Wow, what a morning. I went to sleep last night slightly anxious: would the Supreme Court continue its conservative streak, this week, and uphold DOMA? Would Prop 8 remain in place? Then, at 6 AM, I woke up and checked my phone, going straight to Twitter to see if there were any relevant updates. There weren’t, so back to sleep I went. Then at 7:30 I woke up and same thing. Maybe it was around 8 that the news began to trickle in: DOMA had been overturned. I switched to Facebook and so many of my friends were ecstatic with the news. My friend Lauren, who I lived with in law school and who had the same family law professor I did, wrote this: “Around 10 yrs ago, my Family Law professor (an orthodox rabbi) confidently said to my face that he believed within 10 yrs time there would be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same sex marriage. The smile on my face right now is dedicated to him. Law students: don’t believe everything they tell you.”
This is a week of recipes where the finished dish doesn’t look good, but tastes really good, so I lead with a picture of something else. Yesterday it was Kachin Chicken Curry with a picture of a mortar and pestle, today it’s No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Baked Explorations with an image of peanut butter in a measuring cup. You’ll understand why when we get to the end.
It was only after I’d started making this coffee cake, mixing the butter and sugar, that I realized this wasn’t a round 9-inch cake sort of deal; this was a 13 X 9-inch beast.
Yes, I know, you’re supposed to study a recipe carefully before proceeding; and yes, you’re supposed to butter the pan before you start (I tend to do it right before adding the batter). But the point is: I made a giant coffee cake. And the larger point is: it was so outrageously good, with a chocolate cinnamon swirl inside and pecans on top, that it was gone in a matter of days.
It’s Apple Season, So Here Are Three Desserts You Can Make with Apples (Baked Apples, Apple Cake & Apple Cobbler)
Peter Meehan recently ranted about hectoring food snobs, the ones who make you feel bad for putting milk in your coffee (something he witnessed at an elite coffee shop) or who mock you for not knowing your various kinds of meat (hogget, anyone?) It’s with a sense of subtle restraint, then, that I gently prod you (I’m not hectoring, I swear) to make your way to a farmer’s market this autumn to buy some apples.
Not because it’ll make you a better person (it won’t) or because it’ll elevate your foodie status (whatever that might be), but because farmer’s market apples just taste better than supermarket apples. All you have to do to experience the difference is taste.
So that dinner I made for my friend Alex’s birthday (the one with the soup) began a few days earlier when I e-mailed Alex a very important question: “Dear Alex,” I wrote, “what are your Top 5 favorite desserts of all time?”
Alex wrote back: “Hmmm…top five favorite desserts…I’ll do this w/o thinking too much: pecan pie, warm cake with cream cheese frosting, strawberry rhubarb pie, chocolate lava cake, lemon cake.” Seeing as she did this stream-of-consciousness style, I had to trust that the first dessert she named was truly her favorite. Which is why I ended up making what turned out to be (in my opinion at least) the greatest pecan pie ever.
You know how some people use Memorial Day and Labor Day to delineate time? As in: “We bought our house around Memorial Day” or “We’re spending the summer in Cape Cod and we come back around Labor Day”? I always nod and smile when people do that but truthfully, I never remember when Memorial Day or Labor Day fall. July 4th, however, is different. It’s a holiday with its date built right into the title. And, having just glanced at the calendar, I’m fairly certain this weekend is July 4th weekend and, therefore, you’re going to have a picnic and you’re going to want something to bring to it. Well I have the answer: S’more bars.
[Hey, this is Adam The Amateur Gourmet. I’m on vacation in Barcelona, Spain and while I’m gone I’ve asked some awesome people to fill in for me. The first awesome person on the docket is the co-proprietor of one of the best bakeries in all of New York, Mr. Matt Lewis of Baked. I love Baked (see here) and I love their cookbook and I’m honored that Matt wrote this guest post. So thank you Matt–take it away!]
I have lived in New York for over 14 years now, but I still romanticize my time spent in the South. More specifically: Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Even more specifically, my alma mater The University of Alabama. By and large, I have many positive memories from this time. I specifically remember the inexpensive rent (I had an entire floor of a huge Southern home to myself for 300 bucks a month), the wide-open spaces, the Southern gentility, the sweet tea, and the food. I also remember waking up in a ditch 20 miles from campus after a night of acid (do people still drop acid?), vodka, and a bad Metallica cover band. But I digress.