My mother makes the best apple cake, and has for as long as I can remember. Big cinnamon-y chunks of apple nestle into a coffee cake I would call “unbelievably” moist, but really, should not be hard to believe considering that my mother is also the one who brought us another of the best cake recipes on this site, The Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake. The cake gets better the second day, when the apples juices seep further into the cake and I have seen the conviction of many a chocolate-obsessed/fruit dessert non-believers crumble upon trying a single slice of it. The apple cake, it’s some good stuff.
September, 2008 Archive
I only know one Yiddish phrase (well, two, if you can count farshikkert, which is a pretty awesome way to say someone is three sheets to the wind), but conveniently, it is my favorite. A shonda for the goyim means, roughly, that someone of the Jewish faith is not only doing something shameful (shonda), but doing it in front of non-Jews, which of course is an entirely worse offense. Like, it would be bad enough to, say, eat ham and cheese on matzo on Passover (or, I suspect, ever and boy, do I have a great story about that but first let me see if I can get my mother to pay me not to share it) but it would be doubly more awful to do it in front of a person outside your faith. You would, in fact, bring shame upon your entire people, mostly because when given the choice between the most or least dramatic interpretation of an event, I think can safely say that my people will generally opt for the former.
A few days ago, someone emailed me asking me if I had a recipe for honey cake. You see, honey cake is something traditionally eaten on the Jewish New Year, which falls next week as eating honey is supposed to encourage a sweet New Year, doubly so if paired with apples.
I know it has only been five months since I told you about caramelized shallots, and I would hate for you to think that I have a one-track mind about the diminutive members of the allium family. I use them in other things. For example, I love minced shallots in a salad dressing or tomato sauce, and sometimes I even roast cippoline with tomatoes and pour the juices over garlic-rubbed toast.
In the last few days, New York City has gotten the most delicious nip to its breezes; drier air and clear skies have set in and despite that fact that I maintain that I don’t wish summer to end, it’s not holding up when I hit the Greenmarket and go a little berserk over apples and squash and things that have nothing to do with stone fruit. I’m a sucker for New York in the fall. It always wins.
Black and white cookies are the kind of New York City deli classic that I love recreating at home. If you’re not from around here, you might not have ever seen or tasted one, but that doesn’t mean you’re missing a whole lot. Nearly every one I have tried since setting foot in NYC in 2000 has rather disappointed. Because the cookie is really a cake, they get stale quite quickly, but this doesn’t convince deli and bodega owners to yank their plastic shrink-wrapped versions before they’re sold. Your best bet? Make them at home and wow all of the Brooklyn natives in the audience.
It has been way too long since I baked a loaf of bread. You see, I went on a bit of a bread-baking bender after taking a class a couple years ago. There was White Batter Bread and Chocolate Orange Bread, a Fougasse, a Pumpernickel (later updated to my now-favorite Russian Black Bread), darling Bretzel Rolls, ever-so-popular No-Knead Bread, homemade English Muffins, a Potato Rosemary Bread (nom), an Italian Bread that felt like it took 100 years to make, oh and then some miniature Soft Pretzels, and this doesn’t even include the insane homemade pizza bender that followed. Is it any surprise I took a little break from bread-making for a while shortly after I started by yeast by the jar?