Another Kitchen Conclusion post to start off 2018! This time, I’m highlighting two recipes from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine. Both just happen to involve ground cardamom and loaf pans.
Not a resolution per se, but I want to be better about cooking and baking from my plethora of cookbooks and magazines in general. And let’s not forget all the cookbooks that I take out of my local library. I also like to cook with people, and for people. It makes for a better incentive than just cooking for little ol’ me.
When my sister proposed that we bake the Milk Street Magazine’s pistachio cardamom cake on New Year’s Eve, I easily agreed. She had most of the ingredients while I had the flour. It went faster with two people. I handled the grinding of the pistachios and the other dry ingredients. She prepped the wet ingredients. We skipped the glaze because (1) we weren’t presenting this cake to anyone, and (2) neither of us needed the extra sugar.
The only criticism I have is the bake time printed. It said 325ºF for 50-55 minutes. As we were sliding the loaf pan into the oven, I had huge doubts about the bake time. It’s hard for me to say how long it took in total since I had to keep adding time, but it was probably about 70 minutes in my oven. No, my oven doesn’t run under-temperature. If anything, it’s usually running a few degrees higher than the displayed temperature.
Overall impression of the cake itself? Maybe we didn’t toast the pistachios long enough. The dominant flavors seemed to be orange and cardamom. I think I even tasted the tang of the Greek yogurt more than any pistachio flavor. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The cake was still very tasty. But for my sister who is a big fan of pistachio, it was a slight let down.
And then last week, while I was enjoying a day off from work, I decided to try the Milk Street Magazine recipe for brown butter cardamom banana bread. I’m generally not a huge fan of standard banana bread. I have a version with chocolate chips and cinnamon that I like, but that’s probably because the chocolate and the cinnamon tend to distract from the banana flavor. (Oddly enough, I love fresh bananas on their own.)
I did like the cardamom and banana combination. Ok, not more than chocolate and cinnamon, but I’m definitely willing to bake this one again. I also gave a few slices to a friend. Their reaction came back as favorable.
Having said that, I couldn’t taste the brown butter. Maybe I didn’t brown it enough? I mean better to under brown than to burn something, but maybe this is a theme in my kitchen. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to try again sometime.
In general, I find the Milk Street Kitchen recipes to be unintimidating and delicious. I like their use of bolder flavors. I have also made their savory sweet potato gratin with happy results, lest you think I only make desserts.
I definitely recommend giving them a try if you haven’t already.
Reference Links: Warning, depending on when you are reading this post, you may hit a paywall. If you want to see the recipes in full, I believe that they are both in the book Milk Street: The New Home Cooking. Chances are that your local library carries a copy!