I’m glad that I have an extra long weekend to just hang out and relax, because we did a lot in the past few days and I need one day to just hang out on the couch. Right now, though, I’m sitting here, wrapped up in a blanket, waiting for Kramer to wake up so we can have bagels and lox. I guess I can try to get some work done and let him sleep…but if he doesn’t wake up on his own in the next 30 minutes, I’m going in there, because I’m starving and those lox are calling my name. I opened the package that I bought yesterday just to take a peek, and the fish is a beautiful bright pink color; I can’t wait much longer to dive in! My breakfast woes aside, since I have some time while my husband drifts deeper into his much deserved day-off slumber, I suppose I can let you know what we were up to for the past few days. Kramer’s dad, Jay, was in town on Friday and Saturday, so Friday night we met up with him and my sister-in-law, Rachel, for dinner at one of our favorite Italian spots in the city, PT. We ordered a bottle of lovely Chianti, then went to town on fresh bufala mozzarella, stuffed artichokes, mussels in a creamy red sauce, lasagna with bechamel, and a giant pound and a half lobster with spicy pasta. That doesn’t even include all of the bread and olive oil we consumed. Needless to say, we were fat and happy upon leaving, so we walked a bit over to Burnside for a quick beer before calling it a night. We woke up early(ish) on Saturday morning, then headed into downtown Brooklyn for brunch at Seersucker. We don’t typically go into that neighborhood too often, but the food here was phenomenal, and I might even find myself itching to get on the G train in order to get my fill of creamy pimento grits. I also had a hash of sweet potatoes and hominy with a fried egg on top; pure heaven, I’m telling you. I have to get my paws on some hominy, because I am now addicted to it. After a few more cups of coffee, we braved the windy conditions and walked around Brooklyn a bit before heading into the city. We tried to go see the 9/11 memorial, but I didn’t realize you needed to purchase tickets for it (shows how many tourist attractions I find myself in these days), but the new building was breathtaking and we gazed up at it for a bit before walking down to Wall Street and then South Street Seaport. Unfortunately, that area is still completely devastated from the destruction that Sandy caused late last year, so there wasn’t much to see, other than water lines along closed shops that showed how high the waves came in and onto land – the water would have come in well over my head, so it was kind of spooky to see.
My father-in-law, Jay, my sister-in-law, Rachel, and my husband, Kramer.
We found ourselves in a cab on our way to Chelsea Market after that, where I could wander around for hours. I always end up buying some odds and ends when we’re there, and if we had been heading straight back home, I would have bought food, too…oh wait, that’s right, Kramer bought a giant loaf of bread from Amy’s that we carried around with us for the rest of the afternoon, along with my new wet stone and ice cream scoopers. We walked along the High Line to The Standard Beer Garden, where we had beers, cocktails, pretzels, and currywurst with sauerkraut, all of which was just what we needed after walking around aimlessly for a few hours. Jay had to head up to Westchester after our German feast, so we said goodbye, but not for too long, as he’ll be back for Rachel’s graduation in the spring. Kramer and I went home and hung out for a bit (meaning I took a nap on the couch), then went back out to meet Morgan and Hannah to see Side Effects in Williamsburg. It was excellent and I highly recommend going to see it soon. We had tacos at Cariño and drinks at Larry Lawrence before calling it a night, which was good because the next morning I woke up and started baking and cooking up a storm. My kitchen adventures aside (and tidied up, for the most part), we went for broke and headed into Park Slope (more downtown Brooklyn? What’s wrong with us?) to grab dinner at Talde with our friends Joel and JK. I had been wanting to visit Talde for a long time, and it did not disappoint. I had a plum basil margarita that was fantastic, but the beer selection was great, too, although you know the food is why we came. We had pork and chive pretzel dumplings, fish sliders on Hawaiian bread, fried oyster and bacon pad thai, Korean fried chicken, wonton noodle soup, Brussels sprouts in a sambal curry sauce, and a kale salad with cranberries, chestnuts, and a miso dressing. The Brussels sprouts stood out to me the most, as I had never had them made like that and all of the leaves are perfectly caramelized and crispy. The Korean fried chicken was my second favorite, though – you really can’t beat good, crispy fried chicken with a variety of hot sauces in which to dip it. The meal made walking out into the crazy cold wind seem manageable, then we said our goodbyes and headed home to watch The Walking Dead and Girls with a glass of we-don’t-have-work-the-next-day bourbon.
This cake was one of my recent favorites.
Now, here I am, still waiting for my bagels and lox. He’s got seven minutes before I bust in there. That just so happens to be enough time for me to tell you about this mixed berry pound cake. With the weather being absolutely freezing, I’ve kind of been into berries lately. I know, I know, it’s not seasonal, but to be fair, the cranberries that I added to this cake were leftover in my freezer, so that’s okay, right? The blueberries, well, I won’t make any excuses, I bought fresh ones at the bodega for $4. I just had a craving for some big, juicy blueberries. I debated making muffins, or scones, but I didn’t feel like standing over anything in the kitchen for too long, so I landed on pound cake, which is one of my favorite desserts. It’s rich and buttery, but you don’t need frosting or anything; just pure cake. My mom and I used to make good cake-eating teams because all I wanted was the cake part and all she wanted was the icing. It worked out well. Either way, the tart berries in this pound cake pop with every bite, as I added quite a bit, but I wanted to go all out, so I added a cinnamon streusel layer in between the berries and cake. The result is heaven, I promise you. Kramer even ate an entire slice, and he’s not usually a bit cake guy. I brought the rest into my office to share the next morning, and it was demolished by lunch (always a good sign). This cake may be rich, but it’s not too sweet, so pair it with a nice cup of black coffee or tea, and you’ve got a happy winter breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunch time, or a lovely dessert that will make you think about the spring that is only a month or two away. I hope that everyone had as good a weekend as I did, and if you didn’t, make this cake and I promise that things will turn around!
We had breakfast at Seersucker, then wandered around Brooklyn, South Street Seaport (which is still no-man’s-land from Sandy), and Chelsea Market.
We saw this hilarious/scary ad on the A train into the city.
Jay and Rachel.
Now it’s time to bake. Make your streusel by cutting your butter into your sugar, flour and cinnamon, and bring your batter together.
Toss your berries in some flour so they don’t fall to the bottom (or in this case, top) of your cake.
Then toss 2/3 of them in with your batter. Press half of your batter down into the bottom of your bundt pan.
Then add your streusel, followed by your reserved berries.
Then, finally, your remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or so, until golden and set (a toothpick should come out clean).
Allow the cake to cool for at least 2 hours before removing from the pan, slicing, and serving. You can put it in the fridge so it cools faster, if you like.
A rich, buttery pound cake with juicy berries and cinnamon streusel.
For the Pound Cake:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
4 cups berries (I used cranberries and blueberries) + 2 tablespoons flour
For the Cinnamon Streusel:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In your mixing bowl, beat together your sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in your eggs, one at a time, followed by your extract, then your sour cream, then your milk, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Gradually add in your flour mixture until just moistened. Toss your berries in 2 tablespoons of flour so that they don’t fall in your cake, then fold ⅔ of them into your batter. Place half of your batter into a well buttered/greased 10-inch bundt or spring-form pan, then sprinkle with your streusel (recipe follows), followed by your remaining berries, and finally, spread the rest of your batter on top of the berries (the batter will be thick; it doesn’t have to be perfect! It’s best to just use your hands and don’t worry about it too much).
Bake for 1 hour or so, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is set and golden. Allow the cake to cool for 2 hours or so (you can speed this up in the fridge, if you like), then invert the pan, tap it slightly, and allow the cake to come out. Slice and serve! This will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 5 days.
Whisk together your flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using your hands (this works so much better than a tool, I promise), cut the butter into your sugar until it forms pea-sized crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use. You may not need all of the streusel for the cake; in which case, the crumbs make excellent toppings for French toast, pancakes, or other baked goods!