Greg bought me flowers Friday. Being the sweetheart that he is, he realized that life is a little rough right now for us and picked them up on his way home from work. A few weeks earlier, he bought me quality microplane graters. What a thoughtful guy. A bouquet of graters for my kitchen tool obsession. I jumped for joy, really.
Rough because, I know I never reported back on the new house deadline…on purpose, we have to wait to hear if we have the place April 11th. A month longer than originally stated. But in these times of the heartbreaking earthquake/tsunami in Japan, I appreciate the opportunity to make a life for ourselves in a home. My thoughts remain with the people of Japan. I can’t even contemplate what life looks like for the survivors.
In the last few weeks, I tossed myself into my work: focusing on taking more pics, trying to edit those photos using my free program which seems to have flaws in the newest version since any editing distorts my pictures to a point that I am very unhappy with (it will do that-might be time for Photoshop). I’ve also been gathering, or planning to gather, new photo props, creating ideas for posts, writing guest posts, kicking butt in the kitchen by making rocking meals and thinking spring.
In 4+ hours, I organized my recipe binders, then went on to spend some time prioritizing future recipes and making lists to highlight certain upcoming seasonal ingredients. The apartment doesn’t get off scot-free, winter items are being packed away, plans for storage and transitioning to a new place are forming in mind and on paper-moving once again towards a minimalist lifestyle. (Past posts of mine tell the story of our moves through college, after college and then to our current state, Minnesota, and that I am pretty good at packing…last count was 10 apartments in 8 years.) I’m also planning a yard sale…much later in time but I have a few old pots and kitchen equipment that have to go (and be replaced with quality items) along with clothing, shoes, furniture, small appliances and such.
Too bad the local farmers markets don’t open until May, they brighten my mood, and spring seems to still be far from this area of the world. Snow is in this week’s forecast. I’ve tried not to think about anything to do with the house. That’s what April is for and I’m becoming excited about blood oranges, asparagus, leeks, avocados, peas, pineapples, spinach, rhubarb, and other spring produce. What are you most excited about this spring?
Before the thrill of a warmer season arrives, I wanted to share this pouding chomeur (translated “poor man’s pudding”) recipe. It doesn’t scream spring but it does scream “I’m so good! You’re going to make me on a frequent basis.” In a week, Greg asked for this 5 times.
You probably have the ingredients in your kitchen right now. I would describe the caramel covered cake as similar to an upside-down cake’s texture but with maple syrup and a rich, sweet flavor. This is sweet-very, very sweet and we thought best served with a dark cup of coffee. Simple, a little messy (be sure to place the ramekin or small baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet or cake pan) and the dough needs to be refrigerated overnight so advance planning is needed. I split the dough into pieces and made the syrup mixture fresh each preparation over a 5 day period so that I could take it out and quickly prepare a weekend snack or dessert. It will overflow from its dish-it’s supposed to and you will be sticky but not disappointed.
Pouding Chomeur adapted by me from Lottie and Doof from Au Pied de Cochon Cookbook
Makes about 12 small ramekin cakes or 6 average size ramekin cakes
6 oz. butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups maple syrup
2 cups heavy cream
Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth, add the eggs (one at a time) and beat on medium until completely combined. Add the flour and baking powder; stir until the flour is completely combined. Refrigerate the dough in an airtight container for at least 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Bring the maple syrup and heavy cream to a boil in a pot. Turn off the heat, add a pinch of salt and cool. Divide the dough into about 12 small ramekins or 6 average size ramekins or in an oven-safe baking dish (for non-individual servings). Set them on a rimmed baking sheet or cake pan. Poor the syrup and cream mix over the top of the dough (about half full to ¾ full but no more). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pudding cakes are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of each cake. Keep an eye on these as the caramel syrup mix will burn, especially if overflowing onto the baking sheet. My cakes varied on time so more than 25 minutes could be needed. Allow to cool slightly then serve warm.