Wednesday, November 26, 2008

prep...

The furniture has been moved, couches huddled together to make room for tables that have been picked up. Practical tables. New vegetable peelers are ready. Fresh herbs in their pots, figs, pine nuts and cranberries. The menu was put together a month ago, typewritten and attached to lists of groceries needed at different shops around the city. Turkey at the butcher, cornmeal at Trader Joe's, and those pickles you have to have with your leftover sandwich.

There's pumpkin cheesecake and tiramisu. Apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream and homemade caramel corn. And no cake. Not right.

For a week I've been waking up extra early each day. Inevitably I end up in the family room watching Miracle on 34th Street or Little Women, enjoying myself. This morning I remembered Thanksgiving at my grandmother's . . . those sterling silver candy dishes on the buffet, one filled with mixed nuts, the other with chocolates. They meant the holidays. So I reached into my cabinet and took them out. A little silver polish is all I need . . . and mixed nuts and chocolates. Building memories, it's a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Unsolicited and Miscellaneous Holiday Musings ...


This weekend I found out #5 once told #7 (it's a Grey's Anatomy thing) she was getting an American Girls doll for Christmas. In exchange 7 told 5 she was getting a Beatles calendar, at which point 7 was told that wasn't exactly a fair trade. American Girls doll for Beatles calendar? Not so much.

This made me think of a couple of things (and none of them involved Gospel parallels, which sort of surprised my spouse). First, I was reminded my sister and I waited until we were in our 30's to tell my mom and dad how she REALLY broke her collar bone. Long story short, we were doing something we weren't supposed to be doing. RIDING DOUBLE on a bicycle. Gasp.

The second thing . . . I realized if 7 knew what 5 was getting for Christmas this year . . . she'd spill it.

Consequently, everything Christmas is a secret this year.

No segue here . . .

I can't help myself, I'm a huge Vince Vaughn fan.

James Franco fan, too.

Finally, GAP's ad men have outdone themselves this year. Best campaign ever.

Have you seen the Louis Vuitton ad with Sean Connery? New definition of cool.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars

This is another recipe from Applehood and Motherpie. It keeps turning up (this recipe, not the cookbook). These are yummy...

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups crisp rice cereal

Melt corn syrup and sugar together in saucepan, over low heat, until bubbling. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and rice cereal. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pann.

1 6 oz. package butterscotch chips
1 6 oz. package chocolate chips

Melt both packages of chips together in a pan over low heat. Spread the butterscotch chocolate mixture on top of the first mixture. When icing cools, cut into bars.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brownies

1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips (use the kind you prefer)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips. Stir constantly and remove from heat when chips are fully melted. In the same pot, blend in the sugar. Then add eggs, blending fully one at a time. Add flour and beat until air bubbles form in the batter. Pour into a greased 9 X 13-inch pan (this recipe works great doubled and poured into a large 11 X 17-inch rimmed baking sheet). Bake for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 325 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Deep Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake


from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book

I like this cake because the ingredients are things you always have in the house. We're partial to a typical pound cake at my house, so I prefer to look at this one as less of a pound cake and more of a rich chocolate cake sans frosting.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups unsalted butter, softened
2.5 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan. Dust with flour.

Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter at medium speed until very creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is well-blended and light, about 4 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl, stir the vanilla extract into the sour cream. At the low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions and mixing just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto the rack and let it cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar with this or this.

The best Williams Sonoma investment I ever made was this heart shaped bundt pan. The added curves and corners just give your pound cake more of that delicious buttery crunch. Great for the jimmie cake, too.

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