I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. I made this easy peasy rhubarb buttermilk upside down cake a few weeks back, and have been meaning to share the recipe ever since. Between working on our new house, taking care of our basement kitty, Pinecone (more on her here), and other life stuff, it’s been near impossible to sit down and write. I want to share this cake with you before rhubarb season passes us by though, so here goes! If you like rhubarb, sweet and tart flavors, cake or any combination of those things, you’re going to inhale this upside down cake the same day you bake it, just like Ponny and I did!
It might not be the prettiest cake I’ve ever made (next time I’ll cut the rhubarb into skinnier pieces), but it is one of the most delicious. The rhubarb is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the buttermilk brings out the natural tang of the rhubarb, while also making the cake extra moist. It’s a sweet cake, but not so sweet, like some of the rhubarb desserts out there – I think some people tend to drown rhubarb in sugar. I say let rhubarb be what it is – a tender, tart and magical food we get to enjoy for just a few weeks every spring – and that’s just what this cake does. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
First things first: Ponny and I bought a house!!! I’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but it feels a lot more real now that we’re actually starting work on our little fixer. It’s a 1918 bungalow with a brick fireplace, airy kitchen and stunning original features–okay, so that’s just my positive spin on the fact that it still has all original wiring, plumbing and zero hardwired light fixtures. Yikes. Still, I am so, so happy to own a place of our own after living in apartments–at long last I can paint the walls whatever color I want. I can drill holes wherever I feel like it!
We’re planning to spend every spare moment over the next several months bringing the house into the 21st century, which won’t leave much time for cooking. I don’t want to resort to eating fast food every night, so I’ve been brainstorming healthy and satisfying meals that can be thrown together with minimal effort after a long day of home projects. One of my favorites so far is this spring greens pizza–it takes about five minutes to prep, 15 minutes to bake and even less time to devour because it is so tasty.
The pizza has all my favorite farmer’s market greens of the moment: asparagus shaved into thin ribbons, adorable fiddleheads, peppery nasturtium leaves and tender micro greens. They’re piled high on a olive oil base, dotted with chèvre and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The vegetables bring a wealth of flavors and textures to the pizza and the creaminess of the goat cheese balances the bolder green flavors–it’s one of those meals that’s so simple yet so full of flavor you’re left wondering how so many yummy taste molecules were able to fit into every little bite. Continue Reading
After a long, dreary winter, is there anything so refreshing as looking outside and seeing sunshine and colorful blooms around every corner? Even the dull gray sidewalks are dusted in pretty petal confetti! My food cravings are almost entirely driven by what’s in season around me; I’m the person jumping up and down at the market going, “yes! Strawberries/pumpkins/etc. are back! I’ve waited all year!” So it’s only natural that when spring flowers abound, I’m making plans for how best to eat them!
And I’ll happily eat just about any edible flower there is, including dandelions, which have an unfortunate reputation for being pesky, pointless weeds. But let me tell you, they’re anything but! Think of dandelion greens as a slightly milder friend of arugula. They’re tasty in salads, on pizzas and in smoothies, just like any other leafy green, and happen to be packed with vitamins. The flowers are a little more bitter, but totally edible, too!
If you’re not quite convinced, these sweet mini cakes, with Stash Organic Sunny Dandelion Root Tea-infused frosting are for you. They’re an extra palatable, tasty introduction to eating dandelions that I’m sure will make you a dandelion convert for life! I made a simple yellow sheet cake, cut out rounds and stacked them up to make cute mini cakes that are just the right size for 2-3 people. I won’t judge you if you eat a whole one yourself though, because they are frosted in the lightest, loveliest tea-infused buttercream, and it’s really hard to stop at one slice.
The tea has notes of chicory, cocoa shell, orange peel and vanilla in addition to the dandelion greens, so the resulting buttercream was a little herbal, floral and fruity, with just the right amount of sweetness. You’d be hard pressed to find mini cakes better suited to springtime, especially when you top them with fresh dandelion flowers! Continue Reading
Have you ever tried drinking a shrub? Wondering how that would work, what with all the leaves and pointy bits? Not to worry – I was mystified, too, when I first saw shrubs on a cocktail menu. Fortunately, I’m not suggesting you drink greenery! No, this kind of shrub is much tastier and goes down a whole lot more smoothly. Shrubs are a sweet-tart mixer made by letting fresh fruit sit in vinegar, then adding sugar to the infused vinegar and boiling it all down to a syrup that brings sweetness, acidity and a punch of flavor to your drinks. I love that since shrubs are so full of flavor, they don’t require extra juices, herbs or liqueurs to make them immensely satisfying and drinkable. This shrub, made with fresh blackberries and minty licorice delight tea, is sweet, tangy and also has some tasty herbal notes. I didn’t want to obscure any of those flavors, so I mixed the shrub with sparkling water, and wow. The flavors all came through, and the sweetened vinegar makes them more intense than they would be without that acidic element.
The choice of tea made all the difference here. This was my first time making a shrub with tea, and while I knew I wanted to use an herbal one, I didn’t think a mild tea like chamomile or lavender would stand up to vinegar. Enter minty licorice delight! This is a new tea from Stash, and now that I’ve tried licorice and mint together, I don’t know how I got along with out them for so long. I’ll admit I’m not usually a fan of licorice. But in combination with the mint, it’s light and refreshing, and the perfect herbal complement to the blackberry and vinegar. While the blackberry is what hits your tastebuds first, it’s the minty licorice that lingers and makes you want to take another sip. Next time I’m going to try my shrub as a cocktail mixer – I think it’d pair well with an herbal liqueur like amaro or an elderflower cordial. The possibilities are endless, as is my appetite for shrubs! Have you ever tried making or drinking shrubs? I’d love to hear your favorites! Continue Reading
Happy weekend, everyone! I have a lot to be grateful for this weekend and I can’t help but share my excitement. First, it’s almost officially spring! Second, tomorrow is my birthday! I’m not that big on celebrating my own birthday – I’d never throw a real party because being the center of attention like that makes me want to slide under the table and hide. But I am excited about sharing a nice meal with my husband and parents. Oh and last but not least…we finally got a house!!! Our offer was accepted on an old craftsman bungalow not far from where we live now. It’s going to take years and a lot of elbow grease to restore it to its former beauty, but we’re looking forward to the adventure and can’t wait to dive in next month. Lots of DIY posts are on the way!
Back to springtime being just around the corner. These last few months, steeping and drinking tea has become a daily (okay, five times daily) habit. It started out of necessity – my apartment’s frigid temperatures make hot drinks mandatory – but has become a ritual I savor and want to continue as the seasons warm. So, I’ve been playing around with cold tea drinks, like this rose and honey tea latte that’s currently on repeat over here. I pour it over ice, which brings out subtle flavors that would be lost if it were served hot. I love rose, but only in small doses, and steeping rose buds in milk gives the latte a delicate flavor that’s floral but not overpoweringly so. It’s lightly sweetened with a spoonful of my dad’s raw blackberry honey that satisfies my sweet tooth and makes it a little fruity. I highly recommend picking up some raw, fruit-pollinated honey at a farmer’s market if you can – the extra bit of flavor makes all the difference.
My favorite thing about this drink? You can make a big batch ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for later! I’ve been taking a mason jar full of pre-made latte whenever I leave the house because I’m completely hooked, and I’m willing to bet you will be too. Read on for the recipe. Continue Reading