before I forget

by Sandra

Sorry, I’ve been a bit slack lately keeping up with my gastronomical exploits. Ever since I said I was giving up sugar for six months, the wind fell out of my sails a little bit. Which is not to say that there won’t be new things to try. Not with things like these amazing black bean brownies (made with agave nectar!) over at 101 Cookbooks, or the chocolate granola from Orangette. Yes, life will surely be different for a while, but also new and exciting.

But in the meantime, here are my two previous additions to Baked in ’08.

The first are meringues au chocolat et aux amandes (or cocoa-almond meringues) from foodbeam. I got a little giddy when I stumbled on foodbeam’s blog. I mean, the girl is twenty-two years old and is hanging out with Dorrie Greenspan and was chosen for the Ecoles Nationales Supérieures d’Agronomie. Unfair! Not really… but seriously, her site is rife with charming photos of even more charming patisserie, and these little meringues captured my imagination. The outcome, of course, was a bit off from the fantasy, as typical. I made the little bites in two batches, the first in a rush on a Friday night before I went out. In my haste, I asked roommate Stephanie to grab them out of the oven. She did so obligingly, but what I forgot to mention was to make sure they were transfered to an airtight container once they cooled. So unfortunately, when I got home at 2:30am, they were still sitting out in the open air. The outcome was that the second batch came out much more light and airy than the first batch, which were markedly denser in texture. No matter in the long run, really. They still retained the slight crisp and melt-in-your-mouth quality of typical meringues, and truly—so easy to make. Like deceptively easy. Like you could tell your friends that you slaved over them but they really only took about half-an-hour easy. That’s my kind of easy.

Second was another easy recipe.

Irish soda bread from Tea and Cookies. Now I know what you’re saying. Saint Patrick’s Day was yesterday, and hey you’re not even Irish. Yes, I know, but when I came across this recipe and saw how simple it was to make, and how hearty the outcome, I couldn’t resist. I probably ended up spending more time in Whole Foods collecting the ingredients than actually making it. The end product, served warm with a bit of butter or margarine with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, was so wholesome and comforting and filling—it was my breakfast the entire week. Breakfast and lunch accompaniment… and maybe a dinner or two… The recipe yielded enough dough for two small loaves. Since we only have one bread pan in this house, I wrapped up the second lump of cold dough and kept it in the fridge until I was ready for it. If you’re ever in the mood for a simply, savory bread, this soda bread is a sure bet.