Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lemon Ricotta Crepe Cake + Berry Compote

I inherited my baking skills from my mom, who mastered her technique from my grandmother. So lately, I've been on a mission to learn and transcribe all of my grandma's recipes. We started with one of my mom's popular classics - the french crepe, or as we call it - "blinchik." The batter is very simple, but my mom is such a pro that she eyeballs all her ingredients and never uses proper measures. Us inexperienced folk are probably better off using this recipe. (Just substitute the water with milk for a tastier crepe.) I tried my hand at swirling the crepes, but it's no easy task. I definitely ruined a handful of crepes before achieving a perfectly thin and hole-less one. A stack of crepes later, we decided to make a delicious lemon-ricotta crepe cake with berry compote based off of this recipe. 

Making the crepe: Crepes are very delicate, so the key is to immediately swirl the batter after ladling the mixture into the pan. Use less than a ladle-full of batter for a perfectly thin crepe. After a few seconds, once you see bubbles forming, run a sharp knife around the edges and flip with your fingers. Give the other side a few seconds before removing the crepe. And remember, the first crepe is always a disaster. 
The Berry Compote: Frozen berries work just fine for this recipe. Just add half a cup of sugar and a dash of lemon zest to the saucepan and let cool. The sauce will be just fine without the cornstarch.

Assembling the cake: Spread a tablespoon or so of the ricotta spread between each layer. Don't neglect to spread filling on the crispy edges. Repeat until you have about 12 layers.

The Finished Cake: My cake came out to 15 layers. If you want a taller cake, make sure to double the ricotta filling.

Pour the cooled berry sauce over the cake and slice. Bon appetit! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

East Coast Charm: What I Ate In DC

Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Ganache

This past week, my boyfriend and I spent some quality time exploring and eating our way through Washington, DC with my sister. But what was supposed to be a brief weekend trip to the nation's capitol turned into a week-long adventure caused by a national hurricane. (You may have heard of her...Her name is Sandy.) Regardless, we spent our week in DC ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the breathtaking architecture, satisfying our tummies with the best DC had to offer, and visiting almost every single DC landmark. Though I'll always be a Cali girl, my recent trips to NYC and DC have confirmed that I've been bitten by the east coast bug. I took 1000 photos but here are some of the food highlights from my week in DC. 

Ben's Chili Bowl: A DC institution made famous by Obama and Bill Cosby, Ben's Chili Bowl serves up some major comfort food, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it the best of the best. The cheese on the fries was underwhelming, but after a long airport day, it hit the spot.

Founding Farmers: FF capitalizes on the farm-to-table and eco-friendly concept, which always promises fresh and natural ingredients. The fried green tomatoes with herbed goat cheese and avocado dipping sauce was a major standout and a MUST. The Tuna Poke salad was delicious with a spicy kick. But the real star of this meal was the Cucumber Cranberry Cooler. I could drink it everyday. 

Il Canale: Hands down, the best spaghetti and meatballs I've ever had. I can't even begin to describe how delicious each morsel was. The Diavola pizza, topped with sliced soppresata, buffalo mozzarella and basil, was also pretty amazing. Will definitely go back next time I'm in DC.

Cafe Bonaparte: An adorable little creperie in Georgetown. The Moulin Rouge Crepe was delicious with caramelized peaches, vanilla ice cream, and a chocolate- berry melba sauce. 

Old Ebbitt Grill: This old-school oyster bar is located right by the White House and seems to be popular with locals and tourists alike. The oysters were so smooth and refreshing and the pumpkin ravioli tasted like Autumn on a plate.

Bistro du Coin: This romantic bistro is located in Dupont Circle but once you step in, you feel like you're in France. Go here for the best-tasting french onion soup you'll ever have. Perfect cold-weather food.


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