July 25, 2015

It's the Weekend, It's the Weekend!

above: Samovar Tea Bar in the Mission District
To see more pictures of where I go during the week, follow me on Instagram!

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This Week's Menu
(yeah — living the raw deal, three course meal!)

STARTER
by Chef Sherrie of With Food + Love

MAIN
by Chef Jen of Use Real Butter

DESSERT
by Chef Kathryn of London Bakes

(bonus track) DRANKS
by Chefs Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple 

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LINKS

…   take me on a trip i'd like to go somewhere  … 

…  i know we suffer for fashion or whatever …
  • Running shorts are apparently getting shorter and shorter — but do people not get thigh chafing with those teeny booties? Sincere question.

…  well portland oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain’t love then tell me what is

questions of science, science and progress

if you're going to san francisco

this is how we do it

drunk girls are boringly wild

And of course, all the food-related links that I couldn't find lyrics to go along with:

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Have a good weekend, folks! Don't forget to comment with any links, gifs, or recipes I might have missed!

July 21, 2015

Nordic Blueberry Almond Custard Tart with a Rye Shortbread Crust


A few weeks ago, before we headed out on our trip to Europe, I shared with Erlend a Google doc containing an extensive list of restaurants, bakeries, shops, and neighborhoods that I wanted to check out when we were in London and Amsterdam. The list was comprised of a mix between critically-acclaimed restaurants and bakeries, as well as personal recommendations made by family, friends, and blogger and Instagram acquaintances.

At the top of the list for London was Nordic Bakery, a bakery specializing in Scandinavian pastries. Erlend’s parents had randomly come across the bakery a few years ago during their travels; his mom had bought their cookbook on a whim after a morning of enjoying their pastries and coffee. And every time I visit their apartment in New York City and browse through their extensive book collection, the Nordic Bakery’s bright blue, minimalist spine always catches my eye. I inevitably pull it out from the shelf and spend the next few minutes getting lost in the pictures and recipes of hearty cinnamon rolls, beautiful rye buns, and Scandinavian cakes.


Finally, it was my turn to go. On a rainy morning, Erlend and I trekked our way to the Nordic Bakery location on Golden Square in London’s hip Soho neighborhood. True to form, we ordered a miniature feast for breakfast consisting of karelian pie, tiger cake, butter buns, and flat white espresso drinks (Which, by the way, why are flat whites not a thing in the US? They're delicious!). And just when I thought that we had stuffed ourselves silly with all the carbs they were offering, they brought out their showstopper: the prettiest blueberry custard tart with a gorgeous, beautifully browned rye crust.

I wanted a slice, but literally had no more room in my stomach. Erlend managed to talk sense in to me, pointing out that I still had four other bakeries in the area on my list that I wanted to visit (including the original inspiration for this blog, The Hummingbird Bakery). We reluctantly left without a slice. But still — it’s been a few weeks since that morning, and I still find myself thinking about that tart.

So I decided to make it at home!


This tart is the true definition of Scandinavian, but in dessert form. It uses rye flour in the shortbread pastry, giving the tart an incredibly tasty hearty and wholesome flavor that you don't often see in pastries. The tart filling was also pretty Nordic in its flavors — fresh, seasonal blueberries tossed with sour cream and almond extract. Because the original recipe was pretty solid, I hardly made any modifications with the exception of throwing in a little kosher salt into the crust and topping the tart with a dash of powdered sugar and a sprinkling of toasted, slivered almonds. Delicious.


Some baker's notes:
  • Not a fan of blueberries? Feel free to substitute with any other berry that you prefer! In my opinion, raspberries would be the perfect alternative.

  • The tart crust dough can be a little bit sticky to work with, so be sure to reserve an additional 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour or so to dust your hands with as you work with the tart dough.

July 18, 2015

It's the Weekend, It's the Weekend!

above: an amaretto cookie from 24th Street Cheese Company
To see more pictures of what I snack on during the week, follow me on Instagram!

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This Week's Menu
(yeah — living the raw deal, three course meal!)

STARTER
by Chef Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal

MAIN
by Chef Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper

DESSERT
by Chef Aimee of Twigg Studios

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LINKS

...  it's the end of the world as we know it ...

...  cash rules everything around me  ...

...  if you are who you say you are — a superstar ...

... who run da world?! GIRLS! ...

...  if you're going to san francisco  ...
  • Since moving to San Francisco, I've had a surprising number of unremarkable meals in the city. But the restaurants that have been incredible knockouts so far have been Rich Table in Hayes Valley and Al's Place in the Mission (where I recently had dinner with fellow bloggers Nik, Phi, and Betty).

...  take me on a trip i'd like to go some day ...


...  i will always love you, my darling, you  ...

      And of course, all the food-related links that I couldn't find lyrics to go along with:
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      Have a good weekend, folks! Don't forget to comment with any links, gifs, or recipes I might have missed!

      July 14, 2015

      Orange, Whiskey, and Maple Caramel Sauce


      When I was in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to bake and shoot with Renee Kemps, a fellow blogger I'd met at the Saveur Blog Awards. At the awards, she and I hit it off right away, mostly by camping out at the food table during the ceremony and helping ourselves to copious amounts of Wilma Jean's fried chicken and tequila shots. We then realized that we would have an opportunity to continue our adventures — it just so happened that a few weeks after the awards, I would be flying to Amsterdam, where Renee currently lives, for my sister's wedding. We excitedly made plans to bake and shoot together.

      The initial plan was to make a traditional Dutch baked good; Renee was insistent that we make stroopwafel cookies (that is, an incredibly thin waffle sandwich pressed together with thick caramel syrup). But, well, that just didn't happen. We ended up with these shortbread-like sandwich cookies instead, along with the best caramel syrup I've ever made:


      You can read all about our (mis)adventures over on Renee's blog and why we ended up with the cookies that we did. Also, if you haven't checked out her blog already, hurry over! Renee shot all the photos for this post (those callused and veiny rock-climber hands in the photo are yours truly), and, as you can see, is a crazy talented photographer and the well deserved winner of this year's Saveur's Best Food Photography - Editor's Choice Award. Not only is her blog visually stunning, but her incredibly sweet and kind personality just radiates through all her posts!

      So get your butt over there:


      And for now, I'll leave you with this quickie recipe for orange, whiskey, and maple caramel sauce:

      July 11, 2015

      It's the Weekend, It's the Weekend!

      above: brown sugar laced milk tea with tapioca pearls
      To see more pictures of what I snack on during the week, follow me on Instagram!

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      This Week's Menu
      (yeah, living the raw deal — three course meal!)


      STARTER
      Somen Salad with Pork Belly Char Siu
      by Chef Alana of Fix Feast Flair

      MAIN
      Summery Peach Braised Chicken Thighs with Oyster Mushroom and Thai Basil
      by Chef Betty of le jus d'orange

      DESSERT
      to continue the theme of dinosaur cakes
      Dinosaur Dig Triple Chocolate Sheet Cake
      by Chef Heather of SprinkleBakes

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      LINKS

      ...  this is how we do it  ...

       ...  dear sir or madam, will you read my book  ...

      ...  if you are who you say you are — a super star  ...
       
      ...  you make say i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one  ...

       ...  who run da world?! GIRLS!  ...

      And finally, some neat food-related links that I couldn't find lyric captions for:

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      Have a good weekend, folks! Don't forget to comment with any links, gifs, or recipes I might have missed!

      July 6, 2015

      Chocolate Hazelnut Dinosaur Cake


      If you were to ask Erlend, my boyfriend, he’d probably tell you that dating a food blogger isn’t easy. There are always mountains upon mountains of dishes, frequent unexpected runs to the supermarket to pick up forgotten ingredients, weeks of eating variations of the same thing until the recipe is declared just right, and of course, the many, many uncomfortable minutes waiting to eat hangrily hungrily while the food is being styled and photographed. Not to mention that sweets and desserts start to get old after a while, especially if there’s always something lying around.


      There are perks too though. We arrived back from Europe the day before the 4th of July weekend, which also happened to be Erlend’s birthday weekend. Erlend had no expectations of a big celebration — we were jetlagged and exhausted, and I was getting that glum, post-vacation depression that comes from the knowledge that I was heading back to work on Monday. We agreed to skip the grilling, the fireworks, and birthday celebrations until next weekend, instead opting for cheap Chinese in the neighborhood to mark the occasion in a low-key way.

      But I had a surprise for Erlend. The weekend before we headed out to Europe, I’d baked a chocolate hazelnut cake (a cake that he’s been requesting I make for years now), wrapped it carefully in several layers of plastic wrap, and stuck it in the freezer without his knowledge. Yesterday morning, with jetlag on my side, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and quietly, stealthily whipped up the accompanying Nutella buttercream frosting and the marzipan dinosaurs, and stuck the entire thing back in the freezer unceremoniously. I crawled back to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.


      Later that morning, as Erlend opened the freezer to dig out his coffee beans, he was greeted by the cheery, tricerotopped cake. “What’s this?”

      “Surprise!” I said. “You didn’t think I’d really let you have a birthday without making you a cake, did you?”

      Thus, one of the perks of dating a food blogger: no matter how exhausted we are or inconvenient it is, we’ll always ensure that there’s never a birthday that goes by without homemade cake.

      But then again, after I surprised him with the cake, I ordered him to pose for pictures with the cake in my apron (more on that later!) for about half an hour before we actually cut into the damn thing and ate it.

      But shhh, never mind that. Because really, what I’m trying to say is this:

      Happy Birthday, Erlend! Thanks for being alive another year to help with the dishes, photos, and ingredient runs. I say that jokingly, but I mean it, really — I know I’m a pain in the ass sometimes. But having you in my life has made things easier and better, and for that, I’ll gladly make you a cake everyday.


      Before I leave you with the recipe, let’s circle back to my earlier note about the apron. Erlend is graciously modeling my much-beloved apron from the Portland Apron Company (of which you can see a full picture of on my Instagram, as well as in the site listing). One of my favorite things about Portland, my former home, is the abundance of local, high-quality, handcrafted goods available there from pioneering, entrepreneurial creative folk. Portland Apron Company is no exception — all Portland Apron Company aprons are designed and are made-to-order by one incredibly talented lady, Erika Kelly. Her aprons (made of all-organic material, nonetheless) stand within the ranks of designer aprons like Hedley & Bennett, Fog Linen, and all others mentioned in this New York Times article. Aprons. They're hot right now.

      As a special treat, all Hummingbird High readers will get free shipping on any order from Portland Apron Company shipped within the USA throughout the month of July. Just use the code: Hummingbird


      Some baker's notes:
      • Hazelnut meal is available online (I like the Bob's Red Mill variety), or, you can make your own! Simply run 1 cup raw hazelnuts in a food processor and process until they reach a texture similar to cornmeal; be careful and watch the hazelnuts to make sure you don't over process them, or you might end up with hazelnut butter. If you're having trouble finding hazelnut meal, you can also just substitute the amount needed with all-purpose flour to make a plain old (but still perfectly delicious) chocolate cake.

      • A note on freezing cakes — cakes freeze really well, and can keep in the freezer for an incredibly long time if packed properly (though in my personal opinion, they tend to lose their best flavor and texture around the one month mark). To freeze a cake, bake it, cool it fully, and wrap it in several layers (at least 2) of plastic wrap to make sure that every surface is covered. Once the cakes have been covered, add a final layer of aluminum foil wrap to prevent freezer burn and any freezer smells from leeching into the cake. And there's no need to defrost the layers before lathering on the frosting — cakes are actually easier to frost when they're cold as the freezing process helps keeps the crumbs on the cake. After frosting, simply keep the cake at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

      PS — dinosaur cakes are really hot right now (because dinosaurs are awesome, duh). For some of my other favorite dinosaur cakes around the internet, check out my homegirls: Katie and her Chocolate Chips Ahoy Dinosaur Cake, Steph and her Classic Chocolate Birthday Cake, and Molly and her Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake. Let me know if I missed any other dinosaur cakes in the comments below!

      July 4, 2015

      It's the Weekend, It's the Weekend!

      above: a typical Dutch breakfast of hagelslag (Dutch sprinkles) on buttered toast;
      below: Dutch stroopwafel cookies
      To see more pictures of my trip to Europe, follow me on Instagram!

      Hi everybody!

      I'm back from my most recent trip from Europe, just in time for 4th of July weekend! I'll likely be spending most of it recovering from jetlag and harassing my cat (who seems indifferent to our return), but have some barbecue and beer for me, okay?

      Hope you enjoy this  4th of July menu I've curated below:


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      This Week's Menu
      (yeah, living the raw deal — three course meal!)

      STARTER
      by Chef Summer of O&O Eats

      MAIN
      by Chef Alida of Simply Delicious

      DESSERT
      by Chef Sam of Love, Cake

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      Links

      ... california, here we come, right back where we started from ... 

      ... who run da world?! GIRLS ... 

      ... this is how we do it ...
      ... our house is a very, very, very fine house ...

      ... take me on a trip i'd like to go someday ...
      • I'd like to visit all the farmers markets on this list, especially since I can attest to the wonder of both the San Francisco Ferry Building and the Portland State University markets.

      ... questions of science, science and progress ...
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      Have a good weekend, folks! Don't forget to comment with any links, gifs, or recipes I might have missed!