Friday, July 17, 2015

blackberry oreo cake

i made cake.
i have no photo of cake innards.
but i like the top enough that i don't care!

it's a blackberry oreo cake - 3 layers of dark chocolate cake, filled with stabilized whipped cream laced with chunks of oreo, and covered with blackberry swiss meringue buttercream.

i've been quite into decorating cakes lately. it's fun to start with no decoration plan and just go after it, and keep on adding random shit until i like it. i was walking to the 99cent store to see what kind of birthday candle situation they had, and i spotted bougainvillea poufs laying on the sidewalk, all purple and pretty.

sometimes i feel like i live for those moments when inspiration really does just fall into your lap. (or sidewalk.)

i'm also currently 'job hunting' and it sucks. what's up with you?

Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

150g egg whites (about 5 egg whites)
1 1/4 cups sugar (250g) 
3 sticks + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cool but not cold
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup blackberry puree
pinch salt

to make blackberry puree: throw a thing or two of blackberries in a blender or food processor (i always do more than what i need so that i can freeze some extra puree for whatever next kind of blackberry thing i feel like making, so my measurements on this one are not so helpful. i believe i pureed two 6oz containers of berries.) then pass through a fine mesh strainer to separate the juices from the finicky seeds. 

put egg whites and sugar in a pan or bowl set over simmering water. (double boiler situation) whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 160 degreesF, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved. 
transfer the whites/sugar concoction to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the meringue is glossy and thick, and the bowl is cool to the touch (about 9-10 minutes.) Once the bowl is totally cool, switch to the paddle attachment and on low speed, begin to add the butter, a tablespoon at a time. until each is incorporated. if the mixture begins to look weird and curdle-y, don't worry! this is good, just keep it going and it will eventually come together. 
we are essentially forcing fat into a mixture that isn't typically used to so much fat, so it acts weird at first, but eventually everything will emulsify. also, if the mixture seems too runny, refrigerate it for 10 minutes and then continue. sometimes temperature can be a huge factor with buttercreams. 
once it comes together, add in the vanilla extract, pinch of salt, and then the puree, a bit at a time. 

yay done. frost yo stuff. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ricotta pound cake with cherries

this feels hard.
like that awkward small talk you cannot avoid when you make eye contact with an old high school acquaintance at jamba juice.
except that it's only awkward on my end.

i don't think many of you come by these internet parts anymore, and understandably, i did that annoying thing of dropping off the internet planet, leaving my poor site lonely and unloved.

i used to be so bothered when a blog i loved to read on the reg suddenly started posting less and less and then ...  gone.
that is such a bummer and i so don't wanna do that.

because i still cherish you, site! you've been here for me in many difficult times, smiley times, and why-can't-i-fucking-sleep-again times.

i won't apologize, because this is overall a site for me and also because i'm definitely writing to no one but internet bots.

the truth is i haven't been baking or cooking much of anything. and i know that most of the people who used to stop by this here site were in it for the goods, the recipes and gooey close-ups.

this ricotta pound cake is as good of a place to pick up as any.
because i love it, and it's a quick mix.

it's got the wet crumb vibe going on, which is something i'm way into. and also i have a hardcore thing for things flavored with almond paste or extract. so, i win!

if you don't have a cherry pitter, than don't make it with cherries. that'd be a little annoying. no fretting though, because it'd be good with a slew of other fruits - any berry, plums, nectarine, apricots..
or make it with no fruit at all. it'll still be tasty as yo mama's lips.

Ricotta Pound Cake with Cherries
slightly adapted from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano

1 1/2 c cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 stick butter (6 oz)
1 1/2 c whole-milk ricotta
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest (or citrus zest)
1 tsp almond extract
cherries, pitted and quartered

preheat oven to 350 degreesF and place rack in center. grease and flour a 9 inch loaf pan. 
in a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand beaters) cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar until smooth and light. beat in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl, then add the vanilla and almond extracts. on low speed, beat in dry ingredients til just combined, scraping sides of bowl again. gently fold in the cherries (or whatever fruit) 
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula. tap the pan on the counter to knock out some of the air bubbles. put the cake in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan for even browning. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degreesF and bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, and the sides have pulled away from the pan a bit, about 25-35 more minutes. 
allow cake to cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to finish cooling. 
(the flavor is best the next day!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

hello weener heads. i'll be bock.


Monday, January 26, 2015

oh hey

since i last type-blabbed on the internet, i've:

i've eaten 200 english muffins, one side apricot jam, one side something else.
i drove to monterey and back.
i drove to palm springs and back. where i attended my first drag show and my favorite lady was named Pandora Box.

i've thought about making a lot of dinners. and then didn't follow through.
i've eaten many pints of McConnell's mint chip.
i've done a lot of (unhelpful) contemplating.
i bought a swell harlequin rug via chairish

i spent the new year at jason mraz's house, catering his nye/engagement party. they had a major amount of avocado trees that supplied their local chipotle with avocados.
bravo, jason mraz. an outdoor wood burning pizza oven, a giant tipi, multiple hit songs, And the avocados that make chipotle's guacamole. bravo

i've gotten fully settled into a new apartment. i have more house plants than i have friends, and far more cookbooks than any 26 year old should have in their possession.  i've developed a dust buster addiction, and i like it all very much.

are you ready for february? onward and upward, i say! hope everyone is being nice to themselves and  and making sure to breathe.

and i hope it continues to rain in LA.

love, julia

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

pistachio ice cream

worst things:

too much rice in a burrito.

dark parking lots that you freak yourself out in.


and no, don't even think about doing the "what?! well maybe you've just never had a really good cantaloupe?!" no.

best things:

swimming around in a pool or ocean in the evening with someone you're really into. and there's wine.

house plants that you haven't killed.

pistachio everything.
cake. ice cream. salad. bread. pie. snack.

this time there was pistachio ice cream, and it was phenomenally fantastic and definitely the best.

i don't have any pictures of the churned and finished ice cream because it was night time and also it was eaten at almost lightning speed. that's fast, guys.

(cantaloupe chunks in every fruit salad, go fuck yourselves!)

Pistachio Ice Cream
from Bon Appetit 1999 (via epicurious)

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

finely grind 1 cup pistachios with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. remove from head. mix in the almond extract. 

whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl. gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return custard to saucepan and cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of a spoon, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Strain into a large bowl and chill until cold, about 2 hours. 

Stir 1 cup heavy cream and chopped pistachios into custard. process mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. transfer to a container and freeze (or eat all of it right there on the spot)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

bills coconut bread

earlier i woke up at 4. my brain was turning and my heart was racing in that anxious way it does. i knew there was no going back to sleep.

it took me back to my bakery mornings, my waking-up-at-3am-is-normal days.

while the over-nostalgic thoughts always seem to join in, i must is extremely nice to have a break from that. i was cut off from everything those years.

"want to go out to dinner?"  
"what time? anytime past 6 is tough for me..."

"we could do something chill like go to a movie, it's at 7."

and then there were the few times i showed up hungover.
"...Why did you do that again!?"
do you know what a hangover looks like when its 3am?
it looks like still drunk.

hungover poaching pretzels in a large pot of boiling lye water. jesus, #saywhaat

i remember when i started i didn't know what lye was. i was told, "remember that scene in fight club when poured on the hand and his hand just started melting fucking off? that was lye. always wear gloves."

ANYWAY. i knew i wasn't gonna sleep. and in what seemed like the quickest and easiest decision i've made in awhile, flipped on the light, put on shoes, and went on a run.

wouldn't it be the best world if you could sleepwalk-excercise? wake up at 7 as usual, and have had already spent 45 minutes on the elliptical.
and you'd also showered before you got back into your bed?
and you ate fried eggs with buttered toast every morning.

yes, it would be the best.

i made coconut bread one evening. and the next morning i sliced it thick and toasted it and ate it with salted butter and had it for breakfast instead of eggs.
and did it again the next morning.
you know the loaves that call themselves bread but are really a soft/lighter/cakey texture? this is not that.
this is coconut Bread, deliciously sweetened. heavier and sturdy. i want it hot and toasty and a little crisp on the edges and able to spread dabs of butter on each little piece i pull off.
bread is for toasting. not cake. i don't want my loaf cake toasted.
i want my cake moist.  toasting = not as moist

the butter amplifies the greatness of bread and the bread amplifies the greatness of butter. i'm not surprised at all that this bread is so famous.

the time i took this picture i was eating it with leftover salty caramel.

Brown Butter Coconut Bread
from bill granger, recipe posted everywhere so i'm really being of no service to you

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315g) ap flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp (10g) baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup (200g) sugar
5 ounces (140g) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, melted and browned

heat oven 350 degreesF. in a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. 
in a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. add butter, and stir until just smooth - be careful not to over mix. 

butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan or coat with nonstick spray. spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, before turning it out onto a cooling rack. 
serve in thick slices, toasted, with salted butter. yay, all is right in the world before your slice is finished. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

this is where i wish to be.
although...those pastries were mediocre at best.