Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Am Here To Corrupt Your Waistline

Here's the thing. I love baking. I'm all about it. I see a ton of delicious recipes everyday with all these dang food blogs I read. When I have time over the weekend, I make a recipe or two. Then I eat a small portion of it, and then I give the rest to Husband, or occasionally bring what's left to work, if Husband will spare it, which he usually won't. ("You want to give my dessert away to those people? Heck no!") Heck, sometimes he won't even share with me! ("My muffins!") So of course, when Husband is feeling overweight, he blames me and my waistline-corrupting ways. He's right...but at the same time, he doesn't have to eat 4 pumpkin muffins as soon as they come out of the oven. He would argue that he does. Heh.

Anyway, if you couldn't already tell, I'm going to share with you some of the baked goods that came out of my kitchen a few weeks ago. Be warned, they were all delicious and completely bad for you in excess amounts!

Meyer lemon bars, or as I like to call it, a slice of heaven

Meyer lemon bars, courtesy of, who else, Smitten Kitchen. I knew I wanted lemon bars. I knew I wanted to use Meyer lemons. As soon as I saw that Deb had used an Ina Garten recipe, it was like the planets aligned. These were heaven in my mouth. They were sweet, but not too sweet. I always trust Deb's recipes on the sugar because she seems as averse to overly sweet desserts as myself. They were just the right touch of sour, and the shortbready crust was buttery and divine. I'm sure they would be just as heavenly with regular lemons, but I really love the mild and slightly sweeter flavor of meyer lemons. I did the full-size lemon layer. I wanted lemon not lemon, after all. This recipe made a big 9x13 pan of bars, so some of these actually made it into work for my co-workers and they were quite a hit. With everyone lamenting the weather at the moment, these are a great way to brighten anyone's mood.

Ugly, hideous, delicious best cocoa brownies

The best cocoa brownies, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I didn't intend to make these. But then Deb posted the recipe, and I happened to have all the ingredients, and they happened to look very simple to make. And dang it, I can't resist chocolate! Oh my word these may have just been the best brownies I have ever had. So dense and moist and fudgey and rich, but on top of all of that, they weren't overwhelmingly so. They weren't too rich (though it's hard for chocolate to ever be too rich for me), or too dense. Substancial, but not heavy. And keeping them small made them a perfect bite when I wanted something sweet and bad.

You may have noticed that my brownies turned out...quite ugly. That's a story I can hardly recall without bitter anger. Ok, not really. Ok, maybe just a little bitter anger. So I baked and baked (see items 1 and 2 above), then I let everything cool and went to take a shower. Husband came into the bathroom a few minutes later to let me know the brownies were good. Aw, that's nice. I figured he had cut a corner out of the pan to try. That's what I normally do when I can't wait for something to cool. But when I got back to the kitchen, all squeeky clean, I found that someone had obliterated my brownies. They were ragged and crumbled everywhere. I may have pulled my hair while screaming NOOOOO!!! at the top of my lungs. My beautiful brownies! Who would do this to you! I try not to get mad at people when they have good intentions, but I was mad. I attempted to calmly tell Husband that next time I would prefer if he would not "helpfully" cut my entire pan of brownies, as he had ruined my whole batch. And then he got all offended and tried to act like I was being irrational and mean.

And then I really got mad and told him he had totally ruined my entire batch of brownies! And, being Husband, he refused to admit he had done anything wrong because he had accomplished what he wanted, which was cutting the brownies into HUGE pieces (that way he wouldn't feel like a total pig when he ate just one piece). They were cut, they tasted good, he didn't see the problem. I could have divorced him right then and there. Uggggh! And top it all off, because my life wouldn't be mine without a cherry on top, he cut the brownies in the pan. As you can probably surmise, sharp knife + metal pan = scratched pan. Yes, there is now a permanent reminder of brownie-gate. To his credit, Husband did actually feel bad and apologize (for scratching the pan at least, I honestly don't remember if he begrudgingly apologized for the brownies themselves), and promised not to mess with my baked goods again.

There's a lesson to learn here, people! When letting brownies cool and you have a chocoholic husband on the premises, guard them with your life!!! Or you'll be in danger of the monstrosity you see above. They're so ugly and hideous! But really, they tasted awesome. I am totally going to make these again soon and see if I can't get a descent picture out of them. I know they don't look like much, but I highly recommend this recipe!

Cara cara orange curd on no-kead walnut bread

Cara cara orange curd, courtesy of The Kitchn. I don't know how long cara cara oranges have been around, but I just discovered them. I'm pretty sure they're a recent development. This is why I love the natural food hippie store where I like to shop. They don't just have awesome fresh and local produce, but they actually cut up samples for you, and will talk with you about what it is, if you ask. And I'm talking persimmons and cara cara oranges, not granny smith apples and navels, like they do at the grocery store next door. A few weeks ago they had a ton of cara cara oranges, which someone (another shopper, not a produce person) told me was a cross between a grapefruit and an orange, but wikipedia says otherwise. But I can see where people would get that impression, since their pinkish-orangey flesh looks very much like that is the case.

Anyway, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I've always wanted to try lemon curd, and this sounded just so much better. It was so good. Heaven in your mouth good. It was sweet, and tangy, and sour, and creamy, and just about any other delicious adjective you can think of. Check curds off the list of things I am afraid to make. This was easy. I wouldn't call it simple, as there were a number of steps, but there were no tips and tricks to keep in mind. Just followed the instructions, and deliciousness ensued. I love it when that happens!

I enjoyed the curd most on this no-knead walnut bread, also courtesy of The Kitchn. It's just Jim Lahey's classic bread with some extra goodies thrown in. I'm not usually a fan of raisins in bread, but I used golden raisins, and with the walnuts and cinnamon, together they gave the bread a sweeter, more desserty quality, which went great with the orange curd. I would definitely add this bread into my usual rotation. Raisins and all!


Kelly said...

I have to admit I am jealous.. I wish my husband was like that lol. Instead it is me who eats everything while he will have ONE of whatever I made. Just ONE. ALWAYS. He just is not that into food... which has made MY waistline get a little bigger in the past year :(
OH well.

Those lemon bars look so good! I swear, I had never heard about meyer lemons until about a month ago, and now I see them everywhere! I doubt they sell them anywhere around here though :(

JuLo said...

Hehe. It definitely comes in handy, though sometimes I wish the blueberry muffins would last longer than 24 hours.

Yeah, I first heard about meyer lemons last year, but I hadn't really seen them in my stores until this year. I think I just missed their season last year. They were selling them at my local farmer's market, and the natural food store. I've never seen them at the big chains. Add that to the list of reasons I dread the thought of leaving California (not that I am...but it could happen, maybe, at some point)! But they're also totally expensive compared to regular lemons. I'm these bars are fantastic with regular lemons.

Kelly said...

The episode of Barefoot Contessa where she makes these was on this weekend! They look soooo good... I have to make them at some point!