I haven’t forgotten about you. I swear. Things are a bit backed up here–partially because of my schedule and partially because my camera’s having uploading issues. Hopefully, all will be resolved this weekend. Til then, here’s a quick recipe for a chocolate-studded panettone bread pudding. Sorry for the lack of pictures–these are the only ones that would load!
Dear Future Exam-Taking Self:
While I appreciate that you had grand plans to start outlining this weekend, you really made a wise decision by visiting Union and Eastern Markets with friend and foodie Amanda, doing laundry, getting ahead on reading, and, you know, choosing to make granola instead of opening those pesky class notes. While you may not actually understand the rules of evidence as well as you should, keep in mind how delicious procrastination was. One day, you may make those granola-crusted nuts that inspired you on Smitten Kitchen. But, until then, just remember to breathe and to take a bite of your latest creation. While it may not give you the answer as to what constitutes a Fourth Amendment violation, it will provide endless comfort in the form of mildly sweetened oats, chocolate, pecans, and cranberries. You. Are. Welcome.
All the best,
Present Outline-Avoiding Self
I walked into CVS yesterday morning and immediately spotted a wide array of bright pink and red decorations, cards, and bags of candy. Needless to say, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. It’s not difficult to get annoyed by the messages advertising “Couples Specials” or suggesting new ways to surprise one’s significant other. That being said, I’m not one of those people who completely shuns the holiday. I used to love Valentine’s Day as a kid. You got a ton of cards from people telling you how great you are, and all of those messages were conveyed through images of your favorite cartoon characters. What was not to love? Sure, it’s commercialized and makes me ever cognizant of the fact that I am, in fact, single, but it also gives me an opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the people that I love and to enjoy the general feel-good, happy thoughts floating around society. So, no bitterness here. That being said, I do still want a Lisa Frank card with a unicorn on it, so, if anyone feels the need to indulge, feel free to pass one along.
Anyway, here’s an idea for a cute V-day breakfast–either for yourself or for someone special. This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, but extras can be popped into a Ziploc bag and thrown into the freezer. Just toast them when you are ready to eat. Now, I must warn you, these are not the sweetest pancakes. In fact, I’m sure some of you may want to add more sugar. Feel free to do so! I personally like my chocolate on the more bitter side, so these suit me just fine. Plus, if you top them with fruit and powdered sugar, they’ll be sweet enough. As always, happy eating!
Sorry the picture is dark! I forgot my camera so we had to rely on Caroline's Blackberry 🙂
My absolute favorite thing about winter (read: anytime) is curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. I love a steaming hot cup of thick, rich hot chocolate–which a lot of people find surprising considering I’m not the biggest chocolate person. That being said, I refuse to make my hot chocolate with anything but milk. None of that gross watery stuff for me, please!
While studying abroad, my friends and I discovered the joys of European hot chocolate. Now, the hot chocolate that we’re used to normally involves some cocoa powder, maybe a little chopped chocolate, and some sugar and salt. Good flavor, but about the consistency of a mocha. European hot chocolate? It’s like molten chocolate lava. No, seriously. The stuff is so thick and rich; it easily coats the back of a spoon. And churros. And pretty much everything else you can get your hands on and dip in there. It’s like fondue, but better. Yeah. I said that.
Anyway, Caroline’s and my favorite place to go for gelato and hot chocolate in Florence was this little shop called Vestri on the Borgo degli Albizi. Their gelato was always fresh and was also incredibly cheap (euro 1,70 for two scoops? I’ll take it!). But the best part about any gelato shop in Italy is the fact that you can get an affogato. What, you ask is an affogato? Well, friends, it’s a scoop of gelato or sorbet, topped with a giant ladle of hot chocolate or, in some cases, espresso. Needless to say, it’s heaven in the cup, and the variety of flavors you get as the gelato slowly melts into the hot chocolate is unbelievable.
Anyway, Caroline and I decided to recreate this treat last week when we made dinner at her house. We added some blackberries and used strawberry sorbet for a berry kick in our affogati. I hope this recipe warms you up as much as it did us! Happy eating!
Dessert lovers, beware. Your diets are about to go downhill.
Who doesn’t love a spoonful of molten chocolate? Well, minus me. Sure, I generally opt for the fruit dessert, but even I can’t resist a warm chocolate cake sometimes.
After reading Megan’s last few dessert-oriented posts, I couldn’t help but think how great a spoonful of gelato would taste atop a warm chocolate cake. I first made this dessert when my friend Lucy came to visit me. Lucy studied abroad in Florence at the same time that I did, and I was lucky enough that she was already living with my host family when I arrived. She was a great resource when I first moved to Italy, and I’m glad to count her among my friends. I wanted to make a special treat when she came, so I chose to make these chocolate lava cakes as the perfect ending to our Italian meal.
This recipe produces a dessert that is quite rich, and the cakes taste great with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla (or crème fraîche!) ice cream. The molten chocolate inside is always a great surprise to guests, and the instant gratification of a warm, gooey cake is hard to beat!
I hope you consider making these next time you are craving some chocolate. Even better, make this with some crème fraîche gelato; I’m pretty sure that’s a pairing that’ll be hard to beat! Happy eating!
….and on a completely unrelated note: If you haven’t had any artichokes yet this season: RUN. I am currently eating a bowl of lightly braised baby artichokes with garlic and onions, and I am in foodie heaven. GAH.
I seem to have ended my pasta kick and moved on to chocolate. I don’t know how or when this happened, but something tells me that the housemates are not entirely opposed to this transition. I promise to move on to something less sugary (in my defense, I’ve eaten crazy amounts of salad for the last two weeks!). I’m thinking of making pide or attempting to recreate my mom’s recipe for tandoori chicken next time around.
In any case, I figured that the housemates and my friend Cara could use a post-spring break pick-me-up, and, knowing the food preferences of the roomies, I decided to go with something chocolate-y. The solution? Chocolate-Almond tart.
I was originally going to follow some sort of recipe, but I wound up just making one up as I went along. Now, as I’ve already noted, I am not the biggest fan of chocolate, so this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. My housemates, however, loved this tart. I highly recommend serving with a dollop of fresh whipped cream to help cut through the dense chocolate!
First of all, I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day!
My husband, Brandon, and I decided, once again, to forgo the restaurant scene and make dinner together for the holiday. Knowing Brandon would probably be working the official night of V-Day, we chose to celebrate the evening before.
Celebrating over the weekend provided me with the extra time needed to prepare a special, indulgent dessert. With our dinner menu consisting of duck breast with orange gastrique, duck fat potatoes, and roasted broccolini, I wanted to whip up a French-inspired, chocolate dessert (what could be more romantic?). My first thought was chocolate mousse. I’ve made it before and enjoyed it thoroughly, but it requires melting chocolate and whipping eggs in several different bowls, and I just wasn’t in the mood for such a heroic clean-up effort. Continue reading