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Every morning, my dad wakes up and makes a pot of oatmeal for my mom and himself. Well, not this week, because my mom and I are on a no-simple-carbs kick, but in general, that’s what my dad does. BIIIIG bowl of oatmeal, half an apple, half a banana, handful of raisins, yogurt, milk, and some normal dry cereal for crunch. I keep telling him he’s eating a good half-day of calories in one bowl, but he just laughs at me and walks away.

Every morning, my dad wakes up and makes a pot of oatmeal for my mom and himself. And he leaves half an apple and half a banana on the counter every morning. Sometimes it gets eaten later in the day. Sometimes it gets eaten the next morning. But we go through a lot of bananas. And most of the time, I am saved the gag-reflex of the brown bananas (can you tell I’m not a fan?), but occasionally, like this weekend, there are a few that get forgotten and turn from yellow, to yellow-and-brown-spotted, to black.

Of course, yucky as I think overripe bananas are, I think they are wonderful in brown bread form. My mom has a recipe for banana bread that she swears by…I think it’s dry and kind of boring, but maybe it’s because I grew up with it. So for kicks, and partly because we have a bunch of buttermilk hanging out in the fridge, I tried a new recipe. Rocking the whole wheat flour this time around (no-simple-carb-kick I might be on…but whole wheat makes it better, right? Right?!), and the buttermilk makes the bread suuuuuuper fluffy. I think it could do with a little less butter and a little more flour, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Speaking of bananas, has anyone ever seen the skit Demetri Martin does on bananas?

Banana Bread

  • 2 c. flour (I did half white/half whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 1/4 c. walnut oil (Walnut oil, my new baby). I guess you could use canola, grapeseed, coconut, or avocado.
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 3 suuuuuuuuuuper ripe bananas
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease two loaf pans.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat the butter, oil, and sugar together for a few bit.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk until the batter is mostly mixed, but not completely.
  5. Mash the bananas with a fork.
  6. Add the dry ingredients, then the bananas. Don’t over-mix the batter. (I did this part by hand *gasp*)
  7. Pour the batter into the pans. Bake 30 minutes and then check the center. You can increase the time to 45 minutes if needed, but be careful you don’t end up with crumbly banana bread.

Sometimes you have days when nothing works out how you want it.

And sometimes you have days when everything works out beyond all perfect rosy fantastical imagination.

I am going to tell you a tale. Of burned brownies. Of melted icing that wasn’t supposed to melt. Of a suuuper easy dinner recipe. But most importantly, I am going to tell you about Jesus in cake form.

But to reach such an important point for humanity, one must first hear of the trials and tribulations I endured yesterday. The brownie day. It was one of my flatmates’ birthdays, so, since I happen to be the resident baking pro (HA!), I took it upon myself to make something sugary. I had the perfect plan – brownies. With home-made caramel and stroopwafels (a diiiiiiiivine Dutch cookie) in between. Topped with more caramel. And yes, they were quite good, once salvaged: I must admit, with shame, that in all my years of cooking, baking, and eating, I have NEVER burned something…until Holland. Damn toaster oven. Thankfully, all that was needed to salvage my brownies was a sharp knife – cut the top of the brownies off, and I leave caramel-drenched loveliness in my wake.

And then came dinner at my aunt’s. My aunt is a fucking genius at cooking. She doesn’t know it, but the secret to her genius lies in the massive, copious, heart-attack-inducing amounts of butter she uses. For dinner, I asked for “Kabeljouw met Mosterdsaus,” Dutch-speak for “Cod with Mustard Sauce,” a fabulous feast that is so easy my Dad could do it. Actually, I take it back. He can’t. He’s tried. But he’s kind of hopeless with cooking. Kidding, but not really.  🙂  I degress – the dish is actually quite easy: butter, half an onion, some lemon juice, peppercorns, and a bay leaf – melt and mix, then add cod fillets and steam. Mustard sauce is also easy – Hollandaise sauce with some white wine, a couple tablespoons of stoneground mustard, a tablespoonish of dijon mustard, a little bit of the fish broth. Eat with potatoes and shredded beets – beets, finely chopped onions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, vinegar. YUM.

And then later that evening came Booze Brownies, a Christmas tradition and a gnawing craving I’ve been fighting for the past week. Brownies, soaked in bourbon, covered in an icing of powdered sugar, rum, and butter, drizzled (or in this case, drenched) with melted chocolate. But see, the only place I went wrong was timing – so impatient to get my drunk on was I, that I did not wait for the brownies to cool, thus melting the butter in the icing…whatever, they were still pretty bomb.

But the real, true reason for this post is due to the cake my dear Rosa requested we make tonight. I appeared this evening to do dinner with my girls. Rosa took the ingredients I brought for dinner and whipped up an ah-mazing dinner of salad and gnocci w/red pesto, pepper, tomato, and onion, while Sonia did all the dishes in her kitchen – none of which were her’s (this girl is awesome) – and I attackd Rosa’s ingredients to make the cake. Armed with 400 grams (140z) of dark, swiss, gorgeous, rich, decadent, OMG chocolate, I tried a random recipe found online, stirred, whipped, whisked, and baked it. Poured still-hot ganache over it, and then, we ate.

I know I can never dream to copy down Rosa’s description of our experience verbatim, but I sure as hell am going to try. ***Warning: very graphic language to follow. Very necessary graphic language. Very truthful graphic language. No laughing, just awe.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.
No, not Jesus Fucking Christ. I am fucking Christ.

This cake is tattooed arms and big dick good,
It is making out in the elevator I-Need-You-Now,
Wet before you hit the door,
Hard, pounding sex,
Soft and sweet,
Fast and hard,
The combination of all the sex I’ve had,

Earth-shattering, I can’t breathe,
I might have to go change my clothes,
Because I just came in my pants,
Chocolate Cake.

The only difference between this cake and sex is
I’m going to need more.

Rosa’s Chocolate Cake
Theoretically feeds 8. Realistically, 3…
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 25 min.

  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler (or my make-shift bowl in a frying pan with simmering water), stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Separate yolks and whites. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl until pale yellow. Mix in flour, then slowly add chocolate mixture (don’t dump it all in at once or the eggs will cook because of the heat from the chocolate. YUCK).
  4. Beat egg whites in another bowl until stiff but not dry (thanks to Sonia for beating the eggs by hand. My hero of the day).
  5. Fold the whites into chocolate mixture (I repeat, no all at once business. No cooking of the egg whites, por favor).
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (approx 25 minutes). Cool. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter.

Enter ganache.

Simple Chocolate Ganache
Prep time: 2 min.
Cook time: 10 min. + 30 min. cool-down time

  • 4 T (ish) Butter
  • 7-8 0z. Chocolate
  • 1/4 C. (ish) Cream
  1. In a double boiler (or bowl in a pan with hot water, as I intimated before), melt the chocolate.
  2. Add the cream until happily melted and combined to smooth perfection.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool. You may pour it over the cake now or spread it later. Either way, it’ll taste beyond lovely and that’s all that matters.

I submit: Who needs sex when you can have this cake? Seriously. Who?

Guess what I did?!  I joined the ranks of the Daring Kitchen (just in case you somehow missed the title)!

Wow, how cool do I feel? Really cool. Like a legitimate blogger! Now if I could get someone aside from my best friend (who actually made the blog and posts more often than me) to read it…

Anyway, I’m super stoked for this upcoming Daring Baker’s challenge.  I think whole process is going to be very fun, pushing me to try out things outside of my comfort zone (you know, cookies, brownies and pasta).  I can’t wait to make Ammar help me with this one, even though I KNOW he’s going to complain the entire time.  Good thing I know he’s just kidding (or at least I hope so).

Now that I’ve announced that to the world, I am going to continue to waste some time.  Yes, I know I should be working on some French homework.  Or studying up for the next quiz in my Strategic Management class. Or, hell, even working on my thesis.  That bullshit REALLY needs to get done.  Instead, I shall write this lovely blog post, sharing some recipes and musics!

So as of right now, I’m in loooooooooooove with the Cold War Kids.  I just downloaded two of their albums (Loyalty to Loyalty and Robbers & Cowards) both of which are mind blowing.  Just lovely.  I’ve also popped back into the Dirty Projectors and discovered they’ve created an album with Bjork, which is tooooootally perfect for their vibe.  Some of my new favorites are:

On and Ever Onward – Dirty Projectors and Bjork

Saint John – Cold War Kids, Dr. Dog and Elvis Perkins

Another gal I’m digging the hell out of is Oh Land.  Amazing! She’s from Copenhagen, Denmark (I have a total soft spot for anything Danish now) and is sweet and lovely, with catchy lyrics and tunes.  White Nights and Son of a Gun are two of her’s floating around on the blogosphere.

As for recipes, I’ve got two very relaxed ones for you.  One was an easy one skillet meal and the other was a Lemon Pound Cake with Glaze.  Ammar and I made these last week, and both of them were delicious.  Although I must say, we spiced up the Chicken, Rice and Bean dish for the better by adding a habenero pepper, both of them were easily made and took little to no time.  The only thing on the pound cake is let it cool before you eat it, because warm it tastes too eggy for me.  However, once cooled, I didn’t get that at all.

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

From My Kitchen Cafe

*I felt like mine could have used a little more broth (maybe 1/4-1/3 cup more) and as noted above, I added a habenero pepper to turn up the heat a little bit.

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1.5 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 habenero pepper, diced
1 ½ cups rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 3-4 green onions), roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping
Sour cream  and cheddar cheese for serving

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a medium-large heavy pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the diced chicken breast with salt and ½ tablespoon of the chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on all sides.  The chicken doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. Once browned, remove from pan to a plate.

Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pot and add the onion, pepper and rice. Cook on medium-low, stirring for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth (here is where I might add a bit more broth to prevent from a gummy texture) and salt (between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) to taste. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken to the pot along with the beans, give it all a good stir. Recover the pot and cook on low for 10-12 minutes longer, taking care that the mixture isn’t cooking to hot or else it will burn on the bottom.

Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice. It should be tender, in which case you can sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the dish, place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring and checking often to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Two nights ago, I was making brownies (IMO, they were good, but not good enough to repeat. My roommates claim otherwise…I won’t post the recipe, but I suggest pouring melted nutella over your next batch of brownies.) and my dear roommate Frans waltzed into the kitchen after having disappeared to Scandinavia for an entire week. Upon his appearance, I was suddenly reminded that, “Oh crap, Frans’ birthday is tomorrow.” Should I make a birthday cake?

And then I logged onto my beloved facebook, and what do you know? It’s Frans’ birthday on the 21st, but it’s also Txomin’s birthday! Let me reform that earlier question to a statement of joy: I’m making a birthday cake!!!!

The day of, however, I was feeling a little lazy, and you know that when Chantalle starts to get lazy, she takes shortcuts. Boxed cake. Premade Frosting. Pressurized Whip Cream. Okay, I did none of those. I did worse. I bought a cake. *extremely shame faced Talle* However, it was just a plain white cake that I bought (okay okay, I bought two) and I still made the frosting, which is really the best part of this cake anyway. If you need any further proof after reading the recipe, let me add that I live with 14 other people – this morning, there were two pieces of cake left. Now, there are none. This cake always wins.

Better Than Sex Cake

  • Prep time: 20 min.
  • Feeds: a lot of people. or not. you might eat the whole thing.
  • 2, 9″ round cake  pans (for presentation) or 1 long glass pan (for practicality)

1 boxed white cake mix

1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 C. water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 C whipped cream
2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Fruit of your choice (fresh strawberries or peaches are my favorite, but mandarin oranges and pineapple are also fantastic)

The Steps!

  1. Bake the cake according to the directions (2 9″ rounds for presentation – remove from pans) or (1 long flat glass for practicality – leave it in the pan), let cool completely.
  2. Mix the water, pudding, condensed milk, and almond extract well. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix whipped cream into pudding mixture, refrigerate again if needed.
  4. Spread a layer of the icing on the cake, put on a layer of fruit.
  • If you are using 2 round cakes, place the other on top. Ice again, another layer of fruit.
  • If you are using a long cake, do another layer of icing and more fruit.

And that’s it kiddies. If you have extra icing, you can save it for a bit (it goes wonderfully with strawberries or vanilla cookies). Refrigerate this bad boy until serving time and if there are leftovers (milk and cream spoil and that’s not cool with this cake around), but I doubt there will be. Oh, and the name of the cake? I’m not kidding on this one.  🙂

Another lovely transfer. This one was a massive hit for all my little NACURH conference kiddies, except for Sal, who nearly died when he discovered the white chocolate…apparently he abhors it. Sal is strange.

“So I just spent the past 30 minutes trying to hack into my account on a computer that is not mine – I can never remember my silly user name, and let’s not get started on passwords. That’s what the “remember my password” button is for, right? – and before  my superior hacking skills were enacted, I sat and stared at my own little laptop as the browser crashed Every.Time.I.Opened.Wordpress. Stupid Mac and its mystery bug. Time to go to the Apple Store, I guess.

Anyway, I have had a thoroughly frustrating couple days trying to get on here and SHARE! but success, I have finally managed to sneak on (how, I shall keep a secret hee hee) and I have a beautiful somewhat-made-up recipe to share. I say “made up” because part of the recipe is indeed a boxed cake mix and yeah, I decided to be lazy and buy icing, but you  have to begrudgingly allow me my lazy ways – 1. because the cupcakes turned out amazingly and 2. because I started baking at midnight with a 12-page paper due the next day, and not finished. Yes, I’m probably insane, and let’s not get into how late I slept in the next morning, but the cupcakes were divine.

Lemon Coconut Surprise Cupcakes

1 box lemon supreme cake mix (I suppose you could make one from scratch, but not at midnight)
1 Lemon, zested
1 Cup grated coconut
splash of coconut rum (I like Whaler’s, but I suppose you could use Malibu, if you HAVE to – side note, Whaler’s Coconut Rum is the best stuff EVAR)

1. Bake according to the box in cupcake molds or whatever they are called. Then cool. COMPLETELY

1/2 bag white chocolate chips (give or take)
2 Cups + shredded coconut
Lemon Icing

2. Using a  sharp knife, cut a circle in the top of a cupcake, pull out the middle and throw it away (or eat it, like me)

3. Place a few white chocolate chips in the center of the cupcake, replace the top, all sneaky-like

4. Spread  lemon icing on top, then dip in shredded coconut. Repeat for each cupcake

Ta-Da! Enjoy!”

I occasionally get these cravings for cake, but I’m going to be honest — it never tastes as good as it sounds. I’m not a cake girl, never have been. C is for cookie and that’s good enough for meeee OHHHH cookie cookie cookie starts with C is my song on baking nights. So when I got a cake craving last week, I decided to try something different. Forget that spongey crumbly mess most cakes become — I went for a vegan chocolate cake, and oh my lovely life, this cake is wonderful.

I used two round cakes, layered, with candied oranges in the middle and ganache all around, served with orange pineapple icecream. Yum yum. Give it a shot!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  1. Mix the dry stuff, then mix in the wet stuff.
  2. Bake in two round cake tins (you don’t even need to greese them! I’ll give you a moment to celebrate.) at 350 degrees F (that’s 175 C for my european friends) for 45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes clean. You know the drill. Let it cool completely before icing.

Orange Chocolate Ganache

  • 10-12 oz. bittersweet Orange Chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 C  water, milk, cream, or, to make it super fun, use pulp-free OJ
  • 1/2 stick butter (the general call is for unsalted, but quite honestly, I ALWAYS cook with salted butter and it still tastes fabulous, so IMO do what you want)
  1. Heat the chocolate and the liquid in a double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water) until the chocolate is melted completely.
  2. Remove from heat and add the butter in chunks, whisking briskly until the ganache is as smooth as you can get it.
  3. Let it cool to room temp, then spread it on. Ganache keeps well in the fridge for a few days, or you can freeze it for later, just make sure it’s room temperature before starting to ice your cake, or else you’ll end up with gooey crumbs.  😉

Serve and enjoy! Let us know what you think!