Archive: Desserts

For the Fourth, Color-Coordinated Sweets

I’m hardly a matchy-match kind of cook or party hostess; in fact, I prefer a motley assortment of colors and styles on my table than a uniform set of dishes and cutlery (after all, I did grow up with a pink piano in the dining room). (Kim O'Donnel) That said, when it comes to Fourth of July, I’m all about a red, white and blue menu. Not only is it a kick in the pants to put together a color-coordinated Fourth feast, there’s a ton of seasonal options in all the right shades. Today, we’ll start planning backwards, with dessert. Is there anyone else who thinks there’s something wrong about eating chocolate on the Fourth of July? I dug up a bunch of red, white and blue sweet endings from the recipe vault that kick chocolate to the curb -- at least until the fifth. Taste the possibilities: In the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 1, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chocolate Chip Cookies on Crack

So I’m out with my gal pal Deb, Mister MA and young Phil, our visitor from Madison, Wis., and we’re doing the art crawl in Ballard, one of Seattle’s hip-happenin’ neighborhoods. Deb, who’s lived in Seattle a zillion times longer than we have, suggests getting a deep-dish pie at Madame K’s, a bordello-themed pizzeria, complete with gilded mirrors, buxomed servers and a menu that includes treats such as Barbie's Badass BBQ Chick Pie. (Kim O'Donnel) At Madame K’s, there is only one dessert on offer, and that would be the “chocolate chip orgasm,” a deep-dish chocolate chip cookie served in a ramekin with ice cream. Of course, the guys had to see what the happy-ending fuss was all about, and ordered one for the table. I believe Mister MA could have polished it off, ahem, by himself. I’ve heard of taking chocolate chip cookie dough and pressing it into a...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 17, 2009; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (11)

Chocolate Syrup, the Old-Fashioned Way

(Kim O'Donnel) As part of our recent efforts to offer DIY versions of HFCS-sweetened packaged goods from the supermarket, today’s feature is all about chocolate syrup. That’s right, I’m leaving NesQuik and Ovaltine out of the conversation and instead focusing my energy on the unctuous, brown elixir that transforms vanilla ice cream into a brown cow milkshake and what turns an ordinary glass of milk into dessert. Even though I rarely touch the stuff these days, chocolate syrup is a piece of my childhood that takes me back to diners, ice cream parlors at the Jersey shore and the hospital green vintage milk shake machine on the kitchen counter that my father liked to operate on special occasions. I can see the syrup being poured into those stainless cups as I type. For a sweet walk down memory lane, I highly recommend trying out the recipe below, which is...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 18, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Tartlets: For Life's Special Moments

Quick breads, cobblers, cookies -- these are everyday desserts, familiar homey treats that make our lives just a tad sweeter. They’re tried, true and never have to be perfect or pretty. Shucks, you may even know the recipes by heart. Raspberries dot white chocolate/mascarpone-filled pastry shells. (Kim O'Donnel). But when a special occasion calls, as it did over the weekend, an everyday dessert just won’t do. I needed something pretty, festive and decidedly special, the culinary equivalent of a party dress or a pair of patent leather Mary Janes. I had been invited to a baby shower, but this was no ordinary lady-about-to-have-baby shindig. This was for my dear friend Leslie, who for 18 months, waited to become an adoptive parent. In July, her long-awaited wish came true, the call that would make her drop everything and hightail it on the interstate to meet her newborn son, whom we’ve come...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

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)

Mister MA's Birthday Cherry Cobbler

We celebrated Mister MA's big 4-0 this weekend, a backyard surprise at Casa Appetite with close friends and family. For perhaps the first time in my adult life, I delegated in getting this party off the ground, assigning various tasks to a handful of willing trusted souls whose efforts allowed me to actually enjoy myself the evening of the event. The letting go meant doing only a portion of the cooking as well, a huge step for this kamikaze party planner. Cherry cobbler. (Kim O'Donnel) I decided to order all of the salads and meatless items from Lebanese Taverna Market, a consistently reliable catering outfit that has served me well over the years. (No doubt I will miss them when I move to Seattle.) That freed me up to marinate several dozen chicken thigh-leg combos in my fave Vietnamese-style marinade and have fun with the desserts. Without a doubt, I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Getting Your Chocolate Groove On

Marcel Desaulniers is hard-core when it comes to chocolate. His e-mail moniker is Goganache, for crying out loud. In 15 years, the chef-author has written six choco-filled cookbooks, covering every nook and cranny in the cacao world from cakes to pie, brownies to truffles, and then there's ice cream, of course. If you're still looking for a holiday gift for the chocoholic in your life, Desaulnier's latest endeavor, "I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas," may be just the ticket. Nothing seems too complicated in this collection of 70-plus recipes, which read clearly and offer guidance. Golly Polly's Doodles. (Kim O'Donnel) Earlier this fall, Desaulniers, who's chef/owner of The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Va., and I shared a table at The National Press Club's book fair, a proximity that allowed me to get a real mouthful of treats from his new book. I immediately fell in love with his Golly Polly's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 20, 2007; 09:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Thanksgiving Pudding: What's Your Pleasure?

My dear friend, Miz B., who moved to this country from her native Britain 14 years ago, refers to all desserts as "pudding." Although it took me a while to get used to her choice of nomenclature, I've come to prefer it over the word "sweets," which really, in my opinion, should be used only when referring to candy. But at the end of the meal, the choice of word is irrelevant (and it gets really confusing if you read the history books); what's important, particularly with regards to Thanksgiving, is that a sweet ending exists after all that hard labor plowing through stuffing, gravy and mashed tubers. Thanksgiving just isn't the same without dessert, I mean pudding. By the time the British colonists arrived in 1620, they were already eating "pye." To wit, a few lines from a poem by 17th century poet William King: Of all the delicates...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 19, 2007; 09:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Humbled by Phyllo Dough

It's Friday night, and I'm thinking I've got everything under control for my baklava experiment on Sunday, buying the ingredients in advance, thawing my dough in the fridge as strongly recommended in several cookbooks, making my qater (simple syrup with a perfume-y twist) early enough to get it nice and cool. I was in good shape, no? Sunday afternoon, and I'm making the nut filling in the food processor, an earthy mix of walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. I've got melted fat on standby, the pan is greased and I'm ready to go. Baklava, at long last. (Kim O'Donnel) I open the fridge, pull out the package of dough, open the container, pull away the plastic. Wait. Something's not right. Where are all the tissued layers? I look for the packaging. Smarty pants here bought "Puff Pastry." Unlike the whisper-thin, easily torn sheets (phyllo literally means "leaf"), "puff" (aka pate...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 24, 2007; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (18)

Fear of Phyllo Be Gone! Bring on the Baklava

Washington, D.C.: I know this sounds silly but I love baklava and have always wanted to try making it, but I have a terrible fear of failure mania that has prevented me from trying. I think I'm afraid of working with the phyllo that keeps drying out and breaking, even when covered with moist towel. Please help. Funny, I've long avoided baklava myself, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's always been too sweet? Or maybe I'm overwhelmed by phyllo dough as well. So we're going to do this together, Washington. This weekend, I'm taking the phyllo plunge, and I'm embarking on a maiden baklava voyage. Consider this a virtual holding of the hand, and I hope you'll join me in solidarity this weekend in your own kitchen. But first, a bit of baklava background is important. Picking a recipe, it seems, is like deciding on a favorite pair of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 21, 2007; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (4)

Pie Auction 101

The word "auction" conjures up many associations -- art, cars, cows, bachelors, antiques, produce -- but last weekend while in Seattle, I added another commodity to the list: pies. For some of you folks who come from the country, the pie auction may be old hat, but for this city mouse, it was a culinary first. Pies on the bidding table at Seattle's first Blues for Foodfest. (Kim O'Donnel) I got wind of the crusty hullabaloo from Seattle community gardener Deb Rock, the brains and organizer of Blues for Foodfest, a blues festival with new twist. Rock, who coordinates a "P-Patch" community garden that I profiled in last year's blog space, spearheaded this musical event with the goal of raising money and awareness for the 70-plus Seattle community gardens that donate several tons of produce to area food banks every year. My friend Leslie and I, pie auction virgins in...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 6, 2007; 12:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

My Kind of Birthday Cake

A little fairy came by recently, questioning me about my taste in birthday cakes. Did I have a favorite, by chance? A secret admirer wanted to know and was interested in placing an order, but not until he got a sense of my cake crumb preferences and peeves. "Nothing fancy or fussy," I said. "No candy do-dads, frosting roses, buttercream, pudding centers, jams, jellies, dacquoise, and most importantly, nothing too sweet." Chocolate Guinness cake. (Kim O'Donnel) Frantically, he made some notes, and then looked at me, his eyebrow knitted. "Well, is there anything about a birthday cake that you DO like?" he asked. "You've shared your peeves but none of your preferences." I closed my eyes for a minute, envisioning the perfect birthday cake. I like simple, homey cakes, sometimes in a bundt shape or in a single springform layer. Red velvet comes to mind. Coffee cake. Rum cake. Gingerbread....

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 22, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (19)

Veggie Lunchbox and Shrimp 'Veins' With a Side of Hot Fudge

There were too many good questions left undone from this week's What's Cooking jamboree. Below, a few to chew on, with an invitation to weigh in on any or all of the topics -- vegetarian workday lunches, deveining shrimp and the search for a true-blue hot fudge sauce. Have a delicious and safe weekend. Vienna, Va.: Kim, do you have any ideas for a healthy, satisfying vegetarian lunch that I could easily pack in a lunchbox at 6 a.m.? I've tried the old standby of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it doesn't seem to fill me; I've tried packing leftovers, but my supply of leftovers is inconsistent. Vienna, you're a prime candidate for Jamaican patties, veggie style. (Scroll past the meat filling details and you'll see what I'm talking about.) Spend an afternoon on the weekend whipping up a batch, then you can freeze them individually, pack it...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 10, 2007; 10:06 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)

The Virtue of Birthday Cake

"Birthdays are milestones in the evolution of an individual or a group," according to the entry in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Interesting notion. A milestone it is indeed, but a marker of individual evolution -- this is something I'd never considered. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. (Kim O'Donnel) I like it: With every birthday, we don't just age, we evolve. This way, the birthday stops being a numbers game and instead a nod to one's state of being. For years, I've come to think of the birthday as a personal New Year's Day, an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to set intentions for the next one. To mark the occasion, it is fitting to celebrate the sweetness of having lived another year with cake. Like humans, cake has evolved over the ages, and there are references to sweetened bread in ancient Egypt...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 21, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (11)

Fooling With Rhubarb

If you ever want to try eating vegetables for breakfast, you can do it with rhubarb. I just did -- and it's making me swoon. Actually, I hadn't planned on eating rhubarb for breakfast; I was layering the rhube with strawberries and whipped cream for a photo of a "fool," a sublime parfait type of dessert that you must try at least once in your lifetime. A fool's paradise: Rhubarb, strawberries and whipped cream. (Kim O'Donnel) As I spooned my way through the pillowy cream to get to the satiny mauve puree, it occurred to me that yogurt would be lovely in place of the cream, particularly at 8 o'clock in the morning. And then -- oh yes! -- maybe I had a seasonal topper for the dreaded morning cholesterol-lowering oatmeal I'm supposed to be eating. It was last year at this time that I feasted on rhubarb, and already...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 9, 2007; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Weekend Macarooning

In yesterday's vegetarian chat, I promised to offer up a foolish dessert today, just in time for April Fool's Day, which is this Sunday. Alas, I was unable to find rhubarb, a key component of my fool, so stay tuned in the coming weeks when it parades its lovely fuchsia stalks at market. Instead of a fool, I offer you macaroons, a rather unfoolish treat that resonates for many during Passover as well as Easter. Coconut macaroons studded with chocolate. (Kim O'Donnel) In "The World of Jewish Desserts," Gil Marks writes that the word macaroon comes from the Italian word, maccarone, which means paste, and that Italian Jews were the ones responsible for introducing this flourless cookie to Ashkenazi Jews in other parts of Europe. A combination of ground nuts, sugar and egg whites is the formula for a macaroon, with almonds usually representing the nutty quotient. I am still...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 30, 2007; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (16)

A Passover Cake That Works

The Jewish holiday of Pesach (aka Passover) begins at sundown this coming Monday, April 2. The home cooks I've talked to over the years brag about their passed-down recipes for brisket, tzimmes or their own version of charoset, but it is rare to hear a veteran Seder chef boast about dessert. Not just for Passover: An apple-flavored almond cake. (Kim O'Donnel) The key to pulling off a successful Seder is the omission of chametz -- any food that's leavened and/or allowed to ferment or rise. That means the obvious like no yeast, baking soda or powder, but also stuff made of wheat, spelt, oats, rye and barley, such as pasta, cereal and beer (unless, of course, it's matzoh), and lots of other foodstuffs we take for granted in our daily lives. Translated in the dessert world, that means lots of eggs to overcompensate for the lack of leavening and the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 27, 2007; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

All Aboard the Culinary Love Train

Quick! According to the greeting card authorities, by next Wednesday, Feb. 14, we're all supposed to be blissfully and hopelessly in love. With only six days away to a life of eternal happiness, we had better get busy. I heart brownies.(Kim O'Donnel) To help you gear up for love and its many splendored ways, I've got a six-day plan that will guarantee some kind of love. Beginning today, I'll offer recipes, love potions and the many ways we can all board the culinary love train. I'll be your conductor, your cruise director, your witch doctor -- whatever you need me to be in time for Cupid's arrival. First thing's first. Chocolate. It is possibly one of (if not the most) important ingredient of a luscious Valentine's fete. It hardly matters in which form it materializes -- store-bought hearts, frou-frou truffles, a soufflé for two -- but chocolate should be part...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 8, 2007; 09:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Coconut Cake Diary, Part 2

Friday, 12:15 p.m.: The cake is completely cooled, which is key to successful icing application. In a makeshift double boiler, I heat egg whites, sugar, water and vanilla, until the mixture is 140 degrees and the sugar is dissolved. With an electric mixer, I beat the warm mixture until it transforms into a fluffy meringue, holding soft peaks. I spread a light layer of the white stuff on top of the cooled cake to create an adhesive, and then I mix in 1 cup of shredded coconut, which seems to be ineffective. I learn just a few minutes later that sprinkling the coconut on top of the finished cake has a more dramatic effect. The result is stunning, like newly fallen snow. At last, chocolate coconut uni-layer success. (Kim O'Donnel) I cut into my creation and the color contrast -- dark choc against snowy coconut -- is just as I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 26, 2007; 05:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Diary of a Coconut Cake

Friday, 9:27 a.m.: A cake is in the oven as I type. It's my second attempt in less than 12 hours, and I'm crossing my fingers. A long night it has been in the KOD bakery, and I've got some humble pie crumbs on my face. My mangled chocolate cake. (Kim O'Donnel) Thursday evening: After dinner and a glass of red wine, I think I'm clever. The plan: A chocolate layer cake without the layers. The reason: a What's Cooking reader request for a uni-layer coconut cake. The reader wants to know if he can avoid the fussiness of two layers, which, as a clumsy cake baker, I can appreciate. For ideas and inspiration, I pour through a bunch of trusted cookbooks, and I reject any recipes that seem too fussy. Mr. Coconut Cake never specified a preference for yellow or chocolate cake, so I choose for him and go...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 26, 2007; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jelly (Doughnuts) in My Belly

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, which is well underway, continues through Saturday, Dec. 23. A commemoration of the Maccabees' victory over the Syrians back in 165 B.C., Hanukkah also honors the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the temple that the Maccabean priests had reclaimed. Come fry with me. (Kim O'Donnel) For cooks, this means carte blanche for fried food. As Nigella Lawson writes in her book, "Feast": "The one important thing you need to know [about Hanukkah] is that it provides a divine ordination to eat deep-fried foods." To be fair, I'd venture to say that hightailing it to the nearest drive-thru window for an order of fries would not be in keeping with the spirit of Hanukkah (not to mention the trans fat factor). But done at home, a little bit of fried tenderness every once in a while sounds positively festive and...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 19, 2006; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Do the Yule Log Roll

A friend who's more like a younger sister celebrated her 30th birthday over the weekend, so a group of older folks decided to help her around the bend into a new decade. A bunch of calls were made, as were potluck assignments, and I set out to make a birthday dessert fit for a December babe in the woods. Meringue yule log with chocolate mascarpone. The first thing that came to mind was a traditional buche de Noel, aka a yule log. Essentially, a yule log is a roulade, a fancy word for a cake layer that gets rolled up and filled with something yummy. Traditionally, the "log" is made from a genoise (sponge) cake, and the filling is made from buttercream or a flavored whipped cream. The idea is to make the cake look like a wood in the middle of an enchanted forest on a wintry day. As...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 18, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (11)

Learning to Love Lard

Sunday was a big day. I pulled the wheeled cart out of the closet and hoofed it over to Columbia Pike farm market, where I'd pick up many of my Thanksgiving dinner items. In went the turkey, the greens, broccoli, onions, sausage, apples and a new addition, a tub of lard. Lard-crusted pecan and sweet potato pies. (Kim O'Donnel) For years, I've been a butter-crust gal, learning from the pages of pie dough maven Rose Levy Beranbaum. I had always been curious to try lard, but honestly, I was a bit squeamish. Those blocks sold in the supermarket looked less than appetizing, and I didn't know where else to source the stuff. It wasn't until cooking school in Italy that I began to learn the role of lardo in Italian cooking as well as its subtle, delicate, far-from-hammy flavor. The lard of a pig feasting on apples and nuts on...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 20, 2006; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (29)

A Vote for Election Cake

With mid-term elections four days away, the heat is on not only in the House and the Senate, but right where it needs to be -- the kitchen. Step back into voting history, with a piece of Election cake. (Kim O'Donnel) If we rewind the tape a few hundred years, Election Day was a time for cake. Back when Connecticut was still a colony, Election Day was an important holiday. Voters would take the day off from work and travel to Hartford, cast votes and then party into the night with booze -- and cake. The cake in question appears to have been adapted from English yeast breads or fruit cakes. Although some historic documents point to its appearance in the early 1700s, the first published evidence of an "Election Cake" recipe surfaced in 1796, when Amelia Simmons wrote "American Cookery, " the first known cookbook by an American. Simmons's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 3, 2006; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Spirit of Fall Is in Gingerbread

Yesterday morning, my pal Nancy called me from Chicago with some startling news: It was snowing and 21 degrees, making it the earliest measurable snowfall on record for Chicago. Gingerbread topped with homemade, moron-proof applesauce. (Kim O'Donnel) The sultry Indian summer weather smiling down on Washington was paradise in comparison, and then, as if I spoke too soon while basking in the sun like a kitty, the skies went gray, the wind got fierce and the temperature dropped about 25 degrees in a matter of hours. Although sunny, this Friday the 13th is downright crisp, a day of classic autumnal proportions. In fact, I have a bit of déjà vu; it was day like today that I invited my friends for a hayride to celebrate my 13th birthday and it was a day like today that my father died 24 years ago. Beautiful, melancholic, set to the sound of crunching...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 13, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (9)

Join the Lunchbox Revolution

Freeze! Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to You, with the Ho Ho hanging out of your mouth. That means you too, Mister cheese doodler. Lulu's cookies and coffee. (Kim O'Donnel) Come on, hand it over. I promise, it won't hurt. Just this once, I want you to trade in some of that processed lunchbox loot for something a little bit different. In fact, this snack/dessert/breakfast-on-the-run is so scrumptious I am confident you won't want your bag o' doodles back. I've got a secret weapon cookie that will have your friends lining up in the cafeteria begging for seconds. Best of all (don't tell anyone), this cookie is good for your heart. In addition to the much-touted cholesterol-lowering oats, this little zinger is loaded with sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which contain cholesterol-lowering, hearty-healthy compounds called phytosterols. Flax seeds, with their highly publicized and sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids, also appear, doubleteaming...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 12, 2006; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Vegan Brownies for Everyone

As many of my longtime readers know, I am a meat-eater who also swings meat-free. I'm hardly a vegetarian in the true sense of the word, but I do without meat, on average, in half of my weekly meals. Some may say I'm an omnivore, but the newfangled term is "flexatarian," referring to someone who eats a semi meat-free diet. Vegan, gluten-free brownies that will blow your mind. (Kim O'Donnel) As evidenced by five years of my monthly vegetarian chat, readers know that I'm hip to new and different ways of cooking traditional dishes, particularly if the revisions are undetectable to our fat-conditioned palates. To wit: Last year during the holidays, I made the discovery of pumpkin pie made with tofu, an amazing, more healthful tweak on a Thanksgiving staple. In keeping with this theme of delicious food that also happens to be free of animal products, I've got to...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 15, 2006; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (22)

American as Cobbler

The expression "American as apple pie" is indelibly ingrained in our brains. Remember the "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" commercials? But really, if you want to get down to the nitty gritty, the expression has been around only since the 1960s (according to "America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America" by David K. Barnhart and Allan A. Metcalf), a relatively short time in the pie world. The anatomy of a cobbler. (Kim O'Donnel) The reason I bring up pie in a cobbler blog is because pie predates cobbler by a few hundred years - it was born in England, it seems, during the Middle Ages. When the English settled on this side of the Atlantic, they quickly began baking their beloved pies, but with a twist. Enter the cobbler. (check this link for recipe details) "Without the resources of brick ovens...colonial cooks often made cobblers...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 11, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (9)

Smores Galore

All good things must come to an end, so this is my final post for Kim's blog. Rested, relaxed and full of yoga-rific spirit, our favorite mango-lover will be back with a blog post later today. Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite of-the-moment cooking tips and finds. - Erin Summer nights conjure certain indelible images in my mind: baseball, fruit salad dinners and fireflies. They also make me think of smores, the go-to treat at campfires and barbecues. Over the years, I've experimented with my tried-and-true recipes for smores. I've tried different crackers (chocolate wafers, cinnamon crisps), gourmet chocolate (hunks of Valrhona, minty squares) and skewering devices, but I almost always stick to the same jet-puffed original Kraft product. So, this weekend I decided to shake things up -- I made my own marshmallows. I warn that this is not a clean project: You must work quickly...

 

By Erin | July 28, 2006; 08:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Let's Bake a Freelance Tart

Ever since I celebrated the arrival of summer berries three weeks ago, I have been loading up on the bounty, filling myself to the gills with antioxidant-rich purples, indigos and reds. As soon as the season begins, nature's clock starts ticking, so there's no time to waste. Fellow berry-lovers known that blueberries hold up nicely in the fridge for several days, but those irresistible blossom-esque raspberries and blackberries start breaking down as soon as you get them home. Hurry and put those berries to use, in a freelance tart. (Kim O'Donnel) Within two days after purchasing, my razzies were looking less perky and showing beginning signs of fuzzy mold, so I had to act fast. The remaining half-pint of blackberries needed immediate attention as well. Should I make a pie, I wondered? Nah, too much work on a hot day. Cobbler, perhaps? Hmm, nice idea, but not enough fruit. Plus,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 11, 2006; 09:31 AM ET | Comments (3)

Real Faux Ice Cream

After last week's ode to full-on fat ice cream, I heard from several readers who expressed interest in lower-cal, even dairy-free options that would make slurping possible for all of us. In the days since, I have discovered, that in the world of frozen treats, there seems to be something for everyone. Please note that although I'm sharing how-to details below, I have not yet tested the strength of these recipes (a project before next week's frozen feature). If you get to the homework assignment before I do, please share your experiences in the comments area below!...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 22, 2006; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (9)

Icy Adventures, Part 2

As promised earlier this week, here's the next chapter of the ice cream chronicles, Kim O'Donnel style. I put on my boots, packed my compass and set out to acquire my very first ice cream maker. The concrete jungle is dangerous, so I put on a helmet, too (Actually, I was traveling on bike. Yes, I went to buy an ice cream maker on my bike, under the delusion that my would-be purchase would actually fit into one of my panier bags.) I arrived at my destination, the big white shipyard that is Crate & Barrel (Although Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sur La Table and Linens 'n Things are equally good possibilities) and parked my rig. I swaggered inside, eyed my target - the Cuisinart ICE-20 - and decided she was mine. I felt a rush of excitement, imagining the possibilities. (Is this how the explorers felt when they discovered...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 15, 2006; 09:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ice, Hold the Dairy

In the heat of my blathering about ice cream yesterday, I had a small meltdown (I know, another food pun), realizing that I've left a bunch of folks out in the cold -those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Ice is nice, but what if you can't do the dairy or eggs? I could take you on a trip to a little neighborhood in Philadelphia called Manayunk (pronounced MANNY-YUNK), where ice cream is for sissies and tough guys slurp on "wooder ice" (that's Philadelphia-speak for "water ice.") Now, if you're from Philly, don't get all in my craw about South Philly and Overbrook -I KNOW great wooder ice is all over town -- Manayunk, about five minutes from home, is where the O'Donnel's got their fix on the hottest summer nights. If a trip to Philly is out of the equation, you can make your very own wooder ice at...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 14, 2006; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Scoop on DIY Ice Cream Makers

For the past month, food critic Bill Addison has been sleeping on a borrowed blow-up mattress, but soon he will be reunited with his precious belongings, namely his "Simac Il Gelataio 800." Addison, who had made Atlanta, Ga., his home for several years, recently left his job as food critic at newsweekly Creative Loafing (full disclosure: he was my editor for two-plus years) to join the merry band of diners at the San Francisco Chronicle's Food section. As someone who eats in restaurants for a living, Addison's kitchen shelves are often lonely, but when he does cook, he goes into overdrive. I call him the "Kamikaze" cook, a term from "The Mindful Cook" by Isaac Cronin describing cooks who overextend and run around the kitchen more in keeping with television show, "The Amazing Race." A former pastry chef, Addison is known not just for his out-of-orbit desserts but for his...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 13, 2006; 08:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Feast Your Eyes on Bluey

If the looks of this blueberry buckle (pictured) is working you up into a lather, I've done my job correctly. I've been busy this morning whipping it up for my Washington Post Radio guinea pig Sam Litzinger, who eats everything I make him. Join us this afternoon at 2:10 (1500 AM, 107.7 FM, or streaming at www.washingtonpostradio.com) for the blue details. And since I'm confident you'll be hankering for the recipe, here's what you need to get berry busy. Blueberry buckle just made this morning....

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 9, 2006; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

One, Two, Buckle My Berry

I've made cobbler and I've tried my hand at slump, but until this weekend, I had never done a buckle. Most Americans are familiar with cobbler or crisp, which come from a lexicon of classic American desserts featuring baked fruit. The difference between the two is all in the topping - crisp is 'crispier' with butter, brown sugar and sometimes rolled oats; cobbler is often crowned with biscuits. But a buckle -- what the heck is that? I like to think of it as a trifecta -- part fruit, part topping, with an extra bonus component of cake. I am beginning to think that the buckle is far superior to the cobbler, although my opinion may sway, depending on the fruit being used. As many of you know, there's nothing quite like a peach cobbler, but I'm thinking that berries are best in a buckle. In the recipe below, blueberries...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2006; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (11)

 

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