That’s the Spirit: Using Liquor in Sweets

by in How-to, June 6th, 2012

plum upside down cake
I’m a bourbon girl, straight up. Neat or on the rocks, it doesn’t matter just as long as the vanilla, oak, caramel and spice notes work their magic. It’s pure craftsmanship at its best and only gets better with age.

But I’m also a pastry chef and one who loves to have fun exploring new flavor combinations. To limit a fine spirit to the bar alone would be criminal; at least, that’s what I think. Incorporating liquors into desserts reveals a whole new horizon of possibilities.

I love a good Manhattan. I also love the fact that bourbon works so well with chocolate, toasted nuts, peaches and even candied bacon. Two other spirits that round out my top three favorites when I bake are rum and Campari. Dark rum works well with tropical fruit and is a favorite of mine to use at our restaurant in Grand Cayman. Since there are so many great rums, taste a couple and use the one you like best. And Campari is a tad bitter, but it adds great balance to a dessert.

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Family Dinner With Marvel’s Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction

by in Family, June 6th, 2012

marvel's kelly sue deconnick and matt fraction
If you were to bump into Kelly Sue DeConnick and her husband, Matt Fraction, at the grocery store with their children, Henry Leo and Tallulah, you probably wouldn’t immediately guess that the fate of a universe rests in their creatively capable hands.

You might think that they were simply shopping for produce, or cruising for new breakfast cereal, but don’t let their clever disguise as a normal, happy family fool you. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are two of the most celebrated and influential creative forces fueling the Marvel Universe, and we got the inside scoop on how creativity in comic books can translate in the kitchen.

FN Dish: In the comic world, you both write. In the kitchen, do you divvy up the roles?

Kelly Sue: You know, I don’t think we have a strict division of either interest or expertise. I was going to say that I tend to do the baking — and that’s true — but it’s also often a team effort.

For everyday dinners, I’m usually the one keeping track of what dishes are at what place in the process and we rotate around the tasks trying to get them all to come together at roughly the same time — and to keep the kids engaged, too.

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Herb of the Month: Lavender

by , June 6th, 2012
lavender

Have you tried cooking with lavender?

Nicknamed the “herb of love,” lavender is in season now. For those new to the idea of cooking with lavender, we’ve got simple recipes to get you started.

Lavender basics
The name lavender comes from...

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Team Bobby Falls to Three

by , June 5th, 2012

When it came down to Eric Lee and Ippy Aiona in the Producers’ Challenge, Bob and Susie said it was one of the toughest decisions they’d ever faced in eight seasons of Star. Both talented chefs consistently impressed everyone with their food, but struggled to find a sweet spot on camera. In the end, Team Bobby’s Eric was the one to say goodbye.

Eric left the pitch room with the same humble, gracious attitude he maintained throughout the competition. “I just want to thank you for the opportunity to work with Bobby,” he told the judges. “It is just incredible how great of a mentor he is.” Bobby, in turn, had high praise for his mentee: “Eric may be the best cook in the entire competition.”

Hear more from Bobby, Susie and Eric in his exclusive exit interview. Do you think Eric deserved to go home?

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