My friends, today is a momentous day. Words to Eat By is five years old. I’ve known for some time this was coming—when I updated my “about” page a while back I was actually editing my very first post, so the date kinda stuck in my head. But even with all that time to think about the proper way to mark such an important occasion, I still wound up scrambling. See, that might be the number one difference between me now and me then: Free time. Back then I was a newlywed, freelance writing from home and spending hours every day doing research (ahem, procrastinating) by reading cookbooks, food magazines, and other food blogs. Did I feel like experimenting with batch after batch of chocolate chip cookies, adjusting until I found the cookie of my dreams? No problem. These days, on the other hand, I’m lucky if I have half an hour during Harry’s so-called “quiet time” to consider what we’ll eat that night. It might be a while before I can come up with another Roasted Pears with Sugar & Spiced Pecans and Poire William Caramel Sauce.
Not that I’m complaining—this here life of mine is pretty darn sweet, and oh am I in love with my houseful of men: Stephen, Harry, and Samuel kitty. I’m thrilled to be back blogging again (taking almost two years off sorta makes this my 3rd anniversary, but I won’t tell if you won’t), and in honor of WTEB’s birthday, I’ve rounded up five of my favorite recipes. These are all dishes I consider my own—some were inspired by specific recipes I found elsewhere, and others were the result of tinkering and adjusting and tinkering some more. All of them are old reliables, friends I turn to again and again.
- Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Figs, and Mint: I know, it sounds weird. But holy cow do those flavors work together nicely.
- A Quick Sauté of Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini: I make this at least once a week, all summer long.
- Polynesian Flank Steak: It’s got three ingredients, people, and that includes the steak.
- The Simplest Herb Marinade Ever: Good on chicken, good on fish, light, fresh, lively flavors.
- Spicy Sautéed Tilapia with Olives and Grape Tomatoes: The only fish recipe my fish-hating husband actually asks me to make.
I wouldn’t be true to myself or to Words to Eat By if I didn’t include my favorite dessert recipes, too. You’ll notice, they all include chocolate. Of course.
- The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World: Far and away, the most popular recipe on this site. Try them; you won’t be sorry.
- Chocolate Yogurt Loaf: Oh so rich, but shockingly not-bad-for-you.
- Samoas: Others have followed, but I do believe I was the first to make (or at least blog about) a homemade version of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies.
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake: For his birthday one year, Stephen asked for a Carvel cake; I went him one better.
- Chocolate Pizzelles: Not too sweet, wonderfully crunchy, and you get to use a nifty gadget.
In keeping with the whole Five Favorites theme, I’m celebrating my blogaversary with a gift to you, dear readers. One lucky person will win copies of my five favorite cookbooks! Brand-new copies, not my broken-spined, food-spattered ones, of: How To Cook Everything,The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook,The New Doubleday Cookbook,and Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.
That’s right, here’s your chance to win five fabulous cookbooks, each of which I rely on regularly, as a thank you for reading along with me. All you have to do is leave a comment in which you name a favorite Words to Eat By recipe. New to the site? Browse through the Recipe Index for inspiration! The giveaway ends in one week—on Saturday, October 31, I’ll announce the lucky winner.
By now you’re probably wondering if I’m going to include a new recipe in this post. Of course I am, silly! It’s for those very delicious-looking (and tasting) German Chocolate Cupcakes you see up there. For the cupcakes themselves, I used a recipe I’ve grown to love: Dark Chocolate Layer Cake. It’s moist and very, very chocolaty, inspired by a recipe in one of my favorite dessert books, Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. To top them, I returned to that book for what may just be my favorite frosting of all, German Chocolate. That mix of dulce de leche-like sweetness, toasted coconut, and toasted pecans gets me every time. I like it so much, in fact, that until now I’ve resisted even making it—I was afraid I’d just sit down with the pan of frosting and eat it all, cupcakes be damned. But for you, my dear readers, I’ll sacrifice. I’ll make German Chocolate Frosting. I’ll put it on cupcakes. And I’ll eat them. All for you.
Thank you for reading along with me for all this time. I do appreciate it, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And don’t forget: Pick a favorite recipe and leave a comment about it by October 31, and you could win five of my favorite cookbooks!
German Chocolate Frosting
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk [I used skim]
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Combine the first four ingredients (through butter) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes—watch carefully, as a light that’s a little too high will make it boil over. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Spread it on cupcakes while still a little warm.