Friday, July 25, 2014

DIY cake hack with cherries from WSCSA

I'm not typically a cake eater.

Cakes these days are all about the decoration and less about the taste. As long as it looks good in a photo people are less concerned with what they're actually eating, which is why I usually opt for pie. 

None-the-less, I was in the mood for something light and fluffy last week so thought I'd give cake a go. 
I wanted to incorporate some of my fruit share from Washington Square CSA because four pounds of super ripe cherries is a lot for anyone to get through in a week. Instead of searching for an established recipe I decided to wing it and make some tweaks to my classic white cake recipe. Here's what I came up with:

Cherry Almond Olive Oil Cake (I'm working on a better name...)

Basically I made the following additions and adjustments to what was a pretty standard white/vanilla cake recipe that makes two 9" round cakes or two dozen cupcakes. 

  • substitute liquid with unsweetened Almond Milk (approx. 1 cup)
  • substitute vegetable oil with a bright floral extra virgin olive oil (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • add zest from one lemon
  • add 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • add pinch salt 

after batter is well blended, gently fold in the following:

  • add 1/2 cup crushed or sliced raw almonds
  • add 1 lb. pitted and chopped cherries, including reserved juice
Bake according to your original recipe instructions. Cake may require an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven to be fully set due to the added moisture from the cherries. You can tell if your cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remember to cool completely before frosting! (if you're frosting... I was too lazy)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Late Spring at the Barn

A few weeks back I took a stroll around the new property with my mom. My parents moved in during the worst of the winter storms in January and hadn't taken the time to really explore the yard yet. Obviously they come and go everyday and they've seen the whole thing, but there still hadn't been a "stop and smell the roses" moment. Until now.

Here is the first look. 

* we were warned - the river floods veeerrrrrry often

* the view from the driveway. Can you spot the mailbox?

* the daffodils don't seem to mind the extra water

Friday, April 18, 2014

Everything's coming up... tulips!

Was saving this one for a #rainyday… Hooray for #tulips!

Spring is here.
Allergies are upon us.

Every nook and cranny of Rock Center has blossomed overnight with tulips and the like thanks to the lovely Rockefellas. I'm taking this change in season to heart and digging deep for the courage make some changes and take some chances. I'm going for the whole inner renewal thing, and I could not be more excited!

For a long time, Easter meant tending the spring garden with my mother, an excuse to eat my weight in chocolate, and so. much. egg salad.

As I grew older, my family grew larger, and the roles changed a bit. I was the one filling the eggs with treasure and rallying the troops for the hunt on Easter morning with my grandparents.

The years flew by and all of a sudden the young'ins aren't so young anymore. No one is looking for the Easter Bunny and no one really wants their eggs smothered in dyes either, so Easter means something different yet again.

This Easter marks the first family holiday in the barn. This new house became their home the second my parents laid eyes on it one year ago. It was an uphill battle to make it their own, but someone was on their side and I can't imagine a better "fresh start" for my family. Dreams are becoming reality, little by little. The sweet, end-of-summer bonfires that will be had here. The lazy August days by the pool. The eggs, plucked from the coup-to-be that will become breakfast, and lunch and maybe even dessert. I get the sense that through this fresh start we are really just coming back to ourselves, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next!

Hello little guy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Black & Blueberry Bourbon Crumble Pie and the New Music Bake Sale

Sunday marked the annual New Music Bake Sale, one of my favorite musical events of the season. Everyone brought their A-game this year - there was some serious baking going on in Brooklyn last week! I sampled chicken empanadasgluten-free goat cheese and tangerine tartscoconut jelly shooterskiller meatballs, and probably the best "feed" i've ever tasted. 

For Ensemble, Et Al.'s table, I made a few pies to accompany Charlie's outstanding mango salsa. I also brewed up an iced batch of Blue Lady Tea's organic ceylon, but I promise that's not nearly as exciting as the pie I'm about to share with you:

This pie is sinfully delicious - jam packed with flavor - just boozy enough to feel scandalous - i want to eat it every day!!! The best part is I made it up and I'm going to give away my recipe right here. Because sharing is caring :-)

Black & Blueberry Bourbon Crumble Pie

For the crumble:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed muscovado sugar
1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes

For the Filling:

1 9-inch pie crust (that's a secret for another time...)
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup bourbon
two 6 oz. boxes of fresh blueberries
one 6 oz. box of fresh blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon (about two TBSP)
zest from a whole lemon
3 TBSP cornstarch

Crumble - combine all but butter in a medium bowl, and then incorporate butter with fingertips until a crumbly meal forms. Chill at least 15 minutes before baking. 

Pie - preheat oven to 350*F
-In a small bowl, combine dried blueberries and bourbon
-In a large bowl, combine fresh berries, sugar, lemon zest and juice until sugar appears syrupy
-Roll out pastry dough, set in 9-inch pie dish and place in freezer
-Add bourbon/berry mixture to fresh berries
-Incorporate cornstarch into berry mixture just before you're ready to bake
-Pour berry mixture into prepared pie crust and top with chilled crumble
-Bake until crumble appears golden brown (approx 45-60min)

*let cool at least two hours before serving so the filling can set

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Hump Day

Today I dream of spring, and all the lovely things I'll be doing out of doors very soon...

A few links for your perusal:

Poly pong deserves a spot at all gaming bars starting now!

Since losing my butterprint Pyrex bowl I've been heartbroken. This helps fill the void.

My two favorite snack foods have joined forces. I can die happy now.

There was once a time when selfies were not ironic.

I have a nagging feeling that my coffee will taste better if I get this.

I can't believe it's not Parmesan!

and lastly -
If you like cupcakes and bacon and Brooklyn and new music, go here this Sunday.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The end is where we start from {TS Elliot}

I had the honor of attending the wedding of two lovely friends this past weekend in Bruceville, TX. 

This special couple radiates warmth and kindness in everything they do. The whole weekend designed around free wheeling fun intensified the close knit sense of community, even though those in attendance traveled far and wide to get there.

This being my first jaunt in the land of bluebonnets, I call it a success.
The photo journal below gives you a look through my eyes at what was truly an enchanting weekend :-)

The beautiful #newlyweds #natalieandross #latergram  (at URJ Greene Family Camp)

 Hello Lone Star #stairwaytoheaven #natalieandross  (at URJ Greene Family Camp)

#natalieandross ❤ (at URJ Greene Family Camp)

You are made of stars. #natalieandross  (at URJ Greene Family Camp) A thousand times yes. #texas #bbq
#natalieandross  (at URJ Greene Family Camp)


To the happy couple, #MazelTov #natalieandross  (at URJ Greene Family Camp)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Back to Basics: weekending at the barn

This past weekend was spent back at the homestead celebrating Dad's birthday and praying that the predicted storm would skip us just this once (luckily it did not live up to expectations). Mom and I worked on our tea room and I'm excited to say that Blue Lady Tea will be up and running again in no time with an even larger selection and helpful recipes, too! Dad lead us on an inaugural hike through Griggstown Preserve and Hunting Grounds - don't worry, no hunting allowed on Sundays - Jeff and I built a pretty epic fire, and I tried out the fancy built in griddle on Mom's stove with steak from this awesome farm.

A good weekend all around.






Can I put in a request to facilities and have one of these installed, please?


Also, if i was the sort of person that could afford to have a vacation cottage, this would be it:

The cats co-habitated nicely. Well, as nice as can be when you put a 6-month-old little rascal with an old man who's favorite past time is sunbathing.

Looking forward to more adventures once the remaining snow finally bids us farewell and we can take advantage of the canoe rentals down the road.

Happy Tuesday! <3