Apple Cider Magic Cake

Apple Cider Magic Cake

we’re enjoying an indian summer right now,
temps were around 70
when we went apple picking over the weekend.
the increase in temps didn’t prevent us
from turning on the oven though.
it shouldn’t turn you off either.
it’s too lovely to be inside,
but if you must,
open your windows wide
and make this magical cake.

here’s to hoping it’s been a
glorious october for you too.

Apple Cider Magic Cake

Apple Cider Magic Cake
adapted from tasting table
makes 1 8″ cake, about 8 servings

For the Apple Cider Reduction:
6 cups apple cider – simmered in saucepan and reduced to 3/4 cup

For the Magic Cake Batter:
4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup apple cider reduction
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick vegan butter, melted but cool (i use earth balance)
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 3/4 cups lactose free half/half, or any kind of milk, vegan or not


pre-heat oven 325F

prepare 8″ pan, greased and with parchment collar

using stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites till stiff and glossy, basically until you’re able to upturn the bowl over your head and you’re not covered in it. set aside.

either transfer the whipped egg whites to another bowl, or if you’re fancy, and have another stand mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks + sugar until pale yellow. slowly stream in the vegan butter until fully incorporated, then pour in 1/2 cup of apple cider reduction. add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to the mix until no white streaks are seen. add in 1 tsp cinnamon. stream in the milk until thoroughly mixed. it will be quite liquid-y.

gently fold in the egg whites, in 3 parts. it will be a lumpy batter.

pour into prepared pan. sprinkle on top the remaining cinnamon.

bake for 45-50 minutes, the middle shouldn’t jiggle when shaken.

allow to cool completely.

invert the cake onto plate, and then invert again on serving plate. top with cocowhip and drizzle with remaining reduced apple cider. serve at room temp.

will keep in fridge, covered for a few days, if it lasts that long…


Apple Cider Magic Cake

3 years ago: snickerdoodles
2 years ago: banh xeo
1 year ago: i didn’t do diddly

lemongrass chicken & rice soup

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

we celebrated autumn super early this year,
butt-crack of september early.
not because it was cold,
but because there was a Chicken Soup Contest
that i had to enter
and i needed to tweak the recipe.
for 3 weeks straight
poor dw had to eat chicken soup for lunch.
he had to analyze what it was lacking,
and what i could do to fix that lacking.

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

dw was by my side the entire event,
helped set up,
calmed my nerves,
and assisted with the ladling.
(he also reminded me to look gracious
when i didn’t win ALLLLLL the categories #TigerChild)
i even sent him out to spy on my fellow competitors.
we walked away with the
“Director’s Choice Award”
(he was so adorably proud #MyBiggestFan)
we have a week’s worth
of leftover soup for lunch,
dw has requested no soup after this week,
and i’m already brainstorming for next year.

Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

lemongrass chicken & rice soup
serves 6-8
keeps in fridge for a week, perfect for lunches.

*note: it looks like a lot. if it’s too long, you don’t want to read and you’re strapped for time, use boxed/canned chicken stock and infuse the lemongrass/ginger/garlic/kefir lime leaves by simmering them in for about 30 minuntes. it’s cheating, but it’ll do the trick.
*due to this being a jewish contest, the rules were that the ingredients be kosher. kosher rotisserie chicken is brined, so there’s an added saltiness. for the first 2 weeks we used regular plain rotisserie chicken and upped the fish sauce amount. for the last 2 weeks, i decreased the fish sauce amount, just be sure to season to taste accordingly.
*note: the garnishes are clutch — the lime and cilantro adds freshness. don’t skimp on that.
*late note: to keep the flavor of lemongrass etc in the soup throughout the week, keep the extra flavoring pieces in, fishing them out just before serving. if you take them out sooner, the soup still tastes great, but it’s milder.

homemade stock:
1-2 kosher chicken carcasses, depending on how big they are
3 large carrots, washed, tips trimmed and rough chopped
3 stalks of celery, washed and rough chopped
6 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and slightly bruised
2″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
3-4 garlic gloves, whole but slightly smashed
handful of kefir lime leaves
1 small-medium onion, quartered
3-4 red thai chilis, whole and scored
palm-full of whole black peppercorns

2-3 carrots, washed, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
meat of kosher rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup rice
1/8-1/4 cup kosher fish sauce (i used Red Boat)
1 TBL oil, olive oil or grapeseed

extra flavoring:
2-3 lemongrass stalks, slightly bruised
1″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
1-2 garlic cloves, slightly smashed
1/2 small onion, cut in half
1-2 red thai chilis, whole and scored
splash of neutral oil, like grapeseed

chopped cilantro
chopped red chili (very, very optional)

in a crock pot, add all the stock ingredients in and add water till it covers everything. lid, turn on low and walk away. i’ve done it for as short of amount as 4 hours and for as long as over night (about 7-8 hours). strain and set aside.

to make the extra flavoring, in a small frying pan gently warm a splash of oil and saute all the ingredients. be gentle, you’re just warming the ingredients through so they can release their aroma and flavor. keep on low, kinda sorta ignore and every so often move the ingredients around so they don’t feel neglected and burn.

in a big pot, heat up the oil and saute the diced onion until softened, you’re not looking to caramelize it though so be careful. add in the minced garlic, carrots and celery and mix thoroughly. carefully pour in the stock. add in the extra flavoring & shredded chicken, and bring to a boil.

lower heat.

add in the 1/2 cup of rice, stir, lid and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

season with fish sauce, to taste.

at this point, you can fish out the random flavorings, or just avoid them when ladling the soup.

serve with lime wedges and topped with chopped cilantro and chopped red chili.


Lemongrass Chicken & Rice soup

3 years ago: how to make bouillon cubes
2 years ago: blueberry swirl + coconut macaroons
1 year ago: apparently, i didn’t do shit last year.

meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts

Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

dear sweet dw:
today we celebrate 1,095 days of married life.
we don’t count days to boast,
but to be held accountable for
the Love Story we are writing together.
you know i was a shitty student
unless something was captivating to me,
and you, kind sir, are a being
i am most interested in.
i want to learn everything about you,
as you grow and evolve.
i remain ever curious about you,
and in our life together.
i commit to being your bestest student.
you are the gift that i never expected,
and i accept you with all my heart.

happy anniversary, sweet love,
let’s always have cake.

photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts
inspired and loosely adapted from yotam ottolenghi, also found in plenty more
serves 8, or in our case, just the two of us

*note: it was a dreary/wet day when this dessert was made, which made the meringue sticky. still very delicious.
humidity  cannot be fought.

4 large egg whites, at room temp
1 coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch

1 cup chocolate bar, whatever your preference, shaved
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBL coconut sugar
So Delicious’ Coco Whip (alternative if you can’t get this product, skim the fat off of 3 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk and whip with 2 TBL powdered sugar until fluffy)

preheat oven to 325F. prepare a 13X9 rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

in a stand mixer & whisk attachment, add your egg whites and whisk until frothy. add the sugar by the tablespoon-ful. you’re aiming for stiff, glossy peaks. add in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornstarch and whisk until blended.

spread mixture on the parchment paper and with an off-set spatula spread it out until level.

bake for 30 minutes, a crust will form, but the meringue will be cooked. remove from oven and let cool in pan.

flip the meringue onto a fresh piece of parchment paper, and gently peel the lining paper.

spread however much of the coco whip you want on the meringue, it’s your party, you do what you want. i would say i used about a cup, and leave a small border around the edge. sprinkle with the shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts.

from the long edge, and using the parchment paper to help, roll the meringue into a log. transfer to serving plate. chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

top the meringue roulade with even more coco whip and sprinkle with yes, even MORE chocolate shavings and salty-sweet peanuts. slice and serve.


Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

3 years ago: diy wedding envelopes
2 years ago: chocolate tahini cake + rosemary infused buttercream
1 year ago: 6″ chocolate cake

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

a few great things that have happened recently:

i finally saw heart in concert
seeing as how the sisters are Wilsons,
there being that very slim chance of us being related,
i had to see them live.
alas after seeing their performance,
in my scientific opinion
we do not have the same talent genes,
they’re effing amazing.

i actually don’t despise podcasts, it came down to finding the right ones
a few of my fave:
Dear Sugar,
& unqualified
i like the 2nd one so much,
we’re going to see them later this week when they’re in town
(if you’re local, let’s meet up!)
(just don’t be weird/creepy)

inspired by the Great British Bake Off,
i entered a chicken soup cookoff.
i spent part of the weekend making the stock
and then a large portion of sunday evening
making the first batch of Experiment Soup.
that’s lunch this week.
the cycle starts again this weekend,
up until Contest Day.
i will post the recipe after the contest.

Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

Miso Hummus topped with Seaweed Furikake
makes about 2 cups

note: dw & i are on the never ending searching for smooth homemade hummus. we’ve made our fair share, with varying results of smoothness. what’s great about hummus is that it’s a very blank slate and it’s entirely up to you how you want to flavor and season. we’ve had the very very basic garlic version to herby to now this: miso flavored. all i know is, it’s a dish that brings people together, correction: brings different people together, a sentiment that lina of the lebanese plate is most passionate about. in today’s political climate, domestic and aboard, it’s scary times. let’s stop being assholes and share some great food. #SpreadHummusNotHate
*note: local/baltimore folk: Great Sage is having a family style Middle East Peace Dinner. get on that.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
healthy pinch of baking soda
2 TBL miso (i used brown rice)
generous 1/3 cup tahini
1/4 – 1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp sesame oil, at the end, and to top

seaweed furikake, as previously seen in Somen Noodle Bowl
2 sheets of nori/seaweed, shredded by hand
2-3 TBL toasted sesame seeds, very important to toast!
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt

in a bowl, mix the furikake together. set aside.

soak chickpeas with pinch of baking soda, leave on counter overnight. they will double in size, it’s quite alarming.

next morning, drain and rinse. in a big saucepan add the beans with more than you think you’ll need water, about 4-5″ above the beans. bring to a boil, lower temp and simmer for about 1 hour. test for done-ness and then boil for a bit longer. i usually aim for about 1.5 – 2 hours boil time.

drain and add the cooked beans into a food processor. lina (along with other people, dw included) says to skin the beans for extra smoothness but my lazy ass was not gonna bother. add in the miso and tahini. blitz until smooth. then blitz some more. very slowly and carefully, add in the cold water until it reaches the loose consistency you’re aiming for. i like to aim for slightly runny, because as the hummus cools, it’ll thicken up.

top with the seaweed furiake and serve with chips/rice crackers/vegs.

it tastes better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld.


Miso Hummus topped with seaweed furikake

3 years ago: diy watercolor wedding invites (!!!)
2 years ago: homemade lactose free ricotta cheese
1 year ago: bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

i’ve been doing yoga consistently for 2 months
which is to say,
i go once a week.
that’s a big deal.
it’s part of my
I’m Getting Old AF concession
so i do the crusty bendy breathing stuff
and my dr doesn’t give me shit for being lazy.
speaking of lazy though,
i have been lax this summer with cooking.
i tend to make a big pile of food
and call it lunch for the week.

when Friends of Great Kids Farm reached out to me
to participate in a back to school healthy lunch challenge
i was going to decline.
i sat on it for a day and decided to join after all.
i pack a lunch for dw + me everyday,
it’s hard sometimes when i’m uninspired or tired.
i’m assuming it’s like that for everyone,
whether you’re a parent,
or just feeding yourself.
this particular week’s lunch is a repeat,
i make it often because
it’s easy
what do you usually have for lunch?

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Friends of Great Kids Farm is a 501(c)3 foundation partner to Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Friends financially supports, enhances, and promotes the Farm’s experiential gardening and nutrition education and career training programs to benefit as many of Baltimore City Schools’ 85,000 students as possible. In 2008, an overgrown, unused property owned by City Schools was transformed into a working farm and dynamic outdoor classroom. This unique facility now provides: a working farm where students connect with healthy foods through cross-curricular, hands-on learning activities; fresh produce for school cafeterias and nutrition education programs; a professional kitchen where students cook and taste Farm produce guided by a chef educator; classrooms for healthy food demonstrations and tastings linked to core instruction; internships for high school students in agriculture and the culinary arts; and support for the development of schoolyard gardens throughout the district. The Back to School Healthy Lunch Campaign seeks to bring attention to healthy eating and support innovative education with local creativity.

for more information, hit up
Back to School Healthy Lunch Challenge

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing

*note: this salad is never the same every time, it’s usually whatever is available at the markets and offered from our csa and the season. you’re aiming for a balance of freshness, tart & salty & sweet, and most important: your preference. if you’re feeling fancy, add some kind of protein, ranging from grilled chicken to chickpeas to tofu. sometimes, time allowing, i add a hard boiled egg. if you’re super fancy, cook the quinoa in stock for even more flavor.
**note: any miso paste is fine, i have the mellow brown rice miso but i’ve used red, yellow or white before, it’s according to your flavor preferences.
***note: this dish is best as a leftover and at room temp, which makes it a perfect lunch. the flavors meld and you’re not having to worry about heating it up. if making for a picnic or potluck, make it the day before, so it makes for a stress free dish.

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced fine
1/4 small red onion or shallot, diced
1 carrot, shredded
bunch chopped cilantro
3 stalks scallions, diced
sunflower seeds, optional
cashews or peanuts, very optional
lime wedges, to garnish at the end
toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup tahini
1 2″ knob of ginger, freshly grated
3 TBL tamari or coconut nectar (or soy sauce)
1 TBL maple syrup
2 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste
water to thin

rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under cool water for a few minutes.

cook quinoa + amaranth according to quinoa package instructions. adding the amaranth doesn’t change cooking time. fluff, set aside to cool.

mise en place everything that you’re wanting to add to the salad.

to make the dressing, use a big bowl to mix everything, or use a vitamix to do the heavy mixing. add in the tahini & miso paste with a splash of water. blitz it up until well incorporated, the aim is to break down the miso. add in the rest of the dressing ingredients, with splash of water if needed. i shoot for 3/4 cup to a full cup of dressing, season to taste.

in a big mixing bowl, add in the quinoa with the vegs. drizzle the dressing in, starting off with just half of it and mix through. you can add as much as you want, keeping in mind that the quinoa will absorb it. you don’t want soup though. you may not use up all the dressing, and it makes for great dipping or regular salad dressing.

top with diced scallions, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds or cashews/peanuts if using. spritz with lime juice.

serve cold or room temp.


Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

3 years ago: chicken masala
2 years ago: spice poached pears
1 year ago: steamed egg loaf