Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Oh, oh my. 

We have this blog, this blog we update as often as is fun and we have fun things to share. [So for C Fierce that means ... once a quarter. Sorry.] Know what comes with it? An email address that we never check. We should somehow forward it our real emails that we spend all day gchatting on. We haven't. We mostly get spam. 

I promised what, a year ago? that I would write about these amaaaaaaazing cookies, and I haven't. And then I got an email reminding me to do so in March. Well, I checked thesistersfierce email yesterday and that's the first time I saw it.  Apologies to the internet, as I dropped the ball on that one. Sheesh, totally dropped the ball. 

Well, here are the cookies. They are wonderful. And I might just make them tomorrow since they're fresh on my mind.  I was thinking about making lemon bars or marshmallows or maybe some cupcakes, or something new.   

worst picture evarrrrr
Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookiesfrom Sur la Table's The Art and Soul of Baking
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon coffee liquor or cooled brewed coffee
6 ounces 70 percent (bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped (I hate chopping chocolate)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and cooled completely
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder 
3/4 cup unsifted confectioner's sugar

1. Combine the flour, nuts, cinnamon, baking powder, and chile powder in the food processor. Blend until finely chopped (60-90 seconds). 
2. Put the butter, liquer/coffee, and chocolate in the top of a double boiler . Mix together over medium heat until smooth-stir occasionally. Remove and let cool slightly (while you do the next step!)

3. Put 1/2 cup sugar and the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until the mixture becomes thick and very light in color. This will take 5-6 minutes, thank goodness for the stand mixer. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into this and whip until blended, about a minute. 

4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Make sure it is fully mixed buy using a spatula to gently fold it a little more. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours. Seriously important because this dough is messy. 

5. Set your oven to 325. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Using a tablespoon or a scoop-ball-thinger, make the dough into little balls. Set the remaining granulated sugar in one shallow dish and the confectioner's sugar in the other. Roll the balls first in the granulated sugar and next in the powdered sugar. More is better when it comes to powdered sugar.
7. The cookies should be about an inch and a half apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 11-14 minutes until the cookie is slightly puffed and cracked. Try the "nudge" test-if the cookie moves when prodded, it's ready.  If you're going to mess these up, underbake them rather than overbake. They are pretty awful when all dried out (I still eat them but I don't share them that way. I don't want anyone to think that I have ever made a less than perfect cookie). They're best the day that they're baked-if you want to do these ahead of time, freeze them in individual balls and then defrost them before rolling in the sugars and baking. That's what I did last year and it was awesome. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet? What are you bringing? Are you hosting? 

I'm not going to be able to celebrate with family this year - I've jumped right from one service industry to another. I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this, but it's still a little bit of a downer.  

Around this time of year there are more occasions for get togethers - not just the holidays but the weekends in between. I like to be able to contribute something, to have a housewarming gift of sorts. Cookies are great for that because they aren't as intimidating as something bigger like a pie. Now, if you're coming to my place that would be the perfect housewarming treat, but it can get a little messy and you're showing off a little more. Look what I brought! A pie! What, you don't have ice cream to match with this? See, that's not polite when you're visiting someone else. Cookies creep right in, no accessories needed, and everyone can have one without blowing their diet. Even better, you can have a monster baking session, freeze the dough and only bake what you need when you need it.

That's my preamble to The Best Cookies This Holiday Season. Okay, I have one other recipe that I was supposed to post last year but didn't. Stuff got busy. So, this recipe and the other one are the only ones I'm bringing to holiday celebrations. And maybe some of these. Or these. I see a pattern: if its spicy, chocolate and dramatic, I'm bringing it. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

Every year, I buy extra cans of pumpkin so that when I want pumpkin muffins in the summer I don't have to search through four grocery stores before I find one that carries it in the off season. Every year, I go all summer without wanting pumpkin muffins. Once the weather turns a little chilly (which happens much later now that I don't live in the arctic-It was 80 here two weeks ago!), I start to crave them. I go to the cabinet and rearrange everything until I find my stash of pumpkin puree. 

Chocolate and pumpkin have been on my mind these past few weeks. I don't think the combination shows up nearly enough. When it does, it's usually chocolate chips thrown into something without much deliberate effort. You may find this hard to believe, but I actually don't have chocolate chips in my baking cabinet (yes, my cabinets are divided that way. Yours aren't?). I don't make a lot of things that require chocolate chips. You'll probably never see a chocolate chip cookie recipe on here because my BFF refuses to share hers and they're the best I've ever had. Why settle? 

So, I made this banana chocolate bread for the first time nearly a year ago now. It stayed with me: It isn't too sweet, it's stunning, and yeah it's a little fussy but did I mention how beautiful it is? I like dramatic things. 

I was trying to think of a way to put chocolate with my pumpkin without making a cake.  As much as I love some cream cheese frosting, things get a little messy if you're me and I didn't want to deal with the extra step since I never start these things until after dinner. Maybe when I have a party to go to I'll get the pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting cake out. That stuff is good. 

Long story short, I added some spices to make it more fall appropriate and swapped pumpkin for banana. It is gorgeous and delicious and I really hope I don't eat it all by myself. 

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bread
Adapted From the Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet/Sur la table

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (7 oz) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
some grated nutmeg
1/4 cup unsifted unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
3 tablespoons boiling water plus more if needed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1. Set the oven to 350. Butter a 9x5" loaf pan and line it with parchment paper that hangs over the sides by about 1". 
2. Add the vanilla and buttermilk to the pumpkin puree. 
3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside. Put cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth. You really want to get rid of all the lumps here. Keep stirring. Add some more boiling water if you need to. 
4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer.  You want to do this until the mixture is almost white in color-4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Set the speed to medium and mix in the eggs, one tablespoon at a time. Completely blend between additions. Scrape down the sides about halfway through again. 
5. Put the mixer on its lowest speed. Add a third of the flour mixture and when it is just blended, add half the pumpkin mixture. Repeat with the flour and pumpkin, ending with the dry mix. Scrape down the bowl once in between additions.
6. Put half the batter into a different bowl. Add the cocoa paste-fold it in gently, you don't want to deflate the batter. 
7. Drop alternating spoonfuls of chocolate and plain batter into the pan like the picture I took. 
checkerboard cake

8. Take a knife and do a zig-zag type thing. The book suggests to "marbelize by using a spoon to gently turn the batter over in 3 places down the length of the pan".
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes. The bread should be firm to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. When you can touch it and it feels cool, removve it from the pan, peel off the parchment paper. Cut with a serrated knife. Enjoy. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lavender Sea Salt Sables

It's a little ironic, as someone who posts recipes on the internet, that I am afraid of internet recipes. What bugs me about all recipes and cooks.com and all that? They're not really tested, and half of the comments are "I made this, it was awesome, here are the three hundred things I changed about it" and I just can't get on board with that.

I want to know that someone somewhere measured and timed and sliced and baked more than once and got the same result. I want to see a publishing house behind the book. I've been burned before by the hard bound variety (I'm looking at you, booze cakes), but not as often as by the internet. I want to know that what I'm investing my organic sugar and butter in (and time!) is going to turn out GOOD.

This is probably why my sister and I have about two drafts for every one post. The recipes that we forget about or aren't so enthusiastic about posting are forgotten, left lingering in the purgatory of blogger. You aren't missing those, internet friends.

I went to my cookbook on the internet, Smitten Kitchen. Deb at Smitten Kitchen has always been good to me. Searching through her cookie recipes I found one that didn't require any fancy ingredients or equipment (I've been living with boys who don't cook. Even a lime is hard to find around here, forget about a zester).

These are super simple and delicious. They're like the danish ones in the blue tin, stacked neatly in the white paper. Only you don't have to wait until Christmas, and they're all gone before they get stale.

I added the lavender and sea salt to satisfy a craving. I actually tried no fewer than three variations on lavender before I got it right. It became my white whale, getting them right.  The secret is to use food grade lavender, not the kind from the supplements department, and really crush it up with the salt (I used the tiniest mortar and pestle ever). The lavender is actually really nice and doesn't taste a thing like soap, but if it's not your thing that's cool too.  I'm not offended if you don't like them, more for me! I ate three of them for dinner last night (and some ice cream for a well balanced meal).

These are really nice and really simple.

Sables from Smitten Kitchen via Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets who adapted from Boulangerie Poilane. Confused yet?

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3/4 teaspoon food grade lavender flowers

1. Using a mortar and pestle, combine the salt and lavender. Mix them till  you are sick of it, this will take about a minute. I whisked this mixture into the flour.

2. pulse the butter in your food processor until smooth. Add the sugar and pulse until blended. Next, add the egg (don't forget this, not that I have ever done it, but it will be much better with the egg) and pulse until it is smooth and satiny. Add the flour mixture, pulse 10-15 times until it is just combined. Divide the dough into two equal portions, roll into logs, and refrigerate 4 hours or as long as you can stand to wait, up to 4 days.

3. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the logs 1/8-1/4" thick discs and place about 1-2" apart on the sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned on top. They are so good and crumbly if you can let them cool before eating. I understand that is nearly impossible, but in case you have self control it is totally worth it.
The first one always burns.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hello Fall

Can you believe i took this with my phone?

I have been making this all summer when I can't stand to be in the kitchen longer than ten minutes.  Now that apples are more in season I'll let you in on my secret: cooked endive. I like to make this when I want to eat something good and don't want to have to stay in the kitchen while it cooks. 

The first time I had this, I think it knocked my socks off. I had never had a cooked endive and now I don't know what took me so long. Endives are incredibly bitter, but super sweet apples and grapes really make this gorgeous. That's all it is! Endives, apples, and grapes. You'll figure out a ratio of sweet to bitter that works for you. I like more grapes than apples with mine. 

Here's how it works: 
(from Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table)
cut an endive in half like a hot dog
do the same with one apple, then quarter it. cut off a strip of skin from the backside; you just want to expose more of the apple to the pan to get a little more liquid out of it. You will only use 1/2 of the apple (see the picture)
rinse a handful or two of grapes.
Add two sprigs of rosemary if you have them. It will smell amazing, but I don't usually have it. 

Turn a pan on medium and melt a tablespoon of butter. Add everything to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let cook for 30 minutes or until softened, turning halfway through. Seriously, that's it. I let this serve me  as one small meal. To serve more, use double the stuff. You'll figure it out, I promise. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Fail

The past few weeks have been nuts.  First I moved. Then the earth moved. Then there was a hurricane. Then I had no power for five days. The entire summer has gone that way: things interrupted, fits and starts, eating like a little bird. I think I had hummus and veggies for at least 6 meals last week.

Being without power wasn't that bad because I was gone for the first two days of it. Imagine how surprised I was when at 1am, I got home to an apartment building whose front doors were unlocked. I was certain I was going to be attacked before I could gouge my perpetrator's eyes out like The Boyfriend so enthusiastically taught me. Obviously, I was safe in my locked studio. Then it hit me: no power means the freezer isn't working. Four pints of ice cream, gone (Talenti gelato: new obsession). Even worse, the Italian meringue frosting I made (and put on a phenomenal cake from this cookbook, with lemon curd), gone. Leftover lemon curd I was hoping to put on cookies? Also gone.

This is kind of breaking my heart all over again. I ate bread and peanut butter for two days straight. It's too soon to talk about. 

Hot milk cake with lemon curd and italian meringue frosting
So while I have power and my own kitchen again and hope to resume baking activities soon, maybe someday I will also have The Internet and it will not require walking uphill both ways in two feet of snow or through a hurricane to tell you about my adventures. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

How To Have Brunch

What are you doing this weekend? Having me over for brunch, I hope. Get out your champagne mugs glasses!

Brunch is an institution: a special time where drinking in the daytime is not only appropriate, it is encouraged. I adhere to very strict Brunch Club Rules.

  1. At least one food item on the table must be made up of at least 50% eggs. 
  2. One food item must be 100% bacon.
  3. Each beverage consumed must be made up of at least 50% champagne (or other appropriately bubbled alcoholic intoxicant). This is my new favorite method of making a mimosa. You're welcome.

You should put some fruit on the table. It feels healthier this way. Coffee also helps. So does dining Al Fresco, if possible. Al Fresco is not that weird guy who lives around the corner from you; it is a fancy way of saying outdoors. Eating is one of the only outdoor activities I truly enjoy. To reiterate, the bubbly alcohol helps me enjoy outdoor activities. So does the bacon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Pizzas

More confession time. I love pizza. Bad pizza is good pizza. My favorite pizzas, though, all share similar traits: thin, crispy, yeasty, crackly, chewy, perfect ... oh, did I mention I'm a bit of a dough/crust fan? Screw the toppings. I want to talk about pizza crust.

Making your own dough is SO EASY. Seriously why are you not doing this? And here is my trick/commandment: make it as far in advance as you want. A week even. All that time in the fridge just lets the yeast work its magic and get all stretchy and delicious. Here are two pizzas, made within one day of each other.

Day One: FLUFFY DOUGH. My nemesis. Still delicious, but still. This tasty but you know it could be better.

Toppings: skirt steak, caramelized garlic and shallots, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, Mexican crema (have you had this ish? It is like sour cream but TANGIER. This probably deserves an entire post unto itself but that would be kind of gross, just C Fierce, eating a jar of Mexican sour cream. I'll do it, Internet. Don't tempt me.)

What could POSSIBLY be hiding behind the jump? Let's find out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rosemary White Bean Spread

We are without a photograph for this post. My apologies, but my trash can is less photogenic than you'd expect.

Maybe you have noticed the trend on here: I do not cook. When I cook it is more like chopping and mixing; side dishes and salads.

I am halfway through an insane summer (like the last one). Meals have been erratic. I haven't baked at all (okay, I baked muffins, but they weren't very good. I'm not pulling a Grandma Fierce and saying that so you'll tell me how awesome they were, they were not good. Dense. Chewy. Not the things you usally associate with delicious muffins). I've been eating tabbouleh, the add 1 cup boiling water, chopped vegetables and fluff before serving! type and fruit salad. And hummus I did not make with crudites I chopped. Really advanced stuff here.

I was really wanting some bruchetta with white bean spread, so I figured I could just soak some beans overnight, puree with oil and garlic and all would be good. Weeeeelll. Apparently on this side of the stove all acids are not equal. What can I say, I'm a baker. I decided that in lieu of lemon juice, which I did not have, not one drop, I could use champagne vinegar.

Let me be frank: if I were David Hasselhoff, I would call it "hofful" (say it aloud...). It smelled like vomit and though I was brave enough to try some with my pinky finger, it went right into the trash.

Lesson Learned. Let someone else cook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Introducing ... The Pie Cup

Now, this was rarely an issue in the Fierce household I grew up in, but a few weekends ago I noticed a little bit of a problem. It began innocently enough. I made a pie. I ate a piece or two. I shared a few pieces. And then I wanted my sister to try some. She didn't want to; she was "full" (some Fierce, saying No to Pie?!).

At this point, we'd already cooked and eaten tons of brunch: strata, more bacon than we had at 
the pig roast this year, fruit fruit fruit, ice cream (Guinness, strawberry-rhubarb, and rhubarb, for those of you taking notes at home). It was a "I haven't seen you in forever! Eat all of these things I made!" Sister Attack, and it included mimosas. Lots of mimosas. 

So I offered the option of taking some home with her. I ran out of paper plates and wanted to keep the rest of my tupperware. What can I say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Behold ... the Pie Cup! 
... and I'm officially a commuter.
I can safely say I invented it because I looked on the internets and all I found were pies baked in cupcake pans. That is not a Pie Cup. A true Pie Cup embodies some of my favorite things about America: pie being the first thing, convenience another, and excess, the third.  Of course, the version I sent home with my sister had tinfoil over the top and a spoon poking out of the side. It wouldn't be fair give her something so delicious without utensils!

So, in case you don't have time to sneak that piece of pie for breakfast this week, just put it in a cup! You can  always enjoy it on your morning commute. And if it's a solo cup, you can just toss it out after you finish. Heck, throw it out the window if you want. Just another favorite thing about America!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

... and the Garlic Bread From Heaven That Hates Your Thighs

Confession time: I love garlic. I love garlic bread. I love crappy garlic bread, I love Stouffer's garlic bread, I love dipping garlic bread in tomato sauce, I love the cheesy nasty "garlic sticks" from Pizza Hut. I love it without abandon. And I don't care who knows it. (That was for you, Francesca.)
So when I got it into my head that I would make Perfect Spaghetti and Meatballs, I immediately made sure that garlic bread was on the menu. You can't have one without the other, right? Well, I guess I can have garlic bread without anything else. But it certainly doesn't hurt the situation one whit to combine the two.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Perfect Spaghetti and Meatballs

I know. Who makes spaghetti and meatballs in April? (I know it's the middle of May. I take a while for this weblogging business.) A wintry, comfort food at its finest - sure, let's make it from scratch. On a Tuesday night. In April. When it's 85 degrees INSIDE your kitchen (have I ever mentioned how much I love DC weather?). But when a craving hits, a craving hits.
I searched high and low for a perfect meatball recipe. Apparently "pillowy and flavorful meatballs" is not the smartest Google search. I'd trust Molly Wizenberg's recipes with my eyes closed, so off to the grocery store I went. Pork, beef, SAN MARZANO tomatoes, lots of Parmesan cheese ... sigh. Now I'm hungry again. Stay tuned for the Garlic Bread From Heaven That Hates Your Thighs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day from the Sisters Fierce

In honor of Mother's Day this year, we thought we'd reprise one of our favorite posts ever. That's right, it's dedicated to our awesome mother. We love you Mom!

- - - Originally posted May 7, 2010 - - - 

Have you mailed your mother's day card yet? Better get to the post office, kiddos!  Your mom is waiting!  And if you forgot, oh boy. Call up the flower shop immediately.

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day at The Sisters Fierce than to dedicate a post to our fantastic Mama Fierce? She's obviously influenced us in many ways, not only genetics and the remarkable ability to turn any sentence into a pout. (Trust us on this one.  Just ask our boyfriends.)
Look at those babes! Mama Fierce on the right, and our amazingly gorgeous Grandma Ruth, whom we miss very much, every single day.  And we also wish they had held on to their wardrobes - yes, those are little anchors on Mama Fierce's dress.  Ahoy!

Mama Fierce taught us how to drive stick shift, why you should always always ALWAYS wear earrings (you'll feel naked without them), and many other Very Important Life Lessons.  But since this blog revolves around food, we thought we'd share some of the many tips and tricks Mama Fierce taught us in the kitchen.
  1. Confectioner's sugar is not flour. Mistaking one for the other does not a good broccoli soup make.
  2. The electric cooktop is not the best place to leave a cordless phone (or two or twelve).
  3. Come to think of it, the microwave is also not really a great spot for a wire-framed basket. Oops.
  4. Don't be afraid to make substitutions. Lasagna will probably be just as good if you realize you don't have enough ricotta so you use cottage cheese instead. (See #1 when you are curious as to what substitutes well for flour.)
  5. Don't be afraid to stay out of the kitchen for an evening or two. Use up your leftovers. We both inherited the penchant for finishing off random small bits of dinners past from Mama Fierce: occasionally skipping a whole meal and replacing it with a snack when you've eaten well all day is just fine. This is called "grazing."
  6. Stave off the pre-dinner munchies with a pile of crudites. We think slicing a bunch of veggies was a diversion tactic meant to keep her four wild, ravenous, hungry children out of her hair. It worked and we ate more veggies. 
  7. Does your kitchen stink because you burnt something? This never happens to us, just so you know. But in case it did... Bring about a cup or so of water to boil on the stove and throw in some cinnamon, cloves, or other aromatic spice. Let that simmer away for an hour or two and presto chango - stinko gone-o.  
  8. Sometimes, simply setting the table does wonders for your mood. When we were in high school and had free lunches, each and every Wednesday, Mama Fierce would make us lunch at home. It could have been blue-box-mac-n-cheese or a plain turkey sandwich, but she always set the table. Flowers from our backyard garden, real napkins and placemats, too. Taking the time to make things a little nicer is always worth it. Our mom always makes sure to tell us she loves us, but more importantly, she always takes the time to show us she loves us, too.
Of course she's also imparted to us some absolutely killer recipes. We drool just thinking about Mama Fierce's famous summer strawberry pie - and her Texas sheetcake is just absurd. Stay tuned this week for those recipes.  We can't wait to share them with you, and in case she thought we forgot ...

Happy Mother's Day to the greatest mom on earth.  We love you Mama Fierce!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Couscous Salad

When we were little, the four Fierce Children referred to chickpeas as "butt beans" ... because let's face it, they look like little butts. Since we were not allowed to read at the dinner table (doing the crossword does not count if you can include the whole family), we found other obnoxious things to do. I can imagine that four young Fierces going on and on about butts during the meal is why Mama Fierce did not make more things that include them.  In public, I know to politely call them garbanzo beans or chickpeas, but at home I will lovingly refer to them as butt beans.

I made this last week and ate it every day until it was gone (this took about six days). I know now I have found my summer's alternative for when I get sick of tabbouleh (that will take much longer than six days).  Quick to put together, has minimal heat involved. It is crunchy (probably number two on my favorite food textures list), fresh, and if you don't like the vegetables Dorie suggests, the recipe would accommodate many others.

Click through for the World's Longest List of Ingredients And Most Delicious Butt Bean Recipe Ever.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Conversation with Mama Fierce on the Eve of St. Patrick's Day

Act I, Scene I
Scene: C Fierce's car // Mama Fierce's kitchen

MAMA FIERCE: Hi honey. Did you fill out your bracket yet? Your dad is logging me in right now.
I'm heading home from work, I'm making Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes for the office tomorrow.
Oh I LOVE car bombs!
You do? Do you even know what a car bomb is?
Of course I do. It's that drink, what is it, a train station. A sidecar! I love those!
No, those are not the same thing - and besides, a train station isn't even a drink. You made that up.
It has car in it, it's the same thing.
No, it isn't. A car bomb has Guinness in it --
Oh that's that beer I don't like, the gross one, right?
-- Yes, you hate Guinness -- and then you put a shot of Jameson in it --
That's whiskey? Oh my. This is not like a train station at all.
-- It's not a train station, it's a sidecar, and anyway, you have the Guinness, and the Jameson, and then you fill up a shot glass with Bailey's and --
OH I like Bailey's, that is delicious! Only one out of three, this isn't going well for me, is it.
No, it isn't. So you have the Guinness, the Jameson, the Bailey's, and then you have to drink it before it curdles --
Oh that's disgusting.
Well yes, you have about 12 seconds before it curdles so you drink two shots and a beer in that amount of time.
Who thinks of these things? HONEY -- [offstage] -- have you heard of this thing called an IRISH CAR BOMB? Do you know what GOES INTO ONE OF THESE THINGS?
[pause] [pause] [pause]
Your father says "an Irish car bomb is a beer, with a whiskey, plus an apertif." Is that right?
Well, he's on the right track, yes.
I don't know where you learned all this drinking from, certainly not at my elbow!
I have no idea, but I'm not drinking them tonight, I'm making cupcakes with those ingredients.
Well that's a relief. I'm having a nice glass of white wine, a pinot grigio, from the Wall Street Journal Wine Club.
That sounds nice.
Did you drink all that champagne I got you for Christmas already?
It's March, of course I did.
Well that's good. Bethanne asked me if I'd had prosecco the other day and I told her of course I knew what that was. I don't know where you learn these things.
Mom I have to go now, I am recording this conversation for posterity.
Oh I bet your phone has one of those fancy APPS for that.
Enjoy your wine, Mama Fierce.
MAMA FIERCE: And not a train station in sight!

* * * En fin. * * *

Here are some other green things to eat.  Look! Green things to eat on St Patty's Day! These are naturally green, to boot, and not a pint of beer with green food coloring in it. Weird.

Spinach mascarpone dip
Pistachios and apricots
More pistachios: pistachio praline bars
Even more: pistachio tart cherry ice cream
Spinach round two: spinach salad

Happy St Patty's Day to all our readers. Are you doing anything special today? Other than making up imaginary cocktails? What goes in a train station, anyway?

Monday, March 14, 2011

C Fierce is BACK. And She Brought Lemon Squares.

So. Some sheeeeeeeeeeeet happened in my life. It sucked, now it's good, and I'm back. And I have lemon squares. Meyer Lemon Squares to be precise. I went on a lemon square binge about two months ago. I found the best recipe of all time, but of course it's Cook's Illustrated, takes nineteen hours, and gives you the best lemon squares you have ever put in your mouth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

Have I mentioned I live in the South?

Sometimes, I forget this fact. My little town finds itself to be just cosmopolitan and democratic enough that there are times it slips my mind.

There are other times, however, when it is blatantly clear.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Granola

An unoriginal way to pose granola
I started this post nearly a year ago - it took me that long to work a few things out in the recipe. I was trying to evoke the bar that my favorite restaurant makes; it's really chewy and I love the texture.  Its just too sweet for my palate (yes, I said something was too sweet for me. It happens, not often, but it happens). 

The process of making granola requires a judicious mind.  My tendency is to get carried away and toss in everything but the kitchen sink. When the results come in, I have to say, I'm not a fan of that approach. When I plan it out and stick to something more unified I'm always happier.  

This time, I began with my favorite dried fruit (because of course everyone ranks their favorites, right? My rankings: tart cherries, cranberries, golden raisins. Favorite foods to add to other foods? Whether the dish is savory or sweet, mine are: jam, hot peppers, cheese). I expanded from there: what would be good with dried tart cherries? Another stone fruit: apricots. Then I decided almonds would complement those two, and added sesame seeds (including black ones for visual interest), a few sunflower seeds, and oats. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seven Grain Bread

I wrote a while back about the most amazing place I've ever been. There have been times, I confess, at the end of a vacation, when I'm ready to be home.  I want to sleep in my own bed and wash my clothes. I need to cook something where I know the ingredients. I want to wear a pair of shoes that is not one of the four I brought (C Fierce note: J Fierce is lying if she thinks anyone will believe she only brought four pairs of shoes on vacation).  Last week, I wasn't. I'm not. Sharing a studio with two other boys (in addition to The Boy) and two kittens who played with my toes while I slept? None of it phased me. Here I am, and I'm still dreaming about San Francisco.

I hadn't been in a kitchen in a week. I didn't want to settle back in - I began to purge everything for the "well if I lived in a studio in San Francisco I wouldn't take this with me" mentality. Failing all else, I made bread.

Friday, January 21, 2011

San Francisco

Last week we went to San Francisco - my first time in California, as well as The Boy's. We both had some time off and good friends there (who graciously gave us their home, home brew, keys, and a hand drawn map of the BART system). I spent most of my time taking in gorgeous views (twin peaks, dolores park, golden gate bridge, any hill I could get to the top of) and contemplating my next meal. 
San Francisco seen from Alcatraz Island
So what all did we eat? 
  • Plantain cakes with cumin sour cream and black beans in the Mission
  • Roti bread with curry dipping sauce Downtown
  • French bread french toast with mascarpone (brilliant!) and berries in the Mission
  • lots and lots of seafood in Monterey
  • pad thai somewhere within view of the Golden Gate Bridge 
  • unbelievable dumplings and hot pot in Chinatown
  • Real Italian Pizza (cracker thin crust! mozzarella di bufalo! heart be still!) and a frutti di bosco-cream tart in North Beach
  • blood orange tiramisu in the Mission
  • build your own garlic bread near the painted ladies
  • vegan split pea soup in the Mission 
  • lots of beverages, everywhere: Trappist in Oakland, Monk's Kettle and Pi Bar in the Mission, mimosas with every breakfast
Do you sense a pattern? Obviously, I stayed in the Mission district. We had great late night burritos and quesadillas, awesome breakfasts, and easy transportation. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Nutella.  Peanut butter.  Brownies.  Together.  FINALLY.  And what's that on top?  Why yes, that is a dark chocolate ganache.
I made a batch of these last week and took them to three (!) three separate occasions.  A New Year's Eve game night party (this is our new favorite game), the office, and a fabulous friend's birthday party.  

Why three places, you ask?  Well, it's nothing to do with them not tasting good.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  It just happens to be one of the richest treats I've made in a long time.  And people, a 9 x 13 dish of these brownies?  Well, look at the photo.  A little goes a looooooong way.

I first made this a few years ago, adapted from the great Deb.  Over time I've perfected my own tweaks and additions.  Such as, um, the Nutella.***  And the sprinkling of sea salt.  And all the dark chocolate.  Good lord I'm hungry again.

PS: J Fierce is in San Francisco, eating at Chez Panisse, finding the origins of Sriracha, and visiting friends.  I'm sure she is going to come back with lots of stories.  I miss my sister!

***Ask me sometime about the origins of Nutella.  I will use my best Italian accent and tell you the story of the only good thing Mussolini ever did, thanks to my best friend Francesca.  Hey Francesca when are you guest-posting, caccolina?!