Monthly Archives: May 2013

Molten Chocolate Cake

Remember Araxi and that insane molten chocolate cake? Well, it was too good to live without.

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With a cakey around the edge and a gooey, chocolatey mess, in the middle it is not to missed and is even better when consumed with a generous dollop of ice cream!

(The recipe is available as part of the google books preview of Araxi’s sensational cookbook.)

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Misuzu-kan

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Located in the mountains of Nagano, in a town called Ueda, Misuzu-kan is famous for its classic jam candies. On our way to Bessho-onsen for an overnight ryokan trip, we hopped off the shinkansen at Ueda and headed up the street to Misuzu-kan.

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Still situated in its original 1924 building, Misuzu-kan seems to have hardly changed since its inception.

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We step inside, only to be greeted by a little man pouring tiny cups of fresh apple juice, textured and tasty.

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I admire the space, the antiquated aesthetic, the stunning old light fixtures that Mom adores.

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Then, we approach the counter, where each product is laid out beautifully, scores of samples at our fingertips.

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I work my way from one end to the other. First, the nama-zeri, directly translated to fresh or raw jelly–the kind that is totally natural, with even its sugar content at a minimum.

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These samples were followed by a jar of special sugar jellies, along side a dish of red bean paste, or anko.

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But the real standouts were Misuzukan’s signature jams and fruit jellies. With a bowl of every flavor of jam on offer, as well as massive pile of individually wrapped jam candies it was tough to decide what to taste, let alone buy!

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In the end, we settled on apricot and plum jam, a large box of traditional jam jellies, and a container of sugar encrusted ones to boot!

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The wrapped up our purchases and we headed out to the onsen, large shopping bags in hand.

 

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cupcakes

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Smooth, moist peanut butter cupcakes crowned with nutella buttercream. If chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven, then adding hazelnut to the mix makes this a combo forged in outer space.

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The recipe I used comes from here. It’s great on its own, but filling these cakes with something gooey and peanut buttery would only add to the effect. Next time, I’m planning on whipping some peanut butter up with cream cheese and a splash of vanilla (natch!) and piping that into their centers. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

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Marea

Back in New York after a whirlwind three days up at Yale, Dad and I went out to dinner at Marea, a fancy seafood restaurant on Central Park South–one I’d been hearing about since my parents ate there 9 months ago. Let’s just say it lived up to my expectations.

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The atmosphere was buzzing with class.

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We started off with focaccia and a spot of white wine. Aerated and speckled with green olives, the bread had a light, crisp crust, and oh so much flavor.

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Dad and I both picked appetizers from the seasonal antipasti menu. My first official course was a tartaletta made with caramelized onions, marsala, cherry mostarda, and capers.

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Meanwhile, Dad indulged in fresh calamari.

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My next course was funghi risotto. A little more al dente than the typical risotto, the melding of mushroom and rice textures was exquisite.

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Dad’s pesto-bathed ricotta ravioli looked so delicious that it almost disappeared before I got the chance to document the dish. (Whoops!)

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And then, as though I wasn’t full enough, course three then wound its way to the table. Snapper for me, cuttlefish for Dad. Definitely the highlight of the meal thus far. But, then again, we have yet to arrive at the most anticipated plates of the evening.

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But before digging into the heavier stuff, we took a break our repast for some biscotti and chamomile tea.

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Alright, you’ve waited long enough: here they are.

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One Strati di Cioccolato, a sensational combination of dark chocolate and salted caramel flavors, and one Budino di Mandorla, a blissful blend of citrus and white chocolate.

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The check was accompanied by mini chocolate chou-crèmes. We left Marea full to the brim and elated, ready for many similar escapades in the future.

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