Monday, July 28, 2014

InstaEats July 2014

It's been another delicious month and especially so since I got to celebrate my birthday last week. I had a great time celebrating with friends and my mom and the tiny top hat party was a great success.

I mentioned last month that I love when friends come to visit. My friend Kris dragged me to Hot Doug's to wait for two hours in line for hot dogs. The store is closing in a few months so everyone is trying to get their last visit in before it's too late. This time I got the foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and fleur de sel. It was a delight, but nothing is worth a two hour wait.

A few days later, more friends were in town. We kicked off the evening with a delicious spin on southern food at Carriage House, followed it up with some flaming drinks at Three Dots and a Dash, and completed the evening with chilaquiles and the amazing burger from Au Cheval. (Read my rave about my first meal at Au Cheval here)

The following week, I made a quick trip to NYC. Though I was there for work, I managed to sneak in some pretty great eats in just a few days. First up was dinner at Shake Shack. I'm excited they're coming to Chicago later this year!

Momofuku Milk Bar is dangerously close to my office. I love their weird, sometimes complicated recipes (Crack Pie, Compost Cookie). This time I got to try the blueberry and cream cookie and the cornflake marshmallow cookie. I actually saved these for later because I had more pressing desserts on my mind.

I hoofed it from midtown to Chelsea so I could stop by the Doughnut Plant. There was still a good selection that evening so I narrowed my choices to the creme brulee doughseed, the coconut lime doughseed, and the strawberry vanilla jam filled doughnut. The dough on all of these was a bit chewy, but I loved the coconut lime filling and strawberry vanilla jam. I would have picked up some jam to go if I wasn't traveling light.

After all that doughnut indulgence, I decided to burn some calories walking through the High Line and Chelsea Market. A couple of the restaurants I had bookmarked were totally full so I ended up at Bocca di Bacco for an extremely satisfying dinner of meatballs and caprese salad followed by a negroni nightcap at The Meatball Shop.

Back in Chicago, I went out for brunch at Waffles again and got to try their birthday cake wonut (waffle donut).

Last, my sweet friend took my mom and I out for my birthday at Ceres' Table. A feast of quattro formaggi pizza, porchetta, and salted caramel budino was a great way to celebrate the day.

Looking back at all these pictures, it's hard to believe I've been able to lose twenty pounds in the last few months. I'm looking forward to the next month of tastiness.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Middle


If you've been following this blog for a while (or know me in person), you know how old I'm turning today. I try not to freak about getting older by preparing myself and telling people I'm older at least two months in advance of my birthday. For some reason, that little trick isn't working as well this year, but I am trying to remain calm. This is my first time celebrating my birthday in Chicago (I've been in LA for the occasion the last two years) and my friends and I had a joint Tiny Top Hat party. Check my Instagram to see my super fabulous hat. As much as I like baking big fancy cakes on my birthday (see below), I also think the day can be celebrated with a simple sweet treat. These rice krispie treats take about two seconds to put together...ok, maybe a little longer, but you get the idea. They are large, but easily cut into small squares so you can share with a group and ideal for summer since no oven is required. I'm finding pleasure in the simple things and that makes getting older a little less terrible to bear.

One year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Two years ago: Tin Roof Ice Cream Cake
Three years ago: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
Four years ago: Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Five years ago: Root Beer Cupcakes
Six years ago: Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Salted, Malted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
(Adapted from Joy the Baker)

Makes 9 large squares

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
40 jumbo-size marshmallows
1/3 cup malted milk powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt plus extra for sprinkling on top
6 cups Rice Krispies ceral
1 cup roughly chopped pretzel M&Ms, plus extra for sprinkling on top

In a very large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to brown, turn the heat to low and add the marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are melted and combined with the butter. Stir in the malted milk powder and salt and combine well.  Add the Rice Krispies to the marshmallow mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Add one cup of the M&Ms and mix well.

Press the mixture into a 9x9 pan. Press the remaining M&Ms into the top of the treats and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Put the pan in the refrigerator to set the treats, about half an hour. Cut into squares before serving.

Printable Recipe

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