Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

In breakfast, dessert, food, recipe, vegan on March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I need to clear something up. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a vegan. Everything you’ve been told is a lie. That said, I do have an inordinate fascination with, and love of, vegan food. To that end, I’ve been trolling for vegan recipes, and man, have I found a doozy for you. Behold!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes

Serves one to two people.

1 large banana, very ripe

1/2 c rolled oats

1/4 c brown sugar

A lot of cinnamon

1/2 c fresh blueberries


1. Mash the banana.

2. Add the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon; stir to combine.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries.

4.Pour the batter into a ramekin or small, flat dish. Tupperware works fine here.

5. Microwave for 4 minutes.  It should be juicy but crispy, like a fruit crisp.

6. Let the dish rest for a few minutes. It will be extremely hot, and the oats need to set.

7. Transfer to a plate and serve, or eat right out of the container! I top mine with well-placed dashes of salt, to contrast with the sugary sweetness.

Many thanks to Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga for her delicious recipe and her inspirational abs!


Auntie Meb’s Lemon-Cranberry-Pecan Cookies

In american, bakery, dessert, holiday, recipe, recommended on November 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a dessert recipe guaranteed to knock the socks off the host of your next potluck.

Auntie Meb’s Lemon-Cranberry-Pecan Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and lemon zest. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until combined; set aside. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Gently stir in pecans and cranberries. Drop by large teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing to cooling racks. Drizzle with lemon glaze. Eat with gusto.

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Add water if desired consistency can’t be reached with lemon juice alone. Glaze should be soft, neither stiff nor runny.

Smitten Kitchen

In blog, dessert, food, photography, website, website wednesday on September 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Too often, food blogging descends into the excesses of self-gratification and food porn, slobbering over the decadence or high-end appeal of its dishes. One blog that steers mercifully clear of this self-congratulatory style while still maintaining simple beauty and charm, is The Smitten Kitchen.

Besides having the cutest name ever, the Smitten Kitchen is a neat, no-nonsense answer to Baroque bloggery. Each post features a new recipe, with a prose description punctuated with snapshots, showcasing delicate ingredients coming together in each dish. The authors, Deb and Alex Perelman, operate out of New York City, and focus their highly lauded blog on “accessible” food, steering clear of high-end ingredients and fancy equipment.

The site contains a lot of things below its well-photographed surface: a well-organized database of all recipes featured on the site, several conversion tables, and extensive blogrolls. You can browse the site by most recent posts, season, ingredients, occasions, and even by random posts. Browse during your free time, or use this great go-to when you’re scouting for your next new recipe.

Jell-O Mold Competition

In brooklyn, dessert, event, exhibit, food, funny, geek, science, smile-inducing, treasure trove on July 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm

To properly celebrate America’s birthday, certain foods are required. The most inscrutable of these culinary staples is Jell-O, an old-timer from the 1950s. Omnipresent yet ignored on many a picnic table, Jell-O manifests itself in various questionable yet patriotic shades, and is packed with similarly questionable fruits. Has the once-proud dessert been sequestered to this sad fate forever?

Never fear! The brave folks in Brooklyn will not let the gelatinous dessert go wobbly into that good night. Recently, down a small, forgettable Park Slope side street, several score amateur Jell-O enthusiasts gathered in the Gowanus Studio Space for the Jell-O Mold Competition, to showcase their imaginative gelatin creations and vie for prizes.

First, there were the obvious edible creations. Along with the predictable shiny apple pie  and red velvet cake, artists assembled Jell-O sushi with chopsticks, slid oysters melting on the half-shell, and carved up a delicious trio of multi-flavored fruit wedges molded into the hulls of peeled grapefruits. For the more culinarily adventurous folk, beef- and pork-flavored Jell-O were carved into taxidermy on wooden plaques. (The flavor was dead on, but the consistency was uncannily, unpleasantly reminiscent of jellied gristle.)

Food wasn’t the only source of inspiration. Piles of translucent, horse-pill-sized pharmaceuticals abounded, as did giant LEGOs, floral plates, and lithographs of the Brooklyn Bridge. A vibrantly blue and silver model of the Brooklyn sewage plant drew laughs, while Jell-O-cum-explosives, complete with a video presentation of said explosions, failed to inspire. The entries showed a huge variance in quality, from the impressive cloth-draped and olive-bedecked display shrine for Bloody Mary Jell-O (molded in the shape of the Virgin herself), to wimpy Styrofoam lunch trays supporting globs of what may have been octopi Vikings, but may also have been last year’s meatloaf, grown sentient and resentful with time. My favorite eats included fruity Jell-O Superballs dispensed from a quarter machine, and an impressive full-sized Tiffany lamp, supported by a sugar paste structure and lit with real bulbs. The most inventive creation, edible drinking cups made with vegan-friendly agar agar, could be filled with your drink of choice and then munched on as well, for a multi-faceted imbibing experience.

While the crowd waited for the judges to review the entries, five or six kinds of free Jell-O shots were on hand. The mixologists were enthusiastically inventive, if a bit heavy-handed with their herbs; tough sprigs of rosemary and acerbic strips of orange rind overpowered two of the jiggling shooters. Still, most of the drinks were popular and disappeared quickly: the delightfully zingy Hair of the Naval; Hot Sh*t (its real name), a dark pudding laced with cinnamon and topped with cream; Summer Salad, a gelatinous vodka watermelon; and the non-alcoholic yet pungent Kir Royale.

If this event was any indication, Jell-O will certainly live to fight another day.

Coconut Tapioca Pearls, Coconut Jelly with Passion Fruit Sorbet

In dessert, nyc, om nom nom, soho, thai on June 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm

What’s It Good For: When you still crave dessert after a filling repast, but can’t handle the chocolate cake.

Where To Get It: Kittichai, 60 Thompson Street, between Spring and Broome Streets.

This light, refreshing treat arrives in a deep, slope-sided bowl, full of tiny, translucent bubbles. These chilled globules of coconut-infused tapioca range in size from peppercorns to jumbo jelly beans, with a firm texture and a light, milky sweetness. A goldenrod scoop of tangy sorbet is dolloped in the center and embossed with delicately tart seeds. The sorbet’s edges crack and spread as it melts into the tapioca soup, like the yolk of a perfectly poached egg. Scoop up one component, then the other, and finally the two together. Slurp them in and let them melt and meld in your mouth. Repeat with gusto.


In dc, dessert, ice cream, street food on August 2, 2009 at 8:59 pm
If you live in any large city, you’ll know that frozen yogurt is now chic. A slough of competing franchises have popped up in recent years, all offering antiseptic, funky plastic interiors, a sparse menu of yogurt choices, and a wide array of mix-and-match toppings.

Tangysweet, located in DC’s Dupont Circle, opened just over a year ago, and is now a well-known destination spot on a hot summer day. Two days ago, Tangysweet introduced cupcakes by Red Velvet Cupcakery to its menu. I thought I’d go check it out.

As with any upscale fro-yo establishment, the best Tangysweet yogurt flavor is the original, or “classic”; other flavors are too syrupy sweet. Tangysweet’s classic is, well, tangy and sweet, with a crisp flavor to savor. The frozen dessert is so stiff that it peaks in a towering tip of classic soft-serve swirl. The yogurt melts slowly and stubbornly in your mouth, letting you savor the taste. More than a dozen possible toppings include smashed Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Gummi Bears, and mini chocolate chips. Chopped fruit and berries pair well with the tart of the yogurt, while sweet granola adds crunch. No matter what your choice of toppings, this is one good treat.

Photo courtesy of soon 2B sonju.

The new cupcakes are luscious. They fit nicely in the palm of your hand, the perfect size to satisfy your mouth while not overloading your stomach or your insulin levels. The cake is sinfully moist, and pairs exquisitely with the icing, smoothed elegantly in a rounded dome and dotted with a few well-placed sprinkles. The red velvet cupcake with whipped cream cheese frosting is as good as any I’ve had, with the light crunch of a crusty exterior shell giving way to rich, creamy icing. The Red Velvet Cupcakery has outdone itself.

Photo courtesy of Delleicious DC.

The one caveat to this new partnership of two delicious treats, is that the two products do not play well together. The light freshness of the yogurt is overpowered by the dense, full-flavored cupcake. The yogurt is positively disappointing if you eat it after the cupcake, the icing too heavy and mouth-filling if you eat it after the yogurt. Stick to one choice per visit. You’ll just have to come back another time.

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

In dessert, recipe on July 27, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Fretting over which dish to bring to that last-minute party, or which dessert to share with your new neighbors, or how to impress your mother-in-law? Look no further than raspberry thumbprint cookies. These buttery circles burst with rich almond flavor, balanced with the sweet zing of raspberries. They elicit gasps and endless streams of praise from those who eat them. They draw crowds at parties. They are easy and fun to make, and are a great introduction to cookie-making for children or non-bakers. They are the ultimate cookie.


Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

Cookie Dough*

⅔ cup sugar

1 cup butter (Leave out for about 1 hour, not much more, to soften.)

½ tsp. almond extract

2 cups flour

½ cup seedless raspberry jam


1 cup powdered sugar

1½ tsp. almond extract

2 to 3 tsp. water

*This recipe only makes about 2 dozen cookies so I always make a double batch.


1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Cream butter. Add sugar and cream the mixture till smooth. Stir in almond extract. Stir in flour gradually till thoroughly mixed.

3. Roll slightly rounded soup spoons of dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with bakers’ parchment paper. (A soup spoon is about 1 ½ Tbsp. of dough per cookie.)

4. Press your thumb straight down into each ball, taking care that the sides and bottom of the ball don’t get too thin. If the sides of the dough ball crack, press them together so the jam won’t spill out.

5. Fill each thumb hole with raspberry jam just level or very slightly above the edge of the cookie.

6. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. You can fit a dozen cookies on a cookie sheet because they don’t spread much. When the jam just starts to bubble, the cookies are done. They will be very slightly brown around the edges.

7. Let cookies stand a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet, then put them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

8. Mix glaze using only enough water to make a thin, but not runny, drizzle. Don’t let the glaze stand more than an hour or it will form a crust and won’t be smooth.

9. When the cookies are completely cool, drizzle the glaze in a zig-zag pattern over the cookies.

10. Eat with gusto!

Five Bowls of Ice Cream and One Spoon

In dc, dessert, ice cream, party on June 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

Despite the schizophrenic weather today (grey blanket of clouds to cheery sunshine to twenty-minute DOWNPOUR to sunshine to persistent drizzle to sun again) the Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party went on. The Party is sponsored annually by the International Dairy Foods Association, visiting Washington to win political favor for all the dairy farmers back home.

As with most parties on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Ice Cream Party is something that receives a lot of hype but isn’t that much fun once you get there. It was not, as I hopefully imagined, a place to mingle. It was, however, a place where the ice cream was served quickly, in GIANT portions and in seemingly endless supply. The members had their own roped-off area in which to schmooze. A sound system (hilariously) blared the uncensored version of Katy Perry’s “Hot ‘n Cold,” which I imagine is all the rage among the senators and representatives nowadays. Countless interns bustled back and forth to their offices, toting cafeteria trays and even box lids piled high with bowls of ice cream.

Five inventive ice cream flavors by Jack & Jill Ice Cream were served: cinnamon, peach, black raspberry chocolate, birthday cake, and a pomegranate/lemon sorbet hybrid. Vanilla was available exclusively at the tables serving root beer floats. The ice cream appeared to have been super-frozen to withstand the DC heat, and was almost too creamy. The birthday cake ice cream was a standout, though Coldstone still does it better (and costs you five times the calories, I might add.) Peach was simple but tasty. Black raspberry chocolate, which looked like a lavender mint chocolate chip, had a very strong flavor. The pomegranate/lemon sorbet was a valiant try, but for all its mainstream popularity right now, I wonder how many people know what a pomegranate actually tastes like. It’s a tough flavor to pin down. Cinnamon needed to be paired with chocolate sauce (available along with caramel sauce and others at scattered round tables.)

Really, though, the point of this party isn’t to wax analytic on the consistency and flavor of ice cream. It’s a chance to get out of the stuffy old office, stretch your legs a bit, breathe, and indulge in a free summer treat. I may not have been bowled over by this party, but the contented smiles on a lot of members’ faces would suggest that they feel otherwise.