What a gorgeous day it has been in Portland. It was 74 today! And sunny! My little plants are all popping up. The lettuce is in the ground outside and I swear it grew visibly larger in the last 24 hours with all that sun. The rhubarb is very nearly ready for go time (HELLO, PIE.) And my tomato starts inside are looking pretty good (knock on wood). I will be hovering over them on a daily basis until I can pick the tomatoes off of them. As usual.
I love having gardening and yard work be back in our weekend routine. Dave cuts the grass, I plant more and more things, and I hover over all of the plants, one after the other. I can’t wait to have summer fruits and vegetables to cook with, but until then, I’ve still got some bananas in my freezer.
If you thought we had exhausted the possibilities of chocolate-banana breakfast combinations, you thought wrong, my friends. Bam:
And I think these chocolate banana swirl muffins might be my favorite of our chocolate banana concoctions thus far. Which is saying something.
Sometimes I make my own puff pastry. This was not one of those times.
I bought the Grand Central U-Bake pastry at New Seasons. It was on a day when I was home alone, and I got my usual grandiose plans of baking up a storm and getting way ahead on blog posts (though, not so grandiose that I wanted to make my own laminated pastry). My entire haul from the grocery store that day was puff pastry, heavy cream and a bottle of rosé. Guess which one got used that evening?
Ok, to be fair, I also used the cream to get started making homemade mascarpone. But it turns out that you have to drain homemade mascarpone overnight. So my grand plans of making a strawberry mascarpone puff pastry tart were tabled. For the moment. So I had another glass of wine and did some other stuff.
A couple of days later my tart finally got to happen.
It was definitely worth the wait, and it was worth making my own mascarpone, too. I swear, one day I’ll get that post up. Come back tomorrow, will you?
Well, the recipe is basically in the title! Sometimes the best foods are the simple ones.
This is a quick dinner I made for myself while Dave is out for a work event. I had gone out for a run when I got home from work, and afterward made plans to work on a few blog recipes while finishing up a great bottle of wine. I actually made two recipes – the other was a delicious smashed avocado and poached egg toast. They were both great, but I have to admit, this one was better! I love grapefruit. I have no idea why I don’t eat more of it. But if you aren’t a grapefruit person, I bet this would be delicious with a tangerine as well.
And, PS, I made this mascarpone! Don’t worry, the post is coming. I’ve been trying to use it on as many things as possible. It was SO easy. I’m never buying it again. Well, unless I’m in a pinch, of course. But the homemade stuff is definitely the best I’ve had.
Size-wise, I would say that two big slabs of toast would be part (maybe half?) of a dinner. You could supplement with a nice, big green salad or a piece of grilled chicken or fish. Or, you could break it down and put the same ingredient combination onto baguette slices for an appetizer.
When it comes to breakfasts that I love the most, pound cake and quick bread are near the top.
The tough thing about making a pound cake or a quick bread on the weekends is that they take an hour to bake. Which means that you actually have to get out of bed at a reasonable time to mix them up and have them ready for a normal breakfast – and even for a later weekend breakfast, this can be kind of tough. We often end up making muffins rather than cakes or quick breads, but this weekend we were up in time and not trying to get anywhere. And therefore, we made this lemon poppyseed pound cake:
This cake is not ultra sweet or overwhelmingly lemony. I think it could go nicely with a simple glaze icing if you want, but it’s also quite nice without one.
It’s my final day in Austin. As you can see I have not had much better luck in getting blog posts up. It turns out that it’s not so easy to do your regular job, go to a conference and also keep up with the blog at the same time. Who would have thought?
I do feel like today I’m getting a little back in the groove, though. Instead of going out last night (which, at SXSW can mean starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m.), I took myself out for a nice dinner and then came back to the hotel, did some work and went to the gym. And I even made it to the gym again this morning! I’m sitting here with my steel cut oats and my coffee, and feeling more like myself. It feels good.
And while I’ve had a ton of great meals here (I’ve made it a personal mission to visit as many great places as possible), I am excited about being back home. I miss baking for breakfast. Especially because the last thing Dave and I made was this Chocolate Krantz Cake, another fine recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook:
Basically, a brioche-like dough is twisted with a delicious chocolate filling, and the results are sweet but not too sweet, and most importantly, there’s a ton of chocolate. I know this looks like a complicated process but this dough is actually really easy to work with – kind of like a pizza dough, almost. So never fear! While there are quite a few steps, they are not difficult steps. And the end result is so worth it.
So… muesli. There’s a Simpsons clip that perfectly illustrates its reputation. But APPARENTLY someone has been minding their copyright infringements and I can’t find a photo or video to share with you.
If you have it handy, it’s S12, Ep 18, “Trilogy of Error.” Homer, Bart and Lisa’s day beings poorly when Marge has decided that they will all have “mueslix” for breakfast, which is apparently some type of rubber cement. No one is able to ingest it. Maggie’s “juicelix” is not actually liquid, either. Homer and Lisa escape the horrific breakfast on the pretense of seeing Lisa’s science experiment, Linguo. I think that’s the last we see of the dreaded health cereal.
Now, maybe it’s the unusual name, but it seems pretty common that muesli has a reputation for being cardboardish and so healthy that it’s not actually enjoyable. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Muesli is the healthiest cereal I think I’ve ever had, and it tastes bright and fresh. The coconut is the sleeper hit.
But it is healthy. You think granola is healthy? This has way less sugar and almost no fat. Nothing against granola – I am all for eating healthy portions of sugar and fat. I’m just trying to illustrate that muesli is about as good as it gets in terms of a high-fiber, whole grain, low sugar breakfast cereal. It’s not far from being an un-syruped, un-baked granola. That also means that it takes about five minutes to make. It’s a great food for athletes and people who are training for races.
A funny thing happened when I went to edit photos for yesterday’s post, the Vanilla Pear Muffins. I knew that was the recipe I wanted to do today, and I opened a big group of images to see them at the same time… and realized I had forgotten all about these:
How? I have no clue. They are pretty epic.
These chocolate peanut butter muffins were one of the best breakfast decisions we’ve ever made. You see the chunks of peanut there in the glaze? That was Dave’s genius move. I had been thinking chocolate chips, but I put chocolate chips on a lot of things. This was way more fun. And yes, it was delicious.
Hoo boy. You guys, it is no longer pitch black at 5:15 when I leave the office to go home. The end is nigh. Spring is getting ready to…. spring.
Maybe it’s the rain, but it seems like the light on winter days is even shorter here in Oregon than I remember having in the midwest. And the randomly gorgeous weather like we had this weekend makes me want to plant tomatoes. Not too many things make me not want to plant tomatoes, but right now I really want to get going. I even got my seed catalog in the mail. And I bought tulips for the kitchen table. Spring can’t come soon enough, but until it does, I am still enjoying my winter fruits.
We’ve been playing with pears a lot over the past week. USA Pears was kind enough to send me a box of six of them, and Dave and I have been using them for sweets, for pizzas and all kinds of stuff. I also just ate one as is today, because they are so darn good on their own.
I’ve definitely had fun working these into some epic savory dishes (just you wait for that pizza), but I love using pears for sweets, too. These muffins came out so soft, and with such a nice rise. We’ll definitely be making them again.
Hi from San Francisco! I’m here for work doing a lot of photography, and of course, hitting a few top food spots along the way. Today I crossed an item off my bucket list with lunch at Mission Chinese. The squid ink noodles were to die for! I also paid visits to Blue Bottle Coffee and Miette during the day – I must have been walking for five hours, so I think I earned the calories! I finished the day off with an excellent dinner at Fino. I swear I had no intention of eating that entire plate of risotto. It just happened.
It’s been nice to wander around the city wearing a t-shirt and a light jacket, especially after Portland’s frigid and frosty weekend. Hopefully by the time I arrive home tomorrow, it will all be gone. It’s hard to believe we spent the last 3+ days snowed in!
One of my favorite things about our days at home was the baking. We managed to make some excellent southern biscuits, some cookies (which will make an appearance later) and these chocolate banana muffins.
I am pretty sure this is the third chocolate and banana muffin combination on this blog so far. It’s such perfect breakfast harmony. I probably will not stop until I’ve exhausted every possible iteration. So, never. Hope you like chocolate and bananas!
Oh my goodness, it is so cold. Where did my nice weather go? We are potentially getting up to five inches of snow tomorrow? DO NOT WANT!
It turns out that people have a term for this – the nice weather that shows up around the beginning of February, then promptly disappears: “February fakeout.” Of course it’s catchy. Harrumph! *zips parka to cover face* It was a cold walk home from the train today.
I can’t be too mad about winter, though, because of the awesome citrus we have available.
There is no such thing as too many blood oranges. They are intensely flavored, fun, a little out of the ordinary and also, the juice makes an adorable pink color.
I dare you to make these and not have a smile on your face.