This month, as we think about cooking and baking for the people we love (a round-about way to celebrate Valentine’s Day), I decided to create this Meyer Lemon Cake with Blackberry Pudding for my partner, Brandon. For years now, I’ve heard him rhetorically ask, “Why, why, why are there not cakes that use pudding for frosting?!”
This cake is an act of love for more reasons than just the pudding-for-frosting swap: it’s also because it’s a cake recipe that doesn’t include chocolate (gasp!), is absent of peanut butter (choke!), and entirely without salted caramel (gaaahhh!).
As we’ve discussed before, my main squeeze is a pie guy, and though he likes cake, it’s not his first stop when perusing a dessert menu. He generally goes to the fruit-focused treats first. I’m the exact opposite – it’s taken me years to get to a point where I’m even willing to accept fruit as a dessert option, though when you have options like this, I’ll admit it’s not terribly difficult to change your ways.
So, as a sign of my ever-evolving maturity (I can make things for other people!) and acceptance of fruit in desserts (because this, can, in fact, cause a person change their mind), I made this cake. And, I have to admit: the sweet-tart richness of the cake + the sweet tart creaminess of the custard is pretty fantastic.
During this month of extra love and candy hearts and red roses we thought we’d bring you food we love to feed the ONES we love. I don’t know about you but food is often how I show others my appreciation and love for them.
Whether it’s homemade christmas cookies or pita bread for a co-worker who always helps me out or cake to celebrate a birthday, food is a way for me to show I care. A desire to stay in touch with a friend through food is how this blog got started!
There’s a ramen place that, years ago, was just one neighborhood over from us in Seattle. Aloha Ramen was a tiny hole-in-the wall with about a 10 cramped tables and amazing noodles and broth. As a non-meat eater, my search for a delicious vegetarian broth is almost always disappointing, but Aloha’s broth is richly flavored and the noodles are toothy and enthusiastically springy, as though they just can’t wait to be eaten.
Eventually the restaurant moved about 20 minutes away from us. Happily for them (and sad for us) they’ve become super popular, which means after a longer-than-idea drive, there are also often long waits. In these dark and wet days that define Seattle in the wintertime, these issues are prohibitive. This situation clearly necessitated the re-creation the experience of delicious, warming, comforting ramen without leaving my delicious, warming, comforting home.
Many months back, Pinch of Yum posted a fantastic Ramen Soup recipe, and I can attest to the veggie broth being absolutely delicious (and I’ve made a very few alterations that makes it even easier). So! Broth problem solved. And dried noodles? Pretty good – but homemade noodles? I think we can all agree that no matter the noodle varietal, they’re always better.
Plus – and this is true! – once you’ve got all the ingredients, it comes together in a snap, especially after you’ve made them once or twice and the small amount of prep is done. These noodles are the springy, slightly chewy, and enthusiastic noodles we’ve been looking for. And truth: we haven’t been to Aloha for over a year.
A storm has moved into town and what could be more comforting on a cold day than homemade soup. I was watching Will & Grace reruns (Season 6 Episode 12) where Grace obsesses over soba noodles and I decided I wanted to make my own soba noodles and a simple soba soup. Start to finish I had these noodles and the soup made in an hour.
I took this recipe from Saveur but cheated a bit in that I used a stand mixer to knead the dough and a pasta roller to roll and cut the noodles. Made of mostly buckwheat flour and a little all-purpose flour this dough was SO easy to work with. I only used about a third of these noodles in the soup so the rest I dried out on the countertop for about 8 hours before storing in a plastic bag and freezing.
- Try to eat less
- Make foods I can can consume large quantities of
We take some of our favorite veggies – mushrooms and kale – a tangy marinara sauce and layer it with spaghetti squash and 3 kinds of cheeses. This recipe isn’t overly cheesy (though if you add lots I will respect you greatly). But since a main goal of this lasagna is to feel guilt-free while eating as much as possible, I was a bit stingy with the cheese. For added heft, hearty lentils are stirred in to the marinara sauce to ensure that – at some point – we’ll fill up. It’s not complicated, but it’s a cozy, healthy dinner that lets us stay home (safe and warm!) to ride out the month of January.
Did anyone else grow up with super simple, super cheap dishes that as an adult, when you think about them, take you back to a simpler time? Much like the scene in the movie Ratatouille where Anton Ego, the stuffy food critic, is served the traditional peasant dish of Ratatouille and is immediately transported to a childhood memory, there are certain dishes that are comfort foods for me and invoke a simpler time before adult-ing! That’s what this Comfort Food Casserole does for me.
This month we bring you comfort foods. What better way to get through January but with comfort foods? I always need extra motivation to get through this month of post holiday madness and, typically here in Colorado, bitter coldness and skin that feels like it will crack!
Bringing in the New Year deserves a special celebration, so why not set some booze on fire to welcome in 2018? We just did it to celebrate the holidays, and I can confirm that Flaming Punch is an excellent way to get excited for what’s to come!
Realistically, I’d probably like this drink solely because it’s something you get to light up, but it’s also really tasty. It’s warm and toasty (a result of the hot booze, of course, and also the rum and the cognac) with some lemon for tartness, demerara sugar for sweetness, and black tea to stand the whole thing up.
A few other reasons to enjoy this drink:
- The lemon makes your hands (and the drink) smell delicious
- A hot drink is perfect during this chilly season
- It’s super easy to make AND is super fancy to serve
- Done correctly, it’s a perfectly safe way to get to set things ablaze (note: we did have a fire extinguisher close at hand, because Safety First!)
- The recipe apparently originated from Charles Dickens?!
Even though gift giving for this holiday season is coming to a close there is still plenty of partying to be done between now and New Year’s Day. Since we are all pressed for time I thought I would share some quick and easy treats I whipped up for guests recently.
Each of these recipes I borrowed from other blogs so in the interest of having more time to party I am not going to retype them but provide the links. Each treat has a story though so I will share that instead!
I made this list for two reasons:
- I love a good recommendation from a real person. I find general customer product reviews as generally unhelpful; for every “this hot pad changed my life” there is another comment that says, “this hot pad caused my divorce!”
- The holidays are closing in, and as much as I believe in making your own gift (and there’s still plenty of time to do that before Kwanzaa), I also believe in buying gifts too. For some of us, time is very short (Chanukah is almost over!) and rush delivery is still a reasonable option (Christmas is a week away!).
So, let’s get to it!
I love eating cookies. I love baking cookies. Most of all I love giving cookies! Whenever I need a gift for someone, I go to Food52. This is how I discovered the CookieBox™. What better gift this holiday than making your own cookie kit in a CookieBox™?!
I discovered this box a few months ago when I needed just the right gift for Strudel’s birthday. She had just finished telling me that before we went to the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento, she had made a batch of cookies for her partner to enjoy while she was away for the weekend. As I browsed Food52 I found CookieBox™ and as a result I knew she needed one for her cookie storage.
You might ask, a box just for cookies? I ask, why not?! This isn’t just any old box, it’s a handcrafted pine box made in the US. Not only is there the CookieBox™, there’s the PieBox™ and CakeBox™ too. The leather straps come from right here in Denver! Even better, last month, I entered a giveaway contest on Instagram @piebox and won! Now Strudel has a CookieBox™ and a PieBox™ for all her baking adventures!