So. I said I was back, and clearly, I lied. What I actually meant is, hi, see you again in four months or so.
I spent from mid-June through early October studying my ass off for a little test called the GRE, because I decided hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a doctorate and research food and culture for a living? It paid off, because I didn’t completely fail the math, and I did ok in the verbal and kick-ass in the essay section. BUT. It also meant no brain energy was left at the end of day to cook, let alone blog about food. Or exercise. Or eat well.
But I did occasionally bust out some winners, the cake above included. That bad-ass monstrosity was a chocolate chip cake layered with passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbles, and coffee buttercream frosting from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.
More after the jump!
I feel like I could probably create a nice big-ass cake like this using my own recipes (and some of Momofuku Milkbar’s pastry chef, Christina Tosi, of course!), and I haven’t come away from a cookbook with such knowledge in a while. Tosi also basically created a new way of baking using a mixture of homemade crunches, crumbles and vegetable ganaches and mixing them with new takes on iconic American flavors, like milk steeped in cereal, carrot cake, Funfetti cake, and cheese cake. Basically, if you love baking, this book is a fun read, cover to cover. I guarantee simply working your way through one of Tosi’s 191 step cake recipes will make you a better baker.
But the most recent cooking highlight in my life was a little dinner party we threw shortly after Thanksgiving. I did a few days of prep work for this one, but the menu was pretty simple, save for the dessert.
I recently had the pleasure of eating dinner cooked by a friend from my college speech team. My school, Bradley, was notorious for being over the top with everything from how we practiced to how we performed to how we presented ourselves. It was just how we rolled. The friend reminded me of that as he served us a multi-course dinner—with three kids running around him, mind you—and his plating was BEAUTIFUL. The food was awesome, but the plating—that really impressed me. Because after planning and cooking a multi course meal for other people, I am usually too tired (and a little bit tipsy), so my plating looks like someone just threw it on there.
I attempted to change that for this party….I didn’t always succeed, but it is nice to have something to aspire to
Course five was SUPER labor-intensive, as it was pb&j pie from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. Below are a few of the 191 steps to the recipe.
Then I made the peanut brittle.
Which went in the peanut butter nougat layer of the pie.
The other two layers involved making a concord grape sorbet and a concord grape sauce, but it has you using fresh concord grapes for the juice. I was lucky enough to just miss concord grape season here in California, so I substituted 100% pure concord grape juice—not Welch’s! So much easier. Those steps were not photographed because I fell asleep and my awesome husband layered them for me.
The finished product
And the take home treat
Such a fun party…I can’t wait to do it again!! And to start posting more often!