Gale Gand's Very Red Velvet Cupcakes

recipe stolen from marshall fields

Gale Gand's very red velvet cupcakes


  • 1 cup shortening 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 oz red food coloring
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp red or white wine vinegar


Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour inside of cupcake pan.

Cream the shortening, eggs, and sugar until fluffy. Whisk cocoa and food coloring into a paste and add to other mix.

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar in a bowl. Alternate adding these and the dry ingredients to the stuff in the mixer.

Fill cups ¾ full and bake until firm to the touch in the center, about 15–20min. Cool in pan, frost, and enjoy.

La sardine!

Ina turned Scott on to La Sardine, a charming French restaurant directly across from Harpo Studios. It's renowned for its unusual Tuesday prix fixe, where instead of a menu of the chef's choosing, you can choose any appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $25. Here's what I had, all from the carte of specials.
  • Sautéed frog legs, tomato concassé, potato risotto, garlic butter
  • Saddle of rabbit, couscous, julienne of winter vegetables, thyme jus
  • Tarte aux pommes with frangipane, caramel sauce, and caramel ice cream

Don we now our gay apparel, falalalala-lalalafel

Scott and I had a lovely gay xmas, which means we shopped the sales at Nordstrom, Saks, and Fields (among others) for ourselves, together.
Here's what we got: Scott | Mike


It's true.

A Brighter View Astern Than Over the Bow - New York Times: "But Mr. Brandhurst, along with plenty of cooks in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, will tell you that what comes from Louisiana waters is the sweetest of all the Gulf shrimp."

And finally he got $2,450 from the Carmel, Calif., chapter of the culinary organization Slow Food. That happened after Poppy Tooker, who runs the Slow Food chapter in New Orleans, saw a newspaper photograph of Mr. Brandhurst trying to save his boat at the same time Gabriela Forte, who runs the Carmel chapter, was looking for a family to help with proceeds from a gumbo fund-raiser.

The Brandhursts, though still puzzled about what Slow Food might be, are in awe of that simple gesture of transcontinental generosity. Without that cash, to repair an engine, they would have missed much of the post-hurricane harvest.



We needed a quick bread to go with the cassoulet that Steve and Shane make as their traditional Christmakkah meal. The recipe below makes a 1lb dough.



  • 3 cups unbleached flour (tipo 00 if you have it, but not bread flour)
  • 1 packet yeast
  • pinch sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • herbs (fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano.. all good)


Combine water, sugar, and yeast and let proof 5–10min. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Pour foamy yeast into flour and mix. Knead for 5 minutes, incorporating the optional herbs. Add any extra flour very, very sparingly – the dough should threaten to stick to the work surface.

Oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Press the dough into a oval / rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425° Dimple the dough with your fingers, spaced about an inch or so apart. Drizzle olive oil and spread gently with your hand. Cover and let rise additional 30 minutes at room temperature.

Sprinkle with coarse or kosher salt. Bake 15–20 minutes. Devour.



  • Quiche with bacon and spinach
  • Lamb shoulder roast, marinated in yogurt and herbs
  • Jambalaya with Soulard spice shop andouille, chicken, and texas shrimp
  • Tortilla española and salad
  • Potato-chorizo soup