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maple pudding cake

maple pudding cakes | pudding chômeur

There is a whole catalog of cooking devoted to what to make when you peer nervously into your bank account and find the balance lacking — one could even argue that the affordable preparation and dissemination of nutrients has always been the primary goal of cooking, before we got distracted by $700 blenders and organically milled heirloom cornmeal porridge (ahem, guilty as charged). Yet what better time to celebrate meals that don’t weigh heavily on our wallets than in the hours after our annual reckoning with the IRS? From the world’s cheapest protein (eggs, crispy, scrambled, smashed and omelet-ed with potatoes), to the most humble (beans, in soup, in curries, stews and chilis) to inexpensive cuts of meat, cooked and stretched forever (in tacos, over orzo, Jewish-style or in the heartiest of soups), most of the time when we’re talking about budget cooking, we’re talking, understandably, about dinner. But one cannot survive on stews and slops alone or at least one should not be expected to in the third trimester; somewhere it is written, or at least it is now.

what you'll need
cook the syrup and cream

I first came across pudding chômeur, or “unemployed person’s pudding,” one of the most popular traditional Québecois deserts, a few years ago and was intrigued. Like most classic desserts, there’s a story to go along with it, and it is said that it was created during the Great Depression as a comfort food by female factory workers with the kinds of ingredients that could still be found on the cheap — butter, cream and at the time, brown sugar although maple syrup has since become the standard. (Alas, less budget-minded here, but we’re going to run with it anyway.) A biscuit-like cake is dolloped into a veritable lake of maple syrup caramel, then covered with sauce, and baked in the oven until the cake puffs and drowns a little in this sticky mess, and it’s all exceedingly sweet and wonderful, especially with a dollop of tangy crème fraîche at the end to pierce through the sugar assault.

butter but barely any sugar

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© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to maple pudding cake | 116 comments to date | see more: Breakfast, Cake, Photo

     

 



artichoke gratin toasts

artichoke gratin toasts

As someone who claims that her favorite food on earth is artichokes, it’s strange that this cooking website boasts so few recipes that feature them, that the last one was over 5 years ago, and I came to the conclusion years later that I liked it better without the artichokes. Something is not adding up. But while I like to believe that I cook what I want — it’s all about me, me, me, baby — and not solely that which will please a real or imagined audience, the reality is that it’s not much fun to make food that few people get as excited about as you do. It would be like inviting everyone you knew to a viewing party on the latest Science Channel documentary on, say, how rolling luggage is made only to find that all of your friends were simultaneously, apologetically busy that night. (WTH, you want us to return to the dark ages of lifting luggage by hand?)

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© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to artichoke gratin toasts | 98 comments to date | see more: Artichokes, Photo, Potatoes, Spring, Vegetarian

     

 



strawberry rhubarb soda syrup

strawberry rhubarb soda syrup

There are a lot of great reasons to make your own soda syrup. You can use real sugar, rather than the HFCS devil that lurks in most bottles. You can make flavors that make you happy, from real seasonal ingredients with complexity and intensity, and you can use up excesses of things in your fridge like, say, the time you assumed strawberries being on sale meant that you were going to eat a few pounds of them before they went bad. You can use the syrup as a foundation for cocktails, because it’s Friday and baby, you’ve earned it, and you can package bottles up as gifts for friends, because you’re just that awesome of a person.

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© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to strawberry rhubarb soda syrup | 96 comments to date | see more: Drinks, Photo, Rhubarb, Spring, Strawberries

     

 



obsessively good avocado cucumber salad

obsessively good avocado cucumber salad

It’s been 29 weeks since I first made this avocado and cucumber salad, which means two things: it predates this news, meaning that all of my theories about this kid making me crave avocado, grapefruit, and chocolate are perhaps completely bogus, elaborate projections on my part. Two, I’ve probably made it 29 times since then and never shared it with you, which is a huge shame. I’m clearly addicted to it, but every time I went to take a few photos and write it out in recipe format, I convinced myself it was too simple to make a big deal of. You know, as if what anyone has ever asked for in their life is more complicated recipes and fewer 5-minute salads worth obsessing over.

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© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to obsessively good avocado cucumber salad | 178 comments to date | see more: Avocado, Cucumber, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Photo, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian

     


wild mushroom pâté

wild mushroom pâté

Every spring, I promise I’m going to share a recipe for chopped liver. And every year I lose steam, perhaps because there are probably few more divisive foods than organs, or maybe because my instructions on the matter are quite short: just make Ina Garten’s. Ina can do no wrong, and I like to amuse myself by imagining that I’m only eight bestselling cookbooks and three homes in two countries away from basically being her when I grow up. (Sure Deb. Okay.)

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© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to wild mushroom pâté | 110 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Passover, Photo, Vegetarian

     


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