Category: Uncategorized

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Last year, I went to Costco and saw they were selling 3 packs of giant cans of pumpkin puree for $2! It was the end of the holiday season, so they were trying to get it off the floor (I mean, how much pumpkin does one need for everyday life?).

I bought 3 packs.

So you can see how I’m excited that it’s pumpkin season again. Now I can pull them out of the stockpile cabinet (it holds very large bags of chocolate chips, boxes of cereal, cans of beans etc.) and internally gloat when I walk past little cans of pumpkin puree on sale for $2 in the store.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Anyways, I made this cake for our friend, Charise’s, birthday. The cake is something I adapted a while ago and is on the sweeter side. I didn’t want to have too much icing to cake ratio so I opted to make it a bundt cake. (Plus layer cakes always go wrong for me somehow) This was also an excuse for me to use my newly purchased bundt pan!

This cake is very moist, thanks to the pumpkin, but is still pretty light. The brown butter maple glaze is a nice touch but it can get overwhelming if there’s too much. Last time I made it more like a frosting but everyone ended up scraping most of the frosting off.

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 warm (110 F)  milk (I prefer whole)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Prehead oven to 350 F and move rack to the center position.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add pumpkin puree. Slowly pour in milk. Add vanilla.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together.
  4. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into the wet. I usually do it in 4 batches to make sure the stand mixer doesn’t spew the flour everywhere.
  5. Grease the bundt pan. Pour batter into pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to make sure there are no air bubbles and that the batter gets into all those crevasses. (If your bundt pan is fancy and intricate, you might have to do this a couple times to ensure that the design comes out perfectly)
  6. Bake until a toothpick or knife comes out cleanly

Brown Butter Maple Glaze

3 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
splash of milk
salt to taste

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Wait until the butter turns brown and toasty.
  2. Add in maple syrup and whisk.
  3. Add confectioners sugar and keep whisking!
  4. Add milk just so the glaze loosens up and you can easily pour it over the cake.
  5. The glaze will thicken as it cools so try to get it on the cake when it’s runny enough to pour, but thick enough to stick to the cake.
  6. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.

And if you’re in the market for a bundt pan, make sure you take a look at all the options! I recently flipped through the fall Williams & Sonoma cataloge and immediately regretted my traditional bundt pan purchase after seeing all the beautiful shapes and designs they make!  Here are just some of my favorites. But be careful, the fancier and more delicate the design, the more risk you take when taking the cake out. Just be sure to generous with the cooking spray or butter!

Bundt Cakes

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Why I Like to Stay In

I’m sure that my friends will be the first to tell you I’d prefer to stay in on weekends. Sometimes I’m the party pooper, but honestly, I don’t care. I’d much rather wear sweatpants or PJs and hang out at home than bar hop and dance the night away. This is further proof that I am already an old lady.

In an attempt to lure friends into staying at home with me, I’ve tried to make nicer at home dinners. Because no one said that fancy dinner have to be at restaurants and cost you lots of money. I’ve also been disappointed and underwhelmed when I go out to restaurants, usually leaving dejected after I pay the bill and fork over an extra 15-20% tip. I find that I don’t make enough money (maybe I won’t ever) to feel good about dropping  more than $20 for a meal. Even when it’s a special occasion, I can’t get that nagging voice out of my head that’s calculated how much the at-cost price is for my meal. Ex: “You could probably buy 10 pounds of Prince Edward Island Mussels for the price of that 12 mussel appetizer!” (Read: I’m thrifty and I can’t turn it off) I know, weird. But it’s something I’m trying to reconcile as I know eating good food at good restaurants is one sure way to improve my own cooking.

But maybe the main reason I feel strange going to restaurants, is that I’m more excited about the prospect of cooking it at home myself. So here’s a recreation of something the BF and I had at one of our limited fine dining experiences.

Buttery bi-valves and crusty bread for under $20 for two while wearing stretchy pants? Sounds like a deal to me.

mussels

Olive Bread

Put An Egg On It!

I’ve gotten to that point where I’m too lazy to get up early enough to snag the choicest produce from the farmers market but am also holding out for a big Costco run this weekend (more samples on the weekend!) So all that’s left in the fridge is leftover ice-cream cake, a bunch of overripe bananas (summer woes), and a zucchini. What to do? Of course, we’ve all committed the culinarily dangerous exploration of “everything-thats-left-with-some-kind-of-starch,” hoping for something bearable that will tide us over till tomorrow, but I won’t be easily satisfied today. I’m going to put a deliciously runny egg (or two) on whatever I scrounge up. Basically this post is “anything + runny egg = delicious.”

egg dyptich

It’s days like these where I remember that I have familial high cholesterol but partially disregard my doctors advice because I regularly exercise, although I did skip Spin today for other reasons. Anyways, I feel like I deserve an egg yolk if I want one. I’ve been denied many a yolk in my childhood.

This leads me to my next question, how am I  going to prepare said egg? Poach? Soft boil? Or the every reliable fry method? Either way it’ll be the sauce that masks the true desperation in my dinner. But here’s a handy guide for every possible way to prepare an egg, you know, in case you end up on MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay is testing your culinary expertise.

And to all those who won’t eat runny yolks, give them a try!

Sunday Brunch Frittata

I don’t like going out for brunch. I feel like it’s usually a rip off. “Oh, you want a slice of toast? That’ll be $2.50 please.” What? I can have a whole loaf of bread for that price. It’s something about paying for eggs, pancakes, fruit, or oatmeal that doesn’t sit right with me. So instead of going out with friends for brunch, I’ve started asking people to come over instead.

fritta dyptich

Frittatas are perfect because you don’t need a lot of special ingredients to whip one up. You’ve probably got at least 6 eggs, random veggies, leftover meats, and cheese, right? Well that’s all you need. Any combination of meats, cheese and vegetables will work out. For this permutation, I used asparagus, mushrooms and goat cheese. But I’m pretty sure any combination you can whip up will be delicious. Use the handy chart below to make your own perfect creation!

Just saute the veggies and meats until nice and brown in a stainless steel or ovensafe skillet and pour in the whisked eggs. If you’re feeling really fancy, add a little bit of cream  to the eggs while you whisk them to make them extra fluffy. I usually just use 1% milk and it works perfectly fine. Cook on the stovetop until the bottom and edges are slightly set. Grate on your cheese or strategically place little spoonfuls in the frittata. Pop the skillet under the broiler until completely set.

So go ahead, skip the hour long wait at that trendy, overpriced weekend brunch spot and whip up your own. Frittst

Cranberry Orange Walnut Powerbars

Cookies for breakfast? Why yes indeed- I mean, they’re not really cookies. Midterm in 45 minutes? That’s OK too. Just bake for 12 minutes! I’m going to take a couple of these with me to class.

Powerbars_tower

 

I didn’t feel like eating oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or and egg sandwich this morning. I pulled out this cookie dough from the freezer and turned on the oven (to also warm up the apartment). The actual dough was made last week, but it freezes so well, I do a double batch and keep half for another day. Just take a large piece of parchment paper and plop down the dough towards the bottom edge to form a log. You can then slowly roll and tuck the dough into a perfect cylinder by tightly rolling and them twisting the ends shut.

Just slice into half inch discs and bake at 350 until golden on the edges.

Recipe adapted from Deb Perlman. Just replace half the butter with mashed up overripe bananas, use crasins instead of raisins, use roasted chopped almonds instead of walnuts, and most importantly, zest in a whole orange!

Food as Fine Art

Midterm week. It’s a bit crazy and I feel bad that the posts and infographics have been slow.

But here are some new dishes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art have added to the menu, along with their famous Mondrian cake!

url

 

Now you can go to the SFMOMA’s Blue Bottle Coffee and enjoy Rothko toast and jams, Judd tomato soup, and Hirst cake. This is an amazing example of food as art and art as food. The line is pretty blurry for me as many qualities, such as proportion, texture, color, and structure, are vital in both food and art. The only thing food is better at is, well, the eating. I’m pretty sure the SFMOMA wouldn’t appreciate you walking up to the Mondrian and taking a giant lick of the canvas.

 

edible_art

 

12

 

You have to be impressed with the people running the cafe. This is impressive stuff, especially considering how complicated and detailed some foods are. I’d like to be friends with them. I wonder how the decide on which works of art to make into food. My suggestion?

 

Georges_Seurat_-_Un_dimanche_apr%C3%A8s-midi_%C3%A0_l%27%C3%8Ele_de_la_Grande_Jatte

 

Seurat. Out of Dippin’ Dots.

 

Jalapeno Andouille Sausage Shrimp & Grits

The internet was on the fritz this last week and I really enjoyed spending a day of my spring break waiting for Charter to come look at the modem between the hours of 12-3. So that’s why there’s a bit of a delay in posts. But fear not, no internet means more food. (This was technically Mondays dinner, but that’s when we were internet-less!)

Grits_Top

This super simple dish was inspired by my recent trip to The Shaved Duck. For some reason, I felt like skipping the BBQ mains and opting for the Shrimp and Grits. It probably had something to do with thefact we stood and waited for a combined 2.5 hours before dinner. (We were getting concert tickets right before waiting in the cramped and drafty bar area.) Either way, I hadn’t had grits before and wanted to give them a try. Now I know I just told you I had never had them before, but I knew something was wrong when I got it.

Yup. This bowl of grits was lumpy. Bleh.

So I set out to make a better one.

Grits_side

Shrimp are annoying you say? Well stayed tuned for an illustration of a useful little tip when it comes to deveining them, but enjoy the pictures for now!