon (about 6 tablespoons), juiced
3 clove garlic, smashed
2 teaspooon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
6-8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.

Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.

Miso Salad Dressing

1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix everything in a blender and serve with any salad. I like to make a combo of baby spinach, snow peas, water chestnuts, shredded carrots and onions with chicken or tofu and then toasted nuts on top.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

happy fathers day

erics all time favorite breakfast treat is french toast. but regular french toast is so dennys. the best i know is to put a deep caramel on the bottom of the pan and marinate thick cut brioche in a yummy mix of rich dairy overnight. when you cook it in the morning, the bottom gets very caramelized and when you serve it upside down you get a divine caramelly crust. normal people probably don't even need syrup but i also made a homemade caramel sauce cause nothing is too sweet or rich for me. i served with eggs, basil sausage and applewood smoked bacon. it was divine and none of us lunch today!

creme brulee french toast

recipe adapted from Inn at Sunrise Point in Camden, Maine

Makes 6 servings.


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
a loaf of brioche or challah
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon brandy
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut loaf into 1-inch thick slices. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread.

Chill bread mixture, covered, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

and bring bread to room temperature.

Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve hot French toast immediately.

Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 40 minutes.

Serve hot French toast immediately.

caramel sauce
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
In a saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture turns deep amber in color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Watch very carefully as this mixture turns color very quickly.

Carefully add the cream. The mixture will bubble and spit when the cream is added. Remove from the heat, stir, and add the liqueur. Cool slightly.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

basil parmesan coleslaw

brooke and i share a lot of recipes. but she really surprised with a coleslaw i had never tried. i love cabbage! and i really thought i had tried ever permutation of coleslaw from traditional to asian till she served me this. i ate like 3 servings at her house and couldn't eat dessert! then ate the rest for lunch the day. it is to die for. brooke has 3 kids so she has great simple recipes. you have to try this. it tastes complicated.

1 head red cabbage
handful of parmesan cheese
a bunch of basil leaves
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
and 1/2 bottle of italian dressing

Friday, June 6, 2008

mmmm . . . ice cream

i forgot to take pics of my homemade ice cream but its not like it looks any different than store bought. but when i took it over to our friends brooke and ed's house for dinner last night i couldn't help but shoot her kids eating it in the gorgeous light. i'm not sure they can appreciate the fact that i used $12 worth of vanilla beans and $6 of strauss dairy cream but they did enjoy it. of course my kid wouldn't oblige.