This “cake” occupies a nebulous area somewhere between dessert and cornbread. Almond meal, whole-wheat pastry flour, and cornmeal add a toothsome bite to the soft, sweet pears. I brought this to a potluck as dessert, but I liked it even better when I served it for brunch alongside a frittata and baked oatmeal.
My favorite weekends now include what I call Hannibrunch, which is my old Saturday-Morning-Fannibal routine kicked up a notch into Brunch with Friends. Not only do I get to relive the psychological thrills of season 2, I get to bake breakfast foods for a group instead of just for myself.
For our last session, I got a request for scones, so used pumpkin puree I had leftover from making pumpkin chili. I’ve made the chocolate-chip version of this recipe before, but I liked the second batch I made with crystallized ginger even better. The orange really makes the ginger pop without overpowering the pumpkin, and the scones are tender on the inside. They’re best fresh out of the oven –no need for jam, although clotted cream might be nice.
These last weeks have not been good for breakfast. Life has been rather rough, and it’s brought on a depression that leaves me weak-armed and unwilling to consume anything but smoothies and soup. But it’s autumn, and we should have nice things to eat. Scones are easy, and sage doesn’t have to be just for stuffing turkeys or making pumpkin turnovers. Try it with dried apricots and apricot jam in these simple cream scones.
It’s only now, right at the end of berry season here in the Pacific Northwest, that I’ve gotten this recipe to where I want it. For some reason, The Joy of Cooking‘s whole-wheat-muffin base recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of butter when the non-whole-wheat recipe calls for 4-8. Trust me, you need that “extra” butter.
Japan notes: Muffins are lovely to make in a moven/oven range. Blueberries tend to be in season in June-July, and culinary lavender can be purchased in Japan, though where you get it may depend on where you live. I found some at Ikeda Herb Center in Nagano and Nunobiki Herb Garden (English, 日本語) in Kobe, and a friend gave me some from Meidi-ya in Kyoto. If you don’t live near a place that grows lavender, you might try a gourmet grocery or import store, or online. Lavender meant for cooking may be referred to as dried lavender (kansô rabendâ, 乾燥ラベンダー ) or culinary lavender (ryôriyô no rabendâ, 料理用のラベンダー ).
Plenty of food bloggers redo their own recipes after a couple years, but has anyone redone one after two months? I was making a double-batch of Rosemary-Orange Ricotta Muffins for Saturday-morning Fannibal (rewatching with an old friend). I didn’t have my oranges yield enough juice, so I substituted soy milk for half of the orange juice; used full-fat ricotta instead of the skim kind (hooray, reading the labels) and stumbled onto the fluffiest muffins ever.
I really missed my Crock Pot while I was in Japan. You can definitely buy a reasonably-priced slow cooker (surô kukkâ, スロークッカー) online or large homegoods stores. A rice-cooker can double as a slow cooker for many recipes, but since the purpose of the rice cooker is to get the moisture out, it may not work well for sauces.
I got a lot of heirloom tomatoes on sale at the farmers’ market, so I decided to try to make my own tomato sauce.
A friend had a special request for her birthday “cake”: brownies, not heavily frosted, possibly Sailor-Moon themed. I’m really glad, too, because apartments in Seattle don’t have AC, which is a helpful thing to have to dealing with butter-based decorations.
This recipe is dairy-free if you are using vegan baker’s chocolate. If you want to glaze or frost it, you can use non-dairy milk for a glaze or my favorite vegan buttercream, but the brownies are rich and moist without it.
To make it the brownies into an homage to the locket, I made a very basic glaze to give the pink color; a little leftover yellow buttercream to make the moon; and halved cherries to stand in for the gems.