Recently a work-friend graced me with a bounty of homemade peanut brittle, for no reason other than that she is very kind and lovely. It was an act of generosity that also happened to occur on a Monday, when I am especially in need of treats, bless her heart. For the record, the peanut brittle was fantastic and perfect. I, myself, have been in an absolute rut for food lately- just haven’t had much desire to experiment (haaaate that). But there are two important things that my Midwestern sensibilities have taught me: one, always return nice tupperware to its owner; and two,
This spiced grapefruit tea loaf has a tender crumb and is delicately scented with grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice- an understated way to bake for the holidays, with nary a peppermint stick in sight.
Hey internet buddies! I’m going to be posting super sporadically until after this nutty holiday season is over, but I’ll be in periodically. Winter in general is such a buzzkill for me, especially with blogging. For one, there’s just too much life going on to maintain any sense of routine (don’t ask me how the gym’s going. Just… no.). And by the time I have managed to plan, and shop, and clean my 64-square foot kitchen (hahaha not really, that’s Ben’s job), and cook something interesting… there’s no sunlight left for photography! Curses! My life is so hard…
If all of this sounds like I’m making pathetic excuses it’s because I absolutely am. But when I get down on myself about it I remember that nobody’s paying me to do this. So HA! Anyway, I’m here today and that’s just ducky. So, it’s about time to start with the holiday baking, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not going to lie to you- I am not into that sort of thing.
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 funfetti 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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a fool-proof, reliable, exactly-as-you’d-expect rhubarb sauce. There’s nothing particularly fancy or surprising about it. It contains three ingredients (or two, if you don’t consider water to be an ingredient), it simmers down in just 15 minutes, and it’s just lovely on so very many foods. This sauce has been a real work-horse in my tummy ever since the rhubarb started gracing the tables of the farmers market.
For me, last weekend was one of those uncommonly perfect weekends: the ideal balance of productivity and leisure, where time somehow passes more slowly than usual, and all the pieces just fall right into place. Oh, and it was 80s and sunny. I could stay in last weekend forever and ever.
I managed to hit up the farmers market just as it opened on Saturday and just barely managed to snag a small basket of the season’s first batch of strawberries before they’d sold out, as well as all the rhubarb I could carry. The strawberries were a little early, though an unbelievable treat coming out of the rainy season, but the rhubarb was impeccable, and abundant. It is rhubarb season, readers- rejoice!! I hope you like rhubarb, because there’s going to be some rhubarb recipes coming up. Like, today.
Here’s something that is non-surprising if you’ve known me for at least five minutes: I really love eating. I love it way more than cooking, baking, grocery shopping (not that this is high on anyone’s list), and yes- more than blogging. I am like a hardcore omnivore- I crave a perfectly steamed, tender artichoke in equal manner and measure as I do tiramisu. And I am certain that there is no better bite than a sungold cherry tomato, still warm from the summer sun, grown in one’s own backyard (not that I have one of those, or see sunshine where I live). And then there’s pizza- omg! All I want out of life is all of the flavors, in my mouth, at all times, forever and ever, amen. I frequently ruminate on the colossal cosmic injustice that that isn’t possible, or even a little bit okay. I can only hope that science will someday come through.
The last week was pretty excellent, food-wise. I ate meat twice. My garbage-friend and I found the perfect lunch-break meeting spot equidistant from our respective places of work. I celebrated a hangover with impromtu eggs benedict at home- I did not screw up the poached eggs! And, I added the Easiest Cookie in the World to my repertoire. I am speaking of the classic, two-ingredient Palmier.
Palmiers (french for “palm trees”) are just one sheet of puff pastry rolled up with a handful of sugar into the shape of a fan, sliced thin, and then baked for a few minutes. When they come out, they’re buttery and flaky with a crisp, caramelized glaze. So simple, I think that these cookies are the epitome of french cooking/fashion/twentieth-century composers (by the way, made you a playlist): effortlessly elegant. A chic cookie. They’re a cinch to whip up on the fly, say, if you were to have unexpected guests on the way (this does not happen to me). Also good for eating curled up next to your favorite window, with your favorite tea, appreciating the chirping of what you are absolutely certain are spring birds.