Comfort / Food

Month: September, 2014

Welcome, Fall

a few favorites from around the web

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wonderful recipe of the week: Sept 22

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At LEAST once a week, I come across a recipe that I can’t wait to make. I’m usually good at bookmarking these recipes somehow (pinterest? email it to myself? Leave the tab open for 2+ weeks?) but oftentimes they fall by the wayside and I forget exactly why they appealed to me.

So, instead, I’ve decided to keep track here. Wonderful recipe of the week! Bam.

First up: Stracciatella Soup, from Shutterbean. I ate a variation of this soup once (no spinach, 5x as much cheese) outside of Rome and I adored it. Here it is again! So easy! So comforting! In Italy, they served it with a piece of toasted bread at the bottom of the bowl.  You pour the hot soup over it and it softens up, but stays totally chewy and satisfying.

10 minute comfort dinner. Thanks, Shutterbean!

blueberry cake, or, I don’t like streusel

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Hello! A few weeks ago I made a blueberry cake. More specifically, I riffed off this recipe by SK. It was about 90 degrees out, the water main on our street was broken (those dishes sat in the sink for a loooong time), and I was looking for any excuse to distract myself. Logical answer: turn on the oven and make your apartment 5x more humid and twice as hot.

I’m posting this recipe because I didn’t like it. That’s a good thing to keep track of, right? Deb has never let me down before! But really, I was not into this cake. I thought I would love it. But instead of curing my frustrated, antsy feeling, it only exacerbated it! Why?? How can ANY dessert make me feel worse? My friends all liked it! We came home late that night and devoured the whole thing. But still, I wasn’t sold. The crumb was moist, yeah, yeah, the crazy amount of blueberries made it deliciously tart…but it still didn’t do it for me. Why?

Suddenly, a revelation: I don’t like streusel! Crazy, right? It’s buttery, sugary, a welcome variation in texture. But still, not interested.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t make this cake. Next time, however, I will make my own topping, or get rid of it completely. If I wanted to change it up, I might add in a bunch of oats, lots of pecans, use brown sugar, maybe cut back on the butter….

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Here’s the variation that I made a few weeks ago.

CAKE:

2 c white-whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
3/4 c. white sugar
zest from 1 lemon + 2 tbsp juice
1 pint blueberries
1/2 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. chopped pecans

(STREUSEL, if you want: same as Deb’s. 5 tbsp flour (I used whole-wheat), 1/2 c. white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 4 tbsp unsalted butter, pinch of salt.)

FUTURE “STREUSEL”: Mix 3 tbsp. oats with 2 tbsp. whole wheat or almond flour, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1/4 c. chopped pecans, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and 3 tbsp (maybe 4? depends on how wet it is) butter.

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 8.5″ springform pan (or 9″ cake pan, but cake will not rise as high.) Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter, sugar, and zest until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix until combined. Add 1/2 dry mixture into the wet mixture, then add 1/4 c. of the milk. Add blueberries. Add remaining amount of dry ingredients and other 1/4 c. of milk–  mix just until it comes together. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top.

Some day soon I will try my new “streusel” and see how it works. Mix all the ingredients together, top the cake.

Check at 35 min, but might take as long as 50 (mine did.)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetJust in case you’re wondering, I am a great roommate.

Reading

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“It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing”

Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Late Summer

Some photos from this month and last. Late summer is my favorite season.

In August, I came upon this seagull shed built by my grandfather.

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That same week, I made a blueberry pecan cake and decided that I’m not crazy about streusel topping (what? I know.)

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Dad decided to build some steps. He found a tree, planed the wood, and put it all together.

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We threw a party for my (very vivacious) 90-year-old grandmother.

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Finally, a picture that feels like late August. I think autumn crept up on us right as I took this photo.

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I like this chick: Joy the Baker

Do you love Joy? I love Joy. How could you not? Her posts are always honest, straightforward, and filled with treats I want to make. She has a new series — ‘Let it be Sunday’ — that highlights important issues (food-related, yes, but also political) from the last week with links to articles she recommends. She’s partnered up with King Arthur Flour for the ‘Baking Bootcamp’ series (the first challenge, back in May, had readers making a cinnamon-swirled, berry-filled, yeasted bread) and I think her focus on community and reader inclusion is fantastic. You know how some bloggers will go through periods where they just strike a chord with you? Where every recipe is something you want to eat, right now, no matter the time of day? That’s how I feel about Joy the Baker at the moment.

A few favorite recent recipes:

Weeknight Cobbler for Two. Efficiency, berries, and crumble topping all rolled into one.

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Oatmeal Cookie Granola. To me, this says: yes. Maple syrup? Yes. Coconut oil? Yes. Brown Sugar? Pecans? Yes yes.

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Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins.  All the fall spices you could possibly want rolled into a healthful muffin. No pumpkin yet!! Come on, guys.

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Apple Pie Biscuits. These are comforting. It’s like they’re saying: fall is coming. It will be delicious. Don’t worry.

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from ‘letters to a young poet’

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“Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong simple ‘I must,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even down to its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”

Rilke. Kind of an intense guy, but he’s not wrong.

Today

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A lot of things are in motion at the moment, and it can be tough to stay grounded when changes buffet you around and knock you off your feet. For me, it’s important to remember the moments that I relish during my day: the seemingly insignificant rituals that keep me happy. Eating breakfast alone– that’s one. Reading on top of the covers before bed– that’s another. And more sporadic moments, too, like zucchini bread in the afternoon in the midst of a summer storm. A friend told me recently that she loves taking long walks alone. Another loves showering by herself in the morning. Still another likes buying flowers and arranging them. I love opening a fresh new book on a cool afternoon, running alone in the evenings (not too far, of course), and reading magazines in a favorite cafe with two shots of espresso over ice. I also like sitting alone and hammering out pieces of silver for jewelry.

photo from local milk, a wonderful collection of recipes and photographs.

I’m back!

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Here’s something fun: a map of the US that assigns different desserts to each state. Some of them are pretty obvious (duh, Boston Cream Pie) but a few were new to me. Kuchen? Kringle? Krumkake? I think I need to get out to the Midwest more often…

See Slate’s interactive map here.