Molten Chocolate Cake

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I thought there would be cake at the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon. At least that’s what all the cheering squads along the course with cardboard signs would have had you believe. Cake and beer. Sadly, the post-race eats were more along the lines of Chewy granola bars, though a lovely lady, completely unaffiliated with the race, did hand me a free jug of chocolate milk.

It was a great race. We lined up in our respective corals before the sun had risen. Parts of the course were lined with people, screaming, clapping, in costume, like they were at a parade. Our, wonderful, wonderful, friends were standing at miles 1, 8, and 14, cheering. Apparently they had quite a time shoveling down half a scorching-hot pizza and walking a half-marathon trying to find us on the course.

Mid-race, I wondered why the hell I had ever decided that this would be fun. But the last two miles I almost felt like I was floating, which is a feeling I never thought I would associate with marathon running. Even now, just one day later, I’m struggling to remember anything specific about the race itself.

Admittedly, there were things we could have planned better — namely having a place to meet afterwards in the madhouse that was the finish line area. So sadly, there are no smiling post-race pictures with medals around our necks, but I will say that it was an adventure. We rolled out of Philadelphia Sunday afternoon, with a stop at the Medic tent and then at Dunkin’ Donuts.

I can’t say I feel like running another anytime soon. But if you happen to be at Boston 2013, please remember my cake and beer at the finish line.

In the meantime, I’ll be eating this.

I don’t think I’ve ever made anything else from Martha Stewart besides these cakes. They pour lava chocolate, which is reason enough to make them. And they come out perfectly every time, dark, rich, baked on the outside and gooey on the inside, in less than ten minutes, which is like exactly what you’re craving at 11 p.m..Needless to say, I’ve made them quite a few times.

My summer so far

July 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

I feel as though I have been absent for a very long time. Like the days have gotten ahead of me and it’s somehow 1 a.m. and I’m not home yet but it feels like I just left the house for work. The recipes have gotten ahead of me, the bookmarked ones have been adding up and the ones I have made have been disappearing before I have a chance to think about them. There were the molten chocolate cakes (baked in my new cake pans) that we made one night in about twenty minutes, which disappeared just as quickly. The blueberry crumb bars, of which I cut a small sliver to save — gone by the time I got home from work.

But despite these disappearances, I have been learning quite a bit about food. We made risotto, using the entire box of rice, quickly realizing just how much rice an entire box of rice is. We pan-fried risotto balls, stuffed with fresh mozzarella and breaded, the next night for dinner. Perhaps a better day of cooking was when we had tomato-mozzarella tart for dinner and plum clafoutis for dessert. The plum clafoutis was easy to pull together, the crepe-like batter is simply poured over cut plum slices, skins on and everything.

Plum Clafoutis
From Gourmet Magazine

1 lb black or red plums, pitted and cut into eighths
2 tablespoons Armagnac or other brandy
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in middle. Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish.
Toss plums with Armagnac and 1 Tbsp sugar in a bowl and let macerate 15 minutes. Transfer plums to baking dish with a slotted spoon and pour juices into a blender. Add eggs to blender with milk, butter, flour, salt, extracts, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and blend just until combined. Pour over plums.
Bake until puffed and just set in center, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then dust with confectioners sugar.

Another time…

…we excursioned to the fish market by the waterfront and bought live lobsters and soft-shell crabs…then looked up how to cook them. The lobsters sat on our kitchen floor for a bit while we boiled them one by one in the small pot and fried the battered crabs until brown and crispy. I made a honey cornbread to go along with the seafood and one of the boys grilled fresh clams in the backyard.

About two weeks later, I headed over to the Eastern Market after work (which I hear is better on weekends) and bought crushed-chili hummus, stuffed grape leaves and chocolate cream ravioli, which didn’t totally win my heart. Perhaps it was the disconcerting idea of chocolate pasta, but I ate it feeling like it was all a bit strange. We’ve spent Friday evenings at the jazz concerts in the Sculpture Garden on the mall, dining on crusty bread, hummus, guacamole and sangria. And late weekend nights at Five Guys.

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