Thursday, June 30, 2011

thai watermelon salad

i finally got that 50 pound watermelon from my car. i'm really glad i did, totally worth the lug up the street. 

if it were up to me, watermelon would be the only melon. 
honeydew and cantaloupe. psh. you good for nothing, oversized chunks. ruining my fruit salad eating moments. you bring shame to the melon family. 
but dearest watermelon, you are everything a melon should be.

make this after you've eaten enough watermelon to become a human water bottle and can feel the water sloshing around in your stomach. and yet you still have a ton of watermelon left. 
sesame. soy. ginger. cilantro. toasty sunflower seeds. put it on watermelon. yum. i want to eat this outside with salmon burgers. come join?

Thai Watermelon Salad
adapted from Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Dinners

1/4 of a watermelon, cut in small cubes
a couple big handfuls of cilantro
a couple big handfuls of arugula
a handful of fresh mint
3-4 radishes sliced thin
a handful of sunflower seeds
a chunk of feta

for dressing:
a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced thin
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
juice of 3-4 limes
sea salt and pepper

mix up all dressing ingredients. put watermelon, radishes, arugula, and herbs in a bowl. toast sunflower seeds in the oven or in a pan. toss dressing in. top with warm seeds and crumble feta on top. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

poor ant

sweet and salty

i made you a cake. 
i am fibbing. i made this cake for my dad's birthday. 
there's a good chance you know of this cake. everyone should know about this cake. everyone should take a giant forkful of this cake and close their eyes. 

ahh. shiny salty caramel, creeping slowly towards the edges and soaking into the layers. 

and ganache! with more caramel whipped into it!?
the baked gentlemen surely know how to get it done. 

this cake is quite a doozy, what with all the temperamental caramel involved. set aside a good chunk of time to make it. but i ridiculously encourage making this cake. 
sweet and salty for president. 

The Sweet and Salty Cake
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water (i used 1/2 coffee)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla

preheat oven to 325. butter 3 8-inch round pans. line the bottom with parchment and butter the top of the parchment. then knock some flour around in it. combine cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream. set aside. sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. using a mixer, beat butter and shortening on medium speed til ribbon-like, about 5 minutes. add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. add vanilla and mix well. make sure to scrape down sides of the bowl and mix again. 
add flour mix, alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour. divide batter into 3 pans. smooth out tops. bake 35-40 minutes. 

Salted Caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps light corn syrup
1/4 cup sour cream

in a small saucepan, combine cream and fleur de sel. bring to a simmer over really low, til the salt has dissolved. careful not to let it burn while you make the caramel. in a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, stir and try not to splash the side of the pan too much. cook over high heat about 6-8 minutes, until a candy thermometer reads 350. remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute. add cream mixture to sugar mixture. whisk in sour cream. let caramel cool to room temp, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the cake. 

Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting
1 pound dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2=inch pieces

put chocolate in a big heatproof bowl and put aside. bring cream to a simmer over low heat. make sure it again doesn't burn. in a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup stirring carefully. cook over high heat for 6-8 minutes until thermometer reads 350. remove from heat and cool 1 minute. add cream to caramel. stir slowly for 2 minutes. then pour caramel over chocolate. let it sit for a minute and then stir until chocolate is all melted. let cool, then transfer to a bowl with an electric mixer. 
mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool, increase speed to med-high and gradually add butter, beating until incorporated. scrape sides and beat til fluffy. 

To Assemble 
place a cake layer on a platter. spread 1/4 cup caramel over the top and let it soak into the cake. spread 3/4 cup of ganache frosting over the caramel. sprinkle 1 tsp fleur de sel over the frosting. top with the second layer. repeat with the caramel, ganache, and tsp of fleur de sel. top with third layer. spread with caramel. frost the outside of the cake and sprinkle fleur de sel over the top. 
it can be kept in the refrigerator but let it come to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

tres leches cake

we're getting bilingual around here. tres leches. 3 milks. 
3 creamy dreamy milks? oh si senor. 

tres leches cake was invented when a man didn't want to share his cake with his friend. his friend was lactose intolerant. so the man poured tons of milks all over the cake and evil cackled. then he cozied up with his cake and relished in its luxuriously oozing sponge. his friend grumbled around the room eating soy cuties. the end. 

a tres leches fable, with no true moral to walk away with. except that pouring milk onto your cake will make your day much, much better. 

tres leches is the yummiest giant wet sponge ever. first you bake up a sponge cake. it puffs up in the oven a whole bunch and then shrinks when it cools. neato. once its cool you mix up all kinds of dairy and watch the cake slurp them all in. i topped it with some fresh raspberry whipped cream. its amazing. EVIL CACKLE!

Tres Leches Cake + Raspberry Whipped Cream
from the one and only

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

preheat the oven to 350. grease a 9x13 pan really well. combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a big bowl. beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar at high speed until pale yellow. stir in the milk and vanilla. pour over the flour mixture and stir gently til combined. in another bowl beat the egg whites til soft peaks form. with the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and keep beating until stiff. fold egg whites into batter and spread into pan. bake for 35-45 minutes. turn out onto a larger rimmed platter and let cool. combine the 3 milks in a pitcher. pierce cake with a fork and pour all but 1 cup of the milk mixture onto the cake. let the cake absorb the milks for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Raspberry Whipped Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners suger
a splash of vanilla
1 container of raspberries

beat cream with the sugar and vanilla until it becomes lovely whipped cream. mash the raspberries to a pulp with a fork. fold the raspberries into the cream. slather it on there real good.

good morning

it's saturday. finally. stay in bed. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

buttermilk love

i feel like it is racing me. finishing an entire carton is a small victory.
today i want victory. buttermilk cookies.

they're easy. they're light . they're cute. they're pretty popular.

edna lewis is cool. i can get down with her southern style.
i'd like to sit in a rocking chair on a porch with her somewhere and eat these cookies.

the original recipe includes a buttermilk glaze. i made a milky blueberry glaze. a sweet little punch to the delicate cookie. imperfect but dainty.
and pretty addicting. and as she says, easy to wash down with lemonade. it's sunday afternoon right? i think i'll spike mine. cheers, edna

Buttermilk Cookies with Lemon Zest
adapted from Gourmet, 2008 and Edna Lewis

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter some baking sheets or line with parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, zest, and salt. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla. Alternate flour mix and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Drop tablespoons of dough onto sheets and bake 1 sheet at a time for 12-15ish minutes. put on a drying rack to cool.
spoon the glaze on the cooled cookies. anxiously wait for the glaze to firm up a bit.

for the blueberry glaze, pulverize the blueberries in a bowl with a fork.
 then add a bunch of powdered sugar, splash of buttermilk, splash of cream, and touch of vanilla. 
then stir and stir to get the clumps out.
 purple yumness.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

today is such a wednesday

at 7:30 this morning i was driving to the store because we were out of cider vinegar. 
i turned down the music so i could curse to myself.
this morning the bar of soap fell on my head in the shower.
then there was a disgusting spider lurking around my favorite spot 
of the couch so i didn't sit there. 
this is what my brain feels like. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

almond cherry ricotta muffins

pillows could be one of my favorite things. does that sentence sound grammatically off? whatever. this muffin is like eating a pillow. 
go have a pillow fight. with these muffins. throw them at your friend’s face.
because they’re soft and creamy like any pillow that i want to have. 
alert! i thought of something cool. a waterbed but instead of being filled with water it's filled with ricotta. some of you are scoffing, “that couldn't possibly be done...this imbecile online is talking about filling a bed with cheese...refridgeration issses...blah”
go away nay sayers and logical people. right now i just want to think about laying in a squishy ricotta bed. no one can argue that it wouldn’t be ridiculously comfortable. 

maybe ill just fill my comforter with these muffins for now and lay on it.

on second thought, i will not do that because they are way too delicious to squash. how about just eating them like a normal person? cool

sweet cherries + almondy almond + soft ricotta. oh my, these are a dream.
Almond Cherry Ricotta Muffins
adapted from here
this recipe is lovely base for all kinds of variation. orange ricotta and pecan anyone? raspberry hazelnut? oh the possibilities!

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (almond emulsion is the best!) 
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
handful of slivered almonds

preheat your oven to 350. line your muffin tin with liners. mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer til fluffy. Add the egg, ricotta, and extracts. mix well. then mix the wet with the dry ingredients just until combined. fold in the cherries. scoop batter into the muffin tins (yields about 10 muffins) and then sprinkle the tops with more sugar and the almonds. bake for 25ish minutes, test with a toothpick. anxiously await them to cool. 

rollin with the homies

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a kumquat salad

kumquats are just way too much fun. its constantly opposite day for a kumquat. sweet and sour in all the wrong (but so right) places. they are so small and cute and brightly orange and easy to pop in your mouth. and when you slice them thin they make pretty little star frisbees. they’re the coolest.

they went into some arugula and romaine with some avocado, feta, cilantro, and homemade garlic croutons. there is no picture of this salad. it got gobbled up much too fast. but i know you needy people demand visuals so here you go.

mmm opposite day fruit rules. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

a dilemma

because if you're going in the jacuzzi you probably have some snow lying around.

Friday, June 17, 2011

you thief

if i broke into your house, stole your fresh new basket of strawberries, but left this on your doorstep, would you still be pissed at me? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

sweet panzanella

hey. so. i strongly advise you to not throw out that stale bread you have on the counter. i know it’s getting to that point, and you’re inevitably gonna be forced to throw it out. well you shouldn’t.
a summer panzanella is what’s up.

this was just too good. its the most perfect end to a grilled summer meal. out on the deck, with lots of wine. all these stone fruits! they’re everywhere, tempting me with their juicy innards. i can’t keep myself away in the produce section. “what should i make next?” peach ice cream? cherry cornbread? apricot vanilla jam? GAH.

but back to this panzanella. really, this rocks.
slices of stone fruit delight tossed with cubes of sweet toasted spice bread and finished with a dollop of ricotta.
yes. you should.

Sweet Summer Panzanella
inspired by this deliciousness

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
some sea salt
1/3 - 1/2 loaf peach ginger lime bread, cubed
2 ripe peaches
2 ripe apricots
handful of cherries and raspberries

preheat the oven to 350. melt the butter with the sugar and salt over the stove. pour over the bread and gently toss to coat. bake those for 15-25 min until they become big toasty croutons of sweetbread. once they've had some time to cool, slice up the fruit and throw everything together. spoon into dishes, top with ricotta, maybe some nuts, and you've got one kickass bowl. 

Peach Ginger Lime Bread
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

this bread is super yummy all on its own. you might consider doubling and making an extra
 loaf if you are serious about making the panzanella. one might not last through the day. 

3 large eggs
3/4 cup flavorless oil, canola or safflower
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups diced and peeled ripe peaches
handful of chopped toasted pecans
zest of a lime

preheat oven to 350. grease a loaf pan. whisk the eggs and oil together. in another bowl whisk flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. pour the wet ingredients over the dry. mix until just blended. fold in the peaches, nuts, and zest. scrape batter into the loaf pan and bake on an insulated baking sheet for 80 to 90 minutes. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

things to do

things to do:
-remember to put that cream on your face
-figure out what you're gonna do in life
-drop clothes at cleaners
-get the 50 lb watermelon out of your car
-buy more pink lady apples because i have fallen madly in love with them

now here is some bread. i do not care that it is beginning of summer. apples have my heart year round. 

Apple Blackberry Loaves
adapted from here

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups sugar 
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups apples, chopped 
1 cup blackberries
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

preheat the oven to 350 and grease up 2 loaf pans or a bunch of mini loaf pans. grab a bowl. combine the flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. in another large bowl mix the sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture. but don't overmix! no overmixing allowed. then fold in the apples, berries, and nuts. 
Bake for about 40-45 minutes.