Admittedly, I was inspired by this post from The Bitten Boys (who were inspired here) coupled by my love of raw vegetables. And asparagus–plumb, thick, stalky–this time of year are very hard to resist. The salad was devoured the other night at a dinner party I hosted save for one friend who pushed it aside. I don’t delude myself into solipsistic thought that my cooking is amazing and loved by all. Honestly, I want legitimate feedback and criticism. If something needs more flavor, if a dish, simply put, sucks, tell me. I can’t improve without feedback.
Well, I pan-roasted the sunchokes last night. Uh, *whew!!!* this morning. I forgot the flatulent powers these tubers pack.
Well, despite the aeration of my tubes last night and this morning, I still find them incredibly tasty. Curse you, damn, dirty inulin and your difficult digestion ways. Curious Cook Harold McGee says that since inulin is so difficult to digest (sunchokes pack more farty-fart power than your average bean) cooks should slice and boil them for 15 minutes with cream of tartar or lemon juice or bake in an oven at 200 degrees F for over 24 hours.
I did not get that memo.
So, yes, the ur-brownies that only get made for parties? I’ve made them three times in the past week. Since we’re in the midst of the holiday party season, I thought revisiting their charms briefly would be smart. First, volume: This is a huge number of brownies that will make your dessert tray. Second, versatility: the batter is so dense it can accomodate almost any mix-in–so go nuts, or crazy, or bananas. (Well, maybe not bananas…) Third, presentation: even with whole nuts the brownies, which have to be chilled before portioning, cut clean and pretty.
So, what’s already been done? Let’s review: there is, of course, the published version with a layer of mints. These got made for Sunday’s condo association party, and were good enough for neighbor to come back to ask for the recipe. Then, the hazelnut version for the antipasti-themed launch party. Then, the batch laced with cayenne, cinnamon, and brazil nuts–the brownie version of a riot-inducing Mexican chocolate torte–for a taco party Friday. Leftovers of the latter have been forced on all comers in addition to getting diced into tiny cubes as the base for a ridiculously decadent hot fudge brownie sundae. Nice.
In any case, consider this dispensation to take the brownie base and have your way with it… and let us know what you come up with!
Brownies. The quintessentially American treat, they are as diverse and varied as we are: some are cakey, some are chewy, some are fudgy, some are even blondie. And everyone has there own preference that falls somewhere along those lines.
These, however, are not one person’s favorite brownie. They are the ur-brownie. They aren’t some, they aren’t more, they’re the MOST. They’re chocolate and sugar and coffee and eggs and nuts and mints and every friggin’ thing else with the volume turned up to 11. Even in the 1 inch squares I cut them in, people wig out in the most rewarding way at these dense, moist, decadent, powerfully sweet little bites.
Yeah, I can’t talk about lamb without engaging in some cheap Buffalo Bill impressions while dancing in front of a mirror as Joy Division plays in the background. It’s too easy. Like me.
Hell, even when I’m prepping and seasoning a lamb shoulder, leg, shanks, etc. I often find myself singing along to this little ditty from “Silence of the Lambs: The Musical.”
Yes, I’m ill. These are facts, dear readers.
I serve quite a bit of lamb in my house. My friend Jim (not a fan of this habit!) argues I have a lamb fetish and would often groan upon learning that I’d be serving a lamb dish on the nights he would come over for dinner. He’s now living in Fiji. If I close my eyes and hold a seashell to my ear, I can almost hear him screaming.
So, in honor of Jim and the great Patricia Wells who published this recipe in “The Provence Cookbook,” I present the following pasta; a light lamb ragù sauce tossed with rigatoni and topped with a fresh cherry tomato and mint salad.