Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Romanesca Cauliflower

Happy Monday!



I am so addicted to the farmer’s market. The last trip, I couldn’t take my eyes off this strange vegetable, it was the most splendid thing I’d ever seen and I couldn’t wait to purchase it and show Nerd. 


Which I have to resort back to calling Nerd because of his comments of this plant. Observe. “Wow. This is the most mathematically perfect plant I’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect example of Fibonacci as well as Mandelbrot’s fractal… blah blah blah.” 


Whatever. It’s a mighty cool looking plant to me.


I baked this guy with a bit of olive oil and garlic cloves (both to taste), but I think simply steaming it would be delicious! The vendor said that it steams quicker than cauliflower. 

Thought I’d share this interesting find!

How do you save your parmesan?

Happy Friday!

img_6187Note: Old picture, new question. 


I’ve heard many possibilities. 


I wrap mine in a wet paper towel, then cover in aluminum foil. Is this right or wrong in your opinion? I never seem to keep parmesan that long, but just curious incase I do someday. 

Lots of fun recipes next week! Stay tuned!

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Before I begin, let it be known that this was on of the most intricate recipes I’ve ever followed. If that doesn’t scare you away, maybe the fact that a dog ate more of the cupcakes than humans did will, but that is a story for another time.

However, if I made this as a cake, as it was intended to be, it would have cut approximately 1 hour of prep time down. The fact that I got the recipe from David Lebovitz, one of the most well known pastry chefs of our time, doesn’t help either. If I can’t be honest here, where can I?
All in all, they were deliciously light and fluffy and… delicious.

I decided to make the recipe into cupcakes because it was for a late night birthday celebration, which means booze. Basically, I didn’t want anyone to handle a knife or forks. I plan on making the cake for my father’s birthday in May, and perhaps I will make an addendum to this post (if you remind me).


I am posting the original cake recipe. For cupcakes I filled the cupcakes wrappers, in a cupcake pan 2/3 full then dress each individual cupcake with syrup and icing. This recipe yielded approximately 36 cupcakes.

2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.


To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)


To make the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.


To make the icing:

1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.

2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.


To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.



David says to use all the chocolate icing at all costs and you won’t be sorry, and I definitely look forward to using it all for the cake I make for my father, because I used about a third for the cupcakes and left so much good quality icing! I definitely think that each bite would benefit from an ample amount of icing.


Kitchen Remodel Complete!

Ha. Complete for now. We will see how long it takes for Nerd to think of something new to build! Speaking of him, Nerd informed me he’d much rather be called Stud, so I’m thinking of labeling him Stud Formerly Known as Nerd. But that’s a lot more work on my part… And I digress. Anywhoooo!

I know I promised German Chocolate cupcakes, but I am just too darn excited to share my new kitchen additions, so those will have to wait in line. Plus, it leaves all of you in suspense. Right?! Well you could go scour David’s blog But wouldn’t that be more work for you?!

Man I’m getting good at procrastinating and the semester just started yesterday! So just check out the pics!!!


Sorry the sun would not cooperate. But here is my new functional island with the wing down!  

Does anyone spy my new cuisinart gadget I’m uber excited to play with?! It’s tiny so I’ll just tell you: Immersion Blender. YES!


Wing up! I’m serious, this is more counter space then I was naturally endowed with…. Take that as you wish. 


Here is my favorite part, as if there could be just one, the pot rack, the cutting board slot, and the white stool. Wait that’s three…


And this. This is so simple, yet so utterly beautiful compared to the pile of gadgets I had in this drawer before. Really it was a mess. I love having things that force me to be organized, because without them… well, you probably already know.


Sorry the picture isn’t centered. Wait is it even in focus? Oh well, I’m in a hurry! These little trays will save me from the torture of digging through stacks of spices to find the ones I so desperately need at the last minute, whilst knocking every other one down in the process.

So all in all, my small 5×8 (or whatever it is) kitchen is like, totally awesome! And all these renditions, shelves and all cost less than $75 bucks (not including Nerd/Stud’s collection of power tools). 

Back to foodstuffs tomorrow!!

I think I’ll keep him :)

Today is a grand day!! Today you get to see my kitchen!!

As I have mentioned many times before, my kitchen is extremely tiny with no storage space and a depressing amount counter space. Despite all this, it is still my favorite place to be.
As of last night I have a new addition that solves A LOT of my space issues!

See, my Nerd is a bit of a Renaissance Man and can do anything. Yes, anything (including renovating his mother’s entire house, skylights and all). After two long years of suffering in our tiny kitchen, he whipped up a large shelf for the kitchen last night in his wood shop!! I love love LOVE him:)

Check it out!!!

As you can see, the top shelf is a bit empty (will be heading to IKEA soon for more jars), Nerd has two of his own shelves for his specialty beer glass collections, and at the bottom is an area for recycling!

So here is the view of my kitchen as of this morning before making David Lebovitz’s German Chocolate Cake (I will post that next week if it came out as delicious as it should)!


In the cabinets now are all the appliances that we were having to keep in a storage bin in the closet! Yipeee!

Nerd’s next project: An island. Nothing fancy, but more work space!!!
Pictures soon!

ps. Note empty wine rack under left shelf! :(:(
pps. Notice all my IKEA items :):)