a recipe for loneliness

the mister is in lyon for work leaving me all by myself in lausanne. i can't say i was in any big hurry to get back to lyon. while i loved my time there, gorging myself on the richest food i've ever eaten, i'm afraid lyonnaise food disagreed with me and treated me with a violence that i have not yet forgiven.

this evening stijn is dining at the bocuse d'or. you may remember my mention of paul bocuse in a previous post, the father of nouvelle french cuisine. the bocuse d'or is a kind of culinary olympics and has been bringing the worlds best chefs to lyon to compete since 1977. 24 nations are represented and compete as teams. each team consists of two chefs, one lead chef, and an assistant chef who must be under 22 years of age at the time of the competition. the team has 5 hours and 35 minutes to prepare two elaborate presentations; a meat dish and a fish dish. the event takes place in an open "culinary theatre" where fully equipped kitchens are lined up side by side, facing an area for the jury, members of the press, and an audience of up to 1,000 people. the teams are evaluated on their level of presentation, technical skill, cooking sophistication, creativity and visual beauty. the chef with the highest overall score is awarded the bocuse d'or trophy, a golden effigy of paul bocuse in his chef's outfit, and €20,000. i may not be jealous about the overindulgence in meat and fat heavy dishes but this i wish i could see.

naturally to soothe my feelings of loneliness i reached for chocolate. but not just any chocolate. i decided to give bon appetit's brown butter walnut brownies a shot. last year i made smitten kitchen's lovely chocolate delights and it would be hard for a brownie to compete with those but i am generally a fan of anything with butter in the title so i am optimistic. tonight i will be on a date with one or two of these, a glass of milk, my dog, and a good chick flick.

brown butter walnut brownies

cocoa brownies with browned butter and walnuts
note: upon closer reflection the recipe for smitten kitchen's best cocoa brownies and bon appetit's version here are almost identical with the exception of browning the butter.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. coat foil with nonstick spray or butter. melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. stir to blend. it will be quite gritty at this point but don't fret it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are mixed in. let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. when mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. beat vigorously 60 strokes. stir in nuts. transfer batter to prepared pan. bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. cool in pan on rack (if you can wait). using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. cut into 4 strips. cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. store airtight at room temperature.