Thursday, May 5, 2016

The All-Time Greatest Chocolate Cake: Beatty's Chocolate Cake


       As some of you know, Andrew and I have embarked on what we have named “Andrew and Monte’s 130th Birthday Trip”.  That’s our combined birthday this year and we’re celebrating with a trip to Europe.  Believe me, you will hear all about it.  But in the meantime, here’s a cake to bake anytime you want to celebrate anything— Birthdays, Anniversaries, Bon Voyages or….even this Sunday for Mother’s Day. This incredible chocolate cake takes the prize for our absolute favorite.  It’s a chocolate lover’s dream, moist and so full of chocolate you can smell it.   The icing gives you more chocolate on chocolate. There’s  a secret ingredient that reinforces the chocolate flavor: Coffee!  It also has a wonderful story attached to it.  And a not-so-wonderful story too so read along and see.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Tyler Florence-style...with his Ultimate Beef Fajitas

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Napolean III of France
      Ah Cinco de Mayo, a chance for Americans to celebrate their neighbor to the south, Mexico.  And this year, given all the campaign rhetoric, those of us who love that country, really should go out of our way to celebrate this 5th of May.  Of course, Cinco de Mayo is overwhelmingly an American celebration.  Many Americans believe the Festa is to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day.  That would be Dieciséis de Septiembre which likely would never have made onto an American calendar simply because it’s much more difficult to pronounce.             
No, Cinco de Mayo does celebrate a Mexican-only event.  Mexico had fought two wars, one against the Americans (Remember the Alamo!) and the other a civil that had almost bankrupted the country.  Its President then suspended  Mexico's foreign debt payments for two years.  France, Britain and Spain were outraged and sent naval support to Veracruz to demand payment.  The British and the Spanish negotiated a payment schedule and sailed home. The French however remained. Napoleon III imagined a Latin Empire that would favor the French.  He called it the Second Mexican Empire. Despite being overwhelmingly
The Second Battle of Puebla, May 5th 1863
outnumbered, 2000 Mexicans fought off the 6000 French troops at the Battle of Puebla, crushing the French on May 5th 1862.  There was much jubilation in Washington.  President Lincoln had feared that the French would take advantage of the Civil War to meet its goals.  So Lincoln may have celebrated the first Cinco de Mayo that very year.  Now all of this is a very long way to get to today’s Cinco de Mayo celebratory post:  Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Beef Fajitas.  I can think of no better way to celebrate than with this American classic. Yes, American.