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.
I think I’ve been using too many sprinkles lately. I’m sorta insecure about it because I used to not be THAT much of a sprinkle-whore but lately it’s all I reach for.
I think part of it is all the cool looking sprinkles I bought and brought back from Denmark. The colors are so pretty and interesting over there.
A very long time ago, when blogs first started I remember Joy the Baker posting a recipe for minty oreos. I never made them at the time (not sure why, what other non-important things was I doing?) but they have always lived deep in my brain on my to-make-soon list. Well, years later, here we are…except I made them birthday-driven, even though I didn’t know anyone who was having a birthday.
We made these, tested these, shot these AND then I remembered my friend Michael’s birthday was the very next day so I packed them up in the fridge and brought them to the birthday picnic where a 3 year old liked them a whole lot. WIN-WIN!
When I finally got it together and it was time to buy flour, I was like a little scared at all the flour options, and especially scared because they weren’t in English. I reached for my Google Translate app but I didn’t have any service in the damn market so I took a gamble. I went for a big bag, figuring it was most likely all-purpose.
The rest of the grocery shopping was interesting. Baking powder is “bagepulver“. I sorta figured it out. My milk purchased was assisted by an older woman who thought it was kinda funny that I was almost buying kefir. LAWD.
When I got home and started putting all the labels in google translate, I was like OH I BOUGHT RYE FLOUR OK.
I realize that I might be the worst packer in the world. Namely because I want to take everything but I want it to fit into a carry-on because waiting for bags at LAX is SO boring. It all just takes so long. When I land after a long flight, I generally want to get out of the airport as fast as I can. I also love the idea of traveling super light, being one of those people that could survive off of nearly nothing.
But I’m not like that deep-down because I like options! And jackets and shoes. Who knows what I’ll want to wear on any given day, you know?
So, I wrote a list this time, and I’m trying very hard to stick to it. We’ll see how I do. In other news, coffee cake!
I usually put coffee in my coffee cake but this time I thought that might be a little weird so I went with fall spices like cinnamon and cardamom. I love fall spices with summer fruit.
I’m leaving for Copenhagen on Friday! WHAAA!! Yes, I’ll be there for a whole seven days to eat my way through a city I’ve never been to. I’ve always dreamed of going. My dad actually worked in Scandinavia for a big part of my childhood so each time he’d return, he’d have stories about the people, the food, the culture, the politics. It’s a bit of a dream that I’m going and sort of still can’t believe it.
I knew that before I left, I had to make these. They’ve been on my to-make list ever since the Bon Appetit came in the mail and I spotted my homie Nicole Rucker’s spread in there. It’s seriously one of the prettiest I’ve seen. So white and clean with beautiful pops of purples and blues.
These turnovers stood out to me because I glaze looked so drippy and delicious and when I peeped the recipe, I was super stoked at the ingredient list.
This is the first time I’ve tried the vinegar/syrup added to pie crust before, which I had seen a few times, but never attempted. I’m into it! It’s dope!
Every summer I have these very grand ideas that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that I go camping. On the surface camping seems like SO much fun. The campfires, cooking salmon over cedar planks, the rivers, the s’mores. But when I begin to logistically think about it, I’m not so sure. I have a tendency to over-pack. It’s taken me years to pack appropriately for a 3-day weekend so I know that when it comes to camping I’ll probably bring my entire apartment.
That will of course to lead to too much work, so every year, I abandon my camping ambitions. BUT! Luckily there are picnics, which are way easier. I know they’re not the same but you sort of get that nature-y-let’s-eat-outside-vibe going on.