Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake + Tomato Alfredo Pasta

Today was the first day of grand rounds and clinic (for me) for the year. Which also means…break from the floors!! Early arrival home!! Which is so so necessary. Last week I went straight through (as did my R2) and I think we were both pretty exhausted. Unfortunately, my one patient on my list for clinic was a no show. 😦 No one wants the noob doctor to see them. But I got to see one of my R2’s return OBs it was just good to be able to see how things in clinic work since it’s on a completely different computer system than I’m used to on my current block.

Anyways, got home early. Really early. I got to do some real life things like cancel a credit card, pay bills, set up online payment, clean off my ridiculous table covered with rounding papers. And I also attempted to cook. 

There’s a grocery store about 0.2 miles away from me, so I just took a quick trip, picked up some ingredients I didn’t have and popped back home. Of course, being a terrible cook and baker, I didn’t really read the whole recipe. For either dish. And had to improvise here and there…I think things turned out okay. Haven’t really tried the breakfast cake yet. 

Anyways! These are recipes I found on Pinterest. I’m always looking for healthy quick easy things to eat (grab and go) for the morning and easily packable for lunch (non sandwich!). Found the buttermilk breakfast cake recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen and it seemed pretty easy. Until I tried it. Okay to be honest, it’s not difficult. Here’s the recipe from her site.

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Now…my first mistake. Was not having any mixing bowls. So I was just using the largest bowls (ramen size maybe) I had to mix things. I also did not have a whisk or any sort of electric mixer. So I used…chopsticks. And then…I did not put the butter out early so it was not at room temp. To fix that, I somewhat chopped it up and mixed it in with the sugar, then put it outside on my mini balcony/porch where I attempted to have the 100 degree weather soften it up. Worked ok I think. My salt was also not kosher, and I used less lemon zest than they indicated. Maybe some more blueberries. In any case, I also did not have a square pan. Only 9×13. So I ghettofied it and made my own version with aluminum foil. 

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Square enough!!! While that was baking, I started attempting the Tomato Alfredo Pasta, which I found from Kitchen Trial and Error through Pinterest as well. I LOVE LOVE pasta. Especially “stabbable” pasta – the only kind I like to eat with a fork. Apparently no one calls this kind of pasta “stabbable” and I just made it up. Her recipe is below.

creamy tomato pasta
alfredo sauce adapted from cook’s illustrated
30 minutes, serves 4

for the tomato sauce –
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 9 medium)
1 small onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
olive oil

for the alfredo sauce –
(if you want to lighten it up, halve the alfredo and keep the tomato sauce the same)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup half & half
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 pound farfalle or other short cut pasta

  1. bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. start the tomato sauce. bring a large pot of water to boil. score the bottom of the tomatoes, blanch in the boiling water for about a minute, cool and peel. discard skins. roughly chop tomatoes and set aside.
  3. in a small saucepan, sweat the minced onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  4. add the tomatoes to the onion and garlic. if you want a thin sauce like mine, blend the sauce with an immersion blender. cook about 15 minutes until thickened.
  5. while the tomato sauce thickens, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
  6. while the pasta and tomato sauce are cooking, make the alfredo sauce. melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. whisk in the flour until smooth and cook about 2 minutes, until brown.
  7. whisk in the milk, half & half, and garlic and season with salt & pepper. continuously whisking, bring to a simmer and cook about 2 minutes until thickened. fish out the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.
  8. whisk in the parmesan. the sauce will be very thick, so add 1/3 cup of the hot pasta cooking water to the alfredo sauce to thin it out a bit. remove from heat.
  9. drain the pasta and add to the alfredo sauce.
  10. mix the basil into the tomato sauce and add the tomato sauce to the pasta. mix well.

I for one, did not follow it exactly. I used 3 large tomatoes and just store bought the alfredo. I did happen to make the tomato sauce from scratch though. And it turned out pretty well. I hate raw tomatoes, but I love tomatoes in sauces, salsas, chunky tomatoes in sauces, etc. If you’re going to use store bought alfredo sauce, I recommend just putting the whole jar in. I didn’t exactly measure things as accurately as in the original recipe, but I think without adding any salt to the tomato sauce, you’ll need the saltiness/richness from the alfredo to balance out the fresh tomatoes. 

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Final product there…before I went back and added the rest of the alfredo. I think you can adjust it to your own liking though. I love pastas with lots of sauce for the most part…and I love cheese so that worked out well for me.

I actually baked the breakfast cake 10 minutes longer (as she had said!) and went by color more than the toothpick stick. Partly because I don’t have any toothpicks here. Still deficient in many normal household goods..

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Not bad though eh? Now I have breakfast for the rest of the week! And lunch for a bit at least. 🙂 Baking is supposed to be pretty exact, but a little bit of improvising couldn’t have hurt that much right? I haven’t tasted it yet though…so who knows…

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