Archive: Baking

Campfire Cake

I have my nose in Mary Karlin’s new book, “Wood-Fired Cooking,” my mouth watering at the sound of her garlicky grill-smoked clams and wood-roasted artichokes. I’m trying to decide what will be first on my wood-fired-inspired menu, and then I stumble upon a recipe for chocolate cake. A slice of chocolate cake after being "baked" on the grill. (Kim O'Donnel) But this is no ordinary indoor domestic goddess kind of cake; instead, it’s got all the makings of cowgirl cookery (or a very rogue Girl Scout). Instead of the Suzy Homemaker oven, this cake comes to life over a pile of smoldering coals, and yes indeed, you can call the neighbors and tell 'em all about the cake you baked on the grill. What’s more, there are no eggs in this cake. There is no butter, either. In fact, there is nothing dairy or egg-ish about it (unless you make...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 9, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (9)

Breaking New Ground with Rhubarb Buckle

I’ve played with rhubarb (here and here), and I know my way with a buckle, but I gotta say, this is my first adventure marrying the two. (Kim O'Donnel) Rhubarb buckle. Those words certainly got my attention as I paged through a copy of “Rustic Fruit Desserts,” a new cookbook by Portland, Ore.’s Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I’m so intrigued I can hardly stand it, and I’ve got five stalks of rhubarb from the farm market. And then I notice -- these baking bandits are stealing my heart -- they've added candied ginger to the batter -- bringing the flavor profile to all-time tantalizing high. Well, it wasn’t just in my head; this fruit vegetable-forward cake with a slighty crumby topping is possibly one of the most interesting desserts I’ve made in a long time. In every bite, I get a rhube-y tang that I can’t enough of. Go...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 7, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Delightfully Very Banana-y Cake

I’m up to my eyeballs in a freelance editing project that concerns a collection of menus from about two dozen restaurants here in Seattle. Of the many recipes I’d like to try on my own time, I dog-eared the page for Banana Cake with Savory Coconut Sauce, the signature dessert at Monsoon, a groovy, upscale-ish Vietnamese restaurant. (Kim O'Donnel) The words “cake” and “squishy” usually don’t go together in the same sentence, but I suppose what I mean is that “cake” is a loose interpretation of this heavenly sweet ending, which is more like custard or bread pudding. It’s all banana, front and center, with just enough flour (1/2 cup) to allow for some structure. Hmm. Maybe it’s a Vietnamese clafouti? Whatever you decide to call it, do give this one a whirl next time you’ve got a few bananas on the verge of no return. Its unique spin on...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 1, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Fig Bar Deja Vu

A homemade fig bar is hard to find, and a good one -- well, I’ve been searching for more than 20 years. I was fresh out of the bachelor’s degree oven, working at a gourmet shop in Philadelphia while trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Fig bars, just out of the oven. (Kim O'Donnel) Owned by a quartet of Persian restaurateurs, Chameleon was on the cutting edge of lunchtime fare in the late 80s, when a turkey club was considered exciting. Here you’d get chicken salad with grapes and fennel, curried egg salad and sandwiches on sesame-studded bread from the Italian Market in South Philly. And for dessert, you could have the treat of all treats -- a homemade fig bar, soft and cakey on the outside, chewy and full of fruit on the inside, and an exotic world apart from the Newtons...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 26, 2009; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (8)

King Cake Fit for a Queen

(Kim O'Donnel) Mardi Gras, the last night of revelry before the Christian season of Lent, is just a few days away, and to celebrate the final days of the pre-Lenten carnival, I’ve baked y’all a King cake. A tradition dating to medieval Europe, King’s cake (aka Gateau de roi) is served on January 6 -- Twelfth Night, also known as Epiphany. In Christianity, Twelfth Night commemorates the visit of the three Kings to the baby Jesus 12 days after his birth. This day also marks the beginning of Carnival season. Traditionally, King cake is ring-shaped and ornately decorated, often filled with nuts and/or dried fruit, heavily iced and just too darn sweet. Typically, a trinket is inserted inside the cake, usually a bean, a gold coin or a baby figurine, which is said to represent the baby Jesus. It’s said that good luck comes to the trinket finder --...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 19, 2009; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (9)

A Cut-Out Cookie Rescue

Tuesday, Noon PT: The skies in Seattle are steely gray, spitting out a mix of rain and snow, and I’m about to head to the airport to pick up my brother, Tim. The phone rings. It’s my Chicagoland friend, Nancy, whose name really should be Lucille (as in Ball). Nancy G's heart-shaped cut outs, the second time 'round. (Nancy Loggins Gonzalez) “KIM!” I know that cry. It means my dear friend of 20 years, who is easily flummoxed in the kitchen, is in need of a recipe. Turns out her son’s fourth grade teacher decided at the last minute to reschedule the class Valentine’s party to Wednesday, which meant, for Nan, the designated cut-out cookie parent, to act pretty darn snappy. I can tell she’s on the verge of hyperventilating, so I quickly rifle through a few baking books for a quick fix. “Okay, here’s one,” I say. “Got a...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 12, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Cook’s Library: What’s Baking on the Shelves

It’s a tough life opening the door for the UPS guy who drops off a review copy of a new cookbook on a nearly daily basis. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it. On the floor by my desk is a tower of new titles that I’m snacking on, bit by bit. Today’s sampler is a trio of baking books all worth a looksee. The stand-up easel functionality of Mollie's Katzen's "Desserts." (Kim O'Donnel) Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Baggett Post Food section contributor Nancy Baggett, who’s got a dozen other books under her belt, has dreamed up a collection of 75 recipes for no-knead bread. I must admit, I’ve been slow to warm up to this idea that seems counterintuitive, but Baggett seems to have it all down to a science. She even includes a section on making over your traditional yeast recipes to the Kneadless method. Stay...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 5, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Poll: How Do You Take Your Brownies?

poll by twiigs.com brown·ie What’s in a name? And would a brownie by any other name (or definition) taste as sweet? Here’s how Merriam Webster defines it: 3: a small square or rectangle of rich usually chocolate cake often containing nuts But, according to The Oxford Encylopedia of Food and Drink in America, brownies are “bar cookies, usually chocolate, baked in square or rectangular cake pans.” So which is it – cake or cookie? “The Food Lover’s Companion” further mucks up the works with this definition: “A dense, chewy, cakelike cookie that is generally chocolate-flavored…” Less than satisfied with these conflicting book-ish reports, I sought first-hand counsel and epicurean wisdom from a handful or two of trusted gluttonous comrades, and asked them to honor me with their definition of “brownie.” The responses, I’m sorry to report, are as wildly all over the map as the authoritative sources. To wit,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 29, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake

As promised in yesterday's blog space, I’ve got the goods on Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake, the one she baked while courting Abe and in the Lincoln White House. A slice of Mrs. Lincoln's cake. (Kim O'Donnel) Upon first look at the recipe, which calls for six beaten egg whites, I’m thinking the results will be similar to that of Angel food cake. But Janis Cooke Newman, author of the historical novel “Mary” and all-knowing MTL White Cake expert, says I’m not even close; rather, Mary’s cake has a classic layer cake texture, with plenty of vanilla and almond notes. She also let know that despite two cups of sugar in the batter, the results are not super sweet as I had imagined. As I got to work, I wondered if I should invite Mary to join me in the kitchen, as Newman had done for three years while writing...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 16, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

How Mary Won Abe Lincoln Over With Cake

You may have heard that Barack Obama has a thing for Abraham Lincoln. Come Tuesday, when he’s sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, Obama will put his hand upon the same Bible used at Lincoln’s inauguration ceremony in 1861. The honest-Abe homage continues at lunch, which features Lincoln-inspired fare (pdf file) served on replicas of china chosen by Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s notoriously eccentric wife -- and the first to be called “First Lady.” Had historian Janis Cooke Newman been consulted on the menu, surely she would have recommended Mary Todd Lincoln’s vanilla-almond cake for dessert. For three years, Newman, a San Francisco-based writer, spent much of her time “getting into Mary’s head,” for her historic novel, “Mary,” which is based on the letters of Mary Todd Lincoln. And baking Mary’s cake, says Newman, who spoke to me by phone earlier this week, “was...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 15, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Breaking (Banana) Bread

Thanks to a What’s Cooking reader from Reston, Va., my house is perfumed with a freshly baked banana bread. (Kim O'Donnel) “My mom sent me home from Christmas with some past-their-prime bananas. Since they've been sitting on my counter for a week, they're now REALLY past their prime, which means I'm making banana bread tonight," Reston wrote. Alas, there was a glitch. “All the recipes I'm finding online have complaints in the comments (I know, there are ALWAYS complaints), so I'm hoping you or another chatter has a fantastic recipe up a virtual sleeve.” Right after this week’s chat, I dug through my files for a very trusty banana recipe that I photocopied at my hometown library from an old edition of “The New York Times Cookbook” by the late Craig Claiborne. For more than 20 years, I’ve been toting this batter-stained recipe, a reminder of my college-break baking forays,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 8, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Baking for the Troops

I’ve got a feel-good story for you today, something we all could use during one of the toughest holiday seasons in recent memory. Let me tell you about AMA reader Louise Skinner, an economist who lives with her husband and two teenagers in Upper Marlboro, Md. For nearly three years, Skinner, who describes her age as “old enough to be retired but too young for Social Security,” has been doing something pretty remarkable in her kitchen. Every month, with the help of her 16-year-old daughter (and her husband and son as taste testers), Skinner bakes several dozen cookies and ships them to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. And every month, Skinner sends a little bit of sugar to a place of war and sweetens someone’s day, somewhere far away, even for just a few bites. For security reasons, the cookies are shipped to known recipients, but Skinner says they are...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Baking With Henry

While I'm on vacation, I've got a handful of helpful and savvy kitchen elves pitching in to keep the blog engine running. Today's treat comes from Elizabeth Terry, a washingtonpost.com colleague who spends much of her free time in the kitchen. My four-year-old nephew Henry likes to declare himself an “expert” on various topics (sharks, space exploration and the Red Sox are some of his passions). This year he has been interested in adding “baking” to the list, and he’s turning into a very capable sous chef. Last spring, he helped me with banana caramel cupcakes for his little brother’s first birthday (recipe can be found here ), and in August, he and my dad spent a full 30 minutes sitting on the kitchen floor, watching his “Olympic” cake bake through the oven window. (Elizabeth Terry) I’d been keeping an eye out for a yeast bread recipe I could try...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Pie Dough 101

Apple pie with rosemary and walnuts. (Kim O'Donnel) You said you wanted a tutorial on pie dough; we listened and now you've got no more excuses! Earlier this week, I created quite the flour storm at Casa Appetite and shot photos every step of my pie-making adventure, just for you. The result: Pie 101: a how-to photo gallery. The dough recipe details are below, as well as how-to for my favorite apple, rosemary and pine nut filling. But for now, I'll let the pictures do the talking, and you can tell me what you think in the comments area below -- or today at 1 ET for What's Cooking Thanksgiving. (P.S. Big thanks to photo editor Troy Witcher for his on-the-fly wizardry.) Apple Pie With Rosemary and Pine Nuts From “A Mighty Appetite for the Holidays” by Kim O’Donnel Flaky Pie Dough Adapted from “The Pie and Pastry Bible”...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 20, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Pleasure of Persimmons

Hachiya persimmons in their unripe (lone bright one on the right) and ripe, ready-to-eat state. (Kim O'Donnel) Wanna get into the spirit of Thanksgiving? Get your hands on a persimmon. The subject of much discussion in this week’s What’s Cooking, the persimmon (diospyros) is that orange-tomatoe-y thing you may have seen recently in the produce aisle. It’s in season right now, and it sticks around for just a month or so, so now’s the time. Native to China but cultivated in Japan, Asian persimmons arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1800s. The two most commonly grown varieties are the Fuyu and the Hachiya. The Fuyu is round and squat, kind of like a pumpkin, and it can be eaten out of hand like an apple. Some cooks suggest throwing into salads for a little extra fiber and Vitamin C, of which there is plenty in that little morsel. The...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 14, 2008; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (14)

From the Recipe Crypt: Halloween-y Treats

October 31 is just a week away. Are you practicing your apple-bobbing maneuvers? (Kim O'Donnel) This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, which means tricksters can frolic all weekend long. The Friday night monster mash can easily segue into a Saturday morning-after pumpkin pancake brunch or an afternoon candy-making workshop before the next round of evening festivities (and a costume change, of course). Roll up those costume sleeves and whip up a pot of homemade caramel for dipping apples. While you oversee the super-hot cooked sugar, the under-12 set can spear the apples with sticks (use up those unused take-out chopsticks) and assist with the dipping. Aprons (and a candy thermometer) are a must! For more of a kitchen challenge (and something more arts-and-craftsy), consider a batch of homemade candy corns. I had a ball making these last year, but my only regret was not having a partner. A team...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

Baked Pear Aromatherapy

The house smells like one of those potpourri candles – but in a good way. I’ve just pulled baked pears, enrobed in an almond streusel, from the oven, and the aromas are positively dreamy. Streuseled pears getting ready for the oven. (Kim O'Donnel). Think of this as a take on fruit crisp, with more emphasis on fruit than crisp, but with a little more pizzazz. As much as I love spooning into a tray of fruit crisp, it lacks structure and has a face only a mother can love. A roasted pear, on the other hand, stands tall and pretty, full of grace, streusel-y perfume -- and yes, plenty of fruit. The recipe, which comes from Bay area pastry chef Emily Luchetti, can easily be tweaked to suit personal preferences. Almonds, for instance, could easily be replaced with walnuts, and if you want to use dairy-free “butter” (I’m thinking Earth...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 10, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Tofu Brownies Rock

So I’m curled up in bed catching up with a pile of magazines, and my finger stops on a recipe in the latest issue of Yoga Journal. Triple-chocolate chipotle brownies. Tofu brownies.(Kim O'Donnel) I dog-ear the page and move on to the section about how yoga boosts brain power, which I could use a little more of these days. A week later, I return to the recipe, scanning it for ingredients, discovering that these aren’t just chocolate brownies – they’re tofu brownies. A few years ago, I had better-than-good results with a vegan, gluten-free brownie “bite” that was published in Food & Wine. And many of my vegetarian readers know how much I love my tofu pumpkin pie. But tofu in brownies? Could it really pass sweet-tooth muster? I put the recipe to the test last night. As with many dessert recipes that call for silken tofu, the brownies needed...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 25, 2008; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (13)

Finding a Thrill on Cranberry Hill

For many of us in the lower 48, the words “berry picking” conjure up images of a hot summer day at a U-Pick-It farm somewhere off the interstate, a fun weekend activity for the kids and hey, maybe we’ll pick enough to snack on for the ride home. The tundra of the Yukon River Delta. (Kim O'Donnel) In Alaska’s tundra country, however, those same two words cast a very different picture. For the Yup’ik Eskimos, who have made the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta their home for nearly 3,000 years, wild berries are a vital component of their largely subsistence diet – a main (if not the main) source of Vitamin C. In this cash-poor economy, berries are a currency, and when the Yup’iks say they’ve gone picking, it’s serious business, to the tune of 20 gallons for one family. The latest wrinkle, though, is the ultra-harsh reality of gasoline prices,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 16, 2008; 07:31 AM ET | Comments (3)

Kind-Hearted Cake

Last month in this space, I wrote about a dear friend who had undergone coronary bypass surgery and how it has forced the issue of quality of life and diet to the front burner. A little slice of heart-healthy heaven. (Kim O'Donnel) Flash forward six weeks, my buddy Pop Rocks is 20-some pounds lighter with a good report from the doc and has been given the green light to return to work. Yesterday, a group of us at washingtonpost.com celebrated his first day back on the job. The question, though, was: How to fete a hardcore cake lover with a health-appropriate crumb? Although equipped with an armory of heart-healthy cookie recipes, I realized that my heart-healthy cake repertoire is quite lean, and I had better get on the stick. After all, for the unofficial cake cutter at washingtonpost.com, there could be nothing other than cake. Without a tube pan in...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 1, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

Not the Same Old Flourless Chocolate Cake

While in pursuit of a new twist on a Passover-possible dessert, I stumbled upon something really cool: a chocolate loaf cake made with amaranth and quinoa flours. Quinoa (KEEN-WAH), a leafy plant (chenopodium quinoa) that is native to Andes mountainous regions in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, has become very trendy in U.S. culinary circles as a versatile, gluten-free, high- protein "grain" which isn't a grain at all. In fact, the seeds are more like a cereal, which can be boiled in water like rice and dried and ground into flour. Not only is it high in protein, it's a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. For celiacs, quinoa flour is a gluten-free dream come true, and in the course of my research, have learned that it's considered acceptable Kosher for Passover fare. Chocolate-quinoa-amaranth cake. (Kim O'Donnel) The very savvy Bea Peltre, the blog mistress at La Tartine...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 14, 2008; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (13)

Vegan Cupcakes That Can Fool April

I'll make this snappy because I don't want to keep you from what I predict will be a life-changing experience. Vegan chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes. (Kim O'Donnel) What if I told you it was possible to bake the most outrageous chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes cloaked in a chocolate ganache frosting -- but without a drop of dairy, a smidge of eggs or a spoonful of sugar. That means that the most outrageous chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes in the world are also: a) cholesterol-free and b) diabetic friendly (the sweetener on duty is the low-glycemic agave nectar). If you're feeling a disconnect, I feel you. It is bizarre that rich, chocolate and tender crumb can be uttered in the same sentence as virtuous -- and vegan-undetectable. In fact, I daresay that these cupcakes would make the ultimate April Fool's Day (next Tuesday, April 1) treat -- you literally could fool the pants off all...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 27, 2008; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (57)

The Hamantaschen Project

The Jewish holiday of Purim is in progress as I type these words, and last night, after sunset, when festivities kicked off, I was making dough for hamantaschen, the quintessential Purim sweet. As an O'Donnel growing up in a largely Jewish community outside of Philadelphia, hamantaschen (hah-mahn-tash-en) became part of my cultural vernacular like corned beef and egg creams. One of the best parts about my weekly ballet class was a visit to the adjoining Jewish bakery on Haverford Avenue, where I'd pick out the best-looking cherry-filled hamantaschen on display, leaving the traditional poppy seed or prune varieties for the old folks. Sour cherry jam-filled hamantaschen.(Kim O'Donnel) If you've never had the pleasure, hamantaschen are triangular-shaped cookies, made from a sweet soft dough, and filled with fruit, poppy seeds, cheese or chocolate (which is considered untraditional). But what I love most of all about these hand-held treats is the story....

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 21, 2008; 11:36 AM ET | Comments (14)

Brilliant (and Vegan) Banana Bread

Have you heard the word about agave nectar? It's a plant-based sweetener from the same plant that's used to produce tequila. Cookbook writer and food blogger Heidi Swanson raves about it in her "Super Natural Cooking" and offers Webby recipe ideas here. I've been tempted to take the agave plunge, but with a surplus of local honey, I've waited until the pantry could afford the space. A nice wholesome twist on an old classic: banana bread sweetened with agave nectar and dates. (Kim O'Donnel) Equipped with a copy of "Baking With Agave Nectar," a fresh new title by natural foods chef Ania Catalano, I can no longer procrastinate; her collection of 100 recipes using agave as the primary sweetener is too tempting to ignore. What I like is that she's taken on baked good classics -- brownies, morning muffins, fruit pies, cake frosting -- and reduces their glycemic load with...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 14, 2008; 07:41 AM ET | Comments (13)

Popovers: A Kitchen Experiment

In response to a reader request, the popover is the subject of today's little ditty. The popover, ladies and gents, is a culinary relic, a descendant of Yorkshire pudding, the 18th-century English batter pudding seasoned with meat drippings and originally eaten with gravy (before the meat course) to help curb the appetite. Popovers, just out of the oven: Quick, before they deflate! (Kim O'Donnel) By the next century, the popover made its way into kitchens on this side of the Atlantic, albeit smaller and more of a handheld treat that could be eaten for breakfast. In fact, the first documented popover recipe in this country appeared in Mary Newton Foote Henderson's 1876 cookbook, "Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving, " in which she refers to them as "breakfast puffs or pop-overs." Simple and straightforward, the batter is primarily composed of milk, flour and at least two eggs, which act as the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 26, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (36)

Neighborhood Crumb Cake

There's a place near Casa Appetite, a place where the Mister and I like to go if nobody feels like cooking. It's become our neighborhood joint, even though it's too far to walk and it's not really a joint at all. I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, where diners and delis were (and still are) an integral part of the cultural landscape. This kind of localized, community eating is harder to come by in a cosmo city like Washington, so when you do find a neighborhood spot, you latch on real quick and don't let go. Crumb cake, a reminder of the good ole days. (Kim O'Donnel) The place in question is The Liberty Tavern, a renovated historic building (a Masonic lodge in a former life) on a corner in Clarendon, Va. The cool kids probably know it more as the 'in' place for a drink, but we've managed...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 15, 2008; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (8)

Fruitcake Date

Sunday, Nov. 4: Day 17 of my fruitcake fruit bath. I could let my "mash" keep going, but when I popped open the jar and nearly passed out from the fumes, I knew it was time to put a halt to the booze biz and start making cake. In preparation for the batter step, I consulted two resources for ingredient ideas as well as technique: Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess" and "Caribbean Recipes Old & New" from my friend and Barbados chef LaurelAnn Morley. Fruitcake, out of the oven, ready for a few weeks of dark storage. (Kim O'Donnel) Because this was my maiden fruitcake journey, I'll admit I was a little nervous, but what helped was a deep cleansing breath and gathering and measuring all of the ingredients (mise en place) from get-go. Morley's recipe, below, calls for "browning," a cooked caramel-colored syrup found in many...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 5, 2007; 09:24 AM ET | Comments (14)

Breaking the Fast With Aunt Rita's Cake

After an early, pre-sunset dinner this Friday, Sept. 21, Jews will begin to observe Yom Kippur, the day of atonement that may include reflection, prayer and a 24-hour fast. By Saturday night, everyone is ready to chow and break the fast among family and friends, a repast that's usually heavy on the dairy and eggs. Aunt Rita's marble cake. (Kim O'Donnel) Over the past week, I've surveyed a bunch of friends about breaking the fast, and many of the menus looked the same - a carb-o-licious spread of bagels, cream cheese, smoked fish, noodle kugel and cake for dessert. But I liked the way my pal "Mister MG" describes the meal that he shares with his family every year: "It's a giant spread of bagels, cheeses, smoked fishes, noodle kugel and more. A great, fresh bagel, with smoked whitefish or sable, a slice of red onion, tomato and some sweet...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 18, 2007; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Cobbler-Top Debate

A summer without cobbler is like ______________________ For me, it's like a morning without coffee, a Sunday without the paper, a kitchen without garlic. Something feels amiss, not quite right. (Feel free to fill in the blank and weigh in below in the comments area.) Blackberries cobbled with topping, Nigel Slater's way. (Kim O'Donnel) It's right around this time of year when blackberries and peaches are bursting at market that I get a yen for cobbler. Last Sunday, I brought home 2 pints of blackberries with drupelets (the small clusters of small fruits) taller than my thumb, resembling a beehive hairdo that Marge Simpson might envy. (By the way, the fruit clusters are not called brambles, as I had mistakenly assumed. The bramble is the actual plant, which is a thorny bush, and to bramble means to pick wild blackberries.) They are almost too pretty to eat, but don't waste...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 3, 2007; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (22)

Jamaican Patty Party

A few days ago, my friend B. who lives out in the country asked if I had a recipe for "interior meat pie." At first, I thought she meant something along the lines of steak and kidney pie, and I racked my brain over which cuts of meat would be most appropriate. Did she mean organ meats or something along the lines of haggis, perhaps? When she realized that I was knitting my brow over the word interior for far too long, B. clarified. "No, something hand held, like a snack, using ground beef." Jamaican patties just out of the oven. (Kim O'Donnel) Ah! A patty is what she's talking about. Or maybe not. There's a different word for nearly every continent to describe the notion of stuffing meat inside pastry (now I get the "interior" reference) -- empanada, empandinha, saltena, fetayer, samosa, simbusak, calzone, pasty, and of course, the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 16, 2007; 07:54 AM ET | Comments (10)

Adventures of a Cupcake Fairy

In Tuesday's blog space and in this week's chat, I suggested looking to the kitchen as a place of comfort and solace as we, as a nation, mourn and try to make sense of the massacre this week at Virginia Tech. In the chat, I mentioned my search for a cozy companion to a pot of tea, particularly with the recent wintry weather. Immediately afterwards, I pored through a bunch of trusted cookbooks, my stream of consciousness mumbling scone...biscotti...biscuit...nah...coffee cake?...cupcakes...Yes! The recipe that stopped me in my tracks -- "Lemon Cupcakes With Milk Chocolate Frosting" - comes from "Perfect Light Desserts," a book by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim that I've come to rely on since its release last fall. I liked the idea of yin-yang-ing a citrus flavor batter with a cloak of chocolate, particularly with the tangy additions of buttermilk and sour cream (which I replaced with an...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 19, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (17)

Banana Muffins for a Good Cause

Today's post is for banana lovers only; if you're not a yellow-peeled fan, I apologize in advance (plus, I come without ideas for substitutions). However, the recipe in question, which comes from Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Cooking," asks us to re-evaluate our pantries in the spirit of more wholesome, healthful eating. Swanson goes the extra mile to source out more wholesome ingredients for her recipes, which, in some cases, bear some explanation. Banana-walnut muffins flavored with a jolt of espresso. (Kim O'Donnel) To wit, the Espresso Banana Muffins that I tried out over the weekend call for natural cane sugar rather than regular ole white granulated stuff and white whole-wheat flour rather than all-purpose. Although I'm a regular user of natural cane sugar (sugar from sugarcane -- not from beets -- with a natural brown color), it was my first time working with white whole-wheat flour, and for that I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 19, 2007; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (16)

 

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