Food Experience

Dan and I just spent a long weekend in Seattle, eating our way through some amazing places. We had recommendations for so many spots and got to explore Ballard, Fremont, and Capitol Hill as we ate our way through them all. It was a treat and a half.

I’ve visited before and ate at the wonderful Sitka & Spruce which I was sad to miss on this trip. Instead, we ate the best chocolate croissants we’ve ever had at Cafe Besalu (and some damn good quiche to boot); had a gut-busting breakfast at the awesome Skillet Diner (order The Little Rob); stumbled upon what we later learned was a Seattle institution (the $1.50 burger, fries, and perfect strawberry milkshake were totally of another era and tasted AMAZING); and finally, on our last night we found great sushi and sashimi at Umi Sake House (it was sushi or bust by that point, I tell you).

Now that I’m back and the weather is promising to start changing, I’m looking forward to cooking again. It’s been a summer of little kitchen action (and hence, little blogging action). I’ve missed this space and I hope to be back soon.

P.S. More pictures of non-food stuff over here, if you’re interested.

Houston-Style Green Salsa

August 8, 2012

We’ve been on a green salsa kick recently. Cooking still doesn’t sound that fun so instead we’ve been coming home, cracking a beer, and eating way too many chips with this salsa. It’s rillyrilly good.

It’s up to you, of course, to make it as spicy as you like. Our first batch was good but thicker than we wanted and nowhere near hot enough. The second batch (and I should note, this is most definitely a Dan-led initiative) is the recipe you see below. We used two hot peppers and left the seeds in – actually we just lopped off the stems and threw them into the blender whole – plus we added a pinch of cayenne pepper.

The avocado and sour cream do an amazing job of bringing some creamy balance to the heat of the peppers but it’s certainly got a kick so cold beers are advised :)

Houston-Style Green Salsa
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook


  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, seeds removed (or left in!)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp sour cream


  1. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and drop them whole into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer them from the pot to the blender.
  2. Remove the pit and scoop out the avocado flesh. Add it to the blender along with the garlic, onion, peppers, lime juice, and sour cream.
  3. Blend until you reach desired consistency.
  4. Add cilantro, cayenne, and a large pinch of salt, pulsing once or twice to combine.
  5. Leftovers will keep several days in the fridge. Yields 2 cups.

I like to think of this little space on the internet as somewhere I can be honest. I mean, sure I urge you to put bacon in your cookies, throw rad chicken wing parties, and wax lyrical about roast potatoes. But I also wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the people and places I love.

There are times when it’s not all perfect cakes and dainty scones. There are times when things go completely and utterly belly up.

If the title of this post tells you anything, it’s that the lovely little cupcakes you see before you are not primarily what we’re here to talk about today. These sweet little bites of loveliness came about as a result of a massive kitchen failure.

I made Dan a birthday cake a couple of weeks ago. He’s not a massive cake fan (who did I marry?!) and so this was the first time he had actually requested anything. He asked for carrot cake and I was stupidly excited to bake it for him. But it flopped. Miserably.

I imagine you might like to know what went wrong so as to avoid the same disaster that befell me. Well, I made the rookie move of trying to bake it in a different type of pan. The pan had the same volume as the original called for and so, I imagined, the cake would not be affected. How wrong I was. I ended up with an un-cooked cake (despite having tested it before removing it from the oven) that literally collapsed in a soggy mess before my eyes.

Friends, I cried.

I dunno, I just kind of take cake seriously. As someone who adores cake – eating it and making it – it’s hard to see things go wrong, especially when it’s for a special occasion or a special person. I know, of course, that it’s only cake and that it really did not matter, but ahhh, I so wanted that cake to turn out!

A few days later, once I’d picked myself up and dusted myself off, I decided to bake these cupcakes, solely to act as a vehicle for the cream cheese icing I’d already made, because I couldn’t bear for it to be wasted (you know me).

Somehow, I suspect through witchery or magic, I didn’t ruin anything; there were no tears. These are lovely, amazing cupcakes. And so there isn’t really a great moral here. Only a chance for me to say, hi! I’m human and I wreck things!, which kind of feels like a great thing to share.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
cupcake recipe via Sweetapolita

For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

For the cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams/6.5 ounces) self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (160 grams/5.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/227 grams/8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

For the cream cheese icing


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz/ 113.4g butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar


  1. Beat together room temperature cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and icing sugar and continue to beat until smooth.