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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Plum Pancakes

How is your summer going? I have been gallivanting around Michigan, visiting friends in New York City, and starting my business. Michigan held family, beach, a wedding, and cooler weather. New York City had incredible bagels, lots of good food, long-lost friends, and humidity. And my business? Oh yes, it is in its beginning stages. I registered for sole proprietor of Rising Up Bakery, found a commercial kitchen to bake out of, and lined up a couple of farmers markets to sell granola at. It has been a slow process of permits, fees, and setting up the framework of my business, but I'm hoping to start selling in two weeks.

Fun at Lake Michigan
It's stone fruit season, friends. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums. I love to eat a perfectly ripe peach that falls right off the pit. Apricots are lovely in tarts, and plums are great fresh, sauteed with honey, or in pancakes. Red plums showed up quite nicely in these pancakes, and I imagine they would be great in muffins too. On a recent Saturday morning, I woke up knowing exactly what I wanted for breakfast. I pulled out my Good to the Grain book by Kim Boyce and turned to the oatmeal pancake recipe. The recipe calls for oat flour which, if you don't have, you can grind up plain oats in a blender or food processor to make some.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Walnut Sponge Cake

While racking my brain for a light, summery dessert to bring to a dinner last week, I turned to one of my trusted baking books: Pure Dessert. The author, Alice Medrich, divides up the chapters based on different flavors, such as the flavors of honey and sugar, the flavors of chocolate, the flavors of nuts and grains, etc. It’s genius. Instead of poring over the index, I just turn to a chapter of a flavor I’m feeling. I knew I did not want to do chocolate, since it was so hot outside and chocolate can be a little rich. Cream and butter would have been nice with the right kind of fruit, but I did not have the right kind of fruit. My eye fell upon this walnut sponge cake that I had been wanting to make since buying this book. 

Generally, I am not a fan of sponge cake. They can be a little like Styrofoam without much taste. I had a feeling, though, that this cake would be different. The ground walnuts add moisture and flavor in a way that creates a light yet indulgent dessert. When topped with freshly whipped cream and blackberries, it becomes more special. For a dairy free version, you can also just dust with powdered sugar, or eat it as is. The cake will keep for three days, or longer if it is sealed well in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kale with Pappardelle and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Do you ever get a paper delivered to you that you never signed up for, and it has maybe one article of interest and a bunch of ads for the rest of it? Apparently, whoever lived in our house before us signed up for the Baltimore Sun Extra, and we still get it two and a half years later. Usually the cover story is about a local restaurant. Sometimes it features an in-season ingredient. Most of the time I just recycle it without even looking at it. 

This time around, the featured vegetable was kale. I discovered my love of kale about three years ago when Justin and I signed up for our first CSA (community supported agriculture). To be honest, I had never eaten kale before then (or collards or kohlrabi or quite a few other items). The Sun Extra featured a few recipes with kale, and this one with sun-dried tomatoes caught my eye. 

This dish has gotten much favor in our normal rotation of meals. I made it two weeks ago, then a week ago, then Justin made it for meal share. We love it. It’s simple, but it does take some prep. Don’t skimp on the 10 cloves of garlic; it really adds to the flavor. And the anchovies? You can’t taste them directly, but they are crucial for creating the deep, savory flavor that makes this dish what it is. If you cannot find pappardelle pasta, you can substitute an egg fettuccini, but it really is best with pappardelle. The noodles are so chewy and tasty. 

One batch of this pasta feeds me and Justin with some leftovers, or you can feed four and add a side dish.