Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Yossy Arefi’s Soft Chocolate and Fig Cake

You'll fall hard for this chocolate fig cake. I sure did.

You’ll fall hard for this chocolate fig cake. I sure did.

 

Imagine a deliriously, deep, rich chocolate-y cake that’s like the love child of a brownie and a molten lava cake.

It’s the stuff of dreams, isn’t it?

It surely is my fantasy come true, especially with its scattering of plump fresh figs on top. So much so that I can’t stop myself from digging a fork into it again and again in utter bliss.

That’s what “Soft Chocolate and Fig Cake” will do to you.

This incredible — and incredibly easy — cake is from the new cookbook, “Sweeter Off The Vine” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

SweeterOffTheVine

It’s from the super talented Yossy Arefi, a Brooklyn-based food photographer, food stylist and baker, who created the charmingly named blog, Apt. 2B Baking Co., where she chronicles her baking endeavors.

This is one of those must-have cookbooks. And I don’t say that lightly, not when my shelves are already groaning under the strain of too many cookbooks. But if you’re like me and love to bake, you will find yourself bookmarking practically every page because these are down-home treats with a personality all their own that are in no way an ordeal to make.

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Anya Fernald’s Jam Tartlets

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

 

Anya Fernald is probably best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Meat Co., the world’s largest sustainable meat company, which owns everything from its animals to its own slaughterhouse to its own stores and restaurants where its meat is sold.

But leave it to me to get a review copy of her new cookbook “Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For A New Way To Cook” (Ten Speed Press), and to not make a meat-focused recipe, but a dessert one instead.

Because, yes, that’s how my sweet tooth rolls.

HomeCooked

That’s not to say the book isn’t filled with tantalizing carnivore dishes. Having had the pleasure of eating Belcampo’s fare on a couple of occasions, I can attest that you taste the impeccable quality of the meat from the get-go. Because Belcampo raises its own animals, it makes a point to use every part so that nothing goes to waste. The recipes reflect that in everything from “Seared Lamb Heart Crudo” to “Chicken Hearts Cooked in Brown Butter” to “Toma Cheese with Green Herbs” to “Pork & Pepperoncino Sausage.”

But when Fernald writes in the book that “Jam Tartlets” is one of her most requested recipes, how could I resist?

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Please Pass the Plum Streuselkuchen

Instead of greased parchment paper, you also can used greased foil, as I did, to bake this streuselkuchen.

Instead of greased parchment paper, you also can used greased foil, as I did, to bake this streuselkuchen.

 

Studies recommend we get at least four servings (about 1/2 cup each) of fruit a day.

I admit that once summer hits, I like to get part of that daily requirement in a fresh baked pastry.

I can’t help myself.

But you won’t, either, not when you try “Plum Streuselkuchen.”

Just what is a kuchen? It’s a coffeecake made with a yeast dough.

It’s kind of cake-like, and a little bread-like, in that the tender crumb is light, fluffy, and a smidge springier than a full-on cake.

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Pedro Jimenez Ice Cream with Orange Zest

A sherry-laced ice cream to fall head over heels for.

A sherry-laced ice cream to fall head over heels for.

 

Pedro Jimenez, so glad to finally make your acquaintance. Just where have you been all my life?

It was only recently that I got to know this fabled white Spanish grape that’s typically dried in the sun to make a dark, syrupy dessert sherry wine.

A friend had gifted me a bottle of Bodega Dios Baco Pedro Jimenez and I was waiting for just the right moment to open it. When I did, I was greeted with a heavy-bodied inky wine fragrant with the scent of raisins and dates. The taste was figgy, almost sticky toffee-like, with a bit of aged balsamico on the finish.

It would be great alongside cheese, salumi and almonds. Or used in a sauce to finish duck or quail.

But what caught my eye was a recipe for “Pedro Jimenez Ice Cream with Orange Zest” in the new “The Basque Cookbook: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito” (Ten Speed Press) by Chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero with food writer Rebecca Flint Marx of San Francisco Magazine.

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Five Favorite Memories of My Mom

Mother's Day morning was made for Morning Glory muffins.

Mother’s Day morning was made for Morning Glory muffins.

 

1. My Mom was the epitome of lady-like. She always wore dresses or skirts — even on the weekends. I cannot even fathom her ever donning a pair of jeans. In fact, the only time I saw her in slacks was in photos from the cruises she took with my Dad, when pants were required attire for some events. Even today in my mind’s eye, that’s how I still picture her — with her hair coiffed perfectly, and dressed in a silky blouse tucked into a knee-length skirt.

2. She taught me how to sew and knit — and in so doing, the importance of a job done right. Eager to finish the scarf or jacket I was making, I’d often race through it if I could. But my Mom’s eagle eyes would see the dropped stitch that created that wayward little hole in the pattern or the seam that wasn’t exactly straight. I’d point out that the seam was on the inside and nobody would ever see it, only to have her tell me that I’d always know it was there even if no one else did. So, of course, I ripped it out and started over again until it was the way it should be.

3. Even though she worked full-time while raising three kids, cooking never seemed to be a chore to her. Not on harried weeknights. Not on weekends, either. In fact, when she suffered a stroke, it was cooking that she missed most. After enduring months of rehabilitation to regain her sense of balance and the strength in her arms, it was almost as if being able to stand at the stovetop with her trusty wok again was her greatest triumph. That was when I realized just how much feeding her family truly meant to her.

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