Friday, May 20, 2011

Number 70: Apple cobbler with white miso streusal

At some point in my life, I became obsessed with cobbler. It started off with this: 
A warm peach cobbler, hidden beneath two scoops of vanilla ice cream on a perfect summer day with good friends in Pasadena, right before a cutesy Michael Cera movie.

After that there was the berry cobbler with ice cream and coffee in Andersonville, the three or so apple or blueberry pies from Whole Foods, another triple berry crumble pie. And now, I'm hooked.

This recipe uses miso in the streusel topping - brilliant! It adds some depth to the flavor ("umami"is the trendy term, I believe). And even though I always slip a little too much lemon in, it always turns out to be a party pleaser. So make it! The recipe will make two small cobblers (as in two cake pans worth) or one large cobbler. And then grab some vanilla bean ice cream (though my sister prefers peanut butter) and dig in. All the peeling and coring is worth it.
Apple cobbler
with white miso streusel

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Number 69: Dulce de leche cookies

It's thundersnowing!

Which means after a terrible live shot attempt in video journalism class (I said "the blizzard people" instead of "city officials"), I rushed back home to change into my jammies and have some hot apple cider. It's my first blizzard EVER. (Reminder: I come from the snowless place of Los Angeles).

So tomorrow is my first snow day, and the school-less agenda includes but is not limited to: Hot chocolate, snow forts, snow angels, snow men, snowball fights and sleep. Lots of it. And maybe some dulce de leche. I bought a jar from Whole Foods last weekend and it has taken all my will power to refrain from eating it with a spoon like ice cream. I had it with a muffin yesterday, so I'd say I'm doing okay.

As of now, the wind is banging against my window and I am wrapped up in my yellow blanket from when I was a kid. There's supposed to be 20 inches of snow tomorrow, but I think my dulce de leche and I can handle it.
Dulce de leche cookies (Alfajores)
Adapted from epicurious.com

Friday, January 21, 2011

On food writing

I kind of love this GOOD magazine series.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Number 68: Orange marmalade

How to kill time this long weekend:

As it is winter, and in this area, snowy and miserably cold, I propose we spend our days indoors with the stove going full force, thus reducing the need for a heater.

The best way to stretch out the amount of time in front of the stove is to make marmalade, or jelly, or jam. And as it is winter, with citrus fruits popping off trees somewhere in California (not in Illinois), I suppose orange marmalade is the answer. This will ensure at least an hour of occasional pot-stirring.

I made two jars of orange marmalade as a present for my mom, who was obsessed with orange marmalade on saltine crackers with cream cheese. To be honest, it was way too much work for my taste, especially if you want to can it properly. When I have to boil clean jars in hot water, use tongs to remove them, and then boil the filled jars again, I usually give up. But I guess for my mom, I stuck it out.

So here's the recipe I used. It's too long and I'm too lazy to re-word it and everything, but if you have an interest in properly canning preserves to make them last longer and whatnot, learn how to sterilize mason jars here and process the jars here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Number 67: Brown butter cookies with sea salt

V has been raving about the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos, Calif. ever since he biked from San Jose to Los Angeles and tried a free cookie on the way. Apparently I had to make these rounded brown butter cookies with sea salt sprinkled on top.

I didn't get a chance to try the cookies last summer, but brown butter and sea salt seemed like an appealing combination. Another Northwestern baker at Bakelist posted brown butter cookies last summer, which I added walnuts to here. This time, however, I stuck to the recipe. For the most part.

Since I was using a brand new cookie cutter which imprints letters, I left out the heavy cream, which tends to crinkle the cookies' surface. With inspiration from V, I mixed sugar and sea salt and pressed it around the lettering. These aren't the little rounds of dough found at the Brown Butter Cookie Company, but they're good. 

Half of these became study snacks for a friend who is studying for the MCATs. The other half disappeared within days. Only one cookie was left for V, three days after the batch went into the oven. It wasn't as good as he remembered, but only because he had biked 50 or so miles before the first brown butter cookie in Cayucos.

Brown butter shortbread with sea salt 
adapted from Bakelist

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Number 66: Lavender honey shortbread

If you walk into The Spice House, you will walk out smelling like paprika.

The Spice House is one of my favorite establishments in Chicago.They sell three varieties of vanilla beans, several varieties of cinnamon, and dried lavender - perhaps the most elusive ingredient I have used so far.

So last week I picked up a packet of lavender at The Spice House in Old Town and proceeded to make lavender honey shortbread cookies. A commenter mentioned that such savory herb cookies are the best. 

Unfortunately, these weren't all that favored by my friends, so perhaps another recipe is worth a shot? Maybe more sugar? More honey? A better oven that lets me know when it is preheated? We shall see. 

In the meantime, here is the recipe. Personally, I enjoyed the cookies, but I think I like my rosemary shortbread cookies better. 

P.S. Any other ideas for lavender?
Lavender honey shortbread
adapted from Serious Eats 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food adventures: Weekday specials


I always like trying something new on weekdays - it makes the day less mundane. Especially if it's a Wednesday.


One of the editors this past summer was telling someone about how she loved Los Angeles because you could go somewhere different or nice to eat in another area of town, and it will feel like a mini vacation. Say, lunch at Beverley Hills. And then you see a celebrity.

I never saw a celebrity, or had a mini vacation, but that's because I usually made lunch. But I get it, a little break from the everyday.

So that's what happened last Wednesday. Roomie and I went for a late lunch at Fraiche, a cafe and bakery a couple blocks north from the dorm. It is, in short, super cute.


Anyway we had trouble choosing between the grilled cheese (with apple butter, ham and white cheddar) and a brie sandwich (brie, poached pear, basil, honey mustard). We ended up going with the grilled cheese and a orange curd cupcake, but we'll definitely go back for the brie. And their almond crusted brioche french toast. New favorite lunch/brunch spot?