lucerne

our time there was brief and not terribly eventful, but it was beautiful and the coffee alone was enough to make me reconsider my whole life plan: find a new job and adopt a new value system that will enable me to justify spending $5,000 on a swiss coffee maker. each time we had coffee, eggboy and i could do nothing more than sit and sip and let our eyes roll to the back of our heads as we tried to find new ways to voice our love for this dark sweet buttery coffee that was thick as soup and finished too soon. 

fondue can wait, order seven more coffees.

let's marry this coffee.

let's have babies with this coffee. 

let's hijack the keystone pipeline, reroute it from lucerne to east grand forks, and then make it carry this coffee.

our love and obsession turned into confusion towards american coffee. how is it possible that thin watery bottomless coffee exists all over the states when even the coffee in the innsbruck train station lobby makes me want to lie on the ground and cuddle with it all day?

i'll shut up now. and then go make a swiss coffee maker fund piggy bank at the paint your own pottery place. 

there's this other thing i want to tell you about! chügelipasteteli. it's my new favorite word. (even though for the longest time we called it chügelipügeli because we kept forgetting the second part of the word.) it's a lucerne specialty that's basically a mountain shaped chicken pot pie with veal and meatballs instead of chickens. it was the thing you want to eat most when it's cold outside and you're dusted with snow. the one that we had was decorated with puff pastry hearts, so yes, i was obsessed from the beginning. 

other goodies we ate in lucerne were eggboy's first döner, a bunch of marzipan, an easter tart, breakfast like there was no tomorrow, and, of course fondue. it was great fondue, smelly fondue. we were touristy about it and had it at a touristy place, but we were, after all, tourists. 

-yeh!

no-knead bacon bread

ok! i made you a pot of bread and then i used the pot to make you some soup and i didn't even wash it in between. nose-to-tail pot. or something? i don't know. 

a little while back, i had a layover in chicago like i so often do because the amount of places that i can fly directly to from fargo is approximately not that many at all, and mum showed up to keep me company on my layover with this gorgeous breathtaking rustic loaf of bread that was crusty and chewy and perfect with a slathering of egg salad. i couldn't stop eating it and inspecting its cute oblong shape. above all though, it was so shocking because if you know mum (and me) you know that our breads are usually very doughy and pillowy soft. always a challah, never a boule. hold the crust, add more sugar.

but as i sat outside of baggage claim and stuffed my face, mum went on about how she will not be making any other kind of bread ever again. this is her new favorite bread and every other bread can suck it. (she didn't really say that second part.) she went on to explain the process: there's no kneading necessary, no eggs or sugar or butter or oil, just a lot of patience, bread flour, and a dutch oven. it sounded a lot like how you prepare pizza dough. a big big cake of pizza dough. 

(oh did somebody say cake?)

so i obviously rushed home to begin work on my version of mum's bread. it has bacon, chives, and a lot of black pepper. you can use any other kind of salty meat, like pancetta, prosciutto, salami... but if you're as big of a fan of alliteration as i am, you'll use bacon. and if you really want to up the decadence ante, you can reserve the bacon fat and use it in place of butter on a hot fresh bread slice. oooh yeah, baby.

it's true, this recipe does take time, but none of the steps require that much effort at all. a little mixing here, a heavy dusting of flour there. it's the perfect recipe if you're binge watching kimmy schmidt and you need an excuse to get up every few episodes and do one simple brainless activity at a time. 


no-knead bacon bread

makes one loaf

ingredients

approximately 4 1/2 c bread flour

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tsp kosher salt

1 c + 6 tb warm water

8 oz bacon

2 tb chopped fresh chives

black pepper

clues

in a large bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, and the salt. stir in the water until combined. it will be very very very sticky. cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight, 12 hours or so. longer if you'd like. 

crisp up your bacon, pat off excess fat, and then give it a rough chop. sprinkle it into the bread dough, along with the chives and a heavy dose of black pepper. mix it a few times so that everything is generally incorporated (it doesn't need to be perfect, we just don't want too many bacon bits poking their heads out). lay down a clean kitchen towel on our counter and place a piece of parchment paper or a silpat on top of it. brush the parchment or silpat with a very thin layer of the bacon fat (or oil) and lay down a thick layer of flour, about 1/2-3/4 cup. scrape the dough onto the floured surface and use heavily floured hands to shape it into a round-ish blob. (again, it doesn't need to be perfect.) sprinkle the top with another thick layer of flour. brush another piece of parchment with oil, place it over the dough blob, and cover it all with another towel. let it sit for 1 1/2 hours.

during the last 1/2 hour of sitting time, preheat your oven to 450ºf, with a lidded dutch oven in it. (make sure your dutch oven and its lid are heat safe at 450ºf! also, i use a 2.75 qt dutch oven. you can certainly use a larger one, the loaf just won't be as tall as the one in these pictures since the dough will spread more.)

carefully remove the dutch oven from your oven and take off the lid. uncover the bread dough, stick your hand underneath it and flop it over into the dutch oven. (mum calls this step "scary and messy.") cover the dutch oven, stick it into your oven and bake for 30 minutes. remove the lid and then bake for another 15-20 minutes, until it is nicely browned on top. 

let it cool for about an hour, and then rip some off and dunk it into a bowl of soup.

a note on storing this: i get really paranoid about having meat things sitting out at room temperature for too long. so the way i've been storing this bread is that as soon as it cools, i slice it into single serving wedges, and put all of them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. i reheat it slice by slice briefly in the microwave, and then in the toaster or on the grill. it is *perfect* for avocado toast.


-yeh!


this bread is shown here with a great new thing: campbell's organic lentil soup! i really really like it for these reasons: it's very tasty, it doesn't require me to use my least favorite kitchen appliance (the can opener), and i know what all of the ingredients are without having to think hard or google anything. that is to say that there are no preservatives and it's made with organic ingredients. yes, this post is sponsored by campbell's, but truly, all of the soups in this new line that i've tried (there are six of them) have been wonderfully delicious and perfect with a slice of crusty bread. so go, put some bread dough in to rise and then run out to the store for some soup! 


wedding photos

last weekend i came home to a full bottle of our wedding champagne sitting on the counter and it was covered in dirt. it had been hiding in a bush since our wedding and eggdad had just dug it out as if it were some three-month long super awesome afikoman. yeah, go eggdad! i wonder what other kind of surprises we'll find leftover from the wedding. a stash of sprinkles? a stray bouquet? a small sriracha chicken pie?

the champagne on our counter was a reminder that it had been almost an entire two days since i went through our wedding photos, and i decided that i should probably do it again, with ice cream and chocolate tahini. i thought i'd be able to condense them down to fit into one post, but i could probably do an entire post on conga line photos alone, so for this one, i'm focusing on our group photos and the ceremony. 

our ceremony was short and to-the-point. we chose music that we loved, had one hell of an officiant (brother-in-law john!), and decided to sign our contract during the ceremony so that by the time that we smooched and mazel tov-ed, it was all official. 

here are some fun details, if you like wedding-y things and stuff:

dress // here it is! i got it at the wedding shoppe in st. paul.

eggboy outfit // "it's a wooly thing from nordstrom," is all that eggboy remembers. i got him a tie at macy's. he bought his shoes a long time ago at a market in china. 

rings // they came from sunday owl, an etsy shop that's owned by the sweetest human ever.

jewelry // all vintage, from mum and grandma. the crab brooch was given to my grandma by her mom when she moved here from china!

bridesmaids' dresses // i told them our wedding colors were chocolate, crumb cookie, and rosemary, and that they should find something that vaguely matched those and sparklies are a plus. they rolled in looking like the snazzy beautiful badasses that they are. and shoutouts to eggsister for securing those fur shawls from a costume department.

ceremony venue // the ceremony took place in what we call "the old shop." it's the oldest building on our farm and until the wedding, it was used for storage. and soon it will be used for my cake house. we hung a zillion feet of garland, lit some candles, and let the natural light shine through the windows.

ceremony music // i walked down the aisle to the fugue from bach's c major partita, played brilliantly by our very good friend sam. (i don't think i'll ever again be able to listen to that without tearing up.) pops whipped out his clarinet for the processional, an arrangement of the second minuet from mozart's gran partita. i truly could not have asked for more. 

officiant // brother-in-law john got ordained on the internet and made everyone in the room cry, it was perfect. he even wore fur because i told him to look game of thrones chic.

flower girl // sister mia was not our flower girl, but our rosemary girl! i made her a felt crown because it's not a hipster wedding without a felt crown.

blankets // mum and i picked out blankets and leather labels and then eggmum sewed em all on. it was our peace offering to those guests who had flown to north dakota from california and other warmer places during the dead of winter.

huppa // eggboy made it using trees from our yard!

signs // eggsister painted them using wood from around the farm.

flowers // ok, we had the prettiest wildflowers in our garden last summer and we thought and thought about how we could build a greenhouse to grow flowers for our wedding and then make our bouquets. sometime between the fifth and sixth time that we "decided to elope," i stopped into all seasons to order some bouquets. my bouquet got some extra love when stoop gave me a piece of lace from her wedding dress to pin onto it.

boutonnieres // my bridesmaids made them with rosemary and burlap! and eggboy's got a snipping of our succulent. 

sprinkles // we handed out packets of rainbow sprinkles for guests to throw at us after we smooched, because why throw rice when you could throw sprinkles?????

-yeh!


all photos by chantell ziegler!

tahini cupcakes with chocolate tahini frosting

good heavens, i was such a such a grown-up this weekend! i did laundry, ironed linens, filed taxes... i even improvised a cream spinach recipe! oyoyoy i don't know how grownups do it. there is always some house thing to be done, and as soon as you think you've finished, suddenly another six soap dispensers are empty and you have to go around and refill them, and suddenly another meal time rolls around and you can't justify microwaving another frozen burrito. can't i just watch kimmy schmidt all day? do i need a dog to help keep the floor clean? maybe one of those roomba vacuums? 

(side note: i don't know how i went so long without creamed spinach. wow! creamed spinach is good.)

behind all of my kvetching, what i'm really saying is that for the first time in what feels like a very long while, eggboy and i had a nice normal weekend at home. even though i miss my camp friends and my schnitzel friends, it feels so good to be farm humans again, back around the eggs and frank underwood and my brunch club volleyball homies. i missed grand forks. 

and it doesn't hurt that it was effing 70 degrees out! this time last year we were hunkering down for a blizzard, but now eggboy and eggdad are getting the tractors ready for planting and the idea of a two-harvest season has been bouncing around, oh it makes me so excited. that's only happened once in the last 70 years, but if this outrageously early spring remains, maybe it could happen again??? i don't know anything. i probably just jinxed it. 

it occurred to me that i haven't made a cupcake in a few weeks, and i feared that my cupcake frosting muscle memory was fading. you too? ok, let's make cupcakes. here are some little guys that appear to be your basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, but they are more than that! they are nutty and tahini-y and moist and i swear if one of you can find me a synonym for moist, i will love you forever. the chocolate frosting is nice and fluffy, it plays very well with this super soft cake. this is not your average cupcake, this is a cupcake that says, happy tuesday, you sophisticated grownup! 


tahini cupcakes with chocolate tahini frosting

makes 20-22 cupcakes

ingredients

cupcakes:

2 1/4 c sugar

2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

2 tb flavorless oil, like canola

6 tb tahini

3/4 c water

frosting:

1 c unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c tahini

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt

a pinch of cinnamon

clues

make the cupcakes:

preheat oven to 350. line and grease two cupcake pans and set them aside.

in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and tahini. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. stir in the water. pour into cupcake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes.

let cool for a few minutes in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

make the frosting:

beat together the butter and tahini. beat in the cocoa powder, and then the powdered sugar. add vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. taste and make adjustments as desired. 

frost your cupcakes, add sprinkles, and enjoy!


-yeh!

this post features goodies from one of my very favorite new stores, wilson and willy's! they're based in minneapolis and they sell the coolest, most beautiful american-made goodies, like those bowls and linens in the above photos, and a kickass hackwith + faribault line. i am so in love with this store and you guys should be too!