In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a huge fan of cake as we know it. I’m pretty thrilled when I pull off a layer cake, and I swoon at Molly Yeh’s gorgeous creations, but I’ll almost never go into a bakery, look at the cake options, and say, “ooh, I’ll take a slice of that, please.” In fact, for our wedding we had a rustic and delicious pie station with three sweet and tart options to sample and devour (apple, pumpkin, and cranberry pear, of course) in lieu of the traditional, schmancy multi-tier wedding cake, and our guests didn’t even miss it. But — combine a cake with a brownie, flavor it with almond and orange, and call it a torte, and I will throw my hat back in the cake ring with relish. Continue reading →
Well folks, we made it. 2016 is over and gone, and 2017 is here — of course, as we knew it would be. On the eve of a new year we always proclaim the previous to be “the worst year ever,” willing the next to be better and brighter, because it just has to be, right? Seriously, we do it every year. And while 2016 might have been an exception in crappiness, even in our current era, on the grand scale of politics and the like I’m not betting 2017 will be much better. But a friend posted a thread on Facebook encouraging people to post the good things that happened in 2016 — because on a personal level, I’ll bet there were as many for you as there were for me. I spent much of the year trying to regain my footing, find my place in the world — a miasmic endeavor that left me, often, in tears. And yet, 2016 was the year my sweet nephew Charlie was born, and it was the year I married the love of my life on the most gorgeous day of the year — two huge events that also left me in tears, but happy ones. Watching videos of Charlie laughing over and over again and just looking into the eyes of my new husbo have been a salve to my soul. And as 2016 came to a close and 2017 dawned cold and sunny, I’m stepping closer and more firmly to where I want to be, where I need to be, where I belong. And so, in honor of this awakening, I’m sharing with you these Orange Cranberry Streusel Muffins — as bright and glorious as the cold winter sun, and like a warm hug to welcome you in from the chill of last year.
Spring has finally arrived: the sun is out this week, and rhubarb has been spotted — and picked through and procured — at the Union Square Greenmarket. “O, frabjous day! Callooh, callay!” she chortled in her joy. But what to do with these nearly neon pinky-green, celery-like stalks? Especially when trucked-in, beat-up strawberries are still upwards of $6 or $7 at the supermarket? Can rhubarb stand alone? The answer, unabashedly, is yes. And with a sweet, crackly, crumbly crisp envelope and a touch of orange, they shine as brightly as that sun out there. Continue reading →
Raise your hand if you have old leftovers sitting somewhere in your fridge or on your countertop. Come on, stand up and be counted. Me? Oh, that’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight, raising my hand sheepishly and asking you to please step away from my refrigerator, where there are two giant buckets full of old dough, a container of chickpeas and sauteed onions that I’m afraid to even open to dump out, and some pizza sauce from when I made that first bucket of dough, for pizza, I don’t know how long ago. Step away from the fridge. Nothing to see here, folks. Other times there’s that one cookie or scone that my fella and I are both leaving for each other. And we leave it until it gets stale, because neither of us wants to eat the last one. We’ll never learn.
And then there’s the marmalade. The sweet, sticky, beautiful clementine marmalade that I overcooked thanks to a faulty thermometer. Sure, I spread it on toast and mixed it into oatmeal, and it’s been delicious, but it was a bit too candy-like for some of my concoctions, and the jar was still almost full at the start of this past weekend. I made it in January. In my recipe, I said keep it in the fridge for up to two months — just to be on the safe side. Whoops.
But just in the nick of time — or just after the nick of time, depending on whether you abide by the “rules” — a friend of mine posted a recipe for orange marmalade cake on her Facebook page. The recipe’s author, Melissa Clark of the New York Times, recommends good marmalade — caramelized and chock-full of bitter seville orange peel. Caramelized? Accidentally or not — yes! Chock full of peel? Oh hey now! I checked for mold, threw the “rules” out the window, and got to work. Continue reading →