January 18, 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust

I do not celebrate Valentine's Day.  I don't see the point, really.  Even when you're in a relationship, the pressure to be romantic is often times overwhelming.  Going out to eat on Valentine's Day is usually a bummer, too.

If you're not in a relationship, it's even worse.  When I was in college, my boyfriend lived four hours away.  So, my roommates & I would make Valentine's Day a girls' night out.  Being surrounded by couples oogling each other did not help our dinners go down easily.

So, when I was planning my winter cooking classes for Kitchen Conservatory, I had an idea to do an anti-Valentine's Day Girls' Night Out class.  My menu was inspired by my frustration at my boyfriend, now fiance, for not giving me a birthday gift in October.  (It's all good now; he was saving up for the engagement ring he'd already designed.)  I tried to incorporate flavors that mimic feelings--sour, bitter, salty--and that you normally wouldn't eat on a date--garlicy & spicy. 

January 11, 2010

Baking Sheet Macaroni & Cheese

Last month, Amanda Hesser posted a recipe for Baking Sheet Mac & Cheese on her blog food52. In an "effort to realign" the creamy to crunchy ration of casserole-dish mac & cheese, Hesser bakes the cheesy pasta in a shallow, rimmed baking sheet; we're talking about the kind you'd bake cookies or roast veggies on, a 12 x 17-inch rectangle with 1-inch sides. The result is a lot more surface crunch than you'd typically get.

January 7, 2010

The Ultimate Venison Burgers & Fries

I have been craving a big, juicy cheeseburger something fierce for a while now. So much, in fact, that I bought Hubert Keller's Burger Bar cookbook for Jerad for Christmas. And since we also got a meat grinder attachment for the KitchenAid mixer, it was inevitable that he'd make burgers for dinner soon.

January 2, 2010

Duck Ragu

Yes! I've finally found it! THE BEST WAY TO COOK WILD DUCK! Braise the hell out of it in a robust tomato sauce!


After one of his big hunts this season, Jerad decided to clean & keep all the duck legs. Our first idea was to make confit. Then, I saw a recipe for duck ragu, which called for using legs, in Giada De Laurentiis's Everyday Pasta. This recipe was perfect for the skinless, bone-in legs I had. And, 3 hours of braising could only help the flavor & texture of the gamey wild birds.

January 1, 2010

Best of 2009

All in all, 2009 was a pretty good year for me. I traveled more than usual (three trips, including flying by myself!), I ate some spectacular meals out (Monarch, Niche, Taste, Acero, & Blackbird to name a few), I started writing for Sauce Magazine, & I got engaged. Plus, work has been less stressful this past semester, and I've made some great new friends...long live the Food Blog Mafia.