How about something sweet ? This confection, which I’ve known about as long as I’ve known my husband (that would be…19 years or so, yikes), is no longer something I can eat, as it has almonds – but I remember it fondly from our college days (when he made it recently for a work potluck he got roundly scolded for making something his wife couldn’t eat). It’s been handwritten in the back of our old Moosewood Cookbook forever, along with the Sour Cream Coffeecake and the Red Bell Pepper Pesto. I hadn’t realized the story behind the recipe’s name until recently, so I asked him to write a little about it:
It’s amazing how one rarely questions the things with which one has grown up. Take this dessert. Chocolatey and creamy, it’s almost a mousse, but then there are the ground almonds, giving it a firmer texture and a little bit of gritty crunch before it dissolves. That’s not a mousse; it’s caribou. Or at least that’s what we called it in my family.
Only when I got into cooking and baking in college and begged the recipe from my mother did I discover that it had another name – La Reine de Saba (the Queen of Sheba). Once again, I didn’t question the name. I had suspected that caribou was not the actual name, and La Reine de Saba sounded reasonable.
Except that this dessert isn’t like any of the other versions of La Reine de Saba that I have found. Those versions all have eggs, and most have at least a little bit of flour, yielding a dense, fudgy cakelike product. My family’s version is definitely not fudgy or cakelike. But it is mighty tasty.
Having a certain hankering for chocolate cupcakes, combined with a need to take dessert in to work, resulted in a flurry of baking at our house. I had fully intended to do the baking myself, but due to bad planning and needing to go to work (drat it), J ended up doing it all himself. Fortunately, he’s a better baker than I am (that attention to detail thing, you know).
I lifted two recipes off the internet: one for black bottom cupcakes (possibly my favorite type of cupcake EVER), that turned out to be from a David Lebovitz cookbook, and one for vegan coconut cupcakes, courtesy of Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Both were, I thought, wildly successful. The black bottoms were just as they should be, with a light chocolatey crumb below and a dense, sweet-tart, chocolate-flecked top. The coconut cakes were very light and moist with a delightfully delicate crust on top – they would be fantastic with fresh berries or a chocolate icing, but are lovely eaten plain, with a cup of coffee.
I’m going to print both recipes below, mostly so I can get to them when I need them. You never know when the need for a cupcake will strike. Continue reading
Things may be a little quiet around here for a couple days. I got a tooth pulled yesterday, and in between naps and trying to remember which pills I should be taking, I’m now casting around for ideas of things to eat with as little texture as possible, with the added fun of nothing hot, acidic or alcoholic.
As you might imagine, I’ve had a lot of yogurt. And cream of tomato soup. We had macaroni and cheese with steamed cauliflower last night, that went down pretty easy. So I’m not starving, but it all seems a little dull. And not very photogenic, either.
On the other hand, it was a perfect excuse for J to make me some ice cream! We dug out our copy of The Perfect Scoop, which hasn’t been seeing much use the last couple months, and I decided that plain old chocolate custard ice cream would do the trick. So J got hold of some good bittersweet chocolate and did it up, and oh my god it’s good. Like a fudgsicle, but a million times better. I can’t believe there’s a pint of it in my fridge right now and I’m not currently eating any. After the custard had chilled it was like a wonderful chocolate pudding, we almost didn’t want to put it in the ice cream maker – but it was even better afterwards.
You don’t need to wait until your next date with oral surgery to try this ice cream – go right out and make it now! Continue reading