Persimmon Upside Down Cake

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Isn’t Autumn when things are supposed to calm and slow down? Lies. This month is going by way too fast. It’s going to be Thanksgiving next week and we have ZERO plans. This what will most likely happen: Reuben and I will make a Thanksgiving feast for two, catch up on sleep, and work on some long overdue apartment improvement projects. It makes me sort of sad when I think about how I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in like 4 years : ( but that just makes being home for Christmas that much sweeter! This will be our first year in SF for Thanksgiving in a while, so it will be nice to stay put. Last year we were on the road to Portland and had leftovers at the Airbnb. The year before that we were driving through Spain and stopped at a gas station between Madrid and Granada for some ham sandwiches, LOL, but this was our view and Spanish gas station food is actually pretty awesome.

What are your plans? Are you going to make a pie? Or are you more of a cake person, like me?

I had ambitions of trying my hand at my first full blown pie this weekend. I was going to do braids, intricate weaving, maybe even cut out letters! But plans changed and I made pork buns instead. No regrets. Because they were incredible and I am going to post the recipe soon! I’ll save my asian pear and caramel pie experiments for next year.

I do have this Persimmon Upside Down Cake for ya though! It’s so delicious. You don’t need pie.

Some people ask me what I do with all the baked goods I make for the blog. When I say “some people” I really mean 3 people have ever asked me that question. My baking experiments are typically brought in to my office or to Reuben’s office to be gobbled up. Or I plan ahead and bake something to bring to a dinner party or picnic. I try not to leave us alone with too much butter and sugar. However, every once in a while there are the baking experiments that I do not share. Not because it was a complete failure, but because it was too freaking delicious to share.

I didn’t share this cake. I had it hidden in our apartment and we continued to cut really tiny wedges of cake for days. Sorry, coworkers, for not sharing. I made this while I had a cold so you didn’t want my germs anyways. When I took my first bite, I was like “GODDAMN”. The persimmons, autumn spices, and the cake soaked in caramel all together created the most harmonious and addicting cake you’ll have all holiday season. Seriously though, the area around the rim of the cake where all the caramel has soaked in is the most incredible bite of cake you’ll ever have. I had to stop Reuben from only cutting wedges of the edge bits. He only got away with it once...

There is no doubt that I am mildly obsessed with persimmons. My favorite fruit for sure. I had only ever just eaten them straight up until now. My mom is a wiz at the paring knife and would effortlessly peel and slice them up for us growing up. It’s hard to really explain the flavor. There are hints of vanilla and cinnamon. But it just tastes like… a persimmon. Can anyone else wordier help me out here? Persimmons are phenomenal sliced on up toast or plopped on some yogurt when super ripe. It makes my heart burst with so much joy when I see friends incorporate persimmons into their diets. You gotta give them a try! I hope to see some on your Thanksgiving tables : )


Persimmon Upside Down Cake

makes 1 - 9" cake

For the caramel:

1 cup dark brown sugar

8 tbsp unsalted butter - cubed

1 tsp salt

 

For the cake:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

8 tbsp melted butter

2-3 fuyu persimmons

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan. Set aside. Cook brown sugar, butter and salt in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk until butter is melted and all the sugar is dissolved. Gently boil for 3-4 minutes until deeply brown. Pour the caramel into the cake pan and swirl so that the pan is completely and evenly covered. The caramel will harden quickly.

2. Slice the persimmons into 1/8" thick slices. Place a slice in the very center of the caramel and continue adding slices in a circular direction until the bottom is covered.

3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Add in eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Mix until evenly incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the cake and make sure the batter is leveled.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Test for doneness. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and allow to completely cook. Watch out for some caramel dripping when you invert!

5. Serve up and enjoy!

recipe was adapted from this and this!

Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

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Okay, let's talk about the big news of the week... HAVE YOU SEEN CHIP AND JOANNA'S NEW TARGET LINE?! It's so cute. I want to give them all my money. I've been making a prop wish list for Christmas and it has essentially double. Ah, I need to buy more instant ramen. 

I haven't actually gone to Target yet though, just cyberstalking here. Why? Well it's like the plague has fallen on San Francisco. Sorry, I'm being dramatic. But riding the bus is like swimming in a germ pool. Gross. Reuben and I have both fallen victim to whatever cold is floating around, so we have the energy level of a 4th year architecture student the night before her final critique. That's pretty dire. But we are persevering! Just not going to Target or doing any outside activities anytime soon. 

Honestly, being forced to stay put, drink soup, and watch Netflix has been much need. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to just slow down. And I have a real excuse to sleep for 10 hours.

Alright, it's almost my new bedtime... 9pm. Should we talk about these mini cheesecakes?! This recipe was handed down to me at my last job. When I worked at BAR Architects there was this amazing woman, Lillian. She was a badass architect and knew everything you needed to know about building code. She was also the keeper of this amazing cheesecake recipe. Lillian's cheesecake was super light, just sweet enough, covered in fruity pineapple, and sooooo addictive. I sat right by the kitchen, so I would always be one of the first to know if Lillian plopped down her famous cheesecake in the kitchen. I would quickly scurry over for a slice before everyone else knew. Suckers. JK : )

I finally got the recipe from her when I left! 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 

It turns out that Lillian's Cheesecake was actually called Betty's Cheesecake, LOL! And it is stupid easy to make. The recipe was passed down to her from an old neighbor, I believe. You know its a great recipe if it keeps getting passed down from person to person. Food is so great isn't? Connecting people and all. I don't know who Betty is, but I'm really thankful that she passed it down to Lillian and then she passed it down to me! Now I'm passing it on to you! Does this make it Kristina's Cheesecake?

I've adjusted it just slightly. First of all, I miniaturized it. The recipe is originally meant for an 8" round or square pan, which you can still do. But there are many pros to making mini cheesecakes.

1. They bake quicker.

2. You don't need to worry about the surface cracking.

3. You can eat a whole mini cheesecake on your own.

4. They are easy to share with friends or you can hoard all of them in your freezer for when you're feeling like life is being a real bitch and you just need a damn mini cheesecake.

Also, who doesn't love those small cheesecake squares you can buy at Costco? Mini things are always good!

I also switched up the topping. It seemed a little off season to put pineapple on it so I decided to whip up some dreamy salted caramel instead. Can I get a faucet of salted caramel installed? omg it's so good. You can honestly top it with whatever you like! Drained pineapple, peaches, berry compote, sour cream, or your favorite jam. Make it YOUR Cheesecake!


Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Cheesecake Materials:

1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers 

1/3 cup melted 

1/2 tsp salt

16 oz cream cheese - room temperature 

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs - room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

Salted Caramel - I used this recipe!

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crumble your graham crackers in a food processor or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Combine crushed graham crackers with butter and salt, give it a good mix. 

2. Line the cupcake tins with liners and divide the crust mixture evenly between each cup. Pat down the mixture until firm.

3. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also use a stand mixer of course. The key to a smooth cheesecake is making sure the cream cheese is at room temperature.

4. Pour the cheesecake filling into each cupcake tin. Smooth out the tops with a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Remove the mini cheesecakes from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack. The cupcakes will poof and then deflate once cool, which make for perfect pools to pour the caramel into.

5. Pout the salted caramel over each mini cupcake and top with a generous sprinkle of flakey sea salt.

Red Curry Shakshuka

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Helloooooo, November! I'm so happy it's practically the holidays! I'm also super glad that I've made it through Halloween without going into diabetic shock. Gosh, I inhaled so much candy the last couple days. Does anyone remember 100 Grand Bars? They are so good. I've basically been hunting for them in the candy bowl at work the past two days. I'll probably try to sneak in one last 100 Grand Bar tomorrow. I need to stop though. I need to eat vegetables and not have candy until 2018. Let's all make dentist appointments.

Did you dress up for Halloween? Did people understand your costume? I'm sure they did! I dressed up as my Grandma Young (my mom's maiden name, not to be confused with a young grandma). I've never felt more like myself. Other than the wig (my head is way too big to fit comfortably in the average wig), I was so cozy in my loose pants and turtleneck/sweater vest combo. It was awesome. Then when everyone else went out to a bar after work, I felt no guilt in saying that I was tired and wanted to go home. Grandma needs to sleep! And finish Stranger Things TBH.

Even though I'm still a spry 26 year old, I fully embrace my Grandma-ness. Like, life is really tiring. Working a full time job, blogging on the side, and then filling in all the extra waking minutes with painting and random side projects is exhausting. I want to sleep and wear soft pants as much as I can. I want to leisurely sip matcha lattes in the morning and eat oatmeal. Everyday. Is it sad that mornings full of tea and oatmeal make my heart swell (in a good way)? No, of course not. Grandma needs a vacation though. I've been doubling up on recipe testing during the weekends because in a few weeks we are essentially going on a bunch of mini vacations until Christmas. Tahoe! Thanksgiving! Healdsburg! Holiday Parties! Cleveland! Then it's 2018! I just know it's going to go by in the blink of an eye.

This Red Curry Shakshuka is an awesome dish to make when you're feeling super elderly and just want to lounge around in your soft pants all day. You chop up all our veggies. Cook them in a pan. Dump in your curry paste and coconut. Crack in some eggs and let simmer for a few minutes until your eggs are set. Then you magically have a healthyish meal full of vegetables! I came up with this recipe one lazy morning when I work up hungry, needed to eat something substantial, but all we had in the fridge was some leftover thai food and some half dead swiss chard. We had half a plastic tub of delicious red duck curry, but we had already pick out the good bits. No duck, eggplant, or peppers left. Just sauce and some onions and a rouge pineapple chunk. Eat the pineapple chunk out of the container, throw in some greens and some eggs, and you got yourself a brand new dish!! Red Curry Shakshuka was born! You can follow this recipe to make your own curry or you could also go the leftover thai food route if you're looking to not waste leftovers. Either way, it's going to be so wonderful and cozy.  


Red Curry Shakshuka

serves 4

Materials:

1 small white onion

2 bell peppers

2 medium Chinese eggplants

2 tbsp olive oil

1 - 4oz can of red thai curry 

1 - 13.5fl oz can of coconut milk

1 Tbsp brown sugar + more to taste

3 cups spinach

1/4 cup chopped thai basil + more for garnish

Salt and Pepper

4 eggs

Steps:

1. Let's prepare our veggies. Peel and chop your onion into crescent slices. De-stem and seed your bell peppers and cut into slices. Cut the eggplant into 1/4" slices. 

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and eggplant, season again with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add red curry paste and with a wooden spoon or spatula, mix into the veggies until evenly incorporated. Cook all the veggies for 5 minutes. The paste should be inherently spicy, so you don't need to add any extra heat.

3. Add coconut milk and brown sugar into the skillet and bring everything to a simmer.  Add spinach a handful at a time and the thai basil and mix into the skillet until wilted. Give it a taste and add more salt, pepper, or brown sugar if you feel like you need it.

4. Make little wells in the curry with the back of a spoon or bowl and carefully crack your eggs one at a time into the curry. Simmer the curry with the eggs until the eggs have set, about 15-20 minutes.

5. Remove the skillet from heat and allow to cool. Garnish with some thai basil leaves and serve up the curry with some rice or roti. Some crusty bread would be great too!


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