Archives for posts with tag: red velvet cake

Sunday was the perfect end-of-winter day in New York: sunny, 50 degrees F, gorgeous. I dragged my lazy Sunday bones out of bed, hopped on a 3 train, and expressed it all the way up to 125th Street. Since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I stopped by the Studio Museum for a look around. I know it’s not food, but I have to stop for a moment to plug the Studio Museum. It’s off the beaten museum path and it’s not an enormous museum, but they always have great stuff on display and their gift shop also has a fantastic selection of cookbooks. My favorites from last weekend:┬áCauleen Smith’s The Changing Same, Dawoud Bey’s Harlem U.S.A., and Tanea Richardson’s He’s Actually Very Intelligent.

But onto the food: the true object of my trip to Harlem was two blocks away, tucked neatly in the bottom of a residential building. Tonnie’s Minis reached out to me on Twitter last week and I promised them I’d stop in on Sunday, partly because I love being contacted on Twitter and partly because cupcakes are one of the most efficient ways to bribe me.

The store itself is cute and cozy, with a long, glass-paneled counter through which you can watch your cupcake be constructed. There are also a few tables in case you want to order a coffee and hang out or, as I obviously did, shovel your cupcakes into your face as fast as possible. Everyone working at the bakery was super friendly and jovial, happy to make recommendations, and handing out the cutest mini-cupcake samples.

Coming, as I do, from the South, I of course ordered a red velvet cupcake and also snagged a sample of the carrot cake cupcake. The great thing about Tonnie’s Minis is that they put the icing on your cupcake when you order it, so your icing is still rich and moist and creamy. I’m very particular about my cream cheese icing and I’m happy to declare that Tonnie’s passed my test. I’m also a pretty big fan of carrot cake and my mini cupcake was also delicious.

Bottom line: Tonnie’s Mini’s is worth the trip to Harlem. They also do large orders, custom orders, and cakes, so be sure to check out their website and follow them on Twitter!

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Last night was one of those times when we throw a bunch of food around the kitchen, invite a bunch of people over, and drink several bottles of wine. As usual, it was a delicious affair that left me completely stuffed to the gills and passed out by 11:30. This week the theme was Southern food, so everyone thought of the most delicious, artery-clogging dish they could and made it.

Becca provided the featured item: a fantastic pile of pulled pork. It simmered away on the stove all afternoon and the smells were truly mouthwatering. It’s a miracle I didn’t eat it all before dinner. To accompany the pork, she made two different sauces: a fairly standard barbecue sauce and an Alabama white sauce. None of us had heard of this sauce before, but it was pretty tasty. It mostly reminded me of a honey mustard dressing.

To supplement the pork, I made creamed spinach and biscuits. I am very particular about biscuits because I grew up in North Carolina where there is this wonderful phenomenon known as Bojangles. Bojangles is a southern fast food chain whose most famous offerings are the chicken biscuit, the seasoned fries, and sweet tea (aka the nectar of life; the stuff is almost unbearably sweet but, my goodness, it’s delicious). There is something about a Bojangles biscuit (my guess would be about a stick of additional butter) that makes it better than any other biscuit I have tasted. So I hopped on the internet, searched for recipes, and came up with this. They turned out really well, though not quite as delicious as Bojangles’. I think I was a little too conservative with the “brush butter on biscuit” step. Next time I will douse a little more thoroughly.

The creamed spinach was also delicious, although I made a few slight changes to the recipe. Instead of peppercorns I used crushed red pepper and left out the chile, which turned out fine. I also didn’t feel like getting whole milk for the sole purpose of this dish, so I used the leftover buttermilk from the biscuit recipe. Otherwise I followed the recipe and came out with a truly rich, creamy plate of spinach. My eating strategy was to cut a biscuit in half, pile on pork, spinach, and one of the sauces. It was highly successful.

Our lovely guests also brought their Southern offerings. Alex and Jane brought collard greens and whipped them up with some pepper and garlic. Alex also made some of her sweet potato fries, which we have met before and absolutely loved. Jyoti baked a beautiful heart-shaped red velvet cake and cream cheese ice cream, rather than icing. The combination was amazing.

All of this resulted in one of those nights where you aren’t sure if you need to vomit or go back for more food or pass out or just lie in a heap on the floor moaning about how full you are. Obviously I settled for this last option which was so charming that all of our guests packed up and left. But nothing says “bonding” like getting indecently and embarrassingly full with a bunch of your friends, so all in all, I have to say that the Southern Extravaganza was a success.

As always, recipes after the jump and in the archive. May you all encounter a buttery biscuit in the near future!

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