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Monthly Archive for November 2010

it’s about cake

Cranberry Cake

Here are the things I should be doing right now: making the two rounds of pie crust that I resolved to make last weekend; packing my suitcase; practicing my bowling game (as I will be ushering myself into my 30s on Saturday with a bowling birthday party, because, apparently, 30 is the new 8); cleaning out my DVR (What?  You don’t consider that a pre-vacation must?); tying up a million loose ends at work; getting my nails done (only to have them destroyed in the flurry of celery-chopping, onion-peeling, pie crust-crimping, and dish-scrubbing that will soon ensue); doing a few sit-ups in a futile attempt to ward off the feasts that are about to unfold.

Cranberry CakeCranberry Cake

And the list goes on.  I’m sure you all have pre-Thanksgiving lists of your own.  But, for a few minutes, at least, I need to set aside my to do’s and I’m really hoping you’ll do the same.  It’s about cake.  Priorities, people.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Breakfast,Dessert,Recipe on November 22 2010 » 21 comments

a comfort and a confidence

IMG_0598

We had friends for dinner on Saturday night and, for once, I did the sensible thing and cobbled together a menu full of tried and true recipes.  We had these nuts, before dinner.  We had a beef tenderloin recipe I’ve made a dozen times and which has quickly become one of my favorite dishes.  We had a pile of garlic-y, spicy, braised Swiss chard.  And we had oven fries, an evolution of an old recipe.  I did make a new cake (which I wasn’t crazy about — serves me right), but it was capped with this frosting, which I’ve made over and over again.

Oven FriesOven Fries

Perhaps spurred on by this trip down culinary memory lane, I spent Sunday giving this site’s Recipe Index an overhaul.  I had originally intended only to update the thing (which had fallen hopeless out-of-date), but I ended up giving it some reorganization and cosmetic changes, too.  It’s incredible to look back on all that’s been cooked and baked in that kitchen of mine, and a few favorites—such as those that made an appearance on Saturday night—really stood out.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on November 18 2010 » 20 comments

this brilliant solution

Chocolate Pecan Pie

A pecan pie is this: a thick, gooey band of sweet filling that tastes faintly of molasses, nestled into a flaky pie crust and topped with a ridged mosaic of pecan halves.  I’ve never made one and, despite Kevin’s request that I do so for this year’s Thanksgiving, I worried that it would not fit on the menu.  Not that I have a problem capping off a lavish Thanksgiving buffet with a truly gluttonous variety of pies.  Oh no, to the contrary.  But, this year, I was afraid that my appetites and my time do not quite match up.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Kevin and I fly into Minneapolis on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, arriving well after dark.  On a normal Wednesday, I’d be heading to bed around the time we’ll get to my parents’ house.  My plan for that evening—barring travel woes, which seem to befall us every. single. holiday.—is to proceed directly to the kitchen.  I will not pass go (though I will accept a glass of wine) and I will immediately get to work on the pies, a category of the meal I’ve agreed to spearhead.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on November 11 2010 » 29 comments

the savory first

Sweet Potato Biscuits

It’s the time of year when my thoughts are monopolized by Thanksgiving.  I dig out old November issues from my food magazine archives (which are getting out of hand, despite the fact that my Gourmet pile has stopped growing).  I flip through photos of Thanksgivings-past.  I compile a recipe index for this site.  I stock the spice cupboard with cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice.  I fill the freezer with to-be-rolled-out pie dough.  I select a dress for the day and make a mental note to pack yoga pants for the cozy, post-dinner portion of the day.  I read up on turkey varieties and new techniques for preparing the bird.

Sweet Potato BiscuitsSweet Potato Biscuits

And, of course, I start to test out recipes.  This year is no different, even though I’m not hosting this year (unlike last year), but rather pitching in in my parents’ kitchen.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Bread,Recipe,Side on November 08 2010 » 20 comments

somewhere along the line

Chipotle Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line, I developed sort of a thing for flourless (or nearly flourless) chocolate cakes.  And, of course, they’re not all that hard to love.  They’re lovably easy (the most complicated recipes call for a double boiler, which I consider a small price to pay).  They’re lovably decadent—dark, fudgy, dense and rich.  And, best of all, I think, they’re lovably ugly.  They puff up in the oven and exhale as they cool, resulting in a rather undulating, mottled cake.  If you’re concerned that guests will pass up such a homely specimen, a sprinkling of powdered sugar—a little bit like lipstick on a pig—will do just the trick.

Chipotle Flourless Chocolate CakeChipotle Flourless Chocolate Cake

As far as these cakes go, I’m quite partial to Molly’s Winning Hearts and Minds Cake—a nearly flourless choccolate cake that is, I assure you, aptly named.  I’ve made it for holidays and parties and for a winter Saturday night in.  It’s equally at home in each of these occasions and that’s another thing I love about it.  Most recently, I served it at a going away party for our friends Matt and Maggie.  It was still summer, then, so I served the slices with fresh berries and a spoonful of just-sweetened sour cream (don’t knock it ’till you try it!).

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert on November 03 2010 » 21 comments