Ok I can’t lie. I was conflicted about sharing this recipe with you. It was tasty, yes. Would I make it again? Not sure. (To be fair, this is the second time I’ve made it - I won a pie contest with this tart last year…!) The crust wasn’t my favorite. It was yummy, but … well … I would prefer a pie crust. But I really wanted to give you guys a gluten free option. The custard was a little too rich for me, too. But my husband LOVED it. If you know me, you know that I’m a hopeless, helpless second guesser. I don’t make decisions easily and I question myself after almost every move. So when it didn’t turn out as awesome delicious perfect as I imagined it would, I basically crumpled into a despairing heap. And I decided I wouldn’t blog about it, because I didn’t think it was amazing and I wouldn’t make it again.
But after a few hours - and my husband’s very positive reviews - I started to rethink my approach. It wasn’t a disaster. It wasn’t a disappointment. It wasn’t gross. It tasted good and had a great creamy texture with a nutty crust. The fact that it wasn’t my favorite didn’t seem a reason not to post it. I’ll note what I would change, but otherwise, here it is!
Easy as pie. Who in the world came up with that?! I’m not sure. But I feel they must never have made one. In my baking experience at least, I have never, ever said: “Oh, this ol’ pie? I just whipped it up right before dinner.” No way. How would my crust have been chilled? How could my pie have set? IT ISN’T POSSIBLE! Cake on the other hand….
We recently moved from Florida to Colorado, where my husband is originally from. In fact, we moved back to the same city where he grew up—into the same house he lived from when he was 6 weeks old to 18 years and heading off to college.
That’s right. We’ve moved in with his parents while we work on getting a new venture off the ground.
I can’t believe I’m only just getting this recipe into a blog post. I think it’s because its one of those dishes we have so often that I throw it together without even thinking. You’d think that would make an easy write up, but it ends up being really tricky to sit down and list out the precise ingredient quantities and directions for a process which has become reflexive and automatic. Nevertheless, for you, dear readers, I have made the effort.
This recipe was given to me in a simpler form. Over the years I have tweaked it here and there to our tastes. It’s simple, budget friendly, packed with flavor, feeds a crowd or makes multiple meals, … what more can you ask for? I hope you’ll take it and tweak it here and there and over time make it yours!
Kiera Knightly was in the news recently over her comments about Disney princesses. Basically, there are some stories she’ll allow in the house, and some that she won’t. Some send a message she wants her daughter to hear, and others don’t.
I’m not going to comment on Kiera Knightly’s remarks right now. They are obviously controversial, otherwise they wouldn’t be making headlines. But the topic brought together some thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks, and I’m wondering if I can tease out some sort of theme.
I find shaping bread so much fun. Fresh baked bread is always a crowd pleaser, but with just a teeny bit more time & effort, it becomes an absolute showstopper. This Fall, I dreamed up a harvest themed board with pumpkin and leaf shaped breads.
Cornbread is close to my heart. I have so many memories of going to Boston Market, hashing out an absurd amount of cornbread for myself. I’m sure I wished I was allowed to eat a whole meal of it (but then, also a meal of mashed potatoes too….). And while I haven’t been in a Boston Market for years, cornbread has remained a great love. And for me, when I say cornbread I mean soft, moist, and sweet (i.e. Northern style) cornbread.
I wanted to share our consistent, years-long favorite: spinach pesto with ricotta and chicken … except that it got beat out today by a last minute flavor variation: spinach mushroom artichoke! I’m a little miffed about it, but I’m left with no choice but to share both recipes with you.
The first time I had gnocchi was during a family trip to Italy, during the girls’ trip to Florence specifically. One bite, and I wondered why these little potato dumplings of goodness had never been in my life before. Not long after returning home, I discovered a recipe in the Joy of Cooking and quickly made it. From there, I began making gnocchi more and more frequently from hosting a number of gnocchi parties throughout college to making them for my husband and now my family.
About a year ago, I shared on the blog one of my favorite fall recipes: Pumpkin Sausage Penne. Comforting, satisfying, spiced—it basically checks all the boxes for a cozy autumn meal.
Over the years, I haven’t fussed with the recipe much. I liked it the way it was. But this time around, when Fall arrived and I rushed to the kitchen to prepare this dish, I realized I had to change a few things up…
I’m not a very decisive person. I overthink everything. It’s stressful and unproductive. Maybe it would make sense if I had a position of high risk. But that’s not my life. My setting is the toothpaste aisle in the grocery store; my conflict is what to cook for the week; my nemesis is picking a restaurant for date night. The paradox is that I’m also a big planner. Lists give my days structure and my life meaning. The problem is when I’m trying to pick the best toothpaste or plan the most cost-effective meal plan or figure out exactly which food I’m craving most. All the options and variables collect in my head until I nearly explode. And then how often everything ends in disappointment…! The toothpaste doesn’t make my teeth sparkle white, meal plan gets thrown off, the restaurant doesn’t live up to expectations.
I love mac n’ cheese. (Who doesn’t?) My one quibble, though, is that my favorite recipe always seems a tad fussy to make on a weekly basis. Not sure what it is. Just one too many steps? The sense that if I didn’t follow the method, I wouldn’t end up with as tasty a dish?
You notice I don’t say “best” or “magic” or “the only recipe you need” blueberry muffins. Because these aren’t. In fact, there are so many blueberry muffin recipes out there, I was debating even to post these. But, they come from a much beloved family cookbook that has pages falling out and is missing its back cover. And, these are good. Really good.
I was actually given this recipe by my roommate in college (too many years ago to admit). We were headed to a cookout and needed to bring dessert. She promised me it was delicious, a family favorite. She didn't lie. It was devoured at that party to rave reviews. I kept the recipe and soon it was my family's favorite cake ever. It was made for every holiday and special occasion and requested for two separate wedding cakes. It has basically become a family legend.
When a kid's birthday approaches, I can't help brainstorming cake ideas. And something about kids just demands that it be a shaped or themed cake. To me, at least. I can't help it! I wonder if an old family photo of my older brother grinning behind a sprawling cake train has anything to do with it. Very likely.
My sister-in-law, fresh from a World Market shopping trip, placed a packet of dried rose petals in my hands and declared they were ripe for some Sarah confection.
That night, I went home and began my brainstorm: rose, pistachio, marzipan. Yum. Cream, ganache, praline. Yum. Strawberry rose pavlova -- rhubarb and rose -- coconut cream and rose pudding.
The first fruits of this brainstorm you'll find in the recipe for Pistachio Rose Shortbread Cookies below. Waaaaaay below. You're going to have a scroll through all my thoughts on "food consciousness" before you get to the crumbly buttery tea cookies pictured above.
I've got another installment of Project Vintage Recipes for you: Oatmeal Cake. I chose this recipe because it sounds like the kind of cake that can be unashamedly eaten for breakfast. Or at the very least it sounds like a perfect snacking cake that mommy can eat for breakfast and kids can eat for snack. (I've got to be honest, I save most of my cake for breakfast. It's just so good with a morning cup of coffee.)