homemade

post52 // salted butterscotch apple pie

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happy turkey day!! we’re gobble gobblin’ over here at my parents house in maryland. and yes, that means i’m back in the usa, home just in time for the holidays! what are you cooking today?

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i’m still feeling some serious jet lag but not enough to keep me from whipping up a pie for our feast this afternoon! we’ve been making lots of tarts and quiches in culinary school but oh how i’ve missed their fatter, thicker, buttery cousin: the pie. today i got back to my roots and rolled out my all-butter pie crust to hold an apple compote, filled with salted butterscotch.

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it’s been fun being back in my parent’s kitchen, especially since i’m not on a clock or graded while i’m cooking here! we’ve learned a lot about caramel sauces in my pastry classes and i decided to make a light and buttery caramel sauce, also known as butterscotch. it’s the perfect complement to the granny-smith apples, which i sautéed with butter and sugar to make a compote.

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i knew i wanted a lattice pie, using thick strips of pie crust to line the top crust. i watched some handy videos like this one from molly yeh and this one from erin mcdowell to help guide my pie crimping! those two ladies are pie pros and definitely good resources for more pie recipes and techniques.

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once the pie was cool, i brushed some more of the butterscotch sauce on top to give the pie a nice glaze. topped with vanilla bean ice cream, this pie is ready for the thanksgiving table!

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that’s all for me pie-wise, check out the recipe below! and in this week’s other stuff:

i think i found my spirit-writer

when your former office has a bomb-@SS cookware deal for black friday weekend!!!

winter coat envy (feat. one of my favorite fashion bloggers)


salted butterscotch apple pie

serves 8, making 1 double-crust pie

fixings

pie crust

2½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

apple compote

5 apples, washed, cored, and peeled (i used granny-smith)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 lemon

salted butterscotch sauce

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

assembly

flour, for dusting

1 egg

sugar

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 2 balls, one slightly larger for the bottom crust. quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. refrigerate for an 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.

apple compote

  1. cut all apples in half, and then into cubes.
  2. combine apple cubes, sugar, juice from the 1/2 lemon, and butter in a saucepan. cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, until apples are tender.
  3. take off heat and cool in fridge before using.

salted butterscotch sauce (adapted from serious eats’ easy homemade caramel sauce)

  1. put water in a pot followed by sugar and bring to a boil. stir with a fork or heat-resistant spatula until the mixture comes to a boil. once at a boil, let cook for ~10 minutes, until the sauce turns a very light amber, having reached a soft-ball candy stage.
  2. take sauce off heat and add cream, use fork or spatula to whisk well as you add the cream. throw in butter and salt and mix well. use right away or store in the refrigerator.

assembly

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. butter your pie plate.
  2. roll out one of the pie discs for your bottom crust. when rolling, make sure your crust will completely cover the entire pie plate, and then some. transfer the crust to your pie plate and press firmly against the plate to adhere the crust.
  3. fill your crust with the apple compote and then ladle 1/2 of the butterscotch sauce on top. smooth out the top of the pie with a spoon to make an even surface.
  4. roll out your second pie disc for the lattice work. use a knife to cut thick lattice strips and layer in a criss-cross pattern.
  5. use a pair of scissors or a pairing knife to cut off excess pie dough around the edges of your pie. tuck the crust under the inner side of the pie pan, making a smooth surface for your crimping. once all tucked in, squeeze your index and thumb of one hand together and poke your other index finger into the crust to make the curved edges. it’s almost like your poking a little indentation into the pie crust.
  6. brush your pie top with egg wash and top with sugar.
  7. bake pie at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. cover with foil if the pie begins to brown too much.
  8. once out of the oven, brush pie with a bit of the extra butterscotch sauce to make shiny. top with vanilla bean ice cream!

post50 // pumpkin spice french toast

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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!

post43 // bread furst

hellooOoo! i hope you are still reeling from the total eclipse of the solar system that took place yesterday — i know i still am! i didn’t have any of those glasses but then a kind lady on the street handed hers to me and i was so happy she did. it was very cool! and it cheered me up from what was a sad sunday this past week: my last day working at Bread Furst bakery in washington, d.c. (cue: sad face emoji galore ☹️😣😖😫😭.)

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instead of writing about a recipe this week, i’ve decided to share a bit about my experience working at Bread Furst this summer. after hearing some a+ advice from kristen, a colleague of mine from food52, i decided to look for some real kitchen experience earlier this year. knowing that i was moving home for the summer, i thought about Bread Furst as a place to work — it was less than a mile from my family’s home and the bakery’s owner, Mark Furstenburg, was nominated for a James Beard Award for “Outstanding Baker.” Between my initial interview and stage (kitchen speak for a shadow), Mark and Bread Furst won the James Beard Award. for those of you unfamiliar with the awards, they’re recognized as the “oscars” of the food world.

i was ecstatic for them! and even more happy that ben, the head baker, offered me a full-time summer gig there! i started working at the beginning of june in the bread department. throughout the summer, many people asked if i was baking cakes and croissants. i actually wasn’t! instead i baked bread all day — and loved it.

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before i get to the actual bread, i wanted to share the team of bread bakers that i worked alongside. they were what made 6am call times not only bearable, but truly fun. and if you think 6am was early, my call time was actually the latest of anyone in bread baking. yup.

ben: the head bread baker, recipe wizard, and true talent of Bread Furst. he took me in with my zero bread experience and turned me into a bread baker. he’s called bane sometimes because of the mask he wears. (if you’d worked around flour as much as him you’d probably be in a mask too.)

miguel: el maestro = the teacher. miguel has been working with mark, the owner, for over 20 years. and it shows! he is a magnificent teacher and we got along just great. not only did he teach me how to work as a bread baker, but he helped make my spanish the best its ever been. diez estrellas por miguel!

haley: the youngest, most efficient person i’ve ever met. i loved working with haley because the day would just fly by. she turned 21 while i was working there and i was so lucky to see her in action. haley, you better start your own shop one day !!!

maximino: the energizer, and cleanest person on the staff. max is wicked fast at everything he does and he’s always a great person to help get things done when the clock is ticking. another person i spoke spanish with all day!

nefta (a.k.a. neftali): the songbird of the bakery. if you ever hear anyone singing in Bread Furst, it’s likely nefta. in another life, nefta would be an actor or singer, some type of performer. he was a true joy to be around and yes, another person i spoke spanish with all day! also, he worked the oven and made magic out of our bread dough.

max r: my fellow bread newbie and washingtonian, “osito.” max and i worked most of our shifts together and he is one of the cheeriest people i know. don’t let his dark mustache scare you!!

ashley: my quasi-trainee! i was able to show her the Bread Furst ropes during her first and my final weeks at the bakery. i only wish we had more time together!

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+justin: the overnight warrior! he may not have made the team photo but justin is a big part of the bread baking team. he works through the night to make sure all the bread is ready to go for our deliveries and customers in the mornings. and he always has a smile on his face 🙂

so, now that you’ve got some visuals on who is behind the baguettes and miche and chocolate babka and english muffins and bagels, here’s a bit more on what it was like to make bread all day.

physical.
you can’t really work in this kitchen unless you can lift a 50lb bag of flour. i got into the best shape of my life this summer, merely by being on my feet and using my body all day. my muscles grew and so did my appetite. good thing there was always a quick bread snack close by!
rewarding.
every day i was making something. starting something and finishing something. there’s something really satisfying in completing a product each day (or many in the case of Bread Furst).
tiring.
it can’t go without saying that this summer has been an exhausting one! working weekends and early mornings is something to get used to. i think i got used to it like last week lol.

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a typical day for me would start with writing the recipe quantities for the day on our little whiteboard. as you can imagine, the bread quantities for weekends were always more than say a monday or tuesday. once the quantity was decided, we’d start weighing out the ingredients for the different bread recipes. this was one thing that was different from all the home cooking i’d done. all measurements at Bread Furst were done by weight. i have to say it is much more efficient than all the tiny spoons and cup measurements i’d used before.

into the mixer, one after another, the different flour buckets would go. once done mixing, we’d pull the dough out of the mixer, put it back into a bucket, and let it rest for some time. depending on what recipe it was, some doughs would sit longer than others before their first or second fold. once folded and rested again, we’d cut the dough and pre-shape it. back to resting the dough went again until it was ready for its final shape.

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once the dough had rested in its final shape, whether that be in a bread basket or on a couche (used for our baguettes and palladin), whoever was on the oven would start baking the bread.

and while he or she was baking the bread, everyone else started to clean!

that was the usual rundown of my day in the bakery. the routine of it all became quite satisfying and it became a great place for me to practice my shaping and mixing of bread every day.

to end, i wanted to share some shots from the summer. enjoy!!!

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fun times shaping challah with miguel. nefta posing as usual.

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lunch after my first day of work at Bread Furst! their ham and cheese on baguette is awesome.

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eating bread i made for the first time!!

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pizza day !! (every tuesday and thursday at Bread Furst if you’re wondering.)

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snacktime! (hiding from the big windows where customers look at us every day.)

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this is me with a croissant in my lap. i spent a lot of the summer eating breakfast on the go in my car before my shift started.

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my last day at Bread Furst: breakfast made by Justin on brioche with eggs, cheese, and bacon.

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i’m a big fan of their carrot cake. just had some last night actually.

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chocolate babka was definitely a fan favorite of the breads i brought home.

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one of my best friends bridget and i outside the bakery on my birthday. brownie points to bridge for bringing me rosé! which reminds me…

thank you to everyone who came to visit me at the bakery!!!! whether you came purposefully and waved your hand off or just saw me through the windows and said hello, i loved seeing you. thank you.

if you haven’t made it to Bread Furst yet, i hope this post made you want to go! the bread, the lunch service (yes, they have savory food too), and the pastry items are all really fantastic. don’t forget a baguette on your way out!

Bread Furst, http://www.breadfurst.com/

4434 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008

Mon-Fri, 7AM-7PM; Sat, 8AM-6PM; Sun, 8AM-5PM

post41 // blueberry crumb pie

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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!

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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!

 

post38 // french crêpes

good morning to you! or afternoon, or evening — just the time of the day you happen to be reading this. you’re in luck because whatever time it is, it’s time for a crêpe.

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crêpes have never been a routine meal of mine. i’m usually eating their cousins (a.k.a. pancakes and dutch babies), which i have more confidence in cooking. my memories of crêpes are special though, associated with château montebello, a hotel in quebec that my family used to drive 12 hours to each new years eve. the endless hot chocolates and crêpes at the hotel made up for the “when are we there yet” and often nauseating car rides for my brothers and i. year after year, crêpes with maple syrup were reason enough to go back.

since those days at montebello, i haven’t spent much time eating crêpes. until now! just two months ago i was invited over to my friend stella’s apartment, which she shares with her sister sarah. sarah is a francophile and has lived in france on-and-off over the years. she has a wonderful host mother from paris, who was visiting new york at the time. given my impending move to france for the year, the sisters thought that i should meet sarah’s host mum and experience a true french crêpe.

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aside from learning so much about paris, i learned how to make (and eat) many french crêpes that night. fast forward two months and sarah is now living with my family for the summer in washington, d.c. (her own american homestay of sorts!). within her first week here, crêpe ingredients were added to our grocery list.

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crêpes are an anytime meal. while we made these ham, egg, and cheese crêpes for dinner, they could just as well be your breakfast or lunch. the batter itself is simple, as sarah says, “think 4-4-2: four eggs, four cups of milk, and 2 cups of flour.” a bit of salt and vegetable oil added complete the batter and next is just the fillings. both sarah and sofie, her parisian host mum, cooked off the entire crêpe batter, kept the cakes warm, and then prepared the fillings right before serving. this is the best way to ensure your crêpe comes out hot. the batter will be much thinner than a normal pancake batter, so don’t be afraid if it looks runny! sarah describes that the consistency is best when it coats a wooden spoon upon lifting, but still drips back into the batter bowl.

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once you’ve cooked off all your crêpe batter and have a stack of eager cakes waiting to be filled, it’s time to load on the toppings. a couple good tips for fillings are to keep them thinly sliced so that they don’t overwhelm the crêpe, another being to spread your crêpe with sour cream (for flavor!) before adding the fillings. if working with uncooked eggs, cover your pan so that the egg can cook off while the rest of the toppings are melting together.

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folding the crêpe together at the end is a simple envelope fold. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal. by this time, your egg yolk will have burst and it is seriously time to sit down and eat your crêpe.

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very soon, i’m sure you’ll be reading about all the different types of crêpes i’ll be trying in france. until then, i’ll be working on my own crêpe-making skills.

au revoir!

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p.s. this week’s other stuff!!!

i’ll admit to singing this with the windows down very loudly this past weekend. one of my favorites

obsessed with this account and their shop in greenpoint, bk

the drink of my summer (recipe comin’ soon to foodstuffs!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!