• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Coconut Bread

It’s that time of year again. Time to bundle up, fill the ovens with things that smell delicious, and enjoy the holidays. Since I went away to school, I’ve started a new tradition in my house on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning. I like to bake a deliciously decadent sweet bread. This tradition started with my attempted re-creation of a family favorite from my mother’s side of the family, a nut filled loaf called Kalacs. Next, it was Craquelin (one of my favorite recipes I learned in school), individual brioche buns filled with citrus infused sugar cubes.

This year, as I searched for a recipe, this one screamed out at me. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at, but easy to make, and it is just perfectly delicious. It’s not too sweet, but is wonderfully light, fluffy, and coconutty. I took this “practice loaf” into the office, and it was gone in roughly 2.5 seconds.

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Coconut Rice Pudding

I’ve been working late on some birthday cakes (soon to be seen in an upcoming post) and after I’m done, I’m wiped out. Tonight my roommate and I went to a local diner for dinner. As we got ready to pay the bill, she said “I think I’ll get some rice pudding to take home with us.” I said no way…there’s nothing better than homemade rice pudding.

And just like that, I was back in the kitchen again.

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Coconut Cream Pie Cake

I love an excuse to bake, but I rarely do it unless it’s for other people. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and the few tastes I get of batters and icings and such along the way is more than enough. But if I bake something, it tends to get eaten one way or another, which the other reason why I don’t bake without an occasion (Matt and I will polish up a plate of cookies just to get them off the kitchen counter). My friend Maggie’s birthday was the perfect excuse to make something I knew she’d love: a big coconut cake.

I called this cake “Coconut Cream Pie Cake” because it has the light layers of coconut cake filled with a creamy coconut custard and then topped with a fluffy white frosting. All together, this can seem daunting – to an apartment cooker or otherwise – because it has three separate components. But each recipe is very simple, and most can be made ahead. It’s a simple coconut cake. The custard filling is easier to make than pastry cream. And the frosting is a variation on the stand-by seven minute frosting (plus the coconut all around the outside makes icing the cake a breeze). If you take this cake one step at a time, you’ll be more than impressed with the results.

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Creamy Coconut Stir Fry

div>Matt and I rarely argue about food. We rarely argue at all, but he certainly (and most faithfully) eats whatever I plan to make. But yesterday he was in the mood for steak, and I was craving a Thai-inspired dish. So we did something we don’t normally do, we entered the store and later, the kitchen, divided. He made his steak, and I made a stir fry with crisp veggies and creamy coconut rice. Coconut water is something I love to use – it adds incredible coconut flavor without any fat, unlike coconut milk (another favorite ingredient). In the end, he cut me off a piece of his steak, and helped himself to a heaping spoonful of the rice. Because even when we do argue about food, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re hungry for more.

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Cherry Coconut Clafoutis

My parents are in town, and for a quick dinner we had fresh bread, cheese, veggies, and sausage from the farmer’s market. For a little sweet treat, I made a clafoutis to finish the meal. Absolutely no special equipment is required, just one small pan, a pie pan, and a couple bowls, which makes clafoutis is the perfect dessert for the Apartment Kitchen. It’s also super quick (10 minutes to prepare), very easy, and makes a sweet, creamy custard that’s perfect for highlighting all of summer’s best fruits.