March 2009

Microwave Coffee Mug Chocolate Cake

There are times in a writer's life, as well as in life in general, when you really really want something sweet, and chocolate, and hot, right now. For those moments, I bring you Chocolate cake in a coffee mug. It's a microwave recipe, it's easy, and it's surprisingly good. I suggest trying it with a scoop of ice cream. A few things to keep in mind: make sure your mug is microwave safe; this cake gets very hot, so no plastic, for instance, and stay away from metallic glazes, or delicate china. Also, like many microwave baked goods, eat this while it's fresh, or it's a bit rubbery.

In Praise of Simplicity

New foodies have something in common with aspiring poets. They become so thrilled with all the myriad possibilities of their preferred art that they end up overdoing everything. While it's true that there are enough herbs, spices and curious seasonings in the world to experiment for a lifetime without ever exhausting all the possibilities, that doesn't mean it's advisable to pile on the flavors in any given dish. Often times the true greatness of a food is apparent in its simplest iterations. Take steak, for instance. There are as many things one can do with a cut of beef as there are stars in the sky, but I challenge anyone, whether chef or lay-person, to prepare a steak dish that is superior to the pan-seared filet. I'm not even talking about those decadent, bacon-wrapped, garlic-butter-topped ornaments served in expensive restaurants. I'm referring to that steak made premium by its own inherent virtues.

Sick Day Foods: Sweet Tea

We've all had that feeling. That unpleasant, sinking realization that some inconvenient bug has gotten hold of us and now we're looking at a week of common illness. You know the old saying, "Starve a fever, feed a cold," but who feels like cooking when that dreaded cold actually shows up? Luckily, there are a few foods that can help ease the malady but don't take that much time and effort to make. The best part? They can all be made ahead of time when you're feeling your best. Today's recipe is one of my favorites. Let's get into it. Sweet Tea Tea is a healthy beverage on its own, even when it's not being used as a warm, soothing agent in natural medicine. But I think it can be taken to another level entirely by being made into that true southern delight, Sweet Tea. I grew up in Ohio, so I was always a couple states away from the real South. I had plenty of family in Georgia and Florida, so trips to the other side of the Mason-Dixon line were frequent for my family. When we hit central Tennessee, there was only one thing on my mind: Sweet Tea.