What I threw together for dessert

August 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm (cooking, dessert, food, fruit, recipes)

I threw these tarts together from bits and pieces that I had lying around.  It came together so well, probably much better than if I had planned it out.  These are goat cheese cake tartlets topped with slices of white peaches.

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Since I was using bits and pieces, I only made three tartlets.  Seems like three wouldn’t be worth the effort, but they were so delicious.  And they weren’t much trouble to make.  The crust was super easy – I used a French tart dough that I found through David Lebovitz.  Easiest crust AND most delicious crust ever.  I’ll be using it again.  And the goat cheesecake part is modified from another recipe online.  After the crust and filling were baked, I topped it with some thin slices of white peach, sprinkled some sugar on top, and threw it under the broiler.  I was trying to get a little bit of a creme brulee-like crust.  That didn’t work out.  Maybe I’ll try it again with a blowtorch, once I find myself a blowtorch.

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Even without a blowtorch, it was still delicious!

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I found the perfect cupcakes

October 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm (dessert, fruit, ice cream, new york city, restaurants, review)

Remember how I said that all the cupcake bakeries that I’ve tried don’t make ’em the way I like ’em?  Well, I’ve found a bakery that makes cupcakes pretty darn close to what I think is ideal… Dessert Club ChikaLicious.  Ignore the too-long and slightly annoying name.  They’ve got the right amount of frosting, right level of tenderness, right level of lightness, right intensity of flavor, and the right frosting texture – fluffy, but still smooth and rich.  They are slightly too sweet, but that’s really my only complaint.  And that’s a tricky one because if you decrease the sugar in cakes or frosting, it can adversely affect other things like the texture.

We tried the banana, mocha, red velvet, and the s’mores cupcakes.  The banana cupcake was outrageously yummy.  My banana-hating sister would really hate this one because the banana flavor is so intense and perfect.  I’m not a huge fan of red velvet cake, but this one was the best that I’ve ever had.  The other two, mocha and s’mores, were pretty tasty, but because they had a chocolate ganache filling, there wasn’t enough cake for me.

I heard about this place from Serious Eats: New York.  Here’s a series of photos that they took of DCC’s cupcakes.  Yummy looking, yes?

This cupcake discovery is not included in the whole NYC vs SF competition because, even though there are plenty of cupcake places in SF, I haven’t really tried very many of those.  But if it’s a NYC vs DC bout, NYC wins this round.  But so far, DC holds the gelato title.  That may change after I try some gelato around here, but the DC gelato was mind-blowingly amazing.  It’s going to be tough to surpass Dolcezza‘s gelato and their use of local/fresh/in-season ingredients.

In other news, I ate the best apple that I’ve had in a long time.  I think it was a Jonagold apple, but I’m not sure.  I grabbed a bunch of different varieties and put them into the same bag.  I wish there were a way for me to reduce the bags that I use and allow me to keep track of what type of apple is what.  I guess I could try harder with my memory…

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New York vs. San Francisco Round 2: Farmers’ Markets

October 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm (food, fruit, new york city, review, san francisco)

I’m not really comparing the whole east coast to the whole west coast. So now it’s New York vs. San Francisco, Farmers’ Markets.

It’s not even close! I went to the Union Square Greenmarket today. It’s lovely. And much better than what I was imagining. But it’s still nothing like San Francisco’s. There are just not as many farmers here, I guess. It’s nice that the Union Square Greenmarket is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. And it’s nice that it’s really close to NYU, where I’ll be working. So I can stop by for produce during the week. But the selection and variety is just not even close!  And it’s not even winter yet!

NY: 1
SF: 1

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The science of juicing lemons

September 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm (cooking, fruit)

Here’s a video of an experiment about juicing lemons. They juiced a lemon that had been cut crosswise and one that had been cut lengthwise.  The lemon cut lengthwise yielded almost three times as much juice.  I would have liked to see experiment repeated with multiple lemons, different people, different juicing methods, etc. before I’d accept the results as conclusive.  But I’ll probably start cutting my lemons lengthwise to juice them.

But here’s the really interesting question.  At least in my mind.  Why do you get more juice when you cut it lengthwise?  And how would you test whatever hypothesis you come up with?  Maybe McGee has something to say about that, but my copy is all packed up and ready to be loaded into a storage/moving cube tomorrow!

And apparently having the citrus at room temperature is also good.

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Good ideas

August 4, 2008 at 8:08 pm (dessert, food, fruit, random, san francisco)

We had some blueberries and decided to make some muffins.  I was flipping through Moosewood’s dessert cookbook (really good book!) for inspiration and I saw gingerbread cupcakes!  I thought that would be perfect for adding blueberries.  And I was right.

Blueberry Gingerbread Cupcakes!

Blueberry Gingerbread Cupcakes!

(That’s my Santa Claus melon in the background!  I don’t think I can finish it by myself, so some of it might be made into a Santa Claus melon sorbet!)

The atmosphere at Range is quite nice, but it’s still hard to forget that you’re on Valencia St in the Mission.  At one point, this guy dressed up as a disco ball came in to the restaurant.  I guess he was kicked out soon after that.  But what makes this a good idea is that he had a little sound system built into his costume.  So he was a walking disco party, all rolled up into one glittering ball.  With legs.

The disco ball costume wasn’t my idea, but if you are interested in hearing more of my ideas, my paper is published!  You can check it out if you’re interested.  It’s PLoS so it’s open access!

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