Fair Food

May 21, 2010

Cinnamon Spiced Caramel Corn

A quick and easy weekend recipe for you.

I would normally pass on this sort of thing, preferring savory popcorn to sweet. But this sounded good. And tasted even better. It’s a pretty bold blend of spices. Some cinnamon, a hearty helping of nutmeg, a little cardamom and a pinch of ground cloves. Coupled with a simple caramel and some toasted macadamia nuts, it’s swoon-worthy. And total fair food. Just in time for Memorial Day. It’s like a marriage of crunchy caramel corn, spiced toffee and cinnamon roasted nuts. Beware your dental work.
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A spicy craving

May 14, 2010

Spicy Ginger Muffins with Buttermilk Glaze

For the past month I’ve been on a major breakfast smoothie kick. This is odd, seeing as how I’ve never really loved meals in a glass. I want texture and chew, something warm and satisfying in the morning. But what started as the solution to an unusually warm morning and a lack of interest in anything that might cause a make-up melt down, resulted in a daily ritual of a little milk, a little yogurt, a frozen banana, some berries, a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed and a couple fistfuls of spinach (which, I kid you not, is undetectable, save the slightly off-putting resulting color) whirred together in the blender, which has recently acquired its own very valuable corner of limited counter space.

And so we continued, this morning ritual and I, until recently when my body copped a major attitude and was all like No more smoothies. No more vegetables for breakfast. No more pea green glop. I WANT A FREAKING MUFFIN! Bssshh. [Snap.]

 A spicy muffin for a spicy attitude.
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Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

May 7, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

This was an experiment. Well, an experiment on an experiment. A food experiment raised to the second power? So comforting to know I remember exponential algebra.

A couple of months ago I bought a bag of raw cocoa nibs. I don’t remember what possessed me to buy them, though it was likely a general curiosity because they seem to be popping up everywhere. Cocoa nibs are basically the cocoa bean without its husk. I’d compare biting into a raw nib to biting into an unsweetened chocolate flavored coffee bean. Intense.

So after some internet surfing, I happened upon David Lebovitz’s recipe for chocolate-hazelnut spread, which calls for cocoa nibs. Homemade Nutella? Winner! I adapted his recipe by incorporating whole roasted hazelnuts (he uses hazelnut oil). And it was good. Spoon lickin’ good. No further experimentation necessary. Except I couldn’t help but notice that after being stored in the fridge the spread resembled chilled chocolate ganache. Light bulb. Good things can always be improved upon. Truffles were born. Heavy whipping cream-free truffles. Vegan chocolate hazelnut truffles. Mega chocolate. Subtle hazelnut. Slight nibby crunch. Winner squared!
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Remember, they’re rustic

April 25, 2010

Rustic Strawberry Turnovers

I finally broke down and did it. Bought strawberries. I’ve been eyeing them for a month, ever since they appeared stacked on an island in the center of the produce section. I’d glide past, knowing full well they’d look a wee bit premature, a little white, a little pale. Not yet. And so it was another round of apples and oranges. But then last week, I caved. Vibrant red, not a speck of white, healthy tops. Petite. None of those strawberries on steroids.

They made their way into these rustic strawberry turnovers for a dinner party. I capitalized on the rustic. I kind of sort of obsess over making food, desserts in particular, look perfect. This is a function of my (occasional) type A personality. But when you know that these are meant to be rustic, you won’t freak out when you spy them splitting and spitting in the oven. You’ll only partially freak out. For a second. And then you’ll remember they’re rustic, and you’re way too uptight sometimes.
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Mexican Chocolate Pudding

April 13, 2010

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

There is a scene in the movie Chocolat where Juliette Binoche’s character, Vianne, serves a teacup of hot chocolate to one of the disapproving townspeople (the people of the repressed village are appalled when Vianne opens a chocolaterie during Lent). It appears thick and rich like hot fudge sauce and is spiced with cinnamon and cayenne to bring out the intensity of the chocolate, Vianne explains. After one sip the suspecting woman nearly falls off her chair swooning over the deliciousness of the concoction, embarrassed by her reaction during a period of penance and fasting. It’s one of my favorite scenes, though always leaves me longing for a big mug of hot chocolate and a box of truffles.

Speaking of, a recent craving led me to the pantry where I rummaged for a bag of chocolate chips or a bittersweet chocolate baking bar, usual suspects on the baking shelf. But my search came up short, save a canister of unsweetened cocoa powder and three jars of ground cinnamon (a sign that I need to take inventory more often) which inspired this recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, in pudding form. The addition of cinnamon and cayenne are so intriguing and delicious. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on chocolate.
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