Memorize this simple formula for chicken or turkey gravy from drippings and you’ll never have a gravy-emergency again!
You’ve done it: you’ve roasted the most picturesque, succulent chicken or turkey. Don’t let those savory drippings go to waste! Gravy from drippings is the best tasting gravy since the flavors have just spent hours developing and caramelizing in the oven- you just can’t get that from a jar or packet. And guess what! It’s just as easy. You’re just a few steps and a few minutes away from the perfect gravy.
The recipe that I’m sharing with you was published by kitchn in 2014. I tweaked the cooking method somewhat and I also put the ingredients and quantities in terms of parts, rather than strict measurements, to allow for more flexibility depending on yield of drippings. Plus, it’s easier to memorize! All you need to remember is 1:1:4:4. 1 part fat, 1 part flour, 4 parts drippings, 4 parts broth. So for example, the beautiful and succulent thigh you see above comes from a 6 lb. chicken, which yielded about 2 T. fat and 1/2 c. drippings. This informed me to use 2 T. flour and 1/2 c. broth when making gravy.
- 1 part turkey or chicken fat
- 1 part flour
- 4 parts pan drippings
- 4 parts turkey or chicken broth, plus extra to reach consistency, if needed
- salt and pepper
- After roasting your bird, transfer to serving platter and cover loosely with foil to rest. Using a rubber spatula, scrape as much of the pan drippings and browned bits as you can into a clear glass measuring cup or dish.
- Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to allow fat to collect and float to the top (or just use a fat separator).
- Skim the fat from the top using a metal spoon and figure out how much you have to work with- compare to the basic gravy recipe, and adjust the other quantities accordingly. Heat the fat in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add an equal amount of flour to the pan and stir to form a paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add your pan drippings- this should be roughly 4-times the amount of fat you used for the roux, but you can compensate with broth in the next step if you have more or less. Whisk the pan drippings into the roux and continue whisking until thickened.
- Gradually whisk in broth- starting with an amount equal to the drippings you used. Whisk until thickened. Add more broth if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
The classic roasted chicken and potatoes dinner has never been easier or more delicious! Spatchcock-ing the bird reduces cooking time and makes for a coveted, crispy skin all over while fingerling potatoes caramelize in the juices. And it all takes place on one sheet pan.
Blessed mother of crispy skin- I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe with you today. I’ve done it. I have conquered the roasted chicken, and it is crispy, and juicy, and perfect, and EASY. For a long time, I avoided roasting my own chicken- I just didn’t see the point when I could buy a fresh rotisserie chicken and call it a day. I still have great respect for the rotisserie chicken as a shortcut to things like chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup. I guess I just didn’t know how good a homemade roasted chicken could be. Now I do, and it took every ounce of marital devotion I have within me to not eat all of that beautiful skin myself in 8 seconds.
This all-in-one dinner has so much going for it. I went for a rotisserie-style rub featuring a large heap of one of my favorite-favorite secret ingredients, smoked paprika, which gives the insanely crispy skin its deep flavor and color. Lemon slices under the spatchcocked chicken keep the undercarriage moist during roasting and the flavor bright and mouth-watering. Halved fingerling potatoes are added to the sheet pan midway through roasting the chicken, and caramelize in the tantalizing pan juices. It all happens on one pan, which makes cleanup a snap. I love that part.
So, what the heck is spatchcock? Well, it’s a bit creepy, really. What you do is set the raw chicken on its belly and snip out the entire spine along both sides using kitchen shears. Then you roll that baby open, breast side up, and press down to flatten. Why on earth should you do this? Because in doing so, it increases the surface area, which has three incredible benefits: A) no truss, no fuss B) all of the skin faces up, so all of the skin gets crispy, C) cooking time is vastly reduced, which D) keeps the meat moist as heck. Here’s a step-by-step:
It’s mid-November and so I know what you’re thinking- can I do this to a turkey? Yes, yes you can! Some great tips on cooking times and carving a spatchcock turkey can be found here, on Serious Eats.
Now, I am decided that this chicken is perfectly perfect without gravy…BUT, you will have just enough pan juices after roasting to whip up a quick and easy pan gravy. It’s not needed, but it really takes it over the top. So there it is! My new favorite family dinner, my gift to you, just in time for your weekend grocery shopping (and Thanksgiving!).
- 5 to 6 lb. whole roasting chicken
- 3 T. olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 2 t. smoked paprika
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon, sliced in 1/4" rounds
- 1 lb. fingerling potatoes (or other small yellow or red potatoes)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Combine smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Rinse chicken with cool water, inside and out, and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Lay breast-side down on a clean surface (I cut up a paper grocery bag so it lays flat, and then throw away after prepping chicken). Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, snip along one side of the spine from end to end. Repeat on other side of spine, then discard spine or save for stock. Flip chicken over, breast-side up. Use your hands to press down on the breasts until the chicken lays flat.
- Drizzle chicken with 2 T. olive oil and spread around entire outer surface of chicken. Season chicken evenly with salt and pepper, then apply spice mixture evenly all over the skin (don't forget the arm-pits).
- Arrange lemon slices in a circle (roughly the size of your chicken) in the middle of a rimmed sheet pan or cookie sheet. Transfer seasoned chicken on top of lemon slices.
- Roast chicken for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the fingerling potatoes in half and toss with remaining 1 T. olive oil. Pull the chicken out of the oven after 30 minutes. Use a pastry brush to baste the skin with rendered pan juices. Arrange potatoes on the sheet pan, cut-side down, around the chicken. Roast for another 30-35 minutes, or until chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil and rest 10 minutes before serving.
Classic and comforting creamy mushroom soup gets an update with the addition of roasted mushroom, plenty of white wine, and brie.
Today I share with you a soup recipe that is an adaptation of a recipe published by Closet Cooking back in 2014. It’s incredible.
A really sad thing happened to me recently- strolling through Pinterest for ideas I happened upon a promising-looking roasted mushroom and brie soup. I made it twice and was so happy with it that I took to leaving an absolutely glowing and ecstatic review on the food blog where I found it. Afterward, a few days ago, I stumbled across another roasted mushroom brie soup on Closet Cooking, which had the exact same ingredients and quantities and cooking methods- but it was posted an entire year earlier than the version I had seen first. I returned to the first recipe that had received my accolades, for comparison and to check for credit, and it immediately became clear to me that that blogger, who shall remain nameless because I am kind, ripped off Closet Cooking without giving credit where it was due, and passed it off as their own work.
It really buttered my biscuits. Because I am still relatively new at this, I look to established food bloggers as examples of best practices. And I guess that I naively imagined that we are all rooting for one another, tied harmoniously by our love of food and our shared efforts. It was kind of like learning Santa isn’t real. Not to mention that Kevin Lynch over at Closet Cooking has been working tirelessly for years to create and post over 2,000 recipes for our free enjoyment, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for carving out such a vast place on the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with Closet Cooking, please go pay him a visit! I have been following his blog on and off for many years, and if someday down the road I ever have forged enough of a presence as a blogger that it came to my attention that he had even visited my blog, I would be just tickled to death.
When it comes to recipe blogging, there is so much gray area with this stuff. While I strive hard to create totally new and unique recipes, sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t- the truth is that pretty much everything has been done before. And we bloggers, like you, mine for recipes and inspiration from other bloggers. In fact, most recipes you’ll find on cooking blogs like mine have been adapted from someone else’s work- it’s all part of a greater and fundamentally lovely and open-source conversation about home cooking. It connects us by our shared passion, and it’s a good thing! However, the hope is that each blogger has enough integrity to credit and link to the creator, but the sad truth is that bloggers rip each other off all the time, passing things off as their own. Sometimes, they even profit from it. The realm of food blogs is so over-saturated that it is just an internet-version of the old, wild west- this kind of sad, cheating behavior is to be expected, I have come to learn. All of the recipes that I post that are adapted from other bloggers’ recipes will have a statement saying so at the bottom of the recipe card, and a link to the original. But maybe I should start being even more obvious about it!
That’s all the righteous idignation I have for today. Let’s talk about this soup because I am cold! I love this roasted mushroom and brie soup- it is so creamy and satisfying without being heavy, and it is even better the next day as leftovers. How often does that happen? If you’re a longtime fan of mushroom soups like I am, then you’re going to fall in love with the addition of the white wine and melty, funky brie- it tickles the taste buds and gives the whole thing an undeniable air of luxury.
The thing I find the most unique about it is the added initial step of roasting the mushrooms- it gives them a satisfying meaty chew, and the caramelization that comes from roasting them first gives the overall flavor oodles of depth and complexity. It’s a step that you most definitely do not want to skip!
Adaptations that I made to this soup include doubling the quantities of the white wine and the brie (hello…native Wisconsite, here), and tweaking a few other amounts. Also, instead of blending all of the roasted mushrooms up into the soup, I reserve half of them to leave intact and add at the end. I like to have something to chew on!
That’s it for this week- hope you’re all enjoying your life and being affectionate toward your loved ones and eating delicious things!
- 1 1/2 lb. cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 T. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 t. fresh thyme leaves, chopped once or twice
- 2 T. flour
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 4 c. low sodium vegetable broth
- 7-8 oz. brie, cut into chunks
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the quartered mushrooms with olive oil in a large bowl, then spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss, then continue roasting for another 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are firm and caramelized.
- After flipping the mushrooms and returning them to the oven, melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and stir for 1 minute, then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
- Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Stir and scrape continuously until wine thickens. Pour in the broth.
- When mushrooms have finished roasting, add just half of them to the pot of broth. Set the rest aside. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat again to low. Add brie chunks and stir until melted. The bits of rind will not melt, but will float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and discard.
- Puree the soup using a stick blender (or transfer to regular blender) until texture is even. Add the remaining mushrooms and the cream and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This jalapeno cheddar cornbread whips up fast and easy- it’s the perfect savory/sweet accompaniment to all your soups this season!
I’m not sure how clear I have made this in the past, but I really really hate Winter. SO much. I am a huge weiner, about it too, despite having spent the first 26 winters of my life in Wisconsin, where the struggle is REAL. And as for Fall… Fall would be great if it didn’t lead right into Winter- it’s basically the Sunday afternoon of seasons, if you think about it. All of this is to say that, if you need me, I shall be face-down in a steamy bowl of soup for roughly the next five months. It’s going to be a lot of soup.
As mentioned last week, I finally bought myself a cast iron skillet– it has been working really hard in my kitchen ever since and aside from producing fajitas, apple crisp, steak au poivre (that brought tears to mine eyes), and several dutch babies, it has also renewed my vigor for cornbread! So today I’m posting this ultra-comforting Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. Tender, fluffy, buttery- it’s totally got that savory/sweet thing going on, which means it goes with everything. It is to soup what taupe ankle boots are to fashion this season- best friends.
That’s it- get on it! Stay tuned next week for a great new soup!
- 6 T. butter, divided
- 6 T. honey, divided
- 1 1/4 c. cornmeal
- 3/4 c. flour
- 3/4 t. baking soda
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 1/4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place 4 T. butter and 4 T. honey in small saucepan over low heat. Allow to melt while you prepare the batter.
- In a mixing bowl combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, sugar, chopped jalapeno, and cheddar cheese. Stir together to combine.
- Separately, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs, then gradually whisk in the melted honey and butter. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
- Pour into a 10" cast iron skillet or greased cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes, then cover loosely with foil to prevent over-browning. Continue baking another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cornbread.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 T. butter and 2 T. honey on low heat. Stir to combine fully.
- When cornbread comes out of the oven, brush melted honey-butter over the top of the crust.
It’s easy, it’s made of things you have in your fridge, and it’s on the table in 30 minutes. This dependable Cardamom Apple Dutch Baby recipe is sure to become a weekend breakfast favorite!
Hey there, guess what I finally bought for myself? A cast iron skillet! Girl, you write a food blog and you didn’t even have a cast iron skillet until now? Yes. Alright? It’s true. It’s one of those kitchen items that I always knew I wanted, and didn’t really have any reason not to buy, except for that I kept forgetting. Over and over. For years. Other items in this category include tongs, a meat thermometer, ice trays, a salad bowl, waffle iron, and one of those forky noodle scoops.
I managed to do without the skillet for so long because I do have a cast iron grill pan (which I have, admittedly, baked weirdly-shaped focaccia in, with surprising success) and an enameled cast iron dutch oven which does pretty much everything well. Everything, except, be photographed well with an apple dutch baby inside (too deep for that).
So I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for practically ever, and now I finally am checking it off my list! Let’s talk about it. Dutch baby, which also goes by German Pancake (less cute), is a crusty, eggy, puffy, custardy delight that is a snap to whip up any weekend morning. It’s just a simple egg-milk-flour batter, which is poured into a hot pan of melted butter, and then baked in the oven for about a half-hour. It poofs like a souffle while the edges crawl up the sides and form a beautiful crispy crust, and then it deflates when you take it out to cool. Just like any pancake, it’s dreamy with just about any fruit, though I think it lends itself to apples the best. Adding fruit to the equation inhibits rising to the middle somewhat, and instead forms a sort of custard around the fruit, kind of like clafouti. I love that part.
I flavor the apples with cardamom as they soften in the skillet, but go ahead and use cinnamon if you’d rather. Or nutmeg. Or both!
Any way you make it, be sure to top with all the usual pancake-suspects: maple syrup, powdered sugar, and plenty of butter! On its own, this will feed two people happily, but if you side this with some bacon and hashbrowns or other breakfast-delights, it’ll feed four.
- 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4" thick
- 4 T. butter, divided
- 1/4 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 c. milk
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
- Melt 1 T. butter in a 10" cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet) over medium heat. Add apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- When the apples have begun to soften, add the cardamom and toss to distribute. Drag apples to the edges of the pan, leaving space in the middle. Add remaining 3 T. butter and melt. Toss apples to coat with butter, then arrange evenly on bottom of skillet.
- Pour batter over apples and place skillet in preheated oven. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until center is puffed and set.
I am not the first to sprinkle sugar on top of some yogurt, torch it, and call it breakfast creme brulee- in fact the concept is kind of having a moment right now. I first ran across bruleed yogurt on pinterest and it was easy enough to try out for myself a few times, but each time I found it a bit lacking in body and richness. Even the thickest Icelandic yogurt cannot compare to the custardous luxury of true creme brulee in its traditional dessert form, that is true, and I had no delusions that it would fool me to begin with. I am very good at knowing what is dessert and what is not dessert. So I started to think about what could be combined with the yogurt to give it a little extra oomph. I first tried whipping in some whole milk ricotta, which gave it the body that I was looking for but also added a slight grittiness to the texture that I found a bit off-putting after a couple of days.
I forgot about it and moved on with my life for a while. But then, last week, tired of eating the same unsatisfying instant oatmeal at my desk every morning, I thought about how much more I would relish ignoring the first few work emails of the day if I were tapping my spoon onto a crisp, deeply caramelized crust, and scooping burnt shards and creamy yogurt (and what else?) into my face.
And then I thought about mascarpone cheese. Of course, mascarpone! The dairyous hero of tiramisu! Thick and silky, with a concentrated dairy cream flavor. So I tried it, and I was glad to discover that not much mascarpone needs to be added to the yogurt in order to add juuuust enough suggestion of dessert to an otherwise responsible yogurty concoction. It is very good.
If you have been reading along for a while you likely have noticed by now that I am a bit of a make-ahead fangirl when it comes to breakfasts and lunches, in particular. In the evenings, I love nothing more than to slow down and unwind after work via a home-cooked meal, but in the mornings I am all about convenience. If this sounds like you then you’ll be glad to know that this breakfast creme brulee recipe has the make-ahead built right in, and these little heroes are perfectly packable and ready to come with you to work if need-be. Your workmates will be j-e-a-l-o-u-s, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I gathered some 8-ounce Weck jars, which I love for their tight seals and mega-cuteness (you can buy them at World Market), but you can use Ball jars or any other sealable glass or ceramic ramekin-like vessel that will stand up to heat from a culinary torch. I began by spooning some apple butter on the bottom of each jar, because it’s Fall now (ugh), then topped with the yogurt-mascarpone concoction. At this point the jars are sealed and stored in the fridge until ready to use. To prepare one breakfast creme brulee, just unseal, top with a generous sprinkle of sugar, and torch until a deeply caramelized crust forms. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then gobble it up or seal it to take to work!
- 3 c. vanilla Greek or Icelandic yogurt
- 4 T. mascarpone cheese
- 8 T. fruit compote, jam, honey, or apple butter
- 4 T. granulated sugar, divided
- Either by hand or with an electric mixer, whisk together yogurt and mascarpone thoroughly. Set aside.
- Drop 2 T. of fruit compote/jam/honey/apple butter in the bottom of each of four (roughly 8-ounce) jars or ramekins. Top with yogurt-mascarpone creme, distributing evenly. Spread the tops flat, cover or seal, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To brulee: When ready to eat, sprinkle 1 T. sugar over top of yogurt-mascarpone creme, shake gently from side to side to even out, then brulee with a culinary torch until entire surface is deeply caramelized. Allow to cool undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- If you don't have a culinary torch, you can try using your oven's broiler. If you do go for the broiler instead, use oven safe ramekins for this recipe, instead of glass jars, and be sure to watch carefully!
Hi faithful followers! I’ve been much busier lately on weekends than I typically enjoy, hence my being MIA from blogging. I will be bringing you a tasty new weekday breakfast recipe later on this week, but before I do that I have to tell you all about some fantastic food events we attended two weekends ago at the fifth annual Bon Appetit presents Feast Portland extravanganza! So, I there was simply no time to photo shoot new recipes because I was just sooo busy eating just about everything on the planet amongst my food-obsessed brethren. Sue me.
Feast Portland 2016 packed over 40 food and drink events within a mere four days at various locations around inner Portland. It was so much action that there is physically no way a person could attend them all. Nor could any average human afford to, for that matter. It’s a really big deal! Most events were all-inclusive food and beverage tasting festivals centered around a theme, like Shabbat Shalom, a dinner tour of Israeli cuisine, and Smoked!, described by Bon Appetit as “a delightful meat-fueled inferno of the best chefs slinging Flintstonian cuts of meat”. Many were hands-on educational classes on everything ranging from cooking and buying sustainable Salmon to crafting the perfect signature cocktail. All events featured reputable chefs and food industry folks.
Out of all 40 events, or at least the ones that had not yet sold out 15 minutes after tickets went on sale (true story), we scored tickets for two events that spoke to us in particular. The first event was Brunch Village presented by Whole Foods Market, a massive outdoor celebration of my favorite mealtime. Fancy chefs from Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles represented a wide range of cuisines, each creating a completely unique and inventive small plate in the spirit of brunch! We ate quite a lot. I snapped a few phone pics in between bites, which are made extra special by a horrendously cracked camera lens, thank you very much.
Let me just get my favorite small plate out of the way immediately, which was Bamboo Sushi’s Tamago nigiri with foie torchon, crispy lardo, and bittersweet chocolate- pictured below. The best way that I can describe this is, stay with me here, french toast sushi. The custardy tamago and sweet sushi rice were a dead ringer for french toast, while the foie torchon and lardo acted as an unmistakable side of bacon. It was stunning, completely unique, and impeccably executed. I revisited that table a couple more times, shh..
Next came Urban Farmer’s booth, which offered “French Toast with Epic Sauces”. Some of the sauces didn’t strike me as particularly inspired (looking at you, bacon jam), but I enjoyed the farmers cheese mousse and roasted red pepper jam the most. Chocolate mole was a miss for me, though. The sponge-y looking blob in the below-left photo is a piece of honeycomb candy. At the beginning of the line, not pictured, was practically an iceburg of honeycomb candy about the size of a spare tire.
At one point we found ourselves shuffled into a very long line headed for Toro Bravo’s tent, where Chef John Gorham offered a fried chicken biscuit with pimento cheese. The woman directly in front of me nabbed the very last sandwich on the table (sucker), which left me first in line for the next fresh hot batch, right out of the oven. What a win! The fried chicken was perfectly crispy, but what stood out to me was the biscuit. Flaky, crunchy, buttery and everything a biscuit ought to be. Just look at that thing. However good it was, I couldn’t in good conscience allow myself to eat the entire thing, lest I run out of valuable real estate in the stomach-region.
We next found ourselves in front of what appeared to be a snack bar with many of our favorite things, namely, pickles and olives and Olympia Provisions sausages. If we had approached the table from the other direction, we likely would have noticed that it was actually the end of the best bloody mary bar in the world. Hashtag, no regrets.
Next up was Chef Rachel Yan of Seattle’s Trove who served up lardo tamales with pickled shrimp, which I enjoyed enough, but did not find particularly brunch-y. But isn’t it pretty anyway?
At this point we had not eaten everything but we were both about to burst, so we made one last visit to the Olympia Provisions booth which featured a veritable smorgasbord of charcuterie. Olympia Provisions is a Portland company that Ben and I have been huge fans of ever since we moved to Portland. Olympia Provisions crafts salami using old techniques of slow aging and curing- they are never cooked, and naturally ripen with a powdery white coating of mold over the casing (the same type of mold that surrounds your brie or camembert). Further, they source high-quality meat from local, sustainable sources who slaughter humanely. Their attention to detail is admirable from start to finish, and their products are incredible as a result. You should go learn about them. And hey- they have a sausage of the month club, too!
At this point there was still so much more to eat, but we could not, so we rolled ourselves home. But not before we smuggled out a small plate of charcuterie for the road. I took a quick nap and then it was time for me to attend my second event alone, which was a hands-on class held at Tournant on the east side of town entitled Cook, Style, Shoot, Share: A Food Styling, Photography, and Social Media Workshop, led by award-winning cookbook author and food stylist Andrea Slonecker and celebrated restauranteur and social media wizard Kari Young. Ben surprised me by buying me a ticket (forcing me against my will) for this class- full disclosure, I dreaded it for months. It wasn’t because I lacked interest in the subject, because it was totally right up my alley and I was sure that I’d find it helpful overall, especially as far as the blog is concerned. I dreaded it because the mere thought of standing in the same room as two very talented and successful industry people, as well as possibly other Portland food bloggers, made me feel like a complete imposter, and I was terrified of being discovered. I can be quite neurotic, but Ben’s always encouraging me and helping me confront my many insecurities- he is a jerk-face to the max.
I was pretty awkward literally immediately- with Ben’s parents coincidentally in town that weekend they kindly gave me a ride to the class, and when I arrived I stepped out of the car directly in front of a group of classmates, and I felt like I was being dropped off at kindergarten. And then while we all waited outside for Tournant to open, a photographer for Eater Portland, making polite conversation, asked me if I had attended the Smoked! event, and I thought she was asking me for a cigarette and told her that I didn’t have any. She stared at me blankly until I crumpled from embarrassment (actually, we laughed it off, and then she told me my camera was cool). Then we all went in and class started and SPOILER ALERT: I did not die and nothing perilous happened to me at all.
It was actually pretty fun. After brief introductions, we split up into groups. Each group was given a recipe to prepare that would be used to photograph a big tablescape at the end. My group was responsible for eggs en cocotte with wild mushrooms. The other groups prepared waffles with fresh fruit, grilled vegetables and sausages, and jalapeno margaritas. This part of the workshop was a lot like home ec class, but since it was sponsored by Breville and Le Creuset, it was a lot prettier than home ec class. Seriously, I’ve never seen so much Le Creuset wares in one place outside of Sur La Table. Anyway, the cooking part had to happen really fast since the class was crunched for time, but I did have a few seconds to nose around and snap the other groups working while our cocottes were in the ovens.
Once all of the food was cooked we carefully brought our dishes up to the front where we would be photographing. We gathered around while Kari and Andrea worked and explained their magic- comparing different textiles to the wood of this cutting board and that teapot, pushing and pulling plates around, scattering utensils and black sesame seeds with abandon. Apparently the key to styling a table of food is to throw things around before you have time to think, to make it look casual and effortless, and then adjust for balance and texture. Also, a brushing of bacon fat makes meat look shiny and delicious in photographs.
At the end we all took turns standing on dining chairs and snapping our perfect instagram-worthy photos. I grabbed my real camera to take the best shot possible, and immediately realized I’d left my memory card in my laptop at home, like an amateur, and had to shoot with my cracked phone again. I got my shot, and then Ben and his parents picked me up from school, and we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. I’d had enough of fancy food for the day. But just look at that shot!
Well that was Feast Portland 2016 for me! We’re looking forward to attending again next year. Come back later this week for a new recipe!
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, alternating with the buttermilk, 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.