Sunday, May 2, 2010

lavender brownies & Cinco de Callie

My sweet tooth has been on a rampage.

I can't finish any savory meal (or snack for that matter) without a bite of something sweet.

my "nice" bites have included:
dried apricots
orange marmalade with local goat cheese
kashi cereal bars
fresh raspberries with Greek yogurt

some "naughty" bites on my mind (and in my stomach):
homemade muffins
peanut butter and honey paninis
curly's vanilla custard with bananas and caramel
anything involving chocolate cake

While browsing the 7th St. area after a lovely lunch with Ms. Fort Worth Cookie, the two of us snuck into j. rae's bakery specializing in cupcakes, cookies & cheesecake for a peek at their sweet confections. Although I was a sucker for their adorable hand-decorated dinosaur cookies, I chose a simple chocolate cupcake with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

I took one bite and was completely content. The cake was moist and not too chocolately- nice with the tangy frosting (although there was entirely too much of it). I will definitely return to j. rae's-- perfect cookies for a baby shower.

During a recent Central Market raid, I stopped short at the meat market with interest in pristine, garnet-hued bison-- organic, grain-fed and antibiotic free. I settled on a robust striploin with dreams of steak sandwiches in my head.

Along with buttery greens, homemade compound butter, luscious local cheese and earthy mushrooms-- this sandwich was simple yet refined.

Seared Bison Loin with Wilted Mache, Local Chevre, Roasted Clamshell Mushrooms & a Dried Fig Butter

Makes 2 sandwiches.

1 bison striploin
salt and pepper to taste
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup fresh mache leaves
1 c fresh clamshell mushrooms
goat cheese for spreading
(I used local Latte Da Dairy)
4 slices of fresh bread, toasted
(I used whole wheat Millet bread)
2 tablespoons dried fig butter, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle mushrooms with olive oil, a sprig of thyme and a drizzle of salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 30 minutes until browned and crispy. Keep warm.

Season bison with liberal salt and pepper. Sear in a heated saute pan approximately 4 minutes per side to develop a brown crust. Finish in 400 degree oven approximately 6 more minutes to achieve medium rare. Set steak on board to rest while assembling sandwich.

Layer fig butter, mushrooms, sliced, rested steak, mache and goat cheese on remaining bread slice. Serve warm.

Dried Fig Butter:

4 T butter, softened
1/2 c dried figs, minced
1/2 t fresh thyme, minced
dash of salt

Mash together ingredients. Chill until ready to use. This butter would be fabulous on plain toast for breakfast, croissants or poached fruits.

While planning dinner, I decided to raid my pantry and make an impromptu dessert for two:

Bittersweet Lavender Brownies with Pistachios & a Cinnamon Chantilly

1 c unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 and 1/4 c AP flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 c sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla bean extract
1 t dried lavender plus additional to garnish
crushed roasted pistachios for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan then set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and dried lavender in a small bowl.
Whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl then whisk in chocolate mixture until combined well. Whisk in flour mixture then transfer batter to a baking pan.
Bake approximately 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted has a few crumbs clinging. Cool brownies on a rack. Serve warm with chopped pistachios, a sprinkling of dried lavender and a dollop of cinnamon chantilly cream.
Cinnamon Chantilly Cream:
1 pint organic heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 T ground cinnamon
Beat cream in a stand mixer until soft peaks develop. Stir in cinnamon and serve chilled with brownies.
Cinco de Mayo was this week-- an excuse for all to leave work a bit early, sip margaritas and parade around in sombreros. Since high school, my friends and I have also lovingly referred to it as Cinco de Callie-- in my opinion, it's the best day to have a birthday!
I turned 25 this year and had a lovely day beginning with 1 a.m. text messages from high school friends, gorgeous hydrangeas delivered to work and thoughtful gifts, cards and flowers received from both jobs.

For lunch, I snuck away with my boyfriend to the Central Market sandwich bar and patio for diet root beer, thick-cut potato chips and customized sandwiches.

I went with my usual:
whole wheat bread, red pepper hummus, muenster and grilled veggies
toasted and topped with:
fresh avocado slices, arugula and cucumber

while boyfriend settled on a simple:
roasted turkey, ham and pepperjack
toasted on rosemary bread with basil pesto
lovely lunch date.

After being cut early from my restaurant job that evening, I dashed home to shower and go glam in preparation of a surprise 5-course wine pairing dinner at Eddie V's Prime Seafood.

Our meal was sublime. The service was impeccable, the courses were perfectly timed, the wines were pleasantly matched and our dishes were cooked perfectly with gorgeous flavors.

Course 1:

Seafood Gazpacho with Lime Creme Fraiche
Sauvignon Blanc

Course 2:

Sliced Wagyu Beef "Hot Rock" Ishiyaki-- Togarashi Spice and Soy Broth with Wild Mushrooms and Julienned Scallions

Course 3:

Fuji Apple and Golden Beet Salad with Maytag Bleu Cheese, Haricot Verts, Candied Walnuts and an Outrageous Ginger-Orange Vinaigrette (for her)

Sweet Corn and Crab Chowder with Smoked Bacon (for him)

Course 4:

Incredible Jumbo Seared Georges Bank Sea Scallops with a Sherry Cream Sauce, Crispy Potato Strings and a Cilantro Oil (for her)
Pinot Noir

12 ounce Seared Filet of Beef with Boursin (for him)

Course 5:

Tableside Bananas Foster with Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Moscato de Asti

Highlights of the meal were the gorgeously-prepared scallops with the perfect sear and ginger orange vinaigrette bursting with an intense citrus flavor.
After such a
rich, succulent dinner
rest was imminent with
well wishes
for the year to come.


1 comment:

Robert Chaplin rca said...

my grandma had a sweet tooth, eventually she didn't have any teeth at all :)
eat sweets, brush, floss & repeat.