Another cake post, I know. For some reason I have been on kind of a baking spree lately. Perhaps it’s the crazy weather, 70 one day and 50 and raining the next. Perhaps it’s waiting for spring produce to arrive. Or maybe I’ve just been craving sugar. Either way, this cake is not very sweet and could possibly be called somewhat healthy, due to all of the olive oil (healthy calories!) and orange juice. Or at least that’s what I tell myself after my second slice. So far I have resisted eating it for breakfast, but it’s been close. Throw a dollop of yogurt on there and some (unsweetened) berries, and you are basically eating a yogurt parfait. With cake, but that’s beside the point. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: March 2012
In honor of Sunday night’s Mad Men premiere (so great. It’s been far too long!) A. and I went over to my friend Justin’s house for a retro dinner, including deviled eggs, tea sandwiches, and classic iceberg wedge salads (and, of course, Manhattans and martinis). I was in charge of dessert, and decided to make a chiffon cake, a first for me. Chiffon cake is similar in theory to a soufflé, folding egg whites separately into the dough. Mine collapsed — actually not sure if that’s supposed to happen, but I think so? In any case, it did make a nice, light dessert after a ’60′s-inspired dinner. Continue reading
If you haven’t noticed, I really like asparagus. I also can’t wait for the abundance of spring vegetables at the farmer’s market that will hopefully show up in the next few weeks (I picked up some leeks this weekend, so we’re getting there!) I am also a really big fan of pesto and will happily make it with anything green I might have lying around. For this light pasta, I combined my two loves into one springy dish, hoping for more of those 70 degree days we had last week. If you haven’t made pasta by hand, I might recommend watching a tutorial, many of which can be found on youtube. I’ll try to be detailed in my instructions, but since I learned from an Italian woman who taught more by sight than written instructions, I can’t promise that these are the best. Continue reading
“Scones?” you are probably thinking. “With butterscotch? How can that possibly count as breakfast and not as dessert?” Well, let me assure you that these certainly are breakfast. Or dessert. Or a mid-afternoon snack with your second iced coffee of the day (spring! Or global warming…) My mother has been making these for years and I always request them when I go home, even though I can make them perfectly well myself. But there’s just something about having your mom make breakfast for you, you know? Sigh. Anyways, since I am obsessed with salted caramel and salted chocolate and basically all salty-sweet combinations, I decided to change things up a bit and sprinkle some sea salt on these lovelies. All of the sudden, what was once a sweet breakfast pastry is now a lot more interesting. Or at least I think so. If you aren’t a fan of salted caramel (but then really, who isn’t?) simply leave off the salt. Continue reading
We interrupt today’s normal “$10 Mondays” posts for something much more important: buttercream. I first attempted buttercream a couple of years ago, and it has since become my favorite frosting, although it is certainly more work than the usual method of creaming butter and sugar. However, I think it is worth the effort and in this case, the lightness of the buttercream offsets the dense and rich cake very nicely. I do, however, have a confession to make: I was so distracted on the day of Ari’s party that I didn’t even realize I had taken out the 1/3 measuring cup instead of the 1/2 — thus, my total amount of sugar was 1 1/4 cup, rather than 1 1/2 cups, as specified in the recipe. I actually found that it was plenty sweet and didn’t realize my mistake until later on, so I will include both measurements below. The recipe comes from Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller, probably my all-time favorite cookbook and a master of technique and instruction. I also think that next time I would make all Nutella buttercream, rather than dividing it into two batches, as the flavor wasn’t discernibly different.
Since this would be an incredibly long post if I wrote both the cake and frosting recipes in one, I decided to break it up into two separate posts. I actually love making layer cakes and really any excuse is a good one for me to make one — birthdays, obviously being the best. Though they have a lot of steps, there is something incredibly satisfying in the end product, and I love all of the smoothing and decorating that goes into it. I know, I’m weird, I guess it’s just the detail-oriented editorial assistant in me. Also, I always make the layers of a cake a few days ahead of time and freeze them, as frozen cake layers are much easier to work with than soft ones. Anyways, on to the recipe… Continue reading
Ohh ricotta. I could eat it every day, smothered on toast or with strawberries and sugar, mixed into a simple pasta sauce or tossed with salad. The first time I ever made ricotta was a couple of years ago and believe me, it sounds impressive, but it’s dead simple. You basically bring a pan of milk and cream to boil, and then let it drain for a couple of hours. That’s it! As long as you have a couple of hours on your hands and some cheesecloth, you are pretty much set to go. Other ricotta recipes I have made used only whole milk, rather than a combination of milk and cream (the traditional manner), but I actually think that this recipe came out much creamier and produced a lot more curds as well. Continue reading
As an effort to be slightly healthier, I have been trying to eat more salad lately (and something needs to counteract all of the artichoke dip) Since I quickly become bored of the same old goat cheese-dried cranberries-walnuts salads of winter, I came up with this one to spice things up and add some more interesting fruits and vegetables to my diet. I am a huge fan of citrus, and since it is in its prime season right now, what better way to use it than in a healthy (but of course delicious) salad? Continue reading
For today’s $10 post, I will be continuing the party-themed appetizers (more this week + cake!) You may have already noticed these mushroom crostini in pictures from my earlier party posts and wondered what they were. Well, to answer your questions, these make a great winter appetizer and with a simple green salad also make a cheap dinner. Even though NYC’s temperatures may reach 70(!) degrees this week, the produce selection is still decidedly wintery, so these are a good option until more exciting tomatoes and zucchini are available. Continue reading
Today, I need to once again give credit to the ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon. If you haven’t checked out their blog already, you definitely should. They always have excellent (and usually whimsical) recipes, as well as gorgeous food styling and photography. When I came across this recipe for asparagus fries with different dipping sauces, I knew I had a winner. As you may have noticed (as evidenced here and here), I have somewhat of an affinity for asparagus which is only matched for my love of french fries. And dipping sauces. For time’s sake, I only made the roasted garlic aioli, but I can assure you that the asparagus were no less loved for that.