These are the BEST BROWNIES EVER. They’re crackly, chewy and perfectly fudgy in the middle. Of course, if I could make them any less sweet I probably would, but because I can’t imagine what omitting the sugar would do to the end result (omitting a flavoring or chocolate type is way easier than omitting a solid, structural ingredient like sugar), I think I’ll leave them be. The recipe is basically a Saveur magazine classic with a few twists and turns, which is pretty typical of me when I think about it. I always start off recipes with the best of intentions and then change so many flavors in the course of baking my goods become entirely different beasts. In the case of these brownies, originally called “Supernatural Brownies”, I used brown sugar for the whole thing, omitted the vanilla, changed up the flour type (because regular white is too mainstream) and added some booze. The rum is what makes them sailor brownies, but I promise you, they’re just as (and even more so) supernatural than the originals.
Who doesn’t love Tuesday night pasta?
Remember when you were a kid and food themes were a big deal? Those golden days when you could go to bed and sleep soundly knowing your next big meal would involve some form of macaroni enveloped in a thick layer of phosphorescent powder and topped with salty but weirdly addictive bacon bits and ketchup? I do. It was called Tuesday night pasta, and I loved it.
Of course, my tastes have changed since then. I no longer eat macaroni and cheese from a box (most of the time) and I’d rather eat real provolone and brie than mix strange powders with milk and hope it makes cheese (I still don’t know what KD is made of and I’d rather not know, now that I think about it). Habits however, die hard. Being honest, I’m glad my parents had a set weekly regimen when I was younger because I’d rather know what I’m eating in advance then get home and stare blankly into a refrigerator stocked with only two potatoes, condiments and a liter of soda. This is why meal planning is so useful. Instead of buying ingredients on a whim, you only buy what you need and save the big spending for a single day of the week. Instead of being recipe-stumped, you think up seven days of possible meals in one day and stick to it. Pasta Tuesday? It’s still pretty awesome.
This recipe is so quick to make! All you really need is pasta, some kind of onion/leek/root, butter, a lemon, parsley, frozen shrimp and a sharp cheese. Anything else you put on just adds Pizazz. I love leeks but be careful when preparing them because they often have dirt in odd places and need a thorough washing before you add them to the pan. The shrimp I used were Jumbo deveined and although I assume you could buy fresh shrimp somewhere (Not in No Frills you can’t!), frozen work fine. Just take them out of the freezer earlier that day and they’ll be ready to go.
- 1 pound fusilli
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 small leek, cleaned thoroughly and thinly sliced (or a few green onions/1 regular white onion)
- 1 bag jumbo shrimp, frozen
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped very finely
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan/ firm goat cheese/ feta
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, a little oil and pasta. Cook according to package instructions or until al dente (slightly chewy but cooked through), drain (reserving 1/4 cup cooking water!) and set aside
Heat butter over medium heat in a pan, swirling pan and watching closely until butter starts to caramelize. Once butter is slightly nutty and golden, take your pan off the heat for a minute. Add thinly sliced leeks and return pan to heat, cooking until translucent
Add shrimp, and cook for a few minutes until both sides are pink and shrimp is slightly springy (so cooked through, if you’re not sure slice into one!) Stir in lemon zest and juice and season with pepper and salt. Add 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, turn up heat and cook about 1 minute more until sauce thickens slightly. Add your cheese, parsley and mix. Transfer to a large bowl
- Serve while still hot, adding more cheese and/or butter as desired
Today’s long-overdue recipe post is for my grandmother, the wonderful cook and beautiful soul who taught me how to properly pick zucchini and how to relish simple meals like steamed fish with wild greens and minimal spices. Unlike widely assumed, spicier is not always better. In some cases, especially when using fresh ingredients, all you need is a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt, pepper and fresh rosemary to make a meal sing. Although I still love curries, Lebanese food and hot-sauce, learning to appreciate the simplicity of Dalmatian food was the best lesson I’ve ever been taught. Although my Nana isn’t known for excessive meals, the desserts she loves are almost always on rotation in her kitchen, not as treats but as necessities. After all, why wait for Friday to treat yourself when you can have a few bites of something delicious every day?
Šnenokle, a sort of trifle composed of vanilla custard and gently poached meringue is one such dessert. I always thought it’s origins were German but after snooping around on the internet for a while I learned that it actually comes from France, where the dessert is typically made with cream, served cold and decorated with sweet, sticky caramel. The Croatian version I grew up eating is decidedly simpler and healthier. My grandmother would probably even say it’s the best, as would any French grandmother or Italian Nonna. As usual with European food, it doesn’t matter. Make it however you want: thick or thin custard, caramel or no caramel, it’ll still be delicious.
- 1 liter of milk ( I used lactose-free milk)
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp raw sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 2-5 digestive biscuits, crumbled
- 5 tbsp or so chocolate shavings to decorate
Separate your yolks from your whites. Heat the milk in a large saucepan on medium-high until simmering (re: slightly bubbling).
Beat egg whites on medium-high speed, adding 2 tbsp sugar, salt and cream of tartar when egg whites are white but not yet stiff. Turn up speed to high and beat until completely stiff (ie: you can put the bowl upside down and nothing eggy will budge, proceed with caution).
Turn down simmering milk to low heat. With two large spoons, shape and transport large chunks of meringue into the milk. Once the meringues start to grow, turn them over gently with one of the spoons so that the other side can cook. Do this in several several batches depending on the size of your saucepan and baste meringues with milk as they cook.
Transport ready meringues to a plate to cool down.
Take your milk off the heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and vanilla until very light yellow in color, thick and frothy. Add the three tbsp of cornstarch and combine well. Add a few tbsp of warm milk to the small bowl to bring up the temperature of the egg yolks (so they don’t curdle) and once warmed, return egg mixture to the large saucepan.
Put saucepan back on the stove and simmer mixture on medium until it thickens. Once bubbling, take it off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl.
Add in cooked meringues and crumbled cookies and cover with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate and enjoy cold.
How do you eat your layered desserts? do you try to get every component in one bite or do you dissect the layers, choosing, for example, to first eat the meringue and then the crust from a lemon meringue pie? If you’re one of the many people who like to go top-down, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I too, belong to the muffin-top-association-of-impatient-eaters. Coffeecakes are no exception and more often then not I find myself in the kitchen helplessly stealing (side-note: is it really stealing if you made it yourself?) pieces of crumbly goodness from desserts like this cherry cake I made Tuesday night. Non-withstanding the slightly long ingredients list, this fruity cake is incredibly easy to make and because of it’s healthy components can be eaten both as dessert and breakfast. If you’re feeling especially virtuous, you could remove the crumble topping completely and just eat the cake as is, but really, why would you? I like the cherries+dark chocolate combination but i can also imagine using cranberries and white chocolate, blueberries and whole almond pieces or raspberries and pistachios, every combination of course bettered by a final dollop of freshly whipped cream.
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup 1/4 cup almond flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tsp cinnamon
zest of one orange
1/4 tsp salt
1 heaping tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped roughly (substitute white chocolate chunks or chopped nuts)
1 cup cherries, sliced in fours (or any other berry)
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cold butter
-Preheat oven to 180 c and line a large rectangular 8×10 pan with parchment and butter along the sides (really I just eyeballed the size of my pan by looking at how much batter I had)
- Combine first 6 (wet) ingredients in a large bowl and whisk by hand until airy
- In another bowl, combine dry ingredients, including cherries, until cherries and chocolate chunks are thoroughly covered in flour (this is to prevent excess water coming out of the fruit during baking)
- Mix dry into wet, folding mixture until completely homogonized
- Spread mixture into prepared pan, making sure the batter is level so it bakes evenly
- Make streusel in what was once the dry bowl, combing the almond flour, brown sugar and cold butter with your hands (or with a pastry cutter) quickly, until you achieve a crumbly, lumpy mixture
- Spread over batter in pan evenly
- Bake for 40-45 minutes (start checking at the 40 min mark)
- Let cool and enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Unexpected deliciousness happens, it really does. Yesterday my family was having a few guests over and five minutes into grocery shopping for salad ingredients and fawning over ready made black forest cakes, my mother says, we haven’t even opened the almond flour I bought a month ago, why don’t we just make a cake ourselves? and before you could say presto-chango, we were back home hulling organic strawberries and melting chocolate in the microwave. We didn’t have any specific cake in mind so we decided to go with the classic eastern-European nut sponge that so many Balkan women know by heart. Sort a few eggwhites, add as many tablespoons of sugar as there are eggs, whip until stiff and fold in ground nuts. Boom. I think it goes against family tradition to closely adhere to baking guidelines anyway, especially as most of our family recipes don’t exactly explain things very well (bake until done? heat oven until hot? what?) so exact quantities are usually left to interpretation. Once the sponges were baked, we spread both cakes with melted chocolate, covered them with vanilla whipped cream and threw in a few strawberries. Simple, but overwhelmingly delicious. Too delicious in fact, to not share with the world. This recipe is rough around the edges, so feel free to change it up. We used strawberries but I’m sure it would be even more delicious with fresh raspberries. I used lactose-free whipped cream (#thereisagod) and Ikea dark chocolate (I kid you not, it’s super yum) as well as ready made almond flour from Costco. Give it a go! nobody will never know it only took an hour start-to-finish.
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar (to stiffen the egg-whites)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate melted
- 1 cup strawberries (or other fruit), sliced into fours.
- 1 carton whipping cream (lactose-free or no), whipped
- 1 vanilla pod
– Pre-heat oven to 350. Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and butter sides
- Separate eggs, keeping egg yolks for another recipe.
- Whip egg-whites with sugar and cream of tartar until mixture is so thick, you can lift your bowl upside down and egg-whites won’t budge (aka, stiff peaks).
- Carefully fold in almonds until thoroughly combined and divide between pans.
- Bake until cakes are golden, set and a toothpick comes out easily (about 20 minutes, but different for every oven).
- Spread sponges with melted dark chocolate and let cool in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
- Whip cream with the vanilla until stiff.
- Cover one of the sponges with 1/3 of the whipped cream, add strawberry slices, another 1/3 of the whipped cream and cover with other sponge.
- Add a final layer whipped cream, decorate with strawberries and more chocolate drizzle.
- Let sit in the fridge until dinner is served.