DISH: Seitan Piccata at Candle 79. “Most of the time – though not always – we like to eat vegan [...]strong>
Well, aren’t all desserts 3-D? Yes, but some are a bit more 3-D than others. Leave it to Hollywood to one-up the concept: This year’s Academy Awards Governor’s Ball party will feature “3-D Desserts” designed by Wolfgang Puck. I don’t know that I would bother with the glasses, though. [Yum Sugar]
Wait for It
Teens studying The Great Depression were made to wait in line for their bread and soup and guess what? They did not like it ONE BIT. [Boston]
Bacon Thing of the Week
This may seem like the be-all and end-all of all things bacon, but that won’t stop us from coming with another BTotW in another 7 days. That said, the 100 ways to use a slice of bacon on this page should keep you occupied for a while. (Pictured: One way is to make a “bacon mat.”) [Endless Simmer]
Gluten-Free Cookbook Needs You!
Karen Morgan runs a gluten-free “virtual online bakeshop” she calls Blackbird Bakery, which is completely worth your time for the recipes alone. But she’s got another project, too – the Blackbird Bakery Community Cookbook, which is less than halfway toward its goal of raising $30,000. Those of you desperately seeking an amazing collection of gluten-free recipes should get out some dough and contribute! [Blackbird Bakery and Kickstarter]
Starry Starry Night
If you’re like me, you’re eagerly anticipating Sunday night! There’s something on TV, some kind of awards show … but really, you’re looking forward to having an Oscar-themed party with all of your best buds. Here are some terrific design ideas and recipes from the Food Network that will surely win you prizes. [Food Network design, Food Network recipes]
Food Network Plagiarism?
The now-canceled “Anne Thornton’s Dessert First” has come under fire after it appeared that some of Thornton’s recipes hewed too close to Martha Stewart and the “Barefoot Contessa.” Check out this write-up and some videos (one of which is particularly yummy). [TODAY Bites]
Most Amazing Cupcake Bite Ever
Ever see a dessert tray and realize it has too many wonderful things to possibly eat in one sitting? Take heart: This recipe for mini peanut butter Oreo chocolate fudge swirl cupcakes puts just about everything you could want together in a gorgeous teeny-weeny stack. [Kevin and Amanda]
Bacon Thing of the Week
Yes, Valentine’s Day may be over, but when it comes to bacon roses … every day can be a day of love. You can always find an excuse. And for those who don’t care for flower-shaped bacon, check out the next logical progression in raw beef roses (pictured above)! [Instructables and Hungeree]
Frankenfood: Coming to a Shelf Near You?
It doesn’t have to. MoveOn.org has set up a petition so you can tell the FDA that labeling of genetically engineered foods should be mandatory (the way it is with other consumables these days). You don’t have to buy it, but you should know what’s going into your food. [MoveOn]
Swiss Measuring Spoons
Keep all of your Teaspoon/Tablespoon needs in one handy-dandy carrying case designed to look like a Swiss Army Knife. No wonder Swiss desserts taste so awesome. [Amazon]
I’ve been stumbling across a number of sites recently that do just this sort of thing: Come up with new and interesting ways to present commonplace foods. My favorite happens to be the brownie-in-an-eggshell concept.
But bakers need to be prepared to put a little more effort in than just pouring the batter into a pan, and your batter will have to be completely free of chunks, for reasons that should become obvious shortly.
Here’s how you do it, courtesy Boing Boing:
- Poke a hole in the shell of a raw egg — use a corkscrew for a sharp, even hole that shouldn’t crack the shell.
- Let the insides of the egg drip out (this will take some time) and gently wash the insides out.
- Let everything dry. Meanwhile, make your brownie mix! (And leave out the chocolate chips.)
- Stand the shell up in a muffin tin, or even in the egg carton it came in from the store.
- Tipple the brownie batter into the hole you’ve created. Tip: Use a piping bag with a narrow nozzle, or a funnel (though it may take a long time).
- Don’t fill the egg the whole way! 2/3 should be sufficient, as your brownie will grow inside the egg.
- Cook as per usual.
This will take some practice; your first batch may simply explode your eggs. Naysayers may bemoan the lack of crispy edges on your final brownies, but the fun of cracking into the eggshell and coming up with cake-tacular chocolate perfection should make up for any grumbling.
If not, take away their brownie!
The writer of the Boing Boing post refers to making Jell-O in eggshells as well — that could be quite amusing if done right, and is probably much easier than brownies, due to the viscosity factor of batter vs. liquid. Chocolate is another option, allowing you to make your own chocolate eggs come Easter.
Finally, always remember food safety: Not every fun container could, or should, come in contact with high heat and food items.
Terra cotta flowerpots must be designed for food use — the ones you may buy at the local Home Depot, for example — are not meant to be combined with consumables, according to the NDSU.
Happy baking, happy cracking, and happy eating!
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Yes, we missed the Chinese New Year, but you don’t have to: a) be timely, b) be celebrating or c) be Chinese to find these New Year-inspired cupcakes worthy of setting off some firecrackers. [Bake Happy and Cupcakes Take the Cake ]
Bottle of Wits
Austin’s venerable Alamo Draft House movie chain is jumping all over the 25th anniversary of “The Princess Bride” by introducing one white and one red wine inspired by the film. Neither is laced with the legendary poisonous iocane powder, which is a good thing for those who haven’t spent the last 25 years building up a tolerance. [Alamo Drafthouse]
For people who still like to play with their food but make it look as if it was inspired by some great artists, this collection of bread-meets-filler arrangements will feel whimsical. The rest of us will find it merely strange. (Click on each photo and look at the URL to figure out the associated artist.) [Low Commitment Projects]
Nearly everyone likes a little syrup with his or her pancakes, but few like finding that one at the bottom of the stack has transformed from a fluffy delight to a soggy mess. Introducing the Pancake Plate! Deceptively obvious and wonderful. And also useful for virtually any liquid-basted meal. Check it out! [Uncommon Goods]
One Tough Cookie
On the one hand, it’s a cute name — on the other, who wants to eat a tough cookie? That said, Gail Dosik’s creations are some of the most beautifully designed eatables you’ll ever witness. (It’s almost a shame to bite into them!) Early warning: Valentine’s Day is only about 10 days away, and OTC has some incredible ideas. [One Tough Cookie]
Above: Deli Stadium
Whether you’re rooting for the New England Patriots or the New York Giants to win Sunday’s Super Bowl, there’s no question: Deli platters in the shape of football stadiums are a true score . [Westword]
Right about now you’re probably trying to abstain from eating sweets. You spent too many calories and too much time on eating every holiday cookie in the tin – we saw you! – and now you’re doing your best to fit back into your jeans before someone notices.
We know. And we’re here to help.
That’s why this week, I’m introducing you to bugs. Meals and desserts that are … bugalicious!
Not that I’ve tried, actually. I’m willing, with enough tequila in me first. But in the meantime, it’s enough to know they exist. Sure, everybody’s heard of chocolate-covered ants – they’ve been around as a novelty item since the 1950s, according to FoodTimeline, along with grasshoppers. They quote from a 1956 issue of The New York Times:
“Experts agree there’s a real demand these days for party foods that are new, exotic, ‘different.’ And once initiated, many American are surprised to find themselves won over by foods they wouldn’t – wittingly – have eaten on a bet. … As quick to spot a trend as any other merchants, live-wire food importers are now negotiating for French fried bees from the Orient. Fried ants (possibly from Africa) and chocolate covered ants from South America are also in the blueprint stage.”
And the fact is that around the world, bugs are seen as excellent sources of protein. For one thing, you never run out of your supply and your farming habits need to be minimal. But it’s a little hard for us to get around the fact that they’re, well, insects.
How quickly we forget! Or maybe we try to make ourselves forget. But a November, 2011 article from BusinessWeek says the bugs are back and just bursting with flavor. Well, bursting:
“World Entomophagy is one of a growing number of insect suppliers that promote bugs as food. For humans. Encouraged by media attention, TV shows like “Fear Factor,” and growing concerns about the threat of overpopulation to the food supply, Americans — at least a few — are warming to the idea. ‘In the past three years, interest in eating bugs has surged,’ says David George Gordon, a chef and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. The number of U.S. chefs cooking insects has ‘probably tripled in the past five years,’ he says, and new suppliers selling bugs primarily for human consumption, rather than as food for pet fish and reptiles, have popped up in the last two years.
Then there’s the Perennial Plate, which two months ago spent eight minutes going into the consumption of insects and bugs; you can watch the video here. David Gracer shows how to trap and catch your food source, picking up one or two straight from the land and popping them into a Ziploc bag for later. He also insists that “most insects do not taste better than lobster.” As you will, David, as you will.
Still, for all the fun we make: Have you tried eating a bug? On purpose, not just while coasting down a hill on your bike, mouth open? Until then, maybe we shouldn’t be judging. So for the adventurous in your household, here’s a recipe for your very own chocolate-covered ants, courtesy Chef Jacques Martine.
Or you could just stick with actual, traditional desserts made up to look like bugs. Either way, let us know how you fare!
What? You’re still not sure what to get your loved ones, acquaintances and total strangers? Time to shape up and get that shopping finished, pronto: The holiday season is upon us in a little over a week! (Less, for those lighting candles for Hanukkah.) So as promised, here are a few more great ideas for last-minute shoppers. But remember, ordering online means do it soon, find a place for free shipping or be prepared to pay a whole lot to have it there on time. Either way, have a yummy good time!
Mark Wahlberg’s Favorite Chocolates
Phillips Candy House has been around since 1925, but these days it likes to be known as favorite candy hut of the artist formerly known as Marky Mark. And we all know he knows about fun bunches. The store is located in Mark’s old ‘hood of Dorchester in Boston, where he grew up, and he’s been a fan of the chocolate turtles for years; his wife Rhea now orders them as Father’s Day gifts. So put a little funk into your chocolate chunk! (Various prices) [Phillips Candy House]
There could be a fungus among us if you pick up one of these DIY homemade kits to grow your own delicious morsels (and morels, perhaps) ($19.95) [Uncommon Goods]
Boil, blanch, steam and drain all in this flexible pouch — simple silicone, put to delicious use. ($15) [Fusion Brands]
Droid Salt and Pepper Shakers
Yes, these are the droids you’re looking for. A pair of wind-up salt and pepper shakers — no passing the salt at the table necessary with these little dudes. ($24) [Chiasso]
Put your fresh spices inside a little ball that resembles a colander/tea infuser and let them season your soups, sauces, stews … you name it. I imagine it would be great for spicing up your holiday punches and cider, too! ($28) [MoMa]
So simple, it’s hard to imagine why this wasn’t invented decades ago. For anyone who has a hard time lifting a whole two-liter bottle with your bare hand. This attachable handle could save so much spillage. ($9.95/set of 2) [Life With Ease]
Get yerself a peppermint pig and start cracking on the new year! The old tradition goes back many years and is just the way to get the family to share stories. Plus: Sweet! (Various prices) [Saratoga Sweets]
We all want to do something in the holiday season, and by “do something,” I mean beyond just “buying stuff and writing up a bunch of cards.” Whether we act on it throughout the rest of the year or not, come December our philanthropic impulses get a real workout — and everyone wants to find a way to give back.
Sarah Morgan, who started up a terrific women-based Meetup.com group this fall, had her own way of giving back: By holding a Christmas Cookie Bake Off with 9 women in her New York City apartment on Friday night, baking batch after batch of deliciousness … all to give away.
“I was once fortunate enough to meet a woman named Mabel who was living in an elderly care facility during my time as a volunteer in high school,” Sarah me wrote about her inspiration. “Mabel told me that her fondest memory of her younger years was baking cookies with her children during the holidays. She looked away for a moment and said that she would give just about anything to be able to bake a big batch of cookies again.”
Well, Sarah went right home, made some cookies that night and took them to Mabel, who was so appreciative that Sarah was inspired. She began making a running list of groups and individuals in distress or need who might not have access to kitchen facilities — who might appreciate some holiday cookies. (And really, whether we have a kitchen or not, who doesn’t appreciate cookies?) Each year, she’s expanded that list to include residents in shelters, elder care facilities and shelters catering to individuals going through foreclosures; she has added in the toy drive recipients she already works with and so forth. One batch of 200 cookies would be going all the way to a YWCA shelter in Montana!
Sarah doesn’t let the fact that she has a “small, outdated” kitchen that’s “in the middle of a renovation.” Even when we had to get up from the kitchen table to make room to open her stove to check on the cookies’ done-ness, it just felt like a real New York experience — not an inconvenience. For several hours we creamed butter (letting it soften on the warming stove), tossed in liberal amounts of chocolate chips, colored sprinkles and coconut flakes green, sipped a little wine and even enlisted her 3-year-old son Jack into the process (he got his own personal pile of chocolate chips to snack on). The cookie list included chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter (with a chocolate kiss in the center) and raspberry-coconut “thumbprints.” Dishes were washed, windows were opened and pizza was consumed. A good, sweet time was had by all (one participant even brought in pre-made cookies and cupcakes, which she iced and decorated — with a little help — at the event).
Early on, Sarah had a revelation about making cookies for charities, or really anyone who just needs a little sweetness in their lives: “Sometimes when cash or toys or donations on a large scale are not available, sometimes a small gesture can move mountains,” she wrote.
Exactly what’s needed this time — or any time — of year. A little mountain moving, courtesy of the cookie.
And as a special bonus, here’s one of the cookie recipes we made!
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
- Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn out on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookiesheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.
– courtesy Sarah Morgan