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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Your standard gin and tonic, seen here not bringing it’s A-game in the sweltering LA summer.

Your standard gin and tonic, seen here not bringing it’s A-game in the sweltering LA summer.

A minor California news item this week, lost in the tidal wave of economic gloom and lingering Michael Jacksoniana, mentioned that the LAPD had enacted California Penal Code Sec.  7749er-B, an obscure provision from the “Martial Law” chapter authorizing the use of deadly force against anyone caught using the phrase “… but it’s a dry heat.” You see, it’s that time of year again, that point in the Losangeleno summer when the weather decides to remind you that human beings really have no place living here; that no matter how lush the lawns or plentiful the Uggs, this really is a desert. I find it’s usually possible to survive these hot weeks with frequent trips to the beach and adherence to a strict regimen of ice, citrus and clear liquors: gin and tonics sustained thousands of pasty Brits for 300 years in India, so surely they can get me through a week-long heatwave.

At least that’s what I thought until the past few days, when the ozone-depleted heavens unleashed an asphalt-warping, mirage-inducing string of Daily Highs that no refreshing summer beverage could stand up to. Imagine the sun as Godzilla, and the drinks as little Japanese tanks: “The gin and tonics only amuse him! Ruuun!” Clearly I need something colder…

Which brings us to today’s recipe: gin and tonic sorbet.

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lemon raspberry cupcakes

I am not a big fan of lemon desserts. Or fruit in desserts. But for my going away at work (way, way back in April), my lovely lovely boss decided we’d make these lemon-raspberry cupcakes (and also some super chocolatey cookies). And, as it turned out, they are adorable. And tasty! So hooey to me, and everyone like me, who is a lemon and/or fruit dessert detractor.

I think I am still partial to a more robust cupcake — red velvet, I’m looking at you — but there is certainly a place and time for these sweethearts. Tea time, in particular, I’d say. And, if you use neon food coloring like we did, then anytime really. Because, as the photo above demonstrates, neon food coloring makes everything way more awesome.

Plus, they have buried treasure…

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This is a "birthday candle" I bought in Switzerland, otherwise known as a firework, to spice up any birthday. Happy belated 4th of July!

This is a "birthday candle" I bought in Switzerland, otherwise known as a firework. Seriously, people use them on their birthday cakes there. Here, they would be illegal in many states. Happy belated 4th of July!

For a birthday a few weeks ago, I received a request for cheesecake. Since I can apparently never resist the urge to tease someone, even when not in my best interest, I of course responded with, “Well, what would you do if I made chocolate cake instead?” He said, only half-kidding, that he would cry. But when I, again teasing, said maybe I’d make a chocolate cake and a cheesecake, his face lit up, and I was promised a very special reward. And so, that is how I decided to make the cheesecake to end all cheesecakes – an Oreo-Brownie Cheesecake Extravaganza.

Recipes for an undertaking like this are surprisingly few and far between. There were a few that came close online, but I wanted to make sure that I not only got the overall technique right (how do you fuse cheesecake and brownie anyway? how do you get the oreos in there?), but also that both components were delicious in their own right. And so, in my first attempt to bake something without following a recipe exactly, I managed to come up with the Incredible Edible Hulk of Desserts. And let me tell you, this dessert is not kidding around. (more…)

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IMG_1950

The real ice cream of the Future. Get the hell outta here, Dippin’ Dots.

Vanilla ice cream

Espresso

Ba-da bing

Ba-da boom

It takes only four, and arguably only two, ingredients to make one of my favorite desserts, affogato al caffe. Italian cooking has a long and illustrious tradition of evocative and hilariously literal food names such as saltimbocca (“jumps in mouth”) and tiramisu (“pick me up”). Affogato hails from the more morbid reaches of culinary nicknamery – you aren’t just pouring coffee over your ice cream, you are drowning, smothering or suffocating it. It means your ice cream sleeps with the fishes. Luca Brasi knowzwhaddamtalkinabout.

The recipe, if pouring espresso over a glass of vanilla ice cream can be called a recipe, is hot and cold, light and dark, sweet and bitter, and a surprisingly impressive and complex payoff for such easy preparation. So if it’s already so simple and elegant, why waste valuable bytes writing about it? POUR COFFEE ON YOUR ICE CREAM! There. Done. Why am I still here? I’ll tell you why: because there’s there no booze in it. Yet. (more…)

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Milkshake2

Milkshakes are the next front of the food revolution in this country. Hear me out on this.

We’ve had the sweet dessert: the cupcake fad is kind of out of control, though I’m not going to badmouth it too much since my sister is completely nutso over the little bastards, so I guess yay for cupcakes.  The point is you can find so many different kinds of cupcakes out there now that people are devoting whole bakeries to this little nugget of tooth decay.   There’s no escaping so you might as well join in.

We’ve had the savory sandwich: Not only have people been screwing around with burgers and hot dogs for awhile now, but there’s the insanity over banh mi, the mind-numbingly delicious Vietnamese sandwich that everyone seems to be eating or selling in New York these days.  Don’t get me wrong on this one, folks, I am a firm believer in this part of the revolution. There may have been a lot of crap that came out of the French colonization of Vietnam, but there was a whole lot of good food too.

What we’re missing now is the drink portion of our uprising, something to wash down those tasty morsels of mutiny as we march on toward the fat and happy climax of our dietary habits.  That vessel, comrades, is the milkshake.  And not just any milkshake will do.  No, vanilla is way too vanilla and chocolate hasn’t undertaken any coups in the food world since the 1950’s.  In fact, I think the last time anybody said anything good about a milkshake was when a greasy-haired John Travolta was sitting across from a rather spooky Uma Thurman in a thoroughly overhauled Cadillac, talking about overpriced food.  And they were both stoned out of their minds.  No, what we need is a hero.

Enter the mighty avocado.

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popsicle

How are today’s recipe and Pablo Neruda different? Though the fruitful handicraft of both Latin American pops can be enjoyed on a beach this summer, one is a poeta and the other’s a paleta. (http://www.instantrimshot.com)

This version of the popular Mexican popsicle contains only three ingredients: milk, sugar, and blackberries.

The handful of blackberries (read: 20) leftover from snacking in my fridge yielded only a single popsicle, but the recipe below should make five or six.
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Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, today I bring you a recipe that is not something I have ever cooked myself, but is instead something I found myself sitting in front of last weekend. That’s right, in addition to being the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, last Sunday was also the day my auto insurance premiums decrease slightly. I could hardly contain myself. And what better way to a commemorate such a sobering milestone than with a birthday cake that’s completely sloshed with more than a cup of Kentucky’s finest?

My friend Meg, a renowned ice-cream alchemist, adapted this cake from a NY Times recipe for Bourbon-Soaked Bundt Cake but it’s really her own creation: she ditched the bundt pan and the stingy sprinkling of bourbon on top of the original cake, and instead opted to slather the whole damn thing with a yet more liquor in the form of a whiskey frosting and whiskey ganache. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is. The result is a powerfully good cake: dense and chocolatey, with a savory hint from the small amount of salt, and then, right up front, clear as the black string tie on Colonel Sanders’ white suit, is the alcoholic bite and caramel flavor of the bourbon.

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