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I dusted off the ol film camera a few weeks ago and got to shooting film again. It's a nice change of pace for me, to take the time to shoot analog, to have take my film to the lab and wait to see what comes out. My camera is old and fussy, I've finally come to terms with the fact that the light meter is broken, but I am stubborn so I haven't taken it in to be repaired...I like the break from the immediacy of social media. I like that I can't (or just don't) take 20 frames of the same thing. My lab is also right next to Superiority Burger so it's a pretty good excuse to swing through for a veggie burger and Arnold Palmer.

Sure, there is some dust on the scans and the photos aren't perfect, but I love them anyway so I am posting them here along with a recipe for a super simple olive oil loaf cake that is the sort of cake that gets better with age. We enjoyed it over the course of about a week, thin slice by thin slice, and I think it really peaked in flavor on about day three. Feel free to sub lemon or lime for the grapefruit - Meyer lemon would, of course, be delicious and if you are feeling lazy, you don't really have to make the glaze. Although, I'm a sucker for citrus glaze so I'd never skip it. The candied grapefruit peel is very optional though.

Some announcements! 

There are only TWO spots left for my food and photography workshop in PARIS with Olaiya Land - who inspired this cake - We are going to have so much fun, eat so much delicious food, and learn so much about photography and editing. You will walk away from the workshop with a full heart and belly, and the skills to take your blog, social media accounts, or casual photography to the NEXT LEVEL. Please join us! 

World class food stylist and author Susan Spungen and I are teaming up for another workshop in the Hamptons this JUNE all about STRAWBERRIES! It will be open for registration next week. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter (over in the sidebar) to get early access to registration. 

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

Makes one 9x5x3 or 10x4x3-inch loaf

Cake

1 cup (200g) sugar

1 3/4 cups (225g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4  teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (175ml) fruity olive oil

1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (240ml) whole-milk kefir or buttermilk, at room temperature

Glaze

2 cups confectioners sugar

2-3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

candied grapefruit peel to garnish 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350ºF butter and flour a 9x5x3 or 10x4x3 inch baking pan. 

Combine the sugar, and zest and rub the zest into the sugar until well combined and fragrant. Add the olive oil, eggs, and melted butter and whisk. Add the buttermilk or kefir. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. You want it to be well mixed, don't go crazy, a few small lumps of flour are ok. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap it gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and bake until the cake is puffed and golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Whisk the confectioners sugar with grapefruit juice, adding a bit at a time until the glaze is thick but pourable. Pour the glaze over the top and garnish with candied grapefruit peel if desired. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before slicing.

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How to Preserve Lemons and Limes - YouTube

Preserved lemons (or limes!) in salt is one of my favorite canning projects because it is EASY. All you need is some fruit, kosher salt, and a clean jar - well, some time too if you count that as an ingredient. I was the lucky recipient of a box of Rangpur limes - one of my favorite esoteric citrus fruits - from Shae who I bonded with years ago over our love of fruit and preserving. So, long story short I preserved a couple of jars of them in salt which I will use in savory (and sweet!) dishes all year long. I just love their sour funky flavor and their gorgeous color!

It's a beautiful process and I teamed up with Pete again who made this incredible video (including the music that I just LOVE). I hope you like it, and I always say this, but more to come!

Preserved Lemons or Limes

Making preserved lemons is one of my favorite winter canning projects and is one of the easiest too. It is really more a formula than a specific recipe so feel free to scale these amounts up or down depending on how much use you think you’ll get out of them. Meyer lemons are wonderful preserved because of their thin skin and small amount of white pith, but regular lemons are great too.

1 quart sized canning jar and lid or 2 pint jars

8-10 organic lemons, well scrubbed

kosher salt

Slice off the stem end and bottom of each lemon (only if they have big nubs). Stand the lemons up and, cut an “X” into each lemon, stopping about 1/2-inch from the bottom so all four quarters are still connected at the base. Hold each lemon open with your fingertips and sprinkle salt on the inside and outside of each one.

Cover the bottom of the jar with a thin layer of salt and place each lemon in the jar, pressing  to release the juices. Fill the jar with the lemons, leaving about 1-inch of headspace. If the lemons are not completely submerged in juice, top the jar off with additional lemon juice until they are covered. Sprinkle salt on the top of the jar, screw on the lid and give the whole thing a shake.

Let the jar sit at room temperature for three days, turning the jar each day to distribute the salt and juices. After three days, store the jar in the refrigerator, making sure to turn it every couple of days. The lemons are ready when their rinds are very soft, about 3 weeks. To cook with the lemons, remove them from the jar and rinse with cool water. Remove and discard the pulp and seeds and chop the rind. They’ll keep in the fridge, submerged in juice, for one year. 

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I am not a stuff person by any means. I have no problem letting things go, I don’t worry when dishes break or clothes get stained, but I do have a prized cookbook that I would be very sad to see anything happen to - The Last Course by Claudia Fleming. Every time I think I have a new and original idea, it turns out Claudia Fleming already had it – pre 2001. It’s truly a shame that the book is out of print, copies sell for hundreds of dollars on Amazon and ebay. Every pastry chef  I know treasures their copy. The Last Course is also the book that made me fall in love with pineapple of all things. Caramelized with pink peppercorns, bay and vanilla and served with vanilla ice cream – pineapple is a magical thing.

I have been dreaming of a pineapple upside down cake with those amazing flavors and getting Erin McDowell’s Fearless Baker was just the inspiration I needed to actually do it. I riffed on her upside down cake recipe a bit here, ok I riffed a lot.  Her version includes graham flour (yum!) and is topped with tomato jam (hello!), but I did take her general proportions and the addition of crème fraiche in the batter (yum again!). I don’t think she will mind.

Pineapple Upside down Cake

Very loosely adapted from Fearless Baker By Erin McDowell

Makes one 9-inch cake

Topping

4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (110g) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons rum

1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1 bay leaf

2 cups sliced pineapple (fresh or canned – you do you)

pinch salt

Cake

1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (110g) light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/3 cups (320g) crème fraîche

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 350° F.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a 10-inch (or deep 9-inch) cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and combined. Add the rum, peppercorns, vanilla bean, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the pineapple and cook for a few minutes turning the pineapple over in the sauce occasionally until the pineapple begins to soften and release its juices. Off of the heat, use a slotted spoon to remove the pineapple from the pan into a separate bowl or plate, then carefully remove the pink peppercorns from the sauce – I know this is fussy, but you gotta do it unless you want to pick peppercorns out of your teeth. Add the pineapple back to the pan in an even layer - if you have extra pineapple (lucky) just eat it :) Set the pan on a baking sheet, and brush the sides of the pan with a bit of butter. 

To make the cake, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and crème fraiche and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Fold the flour into the wet ingredients then pour the batter over the fruit and spread into an even layer.

Bake the cake on the baking sheet until a toothpick inserted inserted into the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a spatula around the outside of the cake and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely and remove the bay leaf and vanilla bean pod before slicing and serving. 

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It's no surprise that everything from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s new book Sweet is craveworthy, but I am obsessed with these stamped gingerbread. I have made them at least 5 times this holiday season, and I’ll probably make them again if I get the chance. They are perfect Christmas cookies - beautiful, tasty, easy to make in large quantities, and they taste great after a few days at room temperature.

I do add a bit more spice than is called for in the recipe (which is reflected below) because I like a little extra cardamom and allspice in my gingerbread. I also add a pinch of salt to the glaze because I think it helps the buttery flavor pop. t's safe to say that these are going in the permanent Christmas cookie rotation. 

A note about cookie stamps: The one I use is hand carved and pretty similar to the ones available here. Happy Baking!

Did you know I am teaching a food and photography workshop in PARIS (!) with Olaiya Land this Spring? There are only a few spots left. Click through to learn more and reserve your spot.  See you in Paris!

Soft Gingerbread Tiles with Rum Butter Glaze

lightly adapted from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90g) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (100g) blackstrap molasses

1 large egg yolk

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (235g) all purpose flour

1 tablespoon dutch process cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Rum Butter Glaze

2/3 cup (80g) confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and warm

1 tablespoon dark rum (or lemon juice)

1 teaspoon warm water

pinch salt

Place the butter, sugar and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg yolk.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients to the butter and molasses. Once the mix comes together, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.


Roll out the dough so it’s about 1/4-inch thick (no need to chill it first, but the dough can be wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge for up to two days before baking). Preheat oven 325F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and set aside.


Dip the cookie stamps in a small bowl of flour, shake off any excess and then press them firmly into the dough, one at a time, to create a deep imprint. Using a round biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than the pattern, cut out the pieces of imprinted gingerbread.


Transfer the cookies to the lined baking trays about 1-inch apart. Re-roll the dough and continue to stamp and cut until all the dough is used up. Bake for 9-10 mins, rotating the trays halfway through, until firm to the touch. They will continue to firm as they cool.


Prepare the glaze while the biscuits are in the oven, as it needs to be brushed on while they are still warm. Sift the icing sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the melted butter, rum (or lemon juice) and water and mix with a spoon until smooth. The glaze will thicken slightly if it sits around, so stir through a little more warm water if you need to – it should be the consistency of runny honey.


Remove the biscuits from the oven, leave to rest for 5 mins, then brush or dab the glaze all over with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Biscuits will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.

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photo by olaiya land

photo by olaiya land

click to reserve your spot

photo by olaiya land

I am so thrilled to announce that Olaiya Land and I are getting the band back together for a photography and styling workshop in PARIS May 23-27, 2018! If you don't already know her, Olaiya is a Seattle-based cook and photographer. She draws on her experience cooking in professional kitchens and years spent living abroad to create visual stories for her food and travel blog, Milly’s Kitchen. She also teaches cooking classes, hosts a series of pop-up dinners and leads food and photography retreats designed to help people bring more creativity and inspiration into their lives. Her Paris workshops and pop-up dinners  always sell out quickly, and I am so excited to revisit Paris under her expert guidance!

We’ve planned four glorious days of cooking, shooting, and styling in a light-filled, absolutely stunning flat. We’ll visit local markets, boulangeries and cafes as we stroll the streets capturing the light Paris is famous for and tasting the city's best chocolate, coffee, pastries, cheeses and natural wines. And of course we'll gather around the table to share meals both in our beautiful workshop apartment and out and about in Paris. 

The workshop is open to food and photography lovers of all abilities, and we will provide tons of hands-on learning experiences as well as opportunities to explore and relax. We have taken care of all of the arrangements for you so you can focus on learning and absorbing all Paris has to offer. All you need to do is show up with your camera and comfy shoes, ready to learn and be inspired. This workshop is limited to 8 participants,

Registration opens at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST today! Click through this link to learn all of the deets and sign up! See you in Paris! 

photo by Olaiya Land

photo by olaiya land

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A few weeks ago Susan Spungen and I gathered a small group of ladies from all over the country for our first Hamptons Workshop and Retreat. We picked apples in the rain, feasted on delicious seasonal meals including spritz hour and a delicious pizza dinner at Amber Waves Farm (run by a group of badass ladies), picked fresh veggies at Quail Hill Farm, watched Susan demo her famous Tarte Tatin, ate a Flemish Beauty pear galette with marzipan halva in a paella pan (so great for a group!), made pies to take home, and lots more.

A big thank you to our sponsors Vermont Creamery for providing all of the delicious butter and cheese that made our lunches and pies amazing, Williams Sonoma for the aprons and pie tools everyone used to make pies, Millie Lottie for gorgeous tote bags that everyone used to transport their pies home (so smart!), Woo Garden for delicious jams, and Rachel from Seed and Mill who attended the workshop and brought delicious tahini and halva to share with all of us!

It was such a great time and we can’t wait to do it all again in the Spring. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter over in the sidebar for early access to the next workshop!

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I'm so excited to announce that this October 14-15, Susan Spungen and I are hosting a two-day Pie Baking Masterclass and Retreat in East Hampton!

We will gather at Susan’s light-filled home in Long Island during one of the most beautiful times of year to bake, harvest, share farm fresh meals, and most importantly demystify homemade pie crust so you can impress all of your friends and family this holiday season and hone those skills you’ve always longed to master.

All skill levels are welcome. This will be a perfect opportunity to enjoy fall on Eastern Long Island and polish your skills so you feel confident in your holiday pie baking and pie crust skills.

Overview
  • Baking Lessons - We will each demonstrate our favorite pie crust techniques both by hand and using a food processor, and show you how we use them in sweet and savory treats all season long. We’ll cover the basics, like proper rolling technique, how to use a French rolling pin, how to keep your dough at the right temperature, how to pick up dough to transfer it, and so much more! We’ll show you blind baking techniques, decorative pie crusts, and traditional lattice topped pies. Then we will let you loose in the kitchen to bake your own pie or galette to take home. You will receive one-on-one instruction from each of us.
  • Farm Visits - Fall in the Northeast is a beautiful and abundant time in the orchards and fields. We will visit a local pick-your-own apple orchard for perfect baking apples, have dinner at Amber Waves, and stop by Quail Hill Farm for greens and herbs to make into savory galettes.

  • Fresh Seasonal Meals - We will gather together around the table for one breakfast, two lunches, apertivo hour, one dinner, and snacks along the way all made from fresh local ingredients.

  • Photography and Styling - While this isn’t a photography workshop specifically, we will all want to share our creations so we’ll spend a bit of time photographing our beautiful work to share on social media and chatting with Julie Resnick of @thefeedfeed, who will join us for a meal.

Click here to learn more and sign up!
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Spring is all about delicate greens and pinks returning to the market. Soft herbs and lettuces, rhubarb, strawberries, and radishes all fall into this color story and all make wonderful toppings for thick slices of perfectly toasted bread- which just happens to be one of my favorite food groups. 

Head on to the Wolf Gourmet Blog to see the recipe for my ode to Sqirl's famous ricotta and jam toast in Rhubarb and Ricotta form, and a simple and extremely beautiful Smashed Lemony Fava Bean Toast with Herbs and Parmesan. Use the freshest ingredients and the best bread you can find, pre sliced grocery stuff isn't going to cut it for fancy toast time.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Wolf Gourmet. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that make Apt 2B Baking Co possible. 

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I spent a good few hours in the backyard this week, sweeping up the leftovers from fall and winter - getting ready for the few glorious weeks when the weather is warm enough to hang outside, but the mosquitos haven't hatched yet...I am a mosquito magnet and our backyard seems to be a hotbed of bug action in the warm months which makes it a not so fun place to hang.

For whatever reason we couldn't seem to get ourselves together enough to host people out back last year, but I am determined to host a few get togethers in the coming weeks. That means lots of good reasons to try delicious new recipes - and big batch cocktails. I love a sparkling sipper and this refreshing drink from Lily's new cookbook caught my eye immediately as I flipped through. Now, this recipe isn't a cocktail as written, but I could see a heavy pour of gin fitting in quite nicely with these tasting ingredients. 

Lily's new book is broken down into 12 chapters that each highlight a flower or herb in fresh and delicious recipes including lots beauty products like masks, body scrubs, and the like but it is also so much more than just a cookbook. Lily writes about life, love, hurt, and heartbreak in such a painfully honest and vulnerable way it is a truly unique release in this busy Spring season.

Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade

Recipe courtesy of the Kale & Caramel Cookbook

I subbed in limes for lemons because I was out of the yellow guys and I highly recommend it if you find yourself lemonless like me.

3-inch length of cucumber, chilled and coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup), plus some extra slices for garnish

2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish (or lime!)

1/4 cup still water 

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar 

3/4 cup sparking water, or more to taste

Add the chopped cucumber to a blender or food processor with the basil, lemon juice, still water, and honey. Blend until smooth, then distribute evenly between two glasses. 

Add the sparkling water, agin splitting evenly between the glasses. Drop in a few ice cubes, and garnish with cucumber slices, lemon slices, and basil as desired. 

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Guys, it's Friday and pouring down rain and I can't think of a better excuse to make/eat cookies so here is a real easy recipe for you. These macaroons come by way of cookie-god Alice Medrich and are easy peasy to put together. You might even have all of the ingredients on hand.

They are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and just sweet enough for an afternoon treat. Bake them as they are or add some flavorings, I am partial to a bit of lime zest and rum. You could also throw in some chopped dehydrated fruit for color and flavor. Raspberries are especially nice.

Have a great weekend! 

Easy Coconut Macaroons

barely adapted from Alice Medrich, cookie god

Makes about 22 cookies

4 large egg whites

3 1/2 cups (270g) unsweetened dried flaked coconut 

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)

1 tablespoon rum (optional)

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir the mixture constantly until it is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes to let the coconut absorb more of the goop.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Spoon the batter into 2 tablespoon sized mounds, they won't spread much. Bake for about 5 minutes, just until the coconut tips begin to color, rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Lower the temperature to 325ºF and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies golden with deep brown edges. If the coconut tips are browning too fast, lower the heat slightly. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Let cool completely before gently peeling the parchment away from each cookie.

The cookies are best on the day they are baked, they will soften slightly over time.

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