Friday, August 30, 2013 a Save-the-Date for Jon & Janae

Jon & Janae are getting married!!!
*insert squeal of excitement here*

I've known them both since freshman year at UC Davis.
Janae & I bonded instantly over our mutual love of making things sparkle with glitter (which now includes what I'm going to share below). We also grew up about twenty miles from eachother in San Diego and (eventually) both moved back to America's Finest City. She's a wonderful friend and I couldn't be more excited about celebrating their big day soon! 

In college Jon and a few rowdy boys lived two blocks away from me and my roommates. Their house (self-titled 'the love jungle') was always full of excitement & entertainment. Jon is a sweetheart and it only takes a moment to see that he's enamored with my lovely friend. And they are both apart of so many wonderful memories over the last decade (eek!).

(Engagement Photos by BevM, 2013)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Buttermilk Crumpets, for Breakfast

This morning at the Breakfast Hub, Buttermilk Crumpets! Stop what you're doing, bake these crumpets, enjoy with a nice cup of tea and get ready to welcome Fall.

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

....the Wookie

Maybe you were expecting a star wars character....?
Last Friday on the way home from our LAdventure, CPB & I stopped at the Iron Press for a late dinner. We split their Burger with Stout BBQ Sauce topped with Bacon, an Onion Ring  & Potato Chips. AND a side of their Waffle Fries with Garlic Aioli dipping sauce. The two put together (plus a wonderful beer from local brewery!) was more than enough to fill us both. Their burgers look small, a quarter of a Belgian waffle makes up the top and bottom bun, but they are rich and filling. As we were leaving the waitress asked if we wanted any desserts. Her recommendation, the Wookie, is cookie dough pressed in a waffle iron topped with a scoop of ice cream. We were completely full and didn't order this wonderful sweet treat. Having just borrowed a waffle iron from MMcK, it got me thinking.... 

Monday, August 26, 2013 'What's in the Fridge?', Pizza

On nights when I'm avoiding the grocery store I play a game called 'what's in the fridge?' 
I search through opened jars and ziplock baggies with only partial ingredients (which is why this pizza may look similar to last week's salad....). For this round I found a nub of Salami, a bit red Bell Pepper, part of a Shallot, 5 Olives (less, after I ate a few while chopping), a Tomato & Garlic. These combine with Mozzarella, fresh Pizza Dough & a little red gravy made for a delicious Pizza with enough left over for lunch the next day!

Friday, August 23, 2013 LAdventure: the MOCA, Morphosis & Ghery

Last Friday was my last Furlough Day! 
To celebrate our Final Furlough Friday I went on an art & architecture adventure to Los Angeles with CPB (& my brand new DSLR*!). It was a wonderful day packed with clay, architectural models, drawings, sketches, Morphosis & CalTrans, Disney & Ghery and the ever present LA traffic.

*Side Note: Did you know my blog photo's were all taken with an iPhone? They are, I have a little handheld camera but I think they come out ok on my phone and from my phone they can be easily posted anywhere I want them. The pictures definitely come out better when I take them in daylight, the images taken under the terrible yellow light of my kitchen don't look nearly as nice. This usually requires me running between my kitchen and dining room table (because it's by the window), it's an amusing production. My phone gets shoved in my pocket, covered in flour and sometimes passed off to CPB with specific directions on how to take the perfect picture (I'm a high maintenance photographer, he does a lovely job).  Also, the apps on my phone make it incredibly easy to write on the pictures. I'll continue to take most of my pictures that way for the convenience, but here's my debut with a high tech toy....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 a Stout Brownie with Chocolate Stout Glaze

This Brownie is an another attempt at baking with beer. Ales and stouts can add flavor to savory foods and desserts and the carbonation can act as a leavening agent in breads and cake, creating a lighter batter and therefore an airier baked result. I wanted to improve on the Oated Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting to make an even stoutier treat (and it allows me to use made up words like stoutier). 

MMcK came over for the final installment of the Furlough Bakery, though this won't be the last sweet treat collaboration we'll have to come up with a new name. We used a loosely translated version of Gwenyth Paltrow's Fudgy Choclate Brownies & a glaze intended for a Better Happier St. Sebastian Maple Doughnut
(I would really like to make these someday when I can borrow a friend's doughnut pan, after she moves home from Texas....)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Spinach & Arugula Salad

Somedays I need more greens in my life. (Especially after you see tomorrows treat!) I found a salad with a few unusual ingredients. I added the Salami and it reminded me of a lighter version of a Muffuletta. I suppose Pears aren't used on this sandwich but they added a crunch sweetness to compliment the saltiness in the Salami & Olives.

Monday, August 19, 2013 Veggie Rice Noodle & Fried Egg

There's an amazing asian market near my house, with wonderful (and incredibly cheap) produce. Last time I was there the Grapefruits were sweet, tangy and 10 for $1.00! The purple sweet potato was my most recent and unusual find. It's a beautiful deep purple on the outside with a surprising cream colored inside, it's texture and flavor is similar to yams or yellow sweet potatoes. With the skin on I think it would be a lovely in a homefry medley baked with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper & Red Chili flakes (to add a little heat). My homefry idea will have to wait for another day because I wanted to use some rice noodles I discovered in the market. Here's the concoction I came up with!

Friday, August 16, 2013 Oated Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

A friend of mine has created an in home brewery, Helix Brewery Co. It's a little more intense than what you might imagine. He built out an area in his house to hold massive tanks that heat and cool things to transform yeast, malts & hops (lots of hops) into an assortment of brews. I've told him any beer he's willing pass my way will be returned as sweet treats, so long as there is enough to cook with and enjoy a glass or two as I bake. This stout cake is my first attempt at baking with his beer, I used his Honor Not Inner Oated Stout in both the cake and the frosting. The Peanut Butter overtook the frosting some, I couldn't get the Stout flavor to come thru as much as I would have liked but the cake itself was well flavored and moist. Next time I'd like to try a stout glaze that's a little stronger. I'm open to suggestions, on this or other brew related recipes. There's not too many sweet beer treats out there but I'd like to try some more.

Thursday, August 15, 2013 a Poached Egg on Toast with Avocado & Tomato

Good Morning Breakfast Hub! It's Elizabeth from Not Everything I Make is Pretty, I hope you're having a great Thursday morning so far. I'm (seriously) excited about this weeks post, it's a surprisingly easy homemade recipe that will definitely impress your breakfast guests.

I finally overcame one of my cooking fears! 
I poached an egg.
I was pretty sure they were going to be undercooked, fall apart into a stringy mess or I'd end up with a pot of soggy egg water (is that even possible?). I'm not sure why I was so scared but a poached egg was intimidating to me. I set to work on research, to learn from other homecook's do's and don'ts. Theres a lot of differing opinions out there so I compiled what I thought would be my best shot at a successful egg poaching. It worked for me, I hope you give it a try and let us know what works  for you 
(and maybe what didn't). a Poached Egg on Toast with Avocado & Tomato, for Breakfast

Conquering my fears one poached egg at a time.
Head over to the Breakfast Hub to see my first attempt at this breakfast classic.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 Dutch Oven French Bread

I have a slight obsession with bread (along with zucchini, tomato, avocado & chocolate, though usually not all together) . I've been working on perfecting the fluffy crumb with a crunchy crust. I usually bake it on a pizza stone with a cup of water to help add some steam to the process, it's worked fairly well so far, but I have another option now too....

The Dutch Oven: I got mine, enamel coated, from World Market and it works great! I've used it primarily for Braising and once for Chili. I went on the hunt for other ways to use my new found toy, I would have never thought to make bread in one though. The lid on, allows the bread to cook, fluff and steam. Finishing the baking, with the lid off, gives it a golden, knock on wood crust with the perfect crunch.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 Ginger & Mollasses Doodle

I made these cookies for a Birthday BBQ at work, they are the second installment of the Furlough Bakery. MMcK came up with the idea and after a little searching we decided the perfect recipe was a combination of Good Things Grow and Smitten Kitchen's Molasses Spice Cookies. They were heavenly fresh out of the oven but as they rested they got chewier and more delicious. I recommend making a double batch, trust me, they'll go fast. (Even our slightly burnt ones were eaten!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013 a Spiced Crostata with Nectarines, for Breakfast

This might be my favorite Breakfast Hub post yet! (Ok, second favorite, the Baby Beignets were amazing.) Flaky crust, sweet fruit, my favorite spices and you can premake the dough, to bake and serve it right out of the oven for breakfast or brunch!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 Vegetable Papparadelle

One of my favorite dinners is a simple Pasta with fresh vegetables. Trade Joe's makes some great dried noodles, I use their Spinach Linguine for the Green Goddess,  but I only recently noticed they have a Lemon Pepper Papparadelle. It's a nice thick noodle & holds flavor well.
As for my chosen Vegetables, it muct be peak season for Zucchini because I found one about 3 times the size of normal. And, while I think California usually gets great Tomatoes, they are especcialy sweet this time of year.
This recipe has a bit of chopping for prep but most of the cooking can be done in the time it takes to boil the Pasta. Replace with your favorite veggies & let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Cupcake & Frosting

I got a new kitchen toy! 
Six of them in fact. I really love gadgets but not when they take up a lot of space in my kitchen. I have avoided cupcake tins, they're wonky shaped and they take up a lot of drawer space. When I saw these  Silicon Cupcake Wrappers, I knew it was love. They're BIG (they can also be used for muffins), they stack and store easily.

Monday, August 5, 2013 a Fried Chicken & Biscuit Sandwich

This Sandwich is a Frakenstein of deliciousness. The concept is from Sunset Magazine June 2013 'Ask a Local.'  From a restaurant called Napa Valley Biscuits, they call it the Mr. Pickles. We used the Real Cajun Sunday-Night Fried Chicken (same book as the Cajun Pizza!) & my favorite biscuit recipe. Fried chicken takes some time prep and cook time, so I wouldn't recommend this as an everyday meal, but it does make a tasty treat.

Friday, August 2, 2013 Petit Pan au Chocolat, for Breakfast

I made Petit Pan au Chocolat for the Breakfast Hub this morning!
They're warm and gooey, tiny chocolate croissants.
"There's soooooo fluffy!!"

Happy Baking!

Thursday, August 1, 2013 Tiramisu

One of my favorite summer shows is the Food Network Star, because they're usually homecooks and they encourage each other more than other competition shows. This recipe is adapted from one of the Judges, Giada De Laurentiis.
(And of all the things I've baked or Sweet Treats I've made this is CPB's favorite to date.)


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