This December I have been baking my way through Christina Tosi’s All About Cake cookbook. I first discovered Christina Tosi’s cake magic on Netflix in the dessert season (Vol. 4) of The Chef’s Table. Then when I was in Washington, DC my buddy Carole went with me to try her new Milk Bar (see earlier post). Carole gifted me the cookbook for my birthday. I sat down immediately upon opening the package and saw about a dozen recipes I wanted to try. Starting with the pistachio bundt cake above. Yes it really is Shrek green. It’s also uses about $20 worth of pistachios!
Next was the apple cider donut crock pot pudding. It required a slight substitution of delicious cinnamon sugar donuts from Marie’s Do-Nuts (Sacramento, CA). They have to be “day-old” so buy extra as you there will be some attrition. I shared the finished donut pudding around and everyone found it comforting and delicious. My neighbors and friends are definitely the early beneficiaries of this baking program. I couldn’t possibly eat all of this cake myself.
Any family gathering also provided an opportunity to try another recipe. This is the cherry cola bundt cake that I took to the Pieper Christmas at Auntie J’s. My version came out darker because the cola extract I ordered on Amazon gave everything a dark cola tint. The molasses and half dozen eggs made it rich and dark and yummy.
I nearly wore myself out with the 3 cake sprint over Christmas. I baked 2 cakes on the day before Christmas Eve. Then I made one more cake on Christmas morning to take to a family dinner. Having no elves to clean up or even a dishwasher, I found myself really tired of bundt pan scrubbing.
I also had to run to the grocery store twice–once to buy more butter, and once to buy more eggs. These recipes require a lot of both. Other than a few more exotic ingredients such as lemon extract. I now know how relatively simple it is to make an interesting and delicious cake, and I don’t know why I’d ever use a cake mix again.
My aunt gave me this sort of loaf shaped bundt cake pan that she doesn’t use. It was perfect for the Mint Julep bundt cake. I forgot to dress with mint leaves (still in my crisper drawer). My mom really enjoyed this cake for Jesus’ birthday.
My final cake was the raspberry bundt with grapefruit glaze. I also made homemade whip cream. This cake was a big hit also. The grapefruit glaze offers a little zing. Always the texture of the cakes is dense and delicious.
I’m taking a break now (until 2019) and having fruit for dessert for awhile! There are more recipes I want to try. In the winter when the weather makes it challenging to get outdoors as much for adventure or travel, it can be fun to watch a baking challenge from Britain on television and then try our own hand at a new recipe.
I freely admit that my travel choices are influenced by Netflix shows, especially Chef’s Table. Season 4 the episodes focus on dessert. I somehow missed the hoopla about Christina Tosi’s Milk in New York City. This June she opened a flagship store with lab in Washington, DC.
Carole and I headed there on a hot and muggy day. We didn’t get the cereal milk softserve. Instead we bought a slice of chocolate malt cake, a slice of birthday cake, and some crack pie to share. Sugar shock in the best way!
This store at 1525 15th Street NW near Logan Circle doesn’t have a lot of indoor seating (as in, air conditioned), and there is limited outdoor seating. There are parking spaces though! And they are offering baking classes here.
We browsed her cookbooks and are seriously exploring taking the chocolate malt cake in the near future. Meanwhile I crumbled my remaining crack pie in my oatmeal this morning and it was very, very good.
I have followed professional cycling for decades or since Greg LeMond won his first Tour de France. I have spent much of my precious time and resources as an avid fan in Italy, France, England California and Australia. When the UCI ejected Peter Sagan from the Tour de France last July, my fan heart was broken.
I never thought Lance Armstrong was clean because I saw an interview with Greg LeMond talking about getting dropped by riders who the year before were middling racers. Then he knew the drugs were winning. Lance was up among the elite riders who were winning and they were getting caught doping. My assumption was that he was better at not getting caught. So I left some room for being wrong and cheered Columbia High Road and other riders on. Besides he was a bully, that was clear without a urine sample.
Somehow I survived those wretched years when the press broke a new drug scandal every year. I remember once I was traveling in Africa and spent some time with a German couple. He was a sports writer and the German press had just made a big deal about not televising or covering the Tour de France because of the drugs. I couldn’t understand how you could just stop caring. I was still in the throes of attraction to cycling.
Now I understand. Sometimes the corruption of the officials and the lack of fair play doesn’t just knock the wind out of you, it hits you with such a punch you just don’t give a flying fig anymore. I have huge respect for Peter Sagan. His cycling skills are unparalleled today. And his attitude is super fun and eccentric. He brings excitement to the sport. Oh, and he’s won the world championship 3 years in a row. He was on track to win the green jersey again, when his crash with Mark Cavendish drew the ire of race officials. They didn’t just relegate him for that stage (like they did Mark Cavendish when he had a similar crash back in the day), but ejected him from the race. Later the UCI dropped the disqualification, as if that does anything to erase the stupidity of the first decision.
The rest of the season I followed the Australian team and their excellent videos on social media. Orica Bike Exchange’s Backstage Pass was awesome. I stopped using my NBC Gold Pass to watch races. Still I wondered if I’d go back to feeling good as a fan after a break.
Then I received this email about Peter Sagan’s Fondos in California. Nope. I have a precedence. After many years as a USC football fan, I read about the concussions, then I took my family to a home game and the pre-game videos of greatest “hits” made me sick. Haven’t watched a game since. The Olympics, well who hasn’t lost faith in the Olympics? The latest in scandals is the Russians’ systematic doping. But that has been going my whole life. See the documentary Icarus on Netflix for a refresher.
I am sad to announce my heart break was finally irrevocable. I am a former cycling fan.
I learned about the new waste management facility with the ski slope on the roof from watching the Bjarke Ingels episode of Abstract: the Art of Design on Netflix. He’s a Danish wunderkind architect with a firm BIG. More cool than the rooftop ski run is the technology that takes household waste and makes clean energy. This technology is also used in Sweden. (Why aren’t we doing this in the USA??) You know it’s clean because they just built expensive homes next to it.
P.S. It was exciting to make this connection to an episode of one of my favorite original programs on Netflix:
Oh my gosh. I was prepared for several hours watching Norwegian women in a circle knitting. It is so much more dynamic and fun. If we watched live we could have checked in on facebook (Norge Rundt). It is all super quirky fun. Thank goodness for subtitles. Available for streaming on Netflix.
The television host is Rebecca Nedregotten Strand and her enthusiasm is infectious.She and her crew assembled an interesting variety of knitters and projects–from a group knitting a sweater suit for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a fashion show of traditional and modern knitwear. As she says in the introduction, “A thread can contain so much. All you need is two needles to create warmth, love and care.”
There are instructional videos scattered through the four hours if you want to learn how to cast on and start knitting. The method is continental style, which I’ve always suspected is more efficient than the American style that I learned.
I heard about Slow TV on a podcast about going slower. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I realize as I watch 4 or more hours of cycling in a morning during one of the three grand tours, I am not completely new to the charms of slow television. If you are remotely interested in knitting you’ll find this entertaining. Other episodes feature train trips.
I dare you to not be charmed by the Norwegians sharing their beautiful country and enthusiasm for traditional crafts. As one knitter said if you are wearing mittens you can only give it a thumbs up.
I do not expect many of you to relate to my Tour de France withdrawals on a rest day. You have to be obsessed to find the rest day between stages 9 and 10 a trial. I was distracted by my drive from Roseburg OR to Sacramento, still I got home at 5:30 p.m. and all I had was stage reruns on-line. I wish I had known about the clutch of cycling movies on Netflix. Bicycling magazine just tweeted these five titles.
A couple of them I have watched on Air New Zealand: Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist and Stop at Nothing: the Lance Armstrong Story. They are both intense films that give you a window to the passions that drive a world-class cyclist. Any film about Lance makes me angry. So how do you cleanse?
30 for 30: Slaying the Badger is a documentary focused on Greg LeMond. He is one of my heroes and this focuses on Greg’s relationship with Bernard Hinault (the Badger). One of the other films I have yet to watch: Clean Spirit. I have yet to watch it and the description reminds me of my favorite cycling film, Chasing Legends. Clean Spirit is about the Argos-Shimano (now Giant) team in 2014 Tour de France season and includes Marcel Kittel.
The final film is the most inspiring cycling film yet made: Rising From Ashes. I first learned about this documentary about the Rwandan cycling program after the genocide at Storylines Conference. I ordered the DVD and watched it many times even though my copy skipped. It was my first choice for viewing today. Parts are difficult to look at especially because it is real; however, it is overwhelmingly uplifting. Everyone should watch this film! Plus watching people ride on homemade wooden bikes will make you hug your bike.