Friday, August 30, 2013

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream and Figs

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream and Figs

Dale got me the most gorgeous cast iron bundt pan for Christmukkah last year. We were wandering around an antique store and came upon a table of old, dirty cast iron things. Pots and pans and odds and ends and then in the middle of it all, this cast iron bundt pan. I had been on the lookout for vintage bundt pans for some time but never even considered the possibility of cast iron, so when I saw this one, I was sort of in awe. Even so, I really had no intention of buying it. I was looking for gifts for other people at the time and needed to spend my money on those other things. Dale, however, decided that I would not be leaving without that pan and snatched it up and carried it around the store the rest of the time we were there. I later realized what dedication that took, because this pan is a monster. A badass, lady monster. I love it.

So we took it home, and Dale schooled me on cast iron care. We re-seasoned it and got it all ready for caking, and I pretty immediately made a chocolate cake in it. I even took pictures and intended to share it here but just never got around to it. Actually, the first three times I baked with this pan all involved chocolate, which is sort of weird for me. Dale doesn't really like chocolate, and although I do, I tend to prefer other flavors. But this pan, this pan makes what I have decided is the perfect chocolate bundt. Fudgy, moist inside and tender yet crusty outside, which I tend to like in a chocolate bundt. So it seemed appropriate that I finally introduce this most wonderful cast iron bundt pan to the blog with a chocolate cake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Bundt Cake

The day I made this cake, I locked myself out of my house without my phone... after I had put the cake in the oven. I had a moment of panic and then decided that it was as good a time as any to meet my neighbor. Even though I woke her up from what I imagine was the most ideal Sunday nap on the most wonderful weather day, she was nice enough to let me use her phone. As I sat on the porch on that most wonderful weather day, I could hear the timer going off on the oven. It was for some reason so torturous, and I was certain that the cake was over baking, drying, or, God forbid, burning. When Dale got home, I rushed inside and took the cake out of the oven, fully prepared to discover it ruined. To my surprise, however, it was perfect. So, my slip up baking time is included in the recipe below.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Calming Banana Granola (vegan and gluten-free)

Banana Granola

This week, I officially became a full-time member of the workforce. It's pretty weird, what with having been in school full-time for the past... my whole life. Although a lot is different, mornings especially are. I mean, I've had early classes before, but you can sort of just roll out of bed, throw on some leggings and Keds, and pretty much sleep type your way through classes. That isn't so much the case now. I've really been hoping that I will, at some point, become a morning person. Mornings for me, are a sort of slow, disorderly routine. Alarm --> snooze --> alarm --> snooze --> alarm --> etc. I generally blame my cat for the fact that getting out of bed is so hard. He lays right between me and the edge of my side of the bed, making it pretty much impossible for me to get up. Impossible. It's totally the cat.

I always think I look funny in the morning. Not in a sleepy way, more in a I-shouldn't-be-seen-by-other-people-at-this-hour way. I usually will take a few seconds to gaze in the mirror and decide whether or not my hair "slept" well enough that I don't have to do anything to it. The bangs I'm trying to grow out typically do not, but I will generally decide that the rest of my hair has. And I don't have time to do anything about it anyway. But I do have time to make coffee. There is always time for coffee. So, while brushing my teeth, I'll start a kettle of water, weigh out my coffee beans, grind them on the setting Dale has instructed me is the one for Chemex. At some point I'll stop brushing my teeth after realizing that I am still brushing my teeth and have been for much too long. I may make a salad for lunch, or not and instead grab a banana and some PB or chips and hummus or whatever else I can stuff into a plastic baggy or throw in my massive handbag. I may turn on the Today show for background noise about some band called One Direction or whether it's appropriate to spy on my toddler's Facebook account or the latest opinions of professionals on professional things. I may do my makeup while sitting on my bed, or in the bathroom, ...or in the car (only at stoplights, y'all, chill). I almost always accidentally let the water for the coffee get too hot and have to wait for it to cool to the proper temperature (coffee-making is serious business), during which time I likely could have done something about that poorly slept hair. Then I'll realize that not only is the water too hot, I'm freaking hot and so I'll fall flat on my back on my bed with the fan on high to try to stop sweating and then think about the fact that I'm still in pajamas and was supposed to leave 20 minutes ago and "what happened to all that time I had?" and ohmygodmorningsaretheworst.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No Bake Almond Cream Tartlets (with vegan and gluten-free options)

Almond Cream Tartlets

I have tried to write this post so many times but can't seem to figure out what to say. Disappearing from this blog for five-ish months was not in any way intentional, and I hope I have not lost any of you along the way. Life sort of took over, and I decided to just let it. I took my final finals ever in April. I graduated law school mid-May then left town for a road trip from Atlanta to San Diego to help a friend move. When I got back, I immediately began studying for the bar exam. I started a new job mid-June. I went home to Texas mid-July and took the bar exam at the end of July. Then about a week and half ago, I moved from my condo to a house, and here we are.

I baked quite a bit throughout all the foregoing madness, played with new-to-me ingredients, had many a failure, and many sweet and satisfying successes. The more I think about it though, my absence here wasn't just a result of being busy in real life (and I hate when people complain/brag about being busy anyway). I also spent some time just thinking about my food, how I want this little internet space of mine to move forward, the conversation I want to contribute to, and generally how I want to live my food life, both savory and sweet. I have so much that I want to share, and my thoughts will come out in due course. For now though, I am back with tartlets.