Thursday, May 29, 2014

rhubarb upside-down cake.

Upside-down cakes are one of those things that make me feel impossibly French. (They have a certain je ne sais quoi don't they?)  Something about a rustic fruit-filled dessert baked in a cast iron skillet and then flipped out onto a pan seems so complicated and fussy but in actuality it is absurdly easy which is why I love them so.

This version is filled with rhubarb (duh) that cooks down (just barely) and then caramelizes into a layer of jammy deliciousness.  It sits a top a buttery cobbler-esq crust/cake layer that envelopes the filling and manages to be both the perfect contrast and utterly complimentary to the rhubarb topping.  In a nutshell it's the perfect dessert for alfresco eating.  

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
Recipe adapted from Food 52 

I tweaked a little (I couldn't help myself) by dialing back the butter (I like things in even sticks), swapping some all-purpose flour for rye, and using some almond extract in place of the vanilla.  I think these changes really elevate the cake into something ethereal.  

Serves 8 to 10

1 ¼ cup sugar, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 stick and 4 tablespoons (2 sticks total) cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ¾ -inch pieces
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour or 1 1/4 cups rye and 1 1/4 cups all-purpose
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Ice cream or whipped cream for serving, optional

Heat oven to 375° F. Melt 3/4 cup of the sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, lemon zest and juice, vanilla or almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the butter and sugar have melted together, add the rhubarb pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and slightly caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your rhubarb stalks.

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sugar and salt, plus flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add remaining butter, and using your fingers, rub into flour mixture to form coarse pea-size pieces. Like Phyllis Grant would say, make like you’re snapping your fingers. Add milk and eggs and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms. If your eggs are on the small side, you may need an extra splash of milk for the dough to come together.

Place pieces of dough over the hot rhubarb mixture, trying to cover the entire surface. It will feel a little like you’re making a cobbler, but the dough will rise up and fill in any holes you’ve left. Bake on a baking sheet until the cake is golden and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and let the cake rest for about 10 minutes. Place a large, flat serving platter on top of the skillet and invert quickly and carefully. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like, but it’s just as good plain.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


In my current anxiety-induced state, this photo is the only thing I find calming.

(I never noticed how hypnotic marble can be. )


Image via Pinterest

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

creamy spinach and bean tacos.

I just started a book by Dan Barber titled The Third Plate.  Despite the fact that I have only read 10%, I can already tell that it's going to have me rethinking my eating habits, similarly to how the Omnivore's Dilemma changed everything I thought about food.  Dan Barber discusses in the opening of the book that the future of eating will require us moving away from meals centered around meat with a small serving of vegetables on the side to a meals centered around vegetables with a small accompaniment of meat to enhance the vegetables.  

After reading that and thinking about it I realized Tyler and I already eat like that. 

When I cook, especially during prime farmers market growing season (which is what we are in right now!), I center our meals around what I find at the market and then look for unusual ways to incorporate those ingredients into out meals.  You could look at a diet centered around vegetables and immediately think we only eat salads, but we don't.  We eat pasta tossed with spinach, asparagus, and ricotta,  peppers stuffed with corn risotto, and tacos, lots of vegetable filled tacos.  I love vegetable filled tacos because everything tastes better when wrapped in a (homemade) tortilla.   

This taco recipe is one that I rely on a lot and I've made it so many different ways I've lost count but this way is my favorite.  Creamy pinto beans, sauteed spinach, and the tiniest amount of sausage marry together to produce a most satisfying filling.  Especially when paired with creamy avocado and a couple of shakes of chipotle hot sauce.   

Creamy Spinach and Bean Tacos  

This recipe is so adaptable that it kills me.  Sometimes I do spinach, other times swiss chard or kale.  I've made it with black beans as well as pinto beans (though I do prefer pinto beans!).  The sausage is optional but it adds a whole other dimension of flavor that I can't get enough of especially if I have some of the really good sausage from Dickson's Farmstand.  I have made it many times without any meat and encourage you to try it meatless as well.   

The tortillas in these photos are homemade and while they may be ugly they sure beat what you can buy in the store.  

Makes 8 tacos 

1 link chorizo, pork and garlic, or other variety of sausage, casing removed (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil (only needed if you have sausage that doesn't give off enough fat)
1 large bunch of spinach (about 6 cups), washed and roughly chopped
1 cup pinto beans or black beans (up beans to 1 1/2 cups if you omit the sausage)
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon regular paprika
1/4 cup beer (I used a mango ginger beer and it was awesome!)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste (I love chipotle hot sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste

8 tortillas
Accompaniments: Sour cream, avocado, cheddar, chopped cilantro, or anything else you like

In a large skillet over medium-heat, add the sausage and break up the sausage with the a wooden spoon. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the sausage is no longer pink and is cooked through.  When the sausage is cooked through you should have about a tablespoon of oil in the pan.  If you have more then that, spoon some off, if you have less, add some olive oil.  

Add the spinach to the pan along with the beans and stir to combine with the sausage.  Cooke for about a minute or until the spinach begins to wilt.  Add the smoked paprika, regular paprika, and beer to the pan.  Cook for another minute or until the beer cooks down and evaporates.  Add the hot sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Serve in warm tortillas with the toppings of your choice.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

a long holiday weekend.

The un-official (kind of official) start of summer has arrived and I have a long weekend of eating planned. This weekend may include but is not limited to my favorite cheeseburger in all the land, an upside-down rhubarb cake (the rhubarb binge continues), kale and apple slaw, thai food galore, and chocolate chip cookies.  I am kind of really excited.  

If you are heading to a bbq, visiting friends, or simply looking for something really delicious to make, below are my list of suggestions.  Because three day weekends are made for cooking and eating and lazy days spent outside (with a large lemonade and the latest issue of Bon Appetit).  

(This list makes me realize that I may need to add tacos and tex-mex to my weekend plans.)

spring pea guacamole. 

bread and butter pickles.
black bean burgers.
chipotle chicken, corn, and avocado tacos. 
corn pizza with bacon.
fish tacos with peppadew tartar sauce.
tacos al carbon.
tex-mex sloppy joes.
mexicali pizza.
cuban sandwich.
jalapeno flour tortillas.
tacos with carnitas and pineapple salsa.

austrian shortbread bars.
brown butter blondies.
chocolate-crusted banana blondies.  
rye-rhubarb bars. 
rhubarb strawberry pudding cake.
cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie.
ginger and brown butter dark chocolate chunk cookies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

rhubarb-custard pie.

I am going to apologize now for both the present and future number of rhubarb recipes that have and will appear on this little blog.  It's not that I am obsessed with rhubarb (I am only slightly obsessed) it's just that after a long (very long and very cold) winter I am craving anything and everything bright and tart and fresh (and the fact that they are the most beautiful ruby pink color doesn't hurt). This is why I've already made 2 pounds of rhubarb jam, 1 batch of rye-rhubarb bars, and now this pie which is my latest obsession. (There are also plans for a rhubarb upside-down cake to be made this weekend so maybe it is safe to say that I am a woman obsessed.) 

This pie.  This pie makes me feel as if I have I have transported myself to the Midwest where things like rhubarb-custard pie are the norm and the people baking them always wear checkered aprons (instead of flour stained boxer shorts).  It's a pie that is pure comfort food. The kind of thing I imagine I would serve to the boy after a long day spent outside building me my dream wood-fired pizza oven (I have pizza ovens on the brain).  It begs to be eaten outdoors by the fading light of the day.  

Rhubarb-Custard Pie

Recipe tweaked from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book 

I bought this back during the dark days of winter when I needed a little pick me up and a reminder that soon fresh produce will return.  This book is superb and it's safe to say this is going to be the summer of pie.  I adore this recipe for the simple fact that the crust is an oatmeal crust which means no rolling pins involved. (!!) Layered above the crust is the most phenomenal rhubarb compote with a color that kills me (it's the perfect pink/red shade that only nature can create). And above that? A tangy custard that brings the whole thing together. Tyler said the pie reminded him of a lemon meringue pie with the flavors and layers and I agree with that sentiment though I think this is better.  

Slicing this pie is the best part since it that is when it reveals it's gorgeous inside. (All those pretty layers!). You've been warned.    

Oat crumble crust for a 9 inch pie, pre-baked (recipe below)
1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. 

In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is cooked down into a thick sauce.  Set aside to cool while preparing the custard.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, heavy and sour cream, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth.  Stir in the eggs one at a time and mix well.  

Spread the rhubarb evenly oven the crust.  Pour the custard over the rhubarb.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 15 minutes through baking.  The pie is finished with the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly.  Be careful not to overbake as the custard can can curdle and separate; the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours.  Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or cool.  

The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for  1 day.  

Oat Crumble Crust

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose or rye flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, at room temperature

Stir together all ingredients except butter into a large bowl.  Sprinkle in the butter pieces and toss to coat. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is chunky but not homogeneous.  

Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased, preferably metal 9-inch pie pan.  Freeze until solid about 15 minutes.  Meawhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake on the middle oven rack for about 18-20 minutes.  If the crust slumps or cracks while baking, gently push the crumbs back into place, while hot, with a clean folded kitchen towel or piece of parchment.  Cool completely before filling.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

california love.

// #diningroomSometimes I have visions of myself leaving New York for the west coast where I would live in a house nestled between the giant red woods. I would spend my days in maxi dresses baking pizza in my outdoor wood oven.  There would be a dog, most likely a lab-corgi mix since I saw one the other day and am now obsessed with them. Evenings would be spent barefoot, nestled in cashmere sweaters, reading in front of a fire.  I don't see this plan happening anytime soon but a girl can dream. 

This kitchen is very California cool (and everything I would want in my west coast abode). It has a strong modern feeling with a wonderful nod to the sixties (that credenza!).  It's everything I am currently obsessed with (right down to those pendant lights and shag chairs).  


Image via Pinterest

Monday, May 19, 2014

spring pasta.

Our weeknight dinners are not always the most exciting things which is not something I care to admit since I do write a food blog. I want to be able to say that we eat dinner nightly at 8PM over candlelight in a spotless kitchen. In actuality, dinner is usually a mess, served closer to 8:30, and is usually a compilation of assorted odds and ends that I found in the fridge. Sometimes these hodge-podge meals are rather lack-luster and other times they are so brilliant that I find myself working to replicate them (like this pasta).  

This pasta stemmed from a search in the fridge for items languishing and what I discovered was half and half, ramps, and asparagus.  There were a lot of directions I could have gone with these ingredients, omelet! soup! but based on the fact that it was a cold, rainy evening, pasta seemed the most satisfying and logical. The ramps were sauteed in butter and then sorrel was thrown in along with the aforementioned half and half. The mixture was thickened and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Asparagus and gnocchi were added to the pan and tossed with the sauce and then showered with parmesan.  The dish was consumed close to 9 and served Indian style on the floor (we are still without stools, sue me) but it was so good I don't think anyone was complaining  

Spring Pasta

This is one of those dishes where the vegetables can easily be swapped depending on what's in season.  Kale would be lovely, spinach would be too, the key is to add as much green as possible.

Serves 4

4 ramps or green garlic, white and light green part minced, greens chopped and set aside 
2 cups sorrel, pea shoots, or arugula, chopped
3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
16 ounces gnocchi
3/4 cup half and half (or if you are feeling indulgent, heavy cream)
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan on pecorino to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using tongs or a mesh strainer, transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain. Keep the water on as you will cook the gnocchi in the same water.  

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  When the butter is melted add the white and light green parts of the ramps or green garlic.  Cook for 1 minute or until it softens and begins to brown. Add the sorrel/pea shoots/arugula to the pan along with the green part of the ramps or green garlic and cook 30 seconds or until the begin to wilt.  Add the cream to the pan and stir to combine.  Allow the cream to cook for about 3 minutes or until it begins to thicken.

While the cream cooks, add the gnocchi to the pot and cook as directed on the package (should be about 3 minutes).  If the cream thickens before the pasta is done, simply turn off the heat.  When the gnocchi are done, use a mesh strainer to transfer them to the pan with the cream.  Add the asparagus to the pan and stir so everything is coated with the cream and greens.  Season with salt, pepper, and cheese.  Serve immediately with extra cheese on the side.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

rye-rhubarb bars.

Saturday morning I woke up early to go to the DMV to finally turn myself in an official New Jersey resident (this moment is seven years in the making).  

Let's just say it was an epic fail.  

The morning would have been considered an utter waste if it wasn't for the fact that my favorite farm returned to the farmer's market in our park.  He also brought the most beautiful stalks of rhubarb that I have ever seen.  

I squealed and then I proceeded to purchase three pounds.  In hindsight I wished I had purchased 5 pounds but I imagine there will be more this weekend.  (I hope.)  

I knew after seeing these posted on Smitten Kitchen, that the second I got my hands on some rhubarb, they would be the first thing I made.  That promise held true as I set to work early Sunday morning to bake them.  As Deb mentions on her blog, these somehow manage to be both breakfast and dessert at the same time which is a win-win in my book.  I adapted these a little to suit my current tastes.  Swapping the white flour for rye flour since I love a extra level of nuttiness is fruity desserts, omitting the strawberries if favor of only rhubarb since I like allowing rhubarb to shine with out the crutch of strawberries, and adding in some spices (cinnamon! ginger!) since spices are always a welcome addition. The final product is something that is absurdly appropriate for spring. Served with vanilla ice cream it would make for a mighty fine dessert and if served with yogurt you have my kind of breakfast which means rhubarb can be consumed morning, noon, and night.   

Rye-Rhubarb Bars
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 9 bars

1 cup (80 grams) rolled oats
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (80 grams) rye flour
1/2 cup (95 grams) light brown sugar
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon table salt
Heaped 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, but helps firm up the filling)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (250 grams) small-diced rhubarb (from about 5 medium stalks)
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. For easy removal, line bottom and two sides of 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. No need to bother (and no greasing needed) if you plan to serve them right in the pan, as I did.

Place the rhubarb, cornstarch, lemon juice, and granulated sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to macerate while you make the crust.

Place oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger, in bottom of baking pan and mix. Pour melted butter over, and stir until clumps form. Set 1/2 cup of this crumble aside. Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.

Dump the fruit over the crust and spread it out so it’s in an even layer. Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit, sprinkle with the dark brown sugar, and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes (firmer fruits will take longer), until fruit is bubbly and crisp portion is golden and smells toasty and amazing.

Let cool in pan and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Store leftovers in fridge.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

notes on style.

Gorgeous kitchen designed by Blair Harris--white subway tiling, brass hardware, beamed ceiling
Every season, I make a list of clothing items that I am looking to purchase for the season.  It's an ever-evolving list - some items have been on there for years (I am looking at you perfect white sundress) but others get added and removed faster then I care to discuss.  I've been doing this for a couple of years now, it's a good way for me to ensure I keep my spending in check and avoid the dreaded impulse purchase (something I am extremely guilty of doing).

The most fascinating thing I've begun to discover about this process is how my style has evolved and simplified.  I am no longer attracted to bold colors and crazy patterns, instead I am drawn to simple shapes and a palate of (mostly) neutral colors.  Maybe this is from living in the city for so long or maybe it's because I'm almost 29 and have finally come to understand what looks best on me.

This evolution has extended to the home decor I love and it took me looking at the last year's worth on decor inspiration that I've posted on this blog to finally realize that.  It's nice when you finally discover your style.  Mine involves a lot of black and gold.

Image via Pinterest

Monday, May 12, 2014


Spring is here! Spring is here!  

Rhubarb and asparagus have made there epic return and I literally giddy about that.  I've been working on some recipes that incorporate those ingredients (but not together!) and I will be sharing them in the next couple of days, but until then, let's review some of my spring favorites (most notably shaved asparagus pizza which is still my favorite way to eat asparagus).  

Also to note! I made rhubarb jam again last night (because what else is there to do but make jam at 9pm on Sunday night) and dialed the sugar down to a generous 3/4 cup.  The smaller amount of sugar makes for a much better jam with the perfect amount of both tart and sweet.   

burrata with asparagus, pine nuts, and golden raisins.
shaved asparagus pizza.

rhubarb strawberry pudding cake.
strawberry jam and rhubarb jam.
strawberry rhubarb pie.
yogurt panna cotta with roasted rhubarb compote and caramelized nuts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

italian jam shortbread tart.

This tart.  This tart is for when you unexpectedly and at the very last minute get invited to a soiree where you feel it necessary to bring the host or hostess a little something.  Something pretty and simple and rustic.  This tart is so darn quick and easy to put together it scares me because I now know I can make a jam tart that tastes absurdly delicious in under an hour.  My thighs are not happy about this discovery.  My stomach on the other hand is very, very happy about this discovery.  

I wont say this is my new favorite dessert but knowing that we are entering homemade jam season (rhubarb! peach! strawberry!) and I now have a vehicle for transporting that jam into my mouth (other then bread) makes me very happy.  Especially when that vehicle is a buttery almond flavored shortbread crust.

Italian Jam Shortbread Tart 

Recipe adapted from Food 52 

The only change I made was to generously double the amount of jam.  2 ounces was what the original recipe called for and in my opinion, 2 ounces wouldn't provide enough of a jam/shorbread contrast.  More is better here! 

Serves 8 to 10

12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 ½ cup (7 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Generous ½  cup (about 5 ounces) not too sweet apricot or cherry jam (or other jam of your choice)
1/3 cup (1 ounce) sliced natural almonds
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350 °F. Position an oven rack in the center of oven.

Place the butter, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer is fine; just allow a little extra time to reach each stage in the recipe). Beat on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the almond extract and blend well, another 30 seconds.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine on a low speed just until the dough is thoroughly combined, about 30 to 40 seconds. Measure out 1/2 cup of the dough and set it on a small plate, then place the plate in the freezer (this will chill the dough and make it easier to crumble).

Press the remaining dough into a 9 or 9 1/2-inch tart pan in an even layer (the edges can be a little higher than the rest, just be careful that the center is not the thickest point). If the dough is too sticky, just chill it briefly.

Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the jam in a thin, even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a border of about ½ -inch around the edges.

Remove the reserved dough from the freezer and crumble it into small pieces over the layer of the jam, allowing some of the jam to peek through. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the top of the tart. Sprinkle sea salt.  

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely. If your tart pan has a removable bottom, to unmold, center the tart pan on top of a large can so that it balances midair as the rim of the tart pan falls to the counter. Leave the bottom of the pan under the tart for support, or run a large spatula between the crust and the pan, using the spatula to guide the tart onto a plate. Alternately, cut wedges straight from the pan. Serve with tart whipped cream.

Store the tart covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. The tart can be assembled ahead and frozen for up to 1 month. Assemble the tart, and then wrap tightly twice in plastic wrap and freeze on a flat surface -- it may require a few minutes extra of baking time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

accent pink.

Think pink.  Accent pink.

(Obsessed since returning from Mexico and falling hard for their pink houses.)  

(Those tiles are pretty superb as well.)

Pink wall dining room

Image via Pinterest

Monday, May 5, 2014

fruit-filled scuffins.

Hybrids are the latest food trend.  The most famous hybrid being the Cronut which has the whole country in a tizzy.  Months after it's initial incarnation, lines still form outside Dominique Ansel starting before sunrise as tourists and New Yorker's alike wait for one of the famous croissant-doughnut hybrids.  I was lucky enough to try one (thanks Jen Sharp!) and while it was delightful, I don't have the patience to wait hours for such a thing.  I don't like waiting and I don't like lines especially when I am hungry.  

Now that Cronuts have become so famous, hybrids have been popping up all over the place.  The doughnoli, the dangle, the cruffin, and my new favorite the scuffin (the scone-muffin duh)!  I became acquainted with the scuffin a few weeks back when the NYTimes ran an article about the different pastry hybrids.  This particular version caught my eye since making them and then eating them didn't seem like it was going to send me into cardiac arrest right after.  

I made them yesterday morning thinking I would have breakfast for the week.  Instead, Tyler ate 4 1/2 of them in the span 7 hours so it's safe to say the are a crowd pleaser.  They are ridiculously satisfying (something about that hidden pocket of jam) and incredibly filling (rye flour!) which is why they make for the most perfect weekday breakfast.  That and the name is really fun to say.

Fruit-Filled Scuffins
Recipe via the NYTimes

I umm forgot to add the flaxseed meal/wheat germ and if you do the same (or don't have any on hand) it wont be the end of the world.  I think having it would make it a little nuttier and more filling which is always a good thing (especially when these are being consumed for breakfast).  I was also out of whole-wheat flour so I replaced it with rye and that swap works brilliantly especially when paired with apricot-peach jam.  The spices in here can be adapted to whatever you like (the original recipe called for cardamon instead of ginger) so use what makes sense with the jam of your choice!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for buttering muffin cups
1 cup whole-wheat or rye flour (4 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or wheat germ (1 ounce)
3 tablespoons light brown or raw sugar (2 ounces), plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 egg
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
3/4 cup fruit jam, conserves, preserves or fruit butter (do not use jelly or marmalade)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave or over very gentle heat. Using a pastry brush, butter the cups of a standard-size (3 1/2-ounce-capacity) 12-cup muffin tin. Let each coat of butter cool, then apply another coat; continue until the 2 tablespoons are all used.

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter, add to dry ingredients and mix with a fork until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk and cream. Add to dry ingredients and mix to combine (the dough will be quite sticky).

Reserving about a quarter of the dough for topping, scoop 2 tablespoons dough into each cup. Using the back of a spoon, press dough gently down into the cups. The dough will move up the sides, and there should be a shallow well in each dough cup. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the top; there should be about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the dough and the rim of the cup.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon jam into each well. Using your fingers, pinch remaining dough into small clumps and scatter evenly over the jam in each cup, making a bumpy topping. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned. Let cool in the pan on a rack; run a blade around the sides of each scuffin before turning out.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

marble cake with olive oil.

This weather is weird. 

The calendar says May.  I am dreaming endlessly about rhubarb, strawberries, and asparagus.  The farmers markets on the other hand don’t feel like May. This weather still feels like winter.  I am feeling all kinds of out of sorts which is why I made a marbled pound cake. 

Marbled pound cakes make me thing of my mom.  She has a tried and true recipe that she used to bring to the bake sale.  It was a thing of beauty.  Each slice revealed a swirl of black and white.  It was dense and moist and I couldn't get enough of it.  I still can’t get enough of it.  

This version is what I would call an updated version of the classic.  The use of olive oil instead of butter makes this cake lighter and brighter and also contributes some fruity notes.  The pepper provides the subtlest hint of heat. These changes help to transform the classic but at the end of the day, it’s still an awesome marbled pound cake that everyone will love.   

Marble Cake with Olive Oil 
Recipe from Food 52

Makes 1 Bundt Cake or 2 Loaves 

½ cup (45 grams) natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized, non-Dutch processed)
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
1/3 cup water
3 cups (385 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely ground white pepper (or black peper)
5 cold eggs
1 cup cold milk

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 10-to-12 cup tube pan with oil spray and dust it with flour. (Or 2 9x5 loaf pans.)

In a medium large bowl, whisk the cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar, and water until well blended.

In another medium large bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder thoroughly and sift onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.

In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 2 cups sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, and pepper until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add one-third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add half of the milk. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.

Add three cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended. Pour one-third of the plain batter into the prepared pan and top with one third of the chocolate batter. Repeat with the remaining batters. Don’t worry about marbling the batters—that happens during the baking.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Slide a skewer around the tube and a thin metal spatula (or knife) around the sides of the pan. Lift the tube and slide the spatula under the cake to detach it from the pan bottom. (If using loaf pans, just slide a knife around the edges and invert.) Transfer the cake to a serving platter. The cake keeps for several days, at room temperature, under a dome or wrapped in plastic.