Breakfasts, Musing, Snacks

Breakfast [or Anytime You Damn Well Please] Muffins

Who do you want to be when you grow up?¬†I was asked a few weeks ago at an interview. I knew I wouldn’t find the¬†answer¬†scribbled in my notes, between ideas for recipe development and the blurb about what¬†makes my voice ~unique~. I’ve never been asked something like this¬†by a potential employer, and it was a¬†decently pleasant¬†surprise. And I bet its answer gives a little more insight into a person than asking whether they’re a strategic or tactical thinker, or where they see themself in five years.

When I was very small, I wanted to be an actress. I was that obnoxious eight year old who sang all the time: at family gatherings, in the grocery store, in the bathrooms at school for optimal echoes. I wanted to be on stage so badly. Itching to play Cosette or Belle or Maureen, I memorized the words to every soundtrack I got my hands on. I sang along with the familiar lyrics every week as I spooned out cookie dough onto baking sheets after school.

Then came the crippling stage fright. The heart-pounding, voice-shaking panic overtook me all at once‚ÄĒwhile I was onstage, no less. I was thirteen, auditioning for the middle school musical. Fourteen seconds into singing, I couldn’t hear the music over the pounding in my chest. I don’t remember if I even made it to the chorus.¬†We heard Becca was a really good singer.¬†I overheard one¬†of the girls in the audience say.¬†I wonder what happened?¬†

My greatest dream a crumbled mess of embarrassment, I moved backstage.¬†With the faintest taste of bitter on my tongue, I sewed the hems¬†and smeared foundation and lipstick on the kids who weren’t rendered mute under the spotlight. But I liked being close to the stage, and costuming was fun. I sliced through my best trays of¬†thick fudgy¬†brownies, brought the dark squares to¬†tech week and thought, this is something I could do with myself.

While I applied to college¬†with “journalism” and “studio art” selected on the Common App’s Major intention section, I rolled up to day one at Smith planning to declare theatre design the bulk of¬†my coursework. Which shoes would a¬†Chekhovian woman woman wear to walk around the orchard? How do six identical suits convey the hierarchy of office politics? Who would paint their nails red; why wouldn’t he wear this hat, but that one?¬†I thought about color and exposed skin.

Cutting patterns didn’t give me the same feeling of purpose as it seemed to give¬†my peers and professors. I was good at it, and felt proud seeing the finished productions, but I didn’t enjoy it. I took a job in the art museum over the costume shop. I stopped sketching for fun. I grew to dread those orange walls. The building smelled like stress.

I graduated with a specific degree in this field I’d¬†entered into by default. I wouldn’t be applying to theatres or MFA programs, but I left the Pioneer Valley¬†knowing what I wanted to do.

Food is what drives me, and writing is the way I package ingredients into substance. This past weekend was the¬†fourth anniversary of writing this blog, and this is my 200th official post. I’ve been out of school for a long year. A year of cover letters and¬†internships and¬†almosts.

I snapped to attention to give an answer at the interview. I pretty good one, I think.


I’ve taken to making these muffins every two weeks or so, for easily transportable snacking. There are a million ingredients, yes, but I think they’re worth it.

Breakfast Muffins (GF, makes 12-15)

1 cup oats
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch (cornstarch gets the job done too)
1¬Ĺ teaspoons baking powder
¬Ĺ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
¬Ĺ black pepper
¬Ĺ teaspoon sea salt
6 dried prunes
1 large carrot
1/2 green apple
2 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup olive or melted coconut oil
3 eggs

coconut sugar (though any sugar will do)
sunflower seeds or pepitas

Preheat the oven to 400¬ļ F and grease a muffin tin. Place the oats in a food processor and grind into a¬†course flour. In a large bowl, whisk the oat flour with the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Place the prunes in a bowl of very hot water and set aside. Grate the carrot and apple and set aside.

In a bowl, mash the bananas, then mix in buttermilk or yogurt, orange zest and oil. Blend the prunes into a paste in the food processor, then blend into the banana mixture. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients, then fold in the carrot and apple. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat for about a minute, then fold into the batter.

Scoop into the prepped muffin tin, then top with a sprinkling of coconut sugar and sunflower seeds. Bake 18-20 minutes.

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Desserts, Musing

Orange Rosewater Madelines

“And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature.”
‚ÄďMarcel Proust,¬†Swann’s Way

The Proustian madeleine may be a clich√© to the literati, but there is no doubt about it: food evokes feeling. One bite of tea cake is all it takes to make the back of one’s jaw tingle. Flavors¬†passing over my¬†tongue¬†can shoot me into another time, another country. Keep your eyes closed the next time you eat something you like and you’ll see.

It’s Valentine’s Day, so I’m going to talk about something I love: Food. Who’s surprised?

Food brings me joy. Making it. Serving it. Eating it. Food brings me discomfort. Buying it. Eating it.

For the past eight years¬†my relationship with food has been dysfunctional. Compulsive. For the past eight years I haven’t eaten a meal without some form of guilt or rationalization. It bothers the people around me. It makes some people nervous, even¬†irritates some of them.

“I know you’re sad, but you can’t have yogurt for every meal.”

“How could you possibly have room for more French fries?”

“Just have a bagel. What’s the problem with that?”

“You looked really thin the last time I saw you, but you looked healthier in that picture posted of you last week.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t talk so much about what you going to eat, just eat it or don’t.”

“Just go to the gym if you care so much about this.”

Every one of this things was said to me probably out of the goodness in people’s hearts, or out of confusion. But each comment stings in a way only those who also have a complicated relationship with food could possibly understand.

There have only been a few times where people have vocalized their worry about¬†my relationship with food. Typically, it goes unnoticed, because my body doesn’t physically change all that much. If I eat a lot of meals with someone they probably notice the weird portioning¬†and the food journal¬†app on my phone. Or they’ll notice that I’m on my third bowl of pasta and headed to the kitchen¬†to “clean up,” only to see I’m fishing out strands of spaghetti with my fingers, quickly, quietly.

I talk about food a lot, to be fair. It consumes most of my brain space, and therefore is a topic that controls¬†a lot of the conversations I have. And if I’m around someone regularly, they can see that it might not only be recipes I’m concerned with. But it’s hard to talk about with someone who doesn’t share this experience. Someone who has a more logical (or rational, or dare I say healthy‚Äď even though I hate that word)¬†relationship with food might be confused about why, if I’m so concerned, I can’t just implement a regular workout routine. Or why I can’t just say fuck it and eat what I want to eat. In fact, I do both of these things sometimes. More often than it would seem. But that doesn’t change the way I let these habits control me.

I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to post this. And I think a day focused around love is a good day to do so. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love working with food and recipes‚Äď professionally and personally.

Yet I don’t love what my brain has done to my relationship with food; it makes things tricky.¬†I think sharing a meal with someone is is one of the most intimate activities.¬†But there are complexities beyond my control at play here. It’s hard. I go through good spells and not-so-good ones.

But nothing ever makes me feel more than food. That “exquisite pleasure,” which causes nothing else to matter. I won’t ever let go of that.

Orange Rosewater Madelines (makes about 24 cookies)

1 or 2 madeline tins

3/4 cup +  1 tablespoon AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch sea salt (or orange salt)
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick)+ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, pouring 2 tablespoons into a separate bowl. Stir orange zest into larger amount of butter, and cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick and light in color, about 4 minutes. Quickly beat in rose water and vanilla extract. Sift half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and fold until barely combined. Repeat with the other half of the flour mixture. Gently fold in the orange butter until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375¬ļ F. Brush a madeleine tin with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and dust lightly with flour.

When madeleines have chilled, quickly spoon batter into tins. Bake until cookies are golden brown and spring back to the touch, about 8-12 minutes. Let cookies cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then let cool completely on wire wracks.

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Musing

lately // november 2015

This is the time for going on long walks outside. Taking a deep breath fills my lungs not with frigid icy air nor that thick summer stuff that makes me want to run screaming back to air conditioning.

This is the time for drinking wine or coffee while wrapped in a blanket.

This is the time for trying not to yell at the store manager of literally every establishment for playing Christmas music at top volume. I mean SRSLY.

This is the time for realizing that if you hate treadmills and like running after 5pm you should probably get a reflective vest or a headlamp so you stay safe from squinty drivers and uneven sidewalks. And by ‘you,’ I mean me.

This is the time for figuring out how to make matcha lattes at home because they’re just so darn green and frothy.

This is the time for realizing how much happier I am now than I was last year at this time, even if you couldn’t tell from blog posts.

This is the time for deciding that I can be as honest as I want in this space, and for giving a big ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į if reading anything particularly full of feelings makes you uncomfortable. I’ll admit that said honesty will be squished between pictures of cake, so you can go ‘head and just scroll around to those if you’d prefer.

This is the time for being thankful that after going on a million –okay, seven..eight?– interviews, I finally landed a pretty rad intern position and am a commuter now wooOOOOooOoOOo nj transit.

This is the time for making cookies on Saturday mornings in PJs, and eating said cookies for breakfast.

put carrot juice in homemade applesauce and you will NOT be disappointed // the aftermath of what I think was the most food ever served at a birthday bash but you only turn 23 and 24 once so all the stops were pulled out ~THX~ to all you people who like Ben and I enough to make food and bring it to a party // the Firkser dining room drink cart is starting to look so nice that I almost feel guilty drinking things from it. Almost // my first pecan pie tasted pretty good, and even if the crust shrank, no one noticed because they were too busy staring at my new pie box AKA the best birthday gift e v e r // just a little self promotion again read my Food52 article pls and thank you // this is not the view from my desk, but it is a view from my new office // more self promotion, this time on The Nosher: I strongly recommend you make this in the coming months, tzimmes is warm and sweet and roasty, which are essentially the only adjectives I want to find connected with my winter food // this is an egg fried INSIDE A BAGEL // moon + twinkly lights = all the happy feels //spaghetti pie spaghetti pie spaghetti pie spaghetti pie spaghetti pie spaghetti pie

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Musing

lately // october 2015

I’ll admit it– I didn’t carve a pumpkin this year. Or last year. Or..the year before that…oops? I did, however, do a lot of other autumny things this October. Also, check out things I wrote on other corners of the internet: talking about Superfoods on Freja Daily; Mandelbrot vs. Biscotti on the Nosher; my latest restaurant review of¬†Ani Ramen¬†on¬†the Montclair Dispatch

I wanted pie at 10 pm but had no crust, so I made this and it was perfect // I’ve been riding the train a lot recently and I think the meadowlands are getting prettier // Hi my name is Becca and I am a cookbookaholic // practicing the opposite of life hacks with homemade puff pastry for The Kitchn Baking School // I covered the Amanti Vino Cru vs. Brew event for the Montclair Dispatch¬†// fall is so spooky and I love it // pro tip: it’s really fun to wrap oneself in a giant blanket and drink wine and eat bread outside in 40-degree weather // listening to some real pros talk food, career choices, and morning habits at NYCWFF¬†// later that day, making bitters with Hella Bitters¬†(anyone want to come over for a drink?)// I like eating steel cut oats even though they take approximately 30 years to cook // I love Halloween

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Musing

lately // september 2015

Happy start of fall! I wish everyone birkenstocks + socks, mulled wine, fresh figs, and fisherman sweaters in the coming month~

these perfect colors at the Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life exhibition at the Bronx Botanical Garden //¬†shanah tovah and such for everyone out there who celebrated Rosh Hashanah (stay tuned for the SLAMMIN French toast recipe I made with the leftover challah) // my best gal since ’92 Sarah came to Jersey and all the brunch was eaten. // One-pan pasta is all I plan to eat this winter, just fyi // getting rustic with air-dried herbs // fries dipped in¬†mussel broth in between sips of ros√© DEAR SUMMER PLS DON’T LEAVE ME // rustic life pt. 2 with a gingery plum galette (or is it a crostata?)..recipe coming soon // enjoying the rain and these bad boys from under a blanket in my pjs, jealous??

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Musing

lately//august 2015

The days are getting shorter, the stores are starting to put out orange displays. It’s getting¬†real. Summer will not in fact last forever. But I’m refusing to think about it by continuing to look at pictures of all the festive warm-weather things I’ve done recently.

Let’s see what other parts of the blogosphere are doing in this final lazy hazy crazy days of summer. (Bonus points if anyone gets this reference!)

Grapefruit + mint-grape cooler with crushed mint on Dolly and Oatmeal

Pickled vegetables and Denmark and figs (oh my!) from Renée Kemps

Praise the end of summer corn with spelt berries and seared tofu on Faring Well

Watermelon Tomato Mentsuyu Salad from Le Jus D’Orange

The prettiest picnic and potato salad at Green Kitchen Stories

Straight-Up Peach Pie from Apt. 2B Baking Co.¬†because we really don’t need anything more than that.

augustlately11

this one-ingredient ice cream is b-a-n-a-n-a-s //¬†remember my Tahini Date Shake? It was voted a Community Pick on Food52 hooraaay! // the most gourmet lunch (note the illicit beers,) enjoyed beachside // post-run breakfast cookies and plants, summer is pretty chill // finished all the ros√© whilst crashing my parents’ date night at a hip mtc spot heyo // drank for free and got to chat¬†with the curators of the China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition at the Met rooftop bar,¬†and by chat I mean I basically did this all night. I’m so good at networking!!!¬†// if you can, go see this show. Don’t let the glitterati’s questionable¬†interpretation of Chinese¬†fashion deter you //¬†Really though // Asbury Park killin it, even when¬†like eight seconds after I took this picture it started to sun-rain // drinking beers on a roof and sharing¬†a pretzel that tastes like butter with someone I like was¬†not too shabby, just fyi // Superiority Burger is aptly named // VERY aptly named // changing up my nightly glass of bourbon by smashing up a bunch a figs and honey and boyyyy was it worth it

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Musing

lately//july

Welcome to the July lately post! But wait, isn’t it August? Like, well into August? Why yes, yes, it is. But this is still happening because July was a still a month that happened and I have pictures to share. I’ll be better with this month’s, I promise. So you enjoy these while I go make cookies (or blondies???) and then eat brunch at a new hip and trendy spot in town and THEN drink a lot of beer at an end-of-summer barbeque because this is apparently beer weekend (and I am not mad about it.)¬†Happy Sunday~

 

drinking all the bourbon cocktails at Maysville // brunching until I can brunch no more // being a professional (aka bugging the shit out of my guests) at aforementioned brunch // Nitro coffee making the fashion camp day zoOOooOOOOooom on by // my parents have started referring to¬†my pre-dinner food photography as what we do instead of saying grace and I think they’re making fun of me // took apart a computer at art camp, sliced myself, and then got a tetanus shot, my life is g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s // fashion show, fashion show, fashion show // celebrating Negroni Wednesday because I have decided it is a thing (this actually happened in August but I won’t tell if you won’t!!)

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Musing, Outside Eats

a weekend in the catskills

I¬†spent a truly rad¬†Fourth of July weekend (man, does that feel like ages ago to anyone else??) in the Catskills¬†at my friend Sarah’s house. I used to go up all the time when I was younger, but I hadn’t been in years, so this was such a treat! There’s no cell service in most of the area, but you barely miss it. Honestly we probably wouldn’t have¬†had a lot of really great conversations were we just constantly checking Snapchat. Mostly we¬†spent the entire time eating or planning what we would eat next, which is pretty much¬†a dream come true for me. On our first day we got there just in time to hang out in the warm sun at Little Pond¬†for a few hours, which brought back all the memories of being 7 years old and trying to canoe. Later, we made my take on Deb‘s shakshuka¬†for dinner. It’s one of my favorite on-vacation-but-still-cooking-for-oneself meals, make it yourself next time you’re in that boat! Don’t let ANYONE convince you to be grossed out by the concept of eggs poached in tomato sauce. I can assure you that they’re wrong. It’s delicious. There was also a whole darn lot¬†of watermelon, arugula, and feta salad involved in our feast.

It was overcast and chilly for most of the Fourth, so we abandoned our plans to run and made a giant red white and blue breakfast (blueberry raspberry pancakes.) We drove to¬†Andes¬†for the afternoon, which is probably about ten blog posts away from¬†becoming the next hipster getaway spot. You heard it here first, book your Airbnb’s now everybody! Andes does in fact have cell service *and wi-fi* which is good, because I dare you not to want to Instagram everything at all the adorable shops and eateries, including my personal favorites, Clementine Vintage¬†and Two Old Tarts, where we tried on all the clothes and then devoured vegetarian chili and flatbread pizza. We then hit up Livingston Manor¬†to go grocery shopping and to check out an art exhibit where Sarah’s mom Carol was showing some of her gorgeous ceramics. Sadly, we weren’t able to visit the Catskill Brewery because they closed early for the holiday, but let’s be real, this is just another reason to visit again! We made tacos for dinner (Sarah’s friend Lauren made some slammin’ guacamole and we sipped on amazing frozen lime drinks.) And as if we hadn’t eaten enough, we ended the day with an appropriately patriotic¬†custard pie. A really nice weekend, and a perfect way to celebrate summer!

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Musing

lately//june

Many calendar appointments were going off on my phone this morning when I woke up. And squashed between “add more lime juice to the cabbage slaw,” and “run BEFORE 11am” there was “JULY 1 LATELY POST.” Cue all the feelings. It’s July?! How? When??!!?¬†Summer is actually in full swing now and I’m really not sure how I feel about this. It’s zooming by! But I won’t be moving back somewhere familiar or to someplace new come September.¬†What’s that life going to be like? We shall see, I suppose. I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned how weird I find all this in every single post for the past few months, but hey yknow what this is my blog and I’ll complain muse if I want to OKAY. And now the “srsly you better not be watching Friends instead of running rn” alarm is going off so I should probably go find my shorts. I’ve got to get out while I still can because tonight I will have a yard full of hungry friends over to eat and drink many things. And in order for that to happen successfully I actually have to cook those many things. Stay tuned for pictures of that, but in the meantime here are some fun things happening in the food blogosphere and then you can look at¬†some pictures of that Jersey life:

Roasted blackberry and thyme ice cream got me like

I just want to be Laura Wright‘s roommate so I can eat like this all the time

Fried chicken club > book club

I love love love the zippy colors and lightning bolts and boldfaced fonts of The Sugar Hit, but I really got into the styling of this one, probably because I have a weakness for vintage things

Ashlae got married!! And from all the Instagram stalking I did, it looked so unbelievably beautiful. Can someone I know plz can married somewhere like this, I’ll make your wedding cake.

As if Molly Yeh couldn’t get any cuter, she now owns a million chicks, and they’re all named Macaroni. Too freakin presh.

happy beginning of July everyone! be sure to eat all the red white and blue foods this weekend~~

had the most photogenic (and pretty darn tasty) lunch at CHALAIT¬†// me looking like an overheated vampire on the roof¬†of the new Whitney museum, which looks so hip and beautiful I basically wanted to move in // 5 dozen compost cookies, made at 7 am. What do you do on the weekend?? // grilled pizza takes about six seconds to make and I rubbed roasted garlic and goat cheese all over it and Emily makes a lovely hand model, donchya think? // my dad is so into reliving his youth on this record player. But in other news, he has a reallly rad classic rock collection on vinyl // 2 gallons of pineapple salsa¬†because it’s summer and there’s a food party happening here in t-minus 11 hours // make a Pimms Cup tonight. Even if you’ve never heard of it. They’re delicious

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Musing

lately//may

It’s official: I’m a college graduate! How did this happen??! Seriously, I have no idea. It all happened so quickly I barely had time to blink. End of classes, finals, senior week, commencement. And now it’s all over and I’m back in Jersey, which is for some reason about 30 degrees colder than New England? Very weird, as it was basically summer in Massachusetts for the past two weeks. There was¬†quite literally¬†nothing to do except drink beers outside and order truffle fries at my favorite bar and wear crop tops (let’s pretend I don’t already do that every day mmmk?)¬†Sounds just terrible, I know. That should explain the lack of recipe posting here of late…when there’s nothing in the fridge except brussels sprouts and yogurt one should really just not bother with their food blog and go out for dinner. Or have drinks for dinner. But never fear, I’ll be getting back into blogging¬†very soon now that I’m in a normal day-to-day living situation. But first I have to deal with the literal mountain of crap I had in my apartment that is now piled up in my room. Clothes, kitchen equipment, wall hangings, trinkets.¬†A full duffle bag of shoes. Ugh ugh ugh. Unpacking might be my least favorite task¬†ever, someone helppppp me. I’ll make a baked good + cocktail of choice for the first three volunteers. 100% not joking, I’m accepting applications starting right now.

in the meantime, here are a few shots from the past month..if you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen a lot of ’em ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į

all I’ve been eating for the past three weeks is cheese, but yolo as the kids say, amirite?/ the view from the best roof in Northampton, as long as one avoids the dive bombing bees/ my apartmate and I after¬†joining the Cult of Smith celebrating Ivy Day/ the best art at a festival that happened on a gun range(?!)¬†in middle of nowhere Massachusetts..it was real food with lights shoved up inside it oooOoooOoh/ had to take a picture of the Scorpio moon because even though it may be a racket I like my spooky horoscope sign/ took the dustiest walk through a bunch of farmland to visit a rope swing at the Connecticut river..I really should’ve taken a picture of my feet to convey exactly how dusty this walk was/¬†I won the snazziest ice cream scoop from Food52, so everyone come over for ice cream asap/ as previously mentioned, I’ve been eating a lot of cheese recently, but one time my friends and I were grownups and added crackers and wine

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