Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Simple Bread Ratio And One Of The Many Awesome Uses For It

I know I've recently mentioned by current favorite cooking book Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. Well I've been really trying to perfect some basics lately, (hence the chocolate chip cookies) so I've been making a bunch of different variations on his bread ratio.

(My first- just a basic white bread with a creepy egg wash that resulted in that weird coloring on top. And as you can see- my kneading still needed some work but I managed to do a lot better with that my second time around. Delicious nonetheless.)

It's been awesome to kind of figure this whole thing out and see the improvements as I go and well, I guess if that's what I've been baking then I should be sharing it here, right? right.

Also I really feel like, if you're a baker, or even if you just enjoy making things, then bread is about the most satisfying thing you can make. Especially if you make it right. (Michael Ruhlman says pasta is the biggest joy to work with, but I haven't gotten to that chapter yet.) Now I know this recipe sounds a little complicated but it's really quite easy and it is completely and totally worth it. Plus.. kneading is great fun.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Tell Em" By Surfer Blood (Feels obvious but it's great kneading music. Which is what ya really need here.)

So the important thing to know is that the basic ratio for bread is 5 parts flour to 3 parts water.

And here is what I did with it:

Salted Garlic Boule
Inspired by Ratio


20 oz Bread Flour (about 4 cups - but scales are where its at with this stuff)
12 oz water
2 teaspoons warm water
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast
3 tablespoons (au pif) minced garlic
1 teaspoon or so of honey
extra salt for the top - kosher or pretzel salt would work as well


Put flour into a mixing bowl or stand mixer and add water. Then add the 2 teaspoons of salt and sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water to allow it to dissolve. Stir together by hand until yeast dissovles. Add garlic and honey and continue stirring until dough starts to come together. Transfer to food processor. Pulse in the food processor until dough sticks together more and combines thoroughly.

Flour your kneading surface and turn dough out on it. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (To make sure its kneaded enough you can cut off a piece and stretch it. If you can stretch it until its translucent without tearing it, its ready.

Form dough into a ball and put back in your mixing bowl with a little bit of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until it double in size. (You should be able to poke a finger into it without it springing back)

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead to expel excess gas and redistribute the yeast. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Shape dough into a boule by pushing it back and forth on the counter in a circular motion until you have a round smooth ball. (You could really do any shape you want but since I prefer the dutch oven method, the boule works best for me)

Once shaped, cover the dough with a dish towel again and allow it to proof for about an hour. You could also cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to day (if you do this make sure to let the dough sit at room temperature for at least and hour and half before baking.) When ready to bake, score your dough to help it expand and sprinkle with salt (or olive oil and salt if you wish) and put it into an oiled dutch oven with a lid

Bake at 450º for 10 minutes and reduce the temperature to 375ºF and continue baking until done, 45 to 50 minutes. (Take lid off dutch oven halfway through baking - The dutch oven helps create steam and makes the crust crispy and the inside moist.)

And voila! So amazingly delicious. We ate this whole thing in less than 24 hours, and believe me I'll be making it again very soon. Next on the list is ciabatta and baguettes!

Alton Brown's Awesome Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is probably the perfect cookie recipe. And what else would you expect from Alton? I'm recently watching lots of reruns of Good Eats and remembering just how much I love the way he explains every ingredient and why its the best one to use. Helps me understand the science in this whole cooking thing quite a bit.

So I've been making this cookie recipe for a while but I always left out the bread flour and used regular flour and I couldn't figure out why I ended up with flat cookies. duh. I know - shocking that it took me this long to figure that one out. Anyway, I've been making a ton of bread lately and its resulted in an excess of bread flour around the house so I figured I'd finally make them the real way. And holy crap what a difference. These things are perfect. So don't use AP flour! The bread flour is the key.

I've been playing with some flavor additions as well but that's for a different time. Also it's really important that the dough is cold when it goes into the oven so that they can set faster than the butter can melt and spread, so keep the dough in the fridge between each cookie-sheet-full.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Being On Our Own" By the Fruit Bats

Chocolate Chip Cookies (AKA "The Chewy")
From Alton Brown's Good Eats

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used table salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk (or coffee if you so desire)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Almond Gruyere Focaccia

I'm just going to start by saying that today was positively crappy. But now, while I have some pumpkin pie cooling on the stove, I figured it best to use this time to update the ol' blog.

I happen to receive the Cooking Light email newsletter on a weekly basis (of no request of mine, I'm almost sure that they found me the same way that Facebook has become convinced that I am a single mother desperate to find a husband.) and I happen to be completely uninterested in it altogether until I read this headline :

"Our Best Apple Recipes. "

Anticlimactic, I know. But I've really been on the hunt for some creative apple recipes. I looked through their list, nothing too interesting until I got to the end. There were links for the list of their best pumpkin recipes and since I was already on the damn website, why not right?
And then I found this one. As I do when I find a recipe like this, I became a little bit fixated on it.

An important detail here is that I have been reading a fantastic little book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman that gives you the details of all the basic ratios of cooking, which enables you to understand the recipes better and therefore make your own. So I did some kind of experimental things here that I don't quite remember. What I can tell you is that I used less yeast and let it rise longer. (Per Michael Ruhlman's recommendation.) I also made the dough and then put it in the refrigerator overnight (after shaping it) which is acceptable if you want to make it ahead. Other than that, I didn't really do anything that should change the recipe enough to give me a different product than the original recipe. So I didn't necessarily need to tell you any of that... Hm..

Anyway, this book has been pretty much replacing everything in my life as far as recipes are concerned so it might come up a lot in the near future. So consider yourself warned.

In more important news, this recipe was awesome and I'm going to make it again for sure. It's totally delicious. Especially right out of the oven. I imagine there's probably some amzing sandwich to make on it as well. We didn't manage to get through the 2 loaves, so I wouldn't consider it a crime to halve the thing. Benny loved it. (The fancy cheese helps to convince him.)

Recipe Soundtrack: "Waiting for a War" By the Morning Benders.

Pumpkin Almond Gruyere Focaccia
Adapted from Cooking Light

Yields 2 Loaves


3/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups bread flour, divided (about 15 3/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
1/3 cup sliced almonds


Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes.

Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese and nuts evenly over dough circles; press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with oil; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size).

(My focaccias prior to being baked)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (shield loaves with foil to prevent overbrowning, if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


This one is actually a recipe from pre-blogging days that I decided to try to with a different kind of beer. We used to make this in the height of our poorness with pbr because I would feel the need to bake and these ingredients would be the only ones we had around. When you make it with a really nice wheat ale or something it ends up being really sweet and awesome but when you use pbr, it tastes exactly like pbr. Which pleased Benny quite a bit. There was also an incident in which we used bacon fat instead of butter and let me tell you, it was the manliest tasting thing I can imagine. Like drinking a can of bacon-flavored pbr. Delicious.

Anyway, I'm having trouble locating the actual recipe we used to use and we had some nice dark beer around our house a couple days ago that I think is local to the Pacific Northwest, (Or at least I've never seen it in Chicago) so I decided to hunt for a new beer bread recipe. This one was good, but I doubled the butter and next time I'll be adding a bit more sugar, maybe a bit more honey, and I might want to spice it up a little. We'll see.

Recipe soundtrack: "Pastora Divine" by White Flight

from Gimme Some Oven


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
1 stick butter, melted (The original recipe called for 1/2 a stick, so this is after the doubling.)


(Makes 1 loaf)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. It will be kind of gross-looking, like so:

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.


I have been desperately craving fruity desserts lately. Which is usually somewhat typical when fall comes around. Especially here in Seattle, there are so many farmers markets and its so easy to get amazing ripe local fruit. Last year around this time, I heard about the pumpkin shortage and bought about 10 cans of pumpkin. By the time winter was over I swore I'd never look at another can of pumpkin as long as I lived. Of course, I lied, seeing as how I've already made two pumpkin pies this season and I just bought two cans of Libby's yesterday. Either way, I am generally less excited about pumpkin now. I am however, getting a little bit giddy over stone fruit and apples.

Whilst staying with my sister, I had a sudden hankering for a peach and plum tart, which is how this little recipe came to be. It turned out to be just a peach tart, as my plums were kind of.. well. duds. Farmer's markets only for me from now on. Anyway, this is crazy simple. Here ya go:

Recipe Soundtrack: "Make You Mine" by The Drums (I recommend you go out and listen to this asap. It'll make your day.

Partially adapted from

pastry crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water

4-6 Firm but ripe Peaches or nectarines, cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Ground Ginger
(and any other spices you think you would be good!)

To Make the Crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter; pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough together, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough disk on floured surface to fit tart pan. Press dough into pan

To Make the Filling and Bake:
Toss fruit, and sugars together in a large bowl. Add spices and honey to taste. Arrange fruit in crust. Bake tart for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until fruit is tender and beginning to bubble and crusts are golden. Transfer tart to rack and cool completely.

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!


So I am officially in Seattle! Weird feeling. We've been here for a week and I figure that's plenty of time to start baking, so I am currently whipping up a basket of goodies for my new neighbors. In the meantime, I figure it best to take this boring time before I find a job to update the ol blog. I managed to actually find quite a bit of time to bake over the course of the last month, especially considering that I was staying with my fabulous sister and her roommates who love baked goods as much as I do and were more than happy to let me test a few things out on them.

It turned out to be a lovely month living with the ladies on Evergreen Ave and I got to bake even more than I planned. There are a couple of things that won't show up on the blog, including an excursion in Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie for a peanut-butter-lover of a friend of mine (which turned out surprisingly delicious) and a Garlic Cream Penne with Shrimp that I can't remember how I made. There were also quite a few challenges in the equipment department and my pictures suffered, but I'll do my best to catch up.

So let's start here. With my favorite recipe of the last few months, by far.

While I was in San Fran, I bought a fruit salad at a little cafe in the Haight. The apples in said fruit salad tasted like they had been steeped in Earl Grey tea and they were absolutely amazing. I haven't been able to get them out of my mind for quite some time, so when I saw this recipe for Caramel Earl Grey Apple Cheesecake, given my current constant desire for apple-y baked goods, I absolutely could not resist.

I made it twice, first a double recipe in a huge springform pan at my parents house, and then mini ones in a cupcake tin for my dear friend Lisa's birthday. When I made the mini version, I tried to use ginger snaps for the crust by just putting a gingersnap at the bottom of each cupcake cup. Turns out I probably should have ground them up because ginger snaps don't respond ideally to being baked whole. It still tasted good, but I wouldn't recommend it.

So here it is then:

Recipe Soundtrack: "Glass Concrete and Stone" by David Byrne

Adapted from Yue's Handicrafts

Caramel & Earl Grey Apples
4 apples
100g sugar
100g unsalted butter
4 teabag of earl grey tea (The original recipe called for 2 - I used 4)
4 tbsp of lemon juice

Peel, core & slice apples into small slices.
Combine butter, sugar & teabag in a small saucepan, cook until golden colour.
Reduce the heat, add in apple slices & lemon juice, cook until apples soften.
Remove from heating & set aside for cooling.

140g graham cracker crumbs
80g unsalted butter (melted)

Mix the ingredients & press into a springform pan. (I used a 9 inch)
Arrange the caramel & earl grey apple slices at the bottom, refrigerate before use.

Cheesecake filling
400g cream cheese
2 egg (slightly beaten)
140g whipping cream
120g light soft brown sugar

Whisk cream cheese & sugar until smooth. Gradually blend in whipping cream & egg. Pour into the prepared pan & wrap the pan with double layer of aluminium foil. Bake in a hot water bath for 40-60 min in a preheated oven at 300º F
Remove from the oven & cool in the pan to room temperature. Cool further in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving, if you can do it overnight, it's much better.

My Mini's caved in a little bit, but I've decided not to worry about it. They were delicious.

Anyway, this recipe is totally going in my arsenal. This cheesecake is awesome. Make it. You won't regret it.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I currently find myself in San Francisco with a brand new gorgeous little niece and my whole immediate family in the same place for the first time in.. 2 years?! 1 year? Something like that. shocking. Anyway, my sister and the mother of the aforementioned babe requested that I make a cheesecake that somehow involved chocolate, caramel, and nuts. To me all this can mean is turtle. So I went for it. My 2 year old nephew Gideon (of the same sister) helped me with the mixer right up until I caught him eating an entire handful of the batter. A compliment yes, but also adorable. He also spent the remainder of the night with us in the kitchen dancing to Beyonce and Michael Jackson. I love this kid. And here are tons of pictures of him, since I can't help but show off.

his other aunts and I bought him a suit and took him out on a dinner date.

me and gid at the beach

Our little noob, baby Rue.

Moving right along on this here overindulgent sweets train I appear to be on, I found this one on The Girl Who Ate Everything.

I had a couple of challenges as my sister doesn't bake much and therefore doesn't care about things like springform pans and juicers. It actually was kind of fun to try to find creative ways to get the job done. And despite it all, the cheesecake turned out completely awesome and ridiculously rich. I would certainly recommend this one. Just try not to eat two peices like I did. Tempting though it may be, you WILL feel like you want to die. (An extra little note: my mom just ate some ice cream and said "after kaysie's cheesecake everything else just tastes boring." BAM!)

So. Without further rambling:
Recipe Soundtrack: Single Ladies. I had to do it.

The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 3/4 cups ground oreos (I did this in a blender and it worked like gangbusters.)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Caramel syrup (I used homemade but store-bought would work just fine)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease 9-inch springform pan. (For lack of better options, I used a square pyrex pan.)

Combine crumbs and butter in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.

Beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lime juice and vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Remove 1 cup of filling and set aside. Melt chocolate chips about 1 minute, (just until melted) and mix completely into the 1-cup reserved filling.

Pour 1/2 of the white filling into crust, then the chocolate filling, then the last 1/2 of the white. Take knife and gently swirl.

Bake for 1 hour 10 to 15 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool completely. Drizzle caramel syrup over cheesecake. Sprinkle with pecans and mini morsels. (we just drizzled melted chocolate chips and caramel on top with chopped pecans. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of pan.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Geez, things have been ridiculous around here. Benny is scouting in Seattle and I'm staying with my sister and brother-in-law in San Francisco for a few weeks before I return to Chicago to work and then meet up with Benny in Seattle. Whew!

So it is true that my blog is suffering some from this, BUT if there are any loyal readers who care about reading this, the good news is that once I get to Seattle I'm going to try to start up a little baking business (of sorts). This means tons of recipes once we get settled.

My reaction to Benny's perfect gift!

I have however, been holding back this recipe from my birthday (which was in July!); ginger soaked spongecake with blueberry compote and ginger cream cheese frosting, oh yes. I'd been meaning to try this one out since at least March.

Only a small part of Benny's feast

I'd really been looking forward to this birthday meal for a long time. Benny, bless his little heart, spent a whole day working on my favorite indonesian dinner and I made the cake components in advance and put it together right before we ate it. All went off without a hitch and my family absolutely loved Benny's cooking, of course.

Best indonesian ever. Anyway, here's the ginger blueberry cake recipe. I got it from poires au chocolat and I'd really like to try it again. (She makes the best and most beautiful cakes!) Anyway, totally delicious. I would recommend using a TON of the frosting though. Its SO good and really adds to the flavor of the whole cake. I would also have liked to have done 4 layers instead of two, so I'd recommend that as well.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Walk In The Park" by Beach House. Can't stop singing this song lately.

From Poires au Chocolat

For the cakes (single mix):
250g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
5 large eggs
85g plain flour
100g full-fat greek yogurt
250g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 160C/140C for fan ovens. Grease and fully line the tin. Put the butter and sugar in a mixer and cream till pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. You may need to add a tbsp or two of flour to stop it getting slimy. Beat in the yogurt. Sift the flours over the batter and fold in - when nearly done, add the milk. Spoon into a tin and bake for about 1 hour - 1 hr 20 or until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before spiking the cake all over and pouring some syrup over, letting it sink in as evenly as possible. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

For the ginger syrup:
200g caster sugar
200 ml water
4 slices of fresh ginger

Take the root of ginger and cut small discs from it about 3 or 4 mm thick. Put the sugar, water and ginger discs into a small sauce pan and heat gently till the sugar is dissolved. Remove to a bowl and leave to infuse and cool.

For the blueberry compote:
500g frozen blueberries
zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp water

Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and over a medium heat bring to the boil and then remove - you don't want it to be mushy, so try not to stir all the time or overcook it. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

For the ginger cream cheese icing:
150g room temperature unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
300g cream cheese
200g mascarpone
1 tsp ground ginger
3 cm fresh root ginger
20 ml water
30g caster sugar

Cut the ginger root up into small pieces then put in a small pan with the water and caster sugar. Wait till the sugar is dissolved them bring to the boil - you want this syrup to have a much more concentrated ginger flavour than the ginger syrup to soak the cakes in. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar together - this might be easier in a food processor as it won't come together and will be quite dusty. When the butter is evenly dispersed, add the cream cheese, mascarpone and ground ginger. Beat until smooth and increased in volume. Pour in the concentrated ginger syrup and beat again to incorporate. Put into the fridge to firm slightly.

To assemble:
fresh blueberries (I used four small packets).

Split the layers into the desired number. Sandwich them up on a board covered with four strips of baking parchment with the blueberry compote. Fix this in place with some wooden kebab sticks or similar for dowels - I used four from the top right through to the bottom. Trim as desired. Use a palette knife to cover the cake with a crumb coat - careful with the blueberry compote coming through. Put in the fridge/a cold place for 15 mins or so to firm up slightly. Carefully cover the cake with a thicker layer of icing, again being careful to not let the blueberry come through. Starting from the top, start placing blueberries in the desired pattern, working downwards and then around. They should stay in the icing if pushed in slightly. Remove the baking parchment and make any final touches. Put in a cool place till served (you don't want it too cold - it could be kept in the fridge and then taken out 15 mins or so before eating.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


As I've mentioned, probably more than anyone cares to hear, we are moving at the end of this month. It's a very complicated move and things have been hectic, which is my lame excuse for almost completely ceasing to hang around in my kitchen for the past few weeks. We're now in the moving stage where we have put a stop on all grocery shopping in hopes of using up what groceries we already have. So far it's resulted in lots of ramen and lots of takeout. It also makes baking difficult.

With that said, I had been planning on making boy bait for a few months. I came across the recipe while searching through blogs in the beginning of this thing. From what little I've been able to find about it, it originates in the 1920's and is named for its effects on men who eat it. Basically its how little ladies in the 20's got husbands. Which feels like reason enough to make it right there. Plus it looked awesome and has 2 sticks of butter in it. In my world that's a done deal.

So, in the midst of a packing extravaganza the other day, we were informed that a friend from down the street would be showing Jaws on a projector in his backyard and I immediately saw it as an opportunity to get rid of some blueberries and make this boy bait stuff already. (It's nice that the rest of the ingredients are basic things that I always have around the house - more I can rid myself of!)

Benny gave me permission to turn on the oven, as its been much nicer out lately, so I went to town on it. And I have to tell you. This was a huge hit. I think in fact, that EVERYONE had seconds. Even Benny. To stress the strangeness of this, he has even been sneaking little bits of the leftovers today. Now.. this could be because he doesn't want to pay for anymore takeout but I'm going to tell myself that he loves it.

My official ruling is that if I ever decide it would be smart for me to have kids, this is one of the recipes they'll be inheriting. That's pretty serious.

And one more fantastic thing - I was given the most fantastic birthday gift which this recipe allowed me to use for the first time. Nesting doll measuring cups! I love them. Plus they're super convenient because they have cups for 3/4c and 2/3c, which seems unimportant until you have it and I absolutely love them. Although I have to say that Benny has been using them. (mysteriously. I have no idea for what he could possibly need measuring cups, they just sometimes show up with the dirty dishes.)

Recipe Soundtrack: At the risk of being too cheeky, I choose "Fucking Boyfriend" by The Bird & The Bee. Mostly because it's in my head, but also because it feels fitting. In fact, I don't even like the damn song. But there it is.

from Via Nostra

my apologies for the horrible pictures

(serves 12) or in my case, 6

Cake Ingredients
2 cups plus 1 tsp all purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks softened butter (yes, two!)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup fat free milk (original recipe calls for whole or even buttermilk, but this was all I had)
1 1/2 cups blueberries (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, fresh or frozen, but we reallllly like blueberries)

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Use a 9x13 pan. Butter sides and bottom. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, blend together softened butter and the two sugars. Blend for about two minutes. Add one egg at a time, blending until incorporated. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and blend. Add 1/2 cup of milk and blend. Add another 1/3 of flour and blend. Add final 1/2 cup of milk and blend. Add final 1/3 of flour and blend. The mixture should be light and creamy and fluffy at this point.

Toss blueberries with teaspoon of flour and gently fold into the large bowl. Be careful to leave the blueberries in tact or you will dye your batter prematurely.

Carefully spread mixture into the your greased pan.

Mix topping and sprinkle all over top.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Eat warm or at room temperature.

proof of satisfied customers

Seriously. SO GOOD.


Let me tell ya a little story about tortilla chips. An old roommate of mine used to bring these Tostitos Flour Tortilla chips home every now and then and try though i might, I have never ever been able to find them in a grocery store. She used to get them from jewel but every time I've gone theyre nowhere to be found. I spent a while on a constant quest for them, in which I asked a grocery store employee at every one I went to if they had them, only to hear "you mean multigrain." in response. I do not mean multigrain. Anyway, I eventually gave up and then, when we started deep frying regularly it occurred to me to throw a couple of bit of flour tortilla in there to see what would happen. The result was good but it wasn't what I was looking for.

I thought I'd try baking them sometime, which Benny was NOT a fan of. (Apparently baking things that are meant to be fried is a cardinal sin.) But I found myself with some free time and a sudden reckless abandon while Benny was out of town last week. I got hungry and remembered that we had some leftover soft shells from the last time we made tacos so I thought I'd try it. And let me tell you. They were delicious! I'm doing this all the time from now on. ALL THE TIME.

Not to mention its a simple enough recipe that I don't feel ridiculous doing it while trying to paint and move my entire apartment to my parents house. Plus one or two of my 3 readers might actually make it, which I would recommend. Alas, here it is:


You'll need:
Enough flour tortillas to make as many chips as you think you want
A baking sheet or two
Vegetable oil and a basting brush
salt (or other seasoning- this is an opportunity to get creative)
parchment paper (probably not completely necessary, but I heart it.

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut your tortillas into squares or triangles or any other shape you fancy. Cover the baking sheet(s) with parchment and then brush the parchment with oil. Place your tortilla pieces on the parchment, then brush them with oil as well. Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning and then bake for 10 minutes or until golden. (The picture makes them look darker than they are, so aim for a little lighter than that.)

You have to watch these really closely because they go from raw to done very quickly and they are not nearly as good when you burn them a little. (I had one failed attempt.)

So there it is. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I swear to you, I still exist. Life has been more hectic than I care to explain lately but I did manage to make time for cookies today. Now I know that my last post was lemonade and I know that a certain friend of mine is sick of having to see that stupid lemonade posting since I haven't been updating lately and my only response is this: Purely coincidence. And also I promise to post something non-lemon-related very soon.

Anyway these things are fantastic. Light, declicious, summery and chewy. Yada yada, you get the idea.

When I started making this I realized that the quantities of the ingredients were very small and I wasn't sure if I believed the part about it yeilding 36 cookies but I gotta say, it made quite a few more than I thought it would. I made them rather small, which I'm sure contributed to that but I'm pretty sure theyre the perfect size. I will however say that I may have overcooked these puppies just a smidge. The first batch I definitely overcooked (I refuse to use the word burn) as a result of attempting to quite literally do 5 things at once. The second batch was much better but I might allow myself one more try. These things are really worth perfecting.

I got the recipe from Tastes Of Home. It was also featured on Foodbuzz's Daily Buzz top 9, which is how I came across it.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Zebra" By Beach House (Very fitting, I think)


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tbsps (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice

1. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
3. Beat the butter and sugar together by machine with the paddle attachment on medium speed for about a minute, or until well mixed. Beat in the egg white and lemon zest.
4. Change the speed to low and beat in half the flour mixture, then the lemon juice. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.
5. Use a large rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing.
6. Drop the batter with a teaspoon or ice cream scoop about an inch apart in all directions on the prepared pans. Try to portion the drops as equally as possible to ensure even baking.
7. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are light golden on the bottom but still very pale on top. Change the position of the pans, from top to bottom and back to front, about halfway through the baking.
8. Slide the papers from the pans to racks to cool the cookies. This batter makes about 36 cookies.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Obviously, you make Lemonade. In keeping with my new "if it's cheap, buy it" attitude, I recently purchased about 12 lemons that I had no use or plan for. And, even though lemonade really is quite simple, I am particularly proud of the lemonade I have been making as of late. In fact, I can be found sitting on my couch when its 90º outside sipping lemonade and mentioning (ever so humbly) how perfectly delicious it is.

So I'm sharing the incredibly simple recipe.

The key is to remember that it's simply equal parts water, sugar, and fresh lemon juice.

A good amount is 1 cup. Make a simple syrup with the water and sugar and then mix it with one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, putting the entire mixture in the fridge until it cools. then add water to it until it reaches your desired strength. (My current method is putting the ingredients in an old juice bottle to cool and then filling it up with water. This just happens to be the perfect amount.) Ta da! That easy.

The aftermath.