Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, pumpkin every which way.
That is the style of October, amirite? I’ve been thinking a lot about pumpkin these days, and desserts. I’m pretty sure it’s my bodily reaction to want more dessert and soup once the weather dips below 65. It’s all nature’s game plan.
We’re hurling toward November. How did this happen? I want October back! This week includes meeting some deadlines, figuring out (finally!) want Amelia is going to be for Halloween (maybe a banana?), and more recipe brainstorming. There’s a holiday at the end of this month and I need to be prepared so you can all be prepared, you dig?
Amelia and Joy the Baker have never met. But I know they would get along because they’re both what I could consider “peanut butter enthusiasts.”
Amelia, in her little time on this planet, has tried peanut butter every which way: cheap creamy peanut butter (read: Jiff), all-natural chunky peanut butter, smokey peanut butter, and even peanut butter mixed with honey. She prefers her peanut butter vessels to be human spoons, slices of apple, bananas or even sneakily off the side of a bowl. She does not discriminate.
I probably won’t be the richest grandma so I doubt I’ll leave copious amounts of money to a school or hospital; I won’t end up buying a ton of jewelery in my lifetime so there will be no diamonds (sorry, grandchildren); and there’s a good chance I won’t be leaving behind large amounts of land in the hills of Wisconsin (are there hills in Wisconsin?…you get what I mean).
My hope is that my grand kids will tell their friends about how their grandma looked so sweet and small yet she was strong, told sarcastic jokes and had a foul mouth. I hope they tell their friends that whenever I visited, I made them the most elaborate ridiculous lunches and wrote them the sweetest notes for them to find at lunch time. And I hope they tell their friends about how their grandma, with her super veiny hands, made the best pies ever.
The way I like to cook is the opposite of how I’d have to be on a competition cooking show.
I like to put on some music, zone out, and if it’s at night, I like to pour myself a glass of wine. And I move slowly, neatly and calmly. Basically my kitchen is the chill-zone.
On a competition cooking show, I’d be a nervous wreck. I imagine if you put that type of spotlight on me, I’d forget how to boil water, burn everything, cut my fingers off and fumble my words. I’m not sure I’d do a good job. That’s why I always watch competition cooking shows at night when I’m editing photos and thank the stars it’s not me in the hot seat.
This post is in collaboration with Emeril Lagasse’s (along with Ty Pennington) new show, on TNT, On the Menu! It airs tonight on TNT at 8/7c. The premise of the show: contestants will compete to create the next dish to appear on the menu of well-known restaurants. Emeril will be their seasoned, industry insider, while Ty will be their confidant.
Izy’sbook arrived in my mailbox a looooong time ago, nearly a month ago. I’ve been waiting to cook from it because when it showed up on my doorstep, it was only available for purchase in the UK (it’s available tomorrow!), and it just so happened to be the opposite of fall in LA.
But on Saturday, all I wanted to do was bake. The weather was brisk, the light sorta cloudy and moody and I was particularly in a good mood. The kind of mood I’m in as a result of Amelia letting me sleep in, a little.
As I thumbed through her book, deciding amongst all the beautiful baked goods what I should dive into, I was stopped at this Swedish Chocolate Cake. I’ve been on a weird brownie kick lately, so much so that I’m totally guilty of falling victim to the lure of a box mix at Whole Foods. No shame in that game; though that game often results in a bit of disappointment. There shouldn’t be any leavening in brownies, I’ve decided. I want them to be gooey! and rich! So rich that a glass of water needs to be served along side them.
I met Jessica a few years ago (gulp, maybe 3 years ago?), and she’s always been one of my favorite people in the food blogging community. Her recipes are fun, FUN!; her personality in person is exactly the same as her blog; and her photos make me want to leap into the computer screen and eat EVERYTHING she makes.
This book, Seriously Delish, is very much her in book form. Her personality shines through, there are tons of enchilada recipes (thank you, Jessica!) and the food looks slutty and gorgeous all at the same time.
It’s a keeper of a book. And I have a feeling I’ll be gifting it a lot this upcoming holiday season, which I don’t want to really believe is almost around the corner. Please, let’s not say the H-Word, T-Word or C-Word for a while. I can’t deal.
When I was a kid, softball practice might’ve been my favorite extracurricular activity ever. It mostly had to do with my love of gossiping with my friends, smacking a ball from time to time and using the $4 I begged from my mom to buy as much candy as possible before she picked me up.
I grew up in a household where everything awesome wasn’t allowed. No candy, no game consoles (this was such a big deal when I was a kid) and no junk food. This meant that when I when I went to the outside world I went ballistic. I made sure to play as many video games as I could and eat as much sugar as humanely possible. The concession stand was my heaven and a must-buy every time was a lemon-y Italian icy. Why this very American concession stand sold Italian icys, I’ll never know but I remember it being so ridiculously sweet and tasting faintly like fake-lemon. “Chemical lemon” is how I like to remember it.
Luckily I grew up and found real recipes for clean, fresh-tasting granitas, much like this one from Erin’s new book, Yummy Supper.
Erin writes one of my favorite blogs on the internets. It’s full of beautiful photography, a friendly voice, someone who you’d hope would be your neighbor and friend, the type of friend who would share her best recipes with you. When I first visited Erin’s blog I didn’t even realize it was gluten-free.
The dishes that you’ll find in her book are ones that are naturally gluten-free; combining fresh food in smart and delicious ways. This dessert is no different. It’s refreshing, simple and ideal for the August heat.
Today I’m giving away three copies of Yummy Supper! To enter do the following:
1. Leave a comment below answering the following question:
“What was the name of your first crush?”
Mine: Jake. I met him at the softball field and didn’t dare to ever speak to him!
Three winners will be chosen at random on Monday, August 25th at noon PST.
Tomorrow I’m headed to Sonoma for a friend’s wedding and I’m excited to leave L.A. for three days and drink lots of bourbon and maybe dance. I also have a tight dress I need to fit into and Ice Cream Week didn’t help at all. Also, Chipotle. I dunno what it is but since I practically cook all day, with most of it being sweet, all I want at the end of the day is SALT. Like, “Hi, I’ll take the kale salad with a side of salt,” or “I’ll take that piece of healthy fish and please season it a.k.a put hella salt on it.” It’s a part of my need for balance which in this instance backfires.
There are currantly (someone told me to do that on Instagram and I couldn’t resist – so cheesy yet still funny!) like ten different flavors of ice cream in my fridge and this is the one I keep going back for. The white chocolate unexpectedly works. I usually don’t even like white chocolate but it’s really lovely.
The currant part is so pretty and pink. Dat color! It’s like cotton candy pink which is maybe my favorite shade of pink. And it’s tart! So dang tart in the best way possible.
Today I’m very (what I like to refer to as)….#Hormotional. (And the hashtag part is important.)
Do you ever have friends who teach you things? A few weeks ago my friend Lara was talking about trying to buy a new home and all the pitfalls and hang-ups that come with that, especially in city like Los Angeles where property is ridiculously priced and everyone seems to have more money than you. After a phone call of bad news from her realtor, she hung up and decided to fix up her apartment. Not because she felt like she’ll be there forever, she still intends on moving, but she felt like if she was striving for something bigger and better, that maybe it’d be a good idea to feel grateful for what she already has. Asking, striving from a place of gratefulness.
I haven’t really stopped thinking about that conversation for a few weeks now. I’m not sure what it really means for me, but I know that every day I try and with that comes anxiousness and impatience. Two traits that aren’t the most admirable in myself and in other people.
Recently, I’ve felt like stopping for a moment to say thank you. Not necessarily to a specific person or thing but just in general.
So every single day, I’ve been taking mental notes of things that make me happy in the smallest ways.
Do you ever do this? It’s one part cheesy and one part absolutely necessary.
A few weeks ago I made creme brûlée. Do you remember this? Let me preface by saying that whenever I shoot my recipes, Amelia is right there because she’s always hoping and praying that I drop something so she can swoop in and eat it. She’s eaten A LOT of things normal dogs haven’t eaten. There was this one time a tortilla chip fell out of a bra (I was going through a rough time) and she ate it within seconds of it falling onto the floor. We’re best friends.
Anyway, so I poured a few teaspoons of sugar on to each custard and ignited the torch. Right when the flame started, Amelia went and bolted to the bathroom where she started peeing (sorry I said “peeing” on a food blog but it’s a part of the story!). I quickly realized that she is petrified of the torch. So, I put it away and haven’t brought it out since, but now I think she’s confused that the torch is the same as my camera. Whenever I shoot recipes and pull out my camera, she goes and hides under the couch.
I’ve tried everything: putting snacks next to the camera, placing the camera next to me to show her that look, it’s fine, it’s JUST A CAMERA! It’s times like these that I wish I was Cesar Milan. I’m not sure how to make her not scared of my camera. I don’t want her all stressed out, especially since I practically shoot recipes on a daily basis.
If you have tips, I’m ALL ears.
Today, we are continuing ICE CREAM WEEK with this Cherry Ice Cream with a Whole Wheat Crisp. It’s fruity, sweet and creamy with a salty, slightly sweet crisp topping. HEAVEN.
ALSO, a giveaway with Whole Foods Market! If you’ve visited your local Whole Foods recently, you’ve probably noticed the cherries. They’re insanely amazing right now!
This giveaway is for a $150 gift certificate. To enter, do this: