Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
Mel says this pumpkin cake comes together easily and is insanely good; it would work equally well for brunch on its own, or for dessert with a rich frosting or some cinnamon ice cream. Its main spicing is cloves, which gives it a fresh dimension compared with traditional pumpkin desserts, notes Xanthippe. Here’s the recipe:
Whisk together and set aside:
2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
In another bowl, mix together and set aside:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
5 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. dark rum (optional)
3 cups extra fine granulated sugar
3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
4 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a standard bundt pan with nonstick spray. Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, combining on low speed. Batter will be very thick. Scrape into pan and bake 55-65 minutes, until a tester comes out almost dry. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes before turning out and allowing to cool completely.
Mel iced this with a glaze made from powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and water whisked together and drizzled over the top once the cake had cooled.
best pumpkin pound cake
Like coconut? Like cocktails? Try these babies:
BBCs: banana, Baileys, coconut milk, and rum, whipped up in the blender with a little ice, offers peppermint pate.
Bushwackers: coconut, creme de cacao, rum, kahlua, a little milk or cream, and ice in a blender. Very sweet and dessert-like, but slips down dangerously easy, warns Hungry Celeste.
Texas Toast says this concoction, adapted from a drink recipe from Peninsula Grill in Charleston, S.C., based on their famous coconut cake, indeed tastes like cake in a glass>
1 cup dry Marsala
1 oz. white chocolate liqueur
1 oz. coconut rum
1/2 oz. hazelnut liqueur
1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glasses.
Any ideas for coconut cocktails?
The Romanesco cauliflower is a freakishly beautiful variety of cauliflower. It’s a lime green color, and each floret is a little spiraling pyramid. It’s said to have been first described by the Italians in the 16th century. They’re all over the place in the markets of Tuscany.
Here’s a good picture and more info.
Cook it as you would any cauliflower. A whole steamed Romanesco makes a beautiful presentation, or you can hack it into bits and roast it. Individual florets make for interesting crudites.
Say you crave muffins hot from the oven at 9 a.m., but can only make it out of bed at 8 a.m.? Don’t mix the batter up the night before; the baking powder or soda will lose its leavening power and you will have flat, dense muffins. Instead, ready the components at night; it’ll only take a minute in the morning to mix the batter together. Here’s how: The night before, stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and leave covered on the contertop. Whisk wet ingredients in an another bowl, cover, and refrigerate. In the morning, rewhisk the wet ingredients, mix into the dry ingredients just until combined, and bake. Caveat: if you plan to add berries, fold them in in the morning rather than mix with wet ingredients, or your muffins will end up pink, purple, or even a weird blueberry blue-gray.
Cup-O-Gold chocolate candy cups are available mostly in California (also spotted in Las Vegas in a 99 cent Only store, at 3/.99!), but they definitely sound worth a try, if you see them. The creamy filling, with coconut and almonds, is surrounded by a chocolate shell that’s nice and thick. ipsedixit is smitten, and ordered a box of 144 bars from JoeAdams-Brooks.
CUP-O-GOLD chocolate candy …
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Everything's been coming up kugel lately. Kugel (literally "potato pudding") is sort of a baked potato pancake. Its ingredients are simple: grated (using hand or meat grinder, never a food processor) potato -- and perhaps some onion -- along with egg, sal READ MORE
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The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported last week that McDonald’s is seeking to patent its methods of sandwich assembly. The following day, in a story headlined “McDonald’s puts patent on sandwiches,” British newspaper Metro.co.uk said that the fast-food giant “wants to own the rights to how a sandwich is made.” That piece subsequently appeared on Digg, boingboing, Slashfood, and Netscape News, sending commenters into an anti-McDo tizzy.
The story has also generated a fair share of confusion among readers, likely because none of the articles have been very specific. McDonald’s isn’t trying to patent the generic act of slapping a filling between two pieces of bread, as the Metro story suggests—at least, not exactly. The chain is seeking a patent for “novel methods of making a sandwich and novel sandwich assembly tools,” according to the patent application; a closer look reveals that the “sandwich assembly tool” can be as complicated as a three-chambered apparatus or as simple as a hamburger wrapper or clamshell container:
Sandwich preparation in accordance with the invention can include placing sandwich garnish and/or condiment directly on a piece of paper, a wrapper that is eventually used to contain the sandwich, the container used to hold the completed sandwich when it is presented to the customer, or preferably a tool adapted for assembling and applying garnishes.
What about those “novel methods”? Here’s one of them:
An order for a sandwich is taken from a customer and a bread component is placed onto a pre-heated, preassembled sandwich filling. The filling is made from two or more foodstuffs. Next the bread component and filling combination are inverted.
(Presumably the top piece of bread is added once this “patented” flip trick is complete.)
As a UK patent official told the Guardian, it’s unlikely that McDonald’s will get its way; the chain “might have a novel device but it could be quite easy for someone to make a sandwich in a similar way without infringing their claims,” the official said.
What I want to know is why McDonald’s would think making a sandwich upside-down and then flipping it over is a time-saving trick, let alone a patentable one—doesn’t that extra step just increase the incidence of employee repetitive-stress injury? If you’re a reader who works in food service, have you encountered any bizarre and unnecessary techniques at any of your workplaces?