Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween!

While my evening was not spent gorging on sugar, I did manage to hand out 5 bags of candy to several adorable little kids (Batman is a rather popular costume and I got complemented for having the good candy, I pride myself on always having the good candy no Dum-Dum lollipops for me), carve a pumpkin with the boy (as seen in this image) and eat Nutella and strawberry jam crepes for dessert (there had to be some sugar consumed today). Maybe not the wild Halloween I once had but immensely satisfying none the less.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

st. louis gooey butter cake.





























There are certain foods that I make because I am a virtuous and smart eater, someone who understands the importance of eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and local and sustainable foods.  Then there are foods that I make because I don't give a damm that day about being a well-balanced eater, I just want to eat something that is really bad for you for but tastes really good.  

This cake falls firmly into the latter category.


This is not a cake you want to make when you don't have people who you can pass it on to because if you make this when you are home alone, I promise you, you will eat the entire thing.  You will be shocked that you were capable of doing so, but it's not surprising, it's that good.  


A barely sweetened yeasted cake base is used simply as a vehicle for which to transport the gooey topping to your mouth.  The gooey topping is a combination of sugar and butter and flour that when mixed together manages to create a topping so magically delicious you will honestly wonder where it has been all your life.  Go make this. Now.  


St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Recipe from Melissa Clark at the NYTimes and Smitten Kitchen

This cake is insane and addicting.  It’s one of the things people request the most from me, which I hope sells it to you if my comment this is absurdly amazing did not.   
About the baking vessel: The recipe says to use a 9×13 baking dish (often glass or ceramic). I used a 9×13 cake pan (which was metal) and ended up with something that browned a bit more than I would have liked. I’d use a “dish” next time, which I believe will brown the bottom less aggressively.

Yields 16 to 20 servings.

For the cake

3 tablespoons milk at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling.

Make the cake dough: In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly. (Very slightly in my case.)

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.  Beat dough on medium speed until it formed a smooth mass and pulled away (just a little, my dough was still very soft) from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes.

Press, stretch and nudge dough into a greased  9-by 13-inch baking dish (preferably glass) at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  You can also rise it overnight in the fridge.  Just take the dough out of the fridge about an hour before baking.

Make the gooey topping: Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, whisk corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use an offset spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (Start checking at 30 minutes and then every 2-3 minutes after.  You do not want to overbake!); cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.







Tuesday, October 29, 2013

one year later - hurricane sandy.

Today marks one year since Hurricane Sandy.  Over the past couple of weeks, I've been asked a lot about my feelings on the one year anniversary.  I've also spent a lot of time thinking about what marks the 1 year anniversary for me.  Do I define it as 8 PM on October 29th, when I first noticed the water trickling into the apartment?  Do I define at as 11 PM on October 29th when Tyler and I stood in sopping wet clothes in the doorway of our building doing shots of whiskey as we watched the streets fill and cars submerge under 6 feet of water?  Do I define it as 8AM on October 30th when we stumbled out of our neighbors apartment and into the startlingly bright light of the day where we realized we no longer had a home? Do I define it as 11AM on October 30th when I first cried as the shock of the situation wore off and the reality of the situation set in?  How does one define, quantify, and mark the moment where so many things changed?  Is it even possible to do so?

I've felt strongly about wanting to celebrate this, the fact that we survived.  The fact that we were luckier then most.  The fact that we have friends, family, and co-workers who went above and beyond simply because they care about us.  The fact that strangers were kind and generous to us. The fact that Tyler and I are still together and a team and in love because if you ever want to know if you love a person, trying to put your life back together after a hurricane is a good way to find out (and let's be honest, we are still trying to put our life back together).   But to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how to celebrate this. Popping champagne doesn't feel right and pretending it never happened feels equally wrong.  So instead I came up with my own way to celebrate by doing what I do best.  I cooked and I baked and I made the same cake that I last made exactly one year ago.  The same cake that I took out of the oven right as the water began to come in.  The same cake that I first ate a slice of around 12PM on October 30th and that same cake comforts me as much today as it did then.


To everyone who did anything for us, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  


*This mud line on the door represents the water line that was in our apartment.  All 6 feet of it.   

Monday, October 28, 2013

falafel.



























In our apartment, I've turned Sunday, the day of football, beer, and chicken wings, into a day of dignified late afternoon lunches (that are consumed while watching football since we are both high-brow and low-brow).  First there was the Spanish inspired meal of chorizo, goat chesse, and pepper frittata with sweet potato fries, then we moved on to homemade sushi (because I'm just that insane), and then this week it was falafel with homemade hummus (recipe here for the hummus).  

Falafel was supposed to be made this summer.  When tomatoes and cucumbers were at their peak so we could eat it with a side of Greek salad, but then I realized that deep frying in August is about as appealing as popsicles in January (sometimes logic trumps all) so I put falafel on the back-burner.  I had no plans to make it this past weekend but of course the NYTimes had to write an article about the merits and health benefits of fried food and of course they mentioned falafel and of course I convinced myself that I needed to make falafel right this second because who am I to argue with the NYTimes.  


Homemade falafel is a beautiful thing.  The exterior of a homemade falafel ball is shatteringly crunchy and as you bite into one, the crisp exterior gives way to a tender subtly spiced and herb-y interior.  It is nothing like the falafel you are accustomed to which is why homemade falafel is so special (and so worth it).  All it requires is some fluffy pita, some ethereally smooth hummus, and a bit of hot sauce for one absurdly amazing meal. 

Falafel

Recipe adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Maimi

Serves 4 and makes about 22 pieces


I added more parsley/cilantro to my falafel since I thought the original recipe lacked the traditional amount.  In my eyes, falafel is a green color and I love the freshness of the herbs with the chickpeas.  Feel free to add more or less depending on your own preference.  I also upped the amount of spices since more spices is always better in my book.  

1 ¼ cups / 250g dried chickpeas
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup / 80 grams in total)
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Generous ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons water
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
About 3 cups / 750 ml sunflower oil or other oil, for deep-frying
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for coating
Salt

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Set aside to soak overnight.

The next day drain the chickpeas. Place them in a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro. Blitz the mix in batches, pulsing each for 30 to 40 seconds, until it is finely chopped, but not mushy or pasty, and holds itself together. 

Once processed add the spices, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, flour and water, mix well by hand until smooth and uniform.   Cover the mixture and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour or until ready to use.

Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan with enough oil to come 2 ¾ inches up the side of the pan.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees. 

With wet hands, press 1 – 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the palm of your hand to form a patty or small ball the size of a walnut.  Press the mixture together to prevent it from falling apart.   Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the mixture.  Sprinkle the balls/patties with sesame seeds.

Deep fry them in batches for 4 minutes until well browned and cooked through.   It is important they really dry out on the inside so make sure they get enough time in the oil.

Drain in a colander lined with paper towels and serve at once with pita, hummus, and other assorted dips!   

Thursday, October 24, 2013

fireplace.

The onslaught of coldness has me dreaming about fire places in the kitchen and puppies at my feet.  







































Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

brûléed bourbon-maple pumpkin pie.



























Come fall, I dream endlessly about pumpkin pie.  

Pumpkin pie is creamy and comforting.  It's a pie best eaten under a plaid cashmere throw while watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special in your flannel pajama bottoms and oversized sweater (I have a soft spot for Charlie Brown and Snoopy). Pumpkin pie is also suited for breakfast consumption; it's pudding like consistency is reminiscent of yogurt (really wonderful yogurt).  Pumpkin pie is pretty much perfect any time of day. 

I was going to save this recipe.  I made it with the intention that I would share it closer to Thanksgiving because everyone knows that pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving are like peanut butter and jelly, they simply go together.  But the chocolate crust paired with the gorgeously orange filling reminded me of Halloween in the best possible way (and also because pumpkin pie should not be regaled to simply one day a year). 

This is a dessert that allows adults to indulge on a holiday that caters to children and candy consumption (this statement does not mean I have any issues with candy consumption because I love candy consumption).  The chocolate crust brings an unexpectedly wonderful twist to the traditional dessert and the bittersweet cocoa powder pairs brilliantly with the sweet and creamy filling.  The filling itself is glorious.  Bourbon, maple, and pumpkin may be the most epic-ly perfect combination ever.  It's everything, everything I love and it's why this pie may be the best pumpkin pie ever.  

The brûléed top is just brilliant and positively beautiful which takes this pie from good to showstopper.  

Have I given you enough excuses to eat pumpkin pie on Halloween?  I hope so.  

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie
Recipe adapted (barely) via Bon Appétit

This recipe was an utter success except for the baking of the pie dough.  I don't think I sufficiently "slumped" my dough into the pan as it cracked and then split apart during the initial baking process.  I will probably try it again in an attempt to see if the "slumping" was the issue, but my intuition says it was. Regardless of the aesthetics  it tastes damm good.   

Chocolate Pie Dough

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces (you can also use an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in place of the shortening as I did)
1 large egg yolk (keep egg white for brushing pie with later on in assembly stage)
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling and Assembly

All-purpose flour (for dusting)
3 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree          
¼ cup sour cream (Greek yogurt mixed with a tiny bit of buttermilk is what I used and it worked just as well, all Greek yogurt I imagine would be also be successful)
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
½ a vanilla bean split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Make the chocolate pie dough: Pulse cocoa powder, granulated sugar, salt, and 1¼ cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, and ¼ cup ice water in a small bowl. Drizzle half of egg mixture over flour mixture and, using a fork, mix gently just until combined. Add remaining egg mixture and mix until dough just comes together (you will have some unincorporated pieces).

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, and cut into quarters. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing unincorporated dry pieces of dough between layers, and press down to combine. Repeat process twice more (all pieces of dough should be incorporated at this point). Form dough into a 1”-thick disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour.

DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 3 months.

For the filling and assembly: Roll out disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Lift up edge and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim, leaving about 1” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp edge. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°. Line pie with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1½” overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake until surface of crust looks dry, 5–10 minutes. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg yolk. Return to oven and bake until dry and set, about 3 minutes longer. (Brushing crust with egg and baking will prevent a soggy crust.)

Whisk pumpkin purée, sour cream, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and 3 eggs in a large bowl; set aside.

Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve pod for another use) or add vanilla extract and bring syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and small puffs of steam start to release, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream in 3 additions, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Gradually whisk hot maple cream into pumpkin mixture.

Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until set around edge but center barely jiggles, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pie dish to a wire rack and let pie cool.

Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar and, using a kitchen torch, brûlée until sugar is melted and dark brown. (Completely optional but it makes the cake gorgeous.)

DO AHEAD: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead (do not brûlée). Cover and chill.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

24k faucet.

Go for gold. 

Because nothing is more chic then a kitchen faucet in gold. Nothing.  

(I want to wear this kitchen.  Gold, black, and white is my love.) 








































Image via Pinterest.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

spicy coconut pumpkin soup.


I should forwarn all of you, that if you aren't a fan of pumpkin, squash, and other fall namesakes like that, you may shy away from this blog in the coming weeks.  Not to say that everything will be all squash all the time (I'm not a one trick pony), but I am currently like a dog with a cone on my head and all I can see and want to use is the aforementioned squash.  I am gravitating towards it at the farmers market and then turning it into breakfast sweets, pies, and pizza. It's getting a little insane and I am totally ok with that.    
This soup was made a couple of Sundays ago when the weather was so crisp and brisk that it practically screamed soup and sweaters.  The thing I love about this particular recipe is that if you already have puree ready, the whole thing comes together in well under 30 minutes (hooray!).  It's an incredibly complex tasting soup, the combination of sweet pumpkin with creamy coconut milk and spices creates an absurdly rich and intense dish. The lime juice brings a necessary level of accidity and really ties everything together so that you are left with a bowl of the most well-rounded soup ever.  Serving it with wedges of toasty pita ensures you get every last drop in your mouth (and trust me you want to scoop up every last drop).  

Spicy Coconut Pumpkin Soup
Recipe adapted from Love and Lemons

Makes 3 Servings (Which makes it great for dinner and lunch for 1 the next day!)

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 tablespoon red curry paste or Sriracha (I was out of curry paste so I subbed Sriracha in and found it to work great and more convenient since most people have that in the fridge already)
1 - 2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 ¾  cups of pumpkin (or butternut squash) puree (recipe for how to make it can be found here)
½  can coconut milk, full fat
2 cups veggie or chicken broth
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted pita and pumpkin seeds for serving (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the coconut oil.  Add the minced garlic, curry paste (or Sriracha) and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the pumpkin/squash puree, coconut milk, broth, maple syrup, juice of half a lime, and a pinch of cayenne.  Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.  Taste and add the juice of the other half a lime if you find it needs it, as well as salt, pepper, and more cayenne (I always add more cayenne since I like the extra heat with the squash/pumpkin). 

Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of coconut milk and a pinch of cayenne on top along with the pumpkin seeds if you are using them as well.  



Saturday, October 19, 2013

white chairs.

The juxtaposition of stark white chairs with an over-sized rustic wood table is absolute design perfection.  

The chalkboard wall and colorful rug makes the whole place feel inviting.  The kind of table you want to drink coffee and read the paper at on a Saturday morning.  

Those flowers are everything as well.  








































Image via Pinterest

Thursday, October 17, 2013

pumpkin french toast.



























The boy is a french toast eating monster so when I mentioned my desire to make pumpkin french toast, his first question was "When?".

The when was a few Sunday's ago when the weather was fall perfection (sunny, cool, and crisp) and the day was lazy and lacking in defined plans which means a leisurely breakfast was in order.  This french toast is utterly fall.  Fluffy pieces of bread are dipped in a thick custard that is flavored with warm spices.   They are cooked until crisp on the outside but still gooey in the inside.  I am not your typical french toast lover (I will always take eggs over french toast) but this version may convert me.  

Pumpkin French Toast
Recipe via A Cozy Kitchen 

I served this with a sprinkle of pepitas (raw green pumpkin seeds) to provide a little crunch.  This is completely optional but it provides a nice textural contrast!  I also like to slice the bread the day before I plan on making this so the bread can dry out a little.  Helps it to hold onto all that custard goodness!

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, plus 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of salt
1 loaf of challah, brioche, or another bread of your choice cut into 1-inch slices 

In a large shallow bowl, whisk togther the eggs, milk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and transfer both to the oven.

Preheat your cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Brush the surface with butter or oil.  When melted or hot, place a slice of bread in the milk mixture, allowing it to soak for about a minute.  Flip it over and allow to soak for another 30 seconds.  Quickly transfer the slice of soaked bread to the hot skillet and cook on each side 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden brown.  Transfer the french toast slice to the oven to keep warm.  Given the skillet a wipe and repeat with butter or oil.  Repeat the dipping of bread, soaking and cooking.  Sprinkle the french toast with pepitas.  Serve warm with maple syrup.  




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

review: ample hills creamery, brooklyn

Yesterday the boy and I took an "us" day to Brooklyn.   We had a leisurely lunch where we sat in a booth by the window and ate roast beef and turkey club sandwiches while drinking beer and pathetically worked to solve the NYMag crossword puzzle (I am being generous in saying we got about 1/12th of the words).  We shopped in Sahadi's, the middle-eastern market that I adore more then anything and then we took a long walk from Cobble Hill to Prospect Heights in search of the ice cream sundae I've read so much about.  Said ice cream sundae can be found at Ample Hills Creamery which looks and feels like the quintessential ice cream shop.  It's the furthest thing from pretentious (there are toys a plenty in the back and crayons and paper in the front) with a case of flavors that cater to both children (Cotton Candy!  Ooey Gooey Butter Cake!) and adults (Pistachio Squared! Autumn in New York!).  But the reason for our trip was to try the famous Salted Crack Caramel as well as the ice cream sundae that many have devoured in under 5 minutes. 

The Salted Crack Caramel is an adult caramel ice cream.  It has an incredibly deep and smoky flavor almost veering on burnt, but just shy of reaching that point.  The salty brings out the inherent sweetness and keeps it from being cloying.  But the best part of the ice cream is the chunks of crack cookies which are essentially dark chocolate covered buttery saltines.  They are truly crack and I contemplated buying some to take home (for research purposes of course) but thought better of that for fear I would become addicted.  

As for the sundae, it was everything a sundae should be.  A dense, fudgy, deeply chocolaty brownie is topped with the ice cream of your choice (we went with coffee cookie), hot fudge sauce, homemade whipped cream, and rainbow sprinkles.  It is truly epic, the kind of sundae little kids dream of and adults are nostalgic for.  It's the perfect size to share and it makes for incredibly wonderful way to spend a vacation day.  

We have plans to head back since I desperately want to go back and try The Munchies (Pretzel infused ice cream with clusters of potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

butternut squash and tahini spread.






















Currently there are three different varieties of squash/pumpkin in our kitchen (butternut, acorn, and cheddar pumpkin).  In addition to that I have a plastic container in the fridge filled with homemade pumpkin puree and another container of puree in the freezer.  

I fear that I need a squash intervention because I don't think most city-dwelling 28 year old's who live in minuscule apartments willingly choose to fill their shoe-box sized apartments with a large variety of squashes. 

But then again, I've never been like most 28 year old's.  

In an effort to control and maintain a well-edited collection of squash, I've been scouring my cookbooks for new and innovative ways of using it and this spread is quite possibly one of the best ways.  The best way to describe it is as a hummus where chickpeas are replaced with squash.  The sweet squash pairs beautifully with the creamy tahini and yogurt.  The drizzle of pomegranate molasses brings an intense fruitness to the dish.  I find it utterly addicting especially when scooped up with toasted zatar dusted pita.  

Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

1 large butternut squash, halved (net weight about 2 lb or 970 gr.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ tablespoons (70 gr.) tahini paste
½ cup (120 gr.) Greek yogurt
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds (or just white)
1½ teaspoon date syrup (substitute maple syrup, pomegranate molasses or regular molasses)

Heat the oven to 350F/180C. Place the squash cut-side up on a medium-sized baking tray, pour over olive oil and sprinkle on cinnamon and salt. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Transfer the cooled squash to the bowl of a food processor, along with the tahini, yogurt and garlic. Roughly pulse so everything is combined into a coarse paste – you don't want it too smooth (you can also do this by hand using a fork or masher).


To serve, spread the butternut over a flat plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, a drizzle of syrup, and a sprinkle of sea salt. 



Friday, October 11, 2013

long weekends.

It's Friday.  After a week that felt longer then most (I barely remember Monday).  

Looking forward to an extra long weekend, making apple jalapeno jelly, throwing a football brunch, and visiting with the family.  

Most excited about catching up in the kitchen with all the recipes I've been hoarding (kolaches, bologenese, and pumpking doughnuts).  

Dreaming I was as organized as the below.  Someday.  If I was I imagine my life would be easier but I think that's a lie I tell myself.  I am particularly drawn to those large white mixing bowls.  







































Image via Pinterest.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

crème fraîche, cornmeal, and pumpkin coffee cake with pepita streusel.

























This cake, oh this cake, this cake is everything.  

It's perfection, it's fall, it's all I dream about and all I want to eat.  Did I mention that it tastes exactly like fall? It does which is why I plan on making it every weekend through the end of November (no shame).    

The strussel nestles itself just barely under the top of the cake so that each bite has a little crunchy element of surprise (crunchy salty pepitas are amazing here).  The cake itself is oh so spicy and oh so moist.  The coconut oil while at first seems like a strange addition, after one bite (or one lick of the paddle from the mixing bowl and I wont tell if you do this), you suddenly realize that coconut oil and pumpkin is the single greatest combination ever especially when paired with tangy buttermilk and rich creme friache.  

This cake makes you fall hard for crisp evenings, ankle boots, and plaid.  It's love at first bite.  

Crème Fraîche, Cornmeal, and Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pepita Streusel
Recipe via Local Milk

Yield one 9 inch cake

A couple of notes - if you can't find roasted salted pepitas, no worries.  I used raw pepitas and just doubled the salt and all was great in this world.  If you can't find creme friache, I urge you to make your own which is just about the easiest thing in the world to do. The recipe to do so can be found here. Fresh pumpkin puree should be used which if you have an oven takes actually zero effort to make.  You will be amazed at how wonderfully different fresh pumpkin puree tastes vs. the canned stuff.  Roasting your own pumpkin recipe can be found here.  

Also the pictures of this cake on Local Milk's blog makes me embarrassed to show mine because her's are that good.  I suggest you take a look at her blog since it's breathtakingly beautiful.  

For the Cake

175 g (roughly 1 1/2 cups lightly packed) cake flour
75 g (roughly half a cup) cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
125 g (a heaping 1/2 cup) coconut oil
240 g (roughly 1 cup packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
125 g (1/2 cup) crème fraîche
125 g (1/2 cup) homemade or high quality pumpkin puree
60 g (1/4 cup) buttermilk

For the Streusel

60 g brown sugar
50 g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup roasted & salted pepitas (little green pumpkin seeds!)

For the Glaze

2 tbsp buttermilk
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350°f and grease a 9" cast iron skillet or cake pan.

In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the first 9 ingredients. Set aside. 

In a second mixing bowl mix crème fraîche, pumpkin puree, and buttermilk. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream but coconut oil and the brown sugar until well combined.  With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each is incorporated.

In three additions add the dry and wet ingredients, starting with the dry and ending with the wet. mix to only just combine; don't over mix.

Pour batter into skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the streusel. Combine all ingredients for the streusel except the pepitas using two knives (or your fingers) to create a crumbled, sandy mixture. Mix in the pepitas.

After 20 minutes remove the cake, sprinkle the streusel on top, and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center come out clean save a few crumbs.
While cake cools, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at time into the buttermilk. You can add more sugar to make it thicker or more buttermilk to make it thinner as you please.

Drizzle glaze over cooled cake and serve with coffee or milk!



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

boy meets girl.

Sometime's I'm at a loss for words, so I'm just going to let the picture do all of the talking.

(Obsessing over structured, graphic lines with gold accents, obviously.)  

This room feels so boy meets girl.  







































Image via Pinterest.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

shakshuka.



























I've been happily embracing summer meats comfort food which is why shakshuka is so perfect this time of year.

Shakshuka for those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful deliciousness that is this Middle Eastern dish is basically a tomato and pepper stew topped with barely cooked eggs.  It's meant to be eaten (in my mind) family style, with everyone dipping chunks of baguette or wedges of pita into the stew (break those egg yolks!) and scooping it up in quick succession from pan to mouth.  It's flavorful, warm, and inviting, perfect for a brunch or a relaxed supper which is why I love it so much.  

Shakshuka
Recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons harissa
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 large red peppers, cut into ¼-inch (about 2 cups/300 grams total)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 large, very ripe tomatoes, chopped (5 cups/ 800 grams in total); canned is also fine
4 large eggs + 4 egg yolks or 8 large eggs
½ cup/ 120 grams thick yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Aleppo pepper for sprinkling (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the harissa, tomato paste, peppers, garlic, cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt.  Stir and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes to allow the peppers to soften.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for a further 10 minutes until you have quite a thick sauce.  Taste for seasoning. 

Make 8 little dips in the cause.  Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into its own dip.  (Do the same with the yolks if you aren't using whole eggs for all the eggs.)  Use a fork to swirl the egg whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks.  Simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny (you can cover the pan with a lid if you wish to hasten the process).  Remove from the heat, leave for a couple of minutes to settle, then spoon into individual plate and serve with yogurt and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.