Tag Archives: David Lebovitz

Something Good



Well my…this is a little embarrassing.  Here I’ve been, cooking and baking up a storm this month and October is almost over and I’ve only blogged once.   I’ve been writing a little for Good Bite, working too much, and experimenting like a mad woman scientist in the kitchen for Food 52’s contests.  They bring out the competitive, perfectionist in me.  In a good way I think.

You know how almost every great chick flick has one of those cheesy, guilty pleasure, iconic fashion/shopping/makeover/couple falling in love montages?   That is what I am about to do…but with food pictures.  Because that’s my kind of montage.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…


First there was the Boston Cream Cake… my first time making one – I used the yellow cake recipe (my favorite) from Smitten Kitchen, a chocolate ganache icing from David Lebovitz and a pastry cream from I forget where (but it’s not important because I was rather disappointed with how that turned out).  Next time, I intend to use Tartine Bakery’s recipe.  I pine and dream of this bakery and yet I’ve never even been to it.  We will alas meet one day sweet Tartine, it’s in the cards for us.


Enter Gwyeneth Paltrow’s Turkey Ragu from her website Goop.  This is my ultimate cool weather, sock wearing, hunker down and hibernate comfort food.  It’s simple, elegant and your whole house will smell of savory deliciousness and piney rosemary for approximately three hours.  Trust Gwyneth.  Trust the ragu.


Then came the nutmeg doughnut muffins.  Oh boy.  These were, make your mouth so full because you can’t just take petite, modest, dainty bites because they’re too luscious and they’re beckoning and evil and will make you consume 3 in one whole setting doughnuts.  I had been wanting to make these for awhile and finally one Sunday morning I did, and they were even just as good the next day.  Day old doughnuts get stale.  Doughnut muffins do not lose their luster.  They’re just another reason for me to adore Molly Wizenberg.  Make these!


Slow-Braised Beef Short Ribs, courtesy of Cecilia, for lending me her beautiful candy apple red Le Creuset dutch oven and Wolfgang Puck, who does not mess around.  Make these for people you really like.


Then we got really crazy and made gnocchi, which proved to be the perfect vehicle to serve and enjoy the short ribs with.  We’d never made gnocchi before.  (It’s not as hard as you think).  We didn’t know that and we still dove right in and had fun doing it!  They didn’t hold their shape well but I’m sure with practice…


We also had rosemary caramelized parsnips (Sara Foster’s recipe and one of my go-to fall favorites – though we failed to get a picture).  The salad consisted of mixed greens tossed with fig balsamic vinaigrette that I made, toasted pine nuts, dried bing cherries, red pear slices and goat cheese.  YUM.  Dessert was also a Sara Foster recipe (from her “Fresh Everyday” cookbook) – “individual chocolate pudding cakes,” that I drizzled with warm homemade salted butterscotch sauce and cream.  Also YUM.

For fear of photo montage overload, I’ll post the rest tomorrow or Sunday and for now, I’ll leave you with a list (because I love making lists).

Things I am Enjoying Right Now:

  • Australian musician Sarah Blasko and her cover of “Something Good,” from The Sound of Music.
  • Curling up on the couch with Indian food and Harvest Curry bread from the bakery (for dipping of course), a puppy dog and Something’s Gotta Give.  Diane Keaton is so honest and exquisite in that movie.  She’s so effortlessly classic and cool.
  • Modern Family as always, but especially this past week’s Halloween episode and how it made me laugh so hysterically to see Mitchell in a Spiderman costume.
  • Sneaking M&M’s from the trick or treater’s Halloween stash.  Seriously, I need to stop or they won’t have any candy come Sunday.  Oop’s…
  • This adorable sweater that is currently en route to me and reminds me of something Emma Pilsbury would wear, even though I’m not really into Glee, I think she’s precious and want to raid her character’s wardrobe sometimes.
  • Having my English cup of PG tips in my black & white Metropolitan Museum of Art mug, standing over the kitchen island, eating a cold, dark chocolate Mcvities digestive.

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Eat, Memory

I love that we are finally on the brink of fall and that the promise of sweaters, socks on my feet and sleeping with open windows is in the air.  It may still be in the 90’s this week but last night gave me a comforting preview of  fall and assured me that it will be here soon.  I will miss corn on the cob – (I made a bangin’ succotash the other day with some corn, bacon, basil, edamame, grape tomatoes and squash), fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce, fresh basil, grilling and most of all, peaches.  But I will happily welcome the return of hearty ragus, butternut squash and bread pudding.  I’m meeting my parents at Crook’s Corner for dinner tonight, for one of the last late summer meals out.  One last mojito outdoors and perhaps maybe some red snapper or bbq ribs…

The other night, I discovered “Easy Plateau” – wood-fired pizza with swiss chard, goat cheese, ground beef and fingerling potatoes, at Sticks & Stones, and it was surprising and perfect.  This morning, I finally discovered Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.  I don’t know what took me so long.  With my affinity for both food and travel, it’s about time I gave this a watch.  If he ever gets tired of all that traveling and eating, I’ll gladly step in for him.

Right now I have an obsession with vintage tumbler & high ball glasses and my granny has been sending me the most beautiful vintage aprons in the mail.  I just love that.  I started a new book –  a collection of food essays by several different authors and personalities and it’s called Eat, Memory. I like how reading about the powerful sense-memory impact food has and people’s different associations with it.

I’m also excited about the latest addition to the kitchen – a brand new Cuisinart Ice Cream maker!  My boyfriend is pretty amazing.  We’ve made strawberry sour cream ice cream and peach ice cream so far.  Both were awesome but the peach was sublime.  Next up, I plan to make some salted caramel and buttermilk ice creams and I plan to consult David Lebovitz’s ice cream cookbook.  What a fun toy.

I know that I have yet to do a restaurant recap of all my summer travel ventures, and trust me, that is on the horizon and it won’t be forgotten.  For now, I’d like to share some of my favorite pictures from this summer.

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Hot Fudge

David Leibovitz is basically the culinary version of David Sedaris.  He’s an ice-cream maker, chocolatier (he went to chocolate school for God’s sake!) and a wiz in his tiny little Parisian apartment kitchen.  He’s also got a stellar sense of humor – one that is quite arguably reminiscent of the humor found in Sedaris’ writing.  Thank goodness I read his culinary memoir, The Sweet Life in Paris, because not only is this ex-pat turned Parisian pastry chef witty and a genius with desserts, he is also friends with director Nancy Meyers – who just so happens to have the recipe for the most exquisite hot fudge I’ve ever tasted.

After some recent hot fudge making (and subsequently one hot fudge sundae later),I was taken back to my childhood.  I have fond memories of frequent ventures to United Dairy Farmers with my grandfather whenever I would travel to Ohio to visit family.  UDF is an original Ohio ice cream chain, often housed in convenience stores, but don’t let that deceive you.  They’ve been in business since 1939 and deliver the best homemade ice cream and some of the best hot fudge out there.

I remember alternating between the handspun strawberry milkshake and the classic hot fudge sundae (hold the nuts) – I like them but not on my sundaes.  To me, the key to the perfect hot fudge sundae is already in its name – it’s all about the hot fudge.  Sure, homemade ice cream and whipped cream are necessary, but the hot fudge is the crucial component of the whole sundae.  I like for the chocolate flavor to shine through the hot fudge and for it to be as thick and velvety as possible, draped over a couple generous mounds of ice cream and a cloud of real whipped cream and a nice old fake maraschino cherry to seal the deal.  Nancy Meyer’s hot fudge is just that.  Somewhere in between the rich, silky flavor of a ganache and the texture and thickness of hot fudge lies this sauce.

As a child, I also remember making trips to Cream and Bean, a downtown Raleigh ice cream shop, right across from North Carolina State University.  Originally it was Doug’s and then Steve’s, then Cream and Bean, but the name was the only thing that changed.  It was the real deal – homemade everything.  Situated in a popular little college town joint with hand painted chairs and tables, an antique ice cream maker and an old piano with worn ivory keys for any customer to entertain.  I remember stealing tastes of my dad’s favorite treat – a hot fudge sundae with coffee ice cream and hot fudge so deliriously good, you could actually taste the sugar granules in it.  I suppose as a child it is odd to take a liking to coffee flavor, but I did and I also fell in love with their sundae, so my dad’s favorite treat also became my favorite treat.  This sundae was a constant staple for me until Cream and Bean closed down about ten years ago, much to our dismay.  Every time I visit home and drive by this former ice cream shop now turned scooter shop, my heart sinks a little over the fact that the former destination of the best sundae I’ve ever had now sells scooters instead of homemade ice cream.  Still, my sundae eating memories are fond and I’ve even found a way to revive this sweet nostalgia.

Awhile back, I tackled Nancy Meyer’s surprisingly simple recipe for hot fudge and was shocked to find that something so simple to make could taste so perfect and remind me of both UDF and Cream and Bean, making me feel somewhere between four and twelve again.  There’s a reason these sundaes are still ingrained in my memory.  You can add a Tablespoon of espresso powder to this fudge, for a little glam and a nice hint of coffee or you could probably add a Tablespoon of bourbon to kick it up a notch.  Personally, I wouldn’t try and alter such perfection.  There isn’t much to it but its simplicity is part of what makes it so magical.  It’s lovely just the way it is.  Draped over some homemade coffee or vanilla ice cream, used to top profiteroles or éclairs, or licked right off the spoon.

Nancy Meyer’s Hot Fudge

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder (I like Ghiradelli)
  • 1/3 cup of heavy cream
  • pinch of salt

*optional: you could also try adding some espresso powder (dissolved in hot water)  or add a little bourbon or vanilla*

-Put all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until butter has melted.  Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes or so), until all of the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth.

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Sweet Sweet Spring

Hello Spring.

Hello things I am loving right now…

  • Jill Andrews and this cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Sharp Cutting Words”
  • This movie because it was on last night and these two are so incredible in it.

  • Joy the Baker and her blog, because she bakes delicious things and takes delicious photos of them.  Plus, she’s hilarious.
  • Violet Bella’s beautiful jewelry – I want it all!
  • This book that I am currently reading and thoroughly enjoying.  David Lebovitz reminds me so much of David Sedaris (if he were a pastry chef).

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