Archive | May, 2011

Swedish Visiting Cake

27 May

When I visited Paris in April, I’d grab breakfast from Eric Kayser every morning before heading off to tackle the city’s food. It was just around the corner from my hotel, and as I passed it every day walking to the Metro, I’d inevitably be tempted by one of the delicious-looking treats and breads. Warm baguettes with chunks of salty Comte, pain au raisin with coffee, chunky and complex walnut-chocolate chip cookies…

But my favorite was the financiers. Buttery but not greasy, sweet but balanced, they were like glorious muffin tops (the best part of muffins, of course) with crisp-chewy caramelized edges. I only wished I could reproduce them when I returned home.

Without realizing it, I found all the elements of financiers that I loved– in this Swedish Visiting Cake. I actually decided on the recipe because I was on a lemon spree (after making some incredible lemon bars) and the cake seemed quite simple to make. The beautiful photos over at honey & jam didn’t hurt either.

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I’ve got a munchin’ for… {Urban Picnic}

18 May

Check out this cute picnic box by Boxsal!

Potato and Leek Quiche

18 May

Have you ever woken up one day with the memory of some perfect [insert food name here] on your mind, before promptly embarking on a quest to find the “best” ? You swear you’ve had that perfect slice of carrot cake or juicy burger or fluffy quiche, but you just can’t seem to find one that measures up to your lofty ideals. You come close, yes, but that only makes the search even more frustrating, more teasing.

Enough of this suspense and drama. This quiche is awesome. Everyone should eat it. Continue reading

Summer Lemon Bars

11 May

Isn’t it wonderful when you make something that you truly enjoy eating- something that you would gladly pay money for (that is, if you hadn’t just fixed it up yourself at home)?

I usually find that when I cook or bake foods, I don’t really feel like eating them (though that never really stops me- I eat them anyways!). There’s just something infinitely more appealing about food that someone else┬áprepares for you.

Maybe it’s because after putting so much time into making a dish, you just can’t bring yourself to end its delicious existence. Or maybe it’s just because along the way you’ve so filled yourself up with the spoonful-tastes of sauce and the finger-licks of batter that you’re simply too full to enjoy the final product!

These lemon bars are an exception. Even though I licked up much more than a finger’s worth of batter, I still had room for an embarrassing number of lemon squares after dinner. (I had to make sure they tasted good, after all…!)

They’re so easy to put together, irresistibly bright and tangy, and they freeze well- perfect to save for those afternoons when you’re craving something summery and bright.

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Mint-Chocolate Brownies

4 May

I’ve learned that in the food world, it’s so easy to go from being conscious and ingredient-aware to being flat out pretentious and snobby. I admit, I’ve fallen into the latter all too often, especially when I scoff at other people’s baked treats-from-a-box. After reading all my food blogs and recipes, I (arrogantly) think that I know food, that I do food right, more than anyone who eats fast food or makes brownies from a box.

Except brownies from a box…are pretty amazing. Making brownies from scratch- melting the chocolate, whisking in this and that- it all just feels excessively laborious considering how good brownies made from a mix can be.

Maybe it’s just the familiarity, the childhood memories of baking the Betty Crocker mixes with my sister and thinking that we were such good cooks. There’s that certain burnt-chocolatey taste that only seems to come from brownies from a box (especially in the chewy-crunchy edge pieces- my favorite!) and I simply cannot manage to recreate in homemade brownies.

Another added plus: with less time spent on preparing the actual brownies, it opens up more opportunities to play with the flavors and additions.
Take these mint chocolate brownies, for example.

I’ve been craving mint chocolate brownies for a few weeks now. The fudgy brownie, the creamy, light green mint topping, the ganache-like chocolate shell. I never really ate them much as a kid, yet suddenly I longed for all the non-existent memories attached to them, embedded in their familiarity.

But when I’m really craving something, I don’t have the patience to make it from scratch. I usually end up buying it (and more often than not, being disappointed), or I try to find some shortcut that will get the food I crave in my belly ASAP. So here comes in the brownie mix. Literally five minutes later, the brownies are in the oven, and I can focus on getting that minty green color just right. It’s really a snap to pull together now- so easy, that I almost feel guilty. Almost. But I’m too busy stuffing these delicious bites of fudginess in my mouth.

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