Limited Torte

July 5, 2010

How do you pass off a chocolate torte as patriotic when serving it on the 4th of July?
by adding strawberries and blueberries of course

I must say, this delicious and dense creation went over well at my friends little get get together. My favorite part of the night though? backyard fireworks.

Recipe used was from Williams Sonoma Desserts

Tonight was lovely! Whats much better than a couple of friends sitting around eating sweets and making little plant homes? not much.

For dessert I made mini Strawberry-Blueberry Galettes, Teeny Tiny Chai Spice cupcakes and chocolate waffle cookies. To drink there was some fresh strawberry lemonade and pomegranate iced green tea.

April brought the cutest little figures to put in our terrariums- they were adorable!

I’ll have some more photos of the actual terrariums later, but heres just a few shots from the “party”…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 6, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies are made in my house at least one a week for as long as I can remember. If my mom has had a bad day, you will most likely find butter softening on the counter, waiting to be beaten and mixed. Personally, I’m not a huge fan. I love the dough of course but most come out like flat little frisbies, plus I’m not much for chocolate chips myself.

So when I came across this recipe, I bookmarked it.
I like to give new CCC recipes a try (not only to try to find one that “tickles my fancy” but also because I know they will all get eaten even if they aren’t the absolute best).

It’s been a while since I’ve baked, and I was thinking how much I missed it yesterday afternoon as I was sculpting little birdies out of clay for a bowl I’m working on. So I packed up my things and headed home to squeeze in a little baking time before I met my friday night group for some dinner and bible studyin’.

The recipe is unique and definitely more time consuming as you have to brown the butter, then wait for it and the sugars to cool and then refrigerate the dough before baking (I was only able to refrigerate mine for an hour, so I’d like to try it again when I’d have time to do it for the full 24 hours). But I don’t mind a little extra effort and time, I’ve found it almost always pays off in the end.

My dough was slightly dry, and I was nervous about the end result, but they formed into cute little cookie balls in my hands and baked down to yummy goodness in the end. They were crispy on the outside but soft in the middle and were the perfect dessert with a cup of coffee. One of my favorite things about them was the use of chopped bittersweet chocolate as opposed to regular semi-sweet chips which are a little too milky tasting, in my opinion. Everyone said they loved them and my sister said they were “awesome.”
so yay! I will definitely be trying them again and still experimenting with other recipes, but this is probably my favorite so far!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Via Blue Ridge Baker

8 1/2 ounces unbleached white flour (I used Whole Wheat)
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, browned
5 ounces light brown sugar
4 ounces granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars. Pour hot brown butter over sugars, and without stirring, place in refrigerator to cool the butter to room temperature. Attach bowl to mixer and on medium speed, beat until light in color and fluffy. If butter isn’t becoming pale, it isn’t cool enough. Pop it back in the fridge for a few more minutes and try again. When butter mixture is desired consistency, add egg and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (if you can stand to. If not, I understand). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Form dough into balls a little over an inch in diameter, or 1.5 ounces. Place balls at least 2″ apart on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy, dry on top and tinged with golden. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

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After a lovely afternoon of laying around at my grandparents house me and Frank decided to go up to Philly for some “grub.” So I tried to make myself presentable and threw on a dress and switched all my stuff over to a different purse. It wasn’t until half way there I realized I forgot my camera. tsk tsk. oh well.

We decided to re-visit one of our favorites from the past – Butcher & Singer

Whether you like stephen starr or not, you have to admit, the guy really does have a knack for making you feel like your somewhere else completely. You feel almost like you walk right into a 1920’s steakhouse and it successfully makes you want to have a glass of whisky and a big ol’ cigar (well, not really, but you know what I mean). The high ceilings, the decor and crazy chandiliers, even the all out black and white tailcoat waiters attire. The best though would have to be a tie between the painting of dogs having drinks at a bar or the incredibly quirky ladies’ and men’s rooms signs on the restroom doors. It’s a fun experience and the food is really quite good.

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Like I said, this was actually our second time going so we already had some things in mind to try this time.
To start I got a french onion soup. Besides forgetting it was topped with cheese and having to screape it off to try to save myself from severe stomach pains later, it was very good soup. The broth was to die for – delicious
The first time around Frank had Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes (both very good), this time he switched the filet for the porterhouse. I actually tried a piece because of how good he said it was, and I have to agree. I’m not a huge steak fan in general, but it was so tender with a lot of flavor and almost perfect in my opinion (although I’m not steak-expert like Frank is).
I actually decided to go with the same entree as last time, which was the Butcher salad. It’s a fairly basic salad although it had strips of salami in it and little bits of cheese (which I forgot about). I remember be in love with it last time we went but it was fairly disapointing this time. I know! It’s just a salad – what could possibly go wrong? I have no idea what changed but it didn’t seem the same at all to me. I did have a side of mushrooms as well and they were good.

Last time we went we shared the chocoalte cake which was phenomenal, I remember. But this time we decided to wait to have dessert so Frank could get his favorite chocolate cake in the entire world (which is actually technically a torte) and I could see my old friends at the restaurant I used to work at when I was living in west Philly.

Zocalo is a really authentic mexican restaurant with some truly delicious food. Now you might think I’m just saying that because I used to work there and I still have friends there, but really – I do not like mexican food but I always enjoyed my meals in the back room or shoved in a corner of the kitchen at Zocalo. It’s been there for over 20 years now and the head chef/owner has worked there since it opened and just bought it over a few years back, and his wife is right from mexico so it’s stayed true both to it’s past as well as being just really authentic.

If you go during dinner please for goodness sakes do not ask for a taco. This is not taco bell, its a restaurant. I highly recommend one of the Molcajete Cuanajo or the Cochinita Pibil (really though, everything is great and I’m not just brainwashed to say that). As for desserts the chocolate torte is phenomenal and the Holjadre de Chocolate (or just “the chocolate puff pastry”) is also a favorite of everyone who tries it. My favorite drink there is definitely the Tamrind margarita and second favorite is a paloma. I gotta give it to their fabulous dinner bartender (who just happens to be a BFF lol) she’s been doing it a while now and is great at it (and I’m really not just saying that – I swear!).

in review – go. try it. love it. and say hi to gabby for me.

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