I bet you all thought that this month's themed food post was going to be all green and shamrocky didn't you?
Well, it's not. Because I hate artificially green food. I like limes and actual greens (collard, mustard, kale) but green Sour Patch kids can go drown in the ocean. Same with green Skittles (apple OR lime). Same with green-tinted beer. No thank you. I do like corned beef and cabbage a lot, but I don't feel like I have anything unique to add to that dish so I'm skipping St. Patrick's Day food.
I'm way more excited about something else this month anyway. "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey" with Neil deGrasse Tyson is premiering March 9th. The previews look awesome, as in "inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear," not just "super cool, guys."
I'm expressing my enthusiasm for this event the same away I express enthusiasm for anything: getting drunk and eating cake.
We begin with a cocktail.
I mean, the pun wrote itself. The key ingredient here (besides vodka) is blood orange. The juice contributes to that dark, inky color and the wedge looks just a little unnatural and alien sitting on the rim of the glass. I know that cosmos are usually served in martini glasses, but I hate those jerks. SAUCERS ON STICKS, they are. I used a lowball and everyone can thank me later when you're not spilling space juice all over yourselves.
You will need:
- 1.5 oz. Vodka
- 1 oz. Blue Curacao
- 1 oz. Freshly -Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
- 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
- 0.5 oz. Freshly-Squeezed Lime Juice
- Colored Sugar (if you wish to have a stardust rimmed glass)
Wet the edge of your glass with a lime wedge. Roll in sparkly sugar. Place one giant ice cube (preferably an orb-shaped one that looks like Hoth) in your glass. Add everything else to an ice-filled (shape of ice not important here) shaker and strain into glass. Garnish with creepy looking blood orange wedge.
While drinking your Cosmos Cosmo (Cosmo Squared?) start making your appetizer.
Nothing to see here Jane!
These are lightly-themed, mostly in name, but they are delicious and quite filling for their size. The beauty is that you can adapt them however you want, filling-wise. So they could be vegetarian or even vegan if you wish! Mine were neither, but it could be done.
You will need;
- Two small (2 inch length or so) red potatoes per guest
- Olive oil or bacon fat for roasting
- Fillings such as butter, sour cream, labneh, chopped spinach, bacon, cheese, broccoli, whatever you can imagine!
For my four potatoes, I used 1.5 T of unsalted butter, 2.5 oz. of cheese, 2 T sour cream, and about 4 oz of pancetta. For the cheese, I used Parmigianno-Reggiano and the result was a very salty Spudnik. If you are using some sort of cured pork product, I recommend using a fattier, less salty cheese such as Colby or Swiss.
Preheat your oven to 425F. Coat your potatoes in whatever oil you are using (I used bacon grease) and season with salt and pepper. Roast your potatoes until they are fork tender, 20-30 minutes. Let them cool until you can handle them.
Slice the tops off the potatoes and carefully scoop the inside out with a tiny spoon. Mash the potato flesh with whatever fillings you've decided on and return the mixture to the hollowed out potatoes. Increase the temperature of the oven to 450F.
Wrap with foil to make them look a little spacey I guess? Return to oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until you see some browning.
Let's round it out.
Dark Matter Cake
You know the large amount of mass that seems to be missing from the universe? Yeah, that's dark matter. And this cake is the large amount of mass that's missing from my ass.
This recipe is a combination of an old standby and a new favorite. Nigella Lawson's Molten Chocolate Baby Cakes and I have been together now for quite a while. This is the dessert that tricked Sean into thinking I had some level of culinary skill. These are already almost as chocolaty as you can get, but they were lacking in wine. I had been wanting to try this red wine glaze from Epicurious since I first read the recipe and didn't see how these two things wouldn't be amazing together.
You really only need to follow these two recipes exactly, but I'll post them here anyway so you don't have to open multiple tabs.
For the Nigella cakes you will need:
- 3 T soft unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 0.75 cup superfine sugar
- 4 large eggs (beaten with pinch of salt)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 0.25 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 ramekins
- parchment paper
Preheat your oven to 400F with a baking sheet inside. Cut out circles of parchment paper to fit inside the ramekins. The easiest way to do this is to trace around the ramekin and then follow the tracing. Grease the ramekins and press the paper circles down inside.
Melt your chocolate (I microwave in ten-second bursts until the chocolate is about 75% melted, then I stir until the rest melts) and let cool slightly. Cream your sugar and butter, gradually beat in your eggs and salt, and vanilla. Once this is smooth, mix in the flour. Slowly pour in your chocolate, with your mixer on low, and mix until you have a smooth and homogeneous batter. Make sure you scrape the bottom a few times to get everything incorporated.
You will have a lovely, mousse-like batter.
Divide among your ramekins and place them on the hot baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While these are baking, make your glaze.
For the Epicurious glaze you will need:
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 0.25 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 0.5 t kosher salt
- 0.5 cup powdered sugar
- 0.5 cup red wine (I used a Cab Sav)
Melt your chocolate and butter with the pinch of salt over simmering water while at the same time bringing your wine to just a boil. Whisk powdered sugar into your chocolate mixture and remove from heat. Whisk in wine. Let cool and thicken slightly (about five minutes).
Take your cakes out of the oven and immediately (and carefully) turn them out onto a plate or bowl.
If you were to bite into them at this moment, you would find a light and fluffy cake with slightly chewy edges and a warm and somehow airy molten chocolate center. No one could fault you if you forgot about the glaze.
BUT. You would be missing out on chocolate bliss.
The combination of the dark, silky, vaguely alcoholic glaze with the molten mousse lava is probably one of the best combinations that has ever existed in my mouth. Second only to whiskey and cigarettes.
It's a terrible thing that I can make these at home with minimal effort.
Who here is watching the Cosmos premiere? Want to come over? I've got an outfit and a playlist that is mostly David Bowie.