Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's a small world after all...

Especially in the Lower East Side.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and starting since 12:00 am, I have been and will be completely alcohol free until Easter. Last year I gave up all carbonated beverages and that was pretty hard. This year I decided that it would be interesting to give up alcohol...I would save money, calories and perhaps lower my ridiculous tolerance??

So of course I had to celebrate Fat Tuesday in honor of my impending sobriety. And what better way than going to the Clinton Street Baking Company, for dinner, where not only is every Tuesdays half-price wine night, but yesterday was also International Pancake Day of their Pancake month....and did I mention they are known for their incredible pancakes?

I went with my lovely co-worker Emily and had a ridiculously amazing meal where we split a bottle of wine and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked (did I mention we were catching up). Emily ordered the special creamy artichoke soup, which was incredibly decadent and creamy, and the fish and chips for her entree (which she stated were incredible, and which obviously I did not try being a hater of all things that live in the water).

Being squash obsessed, I on the other han, ordered the spicy butternut squash soup as my appetizer - it was perfectly seasoned and filled with butternut goodness, and unlike other butternut squash soups not cloyingly sweet. For my entree, I had their black angus burger with caramelized onions on a brioche bun. Heaven.

But where were the pancakes you say? Well being of like minded ladies, Emily and I agreed hours before we even left work that we would split the pancake of the day - roasted apples & pears with cinnamon sour cream - for dessert; we also decided to split (we did just split a bottle of wine....ok Emily was getting drunk, I wasn't even tipsy ) a Bourbon Apple Cobbler cocktail of apple cider, ginger ale, bourbon, on the rocks.

To say those pancakes were amazing is not enough. I believe the "O" word and "BTS" were uttered, multiple times. The pancakes themselves were light and airy, with perfectly cooked apples and pears inside. The syrup was a sugary delight. These pancakes were crack to an addict. I wanted to make love to these pancakes. And our Bourbon Apple Cobbler cocktail was the perfect um foreplay compliment to these discs of sin. Sigh.

And of course, lest I forget, who do I see walk in the middle of dinner but none other than fellow Morsel Stephanie B., er C. Being of like minded International Pancake knowledge, she was also there for dinner with her delightful husband.

Overall, not a bad way to start my dry 40 days.....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Homemade Ricotta and Asparagus, Ricotta, & Prosciutto Pizza

Today I made ricotta cheese! This is not something I would normally think of doing, but I'm housesitting for my parents and have a big, well-stocked kitchen at my disposal, so... decided to have some fun trying new things!

The ricotta was delicious, and it was SO EASY to make. I followed this ricotta recipe from, which has very clear step-by-step instructions that I won't repeat here. I used 1% milk, and that turned out just fine. The hardest part for me was just stretching the cheesecloth over the collander. (Which is to say, it was all quite easy.)

I would definitely make ricotta again, rather than buy it. So quick and so yummy.

This evening I put some of the ricotta to use on a pizza, also inspired by a recipe from eggsonsunday. Made some slight changes, though - here's my pizza recipe:


Asparagus, Ricotta, & Prosciutto Pizza

1 lb pizza dough (I buy dough in a bag from Trader Joe's)
1 T olive oil
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup mozzarella
6 spears asparagus
about 3 oz. of prosciutto

Preheat oven to 500 and put a pan in to heat. (Or use a pizza stone if you have one - I don't.)

Cut the asparagus into pieces about an inch or two long, steam the pieces for 2 minutes, and immediately put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.

Sprinkle cornmeal on a piece of parchment. Use your hands (coated with lots of flour) to spread the dough on the parchment. Sprinkle dough with a bit of olive oil, coarse salt and ground pepper. Scatter pieces of ricotta and mozzarella as a first layer, sprinkle on a little more salt and pepper, then top with asparagus and torn pieces of prosciutto. Transfer the pizza (on the parchment) to the hot baking sheet in the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.

I also made lemon curd this afternoon, which was fantastic, but that will have to wait for another post. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Everything is better with Guinness

I know, I know. I never write. I never call. I never post. I would blame it on my job (the end of and be all of excuses for all of the things I don't do), but I'm not quite as busy now that the sky has fallen on the economy. I have the opportunities and sometimes the camera handy for things to blog. But I'm lazy.

But now its 2 am after flying back from Vegas, a flight I slept through making up for the little sleep this weekend. And the last three nights I was up late. As in super late, i.e. early morning. So I'm wide awake. I've unpacked and everything. So I'm finally blogging... about the cake I made for the Superbowl.

One of my co-workers introduced me to the Smitten Kitchen blog, which I have quickly become obsessed with, and on it I found a chocolate ganached cake made with Guinness that I desperately had to have an excuse to make because chocolate +Guinness = awesome. So desperate and
figuring no one turns away someone bringing cake, I decided to crash Ivette's friend Superbowl party (and you all know how much I just LOVE football) just to make it for somebody other than myself. Drinking by myself, no problem; making a cake just for myself, sad.

It was super easy to make and really quick....I managed to do it quite hungover from a wedding day before....and more importantly it turned out amazing. It was moist, and filled with chocolate goodness that everyone loved. The recipe can be found here (I'm just strangely awake, not any less lazy).