Month: March 2016

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Chocolate Nemesis Cake

This rich, dense, gluten free, flourless chocolate cake has been on our menu since the day we opened. With surprisingly few ingredients, it is a very simple cake to make at home. 1 1/3 cups sugar 1 cup butter 1/2 cup water 12 oz. best quality dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped 5 eggs Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper to extend above the rim of the pan by approximately 2 inches, and set it inside a large pot or roasting pan big enough to hold it comfortably. Place the chopped chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. You’ll be using this to fold the batter together, so make sure it’s nice and roomy, too. Place one cup of the sugar and the water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Add the butter and simmer on low, whisking from time to time. When everything is melted together, pour this very hot mixture over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for …

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PL’s House Chili Oil

About five years ago we started making chili oil for our tables, as is common in restaurants throughout Italy. Given our love for all things with a little spice, we felt it complemented our pizzas quite well. It’s so simple I highly recommend making a bottle for your home use. It’s not only great on pizza but with eggs and pasta as well. 500ml bottle of organic olive oil (ideally in a clear bottle) ½ cup organic chili flakes Pour bottle of olive oil into a stainless steel pot and add chili flakes, retaining original bottle to pour oil back into. Bring oil to a light simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Pour oil and chili flakes into a blender and blend on high for 2 minutes. Pour through a very fine strainer and let settle for 24 hours. Pour oil back into original bottle, leaving sediment behind. Enjoy daily!

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Four Barrel Grows Organic in Kenya, One Farm at a Time

Last Fall, over lunch, I got to sit down with two of Four Barrel Coffee’s three owners, Jeremy Tooker and Jodi Geren.  We crammed ourselves into a little ramen shop down the street from their Valencia cafe during the lunch rush — my computer on my lap, huge bowls of steaming noodles and glasses of cold beer filling our small table; we sipped, slurped, they talked and I typed.   My time with them was very inspiring, and I left with my proverbial cup significantly more than half full. The range of what Four Barrel is doing well is vast.   They offer a product beautiful in flavor and in the quality control of its sourcing, their standards of hospitality are impeccable (I’ve never visited such a fantastically hip coffee house that is so inclusive in its welcome), and the somewhat unspoken heart of Four Barrel’s work is that it endeavors to serve the whole rather than the individual.  The spirit of their mission has just the right amount of rebelliousness to buck the status …

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A Year-Round Minestrone

Minestrone has been a core component of the menu at Peter Lowell’s since we first started dreaming. This year-round soup is, at its core, a bridge between American and Italian cooking. It has been a part of American cuisine for so long that we barely associate it with its Italian roots. Americans often add pasta to minestrone, but we prefer a more traditional version. No matter where you are, the essence of minestrone remains the same — a simple vegetable soup with tomatoes, beans and greens. From there one can go in many directions. The recipe below represents our version of this soup, one we have cooked almost daily for eight years. We change small things but keep the basic recipe the same. Here are a couple of things to think about when making this soup. 1) Beans are best when cooked fresh (as long as they are properly seasoned along the way), as apposed to using canned. But it’s also more time-consuming. Because the beans in this soup are added at the end of …