Back when we lived in Chicago we were introduced to the idea of “Cheese Foam” as a topping on milk and bubble teas. This trend originated in Taiwan, working its way through Asia, and to the US and beyond. When we first heard the term “cheese tea” we were a little bit taken aback. How could that be good? But it turns out, the cheese in question is cream cheese, and it tastes great a topping for milky teas. This same topping goes under a myriad of names at different tea shops: Milk Cap, Cheese Cap, Milk Foam, Milk Mustache, Cheese foam, etc. Now in lockdown, we are unable to obtain this tasty treat, so we have resorted to making our own. We scored the internet for recipes, and used this recipe from 3than Wong as a starting point, but with our own modifications. It really isn’t hard! We especially like this for topping chilled black milk tea, earl gray tea or matcha.
Cheese Foam (makes enough for 4 modest toppings or 2 giant servings)
- 4 oz cream cheese (Plain only! Do not get flavored or light varieties)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
- Pinch of sea salt (to taste)
Cut cream cheese into pieces and whip with sugar in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Once this is blended add in the whipping cream and beat until medium peaks form. Next, add the milk in to thin the mixture a bit, and continue to whip. Finish by adding the sea salt to the mixture and gently folding it in with a spatula. The consistency should be like a pourable Cool Whip/whipped cream. Add as much as you would like to the top of your filled tea cup/glass, and there you go! This can be served over hot or iced drinks, though we prefer iced, since the foam tends to “melt” quickly in hot drinks.
M’s request for the pie of the month was a Lemon Shaker Pie (aka Ohio Shaker Pie). We live in Ohio now and this custard pie with slices of whole lemons is something of a regional specialty. However, once we added a picture of our pie to our Instagram we got a lot of bewildered comments. Turns out, most people had never heard of this type of pie! One unusual part of this recipe is that it is attributed to the near-extinct fringe religious sect, The Shakers. Another is that it uses whole lemons – rinds and all. According to legend, the Shakers were prolific pie-makers and gardeners, and could make almost any kind of fruit grow in Ohio, except lemons, which were the first fruit they had to purchase. Being famously frugal, the Shakers then made sure to use literally the entire lemon for their pies. That still doesn’t really answer why this version, above all of the Shakers’ pies, now persists, but indeed it does. Cut to 2020, when this old-fashioned pie is now only really found in Ohio, or in home cooks’ kitchens.
We enjoyed the version we made, using the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for filling, and Smitten Kitchen’s Ultra flaky all-butter crust. We sliced organic lemons extra-thin on a mandolin for the pie and let them sit with sugar for over 24 hours to remove some of the bitterness. According to the Joy of Cooking, the longer, the better. This still produced a super-tangy pie (which we like), so if that is not your cup of tea, we imagine that this pie would also be great with Meyer lemons, as some more modern recipes call for. Or if you want to go old school, check out this vintage recipe from a former Shaker community in Kentucky.
Things have been a bit quiet here, because we have recently moved, and we are going to Australia in a few days! We are excited to experience several different cities in Australia, from the cosmopolitan restaurant scene in Sydney to the night markets of Darwin. Leading up to our trip, we have been trying to learn more about Australian food (we do know that they love savory pies)! While in Sydney, we are excited to try Din Tai Fung, and all the laksa (Malaysian noodle curry, pictured below) we can eat. We are also reading up on the latest directions in Australian food, and what makes Australian food Australian. See you in August!
Chicken Laksa at MaMa Laksa House in The Grace Hotel, Sydney by Stilgherrian
Filed under News, Recipes
It’s always intriguing to find out about celebrities’ secret recipes. Well of course they probably eat (or ate) like we do, but it is sort of charming to think of them actually cooking for themselves or friends. Such is the case with Katherine Hepburn, who apparently made a mean batch of brownies. This recipe was published first by the New York Times after her death in 2003, and purportedly makes a delightful, fudgy brownie. Looking at the recipe, it seems like this chocolaty dessert might be perfect for Valentine’s Day. And if you are looking for a perfect Valentine’s movie pairing, I also recommend one of my favorite Hepburn romantic comedies (which also just happens to star Cary Grant) 1938’s Holiday (seen above).
We love Indian food, though to be honest we do not make it as often as some other cuisines. However, that is something we are looking to change! We recently came across a recommendation to check out Manjula’s Kitchen for demystified Indian recipes. Manjula makes awesome, easy-to-follow recipe videos, using appliances and ingredients typical to an American kitchen (though of course you will need some special ingredients). Did you know that you could make a naan on a pizza stone if you do not have a tandoor oven? Now we do. Check out Manjula’s super simple recipe for naan below. We can’t decide what to try next – her YouTube channel is a treasure trove of recipes.
Filed under Recipes, video
Who doesn’t love flourless chocolate cake? We certainly love it, and apparently the Swedish do as well. One of the more popular cakes in Sweden is Kladdkaka, which basically translates to “sticky/gooey chocolate cake.” The recipes for this cake seemed too easy NOT to try, and were uniformly beautiful, so on a whim we decided to whip up our first Kladdkaka last night. The cake we made really was a dream – that is, if you like chocolate (don’t talk to us if you don’t). We followed the Kladdkaka recipe on Call me Cupcake (as pictured above), which is flourless and gluten free, but other Kladdkaka recipes sometimes incorporate some flour, too. You probably already have all of the necessary ingredients in your fridge/pantry, so there is no excuse not to make this cake!
David Bowie (1947 – 2016) was a brilliant tastemaker for decades in the world of Fashion, Music and Art (and their intersections), but it turns out his tastes for food were a little more traditional. Bowie’s favorite dish of all time was reported as a simple English Shepherd’s Pie, which his wife Iman would often whip up for the singer. Food and Wine has a series of recipes to choose from, so why not make a Shepard’s Pie in honor of Bowie this week?
Filed under Links, News, Recipes
Pan de Muerto!
We don’t have any Mexican bakeries near us anymore, unfortunately, so we have to turn to making our own treats for Dia de los Muertos. Key among these is the sweet Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), with its signature crossed bone pattern and flavors of anise and orange blossom water. Today is All Souls’ Day so there is still time to enjoy this bread – but really – why not make it all year long? Bon Appetit has a new recipe for Pan de Muerto that begs that exact question (plus an instructional video on how to shape the bread). It’s not too late, why not give it a try?
There is nothing better than a pastry and some coffee in the morning – especially freshly made sticky buns! We have been getting more into Venezuelan food recently – and we were delighted to learn about a Venezuelan take on the sticky bun that even includes fresh cheese and a touch of anise flavor – the golfeado. Golfeados are native to the capital city of Venezuela, Caracas, where they are typically topped with a slice of queso de mano cheese. If you know how to make sticky buns you pretty much know how to make golfeados – and if you don’t – it’s not that hard to learn. This version from Miami employs piloncillo, which is called papelón in Venezuela, though versions with cinnamon are common, too. We might try to make some for brunch this weekend to combat the gloomy weather blues.
We have to share an awesome blog we came across recently, Paper Plates, which features two of our favorite things: food and books. Written by Chicago-based journalist, Amina Elahi, Paper Pates features recipes inspired by literature (new and old). We are impressed by the breadth of the books featured, the thoughtful reviews and – of course – the sumptuous recipes. We are looking forward to making the stuffed bread inspired by Junot Díaz’ “This is How You Lose Her.”
Filed under Links, Recipes
Happy World Nutella Day! We have written about several Nutella-concept shops throughout the world, and in honor of Nutella Day we wanted to do a little update on a few of these locations. We are sad to report that the Nutellerias in Germany and Bologna may have closed, while there is a new Nutelleria location in Leiria, Portugal. Additionally, the Nutella concept store in NYC, which we first reported on in Fall 2014, now named Nuteria, has opened one location, and will soon open another [update: they are also being sued by Nutella’s parent company…]. If you are in the mood for some Nutella closer to home, there are certainly a lot of great recipes to tempt you, including these salted dark chocolate Nutella sandwich cookies from Faux Martha (pictured above). Nutella in both the cookie and the filling – seems pretty appropriate for Nutella Day. Or how about a Nutella babka?
Filed under Note, Recipes
2014 is rapidly coming to a close, which means its time to reflect on the year gone by, drink some champagne and make some holiday food. One of the traditional Christmas season and New Year’s foods in Quebec is the Tourtière, a meat pie that is emblematic of Quebecois, and Canadian, cuisine. Tourtière has been around since the 1600s, and usually consists of ground pork in a pastry crust. The dish has since spread south into New England and into Louisiana with the Acadian communities, where the pie has been adapted over time to suit new locations and tastes. NPR’s the Salt has a brief history and a recipe and Chatelaine has updated the recipe with a new shape.
Need an alternative holiday drink to eggnog or glögg? How about Sorrel, a spiced hibiscus drink from Jamaica, especially popular at Christmas? Sorrel, as it is called in Jamaica, is very similar to the drink called Jamaica, popular in Mexico. Confused yet? No worries, it’s easy enough to make. To make some proper sorrel you need hibiscus flowers, simmered with some sugar, ginger, pimento berries and spices (and maybe rum). I think we will make up a batch for New Year’s Eve!
Hanukkah starts tomorrow – so it’s about time to start prepping some holiday treats. One Hanukkah treat we detailed in years’ past was sufganiyot, the Israeli jelly doughnut associated with Hanukkah. However this year we can do one better – how about a huge sufganiyot cake? Food 52 has an inspired recipe for the sweet Hanukkah treat that’s perfect for sharing with the whole family.
Sufganiyot cake by Food 52
Thanksgiving is right around the corner in the US. Have you done your last minute planning and grocery shopping? We haven’t! There’s still time though, and plenty of inspiration out there for some tasty dishes. Though the traditional thanksgiving dinner is usually centered on turkey, you can really go outside the box, especially with sides. The New York Times recently posted a list of recipes, one for each state, inspired by local tastes and ingredients (purportedly). Some of the choices are pretty obvious like venison for Montana, through other choices have attracted some ridicule, like grape salad for Minnesota, which earned a slew of counter-articles. While the selection for pumpkin soup for Illinois is okay, we are personally eyeing the lobster mac n cheese from Maine. Annie’s Eats has a lovely recipe, pictured below, for another lobster mac option. Mac and Cheese itself is pretty all-American, given that its predecessor was first brought to the US by Thomas Jefferson. What do you think about the recipe choice for your state?
If you watched Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel you probably marveled at the extravagant (and significant to the plot) pastries produced by the fictional bakery, Mendl’s. However, even though the bakery is fictional, the pastries are not. This video, done in the the style of the movie, gives you a step-by-step of how to make Mendl’s signature dessert, the three-tiered “Courtesan Au Chocolat” (transcript of the video here). L.V. Anderson at Slate even gave the recipe a spin in real life.
Day of the Dead / Dia de Los Muertos always calls to mind the Mexican State of Oaxaca, where the traditions around the holiday are the strongest and most vibrant. The zocolo, or town square, in Oaxaca City is a festive celebration for weeks in advance, and the city’s main cemetery, Xoxocotlan, overflows with locals and visitors from October 31st to November 2nd. Oaxaca is known particularly for its cuisine, which we got of taste of first hand on our visit this summer. Epicurious has a nice menu of Oaxacan favorites including tamales and preserved pumpkin from Zarela Martínez that are perfect for Dia de Los Muertos. And if you really want to go all out, here is recipe for Mole Rojo made by Josefina Ruiz Vazquez in the Oaxacan town of Teotitlan del Valle. Complicated (and delicious) moles such as this are normally saved for special occasions like Dia de Los Muertos.
Food on a Dia de Los Muertos Altar in Oaxaca by Jen Wilton
Pumpkin spice lattes may get all the press this time of year, but pumpkins are also a major ingredient in Mexican recipes for Dia de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead. These pumpkin dishes may be either savory and sweet, and can be almost any part of the menu. If you are looking for some pumpkin flavor for Dia de Los Muertos (though of course you don’t have to stop at pumpkin), here are some great options:
One of the traditional desserts for Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey, symbolic of sweetness for the coming year. Why not take it one step further with a tasty apple and honey cake popular across Central Europe, Versunkener Apfelkuchen, “sunken apple cake” in German. Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for sunken apple cake, with apples literally sunk into the batter, for a pretty showstopping presentation.
Within the past week, we have come across references to Povitica at least three times, which seems like quite a lot given the fact that until now we had NEVER heard of it at all. Povitica (aka Potica) is a sweet yeasted bread, rolled with fillings like sugar, poppyseeds, nuts and sometimes chocolate. You can see this especially when you get a swirly slice/cross-section of Povitica. It also known in the US simply, a perhaps a little boringly, as “nut roll.” The name Povitica comes from a Slovenian word, poviti, meaning “to wrap in,” though the bread or similar varieties are found throughout Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Croatia and Slovenia. Brownie Bites has a recipe for nutty Povitica, and Serious Eats has a recipe for Chocolate and Walnut Povitica, which seems especially delicious.