sourdough pancakes

4.05.2020

I've been making pancakes on Sunday evenings for probably 2 months now... or perhaps more honestly.
Sometimes figuring out what to eat for dinner every night can be a lot, so knowing that Sunday is for pancakes makes life a bit easier. Plus it normally means bacon is also on the menu. 

Given that I recently adopted a sourdough starter, I've been looking for ways to use it that aren't bread. I love the bread, it's delicious. But it's also addicting. One slice always leads to three slices. 

A quick google search lead to a sourdough pancake recipe from Tastes of Lizzy that used all my extra sourdough starter. I tweaked the recipe a bit to be a little sweeter and saltier - my favorite things. I have never seen such fluffy tall pancakes in all my life. They are perfect for your favorite mix-ins: chocolate chips, blueberries, sprinkles... whatever makes you happy.

Here's how it goes.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, sugar and salt.
  2. Add the sourdough starter, milk, egg and butter. Mix well just until combined.
  3. Make pancakes like normal!
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large egg beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter

buttermilk cinnamon peanut butter donuts


Yes, that is a really loaded name for these small donuts... but it is all the truth.

Donuts were not on my list of things to make during this quarantine but I had some fresh buttermilk... and I'm trying very hard to reduce my waste.

Why the fresh buttermilk? Well, I obviously had to make fresh butter because the store was out of butter and toast without butter is lunacy. Last week I made my mom a batch of butter and split it between three flavors: cinnamon sugar, salted honey, garlic thyme. She has not complained about any of them.

The original call for this recipe (from Nourished Endeavors) was just a simple dip in cinnamon sugar. That was nice. It tasted fine - but then I had a flash of brilliance to do a simple glaze of peanut butter... and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. HOME RUN. The creamy peanut butter gives the otherwise cake donut a silkiness and amps up the heavenly level. I'm really pleased with it. 

For the peanut butter topping, here are some special notes:
  • This is all about you and what you prefer. You can't mess up peanut butter and the donuts are already cooked :-)
  • Start with the melted butter and add the peanut butter to it. Just a tablespoon at a time. Mix it up. Work up to the consistency that you like. I went with just a little more loose than normal peanut butter.
  • Give it a little taste. Do you like it sweeter? Add a tiny bit of powdered sugar (1 tsp) to sweeten it up.
  • If the mixture gets too firm for you, just add a DROP or two of liquid. Yes, I meant to use the capitals. You will only need a very little bit.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Generously grease a standard donut pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add and whisk together the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and then fold into the wet bowl. Take care not to over mix batter. (Honestly, I used only one bowl... I just put everything in one and it came out fine... but if you are a perfectionist... use two)
  4. Transfer donut batter into a large pastry bag or Ziplock bag, cut off about a 1/4” of the tip of bag and pipe batter into prepared donut pan.
  5. Bake donuts for 5-10 minutes. Donuts are ready when a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean. My mini donuts were done in 4-5 minutes and the bigger ones about 10.
  6. Allow donuts to rest in pan for 5 minutes before taking out of the pan.
For the coating and topping
  1. Place melted butter in a small dish. Set aside. 
  2. Add tablespoons of peanut butter one by one to the butter to get the consistency you like. See above for notes.
  3. In a separate small mixing bowl/container, add sugar and cinnamon and whisk to combine. 
  4. Just spread the peanut butter on the donut and then sprinkle with the sugar... done!
Shopping List
1 Cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Large Egg, Room Temperature
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Buttermilk, Room Temperature
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Light or Dark
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Coating
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoon Melted Butter
3 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

grapefruit white chocolate macaron

2.25.2020


So, I am continuing to experiment with macarons... and this might have been my best batch to date. They were great for so many reasons. One, the flavoring was very solid. Two, the consistency and shell structures were real good.

What did I do differently? I finally bought a scale. I always thought using scales would be more work than I wanted to spend... but boy was I wrong. I love using a scale now. It is so easy and making cooking cleaner some how. For example, it was really clear to me that 120 grams of egg whites was significantly more than 3 eggs worth. It ended up being close to 4 eggs. The other difference was that I added a little bit of granulated sugar to the whipped egg whites. This is the website that I used as a guide. Although not a video, there are a lot of detailed pictures to show progress.

I made these babes for a Galentine's Day dinner with family ladies. They were rather perfect and it was hard to not keep eating them. I think the next time I make macarons, I might try for some itty bitty ones. Then I could eat 3 and not feel bad about it.
  1. Place the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
  2. In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat *just* until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  3. On low speed, beat in any flavor or color at this point. Do not overmix.
  4. Fold in the confectioners’ sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
  5. Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
  6. Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to rid any large air bubbles. You can lightly sprinkle a few sprinkles or any edible decorations onto the wet round shells at this point.
  7. Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. This is crucial to making macarons! The air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. They should not be sticky going into the oven.
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly “feet.” Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
  9. Fill with buttercream and sandwich two shells together!
Shopping List
200g confectioners’ sugar (close to 2 cups)
100g almond flour (close to 1 cup)
120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites)*
1/8 teaspoon salt
40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar (3 Tablespoons)
flavoring or color* --> I used like 1 tbsp of grated grapefruit zest
your desired filling* --> I used a standard buttercream but flavored with coconut extract and grapefruit zest

bagel egg bake

2.09.2020

Let me introduce you to a very easy and impressive brunch recipe. I honestly have no idea what to call it - but perhaps a "bagel egg bake"? 

I've attempted several different brunch casseroles over the years and this is one of the best. It is also one of the easiest. There are only 6 ingredients! I ended up making a slightly larger batch than the recipe called for... which necessitated in getting some emergency eggs from my neighbor.

This made for a great accompaniment to the brunch. It was not too eggy and the green onions made a great addition. I also made a blood orange cardamom cake to go with it... and some other nice ladies brought a fruit salad and tasty pink donuts. The best and worst part about hosting brunch is that I'll be eating all these leftovers for two more days. 

A few notes:
  • prepare the dig the night before for ultimate ease
  • I bought fresh bagels from Trader Joes... but this would be a great opportunity to get a bargain on some day old bagels
  • i swapped out regular bacon for turkey bacon... frankly, I didn't even notice the difference and I love bacon. You could also swap in pancetta or anything salty.
  1. Arrange bagels in 2- to 2 1/2-qt. baking dish. 
  2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, bacon, 4 sliced green onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 
  3. Pour over bagels, pressing down slightly to submerge. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to overnight. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover dish and bake 45 to 55 minutes until set. 
  6. Let cool 15 minutes before serving; garnish with green onion.
Shopping list
4 "everything" bagels, toasted and chopped 
6 large eggs 
2 c. milk 
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 
4 slices cooked turkey bacon
4 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish

blood orange cardamom cake

Hello there beautiful. That is what you can say to this cake once you flip it out of the pan. 

I was looking for something a little bit red and a little bit fun to make for a galentine's brunch this weekend. It was incredibly easy to make and a bit of a shocker to me honestly. I am probably now going to see what other fruits I can put in cake pans and flip upside down.

A few takeaways:
  • amount of fruit? I saw some versions of this cake with a ton of overlapping oranges... and then a lot less. I think somewhere around my amount was correct. Perhaps a little bit more so you are guaranteed some in each slice
  • crazy moist? I accidentally left this cake out on the counter overnight... and you'd never know.
  • rind on the fruit? I left mine on because I liked how it looked on a baked cake. The rind completely bakes down and is very easy to cut through. The internet says that sometimes it could be a bit bitter, but I didn't notice.
  • the original recipe from "The Broken Bread" had the steps in a slightly different order... but I rearranged them to make a little more sense. 

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the edges of a 9″ spring form pan with nonstick spray or butter.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cardamom, baking powder, and salt together until combined.
  3. In another bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, vanilla, and orange juice until smooth. Once combined fold the ricotta mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just blended. Then, gently fold in melted butter.
  4. Place 3 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook on low heat just until the butter melts. Whisk the mixture a few times until smooth and pour into the cake pan, making sure that it evenly coats the bottom; set aside.
  5. Place orange slices on the bottom of the cake pan, arranging the slices to fit. Carefully pour in the cake batter over the top of the oranges and place in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  6. Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate and serve once completely cooled.
Shopping List (original recipe)
1 1/2 Cup (180g) All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup (200g) Evaporated Cane Sugar
1 1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
1 Stick Butter, melted

my 2019 christmas card

1.18.2020

2019 was quite the year. It some ways it was a dumpster fire and in other ways it was wonderful. Obviously the dumpster fire didn't make the actual Christmas card photo :-) But overall, it was a year that was spent mostly outside, wearing leggings, or looking for Lowe's coupons online. 

I did come to the realization that I get 1 Christmas for every 2 that I send out. For someone who is often most interested in efficiency,  you might think that I'm going to make some cuts in 2020.... but honestly that is unlikely. I love sending them out and frankly at the cost per card including postage... I'll take the $25ish hit. 

If 2018 was the year of renovation... and 2019 was the year of embracing my neighborhood and the outdoors.... I'm on the edge of my seat for what 2020 will bring. I have a lot of personal projects this year that aren't small, so it'll be interesting to see what materializes over the next 12 months. 

Prior years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Chocolate dipped merengues

1.16.2020


I am fully committed to merengues as a household staple. I believe that I have now made them weekly for a month? The minute I eat the last one in the container.... I just start to whip up some egg whites for a fresh batch.

The recipe isn't wholly different from the peppermint merengues that I made over Christmas... the difference is that I discovered the magic of dipping them in chocolate. I didn't stop there either. I started to then dip them in nuts and shredded chocolate. And then just this past weekend, I mixed some peanut butter into the chocolate and that was delightful too.

Here are the iterations I've done:
(1) regular peppermint merengue
(2) coconut merengue dipped in chocolate
(3) coconut merengue double dipped in chocolate and then sea salt pistachio or shredded coconut
(4) almond extract flavored merengue dipped in chocolate peanut butter
(5) vanilla extract flavored merengue dipped in sea salt pistachio

And if I'm being honest, I've got my eye on some orange extract that I feel like would be a great decision too.
Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, peppermint, and salt with a mixer on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time beating on high. Beat well after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Place a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip inside a large cup and fold excess over top of the cup. This will help hold the pastry bag in place making it easier to paint the stripes and fill with meringue. If desired, using a small paintbrush paint small stripes up the sides of the pastry bag. Carefully spoon the meringue into the bag. Pipe evenly sized merengues onto prepared baking sheet about 1" apart. I went with 2 and 4 inch merengues.
  4. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until meringues appear dry and firm when lightly touched. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  5. Dip in melted chocolate and then dip again in a mixture of pistachios and sea salt.
Shopping List
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon pure extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
chocolate chips
coconut oil
pistachios, very finely chopped
sea salt

Nighttime Moon Milk

1.08.2020

I believe I first saw this recipe on Instagram back in the Fall. I was immediately enchanted by the idea of "moon milk" and had to know more. After reading the Bon Appetit description, I was sold. I love sleep and this promises more sleep.

While I had all the spices at my disposal, it did take me a little bit to get the last ingredient: ashwagandha. Whole Foods does sell several different options but I held off for a sale to save a few extra dollars. The recipe calls for ashwagandha powder but you can also just open one supplement pill like I did. Turns out one pill is exactly the amount called for in this recipe.

I have now made this 3 times and enjoyed it more each night. The first night that I drank this milk before bed I slept over nine hours. 

1st batch = made it a little too hot and wasn't patient enough to let it cool
2nd batch = perfect temperature
3rd batch = good temperature again... and I actually strained the hot milk to remove some of the excess spices before drinking it. 

I am quite sure that I got less benefit from the strained milk but I did enjoy drinking it a whole lot more. To each their own, but seriously... try this milk if you love sleep.
  1. Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. 
  2. Whisk in cinnamon, turmeric, ashwagandha, cardamom, ginger, if using, and nutmeg; season with pepper. 
  3. Whisk vigorously to incorporate any clumps. 
  4. Add coconut oil, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook until warmed through, 5–10 minutes (the longer you go, the stronger the medicine). 
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in honey (you want to avoid cooking honey or you'll destroy its healing goodness). 
  6. Pour into a mug, drink warm, and climb right into bed.
Shopping List
1 cup milk (any variety... regular, nut, etc)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ashwagandha
2 pinches of ground cardamom
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
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