December 2022 » Hummingbird High

photo of michelle from hummingbird high typing on a laptop

Hello!

How was everybody’s Thanksgiving holiday? Did everybody survive the cooking marathon?

Erlend and I traditionally celebrate with an “Asian-style” Thanksgiving. We usually swap out the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner for an Asian-y main and sides. In years past, we’ve celebrated with Peking duck (we tried making it at home without great results, and eventually just resorted to ordering takeout from the many amazing Chinese places when we lived in San Francisco and New York). If you’re really curious about what that looks like, you can see the Asian-style Thanksgivings I blogged about in 2014 and 2015.

In the past few years, however, we’ve swapped the duck for Korean bo ssam. Erlend likes to use the recipe from the momofuku cookbook (which is also available on the New York Times Cooking website), while I prepare the sides and dessert. This year, I made scallion buttermilk biscuits (I added scallions to my favorite biscuit recipe from Bon Appetitthough I’m not sure I would recommend doing so—the biscuits didn’t rise as well) with gochujang hot honey butter, a meat-less version of this steak salad with fish sauce and mint (I swapped out the steak for roasted butternut squash), and Korean corn cheese (with a recipe I adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon).

For dessert, I deviated from our Asian theme. I was originally going to make one of my favorite Thanksgiving pies—either my version of Libby’s classic pumpkin pie, this chocolate chess pie, or this black bottom chocolate pecan pie—but I had this intense craving for banana pudding. Specifically, the famous banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. I hunted down the recipe, and whipped up a big enough batch to feed more than a dozen people. It was delicious, but I was seriously giving away pints of the stuff for days. I’m thinking of developing a small batch version of the recipe to publish on Hummingbird High next year. What do you guys think? I’m personally stoked!

What To Expect on Hummingbird High in 2023

Now that it’s December and we’re about to wrap up 2022, I want to tell you about some changes I’m making next year:

Today’s update post—with a recap of my past month, round-ups of my favorite recipes, stories, and more—is likely going to be the last you’ll see from me in this space.

But don’t worry! I’ll still publish new recipes on Hummingbird High. I just want to exclusively focus my time and energy on recipe development.

But if you guys like these sorts of recaps and link sharing, please let me know! I’ve long considered starting a more casual and personal email newsletter with similar content. So please let me know if that’s something you’re interested in and would want to subscribe to!

In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts

Here’s a list of everything I published on Hummingbird High in November. I actually didn’t spend a lot of time developing new recipes—instead, I focused on making quick tutorials for popular Thanksgiving recipes:

  • Swedish Princess Layer Cake. This was one of the new recipes I published last month in celebration of Hummingbird High‘s 11th birthday!!! I still can’t believe I’ve been baking for this blog since 2011. Wild. Watch a sneak peek of the recipe on Instagram spirit TikToktoo.
  • Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Made Better!). An old(ish) but gold recipe on Hummingbird High that’a popular every Thanksgiving! It’s basically the classic Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe on the back of a can, but with some very minor updates (like pre baking the crust and waterproofing it! and adding an extra egg to the filling!) to make it better. Watch a sneak peek of my updates to the recipe on Instagram spirit TikTok.
  • Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls. I developed this recipe exclusively for my Patreon supporters; learn more below! Watch a sneak peek of the recipe on Instagram spirit TikToktoo.
  • Pumpkin Pie, Your Way. AllRecipes interviewed their favorite bakers (including yours truly!) about our favorite ways to customize a simple pumpkin pie recipe. You made mine with a toasted meringue marshmallow topping! Highly recommended.
  • Chocolate Chess Pie. Another Thanksgiving favorite on Hummingbird High. Even despite my loyalty to my version of the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe, I’m not the biggest pumpkin pie girlie. I’d much rather have this chocolate chess pie (which I would’ve made for Thanksgiving, had my craving for banana pudding not destroyed my appetite for everything else). Watch a sneak peek of the recipe on Instagram spirit TikTok.
  • Black Bottom Chocolate Pecan Pie. After the chocolate chess pie, this might be my favorite Thanksgiving pie. The recipe instructs you to add a layer of chocolate ganache to the bottom of a traditional pecan pie. Why? The chocolate “waterproofs” the pie crust against the pecan filling, keeping it crispy. Plus, you get chocolate in your pecan pie filling! Learn more on Instagram spirit TikTok.
  • How To Get Rid Of Bubbles In Your Pumpkin Pie Filling. My friend Erin from Cloudy Kitchen taught me this neat trick! Usually, after you’ve poured your pumpkin pie filling into the pie shell, you get a ton of bubbles in the filling. Although the bubbles don’t affect the pumpkin pie’s taste, they do make it ugly. So if you’re OCD like me and want everything to look picture-perfect, watch the video on Instagram spirit TikTok for a very cool trick on how to get rid of them!

An Update About Hummingbird High‘s Patreon Account

I first started my Patreon account in March 2020, as a direct response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a scary time for a lot of people (on a lot of different levels!).

Speaking specifically from the perspective of Hummingbird High, it was a rough time financially. Many of the companies I worked with decided to pause or halt their upcoming projects, amounting to a third of my projected income for the year disappearing overnight. Ad revenue on the website declined significantly, with many companies withdrawing their advertising campaigns. And to add even more stress and uncertainty to my financial situation, my husband got furloughed from his healthcare job as a physical therapist (which was deemed a non-essential medical service at the time).

So to help mitigate these financial blows, I decided to start up my Patreon account. I watched as many of you rallied to support my work in so many different ways. Many of you enthusiastically signed up for the different tiers, even opting out of the free books and sprinkles. And most importantly, all of you provided such helpful feedback—not only on my recipes, but also on ways to better run the Hummingbird High community and make it better for all.

And while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last two years together, I believe that it’s time for this chapter of Hummingbird High to close. The worst of the pandemic appears to be over, and you helped Hummingbird High—and me!—survive through all of it. I cannot stress how amazing you all were, and how grateful I was (and still am and will be, forever and ever) for everything.

Next Steps For Current Patreon Supporters

I’m planning on shutting down my Patreon account at the end of the month on December 31, 2022. If you’re a Patreon member, be sure to visit the Patreon post for more details! But here’s a TL/DR until then:

  • I’ll leave my Patreon account live until March 31, 2023; however, I won’t be updating it with any new content.
  • My plan is to eventually publish all existing Patreon recipes for FREE on www.hummingbirdhigh.com. That’s right! Popular Patreon recipes like this one for Earl Gray Tiramisu and this one for Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls will eventually be published in full on Hummingbird High. So keep following along on www.hummingbirdhigh.com to see those eventually roll out!
photo of earl gray tiramisu in a white casserole dish with a scoop taken out
small batch cinnamon rolls

Food For Thought

This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:

  • “Food Prices Soar, and So Do Companies’ Profits” in The New York Times. A few months ago, when I got back from my trip to England, I posted a rather controversial Instagram Story series on @hummingbirdhigh. Specifically, I was complaining that the same carton of Oatly milk costs twice as much in the United States (where it costs $4.99 USD) as it did in an upmarket supermarket in a hip part of London (where it costs $2.24 USD).

    A few followers who worked in the agricultural and supermarket industries DMed me thoughtful messages that helped explain the price disparities, as well as rapidly rising costs in the United States. They pointed to supply chain issues, rising prices of raw ingredients and materials, and increased/unpredictable demand brought about by the pandemic.

    While I agree that those are real issues that are aggravating problems, it’s also eye-opening to read the New York Times article I linked to above. The article reports that many food companies are experiencing record profits, with profits coming from the increased prices of their goods and services. Specifically, they’ve increased their prices so much that it’s more than made up for any cost increases brought about by the increases in ingredients, materials, labor, and everything else.

    I don’t have much to say other than this: so when exactly are we starting the revolution?

  • “The Great British Bake Off Backlash Has Reached a Boiling Point. Can the Show Be Saved?” in Time Magazine. I’m the kind of person who waits for all the episodes of The Great British Bake Off to air, and then binges them all at once. But unfortunately doing so means that I get to hear about all the controversies—like Mexican Week!—without really seeing or understanding the full context.

    And after watching so many TikToks and reading many think-pieces (like this one! or this one!) about how offensive Mexican Week was, I braced myself for the worst. But then I watched the entire season over Thanksgiving and realized it wasn’t so bad? Like, yes, Paul Hollywood definitely did the contestants a disservice by making them COOK tacos as opposed to bake something… but all in all, the contestants were respectful and knowledgeable on the challenges that gave them the opportunity to research the cuisine and country beforehand.

    So while I do think that The Great British Bake Off is past its prime (they really should’ve quit when Mary Berry, Mel, and Sue departed the show), I think most of the issues and criticisms can be attributed to the judges. We need some fresh, young judges on the show—the kind who don’t think that peanut butter and jelly or maple and bacon is a bizarre combination, and are well-traveled enough to have tried Japanese cheesecake and know that bao is Chinese ( not Japanese). idk Just my two cents.

Finally, On A Lighthearted Note

But that’s all, folks!

As I said before—this is the last of this kind of blog post (for now, at least). I’d be remiss without some kind of sentimental send off, so here we go: I’ve enjoyed writing these posts immensely, and I sincerely hope that you’ve enjoyed reading them as well.

Have a good holiday season, and let’s keep baking in 2023!

XO
Michelle

NO TIME TO BAKE?!

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight BakingI finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.

LEARN MORE >

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