This cake, gang. The thing about this cake… I made it almost out of obligation. I’d seen the recipe ages ago. I’d long had the best of intentions for finding new and interesting things to do with pomegranate molasses: a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. That’s one of my favorite cuisines (and goodness knows I have many), but seeing as pomegranate molasses is used a tablespoon or two at a time in that context, I needed other uses for that outrageously delicious substance. Which, if you’re wondering, is really just super-concentrated, thick pomegranate juice.
Anyway, I have an eternal case of “too many things in the brainsphere at once.” Sometimes I wish I could dump them all out and invest in some sort of card catalog. That’s why amazing recipes get shuffled around or forgotten–too many ideas, you know? To be honest, I thought this cake sounded kind of boring. Just your basic cake, with pomegranate molasses added, which may or may not be all that noticeable anyway.
Well, let me tell you: what a lesson in not underestimating a simple addition, or a single ingredient. As I mentioned before, the way I’d used it was in Middle Eastern recipes for just a bit of tartness to balance out all kinds of wonderful flavors. But when I let pomegranate molasses do its thing in a cake? MAN. It shone like that was its job. This cake would certainly hold its own without any frills, with its soft crumb and delicately fruity (but absolutely noticeable) aroma. The topping, though? A-plus all around. Bright, creamy, not-too-sweet icing. Equally tangy, sugar-coated, nutty pumpkin seeds. Yeah. I am sort of in love with this cake.
Just one for now, promise. Then we can all hunker down with our kale and green tea.
One more deliciously festive, fizzy, sophisticated cocktail option for your “let’s celebrate continuing to write ‘/13′ on everything” party.
Champagne (well, sparkling wine for most of us) is a universal crowd-pleaser. That, friends, is a euphemism for “boring.” Beer, and IPA especially, is much less broad in appeal. IPA lovers are a smallish, eclectic group–but if you happen to round up a few for a last-minute gathering, you must make this.
“Must” is a strong word, I know, but I have a lot of faith here. If you hate it, you have permission to yell at me through all of next year.
If we’re going to make a toast, let’s mean it–really, really mean it. If we want 2014 to be interesting, we cannot have a boring old champagne toast. (Because: Universe, mysterious ways, etc.) If we’re ready for a bold, adventurous, uncommon year, let’s ring it in with a drink that is all those things, and also delicious.
Fernet-and-ginger fans, this one is for you. It’s bright and lively, but the Fernet, though tamed, is definitely a substantial presence. Ginger liqueur’s sweetness dials down the tartness of the champagne/lemon juice and the heavy herbal hand of the Fernet–while adding a bite of its own. There’s generally a lot of biting going on in that glass, but altogether, I’d say this is very drinkable, and perhaps even mellow. It’s like all these elements already duked it out in there, so they don’t have to fight with your mouth. Good situation–I love when that happens.
Don’t ask how, but I know there’s still room on all those cookie platters you’re making.
And maybe you can’t even look at another chocolate chip and have sworn off buying peppermint extract for another year? Maybe? I want to be a mindreader when I grow up, so don’t mind me practicing. Everyone needs a dream, lovebugs!
You know how lemon cookies are always crispy and all shortbread-like? It makes your lemon cookie options limited, and we all sort of know that big, fat, chewy cookies are absolutely better than all the others. So, fellow lemon lovers: we don’t have to abide by that nonsense. We can have pistachios and poppy seeds too, for funsies.
If you love cocktails, and if there were one thing from my blog I had to absolutely insist that you make, it’s this foxy beast right here.
1) There’s beer in it. Beer cocktails are an amazing way to add a whole new dimension to your drinking (and yes, I think we all need one).
2) It tastes like gingerbread, but not like the overly sweetened, fake-flavored “gingerbread” boozy everythings you see everywhere lately. If you’re just looking for something to spike your coffee because OH MY GOD it’s December and everyone is driving you insane, then by all means, go for that stuff. But if you want a sophisticated holiday cocktail: potent, spicy, dark, rich, and sweet but not syrupy, this is your jam right here.
3) Velvety, foamy top. If you still think egg whites in cocktails are gross, you can skip it, but I do not endorse it.
4) Festive for days. Just look at it: the luxurious egg white layer, the sprinkling of fresh nutmeg and cinnamon, and garnishes galore. This is a cocktail that never, ever underdresses. This is the “It’s after six, what am I, a farmer?” of drinks.
If you know me, you’re about to put on your “Liar! You don’t like mushrooms!” pants. You’re right, and I adore you for it. But! BUT. Hear me out–I’m honestly trying to change how I feel about mushrooms.
I went more into depth as to why over on where these babies first appeared. See, making something I know I’m going to love is easy. Making something with an ingredient I don’t care for, but liking the dish in the end? That’s a challenge. Some people commit to running races, some people commit to giving up coffee/sugar/carbs, and some people force themselves to try to get down with some fungus in their food. Different strokes.
Anyhow! Spoiler alert: I’m still working on it. However, these were good enough to share with you–as in, I did not hate them. I ate more than one, even. I strongly suspect that if you are a fan of mushrooms (and this blog is not all about me), you might enjoy these. I mean: Carbs. Cheese. Deep, savory caramelized onions. Good things, all the good things, plus mushrooms.