It’s ok…

First order of business…anyone know what this tulip-shaped veg is?! Sorry – I don’t have a prize for whoever gets it right first. Just glory and pride.

On to the post now…

Ladies who read Glamour will know what I’m talking about here…there’s always a page in Glamour magazine that lists things that are completely OK to do, think or say even though most of us might think it’s a little weird. Examples include: It’s OK……to start your to-do list with a task you’ve already done, or …to begin thinking about lunch at 9:35 A.M.

I’ve found that sometimes we all need permission to let go a little. I do at least. So I’m going to do the food blogger’s version of It’s Ok…

It’s Ok…

…to buy cookbooks just because they’re pretty…or have Ludo Lefebvre on the cover.

…to put down the DSLR/point-and-shoot and not take pictures of every meal you make/eat.

…to think cupcakes are stupid and that whoopie pies are the next big thing.

…to get ridiculously, giddily, unabashedly excited when a celebrity chef talks back to you on twitter.

…and to still think those very chefs are kinda a-holes when they talk crap about food bloggers.

eat most of the curd/batter/dough for those bars/cakes/cookies before they even go in the oven.

…to all but lose your shit over a recipe that seemed so simple at first.

…to fail in the kitchen and subsequently blog about it.

…to eat at the bar because you can’t afford the dinning room.

…to run to the grocery store mid-recipe assembly to purchase that one ingredient you forgot.

…to eat the majority of those cookies you “made for your coworkers.”

…to sometimes forget an ingredient…you live, you learn.

…to look at a recipe with more than 5 ingredients and think, “Oh hell no I’m not making that!”

What do you guys think? You’re all passionate cookers, bakers, eaters and food-lovers…what would you say “It’s OK…” to?

Classic Americana From The Kitchen

Here’s some snippets from my post today on Borderstan! Link at the end so you can read the whole deal!

American Flag Jell-O Cake (from Kraft Food)

I didn’t really grow up with a lot of Americana from the kitchen…

But when I moved to the East Coast, I had a lot of friends who spoke of American Flag Jello molds and red, white and blue trifles.

This is completely elusive to me. Who spends five hours making an American flag out of Jello?! No. I’m not kidding. That recipe says it takes 5 hours to make. I assume with all that Jello setting, it would take some time.

Nigella Lawson's Gin and Tonic Jelly. (Nigella.com)

This weekend, I’d say, if you’re going to do something with Jell-O, you know what I’d recommend? Make Nigella Lawson’s Gin and Tonic Jelly. I haven’t tried it yet—but, oh, I plan on it. And, yes, I see the irony in making a 4th of July recipe from a British food writer.

This is as close to Jell-O-anything as I’m going to get and I appreciate the thin veil of sophistication that protects me from essentially saying, I want you to make this giant Jell-O shot. Serve it at your BBQ and watch your family members get tipsy.

After all, it’s a Nigella recipe. So not only can we be sure it will taste good, but we’ll all look extra sexy eating it too.

For more…and the recipe to Nigella’s Gin and Tonic Jelly read the full post at Borderstan!

Jam and Mascarpone Thumbprint Cookies

Good morning friends! For once it’s not sweat-dripping-down-my-back hot outside at 8am in the nation’s capital. I am eternally grateful…thank you Mother Nature.

While we experience a brief reprieve from extreme heat and humidity, I thought I’d share an easy thumbprint cookie recipe.

I bought Alice WatersThe Art of Simple Food awhile go – they have it at Kramer Books in Dupont Circle (where you can also get a great cup of coffee at the bar). It’s become my go-to cookbook after a market run where I ended up buying a bunch of stuff and I have no clue what to make out of it. It’s also my “I’m tired and don’t want to cook” cookbook. Why? Because it’s all about…um…simple food. Take the most basic, in-season ingredients, bring out their natural flavors and eat. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m enjoying her cookbook but, being more of a baker type, I was looking for a recipe of the carbohydrate variety. Enter: tart dough.

Ok. The recipe I’d been using for tart dough was really the bane of my baker experience. I always talk about trusting the recipe. Well, I just did not trust this recipe. Even though everything usually works out just fine…I just didn’t feel like this dough was gonna be my go-to recipe.

Alice Waters’ tart dough intrigued me because it was actually a dough. More solid than paste. It’s roll-able, not shmear-able. Also, for being a sweet tart dough, it’s got a little hint of salty that, I feel, adds an unexpected edge to your treats. When I read a footnote at the end of the recipe saying I could use the dough for thumbprint cookies, all was settled.

I had strawberry rhubarb jam from The Copper Pot Food Company and some mascarpone cheese which sounded like a pretty good combo to me (and it was)! You could use any type of jam…but I wouldn’t recommend any kind of cheese :) If you like your mascarpone cheese a little sweeter, add a tablespoon of sugar at a time until it’s where you want it to be. Experiment!

These are decadent, rich little cookies and I bet they’d go well with a little coffee or tea after a big meal or dinner party.

Enjoy!

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Can You Guess What I Made?

TGIF folks! T.G.I.F!

So. Can I tell ya…things have been busy! Busy with a capital B. So busy that I finally sacked up and put in for a couple days off from work so I can just “organize my life” a little. What’s that entail? Oh…writing a few blog posts for you…paying some bills…cleaning the very tiny apartment The BF and I are sharing right now (his parents are visiting soon…shout out V! I know you’re reading this!). Maybe if I’m lucky there will be a Real Housewives of New York Reunion and/or Bethenny Getting Married? marathon on Bravo.

While I ran around all week writing press releases and statements during the day…and working out and doing laundry and massive amounts of dishes at night…I also made some tasty treats! Here’s some pictures to tease…recipes coming tomorrow and Sunday. Can you guess what I made?!

Friday Round Up (aka I’m Sick and Haven’t Posted a Recipe in Days)

Hi guys! I’m a wee bit sick and have had a completely crazy week at work. It’s been fun though, all things considered. The BF moved in last week…he’s here all summer doing lawyerish type stuff…and I’m happy as a clam!

We ran away to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a few days and grilled and cooked our little hearts out. I have so many recipes to share…I just need to kick this strep throat first. Hopefully this weekend :)

Anyone have great restaurant reservations? Big cooking plans? Anything we’re looking forward to at the farmers market this weekend? Share! In the meantime, here’s a few links and some food blogger lurve for you to ponder over as you plan your weekend cooking:

  • I don’t know about you, but I DIE for artichokes…oddly enough, I remember eating these thorny thistles when I was little and would slather them in mayo! The Kitchn did a fab round of tips, tricks and recipes for artichokes.
  • These lemon cream pie cupcakes (also from The Kitchn) reminded me of my Whoopie Pie cookbook…I should really bust that out sometime soon. Maybe I’ll make some whoopies with the gaggle of strawberries I have sitting in my fridge right now.
  • Macheesmo posted this kale and chick pea stir fry the day after I came home with a big bunch of green leafy kale! I have no doubt this will test The BF’s limit for food experimentation (he doesn’t like beans)…but he’s been warned, and my feelings won’t be hurt if he doesn’t loooove this one.
  • I am pondering a blog redesign…an investment for sure…and am pulling together inspiration for it! This post over at Twig and Thistle got me loving the whole “dots” motif. These fabulous, French-bakery-type kitchens also inspired me.
  • Elyssa over at State Dinner posted Rick Bayless’ menu from the State Dinner honoring Mexican President Calderon’s visit to the White House. I got a few pings on Twitter asking me about good Mexican food in DC which reminded me…there isn’t…so I should really got on planning that tamale party.

Have a great weekend, friends!

I Have New Toys!

It was my birthday a few weeks ago…and with birthdays come fun gifts!

I got myself a super-duper holy-cow-this-goes-really-fast Cuisinart hand mixer. Thanks to co-worker, Dave, who emailed me from the VA outlets and walked me through all the options…one email at a time.  I’ve only used it a couple times but HOLY MOLY what a difference!

Mom (wonderful Mom!) got me this rolling pin that I’d been eying from MOMA. See those disks at the end? They help you measure the thickness of the dough you’re rolling out! No more guessing for cut out cookies! No more fear of pie crusts! RAR! Watch me roll dough! I can’t wait to put this one to use!

These tools definitely satisfy New Year’s resolutions #2 and #5 which makes having them even MORE exciting!

Yay!

It’s Friday…

Know what Friday means? It means tonight I’ll dance around my apartment to my new favorite jam (that would be Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris). I’ll nurse my thumb wound (thanks a lot french press…and right after I said you were one of my favorite things!). But Friday means the weekend’s here and that means lots of lazy lounging, reading and cooking!

Here’s some articles I’ll be reading, now that I’ll have time to fully devote myself to them:

Now for the cooking!

  • Pioneer Woman recreated perhaps my most favorite Starbucks treat of ALL FREAKIN TIME!!! The petite vanilla scones. Yep…if I can get my hands on some vanilla beans this weekend, I’m making them.
  • Awhile back, Not Derby Pie posted a goat cheese cheesecake recipe that I was reminded of after last weekend’s quark cheese purchase at the Dupont Circle farmers market. I researched recipes yesterday so hopefully I’ll have a goat cheesy cheesecake to share with you next week!
  • My friend Phil mentioned tres leches cake earlier this week, which reminded me of Patricia Jinich‘s Pastel de Tres Leches.
  • The Kitchn ran a blog post about how to make the perfect cup of coffee from a french press! Well timed Kitchn!! Well timed. I’ll be following their directions this weekend.

That’s all for my weekend! What do you guys have on tap? Any good reads? Any recipes you’ll be trying?

Enjoy!

PS – Epicurious has an interactive seasonal ingredient map! Check it out DCers and Arizonans alike!

Missin’ my kitchen’….

Sigh. I’m  in Austin…a great foodie city…plenty of dining options all around me. And all I can think about is my own kitchen! How weird and wrong is that! I’ve been bookmarking recipes like a fiend all week and I can’t even think of making most of them for another two weeks.

Until I can actually get my hands dirty with some flour and chop up sticks of butter…here’s some food porn links…things I wish I was making. And while we’re at it…what are you making this weekend? (I hear it’s raining somethin’ fierce in DC so I know ya’ll are stuck inside!)

That’s it for now folks…I’m off to get some Mexican food for breakfast. Cause nothing says healthy like refried beans and tortillas early in the mornin’.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Brownie Fail

It had been such a good day…The BF and I had decided to stay in…lounge and maybe watch a movie (more on that later)…and then I decided to try a recipe I’d read last weekend.

See…my mom had bought me the Perfect Brownie pan awhile ago, and it came with a recipe book. There was a recipe for cranberry brownies with a sour cream swirl akin to a cheesecake swirl and I fell in heart with it. I happened to have a bag of cranberries so, game on.

As soon as I tasted a cooling brownie square I thought to myself, “WHY didn’t I just use the brownie base from that Smitten Kitchen recipe and go from there?!” Something I’ve come to learn is that, while you have to try new recipes and experiment…you should also be smart about it. My batter was stiff and I should have trusted my gut when I realized that. There was only cocoa powder, no melted chocolate…resulting in a very un-chocolatey, un-gooey brownie. The “swirl” didn’t swirl well and had a soupy consistency. Continue reading