Batter Licker

April 24, 2012

five spice marinated pork

I should probably re-title this post: “Pork Jay Will Happily Eat For 4+ Days in a Row Without Complaint, And Then Ask For More Next Week.”

That doesn’t sound impressive if you know that I will happily tuck into leftovers, eating the same thing over and over again for lunch and dinner for almost an entire week straight.

But Jay’s more of a one-and-done eater: not particularly keen on leftovers or repeats. So his desire to have this pork be a repeat player in multiple meals every single week says a lot, to me …

… as does the fact that, allegedly, my friend Joe’s first words the morning after a recent pork-featuring barbecue were, “That pork was delicious; I need the recipe.”

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Besides being addictively delicious and abundantly flavorful, this pork is super easy to make. (more…)

January 4, 2012

project wedding dessert bar: part 14 (moroccan-spiced crispy chickpeas)

I’m a crispy chickpea addict. A year and a half ago, this snack ushered me through weeks of studying for the bar exam during Summer 2010, and (especially after passing the exam) I’ve felt indebted to it ever since.

So in some weird way, it made sense to include this snack – which stood by my side in my mouth during some of my more miserable moments – in the dessert bar I created for family and friends to enjoy on an evening celebrating one of the consistent sources of happiness during the past decade of my life: my relationship with Jay. But the inclusion of chickpeas also made sense from another perspective.

In retrospect, I realized that the desserts I chose to serve at my wedding very much reflected a sugary timeline of my life and development.

Fudge and toffee represented the beginning, when I learned my mother’s precision and the importance of following candy recipes exactly. Sometimes, my mind would wander, my wrist would ache from stirring, and I would lose focus. That’s code for: I burned and threw out quite a few bad batches along the way. But if I hadn’t learned then, I probably would have scorched a lot of chocolate instead of melting it into delightfully rich truffles.

Quite a few years later, I began experimenting with caramels, and after quite a bit of testing, I finally came up with my own basic recipe. Eventually, that recipe blossomed into the fleur de sel and bourbon spice caramels friends and family enjoyed at our wedding.

In the past year or two, I have taken more risks – in life and in the kitchen – which was reflected in the more innovative cashew-bacon brittle and s’mores brownie bites that disappeared so quickly.

But back to making crispy chickpeas … (more…)

November 22, 2011

butternut squash cupcakes with maple-sage goat cheese frosting

My butternut squash bonanza continues! Think of this as a play on pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Except way better.

Honestly, I thought these up a year ago and never got around to making them. But they haunted me through spring and summer, and now that we’re back to peak butternut squash season, I had to make it happen.

So when last weekend’s Friendsgiving dinner got scheduled, it was a no-brainer. I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

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That’s the beauty of Friendsgiving. My friends and I officially launched the make-whatever-you-want concept last year, after decades of being told by our families that, no, we could not make butternut squash soup as an appetizer instead of Bopop’s bowl full of grapefruit tradition, and no, we could not make a cornbread, sausage and peppers stuffing instead of the rustic bread, sausage, apple and onion standard. (more…)

October 3, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 4 (soft ginger molasses cookies)

After the fudge-making session, it’s time to get baking again! And now, it’s ginger molasses cookie time. Even though it’s been quite a few years since I first made these cookies, I’m still obsessed and can polish off a dozen in one sitting without a second thought.

But what I’m dying to know this time around is why is there sugar already spilled all over my counter when I haven’t started baking yet?!?!?

Let’s just say that next time I’ve finished a few hours’ worth of baking and think I hear the sound of sugar spilling, instead of quickly glancing over and, not seeing any spills, dismissing it as sugar shifting inside a bag I had recently moved, I’ll be sure to look a little closer and investigate a little further.

Anyway, like any baking project worth sharing, this one starts with an iconic Leaning Tower of Butter. (more…)

June 1, 2011

grilled pineapple with cinnamon-bourbon glaze

Over the three-day weekend, I partook in no less than three barbecues. Barbecuing being the most quintessentially American method of food preparation, I figured it was the least I could do to honor U.S. servicemen who make sacrifices so much braver and more meaningful than me clumsily sacrificing a pineapple slice to the ground while using wonky tongs to transfer fruit from grill to plate.

Sole pineapple loss aside, I enjoyed celebrating my freedom in the company of beloved friends and family as we stuffed ourselves full of charred food and chilled booze.

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When it came time for dessert, it only made sense to marry the black and booze flavors and watch them dance sloppily all over the pineapple. (more…)

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