Thursday, February 26, 2009


Ah, the all too familiar PQ bakery set-up. Just gave notice at Le Pain Quotidien, thought I'd share the brownie recipe as a momento. So if you were thinking about buying a four dollar brownie sometime... why not just make them? If nothing else, this is kind of a fun, wonky brownie recipe. Oh, the butter and eggs! Bye, food service! It's been real.

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 - 64%)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
5 eggs, mix em up with a fork
1 1/3 cups sugar, superfine if you feel like it
3 tablespoons flour, sifted. add a pinch of cornstarch to make "pastry flour" if you feel like it.

1. Roughly chop the chocolate into pieces. Add the butter. Melt these over a double boiler or in the microwave. Mix it up! Now scrape this delicious mess into a big mixing bowl.

2. Oven 325 degrees. Add the flour and sugar to your chocolatey bowl. Try a spoonful for sustenance. Yum. Now add the eggs and mix well. What? A recipe that practically begs you to watch TV? Yes. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Wipe away those tears (oh, Wifeswap!) and get a load of your thickened batter.

3. Two ways to skin this cat: mini-brownies or just in a normal square pan. For the little guys, line a muffin tin with cupcake papers. Spoon one-fourth cup batter into each paper-lined cup. Otherwise just pour the batter into a greased brownie pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. The brownies will still be moist when done; they will puff up and fall slightly as they cool.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


FREE PANCAKES at ihop today until 10 pm!!!!! Happy Mardi Gras!

What's that? You only read this blog for my carefully curated youtube video clips?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Guest post: Boston baked beans

I have a highly fairweather legume aversion-- chickpeas are wrong on all counts, but burritos need refritos and far be it from me to refuse lentil stew. So this isn't my recipe for baked beans...these come from my good folks up north, watching out for the fate of this dear blog. If you want to write a guest post, please do! I'll post it. I actually really like the idea of having all my friends' recipes, like one of those old postcard recipe rolodexes but online.

Steve's Baked Beans

This is a recipe for the kind of people who like to cook things overnight. I know, not a category you even knew existed. Aside from a peculiar desire for nocturnal baking, you will need a piece of oven-proof crockery that can hold a little over half a gallon. With a cover. It's gotta have a cover.

My crockery is official: it says "Boston Baked Beans" on the side, and came with a little tag with a recipe. We got it at a hardware store in Boston's North End. (It don't get more authentic.) This is that recipe, altered somewhat.

You'll also need to set your alarm for something like 4 am. I hope you're good at two things: getting back to sleep in the middle of the night, and functioning with oven mitts and hot things in the middle of the night. If you fail on either count, this ain't the recipe for you. This is serious business, bean cookery. Muffins it ain't.

So, you've got your crockery, and you've got your one pound bag of dried beans. Didn't I mention the beans? Soldier beans or Jacob's cattle beans if you like your bean to bite back. Pea beans if you like the canned kind from B&M that you could chew without teeth. If you can get beans from the State Of Maine company, or Kennebec Bean company, then you're advanced-intermediate, and well on your way to achieving my life's ambition of at least once cooking Bean-Hole-Beans.

1 lb bag of beans
1 onion, quartered
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp coarse mustard
1-2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Sort out the beans. This is important, because once in a while there is a rock about the size of a bean that escaped the eagle-eyed ladies at the State of Maine bean company, and though this is serious business and I like a bean that bites back, a rock is something else again. Pull out the measly looking beans, too.

Put the beans in a big steel pot, cover with two inches of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or so on high. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse. (If you're the kind of person who likes a recipe that lasts almost 24 hours, you could do the long method: set beans to soak at sunrise, under two inches of water. At 10pm, drain and rinse. I like multi-day cooking, myself, but I rarely have the forethought.) Draining the water and rinsing gets rid of most of the gas-producing stuff.

Turn the oven to a hair below 250. Peel and quarter the onion, and put it in the crockery along with the mustard, butter, salt, and molasses. Pour in the boiled (or soaked) beans. Fill up the crockery with water, two inches or so above the beans, or to just below the rim.

Put the whole mess in the oven. Go to bed, or whatever else it is you do at night other than baking beans. Wake up at 4 am or so, or whatever time is about 6 hours after you tucked in the beans. Pull out the crockery (careful!), uncover, and give the beans a bit of a stir with a big spoon. They should be a little dry on top, but with liquid just under the first layer of beans. Taste a bean. It should be creamy & smooth, not grainy. If it's grainy, add boiling water to cover, crank the oven up to 350, and put the crockery back in. Wait until the oven hits 350, turn it off, and go back to bed. If the beans are creamy & smooth, turn off the oven, splash just a little water in, put the crockery back in the oven, and go back to bed. In either case, they'll be perfect at breakfast.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Look at me, posting twice in a day. Anyways, this is what I 'cooked' today and far be it from me to keep it from you all. "Denk an deinem Publikum..." sorry, I just rewatched the Lives of Others and all day I just want to quote the two lines where the German is slow enough that I can understand it. That was kind of appropriate for the situation and not pretentious though. I swear. Right? Right.

Here is a delicious sauce for your chicken nuggets (homemade, Morningstar Farms or Perdue, I'm not going to judge)

2-3 parts apricot jam
2 parts soy sauce
1-2 parts ketchup
a dash of worcestershire sauce (thanks, spellcheck)

These aren't set in stone (that would be kind of a waste of stone) so if it tastes too much like soy sauce, add some ketchup. If it tastes too sweet add some worcestershire sauce.

WHAT EW GROSS: just shut up and make it sometime, ok?

she's back!

Well, cooking adventures have been kind of slow this last month or so with one big honking exception:

Candy. Candied citrus peels actually.

These are so good, not that hard to make, and really fancy looking. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon... or say something nice in capital letters. like THANK YOU (now admit me to grad school edition) or HAPPY HOLIDAYS (planning for next year edition) or I LOVE YOU SO MUCH LET'S MAKE OUT (valentines day edition).

So here's the scoop: grapefruit is way too bitter, I tried it so you don't have to. Lemons and oranges were delicious, I bet that limes would also be knockout.

Peel the fruit and slice it. Yes, this takes forever. I did three lemons and four oranges, which made enough stuff for four people to have a little gifty-sized package. I found that the peel first cut second approach worked better than the "try to cut rectangles on the fruit then peel" approach.

"Reserve the fruit for another purpose." I made lemon/orange/grapefruit-aid. Just add seltzer and more sugar than you would expect.

OK now plop these in a pot of boiling water. Boil for like ten minutes. Now change the water and reboil. Now do it again! Again, monkey, again! 5 times. I did a control round where I meticulously scraped off the pith of the lemon rinds. It made kind of a less substantial chewier candy and tasted just noticably less bitter. So unless you are super bitter-averse, forget it.

Now heat up 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar for every 2 cups of peel. My 4 oranges and 3 lemons were pretty much two cups, for the record. Let it get all liquidified then dump the peels in there. Simmer (or boil) until the peels absorb all the liquid. Don't let them burn, stir a lot and monitor the heat. I would say this step took like 20 minutes? Everything should be a sticky mess.

With a slotted spoon (or your hands, if you can't feel heat-- hiyo!) transfer these guys to a plate of sugar before the syrup cools and your sticky mess gets even stickier. If it does, just reheat until the sugar melts again. Roll them around in sugar them let them cure for a few hours/overnight on a baking sheet covered with tin foil or waxed paper. Are they dry? Good.

Now melt some chocolate. I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips (60% cacao) because they were like 3 bucks and I only needed to use like 2/3 the bag. Do the math, son. If you make orange juice/lemonade, that brings the price of these puppies down to the price of the chocolate. 2 dollars for 4 presents is a pretty good deal. If you want to use cheaper chocolate, whatever. If you want to use classier bars of baking chocolate, whatever.

So melt the chocolate in a double boiler if you have a dishwasher or in the microwave if you have a microwave. Be careful that it doesn't burn, obviously. Stirring helps because chocolate melts before it looks like its melted. 1 minute?

Now dip the peels in the chocolate (you can leave a little tail of the peel so that you have somewhere to hold and the presentation is ultimately more elegant) and let that cool in the fridge or over a tray of ice. Voila. More coming soon, I miss blogging.