06 March 2005


Copied from Saveur, an absurdly chi-chi cooking magazine.

warm soft chocolate cake

1 stick butter (8tbsp)
6 tsp flour
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

  1. Preheat oven to 450 and butter four 4-oz molds with some extra butter. Then dust each mold with 1tsp flour and tap out the extra.
  2. Cook chocolate + butter in a double boiler on medium-low heat until almost melted, 10 minutes.
  3. Beat eggs, egg yolks, sugar until thick + pale yellow, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir choc. + eggs together and then whisk in 2tsp flour.
  5. Pour into molds and bake for 6-7 minutes - should still be soft on inside. Invert onto plates and wait 10 seconds before lifting the mold to let them drop out. Dust with cocoa.


2 lbs seckel pears (or tejocote)
4 oz peeled tamarind pods
6 6" pieces of sugarcane
5 peeled, seeded, quartered guavas
3 tart apples, cored and cut into wedges
12 prunes
2 tbsp. raisins
2 sticks cinnamon
2 cones piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar)
usually there's some alcohol in it too, though this recipe doesn't mention it
  1. Simmer pears + 1 gallon of water for 5 minutes, then remove the pears and cut them in half.
  2. Add taramind + sugarcane, cook for 30 mintues until taramind is soft and starting to fall apart.
  3. Add the rest and cook until the sugar falls apart, 10 minutes.

spiced okra

1/4c vegetable oil
1tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2tsp urad dhal (black gram beans)
1/2" ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 lb okra, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp tumeric
juice of half a lime
4 sprigs cilanto, chopped

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, wait 1 minute for them to pop, add urad dhal and fry, stirring constantly until golden, about another minute. Add ginger and garlic and cook another minute. Add onions and cook until soft, another 5 minutes of so. Then add tomatos and okra, and cook until okra begins to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add cayenne, tumeric and salt to taste. Add 1/2c water, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the okra is soft and the liquid has thickened. Add lime and top with cilantro.

carrot halwa

4 tbsp butter
5 carrots, grated (about 3 cups)
1.5c half-and-half
1c sugar
10 cashews, chopped
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 tsp cardamom
18 blanched sliced almonds
  1. Cook butter in nonstick pot on medium-low for 15 minutes until milk solids fall to the bottom and start to brown. Then pour off the melted better and throw away the milk solids.
  2. Fry the carrots in 2 tbsp of this butter at high heat until they start to brown, about 5 min. Then add half-and-half and sugar, reduce heat to medium and cook until thick, 35-45 minutes.
  3. Fry the cashews in the rest of the butter until pale golden, for 1 minute.
  4. Mix it all and top with almonds.

spinach and ricotta gnocchi

2.5c ricotta
1 bunch spinach
2/3c flour
2c grated parmesan cheese
4 egg yolks
10 leaves mint, minced
salt, pepper and nutmeg
8 tbsp butter
10 small leaves sage
  1. Drain ricotta in cheesecloth lined strainer in fridge overnight.
  2. Bring water to boil and cook spinach until wilted, about 5 seconds. Drain, cool under cold water, squeeze out exra water, finely chop and then pound into paste with mortar and pestle.
  3. Add flour, parmesan, egg yolks, ricotta, mint, nutmeg/salt/pepper to taste and mix well. Dust a surface with 1/3c flour and drop mixture on, 1 tbsp at a time. should make about 40 gnocchi.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to simmer. Cook sage and butter for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until leaves start to fry, then keep it warm on low heat.
  5. Cook gnocchi in simmering water in two batches until they float, 3-5 minutes. Remove them and cook in the sage butter until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
  6. sprinkle 1/2c more parmesan on top to serve.

turnips with yogurt and tomatoes

1.5c plain yogurt
6 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
3 tbsp peanut or canola oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne
  1. Put yogurt + 1 tsp salt in bowl with turnips, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in fridge at least 3 hours.
  2. Drain, and keep yogurt and turnips separate.
  3. Fry shallots, 1-2 minutes, then turnips + cumin seeds, 10 minutes, then the rest until turnips are a little soft and the sauce has thickened, another 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

turnip fries

Cut 4 peeled turnips into 1/2" slices. Toss in a bowl with 1/4c olive oil, 1/4 parmesan, nutmeg, salt + pepper. Bake on oiled sheet at 450 for 18-20 minutes.

a random Mahfouz quote

This is from "Autumn Quail," and it's very simple, but I like it.
In spite of this scene, Isa decided not to give in to despair before making one final effort to defend the sole corner of consolation that had not yet been destroyed for him: the last word had to come from Salwa and no one else. Neither the strength of her character nor the depth of her love gave him great expectations, but he phoned her next day in the afternoon. "Salwa," he pleaded, "I've got to see you immediately."

Back came her answer like a slap in the face.

---------end of chapter------------

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