Monday, December 21, 2009

a ray of sunlight

Tonight, after my 90-minute commute, a mildly traumatic trip to CVS and a trek through the rapidly graying snow, i came home to a package from my aunt Julie.

Meyer lemons
from her tree in sunny Cali-foh-ni-ah! They just look like Christmas, don't they? What a ray of sunlight on this cold and gloomy day. Meyer lemons are uncommon and expensive on the East Coast, so I've never bought them before. Can't wait to use them all up!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

love, and lava cake

Tell me about your family. I don't just mean mom-dad-2 kids-and-a-dog family (which I do have, and how lovely it is). I mean extended family, modern family. The people you choose. The people who choose you.

This is mine.

It was born over six (six!) years ago in a third-floor dorm room in the little town of Amherst, MA.
It's the kind of family where weirdness is accepted. Actually, it's encouraged. (See picture above.)
It's the kind of family that's withstood 3,000-plus-mile distances, boyfriends, breakups, travel, illness, countless job changes...and come out no worse for wear.

If you've got family like this, make them these cakes. Because that's what family's about: love, and lava cake.

Chocolate lava cakes
adapted from Unilever

6 Tbs. butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Grease 4 (4-oz.) ramekins.

In medium bowl, microwave butter with chocolate until melted, about 45 seconds. Beat in sugar, flour and salt with wire whisk until blended. Beat in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Evenly spoon into prepared ramekins. Refrigerate 1 hour (up to 1 day, covered).

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange ramekins on baking sheet. Bake 13 minutes or until edges are firm but centers are still slightly soft. (DO NOT OVERBAKE or you will ruin everything!) Cool 5 minutes on wire rack.

To serve, carefully run sharp knife around cake edges. Unmold onto serving plates. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Makes 4.

*To bake in a muffin pan, spoon batter into 8 muffin cups and refrigerate as above. When ready to bake, heat oven to 425 degrees F and fill empty muffin cups halfway with water. Bake about 9 minutes. Makes 8.

(Thanks to Heatro for the pics.)