my mood was not the greatest this morning. for no reason at all really. i was just being a grump.
sorry people that i encountered this morning.
but not to worry, self. there are a few things that will always put a little pep in my step.
uno.. coffee. in my favorite weird mug. and sticking my face in the bag of coffee beans. mmm they smell like magic.
next. go to office depot and buy some new pens. oh my god yes. having new pens is an incredible feeling.
all i want to do is write all day with this new pen in my hand.
3. strawberries. still sweet.
4. plan out a fake dream life where i drive an old vw bus and run an underground cheese operation.
5. cream cheese frosting. lots of it.
now combine numbers 3 and 5...with cake. next, break into your friend's house and leave it on her kitchen counter when she isn't home.
make sure her rascal of a cat bones doesn't get it it before she does. i'd like to personally thank bones for not massacring the cake. i appreciate that bonesy boy, i could see you eyeing it..but you kept away. well played. 10 cat points for you.
and now, sweet success, my mood has lifted.
you would totally want to encounter me now. i'm holding a new pen and have leftover cream cheese frosting in the fridge.
i'd be a joy to hang out with. seriously, come over. we could dance together, be upbeat, eat spoonfuls of frosting, watch the youtube.
now as for this cake. this is messy. indulgent. good eatin.
3 layers of lemon yogurt cake. each layer soaked in lemon syrup. + 3 layers of cream cheese frosting + strawberries.
this equation equals do it.
i'm gonna wrap this up...if you wake up tomorrow in a funk...maybe you should smell some coffee beans, make cake, and buy some pens.
and finally, to my darling marvelous bestest friend ever, i hope you liked your cake. happy birthday to the both of us.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
from Barefoot Contessa at Home
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from those 2 lemons)
preheat the oven to 350. grease an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan. line the bottom with parchment paper. grease and flour the pan.
sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. in another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet. with a rubber spatula, fold in the vegetable oil. pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
beat the cream cheese with the butter in an electric mixer til smooth. beat in the vanilla and sugar. you can taste and adjust the sugar to your liking.
Chop up about 2 cups of strawberries. mix with juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon or two of sugar.
to assemble: slice the loaf into two or three layers, whatever you prefer. brush each layer with the lemon syrup and let it soak into the cake. place bottom layer on plate. spread with a layer of cream cheese frosting. then a layer of berries. continue until it's all stacked up into a beautiful mess.
you are injuring me when you use that metal scrape tool. i hate it.
my eyes are watering, can't you see that?
i just want to be out of this chair and go to the movies.
you better not tell me i have to stop eating marshmallows and sweet things.
because sorry...no can do.
i realized that i haven't made a pie all summer long. zero pies. with all the sweet berries and rhubarb and peaches..
i got sad thinking about it and then, wait, plums! they're still here, all kinds of them! i can't even believe how many pluots exist these days.
can you imagine betty draper making a pie with pluots? no, no you can't.
but i WILL. because here in the future, there are 10 different kinds of a half plum-half-apricot. and because they're all over the market and perfect tasting.
i know that they won't be for long. so i had no choice but to make this neato little pie right away.
they are funky. no two galettes look the same. they are the snowflakes of the pie world.
these plums were so dang good it would have been impossible to screw up.
i wanted to make some kind of cornbread with plums at first. but no, absolutely not. i had to make pie. so i combined the two, a plum/pluot/whatever galette with a cornmeal crust..................................woot! good decisions.
ooo yes. buttery crunchy cornmealy crust.
there. a pie is made. and now all i want to do is make and devour more pies. fall pies! muahaha
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
5-6 pluots or plums, pitted and sliced (1/4 inch)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
zest of a lemon
1 egg + tbsp water
for the crust: whisk flour, cornmeal, and salt in a small bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl to blend. Beat in egg yolks. Then add dry ingredients and beat just until blended. divide dough in half and flatten into disks. wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to 1 day. (let the dough soften at room temperature a bit before using)
Toss pluot slices with the 3 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp flour, and lemon zest.
roll each disk of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a round, about 1/4 inch thickness. transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and arrange fruit slices on the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. fold and pleat the edge of dough over the fruit. refrigerate for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 350.
beat the egg with water to make an egg wash. brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle the galette with raw sugar. bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about an hour.
ahoy there! i interrupt all this junk in politics going on right now because this cannot wait any longer.
it includes goat cheese.
this lovely specimen begins with a moist dough. we're breaking out two flours, spelt and all-purpose. it's time to get down with ancient grains. spelt flour is light and nutty and good for our bods.
and look! the spelt gives it a nice light orange color. i like it. it's easing my transition into fall.
ok now add some poppy seeds. things are always more exciting when they have poppy seeds in them.
do you want an orange muffin? ehh..yea sure. do you want an orange poppyseed muffin? oh damn straight
next. the toppings.
lemons sitting in the fruit basket have found their place in this world. thinly sliced and caramelized. a good crumble of goat cheese. a sprinkling of rosemary, coarse salt, and raw sugar. one more glug of olive oil.
salty and sweet. tart and bright. like sunshine would taste if it had goat cheese on it.
i have struck lemon focaccia gold. i hope italians aren't mad.
Poppyseed Focaccia with Lemon and Goat Cheese
base focaccia recipe adapted from Good to the Grain by the phenomenal Kim Boyce
1 package active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 lemons, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
lightly rub a large bowl with olive oil. add 1 1/4 cups warm water, the yeast, and sugar to another large bowl. stir, and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes, until it begins to bubble. add the flours, poppy seeds, salt, and 2 tbsps olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead together, adding up to 12 cup of all-purpose flour to the dough as necessary to keep it from sticking. knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it is supple and elastic.
for the first rise, put the dough into the oiled bowl, turning it so that the top is coated with oil. cover with a towel and leave for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
generously oil a baking sheet or two. you can either leave it whole to make a full rectangular baking sheet sized focaccia. or you can divide the dough to make two or three smaller sized breads. i made two good sized rounds.
place each piece of dough onto the oiled baking sheet and stretch it out with your hands. dimple it with your fingertips. cover with a towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 hour.
position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400. after the dough has completed its second rise and puffed up on the sheet, top them with 1/4 cup olive oil, making sure that the top and sides are coated. arrange the lemon slices. scatter the rosemary and goat cheese. lastly, give a good sprinkle of coarse salt and raw sugar.
bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. allow the bread to cool slightly in the pan before serving.
it's best served still warm the day that its baked.
i cannot be classified as either a cookie or brownie prefer-ist. how could i possibly be silly enough to choose something like that?
as for right now.. chocolate chip cookies, you better run far away, i have no interest in you at this time.
<run to my bedroom if you want, i'll most likely want you tomorrow>
i'm on a serious mission to have a brownie in front of me.
brownies are pretty normal, but they can be completely elegant, darling.
can't you picture the countess eating a small square? oh darling, you must detect the complex flavors here, the cherries are just to die. are you paying attention to what i'm saying about these brownies, darlings? really do listen to me darlings, take notes even. elegance is learned.
alright so phase one. intense brownie craving. phase two. metaphase. or go to the kitchen and make those brownies. and put cherries in them because why the heck wouldn't you?
phase three. bask in brownie glory. then push them on people because if you don't, it is bad news for you and your stomach and your thighs.
the cherries completely become one with the batter and each bite is a marvel. (marvelous!)
nothing cakey. nothing stupid.
do you still see cherries at your market? quick go!
Roasted Cherry Brownies
recipe barely adapted from this splendid blog here
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tbsp sugar
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tbsp plugra or european butter, unsalted, cut into chunks
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
preheat the oven to 450. combine the cherries and 1 tbsp sugar in a small roasting pan and toss well. roast the cherries for about 10 minutes, until they release their juices. take the cherries out to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 350.
line a 9x9 inch baking pan with foil and grease.
in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth. whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. set aside to cool.
in a medium bowl, combine the eggs, remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt, whisk until combined. then whisk in the warm chocolate mixture. stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. fold in the roasted cherries. pour the batter into the pan and bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few sticky crumbs, about 35 minutes. transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours.
as these sit they'll just get fudgier and more full of flavors, so by all means make them the night before.
this glorious grain has been getting more and more well-deserved hype. if you haven't yet, i fully encourage joining the farro cult.
come hang, we're cool...in a we-love-chewy-grains kinda way.
this farro salad is a beautiful thing. there are many of things going on, but everything works.. and lives together in peaceful harmony.
i can only think of a few things i don't want to eat with farro.
1. mayonnaise. no, i don't want that.
2. soft serve. sorry, you know i love you soft serve. but not this time.
3. cantaloupe. i hate you. stay away from my farro and my life.
and pretty much everything else i would want to eat with farro.
wanna know what's in the salad? there's a bunch.
yellow split peas
roasted cherry tomatoes and green onions
then it all gets tossed together with an orange parmesan vinaigrette.
it's tangy and crunchy and salty and earthy. it has a full hearty chew, but it's still light and feels good to eat. it can be lunch or dinner, snack or side.
and the best part is that i take take it with me through every season. i imagine using roasted squash and sage and apples in the fall. roasted brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, and goat cheese in the winter. throwing in black beans and chiles for some heat.
it's impossibly versatile and balls to the walls delicious, every time.
you'll make it and it will sit out in its bowl and you will take spoonfuls of it every time you walk by. and you'll scoop yourself seconds, even thirds during dinner.
then dinner seems to be ending and...hang on, i'm not ready for dessert yet, i'm happy just eating more of this.
i continued to tell myself that up until these came around.
alas, patience is a virtue and those are for another time...we should focus on the task at hand, which is:
this farro salad is stupendous and i want you to make it soon. please. i know you'll be quite pleased with yourself and maybe come to trust me a little more. and you know all good relationships are built on trust.
i adapted this salad from the incroyable heidi swanson. she is a wealth of inspiration and total badass.
2 pints mixed cherry tomatoes, halved or kept whole
1/2 bunch green onions
1 bulb fennel, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
a few big handfuls of arugula
1/2 cup feta
1 large orange
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup parmesan, finely grated
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
preheat the oven to 325. arrange the tomatoes, green onions, and fennel in two large baking dishes. generously drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. roast for about an hour.
to cook farro: place farro in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and cover with a couple inches of water and salt generously. cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour. taste as it cooks, you want the farro to be a little chewy and retain structure. remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.
to cook dried yellow split peas: bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. add 3/4 cup dried yellow split peas and cook for 20-30 minutes, until tender. drain, salt, and set aside.
to make orange parmesan vinaigrette: whisk together the zest and juice of the orange, the minced shallot, parmesan cheese, vinegar, and olive oil. salt to taste.
in a large bowl (very large people), toss the farro, split peas, peas, onion, and corn with the vinaigrette. get everything well coated. add in the roasted tomatoes, onions, and fennel, the cilantro, and arugula. gently toss everything together. taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. crumble the feta over the whole beautiful mess and serve.
i labored over tons of separate pots over the stove. i liked it, but still, some might consider that labor. then later i labored cleaning all those separate pots one by one when all i wanted to do was lay in my bed and watch something mindless. it might or might not have been bachelor pad.
the batter is not too sweet and full of wonderful banana flavor. coconut adds spunk and that delightful chew. they look nice and scrappy and welcoming. they taste like wonderful things taste. and their densely plump crumb would make any muffin enthusiast beam.
and you'll get streusel fingers. when the buttery coconutty streusel cakes onto your fingertips as you crumble it over the batter and you get to lick it off, finger by finger.
major life bonus.
today you should take the time to get a muffin and share it with someone you like.
i said share, not bicker about who's getting more of the muffin top.
or better yet, whip up a batch of these and you can each have like 4 muffins.
go crazy, it's friday.
if you have a bestie and it's her day of birth, she probably wants muffins. make them for her. if she lives in new york and you do not, stick a candle in one, take a picture and send it to her.
i ate your birthday muffin aviva. if you were here, i'd be the best muffin top sharer this land has ever seen. maybe even let you have the whole thing...the whole batch!
then i'd let you beat me at bananagrams and we'd behave like monkeys.
1/2 cup dry grated unsweetened coconut (can use sweetened if that's all you have)
2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt, plus a pinch for the streusel
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, sliced
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup neutral oil, preferably safflower or grapeseed
3/4 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 2 small bananas)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature
preheat oven to 350. lightly grease and flour cups of a standard muffin tin, or use paper muffin cups.
for the streusel, in a bowl stir together the coconut, brown sugar, 2 tbsp of flour, and a pinch of salt. add the butter and rub the mixture together with your fingertips until you have large crumbles. set aside.
in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining cup of flour, the sugar, baking powder, and the remaining 1/8 tsp salt. in another small bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup of oil with the mashed bananas, milk/buttermilk, vanilla, and egg until they are well combined. add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared muffin cups halfway. top the muffins with streusel, dividing the streusel evenly among the muffins. bake on the center rack until they rise and are golden and bounce back when pressed, about 30 minutes. let cool in the tin for 15 minutes and serve warm. the leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in foil and kept in the refrigerator and then re-warmed in the oven before serving.