S’mores Brulée

In my latest episode of the Starving Artist I break out my kitchen torch – I got it as a Christmas present a few years ago from my Aunt Judy. I highly recommend getting one – you’d be amazed all the things you can find to torch. But I think when most people think of a kitchen torch they think of creme brûlée. You know, creamy cold custard served in a ramekin, topped with sugar, and torched for a crunchy caramelized top. Delicious? Yes. But I’m the starving artist. I don’t have time or money to make custard – please. So the question is: what DO I have time and money for? What creative and affordable thing could possibly fit into a ramekin?

S’mores. What could be better? Watch the video to see how it’s done.

Here’s the recipe in PDF form: S’mores Brulee – Recipe PDF

One thing I discovered after we shot the video is that using marshmallow fluff instead of mini marshmallows actually makes it a lot easier to eat. And I realize that not every starving artist has a torch, so if you want to do this recipe without one, just place the ramekins on a sheet pan and stick it under your broiler for a minute or two until the top gets your desired black. Yum! ,

Mammoth Eating

Mammoth Lakes

This weekend I’m blogging from Mammoth Lakes, CA, a popular destination for skiing. Those of you who know me are probably thinking “you? Skiing?”. Hahah – no. My dear friend David has a stunningly beautiful family home up here with a view unlike any I’ve ever seen. He is gracious enough to invite a small group of us up here a few times a year for camaraderie and merriment. Though I may not be into skiing, I am into sitting by a fire with a book, flirting with questionable men in local establishments, and of course, I wouldn’t be the starving artist if i wasn’t going to be cooking for all my friends.

Today I’m headed out on my own to sample a local haunt for my favorite meal – brunch. Then it’s back here to get cooking for when the skiers come home. And perhaps a little lounging in between. ;-)

Be sure you’re following me on Instagram, @starvingartistf, for all my culinary exploits and general shenanigans. Facebook too!

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce
this is what it looks like when it’s done cooking

Are you in need of a last minute recipe to bring to a thanksgiving potluck? Are you looking for a recipe that spices things up without taking you so far from those learned thanksgiving flavors? Do you just like to read what I type and hear my voice in your head? Then this is the post for you.

So I know we all have a special fondness for the can-shaped blob of cranberry sauce that we crack open and slop into a bowl just before you sit down because you almost forgot about it. Believe me, I get it – I still make stuffing from a box after the teachings of my grandfather. But did you know that fresh cranberry sauce is literally the easiest thing on earth to make? Everything you need to make it sauce is already in the cranberries, so there’s no need for corn starch or other thickeners; just cranberries, sugar, and water. Done. But of course with something this simple, I can’t resist the opportunity to jazz it up just a touch. My secret ingredient? Ginger. Combined with a splash of red wine and fresh orange juice, and will surely put that old jelled can to shame.

A fair warning, you may think this recipe calls for a lot of sugar – not at all. The tartness of cranberries cannot be overstated. Be sure to taste once it’s cooked. Also, I like to puree my sauce as some of the fibers that don’t break down from the cranberries can be a bit unpleasant to eat. Pureeing gets rid of this problem, but if you’re down for chunky rustic sauce, skip the puree and leave it just like the photo.

By the way, remember the post I did on ginger syrup? This would be an excellent opportunity to use it!

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce Puree
Pureed.

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce – RECIPE PDF

Maple Bacon Cornbread

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and I know we are all dying to tear into those once-a-year favorites: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes….. mmmm….. I know that many household traditions include cornbread, often in the form of cornbread stuffing. Well it just so happens that I have a killer cornbread recipe with a New England twist that will go perfectly with your Thanksgiving feast. That’s the right, the title says it all: Maple Bacon Cornbread. It’s a winner, and the best part is you get to see how to make it!

The secret ingredient for any cornbread (in my opinion) is cast iron: you need that rocket-hot heavy metal pan to make the golden crust that makes cornbread cornbread. Mmm. And the good news is if you’re not a fan of maple and bacon, or you want to keep it plain so you can stuff your bird with it, then just simply leave out the maple and the bacon. If you want to use this bread for stuffing, you’ll want to make it a day in advance and leave it out on the counter so it gets a bit stale. Stale bread means flavorful stuffing! Yum!

Be sure to watch and share the video with all your friends!!

 Maple Bacon Cornbread – Recipe PDF

Show Stopping Apple Crisp

Show Stopping Apple Crisp

It’s slowly becoming common knowledge that I make the best apple crisp on earth. Every year I get more and more people on the apple crisp train, and so therefore every year I make more and more apple crisp. Usually I make them at random for functions and whatnot. This year, after a very long month of working I decided I needed to have a fall gathering to remind myself and all the friends I’d been ignoring that I am, in fact, still alive. And what better centerpiece for a fall party than apple crisp?

At first I thought it would be just a small gathering for a few friends…. that quickly turned into 16 people. It’s a wonderful feeling when you invite a bunch of people over and just about all of them show up. I like to think its me and not the apple crisp, but it’s probably 50/50. Sixteen people means two apple crisps. Accompanying the fall show stopped was warm apple cider with a selection of booze, and a new creation of mine: pumpkin pie spice popcorn. All I did was pop a big batch of popcorn on the stovetop in a small stockpot. Just buy any brand of loose popcorn kernels and pop according to the package directions – it is super easy, WAY better than microwave, and WAY cheaper. Once popped I tossed the corn with a stick of melted butter, a few pinches of kosher salt, and mixture of 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg, allspice, and clove. Add and toss to taste. It is quite the addictive sweet treat and perfect for accompanying our favorite Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus, starring the Divine Miss M and a very young Sarah Jessica Parker. Hilarious.

And what makes my apple crisp so good? It’s all in the topping. Sugar, oatmeal, flour, salt, and my personal touch, lots of diced pecans. I’ve attached the recipe below – you’re welcome.

What’s your fall favorite?

Show Stopping Apple Crisp – Recipe PDF