Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cake and Coffee Bon Bons

Here's a question for you... what do you do with leftover cake? LEFTOVER cake???! I know, it seems unlikely that you would ever find yourself in a situation where you had too much cake but low and behold, that is exactly where I found myself today. On my docket this weekend was a skateboard shaped birthday cake. Since I don't have a pan shaped like a skateboard, I carved the form by hand which means one thing - cake scraps. Being the worry wart that I am, I also baked an extra round just in case the Bumpus hounds came romping through the kitchen. Needless to say, I was left with a mountain of chocolate cake to deal with. I had to do something with all the shrapnel so I decided to make some Bakerella inspired bon bons. If you haven't seen Bakerella's website, please click here to see her work - absolutely the cutest little treats on earth. I employed her patented method of mixing cake crumbs with icing to form a gooey concoction that is formed into balls. The icing I used was a combination of brewed coffee and confectioner's sugar. (delicious) After firming up in the freezer, the cake balls were ready to be coated in dark chocolate and adorned with a single m&m. Layers of chocolate with a hint of coffee on this inside, what could be more divine? I can hear it now... somewhere my brother is sarcastically mumbling that it must be nice to "sit around eating bon bons all day". Oh well, sometimes you have to treat yourself to a little luxury.

*Thanks to Bakerella for being a constant source of inspiration.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tomato Tart

It's official. I have tomato fever. While I spent the first 33 years of my life detesting the little red globes, I now have an absolute obsession with them. I dream of the yellow teardrops and hearty heirloom varieties of summer. I anxiously anticipate eating them right off the vine.
As I adjust my scarf and look out the window, I remember that it is just barely spring and I will have to make do with the store bought cherry tomatoes that have sustained me through a long winter. One of my favorite ways to prepare these little beauties is to make a quick and easy tomato tart. Press a store bought pie crust (or homemade if you are so inclined) into a tart pan and sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesano reggiano. After slicing the tiny tomatoes in half and tossing them in olive oil and salt, place them into the shell. Next, saute thinly sliced onions in some butter and balsamic vinegar just until the onions soften. Scatter the onions around the tart and top with freshly chopped garlic and basil leaves. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. The wonderful aroma of garlic and basil will fill your kitchen and temp even those who may be enjoying a leisurely nap on the couch. Lunch is served!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chicken Kumquat Salad

Spring has sprung and I couldn't be happier. Fresh summer produce will soon start replacing the heavy comfort foods of winter. Lord knows, my waistline is anxiously anticipating a lighter diet. On deck in the fridge today was a chicken breast, some green peppers, a sweet onion, and a container of kumquats leftover from a shoot. I call that - lunch for one. I started by cutting up the chicken and tossing it in a skillet with some olive oil, green pepper, and onion. While that was cooking, I sliced the kumquats into circles and boiled them just until tender. After draining off the water, I sprinkled the fruit with a spoonful of sugar and set them aside. Once the chicken was fully cooked, I stirred in a clove of freshly chopped garlic and finished with the sweet kumquats. Placed on a bed a mixed greens, this was the perfect salad. The combination of warm chicken with the cool crisp greens was wonderful and kept the overall taste very light and fresh. No dressing was needed since the kumquats infiltrated the salad and gave everything a sweet citrusy glaze. Cheers to a bright and sunny spring! (let's hope it doesn't snow again!!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Operation: Lobster Bisque

As a stylist, I spend most of my time "in the trenches". When I am not covered in prop room dust or schlepping merchandise from one place to another, I am up to my elbows in food and probably wearing some as well. It is not a glamorous job but it does have it's perks. Case in point, I left work on Friday with two delicious lobster tails. These are the spoils of war, so to speak. I decided to stretch my decadent treat a little further by making soup. I started by sweating chopped red onion in olive oil and butter, then tossed in some carrots and green peppers. Once the vegetables were slightly softened, I sprinkled in a tablespoon of flour and added a can of coconut milk. Stirring in a healthy dose of red curry paste, I waited for the liquid to thicken. Using a blender, I pureed the soup to a smooth texture and finished with chunks of steamed lobster and fresh lime zest. The buttery lobster and the spicy broth were a perfect match. The fresh citrus added some much needed brightness and really took it over the top in the flavor department. Somewhere between a curry and a bisque, this soup was thick and velvety and packed a mouthful of flavor. I actually licked the bowl clean! So tonight I can relax with my full belly. Tomorrow, it's back to the trenches.