Exploring vacant land options, looking at existing houses, and thinking about all of the what ifs, how-tos, and complications of all of it has been an all-encompassing distraction. This has been like planning the biggest, most expensive wedding ever–not good for work productivity or any other aspects of life outside of this crazy event. Thankfully, we had great architects who have helped us think through permits and building options, as well as explore the endless modifications to existing homes (and the realities of our budget). We also have two wonderful real estate agents, one of whom we’ve worked with through the buy and sale of the last two homes and been friends with for years. This process would be insane without all of them. And, much to our (or maybe, my) surprise, we fell in love with a house on a hill in West Seattle–it’s got a yard for the pup, a view that’s hard to beat, and pretty great mid-century style. So, we bought a house! What??!? Yes, we bought a house. It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. It’s all crazy, and it’s all exciting, and now it feels like the whole process is taking forever. This house is near-perfect and needs a little work to get it there for us; there will still be decisions and dust in our future. The last year has been roller coaster of ‘we’re remodeling’, ‘we’re selling’, ‘we’re building’, ‘we’re buying’, and, in the end, back to ‘we’re remodeling.’ Phew, bonkers!
Now I’m going to take a little break from thinking about the house, enjoy the long, sunny (**Finally!**) Memorial day weekend, and enjoy a little cocktail.
Little Rum, Little Love
Tools & Extras: Cocktail shaker, coupe glass
3/4 oz. Fresh lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Ruby Red grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. Simple syrup
1/4 oz. Campari
1 1/2 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Amaro Amorino (the newest release from Letterpress–and it’s delicious!)
Few dashes of Angostura Bitters
Grapefruit twist & a Luxardo Maraschino cherry
* Add the first six ingredients to a cocktail shaker; fill with ice and shake for 30 seconds.
* Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Twist or press the grapefruit peel over the cocktail to express the oil from the peel on the drink.
* Wrap the peel around a cocktail pick with a delicious little cherry.
* Enjoy while planning your long weekend…
The quiet moments on a weekend morning are some of my favorites, especially on sunny mornings like today. There’s sun streaming through the windows. Skip is still sleeping, our dog, Roux, is snuggled up with him while Milo keeps me company (and watches the crows with unrealistic expectations). The only sounds are the crows chatting away outside and the dishwasher—and an occasional kitchen timer. I’ve gotten in to the habit of making bread for the week on weekend mornings while I plan the meals for the weeks, the grocery list, and the general map of the day. It makes me feel so very productive! And, I can take a moment to fully appreciate the day and week ahead. So, it’s a win all around.
Speaking of the week ahead, this time next week, we’ll be in Hawaii! We’re heading to Ohau first and my parents will join us there from Louisiana on Sunday afternoon. Then, we’ll be relaxing in a house right on the beach! We’re spending about four and half days there before heading to Maui for another four and a half days. The next week will be crazy; lots of work stuff that needs to get done and lots of home stuff, too. It’ll be a stressful, go-go-go week that ends on the beach! So, I think to start the crazy week, I’m making cake—pineapple upside-down cake, to be specific. And, not just any old pineapple upside-down cake, but one that starts with a rum and coconut caramel, home-brandied Bing cherries, and fresh pineapple, and ends with a fluffy delicious cake.
Pineapple and rum: I’ll start and end my week with those two things. This should be a pretty good week after all.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1 1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 C dark rum*
2 Tblsp coconut milk
1 medium pineapple*
7-13 Maraschino or brandied cherries*
1 1/3 C cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 C sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature & cut into 1-inch pieces
1 vanilla bean pod*
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 C Greek yogurt, room temperature*
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Measure out the Greek yogurt, leave at room temperature while you prepare everything else.
- Grease an 9-inch cake pan with butter; set aside.
- Peel and core the pineapple. Cut into ¼-inch rings or half-rings; set aside. If the pineapple is especially juicy, pat the rings dry before using.
- Measure out all of the dry ingredients; set aside.
- Add the brown sugar and butter to a small, deep saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisking occasionally until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar is dissolved.
- Cook the caramel, whisking occasionally, until it pulls away from the sides of the pan—about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat; whisk in the rum. The mixture will bubble vigorously, just keep whisking for 1 minute. Return to the heat and whisk continuously for another minute.
- Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan, swirl to coat the pan evenly. Let cool completely before continuing.
- Arrange the pineapple rings/slices on top of the caramel. Add the cherries to the center of the rings.
- Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add to the sugar. Using your fingers, rub the vanilla and sugar together. Oh, and don’t toss out the pod after you remove the seeds, put the scraped vanilla pod in a cup of sugar and store for future use; the sugar will smell wonderful in just a few days and is a nice addition to coffee or tea or use to make a vanilla simple syrup.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in a medium bowl.
- Beat the vanilla sugar with the butter using an electric mixer until light and fluffy—about 6 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl; then beat the butter-sugar-egg mixture until doubled in volume but light and fluffy—about 2 minutes.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again, and beat for another minute.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the yogurt; begin and end with the dry ingredients.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the batter.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—about 1 hour.
- Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, invert the cake onto a large plate.
- The rum is optional but delicious; you can use an equal amount of coconut milk. The original recipe called for bourbon (and no coconut milk)–also optional but very delicious.
- Pineapple canned in juice can be used instead—just dry off the rings before using.
- The number of cherries depend on how you want the cake to look and how much you like cherries! I used some Bing cherries that we brandied and canned last year, but feel free to use any kind of cherries you have or leave them out.
- Two teaspoons of vanilla extract can be used instead of the vanilla bean.
- I used Ellenos Greek yogurt made here in Seattle—I’m a little addicted to the stuff!