Tag Archives: homemade

applesauce.cupcakes

I wanted to make some pumpkin cupcakes for an event my little store had last weekend. But somehow I was out of pumpkin – the horror!! As I was totally fixated on the idea of these cupcakes, I decided to modify the recipe a bit and came up with applesauce cupcakes instead. And they were pretty mind blowing.

  • Cream 4 eggs and 1 & 2/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Add 1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce (I used the stuff I canned from local apples last year – I know. I hate myself for being such a hipster too) and 1/2 cup oil and mix
  • Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda and stir
  • Add to lined baking tin and bake for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Frosting:

  • Beat 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar until smooth. I prefer to mix until whipped and fluffy
  • Add to ziplock bag, seal, clip corner and pipe like a professional
  • Eat remaining frosting directly from the piping bag

They turned out super moist and delicious. I almost like them better than the pumpkin muffins! Almost…

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irish.soda.bread.facts

I made some homemade butter last week, and the by product is always buttermilk. So of course that means I get to treat myself to some fabulous toast this week in the form of Irish Soda Bread. It’s one of the easiest recipes for bread and bakes up into a fabulously wonky peasant loaf.

  • Mix 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 3/4 tsp salt* in a bowl (*note: if you are using the buttermilk remaining from your homemade butter, skip the salt as your milk will already be salted)
  • Add 1 cup buttermilk to the mixture and stir to form a soft dough
  • Either knead on a floured surface or in the bowl for 2-3 minutes
  • Form the dough into a round loaf about 8 inches across – cross hatch with a knife to spiff it up
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 350*
  • The bread is done when it sounds hollow after a light thump

 

For a softer crust, wrap in a clean tea towel and set the bread on it’s side to cool.

I did a little research into the history of soda bread while the bread was baking and it’s pretty interesting stuff! Did you know that the cross hatch on the bread is considered “blessing the bread” and is meant to let the fairies out and keep the household safe?  The cross also allows the bread to be broken easily in the hand in the event that an unexpected guest arrived – breaking bread to share. It is a bread based in poverty as it is made with the simplest of ingredients – the baking powder replaces yeast – and is formed in different shapes based on region? Interesting!

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homemade.butter

We only go to the store once a week. So when I realized this morning that I had used the last of the butter on the Victoria Sponge on Monday, I was bummed. But wait! I still had some cream left from the whip, so viola! Butter was about to happen. It’s super easy and happened while I was making coffee.

  • Add heavy cream and salt to stand mixer
  • Turn on medium high and wait until the cream begins to separate into butter and buttermilk (5-10 minutes depending on quantity and temperature – colder takes longer)

And just like that, you have butter. Yay!

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victoria.sponge

I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender for weeks now and can’t stop talking about it and wishing I were adorable and British and lived in a land where tea and cakes all the time is totally acceptable. Despite the fact that I live in Alaska and not the land of shires and queens, that hasn’t stopped me from going on my own baking bender. Last week I made a few batches of scones, and this week I am trying my hand at the fabled Victoria Sponge. This is the easiest dessert in the GBBO repertoire, but one feels so accomplished making it.

  • Cream 1 cup room temperature butter in your stand mixer. Once light and fluffy, slowly add 1 cup sugar until incorporated.
  • Beat 4 room temperature eggs one at a time into the mixture until incorporated (the room temp thing is key – cold eggs will harden your butter and it turns into a mess. So, trust me on this one.)
  • Sift 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons baking soda into a bowl.
  • Slowly fold flour mixture into fluffy egg/butter/sugar mixture.
  • Add to 2 greased 8 inch round pans.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes at 325* – cake is done when it comes away from the sides of the pan or tester comes out clean
  • Cool.

When your cake is cool, whip up a batch of homemade whipped cream, slather some jam or fresh fruit inside and layer your two cakes like a giant sweet sandwich full of delicious. Now, brew some tea, don a giant hat, and talk smart about cool things like cricket and the queen mum.

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sour.cream.&.raisin.scones

If you have had any contact with me in the last few weeks you know I have been on a Great British Bake Off bender. If you are unfamiliar with the show, let me just tell you that it inspires a need for all things baked, preferably stuffed in ones face while trying on a quaint English accent.

Today the need for scones was too great and I preheated the oven. (to 400*)

  • Mix 2 cups flour with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl
  • Grate 8 TB of frozen butter into the flour mixture and work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal
  • Stir in 1/2 cup raisins or whatever weird dried fruit you choose

  •  Whisk together 1 large egg and 1/2 cup sour cream in separate bowl and add to flour mixture
  • Press the dough together against the side of the bowl incorporating with as little hands on time as possible
  • Roll dough to 3/4 – 1 inch thick and cut in equal triangles

  • Sprinkle top of scones with sugar and bake for 15 – 17 minutes on the lower middle rack

 

Stuff face. Great with some cream and jam and of course

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anticuchos

My dad has talked about the smell of anticuchos on the streets of Lima for over 40 years. So when we went back, obviously we had to have some of these grilled and marinated beef hearts, STAT. Our friends and guides took us to the most famous anticucheria in the city and they definitely didn’t disappoint. For about $5 each you got 2 skewers of meat and a potato. It also came with so many great sauces on the side ranging in heat from mild to melt your face (we liked all of it). Before we left the city, the husband declared we needed more anticuchos lest he ‘pull a Larry’ and talk about them for decades, so we found another joint that specialized in these treats (our first stop was closed on Sundays. Sad face.). In addition to beef heart, we tried a skewer of chicken heart and I found them to be equally as amazing (husband would have preferred them grilled just a bit longer). We are definitely going to be giving these a try here at home and made sure to stock up on some important ingredients like chilis and of course, the recipe. AjiPanca_paste

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sour.cream.blueberry.muffins

The husband doesn’t request specific foods a lot, and definitely not anything that would be considered a sweet or a bread. So when he casually left the Alice Bay Cookbook (A savory sampler from Washington’s Skagit Valley) laying around the living room, instead of being mad as his slovenliness, I took it as a sign he wanted me to make his favorite muffins.

  • Preheat oven to 415*
  • Cream 1/4 cup room temperature butter with 3/4 cup sugar
  • Slowly add 2 eggs,1 at a time and continue mixing until combined evenly
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Alternate adding sour cream (3/4 cup total) and flour (1 1/4 + 2 TB total)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and gently fold in 1 cup blueberries

Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Stuff face. Makes 12 delicious muffins.

muffins

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dinner.rolls

I few people asked me if I had any great dinner roll recipes this Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I didn’t. However! I do have a great hamburger roll recipe, and thought, why couldn’t that be used? So I gave it a try myself and omg…..those rolls are so good. Follow the recipe just as you would for the hamburger buns, but form smaller dough balls. Slather with butter. Shove in face. Repeat.

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We did the traditional Thanksgiving spread, including mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, giblet gravy and stuffing (not much of a healthy vegetable to be seen – I’m ok with that), and of course, a giant turkey. Like, 23 pounds of giant turkey. I know – that’s huge. But of course we use all parts of it and feel that if you’re going to go through the trouble of brining and basting and whatevering, you might as well make it a big ass bird. The stock has already been simmered in the pressure cooker, and the meat has been separated for leftovers, etc (I can’t wait for the husbands epically awesome turkey enchiladas tomorrow – homemade enchilada sauce from scratch – with turkey drippings!!).

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sourdough.starter:pancakes

My dad has kept the same batch of sourdough starter going for over 36 years (even he can’t tell you exactly how old it is) and I grew up eating sourdough pancakes. I became such a pancake snob that all other pancakes are considered vastly inferior, if not just gross (except my grandmas banana pancakes….yum). On my parents most recent trip up north they brought yet another jar for me to nurture (in the many moves from apartments to different states etc I have lost or abandoned more than a few jars…) and I immediately threw it into action.

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The first thing I did was make pancakes – duh. I can actually portion from memory but I’ve had the official instructions for years and with a little practice you can do the same thing.

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The sourdough base can be used for anything from bread to pizza dough, to any other sourdoughy thing you can think of. It’s cheap and easy and each “strain” takes on it’s own specific characteristics. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to pull from my dad’s stash, you can start your own starter. Many specialty stores carry the yeasty bits, or someone in a cold sourdough heavy place (like Alaska) could even mail you a postcard with the “just add water” components.

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taco.seasoning

We don’t eat a lot of beef around our house because the whole feed lot/mass produced/unhappy/crisis of contamination thing scares me (and I honestly just feel bad for those poor cows). However, a few weeks ago we bought a side of locally raised, grassfed, yearling beef from a farmer out of Homer, Alaska. And let me tell you – it’s amazing. It just tastes, well, fresh! And not “grey” like I tend to think farm-factory beef tastes. We have steaks and roasts, and more ground than I think I’ve eaten in the last 10 years combined.

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Last night we made the first batch of “americanized” beef tacos in ages and they were pretty fab.

Taco seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

This makes just over 1/4 cup of seasoning mix, and 1/4 is what you will need per pound of ground beef (also add 1/2 cup of water to the meat, etc, etc). Add a little math and you can make larger batches which will store well in a glass jar in the cupboard for a month or more!

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