On the search for an easy, go-to chocolate cake – and because we were late in accepting a dinner invitation so I needed to bake something I had the ingredients for – I thought I’d try this one from Vintage Cakes. So far I’ve been very impressed with her other recipes and this one looks very pretty (prettier in her picture than ours, but ours survived 50 minutes of transportation which included a bus, a transfer to the tram, and a 10 minute walk).
Monthly Archives: January 2013
When I get married again, I’m having these “cupcakes” as the dessert. When I fantasize about opening a bakery, I think through the logistics of selling something that’s made in a ramekin.
When my friends offer to share a serving because there are only two left, they can’t; it’s so good everyone needs one to themselves.
This recipe is so good it should be the featured recipe of Vintage Cakes. In fact, it should be the only recipe in Vintage Cakes. It’s that good.
Plus, it’s a bit of a scientific mystery. You put in two layers, but when you eat it there are three layers. I reread the recipe about a hundred times the first time I made this because I was so sure I was missing something. Nope. It’s just chemistry, keeping some of its baking secrets.
The problem with stocking up on kale when they have it at the market is that you need to use a mountain of kale. Quickly.
So I promptly got down to making my new favorite salad: Deb’s kale salad with cherries and pecans. I have now made it with walnuts and pecans. I’ve made it with dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried grapes (raisins), and chopped up dates. I’ve made it with smooth Dijon mustard and whole-seed Dijon mustard. I’ve made it with runny honey and solid honey. And it’s always good.
On this occasion, it was the favorite food item of the party (until I unveiled dessert, but that doesn’t really count. You can’t compare kale to a lemon meringue pudding cupcake).
After a botched attempt to find kale at the market – well, it wasn’t botched, it was just badly timed; the woman standing three customers in front of us bought out all of the remaining kale from the only stall that had any to begin with – I vowed to start earlier the next week. So we did. We went earlier in the day and we went a whole day earlier. And we were rewarded: there was plenty of kale around. This time I bought it on a stalk, which I’d never seen before. And because I learned from my mistakes, I bought two stalks.
It was a lot of kale.
So with no further ado I started preparing the kale. It took forever, but the results were totally worth it. I made two recipes from Smitten Kitchen; even though Deb swears she doesn’t like kale, her kale recipes are delicious!
The first red cabbage recipe only called for half of my head of cabbage which meant, of course, that I needed to try another recipe for the other half. After a hunt through most of my cookbooks, I settled on this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Feast, since I had most of the ingredients (points for using things from the pantry) and it looked good.
This recipe was, if anything, more delicious than the previous red cabbage salad recipe. It was crunchy, tangy, colorful. Fun to eat and well worth all of the chopping. This one is definitely on my “make again” list. I might even go out and buy a red cabbage to make it instead of waiting for another one to mysteriously appear at school.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when a member of faculty leaves a cabbage on the table for anyone to take, make Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans.
Doesn’t quite have the same ring.
I walked into the faculty room innocently at lunch and there was a whole red cabbage sitting on a table with a sign that said “please take me!” I found out later it had been destined to be a science experiment, but some students were absent so it never even entered the science lab. Perfect! It can enter the kitchen lab instead!
One of my new year’s resolutions was to do more pantry cooking. I have a well-stocked pantry. If it is possible, I probably have a too well-stocked pantry. I try to keep it reasonably organized, so there isn’t an awful lot of duplication in my stores, but let’s just say that if there was an emergency and we had to live off of the food already in our house for a week or two, there’d be no problem.
Yesterday, to make a start towards my resolution, and because I had a hankering for a roasted beet quinoa salad I made during vacation, I decided to check out my quinoa recipes. Unfortunately, all of the quinoa dishes in the Orange Book required ingredients I didn’t have on hand. But the page just before quinoa was millet and I did have everything required for this recipe!
Two of my new cookbooks feature recipes calling for malted milk powder. In fact, the Baked Boys consider it one of their essential ingredients. It evidently has a long history as an ingredient in American desserts, as Julie Richardson included a malted milk chocolate cupcake recipe in her Vintage Cakes book, as well.
Julie Richardson specifies in her recipe that the malted milk powder not be Ovaltine. Ovaltine, of course, is the only kind of malted milk powder available in regular Belgian grocery stores, so I imported Carnation brand malted milk powder from ShopRite. The container holds 13 ounces and the recipe called for a whopping 10 of those ounces. So this experiment has pretty much depleted my reserves… here’s hoping I can find another supplier!
One of our favorite Happy New Year traditions is a new year’s brunch with good friends in Brooklyn. This year was no different.
To test out my new Baked Elements cookbook, I decided to make scones. Well, actually, I wanted to make scones from my new Bouchon Bakery cookbook, but I had a minor catastrophe called “I didn’t read the recipe in advance” and therefore didn’t have enough time on new year’s morning to make the batter, let it chill for 2 hours, shape it, then let it freeze for 2 hours. I’ll make those scones another day. Instead, I decided to make Baked’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones which were a big success!