17 November 2015
07 November 2015
I bought a cake plate/ cake dome this week, and a few Williams Sonoma coupons later, it's here and I can't stop looking at it (that's Smitten Kitchen's red wine cake under there, which is an extremely tasty use for the last of a bottle). Now, if my kitchen, which can't even support a pot rack, is of evidence, it doesn't take having certain pans and platters around for me to turn on the oven--- but I can say with confidence that having a cake dome around is a definitive push to have something under it at most times. In addition to that cake, it also housed some of these for a few days. It brings comfort, instills a welcoming spirit, and makes you feel a little bit fancy. And sometimes, we all need some of that to keep us going.
29 October 2015
I come across many online food "listicles" that read something like: "15 non-boring one-pan chicken dinners in 30 minutes or less." These lists often imply that 1.) chicken is boring and in need of serious jazzing up 2.) It's realistic to make everything in one pan 3.) you're capable of standing over said pan, flipping, watching, multitasking and finally plopping everything on the table in that same pan in a great rush like a Hibachi chef before a posse of grabbing hands. I'd suspect that not all of us are at our best under these circumstances. I'm typically too slow for it. There's a time and place for seared chicken cutlets, but I've been turning on my oven a lot more lately for chicken thighs.
15 October 2015
Here I am again, back with something old. From the same place! From the years before computers and the Internet. It's another cake unearthed from a 1970s Times issue compiled into the Essential NYT cookbook. In her introduction about this cake, Amanda Hesser writes, that people seem to think making cake is a big deal, but that back when people cooked more everyday, there were a lot of cakes. "It's cookies that are the real time suck," she writes. I had to laugh. "Cake was a staple that you whipped up every couple of days when the last one vanished to crumbs." Cake is something you leave covered on the counter or kitchen table, for the convenience of slicing. For it to be something that's there.
30 September 2015
In a way it feels silly to post this. But when I've made the same thing maybe 5 times over the past 2 months, to not talk about it feels like not telling a close friend my innermost thoughts. The classic NY Times recipe from 1983, the Purple Plum Torte, something old, is still being made and that's for a reason, clearly. A magical thing happens in the oven...the baking powder and egg puff up the thick-battered torte into cakey lightness, the plums sink through to develop into jammy pockets and the cinnamon speckles bake into the top crust to give it the slightest crackle. One of the farm market vendors I frequent has still had a heap of these little Italian plums on a weekly basis and I can never not pick them up. It being 2015, not 1983, I decided to give it a new twist: I make a half-recipe, swap in a smidge of whole wheat flour, and bake it in shallow tart pans instead of a tall springform one.
18 September 2015
The night we returned from our honeymoon, I pulled a mini loaf of zucchini bread I'd stashed in the freezer before we'd left for the wedding festivities. To be honest, I was already thinking about it on the plane ride back when I realized we would not be having Adriatic seafood the next day or for that matter until we planned another trip. The next best option seemed to be to brainstorm uses for the rest of summer's bounty and strategically deal with the available seafood here. But back to the zucchini bread. My freezer is so small I do not have the ability to forget what's in there. And a loaf of this, which defrosts beautifully overnight on the counter, was there, ready to be sliced, toasted and schmeared the next morning.
I've made this bread several times over the summer... (why did I wait to share it ?!) and it's a keeper. I first saw it on Food52 made with orange and rosemary, flavors I would never pass up. And while that was a wonderful rendition, it's the vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate combination that I always seem to have more at my fingertips. I really like it this way so that's what I'll share here. As far as technique, you'll want to mix till just combined, like a muffin. This isn't a fussy, mixer-based, buttery desert cake but rather on the rustic side and hits the marks of being tender-crumbed, not too sweet, able to withstand a bit of whole grain flour, and willing to be studded with some chocolate for image and taste enhancement. To make matters even more attractive, this leoparded zucchini loaf's olive oil base is cut with a bit of plain yogurt. I keep seeing zucchini at the market even now, and somehow we have not stopped roasting it, shredding it into meatballs, and baking it up into this bread. And as far as this Indian Summer is going, I don't intend to stop until I no longer see the zucchini.
06 September 2015
We're back in the states after visiting Venice, Italy and Croatia for our Honeymoon journey and I have to say, really missing the view. Both lands of photo-paradise and adventure. The first stop was Venice, arrival around 11 am, and this here below the first photo I took after exiting the Alilaguna.