I dig pancakes. Even when they aren’t pumpkin flavored or shaped like Yoda’s head, they are a breakfast treat to get excited about. This is not simply because they often serve as a vehicle for two of my favorite items: butter and maple syrup, the real deal stuff, you know, from trees – it’s because pancakes are different. They don’t just make your kitchen smell like mornings or brinner. They make people smile. And if they’re sorta small, they make you feel like a kid again back when you ordered the Silver Five off the kids’ menu at IHOP. Besides, when they’re aren’t huge you can eat more of them, and more pancakes are always a good thing. Always.
Sometimes you need a simple cake. Sometimes you need a simple cake that looks impressive (So impressive, your adoring fans gobble it up before you can take a picture of the whole thing). Enter the upside-down cake. Specifically this upside down cake. I think you ought to make this cake. It’s simple, like I said, and stylish, too. Heck, tell people that it’s healthy. There’s a whole two pears in it. But wait – there’s more: how delightfully springy it is, the wonderful texture from the polenta, and the perfect subtle sweetness of those pears. Like I said, I think you ought to make this cake. It’ll get you right side up again.
These scones go fast. I don’t just mean the making of them either. I mean the impressive consumption of them that occurred at about light speed. They were inhaled. By me. By my roommates. Not by anyone else though – there was no sharing of these glorious breakfast bites. Someone would have had to stage a pretty impressive sneak attack to get their hands on some of those scones. It’s certainly not surprising that we ate them all, or that no interloper got a hold of them. Why? Because they have bacon in them, obviously. And I would probably defend bacon foodstuffs with my very life or least a skillet. But you know what else they have? Cheese – and not just any cheese mind you. Gruyere. It’s Swiss and awesome. It keeps these scones from being anything but neutral. We should know. This isn’t our first Swiss cheese filled bacony rodeo.
Apologies. I have been on a serious pumpkin kick. And even though there may or may not be a pumpkin shortage on, it did not stop me from grabbing up cans of pumpkin at the store greedily and then putting it in these pancakes. You are probably sitting at your computer yawning as I suggest you make yet another pumpkin item. Oh great, now I’m yawning. It’s contagious you know. These pancakes, though, are anything but a yawn. I mean they are pretty orange. They are totally worth the urge to hoard canned pumpkin and wake up early in the bright sunshine to make them for the people who dig you and your pancakes (also known as your pumpkin hungry significant other or your family). Trust me, they’ll thank you.
Apparently, I have a desire to deprive you, dear reader, of delicious chocolate cake. This is a bad habit I am attempting to rectify post haste. You see, I made this cake, um, ages ago. By which I mean, of course, summer. I was home, basking in the glory of my parents’ fully stocked kitchen and abundant Texas sunshine, and I made this cake. Then I ate it. Well, my dad helped. It was good and chocolatey and – well, suffice it say that it went pretty fast. Despite its tastiness, I kept this recipe from you, swathed in mystery for months. Well, NO MORE! I reveal to you at last:
This banana bread was sort of a process. Not that the actual making of it was long and drawn out. It was more the hoarding of super ripe, extra mushy bananas that became somewhat harrowing. First we only had four – but needed five – so we cleverly outwitted nature and jammed them in our freezer. Unfortunately, our freezer has the surprising and unpleasant habit of ejecting its contents or not closing all the way or opening every time you close the fridge. It does this last bit so sneakily that I got a nice whack to my occipital lobes the other day when I was putting away groceries. It was, to say the least, unpleasant. At last we procured the fifth banana, and promptly stuck that in the freezer, too, because it was the middle of the week, and we were far too busy for tasty banana bread. But the weekend arrived, the freezer was relieved of its frozen tropical contents, and a warm, cinnamony bread was whipped up in no time.
Guinness is good for you. Seriously. It contains a lot of awesome. I have been told you can subsist on Guinness and orange juice alone, though I wouldn’t recommend it. What I would recommend, however, is putting it in chocolate things. Any and all chocolate things. Chocolate milkshakes, chocolate cake, and especially chocolate pudding. You will not regret it. More likely you will prance about, pudding cup in hand, exclaiming “My Goodness, My Guinness!” or perhaps “Kiss Me – I have IRISH PUDDING!” You might even be so moved by this pudding that you burst into song. So make this pudding. You have more than enough time to prepare it just for International Stout Day. It’s delicious. Trust me, I’m Irish. If you don’t believe me, well, you know where to find the proof.
Because we had leftover pumpkin from our adventures in coffeecake. Because it’s Halloween. Because my mom sent me these wackadoo toothpicks with monsters on them, along with enough Halloween themed items for a legit tablescape, Sandra Lee style. So we celebrated the holiday, a little early, with a Halloween feast. These tasty little numbers will make your day. Especially if your day was filled with bizarre wet snow that appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Is it winter? Wait, did fall happen? Even if you missed autumn, which you haven’t according to the calendar, you can make it yourself. With these cupcakes. These warm, friendly cupcakes.
Sometimes you know when it’s going to be a good day. Blue sky. Scarf weather. Spring in your step. Smile on your face. A stranger waves at you cheerfully from the window of his vintage teal Chevy pickup truck as you set out for your morning jog. You wave back. Good days beg for good food and an apartment filled with the warm cuddly scent of cinnamon and brown sugar. This cake can make your good day better. It could probably make a bad day good. It’s warm and soft and filled with spices with just a hint of pumpkin to round it out.
I’ve been holding out on you. You see, I’ve made this cake before. I know, not a big deal. But you know what is a big deal. A few weeks ago, me and the lady who told me all about this cake were in the same room together. For a WHOLE HOUR. Yes, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen stood on the third floor of the West 14th St. Apple store and radiated the most beautiful tales of warm kitchen loveliness at me and a fellow admirer from my apartment. Because these few words can’t really describe the intense escalation my fondness for her that occurred as I listened to her tell me how and why she wanted to share the best of her kitchen with the universe, I decided to make this cake. Twice. You should make it, too. Because it’s warm, delicious, chocolate, and it leaves you a bottle of wine.