I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the week before Christmas is the most INSANE WEEK IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. We’re all bustling, hustling and working (and werking) to get everything wrapped up and done before everyone peaces out for the rest of the year.
Next week I have a massage booked. I’m going to Palm Springs for a few days to rest up and do absolutely nothing. During this time, I plan on writing a few things down: my goals for 2015 (proof I’m getting older, I never used to do this), things I learned in 2014 and a few things I’m grateful for. It sounds like a cheesy little thing to do, but these tasks organize my thoughts. It’s like going to The Container Store for my brain.
Next week, there will be pie. Because, pie. And because there always should be pie.
There’s also a chance I might listen to the last episode of SERIAL again because OMG Ronald. NO! I’m not buying that, attorney-who-I-respect. UGH! Jay did it.
I have turned into a full on holiday baking psycho woman. It wasn’t my intention but there’s something about a cold drafty apartment, a twinkling Christmas tree in the living room and sticks of butter in the fridge calling my name, that gets me in the mood to bake.
I spent the better part of Saturday, baking, sculpting and arranging a bûche de noël with my friend Hourie. It was a bit of a challenge. There were a few mini meltdowns (the recipe we were using wasn’t foolproof) but at the end it was really pretty. And I remembered why I love this season. Why I love baking with friends. Why I do what I do.
I may sound super ignorant about pound cakes but it was just a few months ago that I learned a pound cake is supposed to have a pound of butter, a pound of sugar and no leavening. Those two work wonders with one another and create a dense cake that isn’t too, too dense. I dunno about you but that’s a lot of damn sugar.
Thanksgiving is all about pie. But if you can believe it, there are people out in the world that dislike pie. I know many of them; they prefer cake or cookies or ice cream. While part of me would like to talk all sorts of trash on them, I sort of get it.
I used to dislike fruit pies and would skip the fruit part all together and just dip the crust in whipped cream. That was before I learned that there are apples in the world that should be baked and others that should never ever be touched with heat. This made the world of difference.
Because these people who hate pie exist, I wanted to give you an alternative. This persimmon pudding is like a spongy cake with hot salty and sticky toffee sauce poured on top. It’s warm and soft and salty and sweet and ahhh! I made this a couple times and each time I was like, This might be better than apple pie!
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?
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.
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.
I’m pretty sure I’m in a bit of a summer slump. I’ve been wearing the same short/t-shirt combo with birkenstocks for what feels like FOREVER and I feel like I’m somehow always sort of sweating. It’s a summer rut, I think. I’m not all that surprised it’s here; we’re close to August and the season has worn out its welcome a bit, amirite? We’re officially in those Dog Days of Summer.
The thing that still makes me excited about summer is scoring produce like sour cherries, bright yellow peaches and these super pretty red currants. There’s a small Armenian produce market not too far from my house and they always have some killer fruits and veggies.
I don’t go in there that often but whenever I do, I’m always being introduced to new-to-me types of plums and pears. (Last year I made this Sour Plum Brown Butter Upside Down Cake with sour plums I got there.)
Late last week I couldn’t keep my eyes off these currants. They were really beautiful and I figured their wonderful tartness would be awesome in a sweet clafoutis. I haven’t made one in a while but gosh whenever I do I wonder why it’s been so long.
For this recipe I teamed up with Almond Breeze, making the recipe ultra special because it’s completely dairy-free.
The other day as I was perusing my morning email, I noticed all of these offerings for Father’s Day. Tool kit this, ugly tie that…and lots and lots of golf stuff. Whose dad likes this stuff?! No, my dad doesn’t want an ugly golf tie. He doesn’t even wear ties. No, he doesn’t want a grilling brush…because, well, it’s a grilling brush! I’m sorry but there’s nothing thoughtful and interesting about a brush that’s used to scratch the gross meat-bits off a grill. I think Father’s Day needs a revamp.
While all of these companies try and throw very gender-stereotypical gifts our way, I’d like to share what my dad would really like for Father’s Day.
My dad wants to have lunch with me and hear me talk because even though he’s always told me I talk too much, we don’t see each other enough, and me talking too much is exactly what he now wants. He wants to watch a game of soccer with people who are just as excited about it as he is a.k.a my brother, his father and his brothers.
He wants to run Amelia in the park and teach her new tricks because he loves her almost more than I do. My love for dogs comes from him. And to cap the day off, he’d want dessert. No one loves dessert more than my papa. His first choice would be ice cream. Second would be something chocolate-oriented. Actually, he’s a big fan of putting chocolate things on top of his vanilla ice cream. So this recipe would be the thing that goes on top.
Most of my dad’s Colombian family now lives in Brazil and has for more than thirty years. So, now most of my family now considers themselves Brazilian. This recipe isn’t a recipe I necessarily learned from them, but it is one that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time.
It’s the kind of dessert you’ll most likely see on a buffet table at someone’s house. The preparation is super simple. The ingredients are somewhat minimal and it doesn’t take very long to do. Since I like to put twists on classics, I rolled mine in a variety of things like crushed pretzels, potato chips and finely chopped pistachios and walnuts. The traditional move are the chocolate sprinkles, which I recommend, too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father figures out there. I’m so grateful I was raised by a good one.
(P.S. for the full recipe, jump on over to PBS Food!)
Remember Spring Break?! (Maybe you’re in college or high school and are lucky enough to be on Spring break or be on the verge of your break. I’m jealous.)
Where I went to college (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), the thing to do was to drive down to Savannah, Georgia and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I was usually too poor to do this, but I did it one year and OMG that city knows how to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. The entire city shuts down and everyone is in the street, drinking, partying and being spooked by possible ghosts. Savannah is beautifully haunted.
Nowadays, the idea of drinking green beer in the street sounds like hell. Literally, you could not pay me. I’d much rather sit on a quiet beach where I can relax, drink a cocktail and have no one speak to me for hours at a time. That’s what I crave at this age: silence and alcohol.
You guys…these are the pop-tarts of my dreams. My dreammzzzz.
I was that kid who would sleep over your house and eat all of the pop tarts and watch tons of television. I grew up deprived of fun things so now that I’m an adult, I make pop tarts whilst watching trashy television. (I can see my mother doing her famous eye roll right now.) I’m just making stuff like this to recover from my structured childhood.
For the recipe (the crust is my favorite!) and more pictures, head over to PBS Food.