… alternately titled, In Which Vast Quantities of Sugar and Fat are Consumed. Oh, yeah. Yesterday was a busy day. We had brunch at my SIL’s, and in preparation therefor, I made a crustless bacon & onion quiche for 8. It’s a very low fat recipe– just 10 eggs, 1 cup heavy cream, 5 strips bacon & a large onion, browned together in a pan, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg, stirred together and baked for 20-25 minutes until browned at the edges and set in the middle at 375F. Very diet-conscious.
I also made Dorie Greenspan’s Swedish Visiting Cake. This cake has been getting raves all over teh intarwebz, and let me tell you, nom nom nom nom nom. It’s good. So good, in fact, that we made another one this morning, just to enjoy for ourselves. The BH actually made this one and took its picture this morning– but the one we brought to his sister’s yesterday was also a hit. The recipe is dead easy, since it only requires two bowls and a fork or wooden spoon to make. Our version had two changes from the original, link above– we had no vanilla, so we used lemon extract in place, and we had no sliced almonds to sprinkle on top, just whole skinned almonds– so we just bashed them with a meat tenderizer and sprinkled them on top.
Then, after we got home, I started making supper for our friend L, who celebrates her birthday today. Since today was supposed to be messy and ucky with a snow and ice storm (and is, in fact, messy and ucky), I proposed we make her dinner last night instead. Accommodating soul that she is, she agreed. L. is also an accomplished cook and baker, so it’s always fun to cook for her, and I can try something new on her and she will appreciate the experiment. I decided to make something that’s been sitting in my computer recipe file for a while– Rose Prince’s Poached Chicken with Leeks. (Scroll down for the recipe after clicking on the link.) People, meet your new chicken crack. I did make the following variation– in place of the 900 ml (3/4 quart) of chicken stock, I used 300 ml white wine (pinot grigio) and 600 ml (1/2 quart) stock. I didn’t have and couldn’t find fresh tarragon, so I dry-brined the chicken parts with 3 tbsps. salt, 1 tbsp. white pepper, and 1 1/2 tbsps. Penzey’s dried tarragon for an hour before browning the parts and poaching them. I tested my chicken at 30 min. and found it was done, so I removed it from the stock/wine mixture, ladled the stock into a fat separator, poured the defatted stock back in (leaving a good 1/3 cup rendered chicken grease), and then stirred in the cream and the leeks as called for. I removed the skin from the chicken parts and then added them back in, covering and leaving on low heat for 10 minutes. Served with buttered rice dressed with the juice of 1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon and green beans, it was the perfect warming supper. Of the broth, L. said, “you need to bottle this.” I just had some more for lunch, and yeah, I do.
Finally, what’s a birthday without a birthday cake? I am not a huge chocolate fan, but L. is, so I knew I had to make a chocolate cake. I have got Julia Child’s Reine de Saba cake down, and it’s been my go-to grownup’s chocolate cake for years. When it’s done right, nothing matches it for chocolatey richness. Well, until this cake– Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Armagnac Cake. My variations from the recipe are: 1) I used almond meal instead of pecans, since I have almond meal already made in my freezer, and 2) I did not have armagnac, but have used bourbon as a substitute before, since it is also woody and sweet, like armagnac– so I used bourbon to flame the little bits of chopped prunes that I think are key to making this cake so rich, yet light, and meltingly moist. So, now I have a new favorite chocolate cake. The recipe is a little bit more fiddly than the Reine de Saba, but it’s worth it.
Blackberry ice cream went amazingly well with the cake. I’d just guessed that it might, since I didn’t want to bring home vanilla, and there wasn’t any Haagen-Dazs raspberry gelato, my usual go-to for accompanying chocolate birthday cake.