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Posts Tagged ‘party food’

I’m not much for hyperbole when it comes to describing recipes.  In fact, I get annoyed when bloggers talk up their recipes a lot, only to get ho-hum results myself.  So it means something when I feel no hesitation calling these some of the best brownies you’ll ever make.  My friends Nat and Jen brought these to a party a few months ago, and the crowd went wild.

If you love fudge brownies, these babies are for you.  They’re moist, rich, and deep, dark chocolatey.  Blondie lovers, look elsewhere.  This is some serious chocolate.  And by the way, some toasted walnuts would not be a crime here. Just don’t delay in making these!

Adapted from Joy of Baking

-5 oz. (140 g.) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 70% chocolate)
-1/2 c. (1 stick/113 g.) butter
-2 Tbsp. (15 g.) cocoa powder
-1 c. (200 g.) sugar (raw sugar OK)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3 large eggs, room temperature
-3/4 c. (95 g.) all-purpose flour*
-1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8×8-in. square or 9-in. round pan.

2. In a medium metal bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water.

3. Whisk until completely melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and sugar until fully combined.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not overmix.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for 28-35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with just a little batter and a few crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake.

7. Cool 10 min. before cutting.

*This recipe adapts well for those avoiding gluten. Just substitute an equal amount of gluten-free “all purpose” flour. Mine was a combination of rice flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. I honestly could not tell the difference.

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Years ago (more than I care to admit), I was an exchange student in Vienna, Austria. It was there I had my first kiss, my first martini, and my first taste of Liptauer. It’s hard to say which of these made the biggest impression on me. Needless to say, I spent many a balmy night in the Heuriger (wine gardens), drinking the season’s new wine and noshing on German rye thickly slathered with a creamy, salty spread laced with mustard, paprika, and garlic.

Try Liptauer with a soft pretzel or three, and soon you’ll be singing the praises of the Austro-Hungarian empire (at least culinarily).

Swept up in Austria

This spread balances the tangy bite of pickles and capers with lots of creamy goodness. It is excellent on everything from crudités to crackers. Serve it at your next holiday party and brace yourself to explain—repeatedly—what the heck makes it so addictive. It’s that good. You might as well make a triple batch, as I did.  Just think of it as exotic pimento cheese ;).

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Mark Bittman is a creative guy.  In the fear that the NYT will slap me down for reprinting his entire list of 101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less without permission, I’ll just nudge you in the direction of the website.  Highlights include:

22.   Cut pork tenderloin into 1-inch slices; broil or sauté until done. Cut each piece across into 3 or 4 thin slices, then pile onto round bread slices, toasted or not. Top with slice of Manchego and bit of piquillo pepper.

24.   Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.

25.   A no-brainer: Cut slab of bacon into 1/2-inch chunks. Cook in a skillet, a broiler or a high-heat oven until nice and crisp. Skewer with a grape tomato.

49.   Pork kebabs, Iberian style. Mix 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tablespoon grated or minced lemon zest and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss with 1 pound cubed pork shoulder (with fat). Skewer. Broil about 5 minutes.

55.   Stuff Medjool dates with a piece of Parmesan or Manchego or an almond. Or fresh goat cheese. Or mozzarella, and bake until the cheese begins to melt.

Tasty!

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