In case you didn’t notice, there’s been some changes around the ol’ blog. After 6 long years with blogger, I finally made the transition to wordpress. So much has changed in the past few years that I felt like the old design couldn’t accommodate; I started First We Eat (Carey and I’s workshop company), made a podcast, began co-hosting Secret Supper pop-up dinners, moved, wrote a cookbook…it was a lot. And I had a hard time getting any of it to fit on the old site in a way that made sense. It was like still trying to wear sundresses and rainbow sandals everyday in Portland after moving out of LA; it was effective at one time, but the situation around it had changed drastically to the point where it was no longer a good fit. I felt like I needed a design that provided balance for me, since I’ve been lacking that in my personal life lately, and I’m hoping that if it starts here it can help me manifest it elsewhere, too. I am very excited to share this recipe for Pluot Financiers with you guys… But first a few more updates!
Some other updates around the old blog include a new little about me video that Jeremy made (if you’re interested he makes them for all sorts of companies and you can reach him here), and an updated recipe archive that has actual pictures and a very in-depth drop-down menu 😀 Part of the reason why I’ve been so busy is that I’m working on another cookbook, called My Adventures in Cooking, with Abrams books. I am so incredibly excited to be working on a book that’s more in line with my blog and the types of recipes I love making. I’ve been busy cooking from my garden and creating delicious seasonal treats to fill it with for the past few months, and balancing that with freelance work, traveling for workshops, hosting pop-up dinners, and remodeling the second floor of our home has been difficult to put it mildly. I’ve taken an unintentional break from our podcast, not because I don’t enjoy doing it, but because I just couldn’t get the time together to research, record, and edit it between everything else that’s been going on. I love nerding out about food science, and it was such a great excuse for me to dive deep into topics like the biological process behind charcuterie or what’s actually in hot dogs (seriously guys, it’s a mystery I’m determined to get to the bottom of). I’m pretty bummed that we ended up taking a break and I miss doing it *so much*, so I’m going to try my best to get my act together and dive back in headfirst.
I also feel like I haven’t been posting much here lately aside from sponsored blog posts that I’m contractually obligated to do. I do my best to try and incorporate them as organically as possible and provide you guys with great recipes that go along with whatever I’m working with (i.e. tasty goat’s cheese or rich olive oils), but I know that sometimes you just want a good recipe and food pics without a brand name being thrown in your face, and I totally get that. I don’t want to become one of those food blogs that only puts posts up when they’re being paid for it, promoting nonsensical things like cat food and armchairs, and end up with no substance, some pretty pictures, and a bunch of pedantic fluff writing. All I want is to provide you guys with great recipes, home garden and travel tips, and peeks at fun stuff that I’m doing like the Secret Suppers (yum!) and photography workshops. I do need to pay my bills and keep my mortgage in check, so there will be sponsored posts from time to time, but if you ever have an issue with any of them for whatever reason, just let me know. This blog is here both for me and you, and I want it to be a place where you feel happy.
As for being happy, it’s been a bit of a struggle for me this year – some personal things have happened that were kind of a bummer, but a lot of great career things have happened to help make up for it. I don’t know if this is just me, or it is more of a universal thing, but I feel like when something great happens that I’ve been looking forward to, instead of just enjoying that moment and basking in the success of it, I immediately start thinking of and planning out the next thing to do. Like the upstairs remodel, for example. It’s nearly done and I am super excited about how well it all came together, but instead of just letting my brain enjoy it for a bit, I’m already analyzing how we should tackle the basement next summer. I just wish I could make my brain go on vacation or something and stop trying to plan things all the time. It’s exhausting. I know I should start meditating, and I tried one of those meditation app trials and it was great, until I stopped because it wanted me to pay, and because I was in bed and didn’t have my credit card I figured I do it later, and then promptly got too busy to remember to sit down and fill in this app with my billing info. That’s a big part of why I like cooking and gardening, I think; it’s one of the few times my mind gets quiet enough for me to just enjoy the task at hand, whether it’s kneading dough or sowing seeds, and I can just do and enjoy that one thing in that moment without thinking about the next thing that needs to be checked off the to-do list.
Sorry if this is too much ‘feeling’-type stuff, sometimes it just feels good to vent and get your neurosis out there so you know you’re not alone in them (I hope). To reward you for reading through my brain thoughts, let’s circle back to the recipe I’m sharing for some pretttty financiers made with a variety of summer pluots. Financiers are little cakes made with almond meal, flour, vanilla bean, butter, and sugar. Sounds good, right? They’re traditionally made into little bar-shapes, and since they bake up gold, they look like little gold bars, hence the name ‘financier’, which roughly translates to an investment baker in French. Regardless of their name, they’re tasty little guys, and make for adorable little mini-cakes when baked in a muffin tin. I browned the butter in this recipe to give them a slightly toasted flavor, and placed a thin slice of pluot on each one to add a little punchy sweet flavor. You can feel free to switch out the fruit, though, and use peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, cherry halves, etc. It will taste good with pretty much any kind of ripe fruit. Hope you all enjoy these financiers, and that you like exploring the new site 🙂
- 6 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod (cut lengthwise)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (plus more for garnish)
- 1 cup finely ground almond meal
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 egg whites
- 1 large pluot (thinly sliced)
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter until it turns a light amber color and smells nutty and toasted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and scrape the paste in the vanilla bean pod into the butter. Toss the vanilla bean husk in there as well and let it sit for 20 minutes to infuse the flavor throughout the butter. Remove and discard the husks.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the powdered sugar, almond meal, cake flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla butter mixture and stir until combined.
Pour the mixture into a well-greased muffin pan, filling the wells about 3/4 full. Bake at 450 for 7 minutes, then quicky remove the pan and place a thin pluot slice on top of each financier. Place the pan back in the oven, lower heat to 400, and bake another 7 minutes. Turn the oven off and let them rest for an additional 7 minutes inside the oven before removing them and allowing them to cool to room temperature.
Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of powdered sugar and serve.