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January 2007

January 28, 2007

wcb: a handful of trubble

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige... Clare's been MIA for a bit so the WCb home has been floating around, this week Kate in the Kitchen has turned over the reins to a rather adorable black and white tuxedo orca kitty who is hosting this week's weekend cat blogging cute.

sleeping trubble kitten

Cleaning out the dozens of gigabytes of photos cluttering up my hard disk can be tedious as watching bread rise, but it does have its upsides. Like this.

Trubble at five weeks; Just the right size to hold in your hands. Is that not adorable?

January 17, 2007

what is in those Whoppers anyway?

Have you seen the current Burger King TV spot? In it, a bunch of men parade around town waving their burgers around and singing about their, ahem, meat to the tune of Helen Reddy's feminist anthem "I am Woman" - because nothing says marketing like the usurpation of that which you are campaigning against.

Maybe it is supposed to be a sort of post-ironic homage to claiming your own space in a world that doesn't let your class of people catch a break. You know, those poor eaters of cheap factory meat that have to drive their Hummer 150 yards to get to the next drive-through window. Poor babies.

In any case, I went looking for the lyrics so I was sure I was quoting them correctly.  I am really glad I did too, because I'd missed the money quote. Really. Here you go:

Oh, yes, I’m a guy!
I’ll admit I’ve been fed quiche!
Wave tofu bye-bye!
Now it’s for Whopper beef I reach
I will eat this meat
Till my innie turns into an outie!

Reread the last two lines, because, really, not much subtext there. Like I said, what is in those Whoppers anyway? I'm waiting for the new packaging: maybe a blue diamond...?

Blue Cheesecake Recipe

This savory blue cheese cheesecake has become one of my go-to appetizer/potluck dishes. I usually serve it with Pain la Ancienne baguettes and some of the infamous Blueberry Habanero Chutney. The sweet and tangy chutney complements the creamy cheesecake and a bread like the ancienne - a simple white baguette with a well developed, nutty flavor - provides a neutral, yet not bland, base.

At a party, the bread, cheesecake, and chutney invariably end up getting swapped in with other dishes too, which is always amusing. I knew this was a great thing the first time I took one to a party (sleepover Saturnalia bash at a friend's B&B) and could overhear "OMG! Have you tried the chutney with that?" and, in response, "...and the cheesecake with that...!" from the next room. (I have no idea what they were pointing at, but I swear that many a combination was tried and they were mostly very, very good...)

Continue reading "Blue Cheesecake Recipe" »

January 14, 2007

Ginger Applesauce Cake

Ginger Applesauce Cake

Like many of my recipes, this came together from ingredients that happened to be on hand at the time and my vague idea of a desired flavor. I was making a simple, and oddly summery, lunch (a huge salad, prawns in sage butter, and fresh focaccia) for guests and wanted something a bit more appropriately seasonal to go with the snow that still lingers outside.

My other requirement for this dessert was simplicity. One bowl and one pan was just about right. If it did not require a trip to the store, so much the better. At this point, I was leaning towards brownies...again. I've made so many batches of brownies lately that I am sort of tired of chocolate. (as if) In any case, brownies clearly wasn't it.

Back to winter flavors. In Washington state, winter means apples. In my house last week, apples meant applesauce. Not a bad start. Applesauce cake fit the bill. Right season, ingredients on hand, one bowl, and one pan. One problem. Somewhat lacking in magic. You know: Not. Very. Exciting.

Continue reading "Ginger Applesauce Cake" »

January 12, 2007

wcb: Hi! My name is kitchenMage and my kitten is a serial killer.

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige... Clare's been MIA for a bit so the WCb home has been floating around, this week stopping at What Did You Eat? where Upsie is doing quality control on the Ahi. Tough job, but some kitty has got to do it.

This picture is little for a reason. It's really cute, but that bright little thing is a bird. Live and not in obvious distress. If that's going to bug you, go look at the rest of this week's kitties and come back here next week, ok? Thanks.

The rest of you, click on the thumbnail for a photo of Trubble.

pouncing kitten, kissing birdie

January 10, 2007

Cooks and Bakers, we have a winner

Actually we have a number of winners. The winners of the Food Blog Awards have been posted over at Well Fed and I want to send a hearty congratulations to all of the winners. One in particular warms my little breadbaker's heart: Farmgirl Fare won the best rural blog category! That's right, my good friend and co-conspirator in the superSecretBreadBakingCabal is the best! I knew that already, but now the rest of the Internet does too.

btw, after you check out the winners, don't forget that the best part of the FBA is the list of nominees. This year's lists led me to a number of new (to me) blogs and I still have a few categories to go through. If you go to the collection of Food Blog Award posts, you can choose a category to  peruse. With any luck you can finish looking at this year's nominees by the time for next year's awards.

Congratulations to Susan and the rest of the winners!

Come to think of it, congratulations to everyone who has a food blog. These puppies are a lot of work and putting yourself out there for the public (and the trolls) is never easy.

January 06, 2007

wcb: hibernation

zoned catsNot much to say, except that Trubble loves her brother 'ssouri Bowtie very much! I have as much energy as these two and no idea who is hosting weekend cat blogging this week. So here's to someone to snuggle with when you're all tuckered out and it's cold and rainy outside.

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year! Spiced Mexican Chocolate Tart Recipe

New Year's Eve chocolate tart

Happy New Year! (and a very quiet happy hangover! for those of you who celebrated a bit too much already)

This chocolate tart was a last minute creation for a last minute party. I called the folks who were hosting about 1pm yesterday and had roughly this conversation:

me: What can we bring?
k: oh, don't go to any effort...
d: (in the background) is that kitchenMage? tell her to go to some effort!


Given the time of day, the lack of a convenient store and my reputation, this meant I had to get creative based on the contents of the pantry. Challenging. Fortunately, I had both good chocolate and heavy cream -- a combination that always makes last minute baking easier -- and just enough time to pull off a tart crust. The filling was based on a recipe from a cooking class at the Herbfarm, but slanted towards something like Mexican hot chocolate. The filling recipe is enough to generously fill a 10 inch tart with a smidge left over.

Mexican Chocolatish Tart Filling
Bittersweet chocolate, 12 ounces
Butter, 4 ounces
brandy, 3-4 ounces (Grand Marnier would have reinforced the orange flavor better, but I was out)
orange zest, from one orange
orange extract, 1/2 tsp
cinnamon, 1-2 tsp
allspice, 1/4-1/2 tsp
nutmeg, 1/4-1/2 tsp
cream, 2 cups

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler (or microwave on med in 60 second increments, stirring it every minute, and stopping before the chocolate is totally melted). While chocolate is melting, grind spices and zest orange. Add rest of ingredients, except cream, and stir to combine. Let mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. You can do this in the refrigerator, but watch it to make sure it doesn't harden.

Whip the cream. Gently fold cream into chocolate, 1/3 at a time. Fill tart shell. Smooth top of tart using a long spatula dipped in hot water and dried between strokes.

In this case, the decorations were impromptu. We had orangettes (no not that Orangette, the candy kind) and they looked sort of like stained glass when sliced -- tasty stained glass with chocolate edges. someoneElse sliced a number of them and I started  arranging them on the tart before I had much of a clue as to final design...because a clock was so tough to come up with. A sprinkle of shaved bittersweet confetti on top of it all and suddenly it was a complete thought. When we arrived, I handed the box with the tart to D., who rewarded me with a doubletake as I explained that I had, after all, gone to a little effort.

For the first hour or so of the party, the host was pulling homemade pizzas out of the oven (caramelized onions and Gorgonzola was probably my favorite) and other guests brought lots of wonderful things to munch, plus much alcohol. We toasted the new year as it moved across North America, although by 11 we were toasting places in out own time zone, something I blame it on the much alcohol. I was glad that we were all mature enough to designate drivers and none of us had far to drive.

I wish you all a 2007 of plenty: friends you laugh with, family you love, work you enjoy and food you love. World peace would be nice too.

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