Monday, May 30, 2011

White Chocolate Blondies

I'd been looking to try a recipe that used white chocolate for the past few weeks and I settled with one I found on the Ghiradelli wrapper. It uses 2 bars of white chocolate, as well as chocolate chips, but to be honest, you don't really taste the white chocolate. You can definitely smell it, and these blondies are dense, rich and delicious, (so no ones complaining) but I'm not sure I'd have noticed otherwise. But if you're bored of regular blondies/brownies, it's something new to try.

2 bars (8oz) White Chocolate baking bars, broken into 1" pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup Semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, since the whole thing is flavored with white chocolate)

-Preheat oven to 350
-Line a 9" square baking pan with waxed paper, then grease paper
-Melt white choc and butter in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water
-Stir mixture occasionally until smooth. Set aside
-Add sugar, vanilla, melted chocolate and butter slowly
-Fold in flour, salt and choc chips till well combined
-Pour into pan, bake 25 min

Saturday, May 14, 2011

IceBox Strawberry Pie

America's Test Kitchen does it again! I've tried 2 of their recipes so far and been really impressed. This latest recipe was in a sample issue I received of Cook's Country. Imagine a pie that tastes somewhere in between a strawberry smoothie and jam and because it's chilled it's great for warmer weather. It uses 3 lbs of strawberries...

Serves 8

2 lbs frozen strawberries (I froze my own)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 (9") pie shell (I used deep dish) baked and cooled

1. Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over med-low heat till they start to release juice. Increase to med-high and cook till thick and jam-like (about 25 min). Mixture should measure EXACTLY 2 cups. Any more and your filling may be too loose.

2. Combine lemon juice, water and gelatin in a small bowl. Let stand until gelatin has softened and thickened (5 min). Stir this mixture into the cooked berry mix along with the sugar and salt. Return to simmer for 2 min. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temp (about 30 min)

3. Fold fresh berries into the filling. Spread evenly in your already baked pie shell and refrigerate till set (about 4 hours).

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Went out with the ladies on Thursday to a meditarranean restaurant that was new to all of us, called Ilili (between 27th and 28th on 5th Ave). It's a pretty posh place, where we were all completely under-dressed. All the hostesses looked like they were probably models and there were a lot of rich old ladies with face-lifts around. The main dining area is pictured above. There was also a bar/lounge area to the left and a lower-key dining area to the right, both just as long.

If you're going here, expect to eat family style. We all shared the Mezza Royale (the biggest of the sharing menus) @ $139. You first get the cold appetizers:
Hummus, baba ghannouj, chankleesh (lentils/rice/onions), grape leaves, tabbouleh, fattoush (pita salad), falafel and Kibbeh nayeh - a paste of raw lamb mixed with spices, served with raw onions and mint (probably our least favorite),

Then the hot appetizers:
Moujadara (lentil/rice/onion), lahmajeen (middle eastern style pizza with ground beef on a thin crust), makanek, beef fried kibbeh (think meat and bulgur wheat falafel) and phoenician fries (think seasoned fries, really tasty)

We also ordered 2 main entrees and a side to split: their lamb kebab was was simple and delicious and their Citrus Trout, I'd suggest skipping. The brussel sprouts were recommended to us by our waitress as being one of their signature dishes. I passed on it due to the creamy sauce it was mixed with but I'm pretty certain the others enjoyed it.

For dessert we tried the Awaimat (lebanese beignet w/orange blossom syrup). This wasn't anything special and the syrup had too strong of an orange blossom taste for me.

The serving sizes are quite generous. We were definitely stuffed by the time we left. It's a very busy place, so definitely make a reservation before you go.