I, for one, have hit a bit of slump as far as reading goes this past month. Maybe because it was the end of the school year and activities were in full swing. I’m certainly looking forward to summer when reading is such a pleasurable, leisurely pastime. We’ve also become engrossed in a TV show, so movies have fallen to the wayside (ah, the tangles of shows!). But again, summer is a great time to pick a list of movies to work through over the more relaxed season. Yes, perhaps I’m purposefully forgetting that life only picks up during summer time, especially for farmers, but still, I’m resolved to carve out more time for reading, watching, and listening the next few months. They’re just too good to do without!
At Beneath the Crust, we spend a large part of every day in the kitchen. After countless hours — really too many to count — spent cooking and baking and meal-prepping for our families and friends, we know which items we reach for time and again, and which ones are left getting dusty on the shelf. That’s why Maria, Sophie and I feel confident in presenting to you a new series: the well-stocked kitchen. Over the next couple weeks, we’re going to share with you which kitchen items we consider pretty much essential.
Because it’s May, and I’ve been thinking eagerly about packing away the cashmere and boots in favor of flowing floral dresses, billowing tops, and bright prints, I thought this time around it’d be fun to “dress” from head to toe in some exciting summer looks.
Humor me, please, because snow and chilly temps have been in the forecast and I. Just. Can’t.
Ok, so I haven’t been able to get Iced Fingers out of my head since I saw them on the show years ago. They looked like hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. And Paul Hollywood’s nostalgia is almost palpable as he tries each one and calls them a childhood favorite. Naturally I was intrigued. Somehow (how exactly though..?) all these years have passed without me actually trying them.
What was I waiting for?! You guys. These. Are. YUM. I almost can’t understand why they are so yummy. They really are just hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. The bun is so soft and light and not very sweet; and the whipped cream is so fluffy and light and not very sweet; the jam is tart and sweet and the icing is pure sweet and it all comes together as a soft, light, sweet-but-not-too-sweet mesmerizing confection.
I hope your week was a good one and that you can enjoy these two days of rest, or whatever we Americans call weekends. They’re hardly restful. But hopefully they’re rejuvenating!
My week was … well … about the same as every other week. Kids do school, kids do soccer, kids play, we get outside, we see friends, I clean, I cook, I resolve conflicts, I negotiate hostage situations talk down toddler tantrums, etc. Some days I do it pretty well, some days I fall pretty low. Those highs and lows seems to be part and parcel of the gig. Sometimes it’s easy; other times, I’ll be honest, my love tank runs on almost empty. There’s a lot of self talk for times like that, but maybe the simplest is, well, someone did it for me. Maybe that’s what we can celebrate this Mother’s Day, that our mothers showed up even when they were low on sleep, stretched thin, over touched, tired of cleaning, or whatever it was. They showed us what it was to love even when they weren’t really feeling the love. I know that’s not the stuff of the grocery store flowers and sappy Hallmark cards, but it maybe it’s more meaningful for all that?
This cake is all simplicity and delight. It is one bowl, as easy as can be, and so delicious. It is moist without being squidgy and sweet without being cloying. The crunchy sugary almond topping is obsessively yum. Does it seem like I’m raving again? Yeah, definitely. We had it last night for dessert with whipped cream and strawberries and I just finished a piece for breakfast with my coffee and I can’t get over how perfect it is. Sometimes dessert should be a go-big and pull-out-all-the-stops kind of deal. Sometimes - this time - less is more.
I always have an egg white or two in the freezer. I love rich, custardy desserts that need yolks, and since egg whites freeze so well, I never think twice when a recipe calls for an extra yolk or few. I know I can stash away the whites and use them down the road.
Easter Season is nearly here, and Deirdre over at DaedalShop crafts intricate and inspired Pysanky eggs. We commissioned one for our “babcia” (grandma) several years ago and were blown away by the creativity and attention to detail that she brought to the project.
I came up with the idea for this recipe after making chipotle sour cream to go along with baked bean & cheese burritos. The sauce was so good, I just wanted more of it. Then I remembered beef stroganoff, which is essentially beef coated with sour cream. If I just added chipotle to the sour cream, I’d have exactly what I was hankering after, right?
I love these dinner rolls. They are easy, they are delightful. They are soft, they pull apart in almost-flaky layers as a good buttery dough should, and they are slightly sweet, which makes them reminiscent of Hawaiian rolls.
My favorite way to serve these is to slice them in half for pulled pork sliders (or post-Easter ham sandwiches!) but they are equally delicious on their own, with butter and jelly, or as a side dish to a roast.
For our April 2019 Great British Bake Off Challenge we thought we’d tackle something savory, since February and March brought you sweet treats.
I’ve never made a pasty (that’s pah-stee) before—let along a Cornish pasty—so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Obviously I turned to Paul Hollywood’s recipe for my inspiration, and then browsed a few others to get a sense of possible variations in method and technique. (I had some issues with Paul Hollywood’s GBBO recipe as it appears on BBC.com, so I had to do some research to get clarity. I think the recipe you’ll find below resolves the issues; see the note at the end if you are curious!)
Have I mentioned how much I love Ottolenghi cookbooks? His recipes opened up a whole new world of flavor in my kitchen. He is so creative with flavors and food combinations. I’ve never been disappointed with an Ottolenghi recipe I’ve tried, and there are some that we return to again and again.
This recipe here is inspired by one from his newest cookbook Simple. It is simple. It’s also really delicious and makes a substantial meatless dish. The original recipe calls for ciabatta but I only had a loaf of sourdough so I used that. I made it a little more herby, too. I would maybe add some ham or bacon in a future version but it certainly doesn’t need it. It was puffy and light with delightful crusty cheesy baked edges. Mmmm. Serve it with a salad and you've got yourself a perfect weekday meal.
When we first started this blog, we decided we didn’t want to be unecessarily chatty in introducing our recipes. We agreed that for the most part, when we are looking at other blog recipes, we typically scroll down quickly to the recipe recipe, where it’s written out in recipe format, and pretty much ignore everything else. So for our blog, unless we have something we particularly feel like saying, we try to skip all that intro story telling and get right to the recipe.
March seemed to fly by, but not so fast that we didn’t savor the slow thawing of the earth and the promise of warmer days to come. There is something marvelous when the color of budding leaves makes its appearance on the trees, seemingly overnight. All of a sudden, there is an abundant chirping of birds and cacophony of frogs too. A striking shift that creeps in unawares. It never ceases to surprise.
I have a little gem of a cookbook called Beard on Bread, a collection of bread recipes put together by James Beard at a time when making bread at home was making an upswing in popularity. It’s utterly charming in its simplicity. Beard has a fantastically direct and unpretentious approach to bread. “If you can read and have an oven and a work space, there is no reason why you can’t make a decent loaf of bread,” he says.
I love breakfast, but 90% of the time I don’t eat it. On the weekends we’ll cook up a big breakfast...sausage, bacon, potatos, eggs, pancakes, waffles, crepes... But that’s when we have the time to make and enjoy it.
Most weekdays, breakfast is something you scarf down between cups of coffee, getting kids fed and dressed, washing your face, and preparing for the day.
I meal plan every week. Since I live with my in-laws, that means that once a week my mother-in-law and I sit down and talk through what to make each day of that week. This usually happens Saturday morning. We plan through the week up until the next Sunday. I find planning a bit more than an exact week is important. Otherwise, you could end up needing to meal plan for the week and on top of that, for dinner that very same night. I find that stressful. I never like waking up not knowing what I’m going to make for dinner because that automatically means a good-sized chunk of my day is going to get eaten up deciding what to make.
Happy Saturday! We have a decent spread this month’s Mixed Media, and we’re hoping some conversations might begin. We found more than a single gem, which we hope you will enjoy as well. And don’t miss the final note to honor St. Patrick’s Day!
I love this kind of salad so much. It’s colorful, it’s hearty, it’s nutritious, and it tastes delicious on top of all that. I serve a basic old house salad with every dinner, so a salad like this is kind of like a treat. It’s also a perfect side salad to fill out a meal that needs just a little more substance on the side.
Alternatively, you can throw grains (like farro, barley, or quinoa) or roasted veggies (Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are my personal fave) and make this a legit meal. It makes a delicious lunch or a lighter dinner. With all the different elements and flavors you end up feeling totally satisfied.
We were having BBQ pulled pork the other night, and in my mind, BBQ requires cornbread. Problem is, my husband and kids don’t like cornbread (truuuust me, I know…) so if I ever make it I spend a week afterward trying to peddle leftovers to my kids until I end up eating it crumbled and warmed with butter and honey. It doesn’t sound like such a bad ending, but it’s just not worth it (much as I love crumbled up, warmed up, buttered and honeyed cornbread mash). Anyway, so I dreamed up these yeasted cornbread buns. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I got my honey corn contrast to the salty BBQ and my husband and kids didn’t get … cornbread. Instead, they got these delicious, buttery, honey sweet cornmeal hamburger buns. They are tender and soft but sturdy enough to hold pulled pork (or later on I made them again for zucchini turkey burgers!). They are simply delightful. You know you’ve done something right when the kids ask for a second bun over the (very delicious) BBQ pulled pork.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese: it’s an American staple. Probably because it’s fast, and it’s satisfying.
The thing is, as a grown adult cooking for my family, I discovered that many cans and cartons of tomato soup are chock full of sugars. On the other hand, a lot of homemade recipes, although fresh and delicious, take time to make, and don’t yield that ultra smooth brilliant soup you get from a can.
I have three toddler items that I use constantly. They are ingenious little items that have saved my sanity over and over again. And what is more — basically everyone who sees these products in action comments on how much caCHING the inventor must be rolling in
…or wonders aloud why they hadn’t thought of it first.
I was inspired to make this dish after trying a recipe from this Food52 cookbook. The squash & chickpea salad/side recipe was delicious, but lacked enough “oomph” to pass for a meal on its own (at least in our house). So I added in couscous, tweaked the proportions, and discovered a few toppings that paired nicely. The result: a delicious, filling and surprisingly fresh dinner, sometimes hard to come by in the winter with no garden fresh produce.