Thinking of you
I’ve been thinking about you all. I think about you when I bite into a cake so perfectly tender and dense with spice. I think of you when I artfully draw a salmon on my puff pastry with a paring knife and I think of you when I fry fresh caught squid to a delicate crisp then not so delicately submerge it into a pepperoncini aioli.
I also think of you when my heart flutters while reading about Tom Hanks and watching the trailer with him as Mr. Rogers for the 1,249th time. I’m thinking of you while doing a deep dive into mindfulness and thinking about how we all could benefit from the continuous reminder to put everything into perspective.
All of that to say, I think of you all so often. More often than I share here or even on my Instagram. Just as I’m trying to work on actually expressing the thoughts and words of affirmation to the people in my life as I think of them I thought I would like to do the same of you. Because I think of you often and appreciate you so very much.
- This is the pumpkin cake of my dreams. I know I just shared a pumpkin cake. One can never have too many recipes for such a classic cake. Just after I shared mine I read about Tartine’s version which uses 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I was skeptical but the glowing reviews calmed my fears and now it’s my go-to. Heavy with brown sugar and pepitas on top.
- Last night I made salmon pot pie for the first time using this recipe from Food & Wine as my starting point. We have a pescatarian in the family so I skipped the bacon and added miso and Worcestershire to add depth.
- This is that lovely Tom Hanks article in the New York Times that I loved so very much. I’m so moved by his gentle kindness that seems to accompany everything he does. I aspire to be so thoughtful.
- Speaking of puff pastry (it’s on my mind from that pot pie I mentioned) this simple pear tart (from my latest book) is my absolute favorite dessert this time of year (maybe even more so than pumpkin pie) and the recipe can be found over at Woman’s Day.
- Things in my kitchen have taken a more practical spin as of late. I’ve been busy working on a project and have also felt more and more inclined to do more with what we have. We can easily waste a good bit of food when I’m deep in the swing of recipe development and right now I’m trying to cook down our fridge and pantry before doing more shopping. This often means we’re cooking pantry heavy meals like curried lentils or simple pastas.
- This summer we spent so much time outside and we’re trying to do the same while we still have a bit of sunshine this fall. We’re working on putting together some more adventures with Kitchen Unnecessary and having adventures on our own like squid fishing in downtown Seattle. Seriously, it’s a thing.
- I’ve been reading a lot and am so inspired by these books:
More soon because I’m thinking of you. But not in a creepy way.
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
* This post was created in partnership with California Olive Ranch. We’ve been working together this year to bring you some special recipes that highlight this beautiful olive oil. I’ve been using their olive oil for years now because they produce a high quality oil for an everyday price. Cooking is what grounds me, which is why I make sure to work with ingredients that offer consistent quality and delicious taste. Olive oil is the basis of so many dishes, sweet and savory, and California Olive Ranch allows my food to shine.
I stare at the computer screen practically paralyzed by the mounting list of to-do’s. Ivy’s half-finished Halloween costume sits dormant in the corner, a few dishes from last night’s dinner linger on the table, and dinner tonight? There are no plans yet.
In this moment I put the computer down, bound into the kitchen and set the oven to 350°F. The fridge is bare but the pantry provides everything I need to create something out of seemingly nothing. Raw ingredients; those that linger in the cupboard for moments such as this, they are humble, not much on their own but when combined with a few of their pantry neighbors they are comfort and warmth. Delight and joy and honestly, they become therapy.
It’s the process that is the healer. Instantly I’m out of my head with the racing thoughts of “not enoughs”. Not enough time in the day, not good enough, not fast enough, not helpful enough … and I focus on the fragrance of nutmeg as it slips across the microplane leaving behind flecks of spice. I marvel, if just for a moment, at the intricate pattern that’s revealed once the dull exterior is shaved away. Fresh ginger drips down my finger and releases a powerful perfume while it’s whisked into pumpkin purée. And fragrant olive oil, grassy with a bright pepper bite slowly dribbles in before dry goes into wet and then it all goes into the pan before hitting the hot oven. I return to the computer screen having accomplished something. It wasn’t on the to do list but I stepped into the present, into the process just long enough to regain right perspective.
I created something. Something that scented the house with spice and Fall, something that will wrap the kids in warmth when they walk through the front door and something that pulled me out of myself long to remember that everything will be okay.
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from BonAppetit.com
This simple recipe is everything I want in a quick baking, snack cake. I love a loaf cake that uses oil as the fat as it produces and tender crumb and here we use olive oil for texture and it adds a wonderful fragrant flavor as well. It also keeps the bread super moist (better than butter!) and add healthy fats with a world of benefits.
I’ve added a couple of handfuls of bittersweet chocolate to this loaf which is also lovely.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin pureé
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup California Olive Ranch Destination Series Everyday olive oil
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Line bottom of pan with parchment, leaving a generous overhang on both long sides.
Whisk flour, cinnamon, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg, in a medium bowl.
Whisk eggs, pumpkin purée, ginger, and 1½ cups sugar in a large bowl.
Stream in oil, whisking continuously until well combined.
Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until completely combined, but take care not to overmix. (If you want to add chocolate stir it in now).
Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan then top with the pumpkin seeds and brown sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, about 60 - 70 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes until unmolding and cooling the loaf completely on a wire rack.