Between you and me, I’ve been struggling to get back into the groove of things since my vacation last month to London, England. To be fair, it’s been wildly busy since then—one of my good friends was in town with her husband, I caught up with an old professor of mine that I’ve been meaning to see for years and years, and I’ve been managing contractors to deal with a leaky bathroom in my house. I’ve also been on a farmer’s market kick (I swear, the season between summer and fall is the best time for produce), visiting the Portland Farmers Market every Saturday to pick up goodies (like the baklava cruffin you see above from Twisted Croissant). It’s been hard to find time to bake!
Additionally, I made a quick trip to Bend, Oregon to speak at The Sugar Association‘s fall board of directors meeting. I was an attendee of one of their farm tours late last year, and they wanted to hear about my experiences on that trip.
I’m not going to lie—public speaking has never been my forte, so I was dreading the talk. But it ended up being SO. MUCH. FUN. Everybody in the room really loved seeing how their ingredients were being used in the real world, and I had a blast introducing them to viral recipes (like Dalgona Coffee and Mini Pancake Cereal) online. You should’ve seen their faces when I described the latest trend, TikTok’s Butter Boards, lol.
And on a somewhat related note, I’m working with them on another fun project:
The Sugar Association (@moretosugar on Instagram) is holding a baking photo contest with yours truly as the judge. The winner gets super fun prize pack full of baking swag and the KitchenAid 2022 Design Series Blossom Tilt-Head Stand Mixer!!!
You can find more details in this post of mine:
As well as their post about it:
The contest ends on October 7th, and I’ll be picking the winners shortly after that date. Good luck! The mixer is SO beautiful, and I really want one for myself. The copper mixinng bowl is 😍😍😍.
In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts
Here’s a list of everything new on my different Hummingbird High channels:
- Homemade Pizza For Date Night (Watch exclusively on Instagram or TikTok)
Breville recently sent me their AMAZING Pizzaiolo pizza oven, and Erlend and I have been experimenting with tons of homemade pizzas. We’ve tried all sorts of unconventional toppings and bases, like using pesto instead of tomato sauce, or skipping it all together to make a white pie. But it turns out I’m a traditionalist who likes red sauce and pepperoni pizza best, welp.
- Carrot Cake Recipe For 8-Inch Pan (Watch a video blurb of the recipe on Instagram or TikTok)
- The Best Buttermilk Substitutes in Baking (Watch a video blurb of the recipe on Instagram or TikTok)
I made the same chocolate cupcake recipe with real buttermilk and two other buttermilk substitutes (lemon and milk, yogurt and water) to see if I could tell the difference. Spoiler Alert: I COULD NOT. I was shook, because I really thought that real buttermilk would be superior!!! But folks are telling me I need to try the recipe with biscuits, scones, and pancakes. What do you guys think?
- Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake Recipe — Makes Just One Cupcake! (Watch a video blurb of the recipe on Instagram or TikTok)
My friend Molly Yeh’s new cookbook, Home Is Where The Eggs Are, arrived last week! I was super excited to see a small batch chocolate cupcake recipe in the book. Of course, I had to make it to add to my collection of small batch baking recipes.
This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:
- “The Endless Torment Of The ‘Recipe?’ Guy” in The New York Times. This article was DIVISIVE. It describes the phenomenon of people just constantly commenting ‘recipe?’ on content creators’ works, and how that can feel grating and dehumanizing if you’re on the receiving end. But the opposite argument is that it’s a quick and easy way to show support and drive engagement up for these creators’ works, and why share the photo online anyway if you refuse to share the recipe. So what do you guys think?
- “The Recipe Convention That Dooms Home Cooks” in The New Yorker. J.J. Goode, the writer of this article, is one of my favorite cookbook authors. He helps famous chefs write really, really detailed recipes for complicated dishes and techniques…and struggles when he instructs people to “salt to taste.” He says that’s a LOT to leave to the hands of the average home cook, which I agree with! I always avoid using that kind of language in my recipes. Admittedly, baking is more prescriptive—you can’t really salt to taste batters and doughs like you can soup or salad, lol.
- “The Great Food Instagram Vibe Shift” in Eater. Here’s another article from another food writer I love, Bettina Makalintal. She talks about how photo styles on Instagram have shifted from being the curated, bright aesthetic that I’m sure y’all are familiar with from my blog, to a more casual, “laissez-faire” style. I honestly get it, but I’m too set in my ways to make even more changes. And honestly, I’m too busy trying to figure TikTok and Reels out these days to add one more thing to my plate!
- “How Did Recipe Developer Become A Famous Job?” in Gawker. Okay, this article is several months old but new-to-me. Somebody recently shared this amazing Alicia Kennedy piece on burnout in the food content creation world, and I fell into a hole reading all her work. She is so smart and thoughtful, especially when it comes to the food world. It was hard to pick an article of hers to share, but this Gawker one was particularly relevant to you and me. It talks about how “professional recipe developer” became a desirable profession in the last few years, what it actually takes to become one, and the certain pitfalls you can face as one.
We’re heading into a busy fall season of new cookbooks, and I’ve already started getting some in the mail! Here’s everything I got that I’m loving so far:
- The Mediterranean Dish: 120 Bold and Healthy Recipes You’ll Make On Repeat by Suzy Karadsheh. I met Suzy on a press trip to Vermont a few years ago, and she’s lovely and hilarious! She’s also maybe the most talented home cook I know? And I have a high bar! So you definitely should check out her book—it even made The New York Times’ best seller list!
- Home Is Where The Eggs Are: Farmhouse Food For The People You Love by Molly Yeh. You guys probably already know Molly—she’s a former blogger turned superstar, with her own Food Network show, restaurant, and now, multiple cookbooks. And this is where I got the Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from!
- Preppy Kitchen: Recipes For Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures by John Kanell. This is technically out this month, but I got an advanced copy! I love John’s videos—they’re so fun and detailed. I’m excited to start cooking from his book!
- Small Batch Bakes: Baking Cakes, Cookies, Bars, and Buns For 1 to 6 People by Edd Kimber. This is technically out this month, but I got an advanced copy and I highly recommend it—Edd won the first season of The Great British Bake-Off and is incredibly talented!
- Sheet Pan Sweets: Simple, Streamlined Dessert Recipes by Molly Gilbert. This is another advanced copy I received that’s out this month. Molly introduced us to the concept of sheet pan suppers—that is, recipes that teach you how to make a full dinner using just one sheet pan!—and is now expanding our repertoire with a bunch of baking recipes that exclusively use sheet pans. I love it! If you have a cluttered kitchen, her books are your DREAM. You can make full meals—breakfast, dinner, and now dessert—with just one sheet pan!
- Simple Small-Batch Baking: 60 Recipes For Perfectly Portioned Cookies, Cakes, Bars, and More by Mike Johnson. Small batch baking is SO hot right now! This is another advanced copy I received that’s out this month. Mike is such a talented baker, I loved his take on small batch baking!
- Vegan Cooking For Two: 200+ Recipes For Everything You Love To Eat by America’s Test Kitchen. (This is also technically out this month, but I got an advanced copy. ATK has been putting out AMAZING books lately—Iike Modern Bistro: Home Cooking Inspired By French Classics and Boards: Stylish Spreads For Casual Gatherings—and this new book is no exception!
Finally, On A Lighthearted Note
How is everybody feeling about TikTok these days? I’m still meh on creating videos for the platform, but I really love watching them (lol). Below are some of the ones I saved to share with y’all. Also, please follow me on TikTok so I can get to 10,000 followers and finally qualify for the TikTok Creator Fund and get paid for my work! I’m so close, lol.
- This car covered in PRO-GLUTEN stickers, lol. I love gluten—but apparently not as much as that driver. To that TikToker’s point… who hurt them?!
- OMG, this video showing what spinach looks like after it’s been cooked down. Hilarious and relatable.
That’s all for now, folks. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.