Words cannot express how amazing this dinner experience was. All I can say is that if you have the chance to visit Alinea in Chicago, you have to go. The there is no restaurant that can compete with this experience. The photos that follow are just a few of my favorite courses from our 24 course tour.
17 February 2009
Last year for my birthday my dear friend Sarah gave me a mini popover pan. I told her that day that I knew the first thing that I would make with it would be Bouchons au Chocolat, or mini chocolate cork-shaped cakes. What I didn't know was that it was going to take me a year to get around to doing that.
We were invited to watch the super bowl with some friends and I wanted to bring something fun for dessert... I finally had my chance to make these little chocolate wonders. The pan worked out perfectly and the cakes came out just as they should. A mix between brownie, cake and scone. They are great with ice cream, but I like them even better alone, maybe as an afternoon snack with some tea or coffee. They have a way of making you feel very french when you eat them. C'est bon!
Bouchons au chocolat
Adapted from Orangette, David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate, and Pearl Bakery
3 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 ¾ cups cake flour
1 ½ Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin pan or mini popover pan with butter or cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates together by microwaving for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between. When the chocolates are just melted do one final stir and set aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt together into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate until well incorporated. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, stir and fold in the dry ingredients in three additions. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. The batter will be quite thick.
Divide the batter between the wells of the muffin tin or popover pan. Bake the cakes for 15-18 minutes, or until they still feel quite soft in their centers when pressed lightly with your index finger. Do not overbake them, or they will be dry.
Remove the pan from the oven, and allow to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pan and cool completely before eating or storing.
Store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
Yield: 12 cakes
15 February 2009
Taco Tuesday is a tradition that my husband and I and our friends started in college. No matter how much work had to be done, we would all come together to eat and hang out on Tuesday night, enjoying tacos and some laughs. Dave and I still keep the tradition going... maybe not every week, but quite often as i am making our weekly meal plan we will save Tuesdays for tacos.
Tuesdays now, however, have mostly involved these tacos. Once I saw them in Bon Appétit a couple months back, I knew they would be my new favorite. They are super quick to put together, healthy and really yummy. Crispy and creamy and salty and rich all in one. I highly recommend that you put Taco Tuesday on your meal plan for the week and try these out.
Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
adapted from Bon Appétit
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas or flour tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 avocado sliced
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce
Place beans, cumin and half the lime juice in small pan to heat; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta, sliced avocado and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.
04 February 2009
I have always wanted to try my hand at a tart tatin. When we were in Paris for our honeymoon, I ate a few of them. One amazing one at Polidor... they say it is the most famous one in France, and I would have to agree that it was out of this world. A fig tart tatin at another restaurant paled in comparison, but was still good. My try, turned out okay. I think the caramel was a little too done, the apples weren't sliced thin enough. I would do some things differently nest time. But, it was just the first try. Many more to come.
Find the recipe here.