Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I've Been Memed

This is a quick post to fulfill a meme from Fibreholic. Patty, I would love to say that I am reading one of the many decent works of fiction waiting on my shelves, David Adams Richards' Friends of Meager Fortune borrowed from a dear friend who seems not to mind that I am a book-return deviant; Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner which has become a movie in the time I have wasted not reading it. Instead the non-fiction world takes up most of my time. So I give you my current read's page 161, fifth sentence: "Add garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook gently for a few minutes until tender and fragrant but not brown."

Yes, sadly, this is how exciting my life gets lately. On the other hand we are eating rather well. Oh and I highly recommend Bonnie Stern's Heart Smart: The best of Heart Smart Cooking. I am on my second week of recipes from this book—dee-lish.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What Would Katherine Say?

The following recipe was served as desert at our New Year's Eve Dinner and let me tell you they will rival any brownies you have had. They have a beautiful sheen on the top, and beneath that crispy layer is a fudgey chocolate heart. Hepburn once advised a woman with these simple rules to live by: 1. Never quit; 2. Be yourself and 3. Don't put too much flour in your brownies. The proof is in the brownies.

The recipe came form the Gourmet magazine cookbook, which has almost every recipe you could ever want for. You can find it here as well: Epicurious.com
Please note that I used bittersweet chocolate because I did not have unsweetened.

Katherine Hepburn's Brownies

1. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat.

2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and beat the mixture well.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

4. Bake the brownies in a buttered and floured 8-inch-square pan at 325°F for about 40 minutes.

You can cut these brownies into 16 squares, once they have cooled, or eat them out of the pan. We enjoyed them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a side of the other desert I had made, Creme Caramel. The caramel sauce was divine on the brownies.

You may be wondering why two deserts? Well I started out intending to make chocolate pudding, but I burnt the bottom of the pot (I am still getting used to the ceramic top stove) in a may-be-better-just-to-throw-the-pot-away kind of way. So I made the creme caramel as a back-up. However I thought it had failed because my sugar caramel seemed too much like hard candy when I put it in the glass pie dish. So I went with my no fail desert, brownies and vanilla ice cream.

The creme caramel did work. Once flipped onto the serving tray the custard was floating in caramel sauce. I am glad I made both deserts because I am as it turns out not a huge fan of the custard—the caramel was to die for. Anyway, now you know. As an aside I did get the pot cleaned. It took a lot of boiling with water, scraping, boiling with soap, more scraping, boiling with hydrogen peroxide and soap, more scraping, and a ton of elbow grease.

This could have been two posts but I waited so long to post the first half that I came up with more things to write about in the meantime. This post is purely cooking/baking related as it turns out so it works out all right. Today I found the biggest avocado I have ever seen. I am in awe of its size though I realize for those of you living in California or Florida this will look like any other avocado. How is it I had never realized the potential for a simple avocado to reach this enormous size? (Have I ever mentioned my slightly nutty interest in joining the avocado-of-the month club? If I had I may have known of their potential size sooner.) Look, it is as big as my hand (which isn't exactly petite.)

No more buying and slicing and pitting and scooping 3 or 4 hass avocados. No, from now on I am just buying one of these bad boys and voila, guacamole! Oh and it was was delicious too!