dessert

A look back: September 2020

I'm constantly wondering how this space will evolve and maybe one day eventually end.
social medias have taken over because its faster, more to the point and honestly easier to engage with people on. 

who reads blogs still anyways? I'm not even a real blogger.

but still I always find myself wanting to capture, reflect and share parts of my little life. I'm a Virgo who likes words too. I enjoy instagram and do not use facebook but even that hasn't very enjoyable for me lately. . I usually over think these blog posts and would never even dream to use iPhone 11 photos. but 2020 has been rough for everyone so I am going with the casual approach because I can’t think of the last time I picked up my DSLR.

I have two recipes I want share but right now I thought I'd go with a September (mostly food) photo recap.. birth month wasn't the worst even though yes, we are still very much in the weirds (pandemic).


4A46681E-C69E-4C74-BD66-5D1A82B12444

4A46681E-C69E-4C74-BD66-5D1A82B12444

THE  cheesiest, smoothest mashed potatoes, one beautifully poached egg  + toasted baguette slices were out of this world. the crispy potatoes are a must, trust me.

741C7FD2-82A5-48DA-99E5-28A98F83F6B9

F5B327F6-8ADD-4D5A-B36F-00460E48A48E
F5B327F6-8ADD-4D5A-B36F-00460E48A48E
F5B327F6-8ADD-4D5A-B36F-00460E48A48E

Egg Sammie. 

5359DA28-CD41-4EEE-8EF4-1CB4DCF5883A
my peanutella + PB n’ J cookies travelled (frozen) to a different state but of course I needed to do a taste test bake. delish, and peanut butter cookies aren’t even in the top five for me.

5359DA28-CD41-4EEE-8EF4-1CB4DCF5883A

A LOT of avocado toast this month.

5359DA28-CD41-4EEE-8EF4-1CB4DCF5883A
surprise doughnut delivery from my favorite person..

6EA761DD-6E83-475A-A7B8-4078D9645FF9
6EA761DD-6E83-475A-A7B8-4078D9645FF9
6EA761DD-6E83-475A-A7B8-4078D9645FF9

thai tea brûlée slush from Tea Maison


D819DB62-3C12-42E4-B2DF-95A7213903DF

D819DB62-3C12-42E4-B2DF-95A7213903DF

Chinatown adventures. what’s your favorite treat at 85°? I ADORE their egg tarts but I always pick up something new with each visit.

030AD27D-F664-481B-9FF1-C6A6E8865F36
030AD27D-F664-481B-9FF1-C6A6E8865F36

special birthday delivery from a special friend who understands my deep love for cookies + Christina Tosi. 

EFBE88EB-B96B-4187-A9D1-43B292A2755D
EFBE88EB-B96B-4187-A9D1-43B292A2755D
day/night lewks.

EFBE88EB-B96B-4187-A9D1-43B292A2755D
EFBE88EB-B96B-4187-A9D1-43B292A2755D
EFBE88EB-B96B-4187-A9D1-43B292A2755D

throughly obsessed with the short rib fried rice fried from Le Thai.

51D5748E-6910-470B-A46C-9E8957C4D94E
downtown (mild) shenanigans.

F373A355-3706-4EF2-A7A7-592833F8DF8D
F373A355-3706-4EF2-A7A7-592833F8DF8D
F373A355-3706-4EF2-A7A7-592833F8DF8D
F373A355-3706-4EF2-A7A7-592833F8DF8D
F373A355-3706-4EF2-A7A7-592833F8DF8D
coffee + cake (buttermilk blueberry lemon breakfast cake. recipe coming!)

5E60CDC1-3C18-4EF3-9269-DFFD7381DC3C
5E60CDC1-3C18-4EF3-9269-DFFD7381DC3C
kale caesar salad with salmon + homemade sourdough croutons. SUPER yum and definitely would repeat this first time meal. I used Shutterbean’s recipes as a guideline for the Caesar salad dressing & croutons.

D56FF5F1-2855-489A-A52A-BF3FCA70CE29

told you.

D56FF5F1-2855-489A-A52A-BF3FCA70CE29

31AD6A7F-725E-4D03-9E40-A608521B19D9

31AD6A7F-725E-4D03-9E40-A608521B19D9
What a trip to the Korean grocery store looks like. I love Asian snacks everything.

BEAE0098-1E04-4C42-96E3-F005120ED9B5
BEAE0098-1E04-4C42-96E3-F005120ED9B5
homemade monggo with chicharron + shrimp. one of my Filipino favorites! I’m so happy to have an adaptable recipe that is so super easy to make. doesn’t even take long to cook and keeps extremely well in the fridge for leftovers.

62FED2E4-AAB0-4A00-99C3-77280A4C20D8
62FED2E4-AAB0-4A00-99C3-77280A4C20D8
work is easier with cookies.

814F2A99-1800-4018-BF7F-1B2FC4A7FAC1
mr mama’s breakfast outing. happy birthday Sam.

2264403B-5CC1-4BBF-A974-2F2531BE7384
2264403B-5CC1-4BBF-A974-2F2531BE7384
2264403B-5CC1-4BBF-A974-2F2531BE7384
2264403B-5CC1-4BBF-A974-2F2531BE7384
3B3DEF25-3038-468F-AA5B-100724AE8EF2
3B3DEF25-3038-468F-AA5B-100724AE8EF2
furry friend round up!

F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
F24701A0-358E-4680-8AC0-A19B312A960F
super cute lunch date at Sweet Honey Dessert + a quick pit stop to Tea Maison.

3F8F0435-1AB4-47FE-909B-F92C1EAAA6EE
14D4EFCC-8E9F-4265-89DC-47B5DD8C4F4F
14D4EFCC-8E9F-4265-89DC-47B5DD8C4F4F

lobster balls (and other snack use) from Easy Life.


AE779135-F8EE-4103-8096-BC235C7C13DF

breakfast fried rice. the best way to use leftover rice! garlic, bacon, egg + green onion. staple in my house.

D86FCDF0-BF22-473E-A9E3-519F589F8FEC

chicken salad for easy workday lunches. deboned a hatch green chile rotisserie chicken from Sprouts added mayo, salt n’ spice, diced red onion + lemon juice.

9B456361-0B56-4EEF-A52E-6503ED9FF80C
9B456361-0B56-4EEF-A52E-6503ED9FF80C
9B456361-0B56-4EEF-A52E-6503ED9FF80C

last September I had a wedge salad at Flemings, changed my life and never looked back. I think I ate like 6 wedge salads this past month.
iceberg lettuce + halved cherry tomatoes + crispy bacon + blue cheese crumbles + sliced red onion + blue cheese dressing. pro tip, salt and a splash of red wine vinegar on the sliced onions.

B48B520F-357E-45AC-98DC-1CA8DDB4EEB3
September 2020 was challenging, like how I said earlier this whole year has been. I guess I don’t need to really remind anyone of that. we’ve all been experiencing our own battles and a couple of shared ones. stress & anxiety might be running high but this is my reminder to stop and have some conscious gratitude for the positive moments in life. it can be alarmingly easy to lose yourself when things are harder but there is a ton love when you pay attention. 

maybe that’s what this space is going to be for, a reminder to pay attention. 

be kind to yourself, god knows I’m trying.

- rita 

 


recipe box : petite lemon cookies

Lemon

i haven't always been a fan of lemony desserts.

lemon cookies, squares, tarts and cakes definitely did not make an appearance in my filipino mom's kitchen growing up. in fact the only real memories i have were seeing rows and rows of plated lemon meringue pie at the dessert bar in casino buffets. when you're a kid in vegas everything at a dessert bar is spectacular but i always ended up with something chocolaty or creating a very overloaded ice cream sundae making sure to use ALL available toppings, including the whipped cream! you can't forget the whipped cream.

in recent years though, i have come to truly enjoy lemon baked goods. i'm delightfully surprised that i grew into this newly acquired taste but it has a lot to do with how lucky i have been to have tasted properly prepared citrus desserts that were created with a lot of careful and deliberate thought. 

Coookiez-7

this recipe, however, does not require a whole lot of thought. it's a pretty reliable straight forward type of cookie. no games!

i realize i often gravitate towards creating (and eating) baked goods that are more on the sturdy side and even though they are petite these babies are no exception. a cookie that'd hold up well if you packed them to go along for a picnic or my personal favorite.. sneaking them into a movie.

a little secret trick i learned, now i do this as often as possible when working with any citrus fruit, is to combine the sugar in the recipe with the zest. in this case, its lemon zest but doing this small extra step is really beneficial to the overall finished product and allows for a more full bodied flavor. 

Coookiez-8

i can't wait to keep finding things that make me change my mind about a preconceived preference or way of thinking i have had. its refreshing to know you can always learn new things, you can always change your mind..you can always continue to grow. that's kind of some of the best parts about life. if you think something is permanent, it's not or at least it doesn't have to be if you allow yourself to keep an open mind. 

i love recipe sharing, if there are any links or personal favs of some lemony baked goods that make your heart feel good.. hmu

until then..

happy eating!

xo

rita

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Petite Lemon Cookies


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS

  • in a medium bowl

    1. sift together the flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda
  • in a small bowl

    1. combine the lemon zest with the sugar. using a fork, press the lemon zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant and changes color.
  • in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. mix butter and lemon sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
    2. add eggs, lemon juice, and both extracts, mix for 4-5 minutes on medium to high speed until light and fluffy.
    3. slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 separate increments, mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  • using a small ice cream scoop

    1. (i use a 1.6" wide sized scoop)
    2. scoop cookie dough into small balls, place them onto a parchment lined cooking sheet and slightly press down on each dough ball. make sure to leave about an inch of space between each dough ball.
  • in preheated 350° oven

    1. bake for 12-14 minutes, the centers should still be soft when you remove the cookies from the oven.

the Foodcourt : salt & straw

Salt&straw-7

unlimited samples is extremely problematic. 

ESPECIALLY when they are handcrafted teeny (beautiful) spoons of delicious ice cream.

Salt&straw-2

i remember watching a program on viceland and it featured an amazing human making a bone marrow, smoked cherry flavored ice cream. whaaa?! i didn't quite understand why i wanted to try it so much.. i mean i have watched enough iron chef episodes to know not everything tastes good as an ice cream. (i'm talking to you morimoto!) BUT for some reason watching him make and explain this insane flavor of ice cream as well as his process had me completely mesmerized. i was about it! i wanted to go to there, i wanted to say hello and explore all of the beautiful ice cream ASAP

basically ever since then salt & straw was added to my must visit list for portland. 

i have a fantasy foodie list for many cities, its a little fun thing to do and who knows if i'll ever go but if i do then i'll have some places to start with.

Salt&straw-4

Salt&straw-3

if i walk into an ice cream shop and the first thing i smell are freshly made waffle cones.. i know they mean business. truly, the real deal.

*waffle cone scented heaven*

Salt&straw-5

Salt&straw-6

that wonderful waffle cone smell does nothing to help narrow things down with the flavor decision. the menu was nutter butters AND it changes seasonally because of course it does.

Salt&straw-8

okay reminder on that bit about unlimited samples. 

they will literally let you try every single flavor they have if that is what your heart so truly desires. i have MAD food indecision so i was basically that person and tried super hard not to annoy the kind lady who graciously was spooning me sample after sample. i was very appreciative of her, she was my ice cream angel.

Salt&straw-9

Salt&straw-10

i decided on not deciding and went with a 50/50 split between the sea salt with caramel ribbons and cinnamon snickerdoodle. 

zero regrets.

Salt&straw-11

portland, i fkn love you. 

xo

rita

Salt&straw


recipe box: citrus bundt cake

Orange bundt
most hopes come with the best intentions. it starts with a dream or idea that you can't shake off and you decide you must have it. the longer you think about it the more you want it and so you make a plan. put pencil to paper and start jotting down notes and building the pathway to what you want that keeps itching at you. even though it scares you, you put yourself in motion and start gathering what you need. preparing. with each action you trustingly get closer and closer to bringing that dream of yours to fruition.

Orange bundt (3 of 11)

baking absolutely like that. particularly to me and i'm sure to some of you out there too.

just a tasty idea itching to be brought to life at the back of your brain.

Orange bundt (4 of 11)

for me there is always a strategy, a list of ingredients, the proper preparations and precautions.

everything in there places please.

Orange bundt (5 of 11)
its a dream so you went an extra step, always trying to make it that much more special.

you can make sugar more special.. use a fork to mix it with citrus zest - ooh la la. for this bundt cake i went for the hat-trick and used orange, lemon AND lime. whoa.. i know. being bold is necessary though.

Orange bundt (6 of 11)

see ..how magical?

Orange bundt (7 of 11)
sometimes the most important is laying out the proper groundwork ..its totally the most important part. remember this part.

grease, flour and prep every nook of your pan. not kidding, do it right.

Orange bundt (8 of 11)

your work is done, you've put in the effort and you're almost at that finish line that you've been envisioning.

Orange bundt (9 of 11)
and then you fall flat on your face..

Orange bundt (10 of 11)
sometimes things turn out ugly and get messy - all your hard work feels wasted and you can't help but feel defeated.

the only thing left to do is scrape together the pieces of yourself and try again. find a new method, take a moment and learn from what happened.

but there are also always new dreams to dream too.

life isn't always pretty but it's worth a try every time. when you expect something to go one way and it doesn't that's when you have to remember that the crumbs are just as scrumptious as the whole cake.

xox

rita

Orange bundt (11 of 11)

 

Citrus Bundt Cake

Print Friendly and PDF

 

 

Ingredients

    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 5 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • dry ingredients

    • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
    • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • infused sugars

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 tbsp orange zest
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1/2 tbsp lime zest

 

Instructions

  • in 2 separate small bowls

    1. using a fork mix together lime & lemon zest into first cup of sugar until it becomes extremely fragrant. repeat process with second cup of sugar and the orange zest.
  • in a kitchen aid stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. blend olive oil with both infused sugars. add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. add orange juice and continue to mix for 4 mins. slowly add dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  • preheat oven to 375

    1. greasing the bundt pan is super important, make sure to get in every nook and cranny. a little extra flour to help do the job.
    2. bake for 1 hour to an hour and 15 mins. clean toothpick test!



 

 


the Foodcourt: the Upper Crust pie bakery

Upper crust (1 of 14)

I know you saw the sign.. that's right it's PIE time!

as i come to a close with my kansas city trip posts it's making me a little sad not having my biff around. especially today, her birthday! i miss and love her dearly.

our visit to the upper crust was such a delight and going through these photos it made me crave a sweet carby outing with my friend who is so dang far away.

i don't think i have ever been to such a charming pie bakery and this one has set the bar for future bakeries. it was cold day out and the shop couldn't have been any more warm and inviting. and the smell! oh my goodness. butter baby, glorious buuutter.

heavenly. heaven smells like butter.

Upper crust (11 of 14)

take home non-edible cuteness right upon entry.

Upper crust (8 of 14)

Upper crust (7 of 14)

it's true. pie can fix quite a few problemos.

Upper crust (2 of 14)

Upper crust (3 of 14)

regular sized and a bunch of littles.

Upper crust (6 of 14)

Upper crust (5 of 14)

soft spot for the non edibles..hrm i wonder why. more accessories and i went home with a few buttons that expressed my love for baked goods.

thank you SO much to the gracious people of Upper Crust who let me go photo stupid in their pie haven. i had too good of time trying to capture your cozy corner of kansas.

Upper crust (4 of 14)

Upper crust (12 of 14)

Upper crust (13 of 14)

my biff and i ended up sharing a little brambleberry pie and strawberry rhubarb pie. we popped by a frozen custard place and got some vanilla to a la mode the heck out of our crusty fruity treasure.

pie and vanilla custard are best friends.. the BEST friends.

p.s. their shortbread cookie changed my life like whoa. it's the damn butter, gets me every time.

happy birthday biff! i hope this makes you smile and reminds you of all the fab times we've had and will have. love you for forever.

xox

rita

Upper crust (14 of 14)


recipe box: olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Carrotcake 1st

I know its not quite yet fall but for me it so totally is.

my birthday is september 1st and as far as i'm concerned its now time to shift the brain into fall mode. which just so happens to my absolute favorite season.

best temperature, best clothing options, and another change of the food season. food sure as hell have seasons.

one of the simple things that helps me kick start fall is getting to enjoy the return of the pumpkin spice lattes! i know its silly, but its the little things that really count. granted it still is a little warm outside, like low 90s warm but that's not going to stop me from ordering my pumpkin spice latte every damn birthday. and thanks to my starbucks gold card that latte is usually free. sigh, i love september-so good. this most recent birthday i was especially lucky with an overcast rainy morning, thanks for help setting the mood.

but before we go getting full pumpkin crazy, because i get it.. i'm a little early excited. i thought we could ease in to this amazing season with a spiced carrot cake. that's it ..we're just slowly dipping our toes in.

change is best served with cake.

Carrotcake (1 of 16)

caution juicing can lead to dessert:

juicing is wonderful and its something i think i'm still fairly new to but really want to be better at. the only problem is they don't mention the part where when you juice for too long you may have pastry daydreams. like a real giant case of the cake crazies. you think you're totally fine enjoying your yummy fresh juice cocktails feeling all healthy and then bam! it just happens. full on carb hallucination.

for me it happened when i was cleaning out my juicer after making a generous amount of pressed carrot juice and there was all this leftover carrot pulp and what? all this orange goodness was just going to go in the trash?

uh hell no, that's going in a CAKE!

and that's when i started gathering ingredients.

Carrotcake 2nd

i opted to switch things up and use olive oil for slight flavor change. apple sauce helps keep the cake moist.

Carrotcake 3rd

sifting together your dry ingredients keeps things lighter. these spices are really going to remind you of the holidays ..but just a little. baby steps.

image from www.ritabakez.com

most carrot cakes have raisins and walnuts, but we're not doing that. this just isn't that kind of cake. instead we're using sweet coconut shreds and dried cranberries with the perfect amount of tartness.

because this carrot pulp came from my juicer, i did add 1/3 cup of juice back in to increase the moisture level a tad. with grating carrots you wouldn't need to do this step.

Carrotcake (5 of 16)

action shot.

Carrotcake (6 of 16)

properly preparing your cake pans is super important. don't let all of your work and promising batter go to waste because of an under greased pan. i used parchment paper but enough butter/crisco with a generous sprinkling flour should usually do the trick.

Carrotcake (7 of 16)

be fair and even.

Carrotcake (10 of 16)

clean toothpick ready from the oven and now the cakes need to relax and cool.

meanwhile we start the frosting.

Carrotcake 5th

i have been trying to think of a reason to explain why brown butter? but i just keep thinking always.. always brown butter. when in doubt brown butter it out. it seriously is a flavor secret weapon and now you all know if you didn't before. and also know that i'm going to keep talking about it too.

i have made a lot of different frosting but this one easily makes my top 3 favorite, it's goood.

Carrotcake (11 of 16)

once you have removed the fully cooled cakes flip them so that you have a nice flat surface when you begin frosting.

Carrotcake 6th

with a two layer cake i stick with a 60/40 frosting ratio, using most of the frosting on the bottom cake and mid section. then finish with the remaining on the second cake, remember flat side up!

Carrotcake (13 of 16)

fully frosted.

Carrotcake (14 of 16)

and just like that you have cake.

Carrotcake (16 of 16)

i hope you feel a little better about saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

should you be juicing and daydream of cake, know you are not alone. it happens.

xox

rita

 

*Recipe*

Print Friendly and PDF

 

olive oil carrot cake

olive oil carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting

Active Time
40 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 15 mins
 

 

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup apple sauce
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup shredded coconut
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • in a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients, set aside

    • 1 cup all purpose flour sifted with,
    • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 1 tsp all spice
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • for the frosting

    • 1/2 cup brown butter, cooled
    • 1/2 butter, softened
    • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 16oz packages powder sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Instructions

  • for the carrot cake batter

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. use both brown & white sugar mix with olive oil and mix together on medium speed for 3 mins, scrape down sides. add eggs and vanilla extract and continue to blend together for 3-5 mins. add shredded carrots in batches until fully incorporated. with mixer on lowest setting add dry ingredients slowly until a few white streaks remain, add apple sauce. with a spatula by hand fold in shredded coconut and dried cranberries.
  • for the brown butter cream cheese frosting

  • in a kitchen stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. with the mixer on medium to high speed blend together brown butter, butter and cream cheese. scrape down sides when necessary and mix for 2 mins and add vanilla extract. continue mixer until fully incorporated about another 3 mins. with the mixer on low slowly add powder sugar in small batches. as you add more sugar frosting consistency will become much firmer.
  • for cakes

  • preheat oven to 350°

    1. in two 8" round cake pans prepare for baking by greasing pans with butter. next line with circular cutouts of parchment paper and sprinkle with a tsp of all purpose flour, remove excess flour if needed.
    2. separate cake batter evenly between two prepared round cake pans. bake for 37-42 mins, until you can insert a toothpick and remove clean.
    3. once both cakes have completely cooled frost the layered cake using the brown butter cream cheese frosting.