Yummy Mentaiko

mentaiko-pasta
Months ago, I went to Japan and part of my self-prep was to learn about Japanese culture. I came across this video of Japanese foods and I became obsessed with a bagged pasta sauce made of spicy pollock roe or karashi mentaiko. Although it would be far more expensive, I finally decided to try my own version.

Funny Story: when I first began my search for the best mentaiko spaghetti recipe, I kept coming across cartoons of well-muscled and scantily clad young men. Eventually, I discovered Continue reading

Brownies and Cheesecake

Brownie with Cream Cheese
I recently started reading a blog called Joe Pastry. I read it mostly for techniques and baking science, but I have been eager to try his recipes. When I decided to make brownies, I hopped over this his site to see if he had a recipe. He had two. The first didn’t have measurements, I skipped to his other one.

His second recipe is adapted from another prominent food blogger, Dorie Greenspan, and his praise for this particular brownie was high indeed.

All that is beside the point to me, as I consider this recipe to be the highest expression to date of the American brownie-making art. These are my personal died-and-gone-to-heaven brownies. As a chocolate experience, I vastly prefer them to flourless chocolate cake, which is so decadently chocolate-y as to be almost profane. These are dense and rich, but somehow also light. Try them, friends.

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Walnut Jam Tart

raspberry walnut jam tart
Rest in peace, food processor. I did not mean to break you.

For a few glorious months, I had a food processor and it was a beautiful thing. I no longer regarded cold butter with dread. A few pulses, a whirling of blades, and voila! Scones, pie crusts, done!

So it is with great sorrow that I inform you that this recipe is quite impossible without a food processor, unless you can obtain walnut flour or meal. I have heard of almond meal and hazelnut flour, but never walnut flour. Please let me know if you do.
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Caramelized Almond Tart

almond tart
As I don’t trust myself to make a positive first impression, I often bring a baked treat when meeting new people. Usually, it works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Once I went apartment hunting with a box of cookies, they took the cookies, but didn’t want to become my roommate.

This caramelized almond tart is an old staple, but I tend to underestimate how much time it takes. The dough has to be chilled, allowed to come to room temperature, and then frozen to prevent it from falling. I’ll let you in a secret. If you don’t care about falling crusts, you don’t have to freeze it. However, chilling it the first time allows the dough to come together. It’s too crumbly otherwise and won’t roll or press out properly. If you’re making this in one sitting, give yourself three hours. If you’re going somewhere else, up the time to four. The tart has to cool a while before transport. I don’t know if moving a hot tart has any adverse effects to the tart, but it sure does to your hands. Continue reading

Blueberry Vol-Au-Vents

blueberry-tart
A friend who’s opinion I value tells me that I have to write an intro paragraph. For many food blogs, I regard the first few paragraphs as a foofy nonsense so I’ll try to keep this short. Vol-au-vents are traditionally savory, but I wanted an aesthetically pleasing puff pastry with a cream cheese filling. If I had a cupcake tin, I would have made pinwheel danishes. If I had a larger baking pan, I would have made danish crossovers. But alas, I do not. Continue reading

London Coffee Tour

exchange alleyI’m a huge fan of coffee, not so much for the taste, but the countless college papers and late nights it has gotten me through. I won’t describe myself as an aficionado, because I don’t appreciate the individual terroirs of differing regions (Sumatra, Bali, Ethiopian, etc.), and most of the nuance is drowned out by a healthy dose of milk and often sugar.

This trip to London is the first vacation where I have plan things, as my previous vacations involved my sister, a rabid planner, or I was taken around by a local. So, how does one take a stab at a new city that has more than a thousand years of history? Continue reading