homemade

post50 // pumpkin spice french toast

fullsizeoutput_107d.jpeg

happy happy halloween!!! i hope you aren’t still hungover from celebrating this past weekend buttttt if you are, i have the perfect thing to mop up any ghoulish liquor left in your tummy!

french toast. after making homemade brioche in class last week and eyeing a beautiful brioche feuilletée — a brioche loaf treated like a puff pastry at the end, giving it one turn of flaky dough — at le cordon bleu’s cafe, i knew french toast would be on my agenda for the week. i’m in france anyways, french toast is a must!*

but how could i forget halloween! i wanted to make a themed recipe, celebrating all the pumpkins i could find.

that was until i couldn’t find any pumpkins.

fullsizeoutput_107b

my neighborhood is a calm one relative to the rest of paris. it’s full of families and grocery shops, little bistros and schools. upon deciding to make a pumpkin-flavored french toast, i visited all my neighborhood markets and grocery stores in search for either a full pumpkin to roast or pumpkin puree.

fullsizeoutput_1078

i walked into seven different grocery stores and no one carried pumpkins or puree. what was this! at home, grocery stores essentially turned into pumpkin parties in october. (see trader joe’s pumpkin o’s that i usually buy in bulk this time of year.)

weary from aisle searching, i walked down the street in hopes of finding the winning grocery store. instead, i saw starbucks.

fullsizeoutput_1077

starbucks, the home of the infamous psl: pumpkin spice latte. could i? yes! i entered the coffeeshop and immediately googled (using starbucks’ free wifi 🙌**) the ingredients in their pumpkin spice latte: milk, espresso, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin purée! it was decided. i was to make my #basic, american-themed french toast with the most basic of pumpkinites.

given that my working recipe for a classic brioche french toast already called for milk, i substituted the milk for psl. in went the eggs to the batter, and a bit more of nutmeg, cinnamon, and then cardamom to round out the flavor.

fullsizeoutput_1074

this is one of the simplest recipes you can make. just cut your slices of brioche (regular sandwich bread works too!) and dredge in the batter. transfer directly to a hot frying pan and cook until brown and colored on each side. serve with a thick pad of butter and maple syrup. dunzo.

fullsizeoutput_107c.jpeg

the pumpkin flavoring is subtle with a nice kick from the bit of espresso. it may sound odd but given that the psl consists of majority milk, it works great for working into a french toast batter.

if you’re not feeling adventurous enough for the psl mix, i’ve made notes below on how you can adapt this recipe for a simple french toast or using the pumpkin puree. (if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on it!)

fullsizeoutput_1073

aaaand in this week’s other stuff:

for anyone who is a big fan of cards, check out yellow daisy paper co. their covers are incredible!!

discovered this gem of a cafe last week.

wanna be a ceo one day? some required reading.

happy halloween and long live pumpkin spice!!!

*for those wondering, french toast is actually called pain perdu in french, meaning lost bread.

**this is not an #ad but wouldn’t it be lovely if i was getting paid! ha


pumpkin spice french toast

serves 6

fixings

6 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups pumpkin spice latte, chilled (or whole milk + 1/4 cup pumpkin puree)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

salted butter

brioche loaf (regular sandwich bread works too!), sliced to 1cm thickness

good maple syrup

tools

frying pan

spatula

bowl for dreding

instructions

  1. preheat oven to 200 degrees, fahrenheit.
  2. mix pumpkin spice latte, 6 eggs, and spices together. place in a wide-rimmed bowl or rectangular pan that will be easy to dunk your brioche slices into.
  3. heat a frying pan to medium-high. add a pad of butter to your pan and let cook until butter browns and foams.
  4. dunk brioche slices into your dredging batter. transfer immediately to hot frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until well colored. once cooked through, put slices in an oven-safe pan and keep warm in oven as you continue to work.
  5. serve warm on hot plates with lots of butter and maple syrup. bon appétit!

post48 // ricotta and tomato tart

fullsizeoutput_fa2

hello friends and happy friday!! despite the arrival of pumpkin season and my month to ideate halloween costumes, tomato season is not yet over! and from what i hear about the weather back stateside, it sure doesn’t feel like fall there either.

fullsizeoutput_f9b

last week my french host mom brought home a bevy of bright green tomatoes after visiting a friend’s farm in bourges, a city south of paris. yes, she casually spent her day picking tomatoes, foraging for mushrooms, and drinking wine. #frenchlifestyle like wut?? anyhow, i wanted to put these tomatoes to use! in my pastry courses at le cordon bleu, we’ve been baking many tarts that have me reminiscent of my homemade pies and their ever-buttery pie crusts. i decided to try out my pie crust recipe from the states in a french kitchen and turn it into the base for a tomato tart.

fullsizeoutput_fac

learnings:

  1. my american recipe for a double pie crust didn’t even fit (!!) in my french mixing bowl. (see all that spilled flour?) this isn’t the first time i’ve noticed how my reference point for portions is far bigger than france’s.
  2. as a twist on the recipe, i used some of my french host mom’s leftover chestnut flour that she had in the pantry! the chestnut flour gave the pie crust a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that i’d highly recommend! i’m not sure where you can find chestnut flour in the states, likely at a whole foods or specialty foods shop. but if you can’t find it, don’t fret! the recipe is superb with regular ap flour.
  3. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, weighing ingredients is far superior to the endless cup and spoon measurements we make back home! i learned this while working at bread furst this summer and i’m never turning back. but don’t fear, i *do* include them for you below. i know this is how a lot of home cooks bake!

fullsizeoutput_f9c

the perk of this recipe is that you can make your tart base and use the baking time to prep your toppings. instead of making a completely green, wicked-themed tart, i went to the farmer’s market and picked up a couple more tomatoes in different colors for a rainbow effect. i chose ricotta cheese as the bed for these tomatoes, drizzled with honey, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. i used to make a bowl of ricotta just like this for meetings back at food52! throw same basil on top and voilà!

fullsizeoutput_fa6

fullsizeoutput_fb0

you can see that one of my tart crusts is a bit browner than the other. i used a higher ratio of chestnut flour in the dough for this tart and that’s why it browned easier. what are your favorite alternative flours to use? i’d like to do more testing with them.

fullsizeoutput_fa1

fullsizeoutput_fa0

if you’re looking to hold onto summer as long as you can, this recipe is a surefire way.

and in this week’s other stuff, i have lots of goodies!

until next week! xx


ricotta and tomato tart

makes two tarts

fixings

crust:

2½ cups ap flour // 320 grams (*i used 160 grams ap and 160 grams chestnut flour)

1 teaspoon salt // 6 grams

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter // 225 grams

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan // 64 grams

extra butter or oil to prep pan

toppings:

6 beefsteak tomatoes, in various colors

16oz ricotta cheese // 500 grams

8-10 basil leaves

lemon, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper for seasoning

tools

bag of rice or beans for par-bake

tin foil

tart pan (like this one) or a 9-inch pie pan

instructions

crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  3. in a large bowl, mix the flour, parmesan and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  4. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  5. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  6. split the dough into 2 and form each ball into a thick disk using your palms and thumbs. wrap both disks in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.
  7. once rested, take the crust out of the fridge and roll to fit your tart or pie pan. before transferring to the pan, make sure you’ve buttered or oiled the pan. fit to the mold.
  8. layer a sheet of tin foil on the crust. pour the beans or rice onto the tin foil to prep the crust for par-baking.
  9. bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.

assembly (while your crust is baking!):

  1. finely chop the basil leaves. add half of the chopped leaves to the ricotta cheese and reserve the rest for decoration. add a hefty drizzle of lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and honey to the ricotta. season with salt and pepper.
  2. wash and slice your tomatoes. you’re looking for a width around 1cm. i also peeled my tomatoes but it’s not mandatory!
  3. once crust comes out of the oven, let cool completely. to speed things up, you can put it into the fridge or a quick dip in the freezer for cooling. (but don’t freeze it!)
  4. once cool, spoon a thick layer of ricotta on the crust. then layer the tomatoes on top. season to finish!

 

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post45 // fairground peanuts

Version 2

hi friends!! me again. happy fall! it may not *officially* be the season (that’s sept 22nd), but it already feels like autumn here in paris. i’ve been wearing coats more than expected in my first week here, and i don’t mind it one bit!

in one of my first pastry classes this week, chef made praliné. not to be confused with the new orleans style praline, praliné is a powder or paste used in many french desserts as a base, filling, or decoration. while chef demonstrated how to make praliné, i couldn’t help but notice the similarities between that process and a favorite snack of mine, candied nuts!

if you are not already on the candied nut bandwagon, i suggest you hop on. as a kid, i remember giddily awaiting my aunt laura’s packages of candied nuts that would arrive around christmas time. and if you don’t have an aunt laura that sends you candied nuts than you might know them from fairs, sporting events, malls, etc. if you’re in new york city, than you undoubtedly know the nuts4nuts stands that are oh. so. addicting.

fullsizeoutput_e46

with candied nuts on my mind, i set out to make my own version of the fairground favorite this weekend. to start, i used peanuts as my base. they were the cheapest nuts at the supermarket so that was an easy decision. above you can see the core ingredients for candied nuts: water, sugar, and nuts! it’s that easy. kind of.

the following images are my best attempt at photographing the progression and caramelization of the nuts. i started with just the sugar and water in a saucepan, brought that to a boil, and then added the shelled peanuts. (aside: i caught up with my mom on the phone while shelling the peanuts. multi-tasking in a foreign country for the win!)

fullsizeoutput_e4e

the mixture will start to foam a bit and that’s when the caramelization has officially begun!

fullsizeoutput_e57

don’t forget to keep stirring! as the sugar begins to thicken, it’s even more important to keep scraping the sides of your saucepan. the sugar will first turn powdery and then start to really caramelize.

fullsizeoutput_e5d

fullsizeoutput_e5e

it all happened so fast! as soon as the true burgundy caramelization began, i took the pan off the heat and mixed as fast as i could. i also added in my seasonings at this time: a fat slice of butter, a couple pinches of sea salt, and a pinch of paprika.

fullsizeoutput_e5f

once my toppings were mixed in, i took the candied nuts off the heat and dumped them onto a baking sheet with tin foil. after they cooled a bit, i was able to break the nuts off into smaller pieces for snacking!

fullsizeoutput_e61

bon appetit! as i’m writing this, my brain feels quite sugary so i think the fairground peanuts have done their job. off to get some real food for a late dinner!


but before i go, this week’s other stuff…!

felt v french when i used this last night before going out (thanks old roomies for the gift!)

oh my poor football team. i’ll be asleep when this game is over. god speed!

my host mom made gratin daphinois this week and i couldn’t get enough of it

au revoir from paris! xx

fullsizeoutput_dac


fairground peanuts

serves 20 small bags

fixings

two parts nuts, two parts sugar, and just shy of one part water

500g shelled peanuts

500g granulated sugar

200g water

a fat slice of butter (2-4 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons paprika

instructions

  1. bring sugar and water to a boil. once boiling, add peanuts.
  2. stir peanuts and sugar together for 30 minutes, make sure to scrape sides as the mixture begins to thicken. see pictures above for better clues!
  3. prepare baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper.
  4. once carmelization has deepened, take saucepan off heat and add seasonings. once seasonings are mixed, dump mixture on the lined baking sheet. smooth out (aka don’t copy my big giant rock!)
  5. once cool, break apart pieces to bite-size. eat alone or add as toppings to cakes, ice cream, cookies, and more!

 

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post 42 // avocado shrimp rolls

fullsizeoutput_cc7

why hello there and happy day to you!! thanks for tuning in. seafood lovers rejoice because this week’s post is an ever-easy recipe to keep your summer feeling summery, by way of shrimp and avocado.

in the past week, i think i’ve eaten a year’s worth of seafood. my family and friends celebrated my brother rob’s big 3-0, which called for a crab feast (as good maryland birthdays do). said crab feast turned into crab cakes one day later and a bevy of shrimp cocktail turned into this very recipe.

fullsizeoutput_cb5

the thirtieth birthday party? well that was fun. we ate crab and shrimp, danced, and watched a tremendous storm from a peninsula on the chesapeake bay. it was scary and fun all at the same time! my brother jake and i gifted rob an original painting of us three made by my friend stewy. see below for a better look at his work!

okay, back to these shrimpies. i wanted an easy recipe to make with a whole batch of cooked shrimp and it seemed fitting to slide them into potato rolls with some mayonnaise. but what else? i looked up recipes for shrimp rolls and the following fillings kept popping up: tarragon, chives, celery, bibb lettuce. these green additions gave me some ideas for the type of roll i wanted: something herby and full of veggies. i ran rogue with mine though, bringing avocado, a favorite sandwich filling of mine, to the forefront of these rolls. along with dill and lemon for flavor and scallions for a bit of crunch, the shrimp and avocado mix quickly grew to be a tangy, herby, and addictive spread.

fullsizeoutput_cb8

but not without a properly buttered bun! make sure you butter your rolls and toast them up. i can’t repeat this enough. not to mention, add a dash of salt and pepper to the base of the roll. you can toast your rolls on the grill, in the toaster, or as i did, on the broil setting in the oven. just be sure to keep an eye on them if they’re oven bound.

fullsizeoutput_cc8.jpeg

as you can see, i don’t go light on the mayo. you can adjust the measurements for your liking but the mayonnaise does lend to a rich and creamy roll. for this reason, make sure your avocados aren’t *too* mushy when you’re picking them.

fullsizeoutput_ccd

fullsizeoutput_cca

what is necessary for your shrimp, crab, or lobster roll platter? potato chips!! a quick grocery store run led to these kettle cooked chips with black pepper and salt by cape cod. they were definitely a good decision.

fullsizeoutput_cc6

so if you’re trying to savor the summer — literally — these rolls are for you. buttery, creamy, filled with fresh veggies and shrimp, they’re the perfect august meal for you, you and your honey, or you and a whole batch of friends.

fullsizeoutput_cc1


and in other stuff!

stewy, my friend from college, made this incredible painting for my brother. check out his work on his instagram and site!! #wildcats

fullsizeoutput_cd5

hip hip hooray! my friend abby from high school made my bagel recipe!! feeling v proud and happy right now. #eagles

fullsizeoutput_cd0

i have two weeks left in dc!! any restaurant recommendations for me? comment below!


shrimp avocado rolls

serves 4

fixings

18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

potato rolls (i used martin’s long rolls)

2 medium avocados, cut into cubes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon paprika

4 sprigs dill, chopped

bunch of scallions, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

butter for buns

instructions

  1. take your peeled and deveined shrimp and cook them if they’re not already cooked. you can do so by boiling them in a pot of salted water for 2-5 minutes. drain and rinse with cool water. once cool, cut the shrimp into bite size pieces.
  2. put the mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, old bay, and lemon-pepper seasonings in a medium sized bowl. whisk to incorporate.
  3. fold in the avocados, scallions, dill and lastly, the chopped shrimp. add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. heat potato rolls as described above. once heated, lightly butter your rolls and add salt and pepper.
  5. load on your avocado and shrimp filling. eat!

 

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

 

post41 // blueberry crumb pie

fullsizeoutput_c2d.jpeg

hi there! how are you? i hope you’re having a lovely day, made even better by looking at photos of ice cream melting in this blueberry crumb pie. i promise it really does taste as good as it looks. so keep reading!

fullsizeoutput_c29

my past couple of days were filled with so much good food and fun. my two ex-roomies from new york came down for a visit and we somehow wound up at a peruvian independence day party. it was a blast! and for the first time in three years, i ate authentic aji de gallina — a peruvian dish made out of shredded and creamed chicken with aji pepper, potatoes, and eggs. it tasted just like what i had eaten when living in peru: comforting and delicious. speaking of which, maybe i’ll have to work on an aji de gallina recipe of my own soon. more coming there!

in the meantime, i think this blueberry crumb pie will keep you warm and comforted in a different way. a sweeter way. to start, i’ll let you know that this recipe is the result of no real direction. all i knew going into baking yesterday was that i wanted to make some sort of pie/galette/crisp/crumble/buckle/streusel type dessert (or breakfast!) with fresh blueberries since they’re in season. i ended up with a cross between a crumble, galette, and pie — but that seemed like too many words to fit in the title. so blueberry crumb pie it is!

fullsizeoutput_c26

i began with my favorite trusty pie crust, an all-butter variety adapted from Kate Lebo’s butter crust, as seen in Pie School. i used a 13×6″ pyrex pan and rolled the entire double-pie crust out into a rectangular shape, then transferred it to the pan. at first, i thought that i would keep the pie crust crimped but after loading in the blueberry and sugar filling, i realized i had some room for the crust to fold over. i layered on the crumb topping and then folded the extra crust over, completing the galette portion of this dessert (see what normal galettes look like here).

fullsizeoutput_c2a

before baking, i swiped on a light egg wash and then dropped some sugar onto the pie crust. i used granulated sugar but i’d recommend sanding sugar if you can get it — it adds an extra crunch to your crust.

fullsizeoutput_c30.jpeg

of course, any baked good like this isn’t complete without a bit of vanilla ice cream dressed on top. as you can see, a bit in my family = three very large spoonfuls.

fullsizeoutput_c2f

so go on, give this recipe a whirl! it’s perfectly doable after-work, but even more enjoyable on a day off. it’s something you can pick at throughout the day or serve to a dinner party at night. pro tip: the ice cream spoonfuls are a nice way to “present” the pie if you’re hosting!

and in other news, here’s this week’s other stuff!!

my ex-roomie melissa got a job at glossier !!! 👏👏👏 i celebrated her win by buying their newly released wowder. will report on how it looks next week!

a really sound article on wellness and diet trends in this month’s elle: “every day, people” by lucy danziger

ikea’s 2018 catalog is everything.

fullsizeoutput_c2b


blueberry crumb pie

serves 10-12, in a 13×6″ pyrex

fixings

pie crust:

2½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

filling:

3 pints blueberries, washed and de-stemmed

2/3 cup sugar (+more for egg wash)

2 tablespoons corn starch

zest from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

crumb:

1/4 keebler graham cracker crust, broken up

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 egg

instructions

pie crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  2. in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  3. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  4. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  5. gather the dough in 1 balls and form the dough into a thick disk using your palms and thumbs. wrap the disk in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.

filling, crumb, and assembly:

  1. preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. combine sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, and blueberries in a large bowl. mix and let sit for 10-30 minutes.
  3. in the meantime, prepare your crumb. mix graham cracker crumbs with the rest of the crumb ingredients and toss to combine.
  4. roll out your pie crust as described above, in a rectangle slightly larger than the pyrex pan. (if it’s not perfect, don’t worry!) butter/spray your baking pan and then transfer the pie crust to the pan.
  5. pour the filling in the pan and then follow with the crumb.
  6. beat together the egg and a bit of water in a mug, brush your pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle some sugar to finish.
  7. bake pie at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, and then at an additionally 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. eat!!!

 

post40 // homemade french fries

fullsizeoutput_c0e

hi folks, happy august!! i hope you’re currently reading this on a beach with your out of office up. buuuut in case you aren’t, close your eyes and pretend that’s where you are: on a beach, in a sun chair, with an order of my homemade french fries in front of you. can’t you smell them already?

fullsizeoutput_bfb

yesterday i was craving something greasy, something fatty, something homemade. i was fresh off a trip to new york city for my soon-to-be cousin victoria’s bridal shower! oh, we had so much fun. we had so much fun that i was in need of hungover food, one whole day later. karaoke and a night out dancing will do that to you. oops!

french fries fit the bill. hand-cut, fried, and salted, these fries proved their worth when my family and i couldn’t stop eating them. i built the recipe from smitten kitchen’s, easiest french fries, adding some maryland twang (old bay seasoning) and subbing out the peanut oil for canola oil to make the french fries a *bit* lighter.

fullsizeoutput_bfc

this recipe is truly simple. four ingredients, one vegetable peeler, and one large pot later, you’ve got homemade french fries on your hands. this video helped me a ton in learning how to cut the yukon goldies just right for french fries. the overall gist is to slice the the potato into “planks” and then cut those slices into 1/4 inch batons. once you get the hang of it, the slicing goes by fast.

fullsizeoutput_bff

next comes the frying! the best part about this recipe? you don’t need a fryer to make french fries! you heard it hear first. instead, a dutch oven or deep frying pan will work just as well. and you don’t have the mess, or smell, of the fryer. i like to call that a win, win — for you, and your kitchen.

1J0A0103

fullsizeoutput_c06

the verdict: homemade french fries are an easy and cheap recipe to make on a lazy day off. they require minimal groceries, you can peel the potatoes while watching tv, and you’ll feel nothing but full and content after eating them.

fullsizeoutput_c07

fullsizeoutput_c09

and why not cover them in ketchup and make a mess on your new white shirt? i did!!

fullsizeoutput_c0c

here are a couple more tidbits from my week in the rearview!

remember how amazing selena was? i watched her movie twice in the past four days 🙃

one of the best sandwiches i’ve ever had

my go to karaoke song (i even got to sing it with my mom this past weekend!)

have a great day everyone!

fullsizeoutput_c0d


homemade french fries

serves a crowd (about 10)

slightly adapted from smitten kitchen’s, easiest french fries

fixings

3 pounds yukon gold potatoes

1 liter canola oil

2 teaspoons old bay seasoning

table salt to add

+ so much ketchup

tools

dutch oven or deep frying pan

veggie peeler

slotted spoon (helpful but not necessary!)

instructions

  1. wash your potatoes! once they’re nice and clean, peel them completely. you can start slicing them as explained by me and the video above once they’re all peeled.
  2. dump all your potato batons and the liter of oil into your cooking pan. turn the heat to high and let the potatoes sit in their for 20+ minutes. while the potatoes are cooking, place a couple paper towel squares on your largest sheet pan.
  3. start checking the fries’ brownness at 20 minutes and assess how crispy you want them from there. once ready, pull your fries out of the cooking pan with a slotted spoon.
  4. sprinkle with the old bay and table spot and toss to coat 5 minutes after the fries have rested on the sheet pan.
  5. eat!!! (with ketchup of course)

post39 // birthday sprinkle cake

fullsizeoutput_b64

hi friends!! happy day after monday. i hope your week is going well so far. mine sure is as i am still riding high from a big birthday weekend, celebrated with family and friends and most notably: homemade birthday cake! twenty-four has been pretty sprinkly so far (see below).

fullsizeoutput_b4d

while living in new york, i discovered momofuku milk bar, a well-known bakery in the city. “discover” is a loose term as momofuku’s famed cake, their birthday cake, is everywhere. it’s all over your instagram feed. it’s at every birthday dinner you go to. it’s sitting front and center at every milk bar. it’s everywhere, and for good reason. the cake is charmingly delicious, filled and topped with their signature birthday batter “crumbs” and vanilla cream cheese frosting. for my past two birthdays, i’ve eaten milk bar’s birthday cake. but those birthdays weren’t the only time i got a milk bar birthday cake fix. throughout the year, i found myself periodically “stumbling” into milk bars, buying birthday cake truffles, their small bite-size rounds made from the same birthday batter “crumbs” that sit atop the cake. yes, i’ve bought a number of those truffles…you can too.

anyhow, this year i decided to make a birthday cake of my own, riffing off of the momofuku recipe and blogger molly yeh’s funfetti cake recipe. as my aunt joanne says, it’s a “happy cake.” and it’s true! this cake will make your birthday (and any other day) happier. i promise.

fullsizeoutput_b4f

as you can tell already, the batter is full of sprinkles. molly yeh’s funfetti recipe perfected the suspension of all these sprinkles so i used her batter as a jumping pad for my cake. as a big fan of almond flavoring, i opted for almond extract in lieu of vanilla and i’m so happy i did. another fun idea would be to use lemon extract (holler if you try it!).

the cakes themselves are pretty basic. the usual mixing of wet and dry ingredients takes place, the only difference being to throw in a cup of sprinkles at the end of mixing. in light of the family and friends who i expected at the birthday dinner — we celebrated both mine and my dad’s birthday on saturday night — and keeping in mind my hope for some leftovers, i doubled the recipe and made a four-layer cake. right now i’m happily eating a leftover slice as i type to you.

IMG_2602

the hardest part of the cake is the assembly. i’d never baked a four-layer cake like this before, let alone frost it! knowing this, i dropped some questions on my bakery friends before taking it on. a big takeaway from my peers was around preparing the cakes: making sure the cakes are cold and leveled out before icing. wherever the cakes are not leveled, use icing to help even out the layers. all this intel, and some great tools (bench scraper, angled spatula, tall cake stand) helped enormously.

fullsizeoutput_b53

most importantly, my boss ben at bread furst helped inspire the sprinkling. instead of placing a heavy layer on the cake, ben recommended simply throwing the sprinkles on the cake. he did the same at a restaurant he used to work at and reminisced on the sprinkle throwing parties that happened in the kitchen. it sounded so fun that i decided to make my own mess!

fullsizeoutput_b5d

the cake was a true success. i was thrilled! the inside was dotted with countless sprinkles that stood out brightly against the white cake. the frosting was pure butter and sugar and my one edit i’d have for next time is a bit less sugar in the frosting — i’ve gone ahead and adjusted this in the recipe below. beyond that, i wouldn’t change a thing. my cousin george even commented that it reminded him of the momofuku variety. my dream come true! my family and i feasted on the cake that night, and the next night, and still today. i’ll make known the little secret that i’ve eaten it for breakfast the past two days. tomorrow will be three!

fullsizeoutput_b56

so, if you are in the market for baking a birthday cake make sure to give this one a go. it’s a delight to serve and cut into with a big crowd around. bake it for yourself, bake it for a friend, bake it for anyone! you will be so happy you did.

fullsizeoutput_b59

and here are a couple other sprinkles from my past week:

this babka sugar high will make your day

haim’s something to tell you album is a+++++++++++

peter pan donuts started selling ice cream sandwiches on donuts and my brother rob has reported they’re incredible

thank you to everyone who made my birthday special this year! i have the best family and friends. and last but not least, here is a birthday cake carnage visual for you:

fullsizeoutput_b5c


birthday sprinkle cake

feeds 10-15

fixings

cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 egg whites

1 tablespoon almond extract

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups flour (i used a combination of 1 cup cake flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose)

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup sprinkles (i used rainbow jimmies!)

frosting and assembly:

4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 pinch salt

1 cup sprinkles

special tools

8 or 9-inch cake pans

electric hand mixer

cake stand is great for pics but not necessary, i used this green beauty by mosser glass

angled spatula is super helpful for icing! (again, not necessary)

bench scraper

instructions

cake (adapted slightly from molly yeh’s, funfetti cake):

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease two cake pans (8 or 9-inch work best). cut out parchment circles to match the pan’s bottoms and place in the pans. grease parchment well.
  2. mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a small-ish bowl. then mix butter and sugar together in a larger bowl, using a electric mixer. add the egg whites, almond extract, oil, and milk to the butter bowl and mix well.
  3. add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing slowly. once all the flour is incorporated, add in almost the full cup of sprinkles. fold the sprinkles into the batter with a spatula.
  4. scoop the batter evenly into each of your prepared cake pans. once in the pans, sprinkle the last bit of rainbow jimmies on top of the batter.
  5. bake the cakes for 25-28 minutes, using a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean from the batter.
  6. let cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes and then pop them out to continue cooling on a rack. make sure they’re completely cool before you start frosting! (i actually froze mine overnight and let them thaw out the next day a bit so they were hard.)

frosting and assembly (see notes above on how to best prepare the cake for assembly):

  1. prepare frosting: beat together butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt. voila!
  2. stack cakes and frost their tops as you continue to build your layers. once all layers are stacked, frost the outside of the cake with a crumb coat. put the cake in the fridge if you can so that it can rest and sit after your crumb coat.
  3. continue to build your frosting layers by adding more! use a bench scraper and angled spatula to help you.
  4. sprinkle time: just throw ’em! make a mess and briefly toss sprinkles on every side of the cake for a natural and “light” sprinkle look.
  5. eat!