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Monthly Archive for March 2008

Onion Tart

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I first made this tart—Gourmet‘s Onion Tart with Mustard and Fennel—a few weeks ago. And, trust me, I would have loved to post about it right away. But this tart has a super power that stood in the way. That’s right: this is a magically disappearing tart. When I first made it, as a little nibble for guests as they arrived at our bistro-themed Bon Voyage party for my friend Maggie, the tart vanished within mere minutes after I wielded my pizza wheel to slice it into squares.

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I could’ve told you about what a joy the tart was to make, with its ethereal, spongy dough that rolled out like a dream and its loooong, slooooow caramelization of slim onion half moons. And I could’ve told you how heavenly the toasted fennel seeds smelled, how fun it was to slather the tart with Dijon mustard or how thrilled I was with the brilliant golden color the tart took on after a brief stint in the oven. But, beyond all this, it would have been a little difficult to describe a tart I didn’t even get to try (!). And, more importantly, how could I entice you with photos of scant crumbs on an empty platter?

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Hors D'Oeuvres,Recipe on March 31 2008 » 19 comments

Crisp Pickled Vegetables

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The clouds of sugar and flour have settled over here after Dessert Week Aught Eight, and in its wake, today’s post is just what the doctor ordered. After sweetness and decadence for five straight days here at The Kitchen Sink, it’s time for something a bit more austere, I think. I mean, I love desserts as much as the next gal, but after so many in a row, I was craving the punch of sharp acidity and bite that this recipe for crisp, pickled vegetables delivers.

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The truth is, I was on the hunt for a pickled vegetable recipe long before last week’s sugary binge. My pickle infatuation might start with crisp dill pickle spears, but it doesn’t end there. I also have a weakness for other vegetables, marinated in potion that are various parts sour, salty and sweet. I think pickled vegetables are lovely served along side meats and cheeses on an antipasto platter, heaped next to a slice of quiche for brunch, or eaten on their own as a light lunch or snack. But I never found a recipe that looked quite right.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on March 29 2008 » 6 comments

Ginger Ice Cream

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This ice cream is the official end of this week-o-desserts, the mere act of writing the posts for which has given me a massive sugar hangover, cavities and reason to hit the treadmill. This ice cream is also a testament to how much my husband loves me. No, not because he requested this ice cream. In fact, while I think he liked it well enough, he’d probably opt for yesterday’s brownies over this ice cream (or under this ice cream, now there’s a thought!) any day.

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No, this ice cream shows the depth of Kevin’s tolerance of (er, love for) me in a couple ways. First, he barely batted an eye lash when I announced on Wednesday night that I would be making ginger ice cream to complete our dinner with a friend on Thursday night. Then, he rather pleasantly grated a quarter cup (a quarter cup!) of ginger for me (for us, for us). This not only left his arms aching and his knuckles in peril, but it also robbed him of time usually spent watching Seinfeld reruns or checking fantasy sports results.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on March 28 2008 » 12 comments

I’m a Brownie Believer

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Back to the sweet taste of success today (ha! sweet — get it?). It was slightly painful to re-live the whole ugly birthday cake debacle yesterday, so I’m more than happy to move on to a birthday treat that was neither error-prone nor hard to look at. When I saw these brownies featured on the wonderful baking blog Bake or Break, something about them caught my eye, even though I’m not a huge brownie fan (Kevin is googling Chicago-area divorce lawyers after reading that, I’m sure). I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, though. When I saw RecipeGirl make the same brownies recently, it hit me: these are exactly like the kind of brownie my stepdad (an avowed brownie connoisseur) would adore. Even better, his birthday was mere weeks away, so I decided then and there that I would arrive in Minnesota last Friday (two days after his birthday), bearing these brownies.

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Little did I know, I would be delayed on the runway for quite some time at O’Hare en route to Minnesota (I think I’ve mentioned the pesky Easter blizzard …). We were stranded on the tarmac for a long time and I was hungry. I am not too proud to admit that I strongly considering busting into the pan of these delectable brownies, which were stashed in my purse. Thankfully, my plane got cleared for takeoff just before the hunger hit code-blue level, so these brownies made it to Minnesota and the birthday boy intact.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on March 27 2008 » 18 comments

Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (or Ugly Cake)

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As promised, the desserts will continue to dance across this page. But. After Monday’s and Tuesday’s back-to-back success stories (the oreos and cheesecake bars), this was probably bound to happen. Today, I bring you a banana layer cake with cream cheese frosting, with chopped pecans tucked between the layers. Sounds good, right? Well, I’ll admit it was pretty tasty. But, man, was it u.g.l.y. As in, it had no alibi.

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(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on March 26 2008 » 11 comments

Dessert Parade

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I suppose I should have warned you. The fact that these cheesecake squares are coming a mere 24 hours after yesterday’s oreos is only the beginning. It’s going to be a very decadent week here at The Kitchen Sink. There will be one dessert post after another marching across the week. But I swear, I’ve had good reason. Actually, good reasons. Last week, between dinner guests, a couple birthday celebrations and a houseful of guests at my parents’ over the Easter weekend, I had plenty of reasons to lavish people with desserts.

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(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on March 25 2008 » 15 comments

Less Laduree, More Nabisco

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I had big plans to make macarons last week. I had visions of elegant spring-colored confections, perfect to tuck into my carry-on bag and share with my family in Minnesota over the Easter weekend. Also it was Spring Break, so I figured I’d have some time on my hands. What better time to take on a task like creating macarons? Somehow, though, I ended up with oreos instead. Figures.

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Still sandwich cookies, but the oreos were decidedly less Laduree and more Nabisco. Less French, more American. Less Easter-festive, more after-school snack. But while my macaron plan clearly derailed somewhere along the way, these oreos are substantially better than the Nabisco version (which, in my mind, belongs only in a DQ Blizzard, and—oh—does it shine there) and any kid who dines on these after school should consider himself very lucky. You see, these cookies are Thomas Keller‘s take on oreos.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on March 24 2008 » 13 comments

Times Have Changed

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This is going to be one of those posts. One of those where I selected the recipe; shopped for the ingredients; chopped-and-sauteed-and-seasoned the ingredients; photographed the final dish; and then, oh yeah, ate it days ago. And since then, circumstances have changed.

You see, when I made this quinoa salad, I was bursting with spring and spring break-ness. I delighted in quartering vibrant red cherry tomatoes and creating a light, colorful salad. I think I might have even been doing a little basking in the sun that was flooding in our windows while I ate it.

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And, then there’s now. After positively April-ish temperatures and sunshine late last week, Mother Nature lowered her cruel, cruel hammer … in the form of a terrible, awful, are you serious? snow storm. So after a Friday full of snow boots, terrible delays at O’Hare and a winter wonderland once I arrived in Minnesota, I feel a little funny writing about such a spring (maybe even summer) kind of a salad. And don’t even get me started about how I teared up just a little when I saw all the tulips and daffodils at my favorite local grocery store near my parents’ house. Or how silly I feel dreaming up an Easter menu with my mom that features all of spring’s finest produce.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Salad on March 22 2008 » 6 comments

What We Dunked

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Now that I told you about the extremely delicious and completely comforting new tomato soup recipe that’s been placed securely in my repertoire, it’s only fair that I share a spectacular grilled cheese sandwich recipe with you too. Stop rolling your eyes! I know what you’re thinking: a recipe for grilled cheese? I was skeptical, too, but after one bite, that skepticism melted (insert laugh track, or maybe just more eye-rolling) away. Apparently, even grilled cheese sandwiches need recipes sometimes.

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Grilled cheese sandwiches were one of the first things I learned to cook. And while my ingredients of choice have changed a bit (no more Kraft singles or Velveeta, though if I am very, very honest with myself and try really hard not to think about things like ingredient lists and “What actually is this?” I might actually still like a sandwich featuring just those cheeses; or “cheeses”), melding two pieces of stiff bread and a hunk or two (or six) of cold cheese into a melty sandwich is about as satisfying as it gets.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Sandwich on March 21 2008 » 9 comments

Tomato-Leek Soup with Crispy Leek Garnish

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There are times when I look forward to having dinner guests because it’s an excuse to craft intricate menus and take on wow-factor recipes. But there are also times when I feel lucky to have the kind of friends coming for dinner who won’t mind when you announce that you’re making tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Not only that, but they assure you they have been craving just that very menu. Even if they’re lying, these are my kind of dinner guests.

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Of course, I wasn’t planning to pop open a can of Campbell’s or unsheath a stack of Kraft singles for the occasion. In fact, I’ve been on the prowl for a new tomato soup recipe because, while the one I’ve been relying on for a few winters now is quite lovely, eating it always feels a little bit like slurping down a bowl of marinara. Um, yeah, time for a new recipe.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Soup on March 20 2008 » 4 comments

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