December 11, 2012
These bright green pancakes happened while I was in Nice, and hadn’t figured out how to turn on the oven yet. Of course, being far from home and lonely, I also had a huge sugar craving. What’s a sweet-toothed girl to do when there’s no way to make gooey cinnamon rolls or chewy cookies?
These hot cakes were a perfect answer. With a base of my usual hot-cakes-for-one recipe, with the intriguing addition of matcha (finely milled, high quality Japanese green tea) powder, they had a hint of floral bitterness that was the perfect foil for creamy butter and a big drizzle of syrup.
December 10, 2012
So! I took an unintentional blog break last week. Birthday shenanigans plus a sudden influx of work meant lots of late nights and subsequent late mornings. You know how it is. Wine, and beer, and food, and friends, possibly some dancing, and suddenly it feels like the internet can do without you for one more night.
I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate my birthday than at Verjus. So we went twice… once for drinks with friends in the bar, and once for the tasting menu in the restaurant.
I treated myself to some Grüner Veltliner for my birthday. Grüner is one of my favorite wine varietals, and it’s so hard to find in France! I’ve been asking Laura about this one for ages and finally bought the bottle.
December 5, 2012
You know how I can tell I’m an adult? I wanted carrot cake for my birthday.
Not just any carrot cake. That Carrot Cake. I received the recipe for That Carrot Cake from a friend during college. He’d gotten it from his mom, who’d gotten it from a neighbor, who’d gotten it from her aunt, etc. etc. etc. I ended up passing it on to HR Director at work a year or so ago, and now I’m passing it on to you.
It’s That Carrot Cake because I’ve been fiddling with the ratios in this recipe for years and years, and I’ve got the balance of moisture level and cinnamon batter flavor and carrot/walnut/coconut bits just right; that is, exactly how I like it. The original recipe came from a friend, but now it’s mine.
That Carrot Cake is so moist that it’s hard to ice; little moist chunks and crumbs keep wanting to fall off. Now I don’t even try to ice the whole thing — just a slip of frosting between each layer will do, and perhaps a light layer around the outside if you’ve got some extra.
That Carrot Cake has so much walnut in it that it might as well be called a walnut cake. The carrots are both shredded and grated, so that some smaller pieces melt into the batter while other, larger pieces hang around like flakes of carrot confetti. A good amount of coconut provides more chewy texture. Oh, and there’s pineapple in there. You don’t taste it, and I have no idea how it works, but that pineapple might be the secret ingredient that brings it all together, with just enough batter to hold everything in one piece.
December 2, 2012
It’s been a weird week. On top of hightailing it back to Paris after the break-in, I came home to a very sick dude who required lots of love and tea and homemade chicken noodle soup (coming eventually). My comfort comes from elsewhere.
I have a love affair with diners. On early afternoons on Saturdays or Sundays back in LA, after rolling out of bed, I would take a thick book to Rae’s or Bobby’s or whatever other first-name-apostrophe-s greasy spoon was closest and served never-ending coffee. I would order bacon soft, eggs over easy, hash well-done, and wheat toast with butter and jam. I would sit there at the counter and eat and read and drink coffee until I was gently vibrating in my seat. After a while, the waitresses stopped asking me if I wanted more coffee and just poured more whenever they happened by. Then they stopped asking me what I wanted to order and just brought me the usual. Once, I leant a copy of Infinite Jest to a Bobby’s waitress. Another time, a server at Rae’s let me borrow her copy of Maus. I liked being alone around people. This is how I would reset before the onrushing work week, and now I guess this is how I reset when life gets fuzzy around the edges.
Breakfast in America is as close to those diners as I’m going to find in this city. Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow on the table, bacon and eggs and pancakes and burgers on the menu (though with the shocking omission of biscuits and gravy). Purportedly bottomless cafe americain.