Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I had so much fun baking this pineapple upside-down cake! It actually turned out! I can't wait to eat it tomorrow at the bridal shower :) This was my first attempt at making this cake, and surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as complicated as I expected! I have posted the recipe below. It is one that I found in the Heirloom Baking book by the Brass Sisters.

1/2 C butter, melted
1 C brown sugar
7 slices canned pineapple rings drained; juice reserved
7 candied maraschino cherries
1C cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1) Pre-heat oven to 350. Swirl melted butter in 9 in. cake pan, coating the sides, but allowing most butter to settle on bottom. Sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of pan.
2) Wipe pineapple slices dry on both sides with a paper towel. Also dry cherries. Arrange in a decorative pattern on bottom of cake pan.
3) Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat YOLKS in a large bowl. Add sugar, vanilla, and 5tbs pineapple juice. Mix well. Add sifted dry ingredients and combine.
4) Place egg WHITES in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat until moderately stiff, fold into batter.
5) Bake 30-35 min. Cool 2-3 min. Invert cake. If bits remain in pan, retrieve and place on top of cake.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Heirloom Food

Being an avid NPR listener, I heard a great review for a new book called The food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky. I love baking and recently checked out a cookbook titled Heirloom Baking, by the Brass Sisters. Both books are a collection of storied recipes handed down through the generations. They tell a tale of a simpler time, full of food made from whole ingredients found fresh and local. Needless to say, I can't wait to pick up a copy of Kurlansky's new book next time I'm at Powell's. I may even be too impatient and order a copy online today!! I'm also a big Michael Pollan fan...but more to come on his food philosophies and how they relate to using fresh, local products on another day...

The following is a review of the book from Penguin.

A remarkable portrait of American food before World War II, presented by the New York Times–bestselling author of Cod and Salt.

Award-winning New York Times–bestselling author Mark Kurlansky takes us back to the food and eating habits of a younger America: Before the national highway system brought the country closer together; before chain restaurants imposed uniformity and low quality; and before the Frigidaire meant frozen food in mass quantities, the nation’s food was seasonal, regional, and traditional. It helped form the distinct character, attitudes, and customs of those who ate it.

In the 1930s, with the country gripped by the Great Depression and millions of Americans struggling to get by, FDR created the Federal Writers’ Project under the New Deal as a make-work program for artists and authors. A number of writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren, were dispatched all across America to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project, called “America Eats,” was abandoned in the early 1940s because of the World War and never completed.

The Food of a Younger Land unearths this forgotten literary and historical treasure and brings it to exuberant life. Mark Kurlansky’s brilliant book captures these remarkable stories, and combined with authentic recipes, anecdotes, photos, and his own musings and analysis, evokes a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food and the grocery superstore was a thing of the future. Kurlansky serves as a guide to this hearty and poignant look at the country’s roots.

From New York automats to Georgia Coca-Cola parties, from Arkansas possum-eating clubs to Puget Sound salmon feasts, from Choctaw funerals to South Carolina barbecues, the WPA writers found Americans in their regional niches and eating an enormous diversity of meals. From Mississippi chittlins to Indiana persimmon puddings, Maine lobsters, and Montana beavertails, they recorded the curiosities, commonalities, and communities of American food.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Homage to the Swedes!

Maybe it's the little bit of Swedish I have in me, but lately I've been loving a bunch of Swedish designers. Typically known for being stark and modern; I really like the warmth these designers bring to clean design. Below images all found at Cosas.

Lotta Jansdotter is another Swede whose lovely designs make me smile.

Lotta Kuhlhorn's radish teatowls, below, are so much fun! I'd love to snag these if they ever come stateside...found via from Sthlm.

These doormats are so much fun!! I don't know if I want the bunny or the hippo more...both would be so cute in a mud room...or even in a kids bedroom!
Both of these wall stickers, below, are so whimsical! I'd be happy with either one!

And of course, no Swedish design homage can be complete without a mention of ikea...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Craft Projects!

It's been a super sunny week here in Portland, and I think all that sunshine is inspiring lots of bright colors in my craft projects! Below I have a few sneak peaks of a bridal shower I'm hosting next weekend. I'm especially excited about the bright colors in the mini-pennant banner. You will also see the first glimpse of my special crafting assistant...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tree-Trunk Side Tables/Seats

When we got married a few years ago, I used a found tree trunk as part of our 'beach decor'. At the time, I really, really wanted to keep the stump as a side table in our apartment. Apparently, stumps are very, very heavy and my husband nixed the idea almost immediately. I guess even getting it onto the beach required a team of five very able guys, and our constant apartment hopping meant no unbearably heavy furniture :) However, since then, lots of stores are offering replicas and I can't decide which one I want!!

Below, West Elm. Above, my wedding.

LinkBelow, Urban Outfitters. I'm sure you've seen this one; it's been on the blog circuit!

Below is a foam representation from the Netherlands, found via de51gn.

Below is more international representation from Weylandts in New Zeland.

I think this might be my fav. It is a smaller version of my own DIY trunk table/seat. I wish this would have existed then...the scale is much more realistic for transportation! Found via Danny Seo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Equestrian Design

I realize this post may be more appropriate for fall with all the deep colors and rich textiles; maybe it's the rain here today, but I'm loving all things equestrian. I really like the classic English country feel all of these pieces have. Traditional, classic, current.

Book available here. Both textile samples, bridal end table, and saddle chair below are Ralph Lauren. Each clothing piece below is Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2008.

Handbag and boots below are by Hermes. Couch below is by William Sonoma Home.

Clothing designs below are Carolina Herrera RTW Fall 2008. The bridal hurricane lantern below is also Ralph Lauren.

The wristlet and handbag below are by Femme Sud and are inspired by vintage horse show ribbons. What a fun whimsical addition to an outfit! I love them!

More to come on the amazing feather headpieces and the return of millinery!