Jan 2017

A Decade of Delicious! Cheers!

chinese sausages

Happy New Year! And happy 10th birthday to GastronomyBlog.com! In honor of a decade of delicious, the site’s been given a long-overdue refresh. I hope you’ll poke around and feel right at home.

Here’s to another decade of beautiful meals. Thank you for reading. Cheers!

Nov 2016

Sqirl’s Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake

Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake

Well, that was fun sharing a bit about The Suburban Years. Now, back to my favorite subject: dessert. This Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake from Jessica Koslow and the fine folks at Sqirl gets the honor of being the first cake to break in our new oven. Thankfully, the oven was calibrated properly and the cake turned out perfectly—gooey, caramel-y, and in short, everything I want to eat.

For cake

  • 14 tablespoons/200 grams unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), at room temperature, more for the pan
  • 8 ounces/225 grams pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup/80 grams dried currants
  • 1 cup/130 grams whole­ wheat flour
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/80 grams all ­purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup/165 grams packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For sticky toffee

  • ½ cup/170 grams agave nectar
  • ½ cup/110 grams packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter
  • Fleur de sel

Make the cake

Heat oven to 325 degrees and butter an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan.

Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake

In a small pot, combine dates, lemon juice and 3/4 cup/180 milliliters water. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer gently until dates soften and start to fall apart, about 6 minutes. Add currants to the pot and set aside to cool completely.

While date mixture cools, stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt.

Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla and cooled date mixture, followed by flour mixture.

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Oct 2016

The Suburban Years: Move-in Ready

Move-in ready

Before moving in to our new place, I insisted on making it “move-in ready.” While one could have argued, quite strongly I’ll admit, that the house was already good to go, I maintained that a few elements required a refresh before settling in.

Demolition began soon after we received the keys. Tiles were lifted from the kitchen floor, carpet was ripped up from the bedrooms, laminate floors were pulled up plank by plank, and dated lighting fixtures were taken down.

And though it was absolutely horrifying to see our Forever House in extreme disarray for nearly a month, when all was said and done, I was thrilled with the upgrades. Based on our budget and preferences, we prioritized the following renovations before moving in. These fixes not only offered the most bang for our limited bucks, but most importantly, made the place start to feel like our own:

Move In Ready

Move-in Ready Renovation #1: Paint, Paint, Paint 

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a space. While the lemony hue that the previous owners chose for the interior was pleasant, I desired a more calming, neutral color. Enter: Revere Pewter. We used this universally adored “greige” throughout the house, minus the bedrooms. I love how Revere Pewter provides a warm canvas, with just a hint of personality, for future art and furniture decisions.

In addition to painting the interior walls, we also painted the kitchen cabinets bright white. Far less expensive than a brand new set of cabinets, giving the dark cherry wood a fresh coat brightened up the entire space, making it feel more open and welcoming.

Move In Ready

Move-in Ready Renovation #2: Hard Wood Floors 

One of the easiest decisions we made was to get rid of the shaggy carpet in the bedrooms and the tiles in the kitchen. What to replace them with was another matter…

We considered matching the existing laminate floors, but worried about their durability and longevity. We also briefly hoped to salvage the home’s original wood floors, but nixed the idea when we saw how worn and rickety the floor was. Ultimately, we chose to have pre-finished solid wood oak floors laid down, and we are happy with the decision. I love how we can refinish the floors in a few decades, and then again after that. This is my Forever House, after all.

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