Photo © Gerard Van Halsema
Here, the blogs you should be reading right now with recipes and tips from their creators.
The Blog: Delightful Crumb
San Francisco Bay Area-based Stacy Ladenburger writes about her unabashed love for toast and cake, along with the occasional meatless meal.
What makes the perfect toast and what are your favorite ways to top it?
Good bread is key. I prefer a sturdy sourdough like Josey Baker’s. You’ve got to toast it well, and carefully—I’ve burned my fair share by not paying attention! One of my best toast tricks is rubbing the still-hot bread with the cut side of a garlic clove.
My favorite topping, perfect for both dinner parties and busy weeknights, is ricotta topped with seasonal produce: figs, peaches, sautéed spring onions, roasted squash. I like to punch up the ricotta with the zest and juice of a lemon and finely chopped herbs, and I finish the whole thing with olive oil, flaky sea salt and lots of cracked pepper.
Avocado is another great option. Mash it on top of your garlicky toast, and you’ve got dinner! A fried egg, crumbled feta and tomato are welcome additions. I also love sautéing leeks or zucchini until exceedingly tender, then piling them on top of gently scrambled eggs. Oh, and yogurt and jam! It sounds strange, but it’s so good.
You say in your bio that you love simple cakes? Why simple? What are your favorites?
I do! I actually wrote about this along with the very first recipe on my blog. There’s something so comforting and old timey about this kind of cake, I think. It’s evidence that baking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to have a delicious, meaningful result. I love a stunning layer cake as much as the next girl, but there’s something special about the ordinariness of a cake that requires little work and nourishes you for days. It doesn’t hurt, either, that it is appropriate as dessert, breakfast or an accompaniment to afternoon coffee.
One favorite is the Strawberry Cornmeal Loaf I came up with this summer—those jammy pockets of berries are a dream. I’m also quite fond of Rose Carrarini’s Lemon Cake and Dorie Greenspan’s fantastically simple Swedish Visiting Cake.
I saw you had quite the fig obsession this summer and fall. What do you think will be your ingredient obsession this winter? Any thoughts on what you will make?
It’s true, but can you blame me? Figs are magical! I think the more humble squash is next. I’ve had a busy fall, and I’m addicted to the ease of chopping up squash, putting it into the oven and having the makings of dinner in an hour. I like to toss it with fresh herbs and arugula, place it atop a scoop of farro or quinoa and garnish with lots of goat cheese and toasted pepitas. In the important realm of baked goods, I already made cake; now I’m dreaming of a festive scone.
Also, as a Michigan transplant in Northern California, I am giddy about local citrus and pomegranates. There will be epic salads this winter, to be sure!
What are your three favorite food blogs right now?
Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette was the first blog I loved, and she’s still as charming as ever. I’m always thrilled to see a new post.
The Sprouted Kitchen consistently offers appealing recipes, striking images and honest reflections. Sara [Forte] is such a lovely person, and it comes through in every post.
I assisted Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food with her forthcoming cookbook, and the woman is a gem. She’s an incredible photographer—I admired her through her blog long before we met.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.