Easy Sticky Buns for Birthday Breakfast

For Tyson’s birthday, I like to make him a cake. We talk about it, plan it, and then when he’s out of the house one afternoon I bake it and surprise him. It’s our small, dorky tradition, but I love doing it. This year, he wanted a cheesecake from Tammie Coe (humph), so I baked him a birthday breakfast instead. These pecan sticky buns are so fast, and so easy, that I made them while T was sleeping in.  I ran to the grocery store, bought puff pastry, threw these together, and they were coming out of the oven just as he woke up.

You’re there with me now, right? They’d be excellent for easy desserts, the perfect thing to bring to brunch, and easy enough to have on hand in the freezer for Domestic Enthusiast emergencies.

By |2012-10-08T07:07:15-07:00October 8th, 2012|Recipes|0 Comments

Teacup Tiramisu

Someday I’ll show you photos of my dish closet, and then you’ll understand. I have deep dinnerware problems, compounded each time I am in a shop, see something I love, and envision the dinner party that could ensue.

My mom gave me these sweet teacups for my birthday a few years ago, and I thought they’d be the perfect vessel to hold individual servings of tiramisu for a party. And they would have been, too, but I was too busy to have said party, so Tyson ate them all.

I followed this recipe but built the tiramisu in cups instead of a casserole dish.  It tastes like tiramisu should – none of that strong alcoholic vibe, just fantastic Italian flavors. No rum, no coffee liqueur — much to the dismay of the clerk at AJ’s who tried to tell me I wasn’t doing things right. Just good marsala wine.

And cream.

And mascarpone cheese.

Howl.

 

 

 

By |2012-10-02T07:27:20-07:00October 2nd, 2012|Recipes|0 Comments

September is for soup on Sundays: cheddar corn chowder recipe

Come September, I play a little game with myself. It’s called Fake Fall. It involves sweater-buying, soup-eating, pumpkin-stalking and all activities that help me forget the actual weather outside. (Where I live, autumn arrives at the end of October.) Making cheddar corn chowder on a Sunday is one of my favorite activities. The house smells autumnal, Tyson watches football on TV, and we nestle in with bacon-topped bowls.

I started with the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and lightened it considerably so that I could fit in my sweaters and have my soup, too. I halved the fat, replaced the cream with milk, and amplified the corn flavor instead. I like it better than the original.

Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder, Lightened Up

  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 2 T good olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups medium-diced yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled (1 pound)
  • 5 cups corn kernels, fresh (5 ears) or frozen (1 1/2 pounds), cobs reserved if you’re using fresh corn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour off and discard the bacon drippings in the pan, except 1-2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and reserve the corn and the cobs. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and corn cobs, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Remove cobs and discard. Add the corn to the soup, then add the milk and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon and additional cheese.

Trick: if you lighten up the Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder for dinner, then you can absolutely have her peach-raspberry crisp for dessert. And that — that is worthy of every smidge of butter you can cram inside.

P.S. Remember that time I received a thank-you note from the Barefoot Contessa herself? Every time I see it in my drawer, I want to order orange-script stationery.

 

By |2012-09-05T06:44:09-07:00September 5th, 2012|Recipes|1 Comment

Homemade Strawberry Sorbet Tarts

On one of those August days when it was too hot to live, I went to the Biltmore for Haagen-Dazs strawberry sorbet — one of my favorite summer desserts. It tastes like summer distilled (in a place where summer is lovely).  As an excuse to spend extra time standing in front of the freezer, I decided to make strawberry sorbet myself.  Then, I made my sorbet into mini strawberry tarts, which are easy and adorable. (Because I bought the tart shells pre-made.) And tomorrow, I’ll show you the best use for strawberry sorbet yet. It also requires nothing more than opening something that someone else made.

Disclaimer: you can make all of these things with strawberry sorbet from the grocery store, and all of this will be just as lovely.

This stuff: it’s gorgeous.

If you want to make your own, all you have to do is puree strawberries with sugar and lemon juice and put the whole mess into an ice cream freezer. I followed this recipe.

You can stop here, eat this by the bowlful, and be very happy. Or, you can make it taste like fresh strawberry pie on ice, in mini shells to impress your girlfriends.

Buy mini phyllo shells from the grocery store. (I found these at Bashas’.)

Scoop out the sorbet, place on a tray, and freeze well so it will hold up in the tarts.

 

Place in shells, garnish with strawberries, and serve.

Whipped cream wouldn’t hurt, either.

Aren’t those sweet? Come back tomorrow for a strawberry sorbet drink that takes even less time and is wicked, wondrous heaven. It involves corks.

By |2012-08-21T09:57:03-07:00August 21st, 2012|Recipes|2 Comments

Recipe: Strawberry Pavlova with Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream

Valentine’s Recipe: Strawberry Pavlova with Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream

There exists a dessert named after a tutu and somehow it escaped me.

The Pavlova — an airy puff of meringue filled with whipped cream and berries — was created by a chef in Australia in honor of a visit from ballerina Anna Pavlova.

It’s gorgeous.

It’s also as fussy as the worst prima ballerina that ever danced across the stage. I made SEVEN, in one week, trying to get the meringue to obey.

The key, if there is one, is to have your egg whites at room temperature and to use fine baker’s sugar or caster sugar. This recipe is the one that finally worked for me. For the whipped cream, I use 1 1/2 cups cream, whipped with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. Right at the end, whip in 3 Tablespoons creme fraiche. It’s as good as whipped cream gets, I promise.

Toss one pint of sliced strawberries with 2 Tablespoons of sugar about 30 minutes before spooning on top of the pavlova. Serve immediately.

By |2012-02-22T07:47:35-07:00February 22nd, 2012|Recipes|0 Comments
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