Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nellie's Barmbrack

A traditional Halloween treat, and that's no trick!

Happy Halloween, everyone! And a blessed Samhain too, if you celebrate today as the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Although many people think of Halloween as a very American holiday because of the popularity of trick or treating in the States and Canada, it actually traces its roots back to Ireland and Scotland, and the Pagan holiday Samhain! Irish and Scottish immigrants brought many of their Halloween customs and traditions over to North America in the 1840's.

Today, we're going to talk about - and make! - some of those traditions. Okay, we're only making barmbrack, but I found out a lot of interesting information while I was doing research for this post, and I'm excited to share it with you!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Caroline's Burnt Sugar Cake

Is it more salted caramel, butterscotch, spice cake without the spice...?

Burnt sugar cake? What is this, Gwen, some kind of recipe gone wrong?

Nope! It's actually a very interesting, allegedly quite historical cake that - while a little labor intensive to make - surprised and pleased everyone who tasted it. Although we did run into some speed bumps, this was a big enough hit that I would definitely be happy to make it again for an enthusiastic audience. There was some debate about what flavor cake everyone thought this was, but I promise, it's not quite like any cake you've ever tasted before.

... Unless you've had a burnt sugar cake before.

So, what's this about allegedly historical?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kaya's Pumpkin Cookies

Delicious, fruity cookies, perfect for October!

Something about this fall has just been totally lovely. It's the first one where I've really felt like I've gotten to enjoy it in a long time, probably because I'm not living in a city or working crazy retail hours. Or, I don't really know what happened last year, honestly, but whatever. This fall has been great! And it wouldn't be fall without doing something with pumpkin. Obviously.

Yes, I'm one of those people who can't get enough of pumpkin products in the fall, sue me. And while pumpkins weren't really something Kaya would have enjoyed snacking on in 1764 Oregon, they are and have been a staple - along with other squashes - of the Native foodways of New England for generations. Since Kaya's been living with me in New England, it seemed like a good idea to spend some time talking about food history on the other side of the continent.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Addy's Chicken Shortcake

Not quite chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!

One of the things I've always wanted to do was work my way through the American Girl cook books, and whenever I'm home by myself, I find myself turning to them to try and find something quick to feed myself for dinner, while also getting something new and exciting to feature on the blog.

Of course, I don't always follow through on this. I'm one of those people who loves flipping through cookbooks, but often winds up never actually cooking any of the things I say I want to. Even though I love cooking for the blog, I'm lazy when it comes to feeding myself when I'm home alone. This past weekend, I decided to buckle down and throw together something that seemed like it would be easy, filling, and still a fun look back at how one of my favorite fictional characters ate back in 1864.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jane's Cranberry Crumble

A taste of New England!

This post has a bit of an eclectic theme. I'm introducing you to a new character for the Peek into the Pantry gang, taking you on a quick field trip and cooking something that's so New England themed, it's almost painful. Bear with me, I promise it'll be fun. Or at least interesting? I hope?

Fall is my favorite season, October is my favorite month, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. You all know by now that I have a lot of love for my  home region of New England, and I think it's safe to say for a fact that we really know how to do fall up here. People from all over come up to take a look at our leaves and get into the spirit with us. But the place that people flock to during October specifically is Salem, Massachusetts. The whole town dresses itself up for the Halloween season, playing up the history of the Salem Witch Trials with costume contests, haunted houses and ghost tours. It can be a bit of a zoo, but it's something most people say you should try to go see at least once.

When I was going to school in Boston, every year, people would talk about going to Salem to celebrate Halloween and every year, my plans to do it would fall through. This year, I finally managed to get myself out there, and I dragged Jane and my grandparents along with me.

Who exactly is Jane, you ask?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rebecca's Rugelach

A tasty rolled pastry that just might need to be a staple at my house!

You know me: I love baking, dessert and cookies! And pastries. Whichever. For every savory idea I have for this blog, I've probably got about ten sweet ones to match it, and it's difficult to find a good balance most of the time. Rugelach have been something I've been wanting to try for a long time, and this weekend, I finally decided the wait was over. Nothing was going to get in my way!

No seriously, there's no catch this time. Everything turned out really great! And now I'm left wondering what else this dough can be turned into, because even without the yummy filling, the dough was pretty delicious. I'm definitely on the market for more interesting flaky treats to make with it.