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Archive for February, 2009

Printable Recipes

Hi Everyone,

All Besotted Gourmet recipes are now available with a printable version, and I’ve added a new Recipes page with links to printable versions of all the recipes. Enjoy!

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Sweet & Tangy Sticky Ribs

 

I made a version of these ribs, adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson that I can no longer find, the first time for a barbecue several years ago. My friend’s children, Max & Oz, were very nearly refusing to eat anything until they stumbled on a pile of these ribs, and proceeded to munch away contentedly (and quietly) for the next hour. It was quite the endorsement and put these ribs on the short list of group-friendly recipes.

 

One of the things I like best about this recipe is its inclusion of unusual flavors that require no extra effort. Items like five spice powder, star anise, and chili paste in soybean oil are as easy to add as garlic powder, garlic, and mustard, but they open up the spectrum of flavors with no additional effort.

 

Star Anise adds a mellow licorice flavor to the marinade.

Star Anise adds a mellow licorice flavor to the marinade.

 

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This little machine delivers thrills galore with its hazardous, multi-purpose efficiency.

This little machine delivers thrills galore with its hazardous, multi-purpose efficiency.

 

I think that there is a misconception out there that only men are attracted to loud, dangerous machinery – the kind of contraption whose weight alone tells you that you need some serious skills to wield it without losing a limb (or a digit, at the very least).

 

I, for one, adore my noisiest and most menacing kitchen gadgets – after all, the deafening grind and capable-sounding whir tell you that they’re working, right? Right!

 

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Real, REAL Whipped Cream

 

Whipped cream makes your everyday coffee or cocoa after dinner special.

Whipped cream makes your everyday coffee or cocoa a special treat.

 

 

There is a relatively new commercial airing from Reddi Whip in which a diner customer is given the option between whipped cream made with hydrogenated oils or real cream. Guffawing, she, not surprisingly opts for the whipped cream made with real cream. This may not seem like satire to anyone else, but I find it darkly comedic that a pre-packaged confection, sprayed from a can with the use of nitrous oxide is being promoted as more “real” or “like homemade”.

 

It irks me to no end, the measures that the processed food industry has taken to convince us that desserts are not worth the time and effort to be made from scratch, which is, to put it mildly, a complete farce. The only thing even more bothersome than the deception is the success that they’ve had in convincing us that baking from scratch is laborious and antiquated, when in reality, it is anything but.

 

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A perfect alternative to a bacon & eggs brunch.

A perfect alternative to a bacon & eggs brunch.

 

 

Brunch is undoubtedly my favorite meal, and while I have a pretty exclusive relationship with Bacon & Eggs, I do stray from time to time, but only for a really spectacular alternative, and I have it here with these Apple & Crème Fraîche Pancakes.

 

This pancake recipe evolved out of a recipe by the inimitable Ina Garten, Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, in her Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. However, a little tweaking, a missing ingredient or two (which, I’m convinced, is the impetus of most recipe evolution), and a desire to rid myself of a few soon-to-be-dated items yielded this fantastic recipe.

 

It is a composition of stunning contrasts, which tend to make the most interesting dishes. The lemon and crème fraiche add a tang to what is generally a very mild, peaceful dish. The heavy dairy component gives a velvety weight to what is still a very fluffy pancake (the pictures don’t do justice to the pancakes but do illustrate how high they rise).

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humboldt-fog

I am an unabashed cheese-lover. It makes me happy in a way that few inanimate objects can. The moment that I feel the creamy texture on my tongue and the penetrating flavors swirl in my mouth, I am transported; my worries wash away, I feel pampered, sated, and, of course, besotted. I really love cheese.

 

So when I saw a sign in my neighborhood Whole Foods market that they had lowered cheese prices, I nearly fell over in ecstasy; while I couldn’t care less about the affects on my bikini-body, at $25/pound and a notoriously short shelf-life, indulging has to be well-planned.

 

I am a huge proponent of incorporating a cheese plate into a dinner menu. It fits perfectly into the “Buy, Arrange, Cook Trinity” and is generally a crowd pleaser. But now, thanks to lower fuel and commodity prices, as well as the dollar’s more favorable position against the euro, cheese lovers can guiltlessly spring for the more majestic cheeses.

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Linguine alla Carbonara

Several years ago, I went to an inexpensive Italian restaurant in London. I had made the foolish mistake of trying to do a very expensive city on the cheap, whereas, in my old age, I’ve learned to do inexpensive cities very grandly, and end up with a much better experience. But I digress…

 

This restaurant offered Linguine alla Carbonara on the menu, and, as it is one of my favorites and so rarely on a restaurant’s menu, I decided to try it. The offending dish came out as I should have expected, with cream used to bind the delightful, fresh flavors, and subsequently drowning their freshness in its leaden heaviness. I ended up with a less-cheesy alfredo – not terrible to eat, but not the carbonara I was hoping for.

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