her baking & his cooking

she bakes. he cooks. we eat.

her: raspberry & fig cake

sunday cake was saturday cake last week.  we were on a roll for a little while there, weren’t we? hopefully we’ll be back on track this week… as it stands, i have no plans on sunday, and paolo will be working brunch, which means i will probably finish the west wing and baking a cake.  if you watch/ed the west wing.  lawd.  i’m in love.  not just because charlie is gus and gus is my favorite on psych but also because of josiah barlet, i mean, the man needs no words.  he’s amazing.  so is CJ.  that woman is a tall drink of water (literally).  clearly, cake and the west wing go hand in hand. cake. the west wing. coffee. that’s my plan for this sunday.

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last saturday we had friends over for dinner and i wanted to do something different for dessert.  you can thank trader joes for saturday cake because they have fresh figs in stock. right away i knew i wanted to do something with figs and raspberries… i found a recipe online that looked interesting and decided to run with it.  it didn’t have any baking soda/powder in it, so i was worried that it was going to be too dense, but it actually ended up being amazing.  

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i’m not sure that i’m going to be able to do this cake justice with my words… there is lime zest incorporated in the batter, please don’t skip it.  it brings this wonderful, fragrant aroma to the cake. it’s not overwhelming or even subtle, it’s definitely just the right amount.  the cake seems dense… when inverted it on my cake stand i was worried that the inside wasn’t going to moist, because it felt heavy… but the inside was perfect.  the outside is thick but it’s this beautiful crust that protects the fluffiness that’s hidden beneath that layer.  the best way to describe this cake is substantial, but fresh.

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the recipe calls for a powdered sugar dusting which, obviously i love, but i decided to do a mascarpone whipped cream with lime zest instead… best decision, ever. 

recipe source: food & wine 

ps. if you have any netflix suggestions, i’m all ears… when the west wing is over (*sigh*) i’ll need something new to watch!

<3

His: Mexiterranian Middle Eastern Taco

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Oh my goodness dudes and dudettes, this is one of my new favorite creations and it’s sooo tasty. Really though. I’ve been making a lot of Middle Eastern and Indian foods lately because we really love the flavors and the spices and when done right, it’s just so damn delectable. I basically made masala lamb, roti, and a sort-of tzatziki sauce.

Roti:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • sugar
  • salt
  • cumin
  • baking powder

Mix until it forms a ball. Portion out into golf ball portions and then roll out thin, quarter inch. Once rolled, fry in a pan and boom. Done.

Lamb:

  • 1.5 lbs of cubed lamb or chicken (1/2”)
  • 1 Cup of Yogurt
  • 1/2 t of: Curry powder, chili powder, ginger powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt, pepper.

Mix and marinate for a minimum of 4 hours. Overnight preferably.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes until tender.

Done

Sauce: Secret

  • Yogurt
  • Ricotta
  • Goat
  • Tahini
  • Cucumber
  • Scallions
  • Salt and Pepper

Once everything is ready you can build it like a taco! We added pickled shallots, jalapenos, arugula, and tomatoes. Quite tasty.

'Til the next dish!

her: dulce de leche bundt cake

i didn’t do sunday cake last week because i did a lot of baking for the 4th of july… so, we’ll just pretend that thursday cake was sunday cake.  my grandma’s birthday is the 4th of july, she’s an amazing woman, the matriarch of our family. this cake is my toast to her.    

i know i was happy with this cake because i had it for breakfast the next day.  and maybe lunch too.  don’t judge.  you’ve seen dulce de leche a few times on the blog already… i think it’s totally worth the money.  i’m not brave enough to make it on my own, something about boiling a can of condensed milk in a pot makes me cringe.  i’m worried that the one time i try to do that, the can will explode everywhere… so i’m perfectly happy buying it from the store.  this batch was courtesy of a friend who brought it back from argentina.  winning. 

i only made a few changes… i skipped the tunnel, added more dulce de leche to the batter, and used mexican vanilla extract.

a sweet dusting of powdered sugar.  my absolute favorite.  

recipe source: ambrosia

<3

His: Mussels and Pasta

Here are another couple of dishes that are super super simple. Really Really. I promise.

Mussels:

The hardest part about cooking mussels is the cleaning portion. You have to pull out the “beards” and make sure that they’re still alive. Discard the cracked ones and ones that don’t stay closed. Other than that, you take the mussels and throw them in a pan with about two tablespoons of butter together. Once the butter has melted, toss in some sliced shallots and about a half a cup of white wine and then cover. They’ll let you know when they’re done once they open up. Toss some basil on top, crack pepper and salt, and BOOM! Done.

Pasta:

Same with this one! Cook the pasta (fettuccine, spaghetti, whatever noodle you desire) according to the directions on the pack. Once done, simply toss in olive oil and butter in equal portions, enough to coat the noodles and then some. Crack some pepper, toss some salt, mix, and then top with a nice, nutty cheese like asiago or parmesan. Another one in the bag. 

'Til the next dish!

her: blackberry buttermilk cake

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i think i jinxed myself last week.  all that talk about sunday cake being relaxing translated to a big, fatty, sunday cake fail!  i’m lucky i started baking pretty early in the morning, because i was able to redeem myself with the beautiful blackberry buttermilk cake that you see here.  that cake was spectacular.  super moist, a little tangy (obvs from the buttermilk), just enough sweetness from the blackberries, and a little hint of citrus from some orange zest.  

the big cake fail?  well. it started off as a good idea and then ended up being a soupy mess.  it was supposed to be a honey mango upside down cake.  i’ll say a few things.  1.  lots of folks seem to be up in arms about the idea of actually baking mango, which i understand, it’s so good when it’s fresh. 2.  i totally don’t know how to bake with honey yet, i feel like a little bit goes a long way and sometimes i have great success (ie: honey rosemary shortbread) and other times it’s a big thumbs down. in this case, even though i cut down the amount, it totallllly overpowered the mango.  3. upside down cakes are finicky, this cake? the top was still undercooked and the bottom was almost burned. i have no ideas.  

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at some point, i’m going to try and make it again, but with a few tweaks because i think the base is there and i’m sure it has the potential to be fabulous…  but i didn’t attempt to make it again on sunday, i just moved onto something else that i had saved in my, bake-one-day-when-i-have-time-file.  

i’m glad that the blackberry buttermilk cake worked out, because two cake fails in one day would have been too much for me.  i would have had a wine pity party, for one.  

not sure what i’m making yet this week… but hopefully it’s not a hot mess.  

ps. our blog turned 2 this week! happy birthday to us!

recipe source (blackberry buttermilk cake): bon appetit | july 2011

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our: summer bites

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one of the best things about living in seattle is the food.  amazing food is everywhere.  restaurants, cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, farmers markets.  literally, everywhere.  we’re pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new places, but i think that 9/10 if we are given the opportunity to go out or make dinner at home, we pick making dinner at home (by making dinner at home, i mean, i drink wine and paolo cooks). we love our kitchen and there is something very gratifying about making food that is delicious, sustainable, and satisfying.  

but, we made a deal to get out a little more and really embrace the city we live in… here are 10 places (in no particular order) on our summer bites list.  if you have any other recommendations, we’d love to hear them… or if you want to come along for the ride, we’d love the company!  we’ll cross them off the list as we go, hopefully we’ll be able to get a little review up as well…

  1. altura
  2. how to cook a wolf
  3. canlis
  4. ma’ono
  5. hitchcock
  6. the whale wins
  7. delancey
  8. le pichet 
  9. paseo
  10. miyabi 45th

the only other thing i’ll say is that even though a few of these places are on the extra pricey side, seattle doesn’t skimp out on the cheap bites either.  a $6 bowl of pho will always be one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. 

<3

her: plum, rosemary, and brandy cake

sunday cake day has been a big success in our little apartment.  it’s been great for me, because it gives me time to focus on myself and do something that i love with no stress. it’s been great for paolo because gets to eat more cake, obvs. 

the new job has been interesting… it’s definitely been a big culture shock, it’s super quiet in the office, everyone is sort of in their own little world, and a lot of the acronyms are still going over my head, but, i’m pushing through… and i’m hopeful that in a few weeks, everything will feel a little more settled.  

with so much change, it feels nice to be in the kitchen with butter, flour, sugar, and delicious, local fruit, creating something that is comforting. doing something that i know.  doing something that i know i’m good at.  it’s important to feel value in what you’re doing, and for me, right now… that’s in our kitchen.  with sunday cake. 

plums soaked in brandy helps too. 

a few notes:

  • i made this in an 8” cake pan with no issues
  • i used 1 tbs of rosemary, that was enough to be fragrant, but not overpowering, for me
  • 2 tbs of buttermilk didn’t seem like enough when i was mixing the batter, but it totally worked
  • i was feeling nervous about pouring the remaining brandy over the cake, so i only brushed a little over the top. thumbs down. don’t be like me. use all of that goodness! 

recipe source: desserts for breakfast

<3

His: Squid Bruschetta

Bruschetta is easily one of my most favorite apps. It’s grilled or toasted bread topped with anything you want!

This one was simple as usual. 

Start with a good bread, obviously. I like to grill it to give a nice crunch on the outside while still keeping it soft toward the middle. Once grilled, I quickly rubbed butter to give it a nice sheen and flavor.

Toppings:

Sautéed squid (body and tentacles(my favorite part)) with salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

Grilled lemons. I thinly slice the lemons and grilled them on both sides to give it a good char. A nice ripe lemon works well so that they don’t dry out completely. Then chop them, almost a mince. Mix the lemons with chopped parsley and salt and pepper.

That’s it!

Oh yea. I also made some aioli. Egg yolks. A touch of mustard. Garlic cloves. Blitz them in a blender and then slowly trickle olive oil in until you reach a thick consistency. It’s rad!

'Til the next dish! 

her: peach & rhubarb kuchen

sunday cake.  this recipe is from smoke & pickles by chef edward lee. the book is wonderful, fabulous pictures, lots of great stories, and the recipes are pretty fantastic.  a blend of southern food with asian influences.  basically, my dream come true.  

there is a strong german influence in the part of kentucky where chef lee lives.  so, you can thank deutschland for this little beauty right here.  my mom is from a little town in germany and she learned to speak english by watching days of our lives when she moved to the states.  that’s how they picked my name… jennifer. super 80s.  i spoke german fluently until i was about 3 years old.  in high school i took german for a year, my name was elsa (which is also my maternal grandmother’s name), and while the language sort came back quickly, it still felt very foreign.  

i’m not connected to my german roots, i don’t have a relationship my mom and my grandmother passed away last year, but i couldn’t help but think about them a little bit when i made this cake.  it was an interesting feeling… one that i’m sure i want to have again anytime soon, but in the end, at least there was tasty cake. 

just a few notes:

  • i used super ripe peaches & rhubarb for this recipe
  • don’t skip the pistachios… they were the best part 
  • i used granulated vanilla bean sugar for the topping, next time i’ll use demerera sugar instead 
  • i made this in a spring form pan, instead of the 9x13 baking dish that is suggested in the book 
  • buttermilk whipped cream = new best thing ever

kuchen

  • 6 tbs unsalted butter at room temp (plus more for the baking pan) 
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3 ounces cream cheese at room temp 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large peaches, pitted , and cut into wedges
  • 4 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)

topping

  • 1/2 cup crushed pistachios 
  • 2 tbs demerera sugar
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  1. preheat the oven 375F and butter a 9 inch springform pan
  2. with a fork, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, in a small bowl 
  3. in the standing bowl mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy
  4. add the eggs, one at a time, and buttermilk, and mix until thoroughly combined, about 2-3 minutes 
  5. with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, until the batter is smooth, scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary 
  6. pour the batter into the springform pan, place the fruit over the batter, and press down slightly.  top with pistachios, sugar, and butter pieces
  7. bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is golden brown 
  8. remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack, serve with fresh buttermilk whipped cream

buttermilk whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbs buttermilk
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar
  1. combine heavy cream, buttermilk, and powdered sugar, in a standing bowl mixer, that has been sitting in the fridge for 30 minutes 
  2. beat with the whisk attachment until low peaks form, about 3-5 minutes
  3. refrigerate until ready to use 

recipe source: smoke & pickles 

<3

His: Haloumi and White Balsamic Pizza

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You already know I love pizza! Here’s another pizza that I created for an at-home date night. Lately I’ve been using ricotta cheese as the base instead of a tomato sauce and we really like it. It’s a nice change up with a richer texture. You should try it.

Pizza:

  • Whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Caramelized red onions
  • Prosciutto
  • Haloumi (the coolest cheese ever. you can literally grill or pan fry it and it doesn’t melt everywhere. awesome)
  • Balsamic Glaze:
  • 1 C White balsamic
  • 1/3 C brown sugar

Mix in sauce pot and bring to boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and simmer for about 10 and then let it cool.

Drizzle on top. 

It’s quite tasty, let me tell you.

'Til the next dish!