Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sugar Cube ... Revisited

The Sugar Cube

We are back! After four days of eating our way through Portland ... we are home!! And, as usual Portland never ceases to amaze me. Coffees were enjoyed, meals were eaten, friends were seen, and new places were discovered!!

Now, if someone asked me to pick my all time favorite place to indulge in Portland ... some might think I would have a tough time ... HOWEVER ... there is a food cart that simply has my heart, or rather my stomach ... THE SUGAR CUBE.

If you are visiting Portland and want one place that captures the essence of Portland, in my opinion it would be The Sugar Cube. The desserts are rich, heavenly, and so unique. I swear I can taste the passion and love that Kir puts into her desserts. This past weekend we happened to be celebrating my good friend Monica's birthday, so it was only natural to make a dessert stop at The Sugar Cube. We had Kir pick her four favorite desserts and we were nothing but delighted. All four of the desserts were to die for. The chocolate caramel potato chip cupcake was sweet and salty ... my ultimate kind of dessert, and the chocolate plum stout cake was enjoyed in complete silence ... it was that gooood.

So, if there is one place you must go in Portland ... forget going to a restaurant or coffee shop, look no further, because The Sugar Cube will have you coming back for MORE. The desserts are in fact really Made With Love! Thanks Kir for all of the amazing treats!! If you live in Portland or frequently visit, where is your favorite place to go ... a place that keeps you coming back for more?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

apple pie

when you pick apples ... make pie

One of my favorite things to do in October is to go apple picking, as there is nothing like a freshly picked apple. When I was younger my siblings and I would go apple picking when visiting our Nana. The hay rides, fresh apple cider, and apple picking are things I still vividly remember. Apple pie, on the other hand, I could not understand. For example, during Thanksgiving I would bypass the apple pie and stick to pecan pie. I could never figure out what the fuss was about ... until ... I stumbled upon golden delicious apples. Have you had one? And have you made an apple pie with them? Ok, I will be honest, last year I overheard someone saying that the best apple pies are made with golden delicious apples and this person was a fairly accredited source, as his pie won in the annual harvest festival. So, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I had to try and make an apple pie with golden delicious apples.  

This past weekend we went apple picking with our friends Daniel and Monica. We made a day of it and went hiking in the morning, had lunch at Marin Sun Farms, and spent the rest of the afternoon apple picking. We wasted no time picking golden delicious and fuji apples. I was a little anxious to dabble with making my own apple pie as I had heard horror stories that the crust to a good apple pie is key and tricky. Luckily, I found a great recipe, pulsed my ingredients in a food processor, chilled my dough, rolled my dough, and mixed my filling. My filling included: golden delicious apples, brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice, a splash of whole milk, a bit of butter, allspice, and cinnamon. Weaving my lattice crust was the most difficult part, but with practice I can see how one may become addicted to making quilts with dough. Into the oven I put my pie and 50 minutes later I had a light brown, honest to goodness homemade apple pie. Marc and I took our first bites and sat in complete silence. It was then that I realized why so many people love apple pie ... there is nothing quite like it.

So Coeur de La readers, if I can leave you with a bit of advice... make a pie. And if you fail, make another pie and enjoy it for breakfast and dessert.

Monday, October 3, 2011

fig jam.

Figs. I love them. They are sweet, filling, and one of my favorite fruits. As the weather gets colder, I find myself craving fruits and vegetables that leave me feeling warm and full. So ... I went to my local market, picked up six baskets of figs and came home and made fig jam. Being that it was my first time making fig jam I was a bit nervous as to what the outcome would be. But, I should have known that when you mix figs with sugar, honey, and a bit of lemon juice, the results are perfection. I found a jam recipe that called for 1/4 cup of honey which brought out the best flavors of the figs.

So there I was in my kitchen, removing fig stems, watching figs simmer in my jam pot with honey and sugar, and then spooning fig jam into mason jars on a crisp Fall afternoon. I was so excited that I popped open a jar and ate spoonful after spoonful of fig jam as I could not wait till the jars cooled. My snack that afternoon involved a crusty piece of sourdough bread with warm chevre and a thick layer of fig jam. The combination of figs and chevre is one of my all time favorites and I highly recommend you try it.

Toast with fig jam and goat cheese ... simple and filling
toast your favorite type of bread ... I recommend using sliced sourdough
remove from toaster and while still warm spread a layer of goat cheese on one side of your toast
next, spread several spoonfuls of fig jam onto your toast
And, repeat again!