Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pizza, cake, Kauai

Um, it's already May?

Once, when I was much younger, I commented on how fast time flies and an annoying cousin said to me, smugly, "Wait until you get older." It bugged me at the time (because being the youngest always meant that everyone else knew everything before me) but of course it turned out to be true. This year is flying by faster than ever, and this poor blog is getting left in the dust.

It's hard to keep the momentum up with a blog, as any of you who keep one know. Thinking of things to say and dishes to make, trying to finagle a decent photo, editing it, etc, then feeling sad if you don't get as many readers or comments as you feel the post deserves--it's tiring. It can hurt your ego. And there have been times where I've felt like I've outgrown this blog--sometimes I don't think I care about writing about food anymore. And sometimes I feel like I have to be careful about what I say on this blog--it's actually weirder to have people you know read it than total strangers. (Luckily, one can have a secret blog on which they can be their full anonymous self.) Anyway, I'm back, after a hiatus. Sort of, at least.

Recently, I started making pizza.

I always resisted making pizza but now I'm kind of into it. I like the kneading part. Do I have aggressions to work out? Yes, who doesn't? Dough is a good thing to take them out on.

I also like covering the dough to rise and checking on it periodically to assess its progress. It's a miracle to me that dough rises, all because of a little thing called yeast (some call it science). 

We've been using this recipe, which is as simple and good as it promises. It makes two pizzas, and generally we've been doing one tomato-y one and one white pie. So far, the best combos are tomato with mozzarella, arugula, and serrano ham; and  zucchini with ricotta and pine nuts. I haven't really been into taking pictures much these days but I did get a Hipstamatic of a shaved asparagus and crispy ham pie we made, which was pretty delicious.


I've also been baking a lot of cakes. I made this blueberry crumb cake for Easter brunch.

It was a total hit. You should try it. But, make it in a springform pan. Silly Ina, how am I going to get a crumb cake out of a regular cake pan?

The other thing I made for Easter brunch that was a little bit interesting, although not a cake, was strawberry bellinis.  I kind of went apeshit for them. Basically, you make a simple syrup, puree it with frozen (!) strawberries, strain the seeds, mix it with prosecco, and voila! They really were good, although a bit of a girly drink. That worked out fine for Easter, though, as with the exception of the huz (good sport!) it was me, my mom, and some of my girls. I hate to encourage a cliche, but girls like pretty pink drinks.

I also recently made this cardamom and coffee pound cake for the second time. The first time I made it in a loaf pan (per the recipe), but I underbaked it. While the flavor was amazing, the center was a gooey blob. This time I did it in a bundt pan, the king of pans, in my opinion, rivaled  only by the springform (I could write an ode to the springform pan). Turned out much better. I cheated and just used regular jarred cardamom but I have no doubt going the extra mile and roasting, grinding, etc the cardamom yourself would be divine. I think what truly makes this cake special, though, is the espresso in it. And the creme fraiche. And the vanilla bean icing. Vanilla bean icing! My heart melts at the words.

This is one of those great cakes that can be dessert or breakfast.  I feel like a cake with icing can be breakfast but a cake with frosting cannot. Although, typing that now, I'm not sure that should be a hard and fast rule.


We're headed to Kauai next week. Kauai is tied with Paris for my favorite place on earth. We have talked a lot about moving to Kauai, and one of the main reasons we have had trouble taking the plunge is that it would make our flight to Paris that much longer. That isn't the only reason, but it's up there, along with having to put Soph into a short quarantine. Actually, those might be the only two reasons.