Thursday, November 10, 2011

why I shouldn't be cooking

In my last post, I was drooling over lots of autumny baked goods. Sweet potato bourbon bundt cake was the winner. Except...

1. Shockingly, my husband was all out of bourbon. Well, that's not true. There was an unopened bottle of 10-year Pappy Van Winkle but I figured he'd have a mild heartache if I used that. I instead opted for Drambuie, a fortified scotch, which turns out is not that much cheaper. Oops. It did add a lovely warmth to the cake, but next time, I'll make sure we have Maker's Mark.

2. And then I forgot to add the nuts. And the butter seized up into little chunks when I added cold squash puree to the batter. I just shouldn't be cooking. Pregnancy makes it difficult, I'm finding. But the cake still turned out tasty.

Yes, I used cushaw squash puree instead of sweet potato. Why? This 16-pounder is why (the middle one):

Not sure how long the two on the right took to grow, but the one on the left has been growing for 29 weeks.

It's a sweet and tasty winter squash, but I'm thankful it was 10 pounds smaller than the monster we got last year. We ate half with a Moroccan pork stew that I baked in it and then I froze the other half (9 cups of squash puree) for the future.

So back to the bundt, now I'm all caked out and ready to move on to bigger and better things - like PIE. (Edit: I just got back from a pie contest, and having consumed 6 decent slices, I can't really think about any more pie right now. *So full*)

Also craving oatmeal cookies the other day. Lord help me if this baby is giant.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

baking craving

Maybe it has something to do with this cold snap we're just now experiencing. (It was 44 degrees walking the dog this morning!) It finally feels like fall, and I really want to bake something. Well, technically I really want to eat something baked fresh from the oven, but that means I'll need to bake.

Plus, my Pinterest board has been getting mighty full of delicious-looking recipes to taunt/tempt me.

Sigh...decisions, decisions...

Hmm, I think the husband should decide since I really shouldn't eat an entire dish myself!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

THE apple pancake

This weekend's breakfast recipe was another winner. A big winner. And I'm glad I didn't thoroughly read the ingredient list before I started making it or else I never would have even printed it out (discovered it on Let's just say there's a bit more butter and sugar involved than I'm usually comfortable handling.

A giant caramelized apple dutch baby is what's on the menu. I kind of have a dutch baby obsession - they're just fun to make (and eat). Kind of like popovers. I've also been told the pancake needs to make an appearance while we're entertaining family in the next few months. So watch out.

With all the caramelizing going on in the bottom of the cast iron skillet, I was certain the only outcome would be disaster, but I guess tons of butter wins out in the end. Cleaning my cast iron was a breeze and I'll no longer fear cooking in it.

The Apple Pancake

(adapted from The Kitchn)

2 large or 3 medium apples, preferably tart ones like Granny Smith
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup unsalted butter (I might try it with 1/4 cup next time)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (unpacked)
3/4 cup flour (optional: whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
Powdered or cinnamon sugar, to serve (optional)

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then cut them into medium slices (1/4-inch thick or less). A apple peeler/corer/slicer do-hicky works perfect. You should have about 3 cups of chopped apples.

  • In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and ginger and set aside.

  • Cut the butter into chunks and place them in a deep cast iron skillet or 8x8-inch baking dish. Put the skillet or baking dish in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted. Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the 1/3 cup brown sugar over the melted butter. Carefully spread the apples on top of the brown sugar and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples. Put the pan back in the oven to caramelize the apples and sugar.

  • Whisk the flour with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly with a large wire whisk to beat out any lumps. When the flour is smoothly incorporated into the milk, beat in the vanilla and the eggs one by one. Beat by hand for 2 minutes, or until foamy. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. By now the sugar should be bubbling around the apples, about 7-8 minutes.

  • Take the pan out of the oven and pour the batter over the apples. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until center is set and sides are lightly browned. The pancake will puff up dramatically but fall after a few minutes after you take it out of the oven.

  • If you want, serve with powdered sugar or more cinnamon sugar but it really doesn't need any extra sweetness.

Friday, October 28, 2011


From my desk, I look over my shoulder and this is what I see:

"I got up from my nap just to give you the thousand-yard stare. Your popcorn, I need it."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

abc's part 2

One more alphabet print that I just came across...

Rifle Paper Co.

I love that the artist used a narwhal AND a turtle in a top hat. Hmm...this is going to be a tough decision.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Continuing the recent nursery decor theme... The baby's room has to have an alphabet print. Here are some super ones I found on Etsy:

seller: trendypeas
seller: nurserylove

seller: retro deco

seller: ink tree press

seller: sycamorestreetpress

And the gorgeous alphabet I just found this morning and totally covet:

seller: bookhouathome

Sunday, October 23, 2011

flavors of fall

Fall is my absolute favorite season. And even though we now live in the Southwest where, in October, we anticipate the drop below 100 degrees instead of the drop of the leaves, at least I can still have my fall flavors. Yes, we're still getting watermelons, tomatoes and peppers in our CSA basket, but winter squash is also starting to roll in and apples and pears are in full force at the store.

This weekend, I dove into a can of pumpkin puree to whip up the fluffiest pancakes ever. This recipe is so fail-proof that even I, the impatient queen of high heat and flat flapjacks, can create perfect pillowy pumpkin pancakes. Also, hooray for alliteration!

This recipe makes stacks and stacks of pancakes. So either have four hearty eaters on hand or be ready for leftover pancakes which really never hurt anyone. Also, I switched out the all-purpose flour in the original recipe for whole wheat pastry flour because I love the texture of whole grains and it's such a simple way to boost the healthiness of your breakfast.

Pumpkin Pancakes

(adapted from

1.5 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

  • In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt and stir just enough to combine. Don't overmix.
  • Heat a lightly oiled frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.