Thursday, April 28, 2011

Make This Frosting.

Prepare yourselves for something unexpected: I'm about to give you a recipe. You really ought to take advantage of this rare occurrence. Stick some paper in your printer now, because you will be printing this out for the next time you make cake or cupcakes.

I've been eating this frosting once a year when my mom makes my great-grandmother's hazelnut torte, but I've decided that it is officially too good to have just once a year. I made it this weekend on a chocolate cake (that you will see soon), and it was just as good on chocolate as it is on hazelnut. For frosting this rich, it's not overwhelming, because it's whipped. If you like more sweet icing, use all bittersweet, but I'm a fan of the unsweetened. And depending on how much cake you have, you will quite possibly want to double this recipe. You'll want to make extra.

Sylvia's Mocha Frosting

In a double boiler, melt 2 oz bittersweet chocolate and 1 oz unsweetened chocolate with a splash of extremely strong coffee (as strong as possible). Turn off the burner and add 1 tablespoon of brandy or sherry. Add three egg yolks, beating with an electric mixer after each one. Add half a pound of butter and beat. Add confectioner's sugar to taste, probably about two cups, and beat and beat. Chill, then spread.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Because We Are No Longer Slaves

we eat cake fit for the gods. 

The crowning jewel of our Passover meal is always the cake, made by my mom from a recipe from her grandmother. It is the most amazing cake: hazelnut torte with mocha icing and raspberry sauce. The cake is made with ground blanched hazelnuts and matzo meal, so it has a course crumb, but it's light and flavorful. The frosting is heaven. I'm actually going to post the recipe for it in a few days, so get ready! It is all kinds of evil, but totally worth it. 

This year, our seder was on Danny's birthday, so we turned our torte into a festive birthday cake.

I think I'm going to stop writing now and eat some leftover mocha frosting from the fridge with a spoon. Sound good?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Last Supper

As Jewish people go, we take the "ish" part pretty seriously, but Passover is a different story. Passover is without a doubt my favorite holiday all year. I love the group of neighborhood Jews that have become my family, everyone's separate traditions melting together into one crazy night. Singing the mah nishtanah, dipping my finger in wine for the plagues, choking on horseradish, I love it all, but everyone knows what seder is really about. Like all Jewish holidays, it's about the food. 

We've gotten very good at delegating, creating a Passover feast that comes from many kitchens but works together perfectly. My mom handles eggs, celery and parsley, charoset, and cake, and everything else is brought from neighbors into our one-butt kitchen.  

The food starts with necessities: celery or parsley (think spring, new growth), hard-boiled eggs (life, rebirth), salt water to dip (tears), horseradish (pain, suffering), matzo. Charoset, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup. By this point, everyone is full. But the meal hasn't started yet. Next is brisket, chicken with apricots and dates, tsimmes, asparagus, green beans, and salad. And though you don't think you could possibly eat any more, you have a slice of my mom's amazing cake, because no one could ever turn down her hazelnut torte. (And I'm posting pictures of that separately, so check back soon!)

And to close, a question for you: How do you tell which one is the gefilte fish when they're all swimming in the ocean? 

Ten points to whoever answers correctly first!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shades of Blue

I'm not good at decisions. Anyone want to flip a coin for me?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes

For anyone who says teenagers can't pull off Shakespearian tragedies, come see the Scottish play. I might be a wee bit biased, but it is an amazing production. The cast, especially Mark as Macbeth and Jenny as a beautiful and horrifying Lady Macbeth, is perfect: energetic and hardworking. After our last show tomorrow, I'll be happy to never spread liquid latex on my skin again, but I will miss everyone so much, especially my weird sisters, Sydney and Ariel. And I think I'm going to start randomly cackling in every day life, because it is my true calling. 

And to conclude, a picture of me to haunt your dreams.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Muffins by Madeleine

The definition of good friends: they not only drive three hours to see you, but they also bring pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

Our debate friends from Penn came to visit us on Wednesday on their spring break. It was fun for Alex, Shriya, Neha, and I to play hosts and show the wonders of West Lala to our visitors. Our day was perfect, though it was a bit odd to see them in street clothes. I had heard multiple times of Madeleine's baking magic, but I never had the chance to try anything. When I heard that she was bringing muffins, I got very excited. And they were just as delicious as advertised. Now I just need to steal the recipe and I'll be one very happy lady.

(I feel like I need an explanation for the creepy state of my fingernails: I'm a witch in the Scottish play. My cuticles aren't actually dripping blood so near my muffin, it's just paint.)

And this is because Sean enjoyed being a muffin model too much. 

Thank you so much Sean, Florence, and Madeleine for coming all the way here! It was wonderful to see you, and we need to all hang out again before summer. PennLaf <3

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life Gave Me Blood Oranges

In printed works from textbooks to novels, the lack of a control-f function frustrates me. Right or wrong, as a part of this new generation of teenagers, I am used to finding what I want right when I want it.  While reading cookbooks is my favorite pastime, when I actually have a recipe in mind or an ingredient that I want to use, I inevitable turn to google chrome instead of the bookshelf. When a cursory glance at epicurious doesn't give me answers, I've found myself turning to my favorite blog

And so I turned to Deb with excess of blood oranges in the fridge, and she gave me the answer: a flaky blood orange tart complete with caramel sauce. 

The recipe was a little odd. I anticipated making the pastry in advance, then taking it out of the fridge to roll it and form the tart, but I never would have thought that after completing the tart, you stick the entire thing in the freezer and then bake it frozen solid. Baking the frozen frisbee of dough and purple oranges felt like I must be misreading the directions, but the tart came out beautifully. 

And for your sake, I won't say anything about the caramel sauce. Because if I did tell you how amazing it was, you would immediately rush to your kitchen and make it yourself, and then you would be forced to gorge yourself on ice cream, cookies, cakes, almonds, apples, pears, and bananas, all drizzled with caramel. And when you finish all of those, you would have to grab spoons (or fingers) to finish off the caramel. At this point, you would probably be dead of sugar overdose, and I wouldn't want to subject you to that horrible fate. So I won't say a word about the sauce.