Recipe for: Blond Hair

Hi all!  Sorry no recipe tonight.  No time for baking - we have a hair emergency on our hands!

I like my hair blond.  Today I went in to get my roots blonded.  The lady yellowed them.

That is not the same as blond.  It is, however, what happens when you get it done at the hair school and the LADY mixes up the BLEACH with the TONER.  TWICE!!

Blurg.

Yellow hair against my pinkish skin makes it look sort of like I have permanent sunburn.

So I'm blonding it myself.

Behold!  DIY blond hair!



Yes, west-coasters, that is a Winco bag.  I forgot to buy a cap.

And gloves.

Winco forever.

Results to be posted soon!

Unless they are terrible.

In which case, hats for us all!  Hooray for winter!

(I should do something about that mascara, I know.  But one thing at a time please.)

Birthday Cake - Spice and Lemon



Birthday follow-up!

Sorry it's late - we went to Seattle this past weekend and I am suffering from a smoked salmon hangover.

Worth it.


But if I think back a week in time I remember my beautiful birthday cake!

On my birthday I like to make things I like, including things other people think are gross.  One of those things is spice cake.

Why does everybody hate spice cake?


You don't hate spice cake???  WE ARE FRIENDS.

Everybody has time for carrot cake (gross) but nobody has time for spice cake.  What a world.

All right I'm done being a spice cake martyr.  The other thing this has is lemon frosting.


Because I don't like the cream cheese frosting that usually comes with spice cake (this is also what puts me off from carrot cake, incidentally) I wanted something else with a tang.

Lemon!  And cinnamon!  Together at last and doing the tango.

Happy birthday to me indeed!  Parte deux!  NEVERENDING BIRTHDAY


Cocoa Citrus Spice Cake with Lemon Frosting
adapted from Joy the Baker

makes two 9" round cakes (I used a slightly smaller circumference yet deeper dish for a taller cake, I think it's something like 8" round and 3" deep)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cake pans.

Mix together dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Cream butter, zest and sugar together until well-blended, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, blending well between each addition, about 1 minute.

Add dry mixture to wet in 3 batches, alternating between it and the buttermilk until all is added.  Turn off mixer and finish mixing together by hand.

Pour into greased pans and bake - 45 minutes for a 9" cake, 25 minutes for cupcakes, an hour for a tall cake like mine.

Lemon Frosting

1 cup butter
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 tablespoons milk

Blend together butter and sugar until well-blended, about 3 minutes.  Add in zest, extract and milk and beat 1 minute more.  Frost over cake as desired.


Belly


Belly is the best restaurant in Eugene.  When we first moved here I saw it described as "French Soul Food."

Then we passed by it walking around downtown and it had a hanging metal pig silhouette for a sign.

It was love at first sight.

Yesterday was my birthday and we went to there.


Appetizer!  Oxtail and shitake mushroom empanadas with a persimmon-habanero salsa and green onions on top.  All of that just sounded like a list of random ingredients to me when we ordered, but when you pair all of them up with the richest, flakiest pastry in the world?  Mouth magic.


Tyrosalata with Moroccan bread - a spicy, warm feta dip served beside bread flavored with rye.  It couldn't go wrong, and it didn't.


This little baby was the showstopper.  A kale salad ("I like this kale!" shouted my husband in shock) with apricots, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and a freekeh/sunflower oil vinaigrette.  Such a parade.


My husband ordered the winter vegetable pot pie.  That's a broccolini slaw on top and MORE of that wonderful pastry!  Inside was a beautiful gravy full of all the best vegetables including, most charmingly, little fat whole mushrooms.  But what was really remarkable about this dish was the flavor - it could have been just salty fat, like any old pot pie (and which I have no problem with).  But it had this delicate, vegetable sweetness to it.  No sugar, just a long-simmered broth I am betting.


And I ordered the special (always a good plan, I feel) which was a duck leg confit over ham and bean stew.  I was a little leery of combining meats, did I really need a duck quarter AND a hammy soup?  Spoilers:  yes.  The soup was rich and salty, and the duck leg?  Have you had confit?  First the meat is brined and preserved, then fried at a low temperature.  It is salty and crispy and meaty and sweet.  Every bite was bliss.

Always get the special.

Happy birthday to me!  Oh and sorry about the yellow pictures - beauty of pictures is inversely related to seductiveness of restaurant ambiance.  In this situation the pictures lost out.

Caramel Snaps


Hello, the friends!  Sorry for my long absence.  Holidays and such yadda yadda.  Will be better and such yadda yadda.

Now I will share with you my most favorite cookie.  It is the cookie-est of all cookies, the heart of what every good cookie should be.

It is the caramel snap.  I invented them, yes, me.  (I haven't bothered to Google yet to see if anyone else has also simultaneously invented them a la Picasso and Braques with Cubism...I probably never will, because I DID IT ME!)

I'd been experimenting with caramel sauces, specifically Joy's Almost Burnt Salted Caramel Sauce.  Her recipe made more than I knew what to do with (I'm sorry to admit there are times even I don't know what to do with so much caramel).



Then one night I was craving gingersnaps and I thought, molasses = sticky sweet sugary substance that is key to cookie perfection.

And here I have all of this caramel sauce.

!!

Do it.  Do it.  Do it now.  Put salt in it.

I love you.



Caramel Snaps
adapted from Ginger Snaps on Sally's Baking Addiction (these are my favorite soft ginger snaps)

Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup caramel sauce
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter for about 1 minute on medium speed.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about another 2 minutes.

Add the caramel, egg, and vanilla.  Beat well, about another minute.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet on low speed.  Cover dough with foil and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar, because I had it on hand).  Place balls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, or longer if you like them crispy.  Cookies will be puffy.  PUFFY IS GOOD.

Cookie Day 2014

Friends, this is really happening!  The most wonderful day of the year is here, and that is COOKIE DAY @)!$!  Oops I mean, 2014!

Who candied that orange peel?  I did.


Oh who again?

I DID.

Caramel snaps are like ginger snaps but with caramel instead of molasses.  Salted caramel.

Cupcakes on cookie day?  Of course!

Yes I do use my kids' plastic fish bowls for baking purposes.

Chill out, dough!  Time to chill out.

Check out those no-fade cupcake wrappers!  They did not fade.

Pignolis are Italian cookies with almond paste centers, meringue exteriors, and crusted with pine nuts.



Chocolate orange cupcakes.

Piles.

And Piles.



Soup break!  Even cookie bakers need to eat lunch.

Finished plate!  By that time the light had failed.  Best subjects get the worst pictures.

Want some?

Revere the Pig






Le Menu

Sourdough French Toast
Chocolate Cake
Brown Sugar Oat Muffins
Cheesy Potatoes
Squash Sausage Feta Bake

This is the menu for the coming week!  Lots of nice winter flavors here.  My fruit/vegetable shelf is overflowing with squash and my fridge is full of cheese.  Yay! 


Pfeffernusse


Ugh, sorry about the posting gap!

First, my baby decided to get all her teeth at once.  Incisors, molars, wisdom, you name it.  She has all of them now.

Then I got sick.  Yeah, the puking kind.

Then my preschooler got sick.  That same, special kind.


Then it was Thanksgiving, and now we are here.

I have so many excuses!

Oh the last one is the most delicious - my internet connection has become, shall we say, unreliable.

Anyway.  It's aight.  I'm just getting back into this business anyway, right?  There's time to iron out the, uh, bunches?


I'm so addicted to these little cookies.

They are like ginger snaps, but gingery-er.

No wait, SNAPPIER.

They're little molasses bombs with just enough black pepper to catch in your throat.


 Pfeffernusse
adapted from Taste of Home
Makes 4 dozen

Important recipe information:  pfeffernusse means peppernut!

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, honey and butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat until melted.  Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature.  Stir in eggs and extract.  Smell that?  Mm.

Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt.  Gradually add molasses mixture and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (do not, by any means, eat it all at this point).

Roll dough into 1-inch balls.  Place one inch apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 325F for 9 minutes (longer if you like your peppernuts crispy).  Remove cookies to wire racks.  Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar.  Cool completely.  NOW devour.