From the Kitchen #05: Peppermint Bark Sheet Cake 🍫
Plus, what I made for the food holiday and notes on soup.
For whatever reason, or because I am a control freak, I am constantly hosting extravagant meals at our apartment. From the Sunday aperitivos, for which I make maybe six little things, to this past Thanksgiving, when I spent two full days in the kitchen. We have a small, 20-inch oven with one rack in which air doesn’t circulate, heating everything from below, but I host as though I have a huge marble island and two ovens, plus a broiler and an extra fridge somewhere. I am the culinary embodiment of fake it till you make it (to the kitchen of your dreams)—only the food and the schlep are real.
I love it, though! I do! I love to have people around our table, whether they come at the start time on the dot or use us as an excuse to exit family activities. I love to bring pie around afterwards, to Israel’s mom and our friend who had to leave early for a bar shift. I love the holidays, and I love using food to make a holiday out of any random day.
But yes, I went overboard this time, making five pounds of potatoes for the mash, roasted okra and carrots, kale and goat cheese galettes, sazón-spiced oyster mushrooms, a roasted whole eggplant with rice and chickpeas, a green salad, pumpkin pie, pumpkin custard, and molasses shortbread. Israel made bread, having spent most of the day hyper-focused on our Christmas tree.
I got through all the leftovers, ending with a pumpkin soup. I had about a cup and a half of pumpkin puree leftover, as well as about half a can of coconut milk open from making the below white chocolate frosting. So I cut up a small onion, chopped some garlic, and peeled a long piece of ginger. I heated olive oil in my favorite Staub Dutch oven over medium heat, tossed in the onion, and let it soften. Then I added the garlic and ginger, along with the new Pisqueya adobo (2 teaspoons), Floyd Cardoz Garam Masala (1 teaspoon), and Diaspora Co. Byadgi Chilli (1/2 teaspoon). Then I tossed in a quarter cup of Eat Loisa sofrito, letting it all get nice and saucy.
Once it was a coherent base, I added the pumpkin and coconut milk, turned the heat very low, and let it simmer while I dealt with this cake. Taste for salt; add if needed (I threw in a couple of pinches of Pineapple Collaborative’s The Salt, but you could also do a couple of tablespoons of veggie broth if you’ve got it.) When it had reduced nicely, I took the immersion blender to it—with broth, it’ll definitely get smoother, but I didn’t have any.
Now I’ll eat it with some baguette and a little leftover cranberry sauce to temper its excellent heat, plus some scallion a neighbor dropped off. It will thicken in the fridge because of the coconut fat, but once reheated thins out again.
Now, for the cake! The main event!