City Gay and Country Gay

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Petits Pains au Chocolat

Chere homosexuelle de ville,

Using this recipe from Bon Appetit (via, I made small versions of pain au chocolat.

I believe pain au chocolat is one of France's greatest contributions to the world. I salivate at the memory of stopping by the bakery down the street from the Hotel St. Lambert to get a fresh pain au chocolat before wandering the streets of Paris. I have been able to get chocolate croissants on other travels, especially when visiting City Gay and going to Cafe Verite or stopping at the French bakery near the Pike Place Market, but none of these croissants ever quite match the taste of the real thing.

The recipe from Bon Appetit is simple and uses puff pastry and chocolate to create small pains au chocolat. The recipe yields 24 pieces, but I cut the pastry bigger and made a dozen. This created a doughier result, but I was afraid cutting the pastry smaller would create pain au chocolat that was too small. I used Hershey's milk chocolate, which, in retrospect, wasn't the best decision but it was handy. For further attempts at this, I will probably use a dark chocolate with a more refined quality than Hershey's. Nutella could also be an interesting filling choice.

Bon appetit, homosexuelle de ville!

Grosses bises,
Homosexuel de campagne

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thanks, Daily Soup

Tonight I made Daily Soup's winter minestrone for Bill, Bug, and the Foxes. I'd never had minestrone, let alone realized how easy it is to make. When I first saw the recipe called for cabbage and butternut squash, I couldn't imagine how the soup would taste, but after mixing everything together and adding the homemade pesto (Who knew this was incredibly easy to make, too?), the strong taste of pesto, garlic, and thyme was shining through. I probably could have eaten several bowls of this, but I held off.

While I don't own the Daily Soup cookbook, I really should. It's a winter staple for soup making with friends. While some recipes may seem complicated, the pay off of a good, solid soup is worth the time and effort of using a lot of ingredients. Go here to buy the cook book.

Here is the recipe for the winter minestrone:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head cabbage, preferably Savoy, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bunch fresh basil stems (leaves removed), tied together with string
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
8 cups basic vegetable stock
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 red potatoes, cut into 1inch cubes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 cups uncooked spinach radiatore pasta, or any spiral pasta
1 cup prepared basil pesto*
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.

Add the cabbage and sweat for 4 minutes, until wilted.

Add the thyme, basil stems, salt, and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the stock, squash, potatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan rind and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.

To serve, remove the basil stems and Parmesan rind, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a dollop of pesto and the chopped scallions.

*Pesto Recipe

1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves (Use the leaves from the stems you put in the soup.)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Put basil leaves, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until ground. While blending, add the olive oil steadily until the mixture becomes a fine paste.

(Before going to the store to buy ingredients for the soup I suggested buying pesto, but this really is so easy to make that it's just silly to not make homemade pesto sauce.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Only in my Dreams

I want to eat like this.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yay football and pizza! It's sooo sooper!

Happy Thuper Bowl errybody. I thought I should share my new favorite thing in pizza innovations.

I'm not a huge proponent of large pizza delivery chains, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Domino's Pizza has taken online ordering to a whole new shiny interactive level.

Once you're done placing your order, you can watch the progress of your pie by checking out their "Pizza Tracker."

Without having to reload the page (because it's a Flash application), the pizza moves from prep to the oven to the box and to your door. It's mesmerizing. Don't ask why, just accept.

The other cool Pizza Tracker feature is you can rate the quality of the food, your feelings about the delivery driver and you're ordering experience overall.

OMG, my pizza just arrived. Gotta run! Go Giants!


I had to share this hilarious bit from a USA Today article about the Pizza Tracker:

"It's technology in search of a problem," says Brian Kardon, chief strategy officer at Forrester Research, a technology researcher. "I don't know how many consumers are twisting and turning over the state of their delivery pizza."

Domino's says plenty are. "It's an emotional roller coaster when you order," McGlothlin says. "Customers wonder: Did they get my order? Are they taking care of me? Will it show up?"

It's an emotional roller coaster, people! But calm yourselves... Domino's has the answer to your pizza anxieties.