On rolls

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

While bursts of sugar can provide some much-needed early morning energy, lately I’ve been leaning in a decidedly more savory breakfast direction. Behold, probably the most conservative of choices along my saccharine scale:

A walnut-raisin roll and English breakfast tea.

Since they are free in our cafeteria I have long gone for these rolls as part of a lunch, snack or dinner. But only last week, after I was told I needed to consume more iron in order to be a blood donor, did I consider trying this for breakfast. (Fun facts: Raisins are an excellent source of iron! Coffee prohibits its absorption! I learned a lot from my blood drive nurse).

And I have to say, I’ve felt great on the mornings when I opted for this bread: energetic, spirited, yet also calm and focused. Maybe it’s time to leave the coffee and sugar duo behind? But then, I must confess: my good mood could also be attributed to the sizable amount of sugar I added to my tea. While savory does have its benefits, I’m always going to need a little sweetness to balance. It’s in my (now, hopefully less iron-deficient) blood.


All Yesterday’s Parties

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Memories of potlucks generally revolve around the food and company, flavored by goodwill and generosity that comes as everyone joins in sharing each others’ culinary creations. But when the eating is over and the parties move elsewhere we are sometimes left with a beguiling graveyard of morsels. Take, for instance, my friend’s kitchen this past fall:


Vegetal carcasses.


Dead bread.


Bare bones.

Distasteful? Unappetizing? Perhaps. Intriguing? Revealing? I would say so.

Rum Baba

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last week Ben and Sarah refused to let me leave their apartment without trying some rum cake:

(Alright so you never have to make me eat dessert, but still)– I loved it.

Nothing fancy here; plain yellow cake gets doused in copious amounts of butter and rum, the glaze concentrating along its outer edges to produce that intoxicating play between moist and crunchy achieved only after numerous baths of melted sugar coating.

So sweet and more than a tad boozy: just the way I like ’em.


January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is just to say:

I have finished the eggnog

Left in my refrigerator.

It was delicious.

House of Small Wonder

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I often find that Mondays call for an ‘adventure’ to get moving and motivated for the week. After two glorious days without structure, a fixed waking hour is quite jarring without distractions along the way. This morning my legs carried my bleary-eyed self under the BQE and into a darling new shop (appropriately named House of Small Wonder) where I discovered a wormhole into a cozy, anachronistic coffee shop of yore.

An Americano and slice of banana bread, please.

Both of these items were understatedly fantastic, the Americano perfectly pulled and with just the right (barista-added) amount of milk to mellow the harshness without masking any flavor. The bread was incredibly moist and balanced in texture with soft banana, crunchy walnuts and perfectly in-between chocolate chips. A sprinkle of demerara sugar sent me head over heels; this place is no small wonder but an excellent addition to the neighborhood.

Shaking Things Up

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes people are just nice.

One morning last week it was raining, I was grumpy, and the L train did not seem to be running to Manhattan around the time of my commute. In a fit of impatience I jumped onto a Brooklyn-bound train and decided to get off at the Graham stop, in search of coffee and a pastry to provide sustenance before attempting to commute again.

Stumbling into Variety Café it appeared I had found my safe haven: no line, wafting Stumptown, and an ample supply of muffins. I asked for a small french press and a pumpkin-apple option– only to discover that the contents of my wallet in no way fit with the “Cash Only” sign on the register.

I told the barista to cancel my order as the rain outside felt ever more appropriate. But then, a miracle! He laughed and asked if I lived in the area. I replied yes and he said, “It’s not a problem! Just come on by and pay us another day. Really, we do this all the time. Don’t worry.”

As emotions were running high that morning upon hearing these words I almost cried; instead I simply told him he was wonderful and that I’d be back that evening.

True to my promise I returned later with a $5 bill in tow. And the muffin? Tasted like the best apples, pumpkins, walnuts and flexible payment schedule I’d ever swallowed.

Shawn’s Shortbread

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last weekend marked one of the year’s best holidays rivaled in my mind only by Halloween and, possibly, the summer solstice. This year one friend brought a delicious treat to the Secret Moses table: An adaptation of Mark Bittman’s “One Dough, Endless Cookies” pecan bar.

Despite using one of Instagram’s aesthetic lenses this photograph in no way reflects the majesty of such a cookie. Its buttery shortbread base, caramel innards, chocolate coat and pecan toppings came together as something much greater than the sum of four already delicious parts, manifesting themselves as possibly one of the most addictive sweets of 2011.

Shawn’s love of dark chocolate brought out the sweetness in the caramel while the pecan’s crunch proved the perfect foil for such soft, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. These were devoured by the 15 of us in attendance, beating the pies and toffee bars by a landslide. Happy Secret Moses and congratulations, Shawn!