I am trying to recover from my travels this week – the 9 hour time difference is not easy on the body, but I am doing my best. Life doesn’t stop for you – so you just need to carry on and hope that eventually everything will go back to normal. Whenever I travel for work, I never have enough time to soak everything in. I do my best though to at least savor the food. I have mentioned this before, but my favorite place to soak in the culture is at the super market. Fortunately in Israel, I was able to go on a field trip. I was there the week before Passover, and the woman who was hosting me was so excited that I also celebrate Passover. She took me to the market near the office, and we bought lots of fun stuff. Matzo ball mix, Passover biscuits, halva and chocolate covered matzoh. What fun! I couldn’t believe I was able to fit all this stuff into my suitcase, but I crammed it in. As a bonus, one of the women in the office sent me a recipe for a Passover Apple Cake – maybe a post for tomorrow, if I can get my act together?
The food in Israel was delicious – lots of fresh vegetables and cheeses – and wonderful salads for breakfast. My stomach was not overly thrilled to eat salads for breakfast, even though they were wonderful – so I mostly stuck to yogurt – which was rich and creamy, and just delightful. The two highlights of the trip were the lunch I had at the falafel restaurant – just a tiny hole-in-the-wall, with amazing falafel and pickled vegetables. The pita bread though was really too much though – not like the pita bread we get – this was light and fluffy and completely fresh. The other highlight was a Persian restaurant that my cousin took me to – the salad was so amazingly fresh, and the chicken and rice I had was out of this world. It was really a treat.
On my way back to the states, I stopped in Paris to visit the subsidiary there, and of course had my fill of magnificent food – even though I was barely there. It gave me just a taste and I can’t wait to get back there… At the office, they have a regular cafeteria, and then two specialty French restaurants. We went to the “bistro” – and had an incredible lunch. I felt spoiled. I was stuffed after my appetizer and entrée, but they insisted I order dessert. All the desserts sounded terrific, but I decided to go with a chocolate brownie – on top of Panna Cotta, then topped with chocolate mousse. Oh my…it was spectacular. Although the brownie was my least favorite part. It was good, but nothing like these brownies that I found in Bon Appetit that I made for book club the other week. These were so simple to make, and seriously decadent. Nice and rich – and it had been too long since I posted a brownie recipe on this site. I have posted similar recipes before, but this one was too good, even if it was a duplicate. So – even though the French are pretty much better at making everything else sweet - Americans are the experts when it comes to making brownies. Someday when I live in France, I am going to make some of these recipes with their superior ingredients - won’t that be something. I can’t wait!
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup Scharffen Berger natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 8x8x2 inches glass baking dish with foil, pressing firmly into pan and leaving a 2 inches overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray; set baking dish aside.
Melt butter in a small sauce-pan over medium heat. Let cool slightly. Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. Add flour and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownie out of pan; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.
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