We don’t have a toaster. They do exist in Italy. We just haven’t got around to purchasing one yet, mostly because we don’t know where to keep it. It’s a pain to have to put a mini-appliance away and then take it out only when you need it; you end up not using it as much as you would if its home was permanently on the kitchen counter. But I’m on the verge of missing toasted goodness enough to bite the bullet and get one…
When I was at home last month my Dad totally hooked me up with a continual bagel fiesta. (Thanks, Dad!) Brueggers for breakfast everyday, baby yeah! He even furnished the household with corresponding cream cheeses (family favorites include Chive Onion and Honey Walnut). In addition to the toaster, we own the original Bagel Biter, which slices through bagels like a Chef Tony knife through butter. It makes the morning bagel ritual quite enjoyable, less messy and quick as a jiff.
In other news, I’ve been going crazy with the Bon Appetit recipes lately. For Christmas dinner I made their “Dessert of the Year,” a bittersweet chocolate pudding pie with crème fraiche topping. Yum. It was great, but move over Macaulay Culkin, but this dessert is richer than richy rich!
My only complaints, other than the fact that you can only eat a tiny little piece before sinking into a slothen chocolately state, is that the crust was a little too crumbly–add some more butter if you make this recipe. Also, there wasn’t quite enough chocolate to cover the entire crust; another ounce or so would have been better. And last, but not least, it’s pretty stupid if you’re at all culinary inclined to just melt the chocolate and then have to wait for hours until it hardens. Depending on your culinary expertise & velocity, you might be better off tempering it.
If you can’t find crème fraiche, use my Mom’s great recipe that works like a charm (thanks, Mom!). For 1 cup of crème fraiche, combine 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt and 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Leave out at room temperature for a few hours. Sweeten as desired. Ding!
Tonight I made the Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree. Kind of a pain recipe for a weeknight, but now that I’ve made it and tasted, I would say it’s worth the effort. (Next time I’ll just make the steaks.) They were both great! The puree was extremely delicate, and the steaks were like real steaks–something about searing them and then finishing them off in the forno (oven) gives them a truely meaty consistency and intense flavor to boot. I skipped the step of drying the florets for the puree in the oven. Sorry, but you’re already making me dirty two pots and all the blender parts people. I do not need to be washing a sheet pan on top of it! Enough is enough. The puree came out fine anyways, I just didn’t add the extra cooking liquid the recipe called for. I recommend searing the cauliflower steaks in a pan one at a time, otherwise there’s not enough room and they don’t brown properly. A big hit–we’ll definitely be making this one again.