It’s with great pleasure that I announce that Humbledish is now one year old! Yay, Humbledish! Ben and I celebrated this milestone with a layered funetti cake with rosé buttercream. And donuts on top. Because donuts. It is a smashing cake that my coworkers are feasting on this very moment, and the recipe can be found on the bottom of this post, as always. I’ll talk more about the cake shortly, but I’d like to use the front end of this post to reflect on the last year, as well as my goals for the future. It just seems like the right thing to do, ya know? Feel free to scroll ahead past all the blah-blah-blah, if you wish.
I wish that I could say that blogging has been all fun and fulfillment. Truthfully, I vacillate between periods of genuine pride for what I am building and have learned so far, and then feeling like an unmitigated fraud. I spend a lot of time wondering if anybody reads this thing, and why does it matter to me if anybody reads this thing, and what am I even getting out of this? Is all of this effort and money spent worth it? Will any of this matter to anyone but me? Hello? Can anybody hear me out there?
I would truly rather spend less time entertaining that kind of negativity, but even when I am, I at the very least know that I am doing something. I am trying something, and for the first time in my life, I am following through. The website is not perfect and it’s not really even done (how do I still not have an “About Me” page?), but I built it. Sometimes my photos are a little dark, or a little out of focus, but they are miles ahead of my first photos, and continue to improve. I am becoming okay with existing inside the learning process and, slowly, I am narrowing the gap between my vision and what my current abilities allow me to achieve.
So here I am, one year in, which is the perfect checkpoint to assess where I started, where I am, and where I’d like to go next. My goals for the next year are:
-to come to peace with not being able to post as frequently as “real” food bloggers. I love dreaming about the possibility of blogging full-time in the future, but my now-reality is working a full-time job and cooking/photographing on the weekends. I am finding that one post per week is a good, realistic goal that allows me to deliver content that I can be proud of.
-to be kind to myself as I continue developing skills that are still new to me.
-to make connections with readers and other food bloggers out there.
Let’s talk about cake! This triple-layered funfetti cake with rosé buttercream is nothing short of F-U-N. We’ve got sprinkles! We’ve got donuts! We’ve got wine! We’ve got… MORE sprinkles! It’s the perfect cake for adults who want to forget they are adults. Let’s start from the inside and work our way out. A classic, tender buttermilk white cake (from Sally’s Baking Addiction) gets accessorized with rainbow jimmies to form the innards- it’s firmer and much less sweet than boxed funfetti cake mix, and provides a strong base. The buttercream (adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen) starts with reducing a cup of rosé by half in a saucepan, then combined with powdered sugar, and whipped and whipped with a WHOLE POUND of butter. It’s a lovely buttercream that is not too cloyingly sweet, and has a nice subtle tang from the rosé (the alcohol cooks off during the first step, so be sure that this is family-friendly, as well). I opted to frost the cake semi-naked, which means that buttercream is applied just scantly to the sides- enough to fill in some nooks and crannies, and then is scraped off make a smooth surface all around the sides. It’s just like puttying a hole in the wall. Topping this cake is the fun part- use your imagination! Meringue cookies, pastel-colored french macarons, donuts, frosted animal cookies… you name it. I bought a pack of Little Debbie mini-donuts for $.79, dipped them in different colored icings, and sprinkled them. BOOM.
Well, er- I guess that’s it. If anyone really does follow this blog… please comment and say hello- I’d really like to get to know you!
- 3 3/4 c. sifted flour
- 3/4 t. baking powder
- 3/4 t. baking soda
- 1 t. salt
- 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3 t. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 3/4 c. rainbow jimmies
- 5 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. Rosé or other blush wine (choose something fruity and less dry)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- pink and yellow food coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and lightly flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter on high until creamy using stand-mixer or hand-mixer. Add the sugar and continue beating for 5 minutes. Reduce speed and add the whole eggs one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, allowing each addition to incorporate. Set batter aside.
- Using clean whisk or beaters, beat the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into cake batter. Finally, fold in the jimmies.
- Spread batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from the middle. Allow cakes to cool completely- wrap and freeze if desired (see note section).
- Measure powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Cut butter into 1-inch chunks and set aside.
- Pour wine into a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 c. (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Immediately after, turn your mixer on low speed and pour hot wine into mixing bowl in a slow and steady stream. Increase speed to medium and beat until the mixture comes down to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the salt.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the butter chunks. Once all the butter is fully incorporated, increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until light and fluffy. Tint with food coloring, if desired.
- Frost however you'd like, then top with all the goodies your heart desires!
- Cake layers can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. Wrap each layer individually with two layers of cling wrap.
- Frosting can also be made ahead. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and re-beat just before using.
I’ve been making pork potstickers for family and friends for years- they have always been improvised and slightly unique each time, and I never wrote the recipe down until I prepared the little dumplins you see pictured before you. We took a long camping weekend up in Washington last month with some loved ones where I was reminded by Ben’s cousin Alex that I once made these potstickers for him several years ago, long before we all migrated to our respective corners of the Pacific Northwest. He told me emphatically that they were so delicious that he has since never forgotten about them. It warmed my heart! The whiskey helped, too.
My love language is food. This is in no small part due to warm and snuggly memories I have of making jello poke cake and elephant ears and cinnamon rolls with my grandma in her tiny kitchen as a wee lass. I like to think that love is evident in the foods I prepare (with the exception, perhaps, of these scones, which made me stabby). Potstickers, especially, are truly a labor of love- every comforting bite was once cradled gently in the hand of the person who lovingly crafted them, one-by-one. This is a very sly and sentimental way of disclosing to you that they are not fast to prepare, and there’s some technique to learn.
There are upsides to potstickers’ laborious, two-bite construction. They can be prepared in bulk for future convenience- I usually make about 100 at a time (double the recipe below). And they freeze just marvelously- that way whenever you need them, you can open your freezer and grab a handful or a lot. They don’t need to thaw and they take just ten minutes to fry/steam straight from the freezer, so you can have them for dinner, lunch, snack, elevenses, party-time (what is that), or whenever hunger strikes. I don’t exaggerate how quick and easy they are to heat up- I have been enjoying fresh, crunchy, and piping-hot potstickers on my hour lunch-break all week. I am living the dream, you guys!
Flavor-wise, these pork potstickers have got it all. Each dumpling is a magical parcel bursting at the seams with mouthwatering umami flavors of ground pork, shiitake mushrooms and sesame oil. They’re salty and spicy and crunchy and addicting, and you are going to love them. They’re perfectly complemented by the dipping sauce included with this recipe- sweet brown sugar, salty soy, and the zip of plenty of sambal oelek. Do not neglect to make the sauce- it comes together really fast on the stove and there’s plenty to keep in the fridge until your potsticker-stash is depleted.
So here it is! My very own pork potstickers- written down, at long last, hurled joyfully into the ether, so they can be shared and loved forever and ever, amen.
- 2 t. sesame oil
- 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely diced
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 t. freshly grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1 t. chili paste (sambal oelek or sriracha)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 c. coleslaw mix, roughly chopped to break up long pieces
- 2 T. cornstarch, divided (plus extra for dusting)
- 1/4 c. warm water
- 50-60 potsticker wrappers
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. soy sauce
- 2 t. sesame oil
- 1 T. chili paste
- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced shiitakes and saute until softened. Set aside.
- Combine pork, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chili paste, scallions, coleslaw mix, and 1 T. cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the shiitake mushrooms and work with your hands until everything is evenly incorporated. Refrigerate while you prepare to fold the potstickers.
- Mix together 1 T. cornstarch with warm water. Dust a large cookie sheet or tray liberally with cornstarch. Queue up Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
- Working over a clean cutting board, place a small spoonful (about 2 t.) of filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip a finger into the cornstarch slurry and apply around the edges of the wrapper. Fold the bottom and top edges over the middle of the filling, pinch together, and pleat the sides toward the center to seal. Place on the prepared cookie sheet, pleated edge pointing up, and repeat until out of filling.
- At this point, you can freeze the potstickers (see notes below) or cover with damp paper towels and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.
- Grab your largest non-stick skillet and lid. Coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil and heat to medium-high. Arrange potstickers evenly in hot pan, pleats pointing up, leaving a little space between each one. Fry undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.
- Pour in water and cover the pan. Steam for 5 minutes (or 7 minutes if frozen).
- Uncover and cook off the remaining water for 1 minute.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce.
- *Dipping sauce recipe yields about 10 oz. of sauce- reduce recipe if desired. It keeps great in the refrigerator.
- *If freezing the potstickers, it's best to freeze them on the cookie sheet covered loosely with cling wrap, and then you can transfer them to a ziplock bag when fully frozen- this keeps them separated so you can grab however many you want later. No need to thaw before using- just follow the directions as above and expect them to take a few extra minutes to brown on the bottom before steaming.
Suddenly, it’s late August. The Dog Days. Try as we might, it’s hard to hold onto these last few breaths of Summer, isn’t it? The signals are all around us- the corn’s drying up, the berries have gone to mush, and if you look to the edges of the sidewalk you might just see a few yellowed crunchy leaves, arriving embarrassingly early to the party. For those of us who live for Summer, it’s a sort of in-between time of grieving and desperation.
Whether you’re Team-Summer or Team-Autumn, I have just the cake to get you across this seasonal threshold. With its unexpected combination of juicy late-summer peaches with the warmth of whiskey and hazelnut, this peach upside-down cake is the perfect way to usher in a lovely Autumn season.
This whiskey, hazelnut and peach upside-down cake is an easy one to throw together. From the top (er, the bottom?) the cake begins with a quick butter and brown sugar stove-top caramel which is laced with a splash (okay, two) of whiskey, poured into the cake pan, and then topped with thinly sliced peaches. Roasted hazelnuts are blitzed briefly in the blender to form a coarse meal and then folded into a classic buttery cake batter, which gives this tender cake a lovely little crunch as well.
While the whole thing bakes the peaches caramelize and the whiskey caramel sauce bubbles up the sides of the cake, forming beautiful sticky pockets on the edges. The hazelnuts toast up further, and will fill your entire house with an aroma so heavenly as to gently coax any sleeping cohabitants willingly out of a late Sunday morning slumber. And they will expect to eat this for breakfast, by the way.
Be sure to let the cake rest for 15 minutes after you pull it out of the oven to let the cake settle a bit and adhere to the peach layer before unmolding. This cake is so effortlessly beautiful and incredibly, eye-rolling-ly, delicious that you might just find yourself telling Autumn to bring it on.
- 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, divided
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. whiskey (bourbon or rye recommended)
- 2 medium peaches, thinly sliced
- 1 c. dry roasted (unsalted) hazelnuts, skins removed
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 c. milk
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a metal 9" round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt 4 T. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until the mixture is bubbly. Remove from the burner and stir in the whiskey. The sauce will sizzle and bubble. Set the pan aside.
- Use your blender or food processor's pulse mode to chop the hazelnuts into an even meal, pausing to scrape the sides as needed. Do not blend too long or you'll have hazelnut butter!
- Beat together the remaining 1/2 c. of butter with the sugar using an electric hand or stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, allowing to cream together thoroughly. Reduce your mixer's speed to low and add half of the flour, allowing to incorporate fully. Add milk, allowing to incorporate fully. Add rest of flour and the baking powder. Add hazelnut meal and mix thoroughly.
- Pour whiskey caramel sauce into cake pan, tipping the pan as needed to evenly coat. Lay your peach slices evenly on top in any design you'd like (I did mine in a spiral from the center).
- Using a rubber spatula, plop the cake batter evenly on top of the peaches and distribute, pressing gently so as to not disturb the peaches.
- Bake 35-45 minutes, or until cake tester comes out of center of cake clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a cake plate or stand.
- Once the cake is fully cooked, the whiskey becomes a subtle flavor note- this cake is family friendly when made as directed above. For a sassy adult version: After removing the cake from the oven, use a fork or chopstick to poke several holes into the cake. Slowly drizzle an additional 1/4 c. of whiskey over the surface of the cake. Allow to rest 15 minutes before unmolding.
I’ve baked scones exactly twice in my life/in the last week, and the first was a failed attempt at developing this recipe. For the first go-’round, I’d had the delight of scoring some fresh sour pie cherries at the farmer’s market (I always seem to miss them!). Knowing that I’d likely only get one crack at sour cherries for the year, I wish I’d decided to make something less experimental… you see where I am going with this.
My first version of these tart cherry scones with earl grey and ricotta was an unmitigated disaster. Everything went great at first. The dough came together perfectly, a disk of pastry-perfection all ready to go, and then… wait… how am I going to get these sticky, juicy cherries into the dough NOW? I attempted to fold them in with my hands. It was a horrible idea. Things got slimy and my kitchen basically exploded.
I don’t now how the idea of cherries and earl grey popped into my head, but I knew that it was a winner at heart and that another attempt was warranted. Dried tart cherries to the rescue! Attempt number two was drama-free and I don’t think I cursed even once while making them. And, duh, they are delicious!
I’m no scone expert (clearly), but I opted for full-fat ricotta as the binder in these cherry scones to add a little heft and richness to the crumb. Truth-be-told, I have historically not been a big fan of the extremely dry texture of most scones I’ve eaten. The ricotta performed as I hoped- these scones are crumbly as they ought to be, but do not feel quite so dry in the mouth. You could probably still whistle a tune after eating. If that’s your thing.
I suck at whistling.
Completely un-hilariously, the day after version two came out of the oven I ran into a fresh berry scone recipe on the internet. APPARENTLY, all you have to do is roll out the dough, spread the berries on, roll the whole thing up jelly-roll style, and then slice and bake. OF COURSE! Blergh, sigh, eye-roll. Maybe I’ll try again next cherry season, but these will do marvelously until then!
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. baking powder
- 2 T. chopped or ground loose earl grey tea leaves (or just cut open 5 tea bags like I did)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 eggs, divided
- 1/2 c. whole milk ricotta
- 3 T. heavy cream (or milk)
- 2 c. tart dried cherries
- coarse raw or turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and tea leaves. Add the cold butter and work into coarse crumbs using your hands. Fold in the cherries.
- In another mixing bowl whisk together 1 egg, ricotta, and cream (or milk). Scrape into the dry mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon to combine wet and dry ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead until dough is uniform. Shape into a 10-12" disk.
- Make an egg wash by whisking together the remaining 1 egg and 1 t. water. Brush over the top of the disk. Sprinkle coarse sugar liberally over the top.
- Slice dough into 12 wedges and carefully transfer to a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top.
Have you been to the farmers market lately? What a glorious bounty of magnificent produce we are graced with right now. Sour cherries! Figs! Rainbow carrots! Stone fruits galore! It is truly a great time to be alive and eating! Out of all of nature’s summer treasures, I anxiously await peaches and corn the most. Corn holds serious nostalgia for me as a native midwesterner- to me, it has always been a delicious signal that summertime is in full swing. And here we are. It’s late July, the corn stalks are well past knee-high, and caravans of peach trucks are making their way up from Georgia (actually, we have pretty good peaches in Oregon, too!).
At the intersection of peach season and corn season, you will find this remarkably tasty and addictive and mega-healthy sweet potato and black bean burrito bowl with fresh peach and corn salsa. I tried out this recipe from Cook Nourish Bliss last summer, and then I made it again and again and again, and then I pined for it all winter long. It has been waiting quietly on my blog post list since- I have been so wanting to share this recipe with you!
You’re going to love this burrito bowl because it has so many flavors and textures going for it- the soft and creamy charred sweet potato and black bean mixture brings heat, depth, and smoke while the juicy and crunchy peach-corn salsa counters that and offers relief from the spicy chipotle pepper. It’s all wrapped together with avocado (hopefully yours is greener than mine!) on the side and always-welcome cilantro lime rice. I think it’s the perfect counter-balance of both textures and flavors that makes this a slam-dunk. Oh yeah, and it’s vegan!
My only departure from the original recipe is that I take the avocado out of the salsa and put it on the side- this allows for the possibility of leftovers (however unlikely), without scummy brown avocado the next day. The salsa would be incredible on its own with chips!
- 1 c. brown rice, rinsed
- 1 3/4 c. water
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lime
- 3 medium peaches, chopped
- 2 ears fresh corn, raw, kernels removed
- 1/4 c. minced red onion
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 t. salt
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" chunks (leave skin on, or peel- whatever you like)
- 1-2 T. minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (start with 1 T., adjust to your spice-preference)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 c. vegetable broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Add rice, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 35 minutes.
- Remove from heat, leave covered, and let stand 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice just before serving.
- Mix peaches, raw corn kernels, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine then set aside.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for a few minutes, until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add sweet potatoes and chipotle peppers. Season everything with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, tossing halfway through.
- Add the vegetable broth, stir, and re-cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are softened and caramelized. If skillet becomes dry, add another splash of broth.
- Add the black beans to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, or until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat.
- Portion the rice into four bowls. Top with sweet potatoes/beans, salsa, and avocado slices.
How is your summer going? Are you grilling out a lot? Are you wearing enough sunscreen? Did you go see the fireworks on Monday? Are you sitting in a stale, air-conditioned office from 8-5 every day wondering how it is that you have no recollection of June ever coming and going? So far I have found myself primarily in the latter scenario, but I am grateful to be on the cusp of a vacation. I’m drafting this post ahead of time as part of my pre-vaycay preps- but by the time this post auto-publishes and you read it, I should be (hopefully) floating carelessly on a lake, slathered in SPF 1000, and taking in some rural peace and quiet. We’re headed back to our place of origin, Wisconsin, where nobody does summer better. In anticipation of all the charred sausages and pasta salads and corn on the cob and snicker apple salad (google it) that I expect to subsist on for the week, I present this week’s dish: A bright and summery, yet creamy and comforting, pasta with fresh english peas, spinach, and a you-have-to-taste-it-to-believe-it raw vegan avocado basil cream sauce.
The sauce, adapted from Damn Delicious, truly could not be easier- you literally throw everything in a blender while the pasta is boiling and blitz until smooth. The peas and spinach join the pasta for the last few seconds in the pot, and then it’s all drained, then tossed with the sauce, and you’re done! What we have here is a 15 minute comfort meal, that doesn’t heat up the house, that doesn’t take a lot of prep, and is relatively healthy. Add this to your summer meal rotation… stat!
If you’re wondering where on earth to find fresh peas and you already missed the farmers market for the week, you can get them at Trader Joe’s, or you can use frozen (no shame in frozen peas!). Let’s see a close-up of those happy little peas!
- 8 oz. pasta (whatever is your favorite shape!)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of 1 lemon (about 2 T. juice)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
- 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
- 1/2 c. hot pasta water (grab it while the pasta boils)
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 c. fresh or frozen peas
- 2 c. fresh spinach leaves
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions.
- While the pasta boils, combine garlic, lemon juice, basil, and avocados in blender or food processor. Add a 1/2 c. of hot water from your pasta pot. Blend until smooth. While the blender is still going, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow stream. Set aside.
- Add the peas to the pasta pot for the last minute of cooking. Toss in spinach, stir, then drain pasta immediately.
- Return the pasta to the empty pot and add the sauce. Toss to combine and then serve.
- If there is one downside to this recipe, it is that leftovers do not store well. It is avocado, after all. Scale this up or down as needed!
Gosh golly, I have really been meaning to post this portobello banh mi for a while now. Perhaps life has gotten in the way a bit, and perhaps I just eat them way too fast whenever I make them. Who knows? (Me. I know.)
I inhaled my very first Vietnamese banh mi sandwich sometime around a year ago- I remember that it was from Lela’s Bistro on NW 23rd and it was filled with pork belly, which had beautiful and succulent layers of fat that first crackled and then melted in my mouth as I ate it (and then I melted). And then I decided that I would honestly prefer not to eat anything but banh mi sandwiches for the rest of my days. Since that fateful sandwich, I have been on a sort of banh mi tour of west Portland. In my mind, I collect data from each sandwich, mentally listing and frankenstein-ing and adding up to the perfect conceivable version.
On this journey I have concluded that the most crucial element that makes it or breaks it is not the meat in the sandwich, and it’s not the pickles or veggies- it’s the baguette! Since I started making my own banh mi at home, I have learned that the quickest way to ruin it is to use a good baguette. Those rustic, chewy, glutenous baguettes you find on the fancy side of the bakery by the olive bar are absolute garbage here. What’s needed is something with a tender, yielding crumb and a thin, crackling crust. Go for the cheap, yellow-ish, shiny-crusted second-cousin of a baguette, over by the donuts. A lot of my favorite things are found by the donuts. Mainly, other donuts.
While traditional Vietnamese banh mi are most often stuffed with pate and some form of charred pork product (though fusions stuffed with Korean bulgogi and kimchi are equally amazing), and while I certainly enjoy eating the meaty varieties, I prepare my own meatless rendition at home to cut down on cost, fat, and effort. I once again employ the mighty portobello mushroom as a very acceptable stand-in for the meat, and honestly, I find it just as much of a pleasure to eat. Thick slices of portobello are marinated in soy, fish sauce, and a few other flavors and then oven roasted. The warm strips are stuffed into a soft baguette, along with mayo, quick-pickled carrot, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. The whole thing tastes marvelously fresh and balanced, with a wonderful variety of textures and colors.
Definitely licked some mayo off my lens focus ring during this shoot, by the way.
- 2 large portobello caps (look for firm and thick)
- 1/2 c. water
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 2 T. brown sugar
- 1 T. fish sauce
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 1 t. ground ginger
- 1/2 t. liquid smoke
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons with veggie peeler
- 1/2 c. warm water
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 1 cucumber, 1/4" julienne strips
- 1 scallion, cut to 4" lengths, then julienne
- handful cilantro, torn
- 2 6" pieces soft baguette (or 2 baguette rolls), sliced open
- sriracha or hot pepper slices (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375. Trim stems from mushroom caps, then slice caps into 1/2" strips. Place in a large glass baking dish in an even (if not single) layer.
- Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, liquid smoke, and red pepper flakes. Pour over the mushroom slices.
- Bake 10 minutes. Flip, bake another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Using a colander, carefully drain off all liquid, then return mushroom slices to baking dish in an even layer. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until browned.
- Place carrot ribbons in a jar or storage container.
- Whisk together the water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour over carrot ribbons. Set aside.
- Spread a thin layer of mayo all over the inside of each baguette. Add sriracha if you want!
- Fill baguettes with warm portobello slices, pickled carrots, cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro.
- Any remaining carrot pickles will keep in the fridge for up to a week- they'll get more pickle-y the longer they sit.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while- I blame it all on my husband, who ruined our lives recently by introducing me to “Hamilton”. Have you listened to “Hamilton” yet? If not, don’t worry- We’ve listened to all 2.5 hours of it approximately 2,835 times in the last few weeks, which is plenty to spread around. You see, what happens is you play it through a couple of times, just to make sure you’ve heard all the lyrics and understand the story (which is gripping, by the way). That is phase one. Phase two is when you keep listening to it, over and over, even though you know that you’re going to cry all through act II (and you still can’t figure out why a Broadway musical about ALEXANDER freaking HAMILTON is STILL making you cry), and then you very earnestly consider cashing out your savings account to fly to NYC for one night to see it in person, and then you check how much tickets to the show cost (way more than the airplane ride), and then you cry about that as well. I am currently in a third phase, a horrible and beautiful feedback loop in which I have one song from the musical stuck in my head each day, and so I put that song on Spotify to dislodge it, and then I can’t seem to turn it off when the song is over so I just listen to the entire musical all the way through again. And then the next day, it’s a different song. Day after day it drags me back under. The weirdest part of it is that I hate musicals.
…but I sure do love these brownies with caramel corn! There is something sentimentally powerful about caramel corn that screams SUMMERTIME to me- it alludes to visions of county fairs and baseball games, fourth of july fireworks and road trips, and washing your sticky, sweaty palms in the lake. This is the time of year one can sense summer starting to rev up around the corner, and this is why these brownies are spot-on.
I have employed a double-caramel approach to these brownies. A generous sprinkling of chopped caramels melts upon contact with the hot brownies, straight out of the oven, and acts as the perfect glue for adhering the buttery-crisp caramel corn. Should you have the patience to allow these to cool completely before cutting (overnight recommended…and it is hard for me to say that to you because we are friends), that corn’s not going anywhere, which makes for an awesome presentation at a summer potluck or fambly reunion. And the brownies, I should add, aren’t chopped liver on their own. For the perfect base, I used Smitten Kitchen’s favorite brownie recipe, which calls for bittersweet chocolate instead of cocoa, and has no leavener for the ultimate fudgey texture.
I just know you must have a potluck coming up!
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c. butter, plus extra for the pan
- 1 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2/3 c. flour
- 7 oz. (roughly) bag caramel corn (such as poppycock, cracker jack, or fiddle faddle), with or without nuts
- 4 oz. soft caramels
- flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8" baking dish with a small amount of butter, or cooking spray.
- Set up a double boiler and bring water to a simmer. Melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Gradually whisk in the chocolate and butter.
- Fold in the salt and flour until just combined. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies pass toothpick-test.
- When brownies are finished remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, pour your caramel corn into a bowl and break apart any large clusters into single pieces of popcorn, and set aside. Unwrap and roughly chop the caramels and set aside.
- Evenly distribute chopped caramel over the top of the brownies and allow to melt. Top with a single-layer of caramel corn, pressing down gently to adhere. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt all over.
- Allow to cool completely- overnight is best.
This coconut curry soup has got it goin’ on. It’s everything you need it to be when it’s noon, and your eyes dry and sticky from staring at a screen all morning, and tummy is demanding tribute. It is hearty, warm, and loaded with flavors and spices and fresh vegetables. It is Slurp-Worthy. And did I mention that an entire pot of this magic is ready in 15 minutes, start to finish? Keep reading.
I ate this for lunch every day last week. And I’m about to eat it every day this week. I make the broth on Sunday and keep it in the fridge. When it’s lunch time, I throw a portion of it into a saucepan with a handful of dried vermicelli rice noodles, bring it up to a simmer, and then pour it into a bowl of fresh herbs and veggies. Presto. Happy. You can use whatever veggies you want- I like thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, hot peppers, green onions, and a handful each of bean sprouts and cilantro. Basically, anything that’s good in pho will be good in here.
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 t. ground ginger
- 3 T. red curry paste
- 4 c. chicken broth (or veggie broth)
- 2 T. fish sauce
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 lime, in wedges
- rice noodles
- herb (cilantro, basil, mint)
- fresh veggies (mushrooms, green onions, bean sprouts, peppers)
- protein, if desired (tofu, chicken, shrimp)
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add ginger and curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken broth, fish sauce, coconut milk, and brown sugar.
- Heat until soup reaches a simmer.
- Meanwhile, slice lime into wedges. Squirt a lime wedge over each bowl of soup.
- Serve with rice noodles (cook with soup when it reaches a simmer), protein (if desired), and veggie toppings.
If you’re an Oregonian I don’t need to explain anything to you about Rogue Brewery, but to my Wisconsin readership- should you ever happen upon a bottle of their Hazelnut Brown Nectar in your parts, it is recommended that you set aside your fierce (and justified) loyalties, just for a moment, and snatch it up quick. Besides being one of Oregon’s most beloved local breweries, Rogue also serves pretty solid bar fare at their brick-and mortar pubs. Really- their tots are no joke. These crab cake sliders are inspired by my favorite small plate at my neighborhood’s Rogue pub. In creating this recipe, I am keeping with their simple concept of crab cakes, kimchi, and mayo on sweet rolls. However, sorry-not-sorry, Rogue… mine win big, hands-down.
You see, while there are certainly occasions for the imitation stuff, you just cannot beat fresh, lump dungeness crab. We’re doing this right, food-fans. A truly great slider is like an amouse-bouche. It must have, in its tiny package, all flavor groups represented to achieve maximum tantalization. The kimchi brings tang, spice, and funk, aided by the salty umami flavor in the fish sauce- and it’s all hugged together by the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls and the high-quality dungeness crab.
The cakes themselves are worthy of standing all alone (and they certainly shall in my future, with a dipping sauce)- crunchy and light and true perfection. Please look away as I self-five a thousand times, and proceed to the recipe below.
- 2 egg whites
- 1 T. fish sauce
- 1 T. fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
- 2 T. corn starch
- 8 oz. lump dungeness crab, squeezed and drained
- 1 c. panko bread crumbs, divided
- canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 12 Hawaiian rolls
- cilantro leaves
- In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Whisk in fish sauce, ginger, scallion, cilantro, and corn starch.
- Add 1/4 c. of the panko and the crab meat to the bowl, and gently fold together until just combined. Chill in the refrigerator 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, separate the rolls and slice in half. Set aside.
- Fill a large, deep saute pan with 1/2" of oil and heat to medium high.
- Pour remaining 3/4 c. panko onto a plate or shallow dish.
- Retrieve crab mixture and divide into 12 blobs. To form the cakes roll each blob into a ball, place on top of panko plate, and cover with a handful of panko. Gently press down to form a patty and adhere the panko to the top and bottom. Put on a plate and continue.
- When all cakes are formed and oil is hot, fry in batches of 3 or 4 until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
- To assemble, spread a thin layer of mayo on the bottom halves of the rolls. Layer cilantro leaves on next, then crab cake, then a fork-full of kimchi, and the bun-tops. Eat them while they're hot!