Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's not about the food after all

The turkey comes out dry as a bone.  The mashed potatoes are suspiciously lumpy, in solidarity with the gravy.  You have too little sparkling apple cider and way too many vegetables*.  Someone at the table hates onions, and you spent an hour caramelizing an entire skillet full of them. The stuffing needs more salt and something else you can't put a finger on. The pie is distinctly dark brown on one side.  Plus, to add insult to injury, the cream won't whip properly and is runny as all get out.

It doesn't matter.

Because this happens.

And you can't imagine a more perfect Thanksgiving.

Grateful beyond words for all the lumps and the leaps today.

* You should be so lucky as to have too many of these brussels sprouts.  They are incredible.

Grilling 'em? Genius!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Double Rainbow from a can (with a side of grilled cheese)

When the sky looks like this:

The ground looks like this:

And you feel like this:

Give yourself a break.  Stop stressing about work and Thanksgiving and whether you remembered to clean the gutters in time for the storm.*

Pop open a couple of these cans of sunshine:

And enjoy this:

It's like a rainbow, I'm telling you.
It's that good.

P.S. This trick also comes in handy on snowy days, sleet-y days, foggy days, freezing days, and all the days when a bunch of crappy stuff happened and nothing but a crispy, gooey, buttery grilled cheese sandwich with warm, smokey tomato soup will do.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are those real chocolate covered cherries?

That line comes at the end of this wonderful scene in Tootsie.

Teri Garr points an accusing finger at the lying Michael, says the line, then grabs the box of cherries and stalks out, slamming the door.

I won't lie.
Unlike Sandy, I don't like chocolate covered cherries.
But I'm crazy about this chocolate cherry fudge cake.

Here is the big reveal scene in the movie:

Here is the big reveal scene of this post:

That's how you make it.  The cake is completely, ridiculously easy.

Michael Dorsey would probably have found a way to complicate things:

Michael Dorsey: Are you saying that nobody in New York will work with me?
George Fields: No, no, that's too limited... nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even set you up for a commercial. You played a *tomato* for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down.
Michael Dorsey: Of course. It was illogical.
George Fields: YOU WERE A TOMATO. A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move. Michael Dorsey: That's what I said. So if he can't move, how's he gonna sit down, George? I was a stand-up tomato: a juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato. Nobody does vegetables like me. I did an evening of vegetables off-Broadway. I did the best tomato, the best cucumber... I did an endive salad that knocked the critics on their ass.

Critics. Agents. Men being women.

This cake could knock all of them on their ass.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

I had the extra hour, so...

I went to the farmers' market and got a pile of organic fruit and vegetables.

And, then I made fruit-flavored candy.

Look, the time changed. I didn't.

Apple Cider Caramels
The basic idea here: Concentrate fresh cider into the most flavorful sweet-tart-apple-y syrup stuff you can imagine.  OMG already, right?  Then, add butter and sugar and cream.  And, because it's exactly what these need to be perfect, just top that off with a little cinnamon and flaky sea salt.  These chewy, intense little bites of Fall are rich and tangy and sweet and salty all at the same time and I loved them.

I'm not going to post the recipe, because I simply followed the original, from Deb of SmittenKitchen, to a tee without adapting a thing.  It is available online here and also in her wonderful cookbook*.  The most important two things about making these are to let the apple cider really boil down (mine took nearly an hour), and to let the caramel cook to the firm ball stage  (about 250 degrees) so the candy will have that perfect soft caramel texture.

* The reminder to give these a try came from a lovely recent post over on Annie's Eats. (I used a few of my extra minutes to browse the web, too.)  She actually baked her version of Deb's caramels into brown butter sugar cookies.  Damn.  If only I had another 30 minutes....