Monday, June 17, 2013
I found this recipe for Beatty's chocolate cake a few years ago and it has changed my life. An amazingly simple recipe for chocolate cake that manages to be both light and decadent at the same time. I've used it to make cupcakes for the kids' birthday parties, and am now working on making layer cakes.
Combined with tangy cream cheese frosting, this cake was a hit for Father's Day yesterday. An easy layer cake? Yes please!
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
Friday, May 31, 2013
Quite difficult, it seems. Apparently even blogging about special baking projects was beyond me. (Doesn't help that I haven't really baked anything special since last August.) It's almost funny how breezy my tone was when I began this project.
Rather than a strict resolution to try three new recipes per week, which proved so daunting that I just stopped cold turkey, I will try to come back to this blog periodically to post thoughts on food. And of course post pictures of an annual special birthday cake in August (already planning this year's!)
With my 35th birthday coming up, I've begun to think more seriously about eating healthfully. Thus today's lunch: herbed green salad with lemon dressing, tuna salad with carrots and capers (subbing olive oil in for mayo), and a quinoa pilaf with kale and shallots. I am actually pretty addicted to this pilaf right now. Lemony, tangy, and full of protein and fiber. It feels like an indulgent treat when I know I'm actually getting a ton of nutrition when I eat it!
Kale and Quinoa Pilaf (I don't like pine nuts so I did without)
Posted by bunmama at 1:47 PM
Monday, August 13, 2012
Turns out "three a week" is actually tougher than it sounds. As can be seen through my diminished blog posts, it has proven tougher to try three new recipes per week than I'd originally assumed. Life just gets in the way. However, I can say that the experiment has broadened my repertoire to the point where I can easily whip up a weekday lunch or dinner without giving it much thought. And my picky family is even complaining that some of their favorites are not in rotation enough!
Now I'm saving my energy for bigger projects for special occasions, such as the salted dark chocolate peanutbutter birthday cake above (yes, you read that right. A little slice goes a long way). And yes, the birthday boy has a thing for Star Wars. I won't reveal his age though :)
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's infinitely more chic looking cake. I need more practice so my celebration cakes can look like that!
Monday, April 30, 2012
Finally back in SF after a whirlwind wedding weekend in LA. I was looking forward to seeing family and relatives, and to eating all of the wonderful food that I miss so much, but all of the events left me (and the kids) overtired and cranky. I am glad to be back home, and to have a chance to cook and and eat simply again.
We are kicking off our week home with a lemon loaf cake. A friend is having a tough time in her personal life, and I thought we could give her a little sweet to cheer her up. Filled with lemon zest and eggs, this loaf cake is surprisingly light, with a tender crumb. When life gives you lemons - make lemon cake!
Ina Garten's Lemon Cake
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Not exactly a new recipe. In fact, no recipe link today. Unfortunately in the last few weeks my 3 a week resolution has been felled by 1) Spring Break, 2) a really nasty flu, and 3) my mother's visit from Taiwan. On the upside, what better timing for a visit from my mom? It's been great to bask in her attention and sleep in while she gives the kids breakfast, and have homemade gyoza for dinner. Yippee for moms (especially moms who specialize in homemade gyoza)!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
After a week in Tahoe and 3 days in bed from a bout with the flu, I'm finally starting to think about cooking again! Tonight's simpler-than-simple dinner was inspired by the beautiful spring produce I found in the market today - just picked corn, tender arugula, and fresh basil. Veggies this fresh don't need much cooking to taste great. Happy Spring!
Lemon, Ricotta, Arugula, and Basil Pasta
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Having grown up in Southern California, I've always had a fondness for Marie Callendar's pies. When I was young, it was always such a treat if a visitor brought a pie to share. My favorites were the fresh strawberry, piled high with strawberry and glistening under a ruby glaze, or the sour cream cheesecake pie, with its velvety cream cheese layer topped with the smoothest, whitest cloud of sour cream. What luxury!
Faced with a surfeit of lemons this week, I found this recipe for Marie Callendar's lemon cheesecake pie. It was easy and quick to make using a pre-baked graham cracker pieshell, though as you can see the crust doesn't hold up well. Next time I'll probably make my own crust using a shortbread dough, and sprinkle with a touch more sugar to bring out the lemony flavor of the lemon curd on top. For an easy springtime dessert, this recipe worked out great (and apologies for the pictures this week - as you can see, serving the guests took precedence over photography this week!)
Marie Callendar's Lemon Cheesecake Pie
What a week! Between the kids' Spring Parties and playdates, I've barely had time to sit down. We had an impromptu dinner party on Thursday evening. The menu: curried deviled eggs, celery and mushroom salad, truffled pasta, and lemon cheesecake pie. As it was a last-minute decision to invite friends over, I found recipes using what we had on hand.
This celery and mushroom salad is adapted from Lidia Bastiniach's recipe, linked below. It was fine, but not memorable - next time I'll try substituting kale for the celery, which seemed too bland in this salad.
Lidia's Celery and Mushroom Salad
Monday, April 2, 2012
We've been trying out various whole grains this year, and pearl barley has turned out to be one of our favorites (for some reason calling it "Monkey Rice" has turned it into a hit with at least one of the buns, which I consider a success). Nutty and sweet, the grain adds some nice texture to this dish, which otherwise can feel almost too simple. Lemon and basil combine to lend a Springtime note. Warm with some crusty bread, it makes a nice early Spring dinner, or have it cold for a lunchtime picnic, as we did yesterday under the cherry blossoms!
Lemon Parmesan Pearl Barley Risotto
3 cups pearl barley, cooked
3 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons finely julienned fresh basil
sea salt to taste
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, and parmesan. Pour in pearl barley and mix well. Fold in basil. Top with sea salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Of all the restaurants in San Francisco, it's funny that the only one where we are considered regulars is a Korean restaurant. Maybe its the underground parking - a lifesaver in the rainy season when dining out with kids - or maybe its the deliciousness of the food, the sweetness of the staff and owner, the cleanliness and child-friendliness of the establishment. But honestly, I think its their muk. Muk is a savory jello-like dish commonly served in Korean restaurants among the little appetizers they pass out called panchan. Whenever my kids hear the words mungbean jelly, they cheer.
There's a korean grocery near the restaurant, and feeling inspired one day, I asked the owner if he stocked the ingredients necessary to make muk. He handed me a package of whitish powder, and painstakingly translated the korean instructions for me. My new favorite grocer!
Muk (Korean mungbean jelly)
1/4 cup mungbean starch powder (available at korean grocery stores)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/4 cup minced scallions
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional - don't add this for the kids' portion!)
In a heavy pot, place 1/4 cup mungbean starch powder and add 1 3/4 cups water. Using a wooden spoon, stir until well mixed. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring every so often to keep from sticking to bottom of pan. Add salt after mixture reaches boil, turn heat on low, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. You'll know its ready when mixture looks bubbly and translucent. Pour into shallow glass containers and cool, chilling for at least 2 hours. When firm, cut into cubes and serve with sauce.
For sauce: mix all ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Spoon over muk and serve chilled or at room temperature.