———————————————————————————————————————-I think I might have a problem. As you may have noticed, I kind of love asparagus. Until is goes out of season, I eat it at least once a week (as you can probably tell). But how was I supposed to resist it at the farmer’s market last weekend? The bright green, plump stalks were calling my name. And then you add in the fact that ramps are now in season for a few short weeks, and there was no hope. I had to get them both — and actually, thank goodness I did because now I can share this pesto with you. The ramps give it a garlicky bite, but the brightness of the asparagus mellows it out a bit. This would also be excellent mixed with pasta, or served with a mild white fish, or with boiled potatoes for a riff on potato salad — whatever your imagination might come up with. Continue reading “Crostini with Asparagus and Ramp Pesto”
We interrupt today’s normal “$10 Mondays” posts for something much more important: buttercream. I first attempted buttercream a couple of years ago, and it has since become my favorite frosting, although it is certainly more work than the usual method of creaming butter and sugar. However, I think it is worth the effort and in this case, the lightness of the buttercream offsets the dense and rich cake very nicely. I do, however, have a confession to make: I was so distracted on the day of Ari’s party that I didn’t even realize I had taken out the 1/3 measuring cup instead of the 1/2 — thus, my total amount of sugar was 1 1/4 cup, rather than 1 1/2 cups, as specified in the recipe. I actually found that it was plenty sweet and didn’t realize my mistake until later on, so I will include both measurements below. The recipe comes from Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller, probably my all-time favorite cookbook and a master of technique and instruction. I also think that next time I would make all Nutella buttercream, rather than dividing it into two batches, as the flavor wasn’t discernibly different.
Since this would be an incredibly long post if I wrote both the cake and frosting recipes in one, I decided to break it up into two separate posts. I actually love making layer cakes and really any excuse is a good one for me to make one — birthdays, obviously being the best. Though they have a lot of steps, there is something incredibly satisfying in the end product, and I love all of the smoothing and decorating that goes into it. I know, I’m weird, I guess it’s just the detail-oriented editorial assistant in me. Also, I always make the layers of a cake a few days ahead of time and freeze them, as frozen cake layers are much easier to work with than soft ones. Anyways, on to the recipe… Continue reading “Chocolate Cake Part 1: The Cake”
For today’s $10 post, I will be continuing the party-themed appetizers (more this week + cake!) You may have already noticed these mushroom crostini in pictures from my earlier party posts and wondered what they were. Well, to answer your questions, these make a great winter appetizer and with a simple green salad also make a cheap dinner. Even though NYC’s temperatures may reach 70(!) degrees this week, the produce selection is still decidedly wintery, so these are a good option until more exciting tomatoes and zucchini are available. Continue reading “$10 Mondays: Mushroom Crostini”
Today, I need to once again give credit to the ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon. If you haven’t checked out their blog already, you definitely should. They always have excellent (and usually whimsical) recipes, as well as gorgeous food styling and photography. When I came across this recipe for asparagus fries with different dipping sauces, I knew I had a winner. As you may have noticed (as evidenced here and here), I have somewhat of an affinity for asparagus which is only matched for my love of french fries. And dipping sauces. For time’s sake, I only made the roasted garlic aioli, but I can assure you that the asparagus were no less loved for that.
To continue the party-themed posts this week, I give you Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze. I have made this recipe a few times now, and I only love it more and more. I would eat this over rice for an excellent and simple dinner, or on a sandwich or with a spoon. Or as an appetizer at a party, as it was served here. It also makes a great dish for entertaining since you can mix up the meatballs and sauce several hours ahead of time, leaving you only with the task of sautéing the meatballs themselves. They are also still quite good a room temperature.
Last weekend, Ari turned 25 and rather than going out to dinner, we decided to throw a party. I, of course (voluntarily) was in charge of the food. Rather than hosting a sit-down dinner party which limits the number of guests and the host’s ability to interact with them, we opted to have a bunch of appetizers and dessert. Ari left it to me to come up with the menu, with only a couple of requests. I will admit it was kind of a challenge to make all of this in one day (the only thing I made ahead of time were the cake layers), but particularly if you have a willing sous chef it is definitely possible. My requirements for dishes were as follows: I could do some of the prep work in the morning, that they had similar cooking temperatures so I could have more than one thing in the oven at once, and third, that they could sit out for a while and still taste good.
With these requirements in mind, here is the menu I came up with:
Turkey meatballs with soy-glaze
Homemade ricotta crostini with honey
Simple winter salad
Creamed mushroom crostini
Crispy asparagus fries with roasted garlic aioli
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Nutella Buttercream