All posts tagged “citrus

Sourdough Pancakes_Katherine Sacks
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Sourdough Pancakes

We spent the first part of the week in Austria, enjoying a few beautiful days of skiing and snowboarding in the alps. Back in Berlin, Wednesday felt like Monday and with only a couple of days for errands, work, and catch up, everything about our week seems a bit off. Thankfully we have a morning routine that includes plenty of exercise, healthy breakfasts of eggs and sautéed spinach, and green juice from our new cold press juicer, all of which has helped get us back on track. But I can’t help but already crave the weekends, which have become the time for longer runs, hikes in Brandenburg, and some indulging, which is where these fluffy pancakes come in.

When I said I wanted to get into bread last year, I had just met Malin, a talented baker who trades her bread for everything from artisan salts to horse back riding excursions with her bread exchange. Inspired, I decided to try my hand at sourdough and worked at creating a starter. After a nice sour start, my first bread fell flat and without much free time on my hands, I let the project go forgotten. But this December, my bread baking was renewed when my good friend Jes shared some of her restaurant’s 8-year-old starter! I managed to travel with it from California to Berlin and have been baking ever since. Expect more about all that in a future post.

This recipe comes thanks to the problem of the starter’s feeding cycle: everyday you encourage the natural yeast with fresh flour and water, and if you can’t bake everyday, you end up tossing out some of the original. Instead, thrifty bakers use the excess starter for everything from pizza dough and pop-overs to waffles and pancakes. Many recipes require an overnight resting of the dough—called a preferment or a poolish—which helps feed the yeast further and create an airy end product. I like this recipe because it is quick and yields wonderfully fluffy pancakes all the same. I add in the orange zest for a nice boost of floral sweetness. If you don’t have a starter but are interested, there are all sorts of helpful posts over on King Arthur’s blog to get you started and Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread and the folks at the Weekend Bakery are also very helpful. Read More

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Grapefruit Pound Cake

Grapefruit Pound CakeIf you’re a follower of this blog, then you may have noticed I’m a big fan of citrus. Lemons, tangerines, limes, kumquats, oranges—I love winter’s citrusy bounty. So when I came across this grapefruit cake earlier in the week, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I made it myself. We have company coming in April—TH’s parents are joining us in Berlin for a month that promises to be full of fun—so I’ve been stocking the freezer with snacks that will keep us all happily fed during slower moments. This cake fits the bill perfectly; it’s packed with bright, floral grapefruit flavor and has a super moist crumb, thanks in part to an after-bake, grapefruit syrup soak.

Pound cake gets its name from a simple ratio of ingredients, which also makes it one of the easiest recipes to memorize; the basic recipes calls for equal parts butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. I’ve cut the sugar here slightly—wanting more of a toasted breakfast pastry rather than after dinner treat—and the addition of yogurt lends a nice, tart flavor and helps create that moist crumb. Pound cake also keeps rather well in the freezer, toasting up again quite nicely. We’ve already nibbled on a piece, and it’s quite delicious, but the rest will go into storage until April. Perhaps next time, I’ll  split the recipe in half and bake two mini-loafs, one to eat and one to save!

Grapefruit Pound Cake Grapefruit Pound Cake, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Servings: 1 1 9×5 loaf pan, 8 to 10 slices
1 large grapefruit, zested and juiced
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
6 ounces butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Grease a loaf pan and dust with flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the grapefruit zest and sugar. Paddle mixture together for one minute to release the oil in the zest. Add the butter and mix together on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is light in color and fluffy. While mixing, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt. When butter-sugar mixture is creamy, reduce mixing speed and add one-third of the liquids. Combine until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Repeat with one-third of the dry ingredients, then continue with wet and dry ingredients until all of the mixture is combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the center is fully set. While baking, heat the grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until the sugar dissolves. When cake is finished, cool for 10 minutes, then carefully place on a cooling rack over a sheet tray. Pour the grapefruit syrup over the cake and cool.

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Citrus & Chanterelles in Santa Cruz

Gene Lester Santa Cruz Citrus Grove

My January trip to California may have been for work, but I was also able to spend a few rare days with my best friend Jessica while I was on the West Coast. As Chef de Cuisine of Los Gatos’ Manresa, Jes has an even busier schedule then me, so I felt lucky to catch her days off. But she stays busy even in her freetime, often foraging and helping out at the restaurant’s farm, Love Apple Farms. When she asked if I’d like to go looking for chanterelles and citrus, I jumped at the opportunity.

Which brought me, Jes, and a few of the friendly ladies from the Manresa kitchen to the Santa Cruz mountains looking for mushrooms. It had just rained, and the group was hopeful for a great catch. A bit naively, I expected a field full of mushrooms to greet me, ready for whatever enthusiastic picker was interested. Instead we climbed around the country side, using long sticks to search the ground beneath the trees.  I turned over a dried-out chanterelle, but didn’t find anything edible. The girls declared it a dud day in the end, but they still managed to fill up a container with mushrooms in a variety of shapes and sizes. The experience makes it very clear why mushrooms can be so expensiveit’s hard work to find them!

Chanterelle Foraging Santa CruzChanterelle Foraging Santa Cruz
After our mushroom foraging, we went back up the hill to Gene Lester’s incredible citrus grove. He grows an amazing variety of citrus (with nearly 500 trees!) including Mexican limes, Indio Mandarinquats, and Variegated Eureka Lemons. I walked around and tasted as many as I could: bright tangy kumquats, sweet nectarines, and bitter Meyer lemons. The majority (what I didn’t eat) went back to Manresa to be turned into jam, zest, mustards, sorbets, and more for their upcoming annual citrus dinner.

Just thinking about this day brings the citrus scent into my mind, a memory I always associate to my days living in California. Citrus season will soon come to an end, so if you live somewhere warm enough to find them growing locally, pick a few and think of me!

Gene Lester Santa Cruz Citrus Grove