Friday, July 27, 2012


I've finally done it. After 2 failed attempts last year I decided that my fear of sourdough starters needed to be overcome. So I bought The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart because of the rave reviews and tried again. And it worked! I am so happy. Finally I can make sourdough bread in my own home.

I grew up in California living off of sourdough bread. More than any other bread, sourdough, for me, is nostalgia. My mom and my dad would make me sandwiches with sourdough growing up. A baguette of sourdough always accompanied my mom's amazing pot roast or stew. My mom would even send me care packages with loaves of bread. I know. I'm crazy about sourdough. But I think everyone should be. There is absolutely no bread that even comes close. Sure, I love other breads. I don't think a BLT is the same unless its on toasted wheat bread. But sourdough is my go to bread.

The process of making the starter in itself took a while and there were a lot of instructions and web searches to make sure I was doing things correctly. But this time consuming process paid off. Yesterday I pulled out 2 loaves of bread from my oven and to my surprise it tasted great! I thought for sure I was going to mess up somewhere along the way. So glad I haven't (so far). The loaves aren't the most beautiful things that I have ever made, but I'm hoping with a little practice and some hard work I can get them (close to) perfect.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lavender Scones with Lemon Curd

Thankfully the weather in Nashville has cooled off a little bit. Gone are the record breaking highs and a welcome return to summer storms. My garden is even looking halfway decent again. I was sure it was past recovery. This (slight) cool down allowed me to get back into the kitchen and bake something. I had recently come across a recipe in Bon Appetit for Lavender Scones and couldn't help to test them out. They were shown being served with lemon curd, so then of course I had to make lemon curd. 

I had never made lemon curd before, I'm not really sure if I had ever even had it before. I was curious to see how the ingredients could combine to make the most lemony, tangy, scrumptious concoction I have ever tasted. It was like the filling to a really great lemon meringue pie, only better! The tartness really complimented the flavor of the scones. This was a great breakfast for as long as it lasted (which wasn't very long).

Sweet Lavender Scones
Adapted from Bon Appetit May 2012
Note: I only made half of the recipe

3 cups flour, all purpose
3/4 cup sugar, white granulated
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp dried lavender buds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, chilled and cut into tiny cubes
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
Raw sugar to sprinkle on top

1) Preheat oven to 425 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
2) Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lavender, salt, and baking soda in a bowl, then add butter with a pastry blender or fingers to create a coarse mixture

3) Whisk 1 cup of the buttermilk with the lemon zest and vanilla then add the wet ingredients into the dry until a shaggy dough is formed
4) Pour dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently, about 5 turns, until dough is formed
5) Shape into a 10X6 inch rectangle, then cut into squares of your desired size (this recipe says that it will make 16)

6) Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp buttermilk and raw sugar, then bake for 13-15 minutes, let cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Lemon Curd
Adapted from SprinkleBakes

1 stick of butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2 egg yolks, room temp
1/3 cup plus 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1) Beat the butter and the sugar together with Kitchenaid or electric hand mixer, then slowly add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, once they are fully incorporated pour in the lemon juice. The mixture is going to look curdled and awful, but don't worry! This is normal.

2) Pour the mixture into a saucepan and attach a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and is no longer curdled. Then increase the heat a little and keep stirring until the mixture reaches 170 F then remove from stove
3) Let cool slightly then place in container and cover the top surface of the lemon curd with plastic wrap. Let cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge to cool. Remove when cooled and enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Last week in Nashville had some record breaking heat. It was too hot to even make ice cream. That is how unbelievably hot it was. So instead, I decided to make some frozen yogurt. No heating involved. All you have to do is let the berries, sugar, and some vodka do their thing and mix in some lemon and yogurt and let it spin in the ice cream machine. So simple. And delicious. This frozen yogurt has that hint of tang from the yogurt, but the strawberry flavor comes through so clear that it almost tastes like a sorbet. I'll soon by trying this technique with some other fruits.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and stems removed
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vodka (I used vanilla vodka) (optional)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. lemon juice

1) Slice the strawberries into tiny pieces and combine with the sugar and vodka and let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally

2) Puree the strawberries, in their juices, in a food processor with the yogurt and lemon juice until smooth. You can strain out the seeds, but I like the texture they add
3) Refrigerate until cold, then add to machine, freeze in freezer and enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

4th of July Cake

Hey everyone! Sorry about the absence. We have been moving and I haven't had a chance to really cook anything too exciting. Luckily are move is possibly the shortest move in history. To the other side of our duplex. You may be wondering why move to the other side of a seemingly identical unit. Well, the other side has a finished attic! Which means we now have space for Will's office and all of our extra stuff that was overflowing in our house. Yay! There are also ceiling fans in every room and a kitchen with a little more counter and cabinet space for all my kitchen stuff!

I did get a chance to bake a 4th of July cake, but I haven't had a change to get onto my computer since we have been so busy. So, better late than never, here is the Independence Day cake.