To my handful of faithful readers, I apologize for the lack of posts around here. The Midwest was hit by a criminal heatwave last week. I had little appetite, energy or desire to cook and/or eat. I also started seeing a new dentist for my my semi-annual cleaning, and was devastated to learn that a couple of fillings had to be replaced, and new cavities were starting to form. Darn genetics! Enough with the excuses though, so I will recap my week into this one post as opposed to writing multiple posts.
Our twelfth CSA consisted of:
Sweet Corn (Nichols Farm, Illinois)
Summer Squash (Nichols)
Baby Lettuce (Genesis Growers, IL)
Sweet Basil (Genesis Growers)
TART Cherries (Seedling Farms, Michigan)
Even in the middle of last week's heatwave, I still managed to bake. I was probably the only one crazy enough to turn on in the oven in all of Chicagoland, except for the restaurants and bakeries, of course. With all the blueberries from our last three CSA's, I decided to bake blueberry crumb bars. I halved the recipe since I only had 2 cups of blueberries and baked it in an 8x8 square pan. This recipe comes together so easily and so quickly. The bottom layer is crispy and buttery almost like a shortbread. The blueberries burst during their time in the oven producing an almost jam-like filling. Finally, the same dough used for the base is crumbled on top. The crumbly topping is wonderfully crunchy, buttery, and full of that toffee flavor from the brown sugar. These innocent looking bars are surprisingly rich, so be sure to make your slices small or have a glass of milk on hand!
The other reason that called for baking was a belated birthday dinner with my sister-in-law. Knowing her love for caramel, I made dulce de leche in the oven for cupcakes. I had high expectations for these cupcakes, but was a little disappointed. I found the cake to be a little dryer than I would've liked, which may have been my fault for baking them at 20 minutes instead of 18 minutes. I didn't find the dulce de leche to be as pronounced in the frosting since the cream cheese dominated the flavor profile. To finish the cupcake, I drizzled some warmed dulce de leche that required some additional heavy cream to make it the right consistency. Finally, I topped it with fleur de sel. I think this frosting would be better paired with carrot cake or zucchini cake. A was a huge fan of these cupcakes, especially the frosting. Still waiting to hear the verdict from the birthday girl herself as we were too full to enjoy our cupcakes after dinner.
We took the birthday girl to dinner at Sabri Nihari on Devon, where the portions were large, and the room was HOT. This was our first visit to this restaurant as we usually go to Khan BBQ. We started with the vegetable samosa, and went on to order chicken charga, dal palak, mattar paneer along with some basmati rice and naan. The chicken charga should be ordered as soon as one sits down as it may take up to 45 minutes to prepare. An entire chicken is marinated with a secret blend of spices and yields a wonderfully brown, crispy skin. Since this blog is relatively new, I'm still shy about whipping out the camera when dining with others. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share with you.