It’s always intriguing to find out about celebrities’ secret recipes. Well of course they probably eat (or ate) like we do, but it is sort of charming to think of them actually cooking for themselves or friends. Such is the case with Katherine Hepburn, who apparently made a mean batch of brownies. This recipe was published first by the New York Times after her death in 2003, and purportedly makes a delightful, fudgy brownie. Looking at the recipe, it seems like this chocolaty dessert might be perfect for Valentine’s Day. And if you are looking for a perfect Valentine’s movie pairing, I also recommend one of my favorite Hepburn romantic comedies (which also just happens to star Cary Grant) 1938’s Holiday (seen above).
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, which led me to wondering – other than chocolate – are there really any desserts associated with Valentine’s Day (I couldn’t find any)? This search led me further afield to the intriguingly named “Wife Cake” (aka Sweetheart Cake). Wife cake is a traditional Chinese cake, made with a flaky pastry surrounding a sweet, candied winter melon center. I have seen a ton of different names for this same cake, but according to Wikipedia, the literal translation from the Cantonese lou po beng is “Old lady cake” with “old lady” being used in the sense of “wife” (get it!?). Winter melon (despite the name) is actually a squash and can be prepared in both sweet and savory ways. Candied winter melon alone is a popular snack around Lunar New Year and you should be able to find it in a well-stocked Asian grocery. Since these cake are filled with winter melon, it is no surprise that they are also particularly popular around Lunar New Year – which is coincidentally 2 days after Valentine’s Day in 2018. If you are looking for a treat to celebrate Valentine’s Day OR Lunar New Year, here are recipes for Wife Cake from My Kitchen Snippets, Gwai Shu Shu and More than bread.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – which means that all things chocolate are now “seasonal.” Whether or not you are into Valentine’s Day, you are probably a fan of chocolate – we certainly are. Really good chocolate is a pleasure year round, and we were fascinated by this video from Eater’s How to Make Everything series about how chocolate is made at a Mexican chocolate farm, starting from growing the cacao pod, through drying, fermenting and roasting the beans. Honestly, it is much more of an involved process than we expected, which makes us appreciate our precious chocolate bars even more!
Last week I was surprised with a Macaron-making class at Give Me Some Sugar with Chef Jerry in Roscoe Village. I would highly recommend it, and check out the macarons M and I made! I think they turned out pretty well. The flavors are Nutella, Salted Caramel, Raspberry and Lemon, in Valentine’s Day colors of course. Hope you get to enjoy some sweet treats today. What are you making?
In Brazil – “Valentine’s Day”- Dia dos Namorados – actually occurs on June 12. February 14 is too close to Carnaval – which dominates the festivities for a month in Brazil – so putting the holiday in June makes a lot of sense. Dia dos Namorados is celebrated in similar way by showering your sweetheart with chocolates, cards, flowers and the like. This year we made brigadeiros to celebrate, however there are a wealth of other Brazilian treats appropriate for the day, some even with romantic names: beijinhos (little kisses), casadinhos (little marrieds) and bem casados (well-marrieds).
Beijinhos are little coconut candies, “kissed” with cloves, hence the name. They are almost like a coconut version of brigadeiros, and are nearly as popular in Brazil. The recipe for making them is almost identical to a brigadeiro recipe (minus the chocolate), whether covered in sugar or coconut flakes. Casadinhos are black and white brigadeiros (“marrying” the two flavors) – unfortunately I can’t find a recipe for these in English, but here is one in Portuguese. Bem casados are sandwich cookies with a doce de leite filling, which are understandably popular at weddings on the dessert table or as favors. Here is a recipe from Kitchen Corners that even includes homemade doce de leite, and another from the Cookie Shop blog with frosting. Feliz Dia dos Namorados!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Why not celebrate with some of these vintage food-related Valentines from the Vintage Valentine Museum: here are their collections of food-related cards and anthropomorphized food cards. For some more fun, here is an assortment of tea related cards from Tea with Friends.
Filed under Holidays, Links
Filed under Holidays, Note