February Daring Baker’s Challenge: Flourless Chocolate Cake

February 28, 2009 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 27 Comments

So here we are with another daring baking challenge! This is the first one that I think I did like three days into the month! Lucky for me I have lots of wonderful girlfriends that I get to hang out with every couple of weeks and most of the time we cook up something delicious! So I made the petite cake (in a pink heart ramekin :-D) and then I made a larger cake in an 8 in pan. I brought the pan version to our soirée (see cake below) and lucky sister Laurita got to enjoy this plate all by herself! No suprise, it was thoroughly enjoyed, especially with the ice creams!

So I paired the cake with a trio of “ice creams”: vanilla, caramel and coffee! My three favorite flavors and especially good ones to get at Berthillon! The ice cream recipe comes from Clotilde and she got it from Mark Bittman. I made it my own by incorporating real vanilla beans, caramelized sugar, and coffee infused milk into each round.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.  We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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Abbey Burger Bistro

February 25, 2009 at 10:38 am | Posted in Dinner, Travels | 6 Comments

So this post is a compilation of two visits to Abbey Burger Bistro. The second visit proved more successful than the first because my stomach was not protesting food! Dear sweet Becca went into the bitter cold with me about a month ago to go eat some beef! Well she at some beef and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I could not even keep two bites in before my stomach protested (now this started wayyyy before I got to the restaurant, but I thought I would be okay…).

Anyways, this past Friday night Ned graciously decided to join me in Round 2! This time my stomach did not win the battle, my tastebuds did! We got some awesome Belgian beer on tap and tried two of the house specialties: the gunpowder bison burger and Harry’s bistro burger. Both were quite good, check out our selections below!

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A Finger Licking Chicken Dinner

February 23, 2009 at 11:09 am | Posted in Dinner | 7 Comments

So this meal was the one I originally intended for Feb 14, because I was given the option to either make roast chicken or scallops for the Birthday Boy and so I bought a nice free range organic chicken from Whole Foods… but then Mr.Neddy Noo Noo decided he would rather have scallops. No problem, I said! We can just do the chicken for our usual end to the weekend feast! So here it is and boy was it some delicious comfort food.

We made a brined whole chicken with some fresh thyme and sauteéd mushrooms (organic and local shittakes and porcinis, no less!) atop a bead of pureéd cauliflower! The cauliflower purée almost mimics the awesomeness of mashed potatoes, and its uber-healthy- so there we go!

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Lovely Scallops, Endive & Greens

February 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Cookbooks, Dinner | 3 Comments

Bouchon was our inspiration for the Valentine’s Day/ Birthday Feast on Saturday. Bouchon, oh lovely, Bouchon making our culinary skills better and expanding our palettes. There is nothing better! And the next best thing other than that is that this meal took only about an hour to prepare! (And this is coming from the crazy kitchen team who on our first date spent 3 hours preparing dinner! I don’t know if this meal rivals that one, but alas I digress…)

We meant to start off with the poached egg frisée salad with duck bacon lardons, but the scallops were ready first so we jumped at them! The scallops are resting atop a bed of endive that was braised in an fresh herb, orange and honey liquid.  Below you can see our side: the sautéed spinach with garlic confit (LOVE IT!) and the delectable salad.

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Fantastic Q at Andy Nelson’s

February 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Dinner, Travels | 5 Comments

Bar-B-Q isn’t necessarily a Maryland specialty, but lucky for us suburbanites, some long time ago Andy Nelson ventured up from Memphis and Alabama to bring us the absolute best smoked meat and Saturday birthday lunch food ANYONE could ask for!

Run, don’t walk, to go get some of the best pork and beef that Baltimore has to offer!

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Frozen Citrus Soufflé for my Valentine

February 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Dessert | 7 Comments

So Voldemort Ned 😛 is not only my Valentine today, he is also the birthday boy! I would like to consider myself the sweets fiend in this relationship, because when he is offered sugary concoctions he seriously says no. But sometimes, when the stars are aligned, he craves it and its usually because it is some sort of fruit based delight! I got this recipe from the Williams Sonoma Dessert book he got me for my birthday two years ago.

I would like to say that he chose his birthday dessert wisely- because this is positively delicious.

Happy Birthday Bunny!

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February Charm City Cookbooking

February 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Cookbooks, Dessert, Dinner | 5 Comments

Last month’s enormous and fabulous feast was hosted by Coralie and boy was it delicious! 6 of us made dishes from La Cucina Italiana and they all turned out beautifully (even my ravioli – thanks to Becca!)

This month’s feast was hosted by yours truly and true to my nature, I picked a cookbook very dear to my heart (in more ways than one!) Barefoot in Paris! This cookbook is amazing and Ina really does have a knack for making incredible dishes within every cook’s reach.

I made the Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns, Joanne made the Goat Cheese Tart, Renee made the Spinach in Puff Pastry and the Provençal Vegetable Soup, Julie made the Celery Root Puree and Haricot Verts and and lastly Coralie made the Peaches in Sauternes for dessert! Check out our tasty delights below!

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A Feast for My Ladies

February 4, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in Dinner, Entertainment | 5 Comments

It has seriously almost been five years since I graduated from college, but that time has not severed the ties from my fabulous girlfriends that I met there. Luckily for me most of them live within 2 hours and also lucky for me – they like to eat what I cook!

Now it’s funny because the only dish we actually snapshotted was the salad! I promise you I didn’t just feed them salad… But it was a darn good salad- so there we go!

This salad came from my new favorite source of inspiration, Back to Basics. I wanted something light to go with the four course menu I planned and I also wanted to keep it seasonal. This salad combines arugula, roasted butternut squash and cranberries, walnuts, and parmesan all tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette. So this turned out great as it got rave reviews from the ladies!

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Smoked Salmon Frittata

February 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Brunch | 5 Comments

Like I didn’t get my fill of smoked salmon at Greg’s Bagels on Saturday, I found this recipe for an easy brunch addition to my Sunday feast and jumped at it! Julie and Meg ventured up from the city and landed in Towson! We had a lovely time and I am so happy I could have them over. 😀

Ina, amazing Ina always comes through! From now on, whenever I make brunch, this is showing up on the table! I also whipped up some buttermilk pancakes with fresh raspberries and we wet our whistle with some prosecco and orange and cranberry juices!

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