I've come to realize that cupcakes are forever. My awesome colleague Kate Heddings
recently found new ones to love from Citarella
, and now there's word of a cupcake truck
. Personally, though, I'm finding comfort in the chocolate mousse I’m seeing all over the place at new New York restaurants, notable for the fun and varied toppings. At Monkey Bar
, the chocolate mousse was the best thing I ate, topped with a large wafer of peanut crunch. Three-star Minetta Tavern
serves their chocolate mousse as a bombe coated with chocolate cake crumbs, while over at Bar Artisanal
, it’s accented with both hazelnut crunch and coffee granita. And at Kefi
, Michael Psilakis
is garnishing his chocolate mousse with crumbled halvah, which I think is so smart. The New York Times
agrees with me: Frank Bruni called the Kefi dessert
“a treat much like, but more novel than, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.” The chocolate mousse trend has even hit L.A.—at the amazing Patisserie at SLS
(above), José Andrés
likes chocolate mousse so much, he’s offering two kinds: hot chocolate mousse with salty hazelnut praline, and a trio of choc mousses (milk, white and dark) with Pop Rocks.
© Notes on Cooking
Notes on Cooking
My favorite new book on cooking has no recipes. "Notes on Cooking
" by Russell Reich and Lauren Braun Costello, is like the food version of the essential writing manual “The Elements of Style
.” The concise, witty compendium includes 217 bits of wisdom, outlined into sections like “meat,” “bread & pastry” and more abstract topics like “the cook’s role.” Some highlights:
#38: Be wary of single-use gadgets.
#84: Command the heat.
#114: Stock is its own ingredient.
#150: Chicken is the test of a cook’s versatility.
#217: Always be cooking.
In my home state of New Jersey, the strawberry season is short—from the last week in May through early June. With this in mind, I decided that the only berries worthy of Mark Bittman’s almond crème anglaise
in the New York Times
last week were those that I could pick myself. My sister and I drove to Terhune Orchards
, a 200-acre pick-your-own farm in Princeton that I’d found on LocalHarvest
, a website with nationwide directories for small farms and farmer's markets. A week of rain had left the plants a bit droopy, but there was fruit galore and scrambling children competing to see who found the biggest strawberry. I chose only the darkest, most petite berries, which tended to be the ripest, while my sister preferred anything big and bright as a fire truck. I know my berries will be fabulous in a Melon-and-Strawberry Salad with Spicy Lemongrass Syrup
or in a Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake
from one of my favorite chefs, Gerard Craft of Niche
in St. Louis. Or I might go the super-simple route and just top the berries with barely-whipped cream.
Nine days left until the world's premiere food event, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 19-21. For those still looking for tickets, F&W, QVC and KitchenAid have partnered up to offer an exclusive package to Extra viewers that includes round-trip airfare for two, a three-night hotel stay, tickets to the Food & Wine Publisher's Party, front-row seats to the Classic Quickfire Challenge, a QVC gift card worth $1,000 and amazing appliances from KitchenAid. Check out Extratv.com to learn how to enter the contest, and tune in to QVC at 11 a.m. (EST) on June 21 for a live broadcast from Aspen.
My go-to tuna salad, especially in the warmer months, is inspired by a trip to the Maldives where it was an unexpected breakfast dish. To make mashuni (in Maldivian), take canned tuna packed in olive oil, drain it, then chop. Add diced red onion, green chiles, lime juice and fresh shredded coconut (look for unsweetened coconut if buying pre-shredded). Roll it in warm flatbread, like pita or roti or even a tortilla, for a sweet, tangy, spicy wrap. I got up early most mornings during the trip to watch the sun rise, but I think it was the promise of breakfast that really got me out of bed. No matter what was served—pancakes with banana-coconut butter, homemade donuts or fresh papaya and mangosteens—it was the mashuni that I craved. Search F&W for other great tuna salad recipes, like Melissa Rubel's butter bean, tuna and celery salad.