Category: Valentine’s Day

Chocolate and Sugar fix– Swedish Sticky Cake/ Kladdkaka


Along with Tibetan Flatbread, falafel, chana masala, pizzas, and healthy cakes, this delicious sugary chocolate bomb has been making regular appearances this baking season.

It’s awesome. If you cook it too long, it is like awesome brownies. If you bake it just long enough, it looks like the photos in the pretty photo blog. If you undercook it, it looks like goo, so don’t do that.

I have been using my 10 inch non-stick springform pan for this one, and I’ve learned something. “Non-stick” doesn’t apply when eggs or an obscene amount of sugar are involved. Parchment or baking paper, tucked right on into the top of the pan, not only saves you serving woes and clean up hassle, but it also looks rustic-chic when you are serving this greatness. Hurray for that, aesthetes!

I have been using this recipe. I chose it because of the very, very pretty pictures, and because the proportions seemed like they would best work with my size pan. The ingredients and photos here are great. However, my most awesome iteration of the recipe only came when I used tips from other pages, like here.

Basically, you need to know-

  1. Whisking the dickens out of the eggs and sugar makes for the best crispy glazed top on the cake you could want.
  2. Whisk your flour, too…because lumps are a pain in the ass, and you don’t want them in the wet mix. Over mixing does bad things to the cake. You’ll end up with a sort of rubbery, dense, unhappy (but let’s face it– still tasty. Chocolate, fat, and sugar. It’ll still work!) cake.
  3. You then gently fold in the flour to this glorious whisked wonder.
  4. You add the cocoa and the vanilla to the melted butter, and whisk to dissolve.
  5. You then add the melted butter mixture to the sugar/eggs/flour mixture.
  6. Adding some cinnamon or even–gasp— some cayenne makes it just that much sexier. Because “mexican chocolate” stuff is fun. I’m sure Sweden is cool with it. Don’t worry.
  7. A dash of coffee in the mix works well, too. I recommend instant. (Less drama with liquids).
  8. 350F for 30 minutes is a bit too long for the gooey cake results in my pan and in my oven. It yields a crackalicious moist, sticky brownie cake, which might be more to your liking. I did this on purpose when I wanted to transport and share the cake at a children’s party. For home consumption, 20 minutes and a spoon is more my speed.

Ok. Now check out the ingredient list at Top With Cinnamon and get inspired by the photos. Then read the order of things at About.com…and review my tips 😉 Mostly, just make this cake. It’s good lovin’, and you can freeze half to keep yourself from hating yourself in the morning 🙂

I’m planning on making this again soon. My Man needs a steady diet of chocolate and red wine this week after the whole “Benfica” travesty this past weekend. And after the loss again on Wednesday. Plus, I killed my iPad, wind/rain/hail have taken over summer this week, and My Man, Grandissimo, and I all have colds. Hm. Tough times. Need chocolate.

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Photos! An update on Knishes and Flowers and V day…


Ok. So photos aren’t entirely impossible in that kitchen. And sometimes there’s enough light to make something out of a photo 🙂

Behold, the knishes from lunch (a success, thank you very much!):

my lovely knish-y lumps, ready for the oven...

Ahhh….see the olive oil gloss? The red smudge of pepper? The brown flecks of linseed/flax seed? Mmmmmmm.. and they do look a bit like pastry-potatoes, don’t they? 🙂

Potato-ey filling

Now, here’s what came out of the oven:

Fresh lovin' from the oven...
Warm, flaky, carby goodness...

Lunch was good.

While I’m putting photos up, I thought I’d include a shout-out to My Man, my Lancelot… I know Valentine’s Day can be touchy, and I respect that. So, I waited to put up flower photos until that day had passed.

Now I’m braggin’. 🙂

First, a quick back-story. A few weeks ago, my man had a crazy week at work. Everyday was pretty much a shitstorm of extra work and bullshit politics. He couldn’t come home for lunch most days (we live about a minute from his office), and he was often late. It sucked. I felt so bad for him—he was working so hard (and I’m not working yet), and no matter how irritating the day was, he was always such a pleasure to have once he did come home. He’s magic. And at the end of the week, he came home a little late (because he picked up our laundry from the cleaners, of course) with flowers for me for being so patient (!)  Unbelievable.

Love token from my awesome Man

Then, of course, came Valentine’s Day. We’re budgeting like good newlyweds (reference back to the house/mortgages rants), so we had a sweet and simple V Day. I cooked, we had sparkling wine and candlelight dinner… and he brought be roses 🙂

The first Valentine's Day roses of our marriage...

Yeah, I’m sappy. Deal with it 😉 Happiness is awesome 🙂

Coming Soon…. Reader Appreciation Day!


In the end of the tale, the Grinch’s heart turned from stone to something warm and squishy. A more creative (read: more fastidious) person than I could probably turn this into a Valentine’s Day allegory.

That ain’t me.

However, I got some reader love on Valentine’s Day. Really great reader love.  I got reader love that took dedication. Jo (forever known as the coolest neighbor I’ve ever had) responded to my poignant plea from bed. In between bouts of vomiting. On Valentine’s Day.

I salute you, Jo. You are, in a word, totally-freaking-awesome. (That’s still one word.)

I’ve been mulling over my sending-love-back options today, but I haven’t struck gold. I was thinking of running a ‘home remedies for the nauseous” special, but hopefully the utility will be short-lived (because the editorial We– and the real We– are hoping for your speedy recovery…with extra time in bed…just in case 🙂 )

I’m also considering a top-ten alcoholic beverages spread, but I’m very open to suggestion.

Other Reader(s), Jo, Walk-Ins– what is the best way to give back some Reader Appreciation Love? Suggestions requested and welcome!

Until RAD (Reader Appreciation Day seems even cooler when reduced to acronym form), I’ll simply say “thanks”…not just for writing in, but for being you. I’m sure that looks lame on a computer screen, but we’ve got enough quality time racked up for me to feel confident that you feel the sincerity.

Lots of love, and get well soon! (And props to your man 🙂 Awesome-Husband duty counts as a really good Valentine… Lancelot represented well with roses and sparkling wine. Of course 😉 )

Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate and a Smoking Bishop…Recipes – CHOW.com


Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Recipe – CHOW.

It just started raining. With thunder. And lightning. So, instead of the dog-walk that I totally maybe probably was going to take, I feel strongly that I should be drinking this:

Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Recipe

Difficulty: Easy

TIME/SERVINGS

Total: 10 mins

Makes: 2 to 4 servings

Tipsy Hazelnut Hot ChocolateSee More in the Gallery

By Amy Wisniewski

Some say bacon makes everything better; I say Nutella is the magic enhancer. And here, hazelnut liqueur enhances the flavors of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. You could also use a different nut liqueur like walnut, for double nuttiness.

This recipe was featured as part of our Hot Boozy Drinks photo gallery.

…Read on for the full recipe at http://www.chow.com/recipes/29062-tipsy-hazelnut-hot-chocolate

Granted, in mine, there would be soymilk and no cream….or MAYBE soy cream (which we tried the other week in cooking, and it was fan-freaking-tastic.) But I think soymilk, nutella, and Frangelico would give me sufficient satisfaction.

I’m also content, deep in my soul, that Chow has a ‘Hot, Boozy Drinks” section.

On that note, now I’m considering making a very pared-down version of a Smoking Bishop over the weekend…. I had a weird craving for warm, spiced wine the other week. Now I have a name and a recipe for it 😉 Thanks, Chow! (See Chow’s recipe below 😉 )

Smoking Bishop (Mulled Red Wine with Port) Recipe

Difficulty: Easy

TIME/SERVINGS

Total: 2 hrs, plus overnight infusing

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Smoking Bishop (Mulled Red Wine with Port)See More in the Gallery

By Amy Wisniewski

Popular in the 18th century—and enjoyed by Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—this mulled wine remains the quintessential holiday drink.

This recipe was featured as part of our Hot Boozy Drinks photo gallery.

…Sounds good, right? Get the directions for this delight at http://www.chow.com/recipes/29061-smoking-bishop-mulled-red-wine-with-port

Valentine’s Consumerist Seduction (Part One in a Series)


Riiiiiiiiight.

So, I find myself alert (two cups of coffee), fully dressed (notable, when working from home), and sitting at the kitchen table (for some reason, we have sun today, so the cold/natural light balance is worth it), and I’m ready to work.

The folks I’m ready to work for are still running late sending the necessary documents through email.

Of course, my next step is to go to Chow.com.

And here we are…

Offbeat Chocolate Treats for Valentine’s Day

Now, I’m not reposting the entry for you. If you are appropriately intrigued, click the link and read it on Chow’s site. However, I will point out the tidbits that I found interesting…(my blog. I’m queen. Deal with it.)

Yes, I like it because it’s vegan. I’m nostalgic like that. But I’ve also found that some vegan chocolates are absolutely superior, as chocolate, to most milk chocolates (Speak not of white chocolate. It is heresy.) In addition, this appeals to my wanna-be elitist, yuppie sensibilities. Bittersweet with Sea Salt. Mayan Chile. Olive oil and Sea Salt. Sure, it’s been done…but it’s good, and I’m interested whenever I see someone doing it.

All about aesthetics. Maybe the chocolate is awesome, but I honestly don’t care. The cover art is groovy. I want to plan to but then never actually reuse the  “perfectly square box [that] closes with a smart magnetic click”. Here’s what TCHO says about themselves:

Holidays are about sharing unique experiences with loved ones. So we’re proud to launch TCHO’s “Artist Series” highlighting the work of different artists in our limited editions of our luxury gift collections. We begin the series with the Love Collection by Max Kisman, an award-winning Dutch graphic artist and designer. His iconic, bold designs are modern, provocative, and sexy—lending a fun new accent to our chocolate.

Sounds fun, right?

Another blatantly aesthetic choice.

The image on top of each chocolate is a design that was originally inspired by classic Byzantine tiles. The packaging, a simple cardboard box, grew from the idea of the chocolates as actual tiles. Fortuitously, the box selected holds 49 pieces of the chocolate, the result of squaring a prime number, 7. It seemed fitting, as the collaboration is the result of the combined efforts and imagination of two unique, and uniquely Angeleno, companies. Unlike any other gift on the market, the commune chocolates are bound to be a hit both with those who appreciate interesting design, and those who love dark chocolate.

Yeah. I was hooked when they mentioned the tiles. I have a ‘thing’ for the tiles found all over Portugal. The ugly, the beautiful, the elaborate, the simple, the psychedelic, the groovy, the classic… For me, they are art. I dig that someone else digs tile art enough to paint it onto chocolate. Their designs are pretty simple geometrics, but I love the idea.

This is great niche marketing. The premise of the company strikes a chord with my Seattle-lovin’ tendencies (P-patches, how I love you). Read this description:

New this year, our Might Mint Urban Garden Chocolate Bar highlights mint from four urban gardens in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The fresh mint leaves are steeped directly into the chocolate for an amazingly refreshing flavor that tastes just like mint picked from your Grandmother’s garden. 5% of the sale price goes directly back to the gardens to support the educational programs the gardens provide to inner city youth. 3 oz. (Planter not included.)

Don’t you feel warm and fuzzy about yourself? F#ck, I do, and I’m just thinking about how I want this bar. (I’m actually not being facetious. I eat this stuff up. I’m okay with that. I’m human.)

If you aren’t American, this probably won’t do much for you. If you are, you’ll think the concept is cool. We all (the non-peanut allergy kids, anyway) ate innumerable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our youth. Australians and Brits have their Vegemite and Marmite, and we have PBJ. We probably love Reese’s Peanut Butter cups a whole lot more than you (you if you aren’t American. If you are, you’re on board. I know it.), too. Peanut butter and chocolate are awesome together. PBJ and Chocolate? Yes. Yes, please.

In addition, this guy is from Missouri! I grew up on the Mississippi river, yo. We’re peeps. Midwesterners, unite!

Unfortunately, I must end this post. I’m making myself hungry, and I’m hungry for all the wrong things. ( I keep hoping I’ll wake up in the morning, only to find that a clever, overzealous plastic surgeon has snuck into my house and liposuctioned my extra belly flab while I slept. It hasn’t happened yet.)

Do check out the Chow.com article. Chow is always a good time. And check out the links above. If you are in the US, I recommend taking advantage of online shopping. I’m not going to try it from Portugal, though I’m sure some of these folks could manage it.

Needless to say, as more bright shiny things come to my attention, I’ll be adding them (with commentary) to this hard-nosed and very serious pre-V-day series.

🙂