Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mom's Chocolate Cake

Sometimes a cake is just a cake. Well, this isn’t just any ordinary cake. Why? For one, it only shows up on special occasions, be it birthdays, anniversaries, or graduations. It made its first appearance (for me, anyway) on my first birthday. As the name of the cake implies, my Mom made it. And it was delicious – I think! I can’t be sure because pictures seem to show that I got more chocolate on me than in me. 

In the years since then, she's been making it for different occasions, and each iteration seemingly better than the last. In a way, each cake is imbued with the joyful memories of celebrations past. It gets better every year!

The cake is deceptively simple. The layers resemble a fairly classic devil’s food cake. It’s moist and chocolatey – not too sweet. The twist? It incorporates beets, which seem to lend it a deeper and more lasting moistness. In between the cake layers, there is a generous spread of apricot preserves. Add on a splash of Kirschwasser and you’ve got a delightfully fruity cake filling. On top and on the sides is a rich and heavenly chocolate ganache. And when spread over the cake, it adds a delicate and velvety burst of intense chocolate flavor. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Red Bean Curry (Rajma)

If you’ve been checking this blog regularly, you might have gotten the impression that most of the recipes hail from Western European cooking traditions, be it France, Italy, or Germany. While it’s true that many things here would fit right in at your standard California restaurant, that’s not all there is on offer.

As it turns out, many of the dishes that I love to cook are inspired by cultural references from many parts of the world. Now, I don’t claim that any of them are authentic. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. In any event, authenticity is a fraught concept, so no need to worry about it. 

What we've got here today is a variation of one of my go-to dishes from Smitten Kitchen.

What is it? It's red bean curry, or Rajma. It's blends hearty kidney beans with a deliciously spicy tomato sauce. And with a couple fresh ingredients, it transforms a couple pantry staples into a very solid weeknight meal that can be thrown together in about 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

10-Minute Oatmeal Pancakes

Everyone has moments when they want to do absolutely nothing.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Having just finished final exams, I recently had to navigate that nadir. But, we all still have to eat. Problem? You bet. Eventually the jars of peanut butter run out. And until Taco Bell delivers, sooner or later something will need to be cooked.

For every problem, there is a solution. Well, these pancakes are that solution. What do they have going for them? To start with: they're dead simple to prepare. Quick and easy. No folding and no whipping involved!

More importantly, they help you start the day off right. Good nutrition is a great way to start to getting out of a funk. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I do read a lot of Wikipedia. I'm fairly sure these pancakes are the cure for something.

What's in it? You've got oats, eggs, milk, and fruit. Oh yeah, and a small pat of butter. Overall, pretty good stuff - nutrient rich and nutrient dense.
So feel free to head over to Taco Bell later for some Locos Taco. You've earned it!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Best Ever" Brownies

[UPDATE 7/31/12: Recipe is up (brownies are outstanding!)

Just a quick study break and one time announcement. Because of final exams, there won't be any posts until late next week.

In the meantime, I've set up an Atom feed (below) for my blog if you want to keep up with it on Google Reader (or similar). Likewise, you can follow me on Twitter (@matteitelberg) for upcoming recipes.

Upcoming recipes, after finals are over, include these "best ever" brownies. Hyperbole? Yeah, probably. But they are really good. Three types of chocolate, including chocolate chips. Did I mention there's chocolate? 

Also, there are a couple recipes on the savory side: Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry), 10-Minute Oatmeal Pancakes, and Mushroom Bourguignon. 

Stay tuned!