Thursday, July 28, 2011

peanut butter blackberry pavlova meringue stack thing

i'm thankful that i'm allergic to cats instead of peanut butter. my father and kid sister are deathly allergic to peanuts. my dearest mother and i are the chosen ones.
hey mom. what are you doing? eating peanut butter because you can? cool, me too

alright, let's build something. that pretty thing up there that drew you in to begin with. its a peanut butter blackberry pavlova meringue cake stack thing. or a dessert pb&j. it's off the hook. 

first, some blackberries. they're so funky looking. like bugs. delicious plump bugs. or like lots of baby grapes smushed together.

now make meringues. whip up some egg whites and sugar. fold in crunchy peanut butter, milk chocolate, and toasty almonds. 1 1/2 hours in the oven and they'll come out like crisp little cookie pancakes.
side note. make cookie pancakes

sweet. meringues and blackberries. what more could you want? nail polish? fine. in your berries?! greedy beings.

ok now we're gonna whip up some cream and get stackin. 

invite some lovely guests over. act fancy. drink tea with your pinky up. put on a dress. throw in a british accent. now pat yourself on the back, you've just disguised peanut butter and jelly in a dainty china bowl. 

when your guests aren't looking, sneak away, alone, with a spoon and wet naps. take your spoon and whack it. smash it all up into a gorgeous mess. gather giant spoonfuls of nutty meringue, cream, and berriness. shovel into face. 

return to your classy guests and cackle inside as you watch them struggle to eat like ladies. 

Peanut Butter Meringue Stack with Blackberry Compote

Peanut Butter Meringues
adapted from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
3 tbsp salted toasted almonds, chopped
4 oz milk chocolate, chopped

preheat oven to 200. line 2 baking sheets with parchment. combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean, dry bowl. beat at medium-high speed until the egg whites are white (instead of translucent) and hold a soft shape when lifted. continue to beat on high speed, adding sugar a little at a time, taking 2 minutes in all, until the whites are very stiff. dollop peanut butter over the meringue and fold in with spatula. fold in the almonds and chocolate. drop tablespoons or pipe with a piping tip onto cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through. at the end of baking the meringues should be dry and crisp. they can be stored in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks. woohoo!

Blackberry Compote

container of blackberries
a tablespoon or two of sugar
a squeeze of lemon

combine everything in a saucepan over low heat. crush the blackberries with a fork and cook until all the juices release and it becomes saucy and thick. 

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

beat cream with mixer and gradually add in sugar. add vanilla. beat til peaks are stiff but not dry. 

oh and make little sandwiches for yourself with the leftovers

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate Cake + Chai Cream Cheese + Orange Whipped Cream

when you have lovely company you are not supposed to sit in the corner and blog. you are supposed to jump in the ocean and eat delicious meals and go to las vegas and pretend that you are on vacation as well. 
but oh, i've missed you blog! so much that i made a cake for absolutely no reason at all. just to have a cake. i don't know anyone who has a birthday today, but i'd like to. so if it's your birthday then here's to you. i'd like to plate you up a fat slice of this cake and make you wear a sombrero. 

for the rest of you non-birthdayers. come on, do you really need an excuse to eat a cake?

run down:
layers = my favorite chocolate cake. rich and moist for days
innards = chai cream cheese filling
outer = orange whipped cream

i made it mini. you can make it maxi. imagine dipping those chocolate orange slices into a chai latte. and keep thinking about that further and realize that that probably wouldn't be that great at all but this cake totally is and i want you to have it. 

Chocolate Cake with Chai Cream Cheese Filling
and Orange Whipped Cream

Chocolate Layers
barely adapted from gourmet's double chocolate cake

3 ounces good semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract

Chai Cream Cheese Filling

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of cloves
pinch of nutmeg

Orange Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of two oranges

for the cake:
preheat oven to 300. grease pans (2 10-inch round pans or 3 8-inch round pans) and line bottoms with parchment rounds. finely chop chocolate and combine in a bowl with hot coffee. let the mix stand, stir occasionally until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. 
in a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until slightly thickened and lemon colored, about 3 minutes. slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, almond, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. add dry mixture and beat until just combined well. divide batter between pans and bake in the middle of the oven until a tested comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. 
cool layers in pans on racks. run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert. 

for the filling:
beat cream cheese and butter together in an electric mixer until fluffy. beat in sugar, vanilla, and chai spices

for the whipped cream:
beat the cream with the whisk attachment in an electric mixer. after a minute or two add in sugar, vanilla, and zest. beat until stiff peaks form.

to assemble: 
place first layer on cake plate. dollop as much or little chai filling onto the layer and spread just until the edges. i like to stick it in the fridge and let each layer firm up as you build the cake. next layer of cake and filling. fridge. last layer of cake. then crumb coat the outside of the cake with the whipped cream scraping the sides to get all of the crumbs suspended in the cream. refrigerate for 15 minutes and then frost the outside with the remaining whipped cream. decorate and admire what you've created. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

peach blackberry crumble tart

today someone left a peach pit on my car. hmm, curious. while i don't quite appreciate it, i'd much prefer that to trash or beer bottles or a ball of lint.
and at least somebody enjoyed a delicious summer peach.

so all in all, it made me think about peaches. then i made this tart.

the original recipe is from here. because jamie is awesome and her blog is awesome and she makes way cool things.

CUSTARDY GOO. with crunchy cinammony crumbles. 

Peach Blackberry Crumble Tart
the original recipe is from here. because jamie is awesome and her blog is awesome and she makes way cool things. 

for the crust and crumble:
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg and ginger
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces

for filling:
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 peaches
a few handfuls of blackberries

preheat to 350. butter the inside of a springform pan or pie plate. for crust: in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix almond flour, flour, sugars, spices, and salt. incorporate butter on low speed til it comes together. press 3/4 of it into the pan and bake for 10-15 minutes. set aside to cool while you make the filling. 
whisk together the custard ingredients. scatter the fruit in the bottom of the crust and pour over the custard. sprinkle with the reserved crumb topping. bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is set and beginning to brown. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

goat cheese hazelnut drop biscuits

things that are cute:
little pasta
baby feet
striped bikinis
the little spoons they give you to try 10 ice cream flavors before making your selection

i always think bis-cutes when i spell out biscuits. its not a coincidence.
and i get to use eggs to make biscutes! ah, today is good. today is cute.
that biscuit up there is on my knee.
moving on.

BISCUTES. with hazelnuts and cheese from a goat.
dear goats, thank you for your awesome cheese. how do you make it so good? is it all the weird crap you eat like towels and newspaper and radishes?   what a mystery.

if you have any leftover..well first, what's wrong with you?
but really if you do, split it in half. make a little sandwich. a fried egg? avocado? more cheese? leeks and butter???
         food is just too good.

wanna know why i made these? remember that lemon vanilla jam?

things got a little messy. i got jam crazy.

Goat Cheese Hazelnut Drop Biscuits
adapted from the bon appetit cookbook

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup goat cheese, broken into chunks
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted 
1 cup chilled buttermilk
1 large egg

preheat oven to 400. whisk the first 6 ingredients in a big bowl. add butter and rub in with fingertips until the mix resembles coarse meal. add in cheese, run in with fingertips. mix in hazelnuts. whisk buttermilk and egg together in a bowl and then add to flour mix, stirring just until the dough comes together. 
drop 1/3 cup scoops of dough onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. bake until they are beautifully golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

tis the season

summer is nice dammit. summer is good. it makes me feel springy and light. mm barbecue smoke smell. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

lemon vanilla jam

julia. its 2:30 in the morning. you need to wake up in a couple hours. why can't you just shut your eyeballs and drift off to sleep. 

i don't know, i just can't. 
maybe it's because i can't stop thinking about those amazing heels i just bought and how i definitely probably should not have. woops. 
they were screaming at me. i saw them first thing and then they haunted me all day. 
they needed to be bought. by me. 

but alas, now i cannot stop day-dreaming about them when i should be night-dreaming

i made this this morning before i spotted the insomnia causing shoes. 

lemon vanilla jam. 
ooooo man. check out this jam. this jam is definitely my jam. 
orange marmalade is kinda getting old. 
<not really. i love orange marmalade>
but still, make this jam. 

bah bah boo bang bah boo. the beats from my jam (session). 
it's late. i feel weird. 
do you have lemons? thin skinned ones? 
vanilla bean. check
sugar? cool. 
let's make jam. 

Lemon Vanilla Jam
adapted from Falling Cloudberries. its a beaaautiful book of greek family recipes. 
i'm in cookbook love with it. 

6 thin-skinned lemons
5 1/2 cups sugar
a vanilla bean, splitted lengthwise

wash and slice the lemons finely. get out all the seeds. put them in a big pot with 5 cups of water. bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until they're soft. then add sugar and vanilla bean and simmer for another hour. test the consistency by spooning a little into a bowl slide down with a little resistance like jam. spoon into containers. if you aren't canning them up then use the jam within the next week. to vacuum seal, put jars upside down and cover with a dish towel and let completely cool, by then the top should be bubbled out a little and all sealed up. 

eat it with goat cheese. or in little tarts. or on toast with butter. your fingertips. 
grilled brioche with ricotta!...i'm getting ahead of myself. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

neapolitan marble cake

my foot is throbbing. why? because when i was walking out of the bathroom a staple jammed into my heel.
it really hurts.
who on earth in this house is stapling things in the bathroom?
i think i need to go eat some of this cake.

do you like marble cake? yes you do
not the store-bought pre-sliced bundt cakes that always show up at strange family and friend gatherings. no.
neapolitan marble cake.

each layer tastes like its own. sour cream keeps the crumb dense but super moist.
look at these colors. it looks like an ice cream shop and summer.
neapolitan ice cream. awesome
neapolitan marble cake. (!) more awesome.

Neapolitan Marble Cake
adapted from Baked's Marble Bundt Cake

Sour Cream Cake
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, soft, cut into pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
16 oz sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

for chocolate swirl
6 oz dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
1 tsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder

for strawberry swirl
1/2 cup diced strawberries
1 tbsp strawberry preserves
a few drops of pink coloring

make chocolate swirl: in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in microwave, melt the chocolate. when it's completely smooth, add the cocoa powder. remove from heat and set aside. 

preheat oven to 350. spray the inside of a 10 inch bundt pan. sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. scrape down the sides and add the sugar. beat until smooth and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. scrape down bowl and mix. add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. add the dry ingredients in 3 additions. do not overmix! 

pour 1/3 of batter into the chocolate and combine. fold strawberries and preserves into another 1/3 of batter. plop large spoonfuls of 3 batters into pan. then use a butter knife to pull through the layers and make swirls. bake in the center of the oven for about an hour, rotating halfway through. 
let cake cool in the pan for a bit and then invert. 
eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

bundt away little fairies!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

rude mantis.

this prangmantis is getting pretty sick and tired of all this nonsense. it yelled at me for not having an insightful and visually appealing post today. then it punched my ankle and pranged away. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


ketchup cupcakes. i'm going to eat them with hot dogs and eggs. 
that's the grossest thing i've heard all week. 
they're red velvet. i'm bored of red velvet. i needed to say something gross. 

ginger plum applesauce

good morning to you.
it reminds me of being a kid. 
yea that's it. 

this applesauce is dang tasty. 
homemade applesauce > applesauce in those individual plastic containers
put it on grilled things like steak or pork. put it on bread with cheese. make yourself feel fancy in the morning and put it on broiled peaches with a little greek yogurt. or just take spoonfuls every time you walk by the kitchen. 
sauce. saucy. mmmBOP.

Ginger Plum Applesauce
adapted from epicurious

6-7 apples, mix of fuji, granny smith, and pink lady
6-7 plums, red or black
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
small knob of ginger, grated

peel, quarter and seed the apples. pit and quarter the plums. throw everything into a big pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very tender and falling apart, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. if you don't want the plum skins in your sauce, push mixture through a mesh sieve and throw away peels. i didn't mind the soft plum skins so i just mashed it with a potato masher. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

oatmeal cream pies

oatmeal cookies are delicious. you know this. sandwiching them together with a sweet maple-y cream cheese is enough to make me get up and do a little jig around the room. add some dried tart cherries and it might morph into full on river dance. 

these cookies make me feel good about life. i want to go race my dog down the street or climb a tree. which is good. because if i wasn't running around i'd be sitting at home in my favorite part of the couch shoveling more of these dudes in my face. 

i like keeping them in the fridge. the filling firms up and gets cheesecakey. then you can have the most fun tearing off little bites with the perfect cookie to filling ratio. i can't think of anything i'd rather eat right now. back to the fridge!

Oatmeal Cream Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from the Quaker geniuses

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

preheat the oven to 350. whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until creamy. add the eggs and vanilla. mix in the dry ingredients. then stir in the oats, cherries, and pecans. drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets. bake 10-12 minutes til light golden brown. cool on some racks. 

Maple Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tbsps maple syrup

beat the butter til smooth. add the cream cheese and beat til smooth. add sugar and syrup and beat. but not too much! or else it will loose structure and thats no good. 

fill cookies. sandwich together. feast.