Monday, March 28, 2016

rye and poppy seed yogurt cake with cherries

Yossy Arefi over at Apt. 2B Baking is one of my favorite baking bloggers.  She (like me!) loves incorporating seasonal produce into her baked goods (she has a particular fondness for rhubarb which makes me happy).  I'm constantly looking to her blog for inspiration; her pictures are gorgeous, she cooks all of this beautiful food in a New York City sized kitchen, and she loves playing around with unusual grains/flours/flavor profiles.   I sometimes feel as if we should be friends.   

While perusing her blog last week, I stumbled across the trailer for her new cookbook which seems to be filled with all kinds of brilliant recipes - rye rhubarb upside down cake, blood orange doughnuts, the list goes on.  But the dish that had me racing to the kitchen was for a cherry poppy seed yogurt cake.    I don't know why this caught my eye, but something about the combination of cherries and poppy seeds just felt exciting - even without the recipe I knew I had to make a version of it.   

This is my riff on that cake and while it may not be her version, I think she would appreciate it.  It's a little bit tart, a little bit sweet and just about perfect.  The combination of cherries and rye flour is brilliant but they kicker is the poppy seeds, they really add a little something extra.   I've been snacking on it when I need a little afternoon pick-me-up but I don't think it would be out of place as part of big Sunday brunch spread.   

Rye and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake with Cherries
Inspired by a clip from the trailer for the Apt. 2B Cookbook.  Yogurt cake adapted from Ina Garten

For the Cake

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (55 grams) rye flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup (230 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek)
1 cup less 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar
3 extra-large eggs (can use large eggs with no ill-effect)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (about 255 grams) fresh or frozen pitted cherries

For the Strussel

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon rye flour
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Generous pinch of salt
3 tablespoons to - 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar (depending on your preferred level of sweetness)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Take the cherries and scatter them over the top of the cake, pressing some (about half) of the cherries down into the cake (if you don't do that all the cherries will be in a layer at the top).

In a bowl (I recommend the same one you use for your dry ingredients) combine the strussel ingredients - butter, flours, poppy seeds, salt, and sugar.   Cut the butter in to the other ingredients with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the strussel on top of the cake and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

overnight cinnamon rolls.

I think most people would agree that cinnamon rolls, warm from the oven on a lazy Sunday morning are one of life's greatest pleasures.  

And I'm not talking about Pillsbury rolls.  

Overnight cinnamon rolls aren't that much more difficult then your standard frozen rolls.  Sure they require a little bit of foresight but the result is worth it.  Moist, gooey, and impossibly addicting - they are everything you want in a weekend breakfast indulgence.  

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe from Alton Brown


4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray


8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4 -ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


If you are looking for something epic (and beyond the standard pita bread) to pair with homemade hummus this is the bread for you.   

I love pita, but making it isn't always easy.  Pita bread can be finicky.  Trying to create enough steam in the oven to "puff" the bread up can be a downright frustrating task.  This flatbread on the other hand is incredibly easy.   Man'oushe is a traditional Lebanese breakfast snack.  If you are a fan of the savory breakfast, I can see how eating one of these warm from the oven would be an appealing way to start the day.   But in all honesty, I can't see how you couldn't incorporate one of these breads into almost every meal you have.  Stuffed with feta, tomatoes, and cucumbers and rolled like a burrito it could be a portable lunch.  At dinner use it to sop up whatever remains on your plate from a stewed meat dish.   It's a flavorful bread that works all the time.   

Recipe from David Lebovitz

Yields - Six flatbreads

Flatbread Dough

1 cup (250ml) tepid water (slightly warmer than room temperature)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Za’atar Topping

1/4 cup (40g) za’atar
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil

To make the dough, in a bowl of a stand mixer (if mixing by hand, use a large bowl), sprinkle the yeast over the water along with the sugar and let sit in a warm place until the yeast starts to bubble, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the olive oil, flour, and salt. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment. If mixing by hand, stir with a wood spoon or spatula until it becomes too thick to stir, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough in the machine on medium-high speed, or by hand, until the dough forms a smooth ball, but is slightly sticky when you touch it with your finger. It’ll take about 5 minutes and will pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

To make the flatbreads, preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC and move the oven rack to the upper third of the oven. Set a baking steel on the rack. (Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your baking steel or stone.) Otherwise, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the baking steel or stone for 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small oval, rolling it just until each starts to resist. When each one does, set it aside on the countertop and begin rolling another. Continue to roll each of the six pieces of dough into ovals, stopping when the dough starts stretching back on itself.

When ready to bake, take the first oval of dough and roll it out to its final size, adding a bit more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to the counter or rolling pin, turning it over a few times to ensure it’s not sticking. Roll it until it’s about 12-inch long by 4- or 5-inches wide (30cm by 10- to 12cm).

Spread the oval with a layer of the za’atar mixture, about 1 1/2 tablespoons per flatbread leaving, not quite reaching the edge so there’s space for a crust. Don’t worry about any bare spots when smearing on the za’atar: it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Lift the finished flatbread with your hands, or slide a pizza peel dusted with flour underneath, and transfer the flatbread on the baking steel or stone. Continue rolling and topping the rest of the flatbreads, baking each until the crust is golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Remove the flatbreads from the oven when the crusts are golden brown and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving and storage: The flatbreads are best when eaten warm or shortly after baking, preferably within a few hours. You can make the dough in step 2 and chill it, letting it come back to room temperature before letting it rise and rolling it out. I would not freeze these flatbreads.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Tyler promised (or maybe he promised just to shut me up) that I could wall paper an accent wall in whatever apartment we someday end up getting.  So now I've fallen down the rabbit hole of wallpaper and its a deep rabbit hole.  Also it's a bad idea to look at things you have no idea if and when you can ever have....

Also, it's clear I have a thing for bold graphic patterns.  

agate wall. amazing.:

Agate Wallpaper:

The Making of Calico’s Marbled Wallpapers:

All images via Pinterest.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

pasta con ceci.

I have the tendency to go a wee bit overboard when ordering food products online.  In an effort to justify the shipping costs (or in an effort to get shipping for free), I often times find myself purchasing more then I may need (I'm exceptionally economical).  This explains how I ended up with 10 pounds of oats from Anson Mills (we are almost done!), enough Soom tahini to make several gallons of hummus, and most recently, 9 pounds of beans from Rancho Gordo.   

The thing I like most about all of these newfangled heirloom ingredient websites is that they include recipes. When dealing with new varieties of an ingredient, it's possible that they may behave differently then your run of the mill supermarket brand (longer cooking times etc.)  Having a recipe specifically created for that variety and being able to use it as a point of reference is incredibly helpful.   I personally love the recipes because the people making them know their product and they know how to make that product shine in a dish.   

There is something about the simpliciity of this pasta dish that I just love.  It's not revolutionary in the slightest and you definitely don't need Anson Mills chickpeas for it (though I do love their chickpeas) but it's an incredibly satisfying one-pot meal for this werid in-between March weather we are currently experiencing.   

Pasta con Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Recipe from Rancho Gordo 

2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Garbanzos
1 cup cooking liquid from the garbanzos
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sage leaves (I omitted since I didn't have any on hand)
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for serving)
4 ounces pancetta, in small strips
4 cups fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 ounces pasta
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large pot over a medium low heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and pancetta and gently cook for about 10 minutes. The pancetta will start to brown. Stir in the spinach and toss so that the hot oil covers each leaf. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Add the garbanzos, the cooking liquid and stir. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and then add to the garbanzo mixture. Test for salt.

Serve in bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and allow guests to add the Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

the home search begins.

Kitchen with black shelves via Fancy.:

Tyler and I have started to casually (or maybe not so casually since we did put an offer down which wasn't accepted) on buying an apartment.   It's funny how we've been together 10 years, gotten married, and adopted a dog and this feels so much more adultish then any of those things.  My parents have lived in the same house for the last 26ish years and in a lot of ways I feel like whatever we buy will be our forever home.  I like the idea of buying something that sees us through many many years.  I like the idea of something permanent.   

A lot of the design shows on TV focus on people flipping houses and maybe I have a romantic notion of what buying a house means, but I'm not looking to do that.  I'm looking to create roots and have something stable.  I want something that we will live in for a long while.  Something that requires (a tiny bit) of demo to turn it into our dream place.  Tyler and I both like fixing things (him at a much slower speed then me but that's OK (sometimes)) and we are trying to find something with good bones. Something that has character, is close to the park, and with some tender love and care, can be transformed into our dream space.  And if it happens to have three closets, well that may be the cherry on top.  

The plus side of all this has been talking design with him.  Leveraging Pinterest as a way to show him what I envision.  I've honestly found the whole process fun because I like the idea of us making a home together.  He's really good at seeing possibility and I'm really good at making that possibility look really freaking fabulous.   We've focused a lot of our attention on the kitchen because if there is any space I use a lot, it's the kitchen.  I have visions of white cabinets and poured concrete and I know I am getting way ahead of myself but I'm OK with that.  It's fun to think about.   I expect when this dream turns into a reality that I'll talk about the process in this space, but for now we are looking, and trying to find our home and I have a lot of inspiration photos so here's a handful of them.   

#home #interior:

Bench/table/fur. @thecoveteur:

photo armelle habib / via inside out:

Images via Pinterest.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

dark chocolate pudding.

Tuesday's require chocolate.  Preferably rich, dark chocolate (my personal preference).   

Brownies would be the obvious (and probably slightly easier) choice but I'm here to make the case for this chocolate pudding which truly knocks my socks off.   A cross between a typical American style chocolate pudding and a French pot de creme, it's the best of both worlds.  Impossibly silky and incredibly rich it exudes decadence but doesn't feel over the top.   It works as a celebratory dessert (I served it on Valentine's Day) but I like it best as part of my Tuesday evening catch-up with John Oliver's Last Week Tonight.   It makes the middle of the week feel all the more special.   

Dark Chocolate Pudding
Recipe via NYTimes

Serves 6-8

1 large egg, plus 2 yolks
6 ounces/170 grams bittersweet chocolate, preferably 66 percent to 74 percent cacao, chopped
2 tablespoons/30 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
2 ½ cups/590 milliliters whole milk
½ cup/120 milliliters heavy cream
⅓ cup/67 grams light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons/15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons/20 grams cornstarch
¼ teaspoon/2 grams fine sea salt
Whipped cream or crème fraîche, for serving
Chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)
Flaky sea salt, for garnish (optional)

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together egg and yolks. Set aside.

Place chocolate, butter and vanilla extract in a food processor or blender but don’t turn on.

In a medium pot, whisk together milk, cream, brown sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Bring to a full boil, whisking, and let bubble for 1 to 2 minutes to activate cornstarch. At that point, it will start to thicken, and when it does immediately pull the pot off the heat. (You don’t want to overboil the cornstarch, which can cause it to thin out again.)

Pour a little of the hot cornstarch mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly to prevent them from curdling, then pour eggs back into the pan with the remaining cornstarch mixture. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture just returns to a bare simmer (one bubble is plenty). Immediately pour into the food processor or blender. Run the machine until the pudding is very smooth (the hot milk mixture will melt the chocolate).

Pour into individual bowls or teacups or 1 large decorative bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 4 hours for individual servings and as many as 8 hours for 1 large bowl. Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Serve with whipped cream or whipped crème fraîche, decorated with chocolate shavings and a pinch of sea salt, if you like.