Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coming Soon!

Hi Everyone! I've been missing in action in the blogging community for nearly a year now! Where the heck have I been? I have a new blog coming soon....I'll be back with the new link before the new year. All good things to come xoxo

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heavenly Cake Baker: Pumpkin Cake

The past week or two has been kind of a whirlwind. David and I finally bought a car, and we went to pick it up from Jacksonville last weekend. It's a little unconventional, but we bought our new (fabulous and zippy) Honda Fit from a car broker from whom my family has purchased many cars. We had a little trouble finding just the right car in NYC, so we bought one over the phone instead. Woo. I know. It's all been a little stressful, as things like this tend to be--but in all, it's pretty awesome we pulled it off. We made it to JFK with enough time to split a beer (a mandatory airport tradition) and eat a crappy piece of pizza.

We spent the night with my aunt and uncle on Friday night in Jax and with my parents in Charlotte on Saturday. Good grief. My dad's chili THEN his frittata was just enough to make me want to get back in the kitchen immediately. I was only able to make $5 pasta with sauce and ground turkey this week. We were on the "we just bought a car diet." It's all the rage.

I have been in this dreamy NY fog since October. Something about fall just gets me. I've already watched "The Holiday" twice. The part when Cameron Diaz takes off her white coat and reveals her fancy pencil skirt is too fantastic. I know, I'm five. What can I say? I like fancy clothes. Thank the Lord for Beacon's or I would still be wearing khaki capri pants from tenth grade to work.

Anyway, I made this cake last week (so 2000 and late with this post. My apologies), and had to modify the look of it considerably. I didn't want to buy the pans (car diet), and since I started making it at 7 o'clock last Sunday...the frosting was a little too in-depth for me not to screw something up. I was really impressed with the flavor of this cake. Super moist and not too rich--the glaze was to give the texture and sweetness a boost. It's simply white chocolate chips (2 cups) and evaporated milk melted in a saucepan then dripped across the top. This is the perfect cake for breakfast (without the glaze) or with coffee (with).

Next fall I might be a little more ambitious and make the legit pumpkin version, but I think Rose would approve. She notes that you can substitute the pumpkin pan for the bundt pan.

I'm off to a yoga retreat in Monroe, NY this weekend! Not sure what to expect since it's my first time doing a retreat like this...but there is mention of a "fireside gathering." Something totally new and different!

Thanksgiving recipes to come. loves.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heavenly Cake Baker: Apple Upside-Down Cake

Monday, Monday. We didn't end up going apple-picking this weekend, but instead had no plans. No plans is...a-mazing. As a result, I spent Sunday baking and officially started the bake-through for Rose's Heavenly Cakes yesterday.  

It's on. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cape Codder

I'm not even going to comment on the fact that for most of the summer, I haven't said much. I have been more inspired than ever before. I just haven't been writing about it. BUT Ta-da! I'm back.

The R train is a creepy train. No way around that.

I rode it home last night (as it's the train that takes me to Union street) after I had drinks at the St. Regis Hotel with my friend/co-worker, Adrienne. I ordered a vodka cranberry and didn't say "what's your cheapest vodka?" mainly because I was in a hotel bar...in Manhattan, and it's all expensive.

It was $17.

Our server kept re-filling our wasabi peanuts/peanut mix/pillow pretzel trio every time it was about halfway gone, and after about the fourth refill--it was just downright embarrassing. I wanted to say, "For God sakes! If you refill it, we will just keep eating!"

We ended up at the St. Regis because I had dragged poor Adrienne to Ruth Reichl's book-signing at the Columbus Circle Williams-Sonoma. I walked in and promptly wanted to leave. As much as I want to love book-signings, they only seem to make me overheat (as one is wont to do in a crowd) and say ridiculous things to famous authors who will (obviously, though I really want them to) never remember me.

I admit it. I didn't end up buying Gourmet Today...even though I really wanted to go up to Ruth and say something silly (something intelligent would be too much to ask) like, "You're fabulous!!" like I did to Ina Garten at Crate & Barrel last fall...all the while, I'm wiping sweat off my lip with one hand and balancing a mini red velvet cupcake in another. There was a line of 30 people? 50 people? I only got a glimpse of fabulous Ruth (certainly not enough time to talk about her stint at the commune), and Adrienne and I instead decided on drinks at the Mandarin Oriental (it was just so close!). There weren't any seats available by the windows (pfft. We would only pay for expensive drinks if we were going to be by the view), so we hoofed it back to the St. Regis, and ta-da. Adrienne (who obviously knows her classy hotel bars) and I found ourselves sipping $17 cocktails on a Tuesday.


I spent the train ride home reading The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base, which I had purchased earlier to send to Jamison for his first birthday (which is today!!!).

Tuesday, success and the usual blunders.

To hear more about the Gourmet Today and Ruth Reichl's take on the food movement, you can listen to her September 22nd interview on WNYC-The Leonard Lopate Show here.

In the meantime, I'm going to get back on track with TuesdayswithDorie. Get excited about the bake-along announcement for Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recipe: Traditional Pesto

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried Salt 1/2 clove garlic, peeled, or more to taste 2 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as desired 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, pecorino Romano, or other hard cheese (optional)

1. Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture.

2. Store in the refrigerator for a week or two or in the freezer for several months. Stir in the cheese by hand just before serving.

Credit: How to Cook Everything 2e; Mark Bittman; Wiley 2008

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD: Vanilla Ice Cream & Recipe: Dump-it-In Peach Cobbler

When I was riding the train home tonight I noticed it smelled kind of like a hotel. Bizarre. For a few brief moments, I pretended like I was in the fanciest hotel ordering room service. The D train screeched into Atantic/Pacific street station...and I remembered I had something special waiting for me in the fridge. Not room service...but really though, there is no better comfort dessert than this peach cobbler. My mom always made it when my sister and I were growing-up, and it's the perfect dish for summer. The recipe from Tuesdays with Dorie this week was picked by CafeLynnylu, and it was a natural companion to the cobbler.

You can't imagine what running an oven in an air condition-less apartment will do to the temperature, but let's just say I was sweating...

Dump-it-in Peach Cobbler
1 stick unsalted butter
1C sugar
1C self-rising flour
1C milk 
1 large can of peaches (syrup drained)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using a small-medium baking dish (I use my square Pyrex), place the butter in the dish and put it in the oven. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, milk and self-rising flour (must be self-rising).  Pull the dish with the melted butter out of the oven, and pour in the flour mixture. DO NOT stir.  Pour drained peaches on top. Bake for 60 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
CREDIT:  The Small World of Cooking (Favorite Recipes Press 1984)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TWD: The Perfect Party Cake

Ta-da. My first recipe with Tuesdays with Dorie. I will be posting about a recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours twice a month with several other baking enthusiasts who also have blogs. It's a nifty idea, and I'm happy to be baking something new and different this often. This week's recipe, Perfect Party Cake was chosen by Carol from mix, mix...stir, stir.

Finally, it was a sunny weekend in Brooklyn. David and I spent it at a pub crawl in Carroll Gardens, doing laundry (joy), and buying delicious food. We bought some homemade pickles and thai-flavored cashews while we waited for our clothes to shrink...I mean, dry. I was just getting ready to make the Perfect Party Cake when I realized my other 9x2 inch cake pan was missing. Sigh. It's been missing since Anne Marie and I made Valentine's brownies in it....over two years ago. Apparently, it's been that long since I made a cake. Welcome back to cake-baking, Jana. Why, thank you.

I have a fear of egg whites. It all goes back to the time I made Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything for pancakes that called for egg whites, and instead of them turning out super fluffy, they were super flat.

Don't mess with a girl's breakfast. (not Bittman's fault, my own)

Anyway, I may have overcome my fear of egg whites (I'm at least on the road to recovery). This recipe called for me to use a double boiler to melt sugar and egg whites to create a meringue and after some agonizing whisking (David had to relieve me at some point), I had created a solid. woo woo.

I have no idea how David and I are going to eat all of this cake, but I'm sure we will manage somehow. Off to Oregon to see David's family this weekend...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

October in June, mostly an update

It feels like October in New York right now. blegh. It has rained for countless days, and I would like to shed my pashminas and cardigans for Coronas at Coney Island and drippy ice cream cones. Thank you very much.

Possible part-time job may be another freelance job, but I need to put a proposal together before it's a go. Lots of details to be ironed out, but if that doesn't pan out...I may be behind a coffee counter again. woo.

Just signed up for Tuesdays with Dorie, (I think? but I think it will take a bit to get added to the blog roll), so I will be baking recipes from her book as well starting next week.

Finally joined a book club, and we had our first meeting at Elsa's last Friday after reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Highly recommend this book; I couldn't put it down. I'm just about to finish Empire Falls by Richard Russo, and I recently read his latest, Bridge of Sighs. Love his style so -- his books are like wrapping your hands around a warm cup of coffee. 

June has been a bit of a blur so far. David and I were in New Orleans the 4th - 7th for Johanna's wedding, which ended up being a fantastic weekend. My parents were there as well, since the Hills are our oldest family friends. We met when my family and I lived in Baton Rouge when I was little, and we continued to stay close friends even after my family and I moved to Chicago, then to Charlotte. Johanna, Miss Karen and my mother and I would meet in Florida when we were visiting our grandmothers a couple of times and year, and when Johanna graduated from college she came to visit me in England (where I was studying abroad at the time). At that point, we hadn't since each other since we were 16, but we didn't miss a beat.

I feel truly lucky that she and I are still close friends, and it's crazy to think I was just a bridesmaid in her wedding. I feel like we were just six, with messy ponytails and smocked dresses.

Here is a recipe from the bridal brunch, which was held at Brennan's. mmm. I love New Orleans.

Brennan's Bananas Foster

1/4 cup (1/2 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
4 bananas cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1/4 cup dark rum
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambe pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan, and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon the warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. 
CREDIT: This recipe was reprinted from the Brennan's website.