This is a tribute to the Portland Cider Summit going on this weekend. Luckily, it turned out tasty!
It’s nice to see that America’s original beverage is coming into its own. I became a fan a few years ago. My friend and I attended The Oregon Garden Brewfest for a couple years, I even volunteered one year (I recommend either going or volunteering, either way you’ll have a good time), sadly I couldn’t make it this year. The funny thing is I usually spent most of my tickets on cider instead of beer. Oregon brewers tend to ignore lagers and are heavy on IPAs and ales. Good ciders are available though and not just apple cider, there’s pear, cherry, and blackberry. So, when Wandering Angus posted on Facebook that the Cider Summit was going on in Portland again I messaged my friend immediately!
Cider has a range of flavors that differs from sweet to richly fermented. Each cider house has several takes on their idea of cider. Each season makes a difference as well, much like wine. The sweetness of the fruit making a big difference to each year’s pressing.
I don’t know why I decided on this combination but it worked. The sesame brings out the taste of fermented apple. It’s pretty pungent on its own but blends beautifully on a salad. I found the ginger paste at an Asian market. It doesn’t give much ginger flavor to the dressing but it definitely adds something. I have not tried fresh ginger, I think it would be a completely different flavor and might overpower the hard cider. If you can’t find ginger paste, I would use powdered ginger. Continue reading →
Coconut is one of my favorite flavors. Coconut cream pie, coconut latte, coconut Italian soda, I’m a little coco-nuts! Ha ha! So one day at the co-op I wanted some ice cream but not all the fat and dairy. They have all kinds of frozen treats made with coconut but not that many coconut flavors. It may seem a slight distinction but it makes a taste difference. So the Coconut Sorbet from Double Rainbow really stood out to me.
As a kid you don’t really question the names of things, but as we grow older we may notice the inconsistencies of our language. Salad is one such inconsistency. As a child I never once pondered why a fruit dish heaped in whipped cream would be called salad and served with the main meal. Even as I learned to make whipped cream for said fruit dish, I never once questioned why it was called salad. It was what it was and I did not question it (I’m sure there is some existential story in here if I really dug for it). Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t eat many salads made from greens, they were too expensive. But at some point I asked, why do we call this salad?
This question grew when I first started visiting buffets and was baffled to find mousse and whipped cream at the salad bar. Aren’t they supposed to be on the dessert bar? Why do we call it chicken salad? Why do we call it egg salad? While you can argue the token celery and green onion in chicken salad, there were no vegetables in our egg salad.
The fruit salad my mom made was a monument to the 60s and 70s. The ingredients were easy: canned fruit salad (canned grapes are really, really sad), an apple, a banana, and as many maraschino cherries as you thought you could afford to include dressed with whipped cream. As whipped topping came down in price the whipped cream was replaced with whipped topping. Fruit salad was served at holiday dinners as part of the meal, not to be confused with the pie that we would have for dessert. By the next day it was a sad dish as the cream would have started to separate, the bananas turn brown and mushy, and you could see the poor canned grapes. All the maraschino cherries would have been dug out by then of course.
So this is not my mom’s fruit salad. I’m sure her original recipe would have called for coconut; however, since she did not like coconut ours never had it. Tropical fruit would have cost way too much when I was growing up and nobody but health nuts eat yogurt. This salad will last a couple days in the fridge without separating looking sad. I kept the maraschino cherries though, but you might want to wear gloves when you cut them in half. They can stain your nails. Continue reading →
Kitchen mistakes happen. As long as they aren’t of the OMG the stove’s on fire variety, it’s not usually a big thing, it can even be a good thing. This pie was a mistake, but it turned out to be of the DANG GOOD variety. In fact, it’s the best chocolate cream I’ve ever had.
My pie making skills aren’t what they used to be, probably because I haven’t really baked a pie in…years? I can’t actually remember the last time I made a pie completely from scratch, but I had found a recipe I wanted to experiment with from Death Warmed Over by Lisa Rogak (quirky book, hopefully you’ll hear more it about soon). Since the cream filling was from scratch I somehow got it into my head that This Time I would make the crust as well. Sometimes I can’t talk myself out of these things. That voice says, “Good sense, be gone! You can do this!” and so I started making the crust. About the time I started trying to piece the pieces of crust together so that I could somehow end up with a pie crust without holes I was really questioning that voice. It told me nobody was going to see the crust anyway and that most people I know don’t even eat it. I agreed and just made sure there were no holes and made a mental note to add more liquid to the dough next time. The meringue turned out lovely, but I probably should have chilled the bowl, I think it would have been fluffier. But this pie isn’t really about either of those things (my friend’s kid certainly didn’t think so as she left both on the plate but not a lick of chocolate. Love that girl!), it’s about the chocolate cream. Continue reading →
The house was cold which made me want to bake. However, I was feeling far too lazy to actually bake something and a Dutch baby is pretty much a lazy way to make pancakes. I only discovered these lovely puffy pancakes a few years ago. My then boyfriend’s roommate made them for dinner one night. I was immediately enchanted with the idea. Pancakes without having to stand over the griddle? Baked goods finished in fewer than 30 minutes? Oh yes please!
The Dutch baby is of course a bit different than pancakes. They tend to puff more and have a slight custard texture. If you think the baby will puff right over the edge of the pan you can always poke a hole in the bubble. You can of course use milk in place of the buttermilk, but I like the slight tang that it adds. It adds depth to the flavor.
There will be enough butter in the pan that you won’t need more when they’re served. I like powdered sugar or syrup (whatever’s on hand) on top of mine, but you can use any kind of topping you like. I would stay away from anything you would need to spread as the texture is more delicate than regular pancakes, so maybe not peanut butter. Continue reading →
This is my favorite fudge. Quick, make some before your New Year’s Resolutions set in! Odds are you have the ingredients in your cupboard. There always seems to be leftovers from the holiday bake-a-thon lurking in the cupboard, poor orphans whose purpose we no longer remember or over bought. Let them fulfill their destiny as fudge!
Not everyone relishes this fudge as much as I do. I think that its simplicity is lost on many or perhaps I like it so much because it is so simple to make. It could be that it’s basically a thick ganache and that is just too much for some people. I’m fine with it. :D It is good to remember to cut this fudge in small squares; a little goes a long ways. Continue reading →
It’s National Eggnog Month. I don’t know who comes up with this stuff, but at least this one makes sense. I believe National Eggnog Day is December 24 or 25. I really want to be a fan of eggnog but I can’t get past the texture. I like the flavor though so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that use eggnog or have the same flavor. I found this recipe over at My Recipes and quite honestly I couldn’t think of a way to improve on it right now. I mean sure, I could come up with something completely from scratch but I wanted to take it to work by a certain date and I didn’t have time. I did add an orange glaze, which I highly recommend, but I’m not sure what I did wrong. It was supposed to be 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons orange juice. I keep a can of orange juice concentrate in the freezer that I can just scope some out of when I need a little orange juice and I think I added to much juice. It was still very tasty.
Make this cake the night or day before you wish to serve it. Right out of the oven I wasn’t that impressed with the flavor, but the next day everyone at work raved about the flavor. I’ll take their word for it as I wasn’t able to get another piece! The flavor is very delicate so don’t worry too much about those that don’t care for eggnog. Some people recognized the flavor right away, others once they found out what it was.
If I had not been taking the cake to work, I would have considered a brandy or rum glaze or maybe even an eggnog glaze. Maybe I’ll try that next time.
So go here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/eggnog-pound-cake-10000001940931/, top it with a glaze, and enjoy!