Brownies paired with whiskey. True Love.
Last summer we made a batch of cherry bounce – cherry-infused bourbon – from sweet summer cherries. We shoved them to the back of the refrigerator and promptly forgot about them – or at least tried to forget about them. It’s hard to forget about bourbon and ripe, deep red cherries even when they’re hidden behind the milk and eggs.
Remember this beautiful stuff? We made it again.
The results were ready for Christmas. We shared the wine-dark bourbon with family and friends. The burgundy liquor was festive: a good color for deep winter holidays.
But what of the cherries? The cherries were for us.
Red and delicious
The cherries lost the edge off their vibrant red, but retained their juicy flesh and took on the complex aromas and psycho-pharmacological qualities of Kentucky bourbon. Boozy cherries? Don’t mind if I do.
Big chocolate chunks for big chocolate ooze
The cherries had a different fate. Fortified by their alcohol content, they waited in the dark recesses of our fridge. Now it’s Valentine’s Day, another holiday for baking. It’s time for warm, gooey bars and cookies, eaten straight from the oven with your love. It’s time for brownies eaten in slow sensuous bites. So, the two were united in an act of love: boozy, drunken cherries and dark, bitter chocolate slowly heated side by side in a fudge-y brownie batter. The bourbon cooked off slowly in the oven, leaving a hint of fruity sour mash. A new beginning for a new love.
Warm brownies for a cold day
We recommend pairing the brownies on a romantic evening. Pair them after dinner with straight bourbon whiskey. Pair them at midnight with champagne. Pair them in the morning with Irish coffee.
Share some warm boozy brownies when you snuggle up on a cold Valentines' Day
Crunchy, smokey and healthy
It’s one month in to 2012 and we’re proud to say that we’re sticking to our goals. Beyond sticking to them, even. We one-up’ed ‘em this weekend.
The original goal is just to get our bums moving and spend some quality time in the running lane down Ocean Parkway, oh maybe three times a week. Throw in some crunches and push-ups for good measure. Nothing too crazy, of course.
Chop coarsely - this is a quick and easy dinner
Inspired by the overflowing bins and cartons at our beloved Ditmas Avenue fruit and vegetables stands, we’re making an extra effort to put the earth’s bounty to good use in our kitchen. We hope to replace a good portion of our refined starches with vegetables. Zucchini instead of pasta. Squash instead of russet potatoes. Cauliflower instead of rice.
We started with cauliflower a few Sunday nights ago. So far, so good. In the past, we’ve roasted the white florets with garam masala spices and served with chickpeas or yellow dhal (rice optional). We’ve tried the saffron seasoned version with nuts and raisins offered up at StoneSoup with great success. Sunday’s version, though, is my current favorite. We skipped heat of masala and used smoked Spanish paprika and sea salt on our veggies. The smoked pepper turned out to compliment both the slightly bitter cauliflower and the pork chops we served them with. A little fresh spinach and apple cider vinegar completed the meal.
Lo, and behold! Two servings of vegetables in a leisurely Sunday evening meal, new year’s plans none-the-worse. In truth, a little better.
Merry Christmas to Me
Kensington Kitchen’s prodigal daughter returned at 5pm that winter evening, bearing gifts from afar – holiday print clearance clothing, thrift store leather bags, even a fancy new phone. The sweet smells of roasting butternut squash and sautéing onion greeted her as she ascended the red staircase to the cozy attic apartment. The door was unlocked. She entered to find her love seated at the Kitchen table, working his creative magic in the steamy air. At the sight of such a hearty homemade feast, her heart leaped for joy. She was home at last.
Well, it didn’t quite go like that, but it is safe to say that it feels good to be home.
The smell is as heavenly as the taste.
The best part of our little corner of the neighborhood is the fruit and vegetable markets, and this year – even in the heart of winter – our markets are overflowing with affordable, beautiful produce. How can a person not take advantage of $0.69/lb butternut squash and baskets full of $0.69/lb bell peppers? A week in the suburban world of supermarket produce sections huddled in the back corner of a store filled with chicken nuggets and Sprite (a yummy albeit unhealthy combination), makes me appreciate our European style of markets and grocery shopping even more.
We like to keep the veggies whole for texture
Raphe remains the culinary master of the Kensington Kitchen and I plan to show off his winter vegetable creations as the days get colder. For now, I give you the roasted butternut squash soup he’s spent the autumn perfecting. He roasts the squash to give it a deep brown color and carmelized flavor, with ease of peeling as a bonus. He mashes the squash until smooth (much like mashed potatoes). He leaves the other vegetables chunky to give the soup the texture of a hearty beef stew, but finishes with cream and nutmeg to emphasis the natural sweetness of butternut squash. He doesn’t add any sugar or honey.
Dairy is optional, but oh so good
I can’t imagine anything I’d rather come home to.
We’ve had a good year. Our first full calendar year in Kensington and our first full calendar year sharing our food with world.
Let’s do it again, shall we?
2011 Recipes in Review