I am currently prepping so hard to chill TF out for the break. I’m gonna be honest, this fall put in borderline burn out mode so I’m hoping that a bit of rest and chillaxation will give me some much needed energy.
This is also my favorite time to take a break because EVERYONE is taking a break. Usually if I go on a vacation in the month of May or April, I still end up working because I’m addicted to checking my email BUT NOT NEXT WEEK!
I’m also spending a bit of time doing some last bits of work, cleaning and organizing my apartment before we all head up to The Bay for the holidays.
We’ve also been binge-watching The OA and I am not mad at it. It’s SO good and weird and addictive and weird.
If you have a bunch of time over the next week, definitely watch it. It’s also family-friendly (no weird sex scenes) so you will be a-ok to watch it with your father-in-law/grandfather, etc.
This cranberry chestnut cake is a lil’ thing I made last week when I had some cranberries in the fridge and remembered this beautiful cranberry frosting I saw on Food52 a month ago or so.
Every family has Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other families’ traditions because they vary so much.
The one tradition my mom always kept alive and well was Peruvian-style homemade hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. In Peru, homemade hot chocolate is cooked over the stove, with Peruvian chocolate chopped into tiny bits and then mixed into milk with cinnamon and cloves; it’s rich and delicious.
Traditionally it’s had right before everyone heads to midnight mass. When we were teeny-tiny, the hot chocolate would come right before bed since at that time we believed that Santa would come down our non-existent chimney and bring us gifts. My dad would tell us he’d sneak in through a window which sort of scared me but whatever.
It was the one time a year when we had dairy because my parents jumped on the non-dairy train so early. We were one of those houses with rice and almond milk only.
This is a mash-up of another dessert my mom LOVED to make; it’s not Peruvian, though they do make it all over South America. Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert that is SO good. It’s a lot like creme brûlée with the big difference being that it’s not baked—it’s simply cooked over the stove-top then chilled in the fridge.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick spices to add all the goodness to this dessert. It uses McCormick ground cinnamon, whole cloves and vanilla extract.
Apparently, I have fancy Christmas tree taste because my favorite tree at the tree market was called a silver tip and it went for like 75% higher than all the other trees. It’s actually quite tall and sparse looking so when I went to ask for the price, I expected a discount but nope. Expensive tree taste—didn’t even know it was a thing!
I went home with it and had the guy kindly tie it to the top of my tiny car because it’s like when you get something in your brain and you just can’t forget about it. Like shoe-shopping. It’s like that.
I came home and Amelia immediately thought the water in the tree basin was for her so I’ve been constantly catching her drinking it. I yell at her but at the same time it’s so funny and cute that I just fill it up and let her do whatever she wants.
Another thing that has been on my brain for so very long are miso brownies! I saw them in the bakery case of a bakery I can’t actually remember but thought they sounded so good! Sweet and savory and chocolate-y…sign me up.
I wanted brownies that had a super crackly top and after I did some Googling and testing, I figured out that the thing that ensures a super crackly crust is beating the eggs and sugar together for a full 10 minutes (thanks, Martha!). Also, the sugar amount has to be up there for this to really work.
Los Angeles! Just a heads up, tomorrow I’ll be in Echo Park at Shout & About signing books and handing out holiday cookies from 11am to 1pm. Stop by!
Now, for this tiramisu pie! I made this pie a few times to recipe test it, pretty normal stuff, but after I finally nailed it, I loved it SO much that I decided it was going to be my Thanksgiving pie.
It was really easy to make, which is why I made it, and right before I started to make it, I remembered that a friend of mine is gluten-free. Luckily I found out that you can totally make this pie with gluten-free ginger snaps and it’ll be just great.
I needed a tablespoon less butter but it worked! I was pumped to find that out.
The pie goes like this: chocolate cookie crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Then it’s filled with an espresso cream custard that is SO good. At the end of making the espresso cream, I mixed in a few tablespoons of rum and it is BOMB. It tastes just like tiramisu. Then, the pie is filled and chilled. Right before serving, you pipe on some mascarpone cream and top it with a bunch of cocoa powder.
Thanksgiving is only like three days away!!! LAWD!
I’ve made this pie SO many times. It took me a good amount of times to get the miso caramel exactly how I like it but I FINALLY nailed it.
This pie is so delicious. The miso only makes it a little weird but no so weird that people will really even notice. The miso adds a nice, subtle savory element to it that makes you want to just eat more and more and more.
Think about it like this: you put salt in caramel. So instead of salt, we’re adding miso. That’s it. It works really well together.
When it comes to the mix of apples, I threw in a few Granny Smith to add some tartness and it was really lovely. The vanilla helps too. A few weeks ago I splurged on some vanilla paste for the very first time–which might be crazy to some–and now I can’t believe I’ve lived without it for so long.
When I was away over the weekend, Josh told me that Amelia was sleepy and calm, which she never is. He blamed me. He said that I was her spirit animal.
It’s sort of true. We both humor and entertain and keep each other company every single day. She is my best friend.
We go everywhere together (Target, Home Depot, World Market, Michael’s) and are rarely not around each other. Since I work from home, Josh knew we’d be good for each other.
It’s Amelia’s birthday! She’s one year older but oddly not less puppy-like. She still plays ALL THE TIME. She still chews your hand when she gets excited. She still steals my socks and won’t give them back. She still barks at cakes and roast chickens and anything else she feels like she deserves.
Hiiiii from high in the sky. I’m on my way to Atlanta to speak at Create + Cultivate. But first, I wanted to tell you about this little brunch I threw last weekend.
Growing up part of my childhood in South Florida, Cuban culture was ever-present. At family parties, Celia Cruz was always playing. As a teenager, my friends and I always went to Calle Ocho–which if you’ve never been–is so much fun and mayhem all at the same time. And most Sundays, mass was usually followed by brunch at this little Cuban restaurant down the street from our house.
So when Nespresso got in touch with me about throwing a Cuban-inspired brunch to celebrate their release of Cafecito de Cuba (the first ever Cuban coffee to come to The United States in over 50 years), I was like YES PLZZZZ.
If you’ve never had a cafecito, you’re in for a treat. Cafecito traditionally has a bit of raw cane sugar added to the first drips of hot coffee. This Cafecito de Cuba did not disappoint. It’s slightly sweet, intense, and strong—it wakes you right up! The flavor of the coffee is amazing; the texture is smooth and velvet-like.
I’ve been really inspired by Cuban interiors lately. (You’ve probably seen a ton of them on the Instagram, too). I love the range of colors; my favorite being green and pink and peach. I love the fruits like bananas and papayas and guavas.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you this is one of those easy recipes that you can throw together on a whim…because it’s not.
It’s one of those things you make when maybe you’re feeling angsty and need to get lost in the process for awhile. You need to be a patient person. Maybe someone who likes to listen to music and think about their life…
If you are, then this is for you.
It also helps tremendously if you make the pistachio butter and pie crust the night before. And I’ll even go far as to say that you can use store-bought pie crust, too because this is a good amount of work.
Some people on the Instagram said they tried to make roses out of apples already and their apple slices kinda snapped and wouldn’t roll correctly.
Here are some tricks I found:
1. First step – Use nice crisp apples. I used a combo of Granny Smith and these fancy Pink Pearls Josh found at the market.
2. Send step – Get you a mandolin. You can’t do this without one.
3. Third step – Mandolin the slices thinly, until they’re bendable. This will depend on your apple. Test a few slices, see if you can roll them up, if not, then they need to be thinner.
ALSO, the thinner they are, the better they are to use at the start of your rose. I found this was key. The thicker slices can be used at the end when they don’t have to be so bendable. Does this make sense?
4. Get other people involved – This goes much quicker if there’s more than one person involved. Obvious advice, I know, but seriously get some helpers!
My favorite corgi on Instagram passed away on Monday. It’s sort of weird to admit this but I cried…like kinda cried myself to sleep. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it had to do with all the other sad stuff in the world, my sad family stuff that I never talk about or maybe it had to do with the fact that Loki the corgi was only five years old and that’s not that much older than Amelia.
I dunno what it is but I know that I squeezed her really hard that night and yesterday I gave her a cookie I shouldn’t have (the vet says she needs to lose 1 to 2 pounds).
I nearly took the rest of the week off from posting but then I remembered that’s silly and that I have this Asian pear pie with apple and so many other good things to share with you.
Last week I made another pie where I took little bits of apple and folded them around one another to make roses and it seriously took me like 3 hours but I didn’t really mind one bit because I just zoned out and thought about all sorts of stuff.
I think I enjoy this process…building and assembling, building and assembling. I enjoy methodical, repetitive things, especially when they pertain to pie.
I’ve been wanting to make a basket weave-ish kind of pie topping. I think I did it with this. It’s actually MUCH simpler than it looks because you basically just cut the pie crusts in smaller strips and then place them side-by-side like you would one singular strip.
A few months ago I made this Italian Plum Pistachio Cake and it was bomb dot com but really the part that I loved the most was the pistachio paste. IT WAS SO GOOD. When I made it I had to use all of it for the cake but I kept thinking, this should really be put on toast and consumed as a snack.
So, here I am, pushing this onto you all.
I should be fired because I’m about to mention the holidays in September…
…but this would be great to make for the holidays as gifts because it’s SO simple and easy…minus the peeling of pistachios.
Do yourself a gigantic favor and buy shelled pistachios. Treat ur self!
Do not be like me and spend 30 minutes shelling pistachios. There’s this very known trick that if you want to peel the skins off pistachios, you can cover them in boiling water and then rub them in a towel. I can tell you that it is 100% not worth the extra step.
If you want to get the purest of green color, then feel free to just rub the pistachios in between two towels when they’re dry and shelled. Some of the skins should fall off.
Let’s be honest, pistachio paste is not a beauty queen. It’s not the belle of the ball so just do what you need to do to make it look cute – put sprankles all over it.
I bought these pretty sprinkles in Denmark. I love them so much.