Saturday, March 24, 2012

savory cornmeal pancakes


Over these last few weeks, I've made a plethora of goodies. Goodies that had little photoshoots with my Sony. The same Sony that I can't find the adapter of. So I can't upload the pictures. This was a huge disappointment.  Here's a list of all the things I've made.

  • Pepperjack Popovers
  • Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Pumpkin Bread with a Cream Cheese Swirl 
  • Cheddar-Herb Quickbread 
  • Corn Muffins 

All of these were so good! Hopefully, I can find my stupid adapter that LOVES to play hide and seek with me soon. Boo. Meanwhile, I have these amazing cornmeal pancakes I made today. Using my noggin, I decided to take these with my phone. Instagram, thank you for saving these odd lighted pictures. I love you.


I never considered myself a chef. At most, I was an amateur baker. At my lowest points, I was a carblovin' teenager with a clunky camera. I usually leave the cooking to my mom, who is an amazing cook. She can whip up delicious, improv meals from anything. It's siiiick, to say the least. But, when I am home alone, hungry, and left with no leftovers, I love to experiment. Mac and cheese from scratch. Quinoa with a cheese sauce. Quinoa with zucchini and Italian sausage. Fried rice balls.

This time, I had a  practically full sack of cornmeal that I bought for corn muffins just sitting in my pantry.  I settled on cornmeal pancakes because I wanted to try to cook with cornmeal. I opted to make these savory but you can easily turn them into a sweet breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Just add some vanilla and drizzle with maple syrup or honey. ALSO, hi vegans! These are for you! I added some sour cream because I wanted to be risky but omit that. Use 1/4 cup of any milk subsitute and you are set.


Savory Cornmeal Pancakes with Carmelized Onions
adapted from Mark Bittman
Serves 1-2

3/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
scant 1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp (+ more for serving) sour cream
1 large onion
cherry tomatoes
ground pepper

Slice an onion thinly. Heat up a thickbottomed pan (I used a glass pot) and coat it with olive oil. And follow these instructions.

While the onions are getting delicious, put the cornmeal, salt, and boiling water in one bowl. Let it sit for ten minutes.

Stir in the milk slowly until it is thick but spreadable. Add the sour cream and oil and stir to combine.

Heat up a griddle or cast iron pan. Follow the best instructions for making pancakes. I never use the conventional way because it just don't work for me. I always keep it at medium heat because the pan always spurts oil and becomes a hot, scary mess. Follow Mark Bittman's instructions, unless you're like me.

when the pancakes are done, put them on a paper towel over the plate. You don't have to but I like to. Your onions should be a nice light brown. If you want to caramelize them even further, feel free too. I like them with a crunch. To serve, top the pancakes with the onions, a dollop of sour cream, and sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Dig in! Take a forkful of all the elements and swoon. Happy eating!

Friday, March 9, 2012

a crisp and THE college


I think I have found my dream university. To be honest, this prestigious college was never on my top three list. However, after visiting the campus, breathing in the woodsy air and walking amongst the bundled up students, it just felt right. For the longest time, I thought that an urban college with a small campus surrounded by the greatest city in the country, also known as Manhattan, would be the best fit for me. Then, reality settled in and a variety of factors bothered me. Soon after, I visited the campus of the rural school. It's seriously beautiful, vast, and lush with thick trees. The only downside would be the intensely frigid weather. Then, as I baked some Nutella chocolate chip cookies for my friend and her mother who brought me to this campus, I realized that cold weather means a desire for warmth. A desire for warmth means turning on the oven. Turning on the oven means more baked goods. Yes. More baked goods. Sounds good to me.


My dream college reminds me of this crisp. Homey and rustic. I dunno how to explain it but they just go hand in hand. Rural colleges and rustic desserts. Now, about this pear cranberry crisp. It was my very first crisp. I never tasted nor baked a crisp before. As I took my second bite, I asked myself why I never did. It was sinfully easy; I'll be making this again, very, very soon.


Pear and Cranberry Crisp
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

5 Bosc pears
3/4 cup of dried cranberries
scant 2/3 cup raw or granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
scant 1/3 cup raw or granulated sugar
1/3 packed light brown sugar
heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted

Peel, core, and dice the pears. This took me a whiiiiilllle. I'm slow; I apologize. Mix with the cranberries, sugar, and salt. Set aside

Combine the flour, two sugars, cinnamon, and oats together. Add in the melted butter and mix.

Pour the fruit mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. Top with topping and bake for 30-50 minutes until the juices are bubbling. Cool and dig in.

Notes: I would just dial down the sugar even more. Also, I would like to read the recipe correctly... I read "pecans" as "oats" and it wasn't until I put the dish in the oven when I realized it said pecans. Oats are good too. Really good, actually. The cranberries plump up with the pear juice. There's no doubt that I'm making this again. And again. And again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

blogging with a guilty conscience


What's on your desk right now? Wait, no. Be honest. I'll be honest. I have two laptops. A package of Trader Joe's unsulfured, sweetened, dried mango. A cup of cold date tea. An Inception DVD. Six historical books, focusing on either a) Irish secret societies b) machine politics or c) the Irish exodus. Not a single pleasure read on my desk. They're all chilling just a few feet a way. I can hear them whisper (or maybe it's my lack of sleep talking to me), "Nicole, hey, Nicole. Put down that boring book. And pick me up. Crack open my spine! I can still crack! You didn't finish me yet." The Picture of Dorian Gray says those words. He's needy.

And I need sleep. And cookies. This week is going to be nuts. Nuts, as in, no-time-to-breath, nuts. Not I-met-a-cute-boy-and-we're-hanging-out nuts. Or I'm-baking-cookies-all-week nuts. Or walnuts, pistachio nuts, and peanuts. No, as in, back-to-back-semi/very-scholarly-events. Superb.

I still have work to do, guys. And yet. I'm blogging. Okay, moving on. (My conscience is catching up to me! This post will be short.)



with Nutella,


with semisweet chocolate chips,


and smeared with more Nutella.

Um, do you need anything else when a chocolate craving hits? I don't! Have a splendid week! Recipe here. No real notes today. I followed the recipe word for word and I baked them a tad longer because my cookies were bigger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{ excursion } NoHo, SoHo, and caffeine jolts

1. friend's adorable shit tzu - 2. style stalking in Washington Square Park - 3. Sur La Table's Nespresso machine - 4. cute cup, disgusting coffee - 5. SLT's colorful whisk! - 6. sale items that were too unwieldy to carry around the city (sigh) - 7. street artist - 8. man style stalking; navy blue top and bottom, gold chain, loafers - 9. the Crate & Barrel of SoHo - 10. aroma - 11. iced latte, before it was stirred - 12. stirred, along side a frozen coffee drink and brown sugar packets - 13. friend! - 14. see me? - 15. future food blogger? - 16. so dirty. - 17. amazing store with amazing things but even with the discount, the shit was too expensive for, us, students! - 18. Paris Baguette's chocolate twisty thing that is so delicious - 19. kate moss, da queen - 20. hi, again!

I'm so lucky to have a friend who just likes to walk around the city, taking pictures, talking, and doing nothing in particular. While in NoHo/SoHo, food wise, I had half of shot of espresso, a 16 oz. iced latte with two brown sugars,  and half of those delicious chocolate twists. Flaky with chocolate chips. Not pictured... we went to All Saints, H&M, Zara, and a vintage shop. Lots of inspiration. I'm still jittery from the coffee. It's been hours since I drank some. This is why I don't drink it often. Whoops. xo n

Monday, February 20, 2012

banana bread and why my pictures are blurry

banana bread

Before we move on to the banana bread, let me just flat out tell you that these are pics from my iPhone. After I baked these, I couldn't find my dSLR's connector to my computer so I was like "womp" and just took pics with my phone because I couldn't be able to upload the nice pics anyway. I was wrong.
I found my cord an hour after. Okay, cool. Moving on...

Banana bread is probably the simplest baked good The only words to describe it are moist and slightly sweet. I used this recipe from Orangette before and was bestowed with great success, even though I forgot to add the water and used only half of the topping. This time, after I followed the recipe almost word for word, it came out even better than before. How can you trust me? Well, I "accidentally" ate a 1/4 of a loaf. The loaf was magically sliced up into the slices, the cinnamon sugar beckoning me. Oops.

banana bread

Usually, I prefer my sweet breads to have chunks of nuts. This time, I totally forgot about the bag of walnuts in my fridge. If you want crunch, add two handfuls of toasted walnuts. To be honest, I didn't need the crunch, after all! The crackly top (see below) satisfied me.

banana bread

Look at that top! (You can see a few grains of raw sugar that didn't seep into the soft bread. Oops.) When you poke a toothpick through the surface, you hear the faintest crackling of the broken crust. Crackly crust and soft, barely sweet bread. Perfection. You'll be finding me cradled up with a cup of steaming tea and a slice of this every day. Much love and enjoy your week!

P.S. Only 15 Twitter followers from 100! Follow me on Twitter: @whatnicoleate

Notes: Substituted 1/2 cup of the AP flour for white whole wheat flour. Decreased the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup. Used 10 tsp agave instead of 12 tsp (1/4 cup) honey. 

{lust list} pre-spring

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I've been loving neon and lace lately! It's February but I'm prepping for spring. What's on your lust list?