Bloggers around the country are turning off their computers and getting their hands floury this weekend to raise funds for Share Our Strength, a D.C.-based nonprofit that fights childhood hunger. The Great American Bake Sale, now in its ninth year, has raised over $6 million to date to support S.O.S.’s mission to make sure no child in America goes hungry. A huge network of fantastic bloggers are hosting bake sales, like the folks behind Peanut Butter and Julie in Nevada, Green Eats in Durham, NC, What’s for Dinner Mom? in Alaska and Rhubarb and Honey in St. Louis. You can find a bake sale near you on the Great American Bake Sale website.
© kate krader
Gramercy Tavern's Springtime Lemon Meringue Pie.
Spring officially started on Sunday, March 20. But for me it begins today, when Nancy Olson
and her awesome pastry team at Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern
introduce their lemon meringue pie to the menu. Of course it’s amazing—a towering piece of pie that’s roughly 50 percent sweet-tart-velvety lemon curd and 50 percent toasted, pillowy meringue with some extra percent flaky-crisp pastry.
The pie is the brainchild of GT pastry sous chef Alex Ray, whose grandmother made it for every holiday. Ray obsessed about everything from the meringue (she went classic, not Italian, which is made with boiling-hot sugar syrup) to the pastry (she went with sweet pastry, as opposed to more savory pâte brisée) to the burning question of whether to serve the pie with ice cream. And if so, what flavor. At press time, the answer was salted-cashew ice cream. “But that’s negotiable,” says Olson. “If someone wants vanilla, we can do that. This is Gramercy Tavern, it’s like Garanimals here. Mixing and matching is our game.”
© Kana Okada
A Mariah Carey pregnancy food favorite: Pork chops
Being pregnant with twins seems to have grounded singer Mariah Carey, who at one point reportedly ate a diet of only purple foods
She’s giving in to her pregnancy cravings by cooking and eating comfort foods like “smothered pork chops
, collard greens
, red beans and rice
and pecan pie
with homemade whipped cream,” says her husband, Nick Cannon, in an interview
with People magazine.
Check out more super-satisfying recipes in our Southern Comfort Food slideshow
© Kristin Donnelly
I would never have called Wilton, the bakeware maker, edgy. The company has entire categories of cake decorations devoted to Dora the Explorer and Spider-Man and makes 15 different kinds of heart-shaped pans. So I was shocked when they sent me an incredible cake mold that forms a three-dimensional skull. It’s part of their Halloween line “for grown-ups” that also includes a skull-shaped ice mold. I made the skull cake last weekend and brought it to a party, where we set it in the middle of the table. As a centerpiece, it straddled the line between hip and gruesome until we sliced it; then, it was nothing more than pumpkin-spice cake.
In honor of Halloween and my new cake pan, here is a slideshow about the history of skulls and another about making skull cake.
© Photo Courtesy New Museum
Maury Rubin, the baker-owner of Manhattan’s irresistible City Bakery
, has expanded his eco-visionary Birdbath Bakery Café
to the lobby of the New Museum
on the Bowery. Seasonal, local salads and sandwiches like turkey-meatball sliders and Rubin’s cult pretzel croissants will be delivered to the New Museum by bicycle-driven cargo rickshaw. Rubin has also created a New Museum Cookie, a chocolate-chip cookie with quinoa and mango, exclusively for the museum outpost. Customers who arrive by bike or skateboard get a 25-percent discount. The funky space with communal tables was designed by Brooklyn-based Uhuru
studio, an eco-avant-garde furniture collective.
F&W’s features intern, Chelsea Morse, has always been fascinated by latte art. Here, she divulges an easy way to recreate milk-foam design swirls at home:
If I tried, I bet I could remember the first latte I ever had with a heart-shaped design in the milk foam. (I can only hope that I didn’t assume the barista was flirting with me, and that I kept my amazement to myself.) Many milky coffee drinks later, I’m still thrilled to see a flower or a tree design atop my beverage; the extra effort to transform something delicious into something beautiful makes my day. Iceland-based artist Megan Herbert’s new culinary stencils are a simple way to produce the whimsical designs at home with a little cocoa or powdered sugar. She suggests them for cake, cookies or coffee—you could make a pretty gorgeous brunch spread. She offers a frosty woodland scene and a knitting-pattern stencil right now, sold as a set. I’m already thinking about using them this Christmas.
For our July story, "The Year of the Pastry Chef," we had the honor of featuring some incredible desserts from some of the country's best pastry minds, including Christy Timon and Abram Faber of Clear Flour Bread in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who gave us the recipe for their amazing airy baked doughnuts. A model professional baking recipe, it used baker's percentages and required an accurate scale and instant yeast, two things that aren't often found in home kitchens, but make for more reliable results. In the magazine, we adapted the doughnuts for home cooks, swapping in easier-to-find active dry yeast, scaling back the portions, and converting weights to cup measures, but Timon and Faber were rightfully concerned that our version wouldn't be as fail-safe. We think we came pretty close, but were we right? For the sake of comparison (and for those who prefer scales), the bakery's original recipe comes after the jump. Which would you rather use?
© Courtesy of the Cake Committee
ceramicist Peter Ting
is also one of the most obsessive bakers I know. Looking for an excuse to indulge his baking passion and give back, he started a group in London called the Cake Committee
, which hosts what I like to think of as grown-up bake sales. Members bring their best homemade sweets, mostly cakes
, and select a charity to donate the profits to. The cake sales have been such a success that Ting has helped set up committee chapters (he calls them “slices”) in Singapore, Maine and now New York City. The first meeting of the NYC chapter is tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Maccarone Gallery
. The $20 entrance fee will be donated to the Friends of the French Culinary Institute
and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to eat cake for a cause.
© Scott Hove
Scott Hove's cakes bite back.
As a kid, I always loved to play with my food. But none of my creations ever came close to the wild food art that’s part of “Palate,” a new exhibition opening May 22 at L.A.’s Scion Gallery
. The title is a play on the artist’s palette and the tasting palate. It includes Jeff Vespa’s
huge Polaroids of fast-food burgers and a series of photographs from James Reynolds
documenting death-row inmates’ last-meal requests. Wacky food artist Clare Crespo
has crocheted a seafood smorgasbord of oysters and shrimp po’boys, and Tamara Kostianovsky
uses clothing to create sculptures that resemble slabs of meat. I love the sweet and scary Cakeland collection
from Oakland-based artist Scott Hove
. His cakes, sculptures and installations are meant to juxtapose the sense of desire and fear with elements like teeth and horns adorning pretty pink cakes.
A few weeks ago, my house lost power for two days. My coffin freezer was pretty packed, so most things made it through okay, but the ice cream developed a granular texture. It was still good for milkshakes, but I wanted to eat regular ice cream. And I had about 10 pints of Ben & Jerry's and Häagen Dazs, so I didn't want to throw them all away (I'd bought them on sale; what can I say, I love a good deal). The Harold McGee in me thought, what if I melted the ice cream, then refroze it in an ice cream maker? Success! The zombie Cherry Garcia (pictured) was slightly denser than the original, but still delicious. Grace Parisi in the F&W test kitchen had another great suggestion: using melted ice cream in bread pudding instead of milk or heavy cream. Recipes after the jump: