Friday night I went out with my friends Jennie & Chrissy to Max Brenner, Chocolate By The Bald Man. It's a fancy place in center city where the food is totally superfluous, and the only thing you really care about is DESSERT. Please enjoy the borderline pornographic photos of our chocolate-laden confectionery indulgences. Max Brenner should really think about installing a confessional in the corner somewhere, and hiring a priest onto his staff; these desserts make you feel like you need to do some penance.
|Jennie & Chrissy shared the chocolate fondue.|
|All the accoutrement for dipping. Yes, folks, that is a mini flask full of liquid chocolate.|
|This is my dessert. I had some kind of chocolate cake thing with vanilla ice cream, a mini shake, and oh, just about a half a cocktail shaker full of MOLTEN CHOCOLATE. Someone get the holy water, please.|
|Chrissy & Jennie, happily roasting their marshmallows.|
|DRINKING CHOCOLATE. I now know what my Heaven looks like.|
I'm fascinated by celebrity. Not any particular famous person in particular (aside from Kate Middleton), but the idea of, and culture surrounding celebrity. I enjoy the completely frivolous pomp and circumstance that surrounds awards shows, and the Oscars is by far my favorite celebration of already-rich, already-famous, already-plenty-full-of-themselves folks. Oscar Sunday at 1357 consisted of some pretty stellar food. I made roasted curry chickpeas, crostini with roasted grapes and ricotta cheese, and a baked brie with sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto. I wanted snacks that were simple, but luxurious.
Baked brie, as all good cheese-lovers know, is quite possibly the most magnificent way to prepare cheese that exists in this world. Put whatever the heck toppings on there that you want: raspberry jam and walnuts; pepper and onion relish; caramelized onions and mushrooms with a little bit of sage; roasted fruit, sliced almonds and a drizzle of good honey; or just bake the brie in the puff pastry, and serve with a spread of sweet and savory toppings. I went with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes because I wanted something more bold and savory to offset the sweetness that I knew the crostini would bring to the table (pun intended). By the way: Hello Roasted Grapes, nice to meet you. Where have you been all my life?!? Seriously. Awesome. I don't know how to describe them other than to say that they rocked my world and were splendid with the rich, sweet ricotta and crunchy crostini. Chickpeas, I'm sorry, I will likely never eat you unless you are roasted with curry powder from this day forward (Actually, I'm not really that sorry). I've never been crazy for chickpeas. I mean, they're great as hummus, but I just have never been jazzed about them in general. I had two cans sitting in the back of my cupboard and was dumfounded as to what to do with them. I've seen a bunch of roasted chickpea recipes online recently, but as usual, they were really fancy-pants with people adding things like Meyer lemon zest and Himalayan sea salts and other crap to them. ...It's a chickpea. It shouldn't have to be that complicated (I've never actually seen a Meyer lemon in any store I've ever shopped for food in, so where the Hell are people buying those things anyway?). I figured they'd taste pretty good if I tossed them around in some curry powder and made them nice and salty. Pretty darn simple. Pretty darn good. I may have a new favorite salty-crunchy go-to. I ate more of all three of these than I should have. Add into that equation an unacceptable amount of champagne, and I think I had a fairly delicious weekend!
|Curry Roasted Chickpeas: Toss chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and curry powder to taste, and roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until crispy.|
|Crostini: Toast off slices of baguette and spread with whole-milk ricotta, top with roasted grapes. Toss grapes with olive oil and sea salt. Roast at 450 for 7-9 minutes. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the grapes and stir just before serving.|