Monday, July 26, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

During the hazy days of summer, when my motivation is somewhat crippled between long, hot shifts in the kitchen and the unyielding heat, I tend towards creating very simplistic desserts in my own kitchen.

This is not a foreign feeling to me, the desire for my desserts to be quick, but incredibly tasty.  After moving to Manhattan, I lived in an apartment for over a year with absolutely no oven.  As much as I detested that period, looking back, it forced me to try tons of recipes that did not require the usage of any oven: candies, custards and frozen treats.

This recipe for chocolate mousse is one of my favorite discoveries of that period.  Since my first creation of this mousse, I have tweaked the recipe, ever so slightly, to include the usage of Maker's Mark, my favorite bourbon.  With just the slightest undertones of vanilla, the bourbon provides an incredible lushness to this dessert.

Serve with freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream and let the swooning begin.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was one of those children whose dinner plate continually exhibited a dividing line between all the components of the meal.

The meat could not touch the starch which could not touch the vegetables.  If these battle lines were crossed, by a daring stray pea or a rebellious grain of rice, my meal was ruined.  I stubbornly refused to eat the contaminated offenders.

While I have, luckily, outgrown this oddity, I still must admit I will never, ever desire vegetables to find their way into my dessert.

However, I was overruled over the Fourth of July holiday, as the request for carrot cake was served and dutifully delivered.

The crumb of this cake is soft, crumbly and spicy, with the little hand-grated flecks of carrots lending their orange hue.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Perfecly Sweet Berry Bowl

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Mike's lovely stepmother and I returned from the local farmer's market with armloads of fresh corn, peaches and berries.

As we scurried around the kitchen, trying to find a proper place for everything, she retrieved a beautiful, whimiscal little bowl, just perfect for the pint of blueberries, freshly plucked from their bushes.

I let out a quite audible gasp.

She either did not hear me or, more likely, dismissed my noises as another one of my quirks.  It could, afterall, been directed towards just about anything - the discovery of a perfectly plump peach or juicy blueberry, for example.

Just as when everyone politely smiled and shook their heads when I pulled monster cookies, homemade marshmallows, spicy cocktail nuts, good quality chocolate and a 9" springform pan from my luggage earlier that weekend - my tendancies are quite happily accepted by Mike's family at this point.

Either way, this did not discourage me from falling absolutely in love with this little dish.

So when I returned to my little piece of Manhattan, I was determined to locate this piece to add to my collection.  A mere five minutes later, the piece had been located and ordered.

It now sits quite happily it my kitchen cupboard, eager to hold my treasures from this weekend's farmer's market.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monster Cookies

I had the best intentions to post this recipe last week.  Truly.

But life picked up speed last week and, while everything that is happening is exciting, it left little time to think, let alone write.

At the restaurant, my chef will prepare these every so often as a special treat for both the line cooks and pastry cooks.  She said she found the recipe in an old church cookbook and has been making them, much to the enjoyment of others, ever since.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

I love the Fourth of July.  The simplicity of the holiday lends itself to a lazy day filled with family, friends and good food.

I have very happily been put on dessert duty for the weekend and have lots to share with you.  What are you whipping up this weekend?

Enjoy a very happy Fourth of July!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Food52 Cherry Contest: Finalist!

I interrupt today's scheduled post to shamelessly promote my recipe.  Since we last spoke, my recipe for Cherry Jam with Lemon-Pepper Shortbread was chosen as a finalist in the Food52 cherry contest!

How exciting!

So, if you are up to it, skip on over to the Food52 website and vote for me!
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