Tuesday, May 29, 2012

peppermint patty brownies

yesterday: day off. non-rushed morning coffee time.
then i put on my comfy jeans, my mom's old shirt with giant colorful buttons..they look like candy, it's amazing. and i've totally taken the shirt as my own.

i might have danced around a little, smeared pink lipstick on my mouth and went out into the world (venice.) to test ride sparkling good looking bicyles.

i also experienced pizzeria mozza for lunch.
gimme that mozza pizza! i love the heck out of it. THE crust, ah.

fast forward to
this morning. alarm. cereal, bites of oranges, quick!
i put on baggy jeans, pulled my hair back in the tightest knot i can muster..which is just a start really, because my hair has it's own hidden agenda.
then there's the 8 bobby pins..and still wacky hairs are springing out at random. they will not be tamed!

i put on a chef's jacket. clunky kitchen shoes. a hat. i look in the mirror and still feel like i'm a kid playing dress up. i totally wouldn't recognize myself on the street.

and then i go knead and chop and try not to ruin anything or burn my arm off. by the end of the day i'm fiending for a smoothie, a chair, and maybe some chocolate.

probably some chocolate.
definitely chocolate.

brownies are easy.
and they'll be refreshing if i stir peppermint patties in. get my logic?

chocolate and mint is such a thing..
thin mints. mint choco chip ice cream. andes mints. chocolate mint silk milk.

and these. fudgy peppermint patty cocoa brownies. i put bite size cubes of them in the olive boat. this makes me want to have a party.

they're wonderful when i'm well-rested and wearing earrings.
they're even better when my feet hurt and i appear to have been hit by a speeding bicycle.

Peppermint Patty Brownies
cocoa brownies from smitten kitchen via alice medrich

10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup pus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup peppermint patties, halved or quartered

preheat oven to 325. line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of simmering water.  stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot. remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside to cool until it's just warm, not hot. it will look gritty at this point. (these steps should be able to be done in a microwave as well.)
stir in the vanilla extract with a wooden spoon. add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. when the batter looks thick, shiny, and well-blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for about 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or spatula. fold in the peppermint patty chunks and spread into the baking pan. 
bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, a few moist crumbs is ok, about 25-30 minutes. let cool completely on a rack. cut into squares. 
like most chocolatey things, they'll be even better the next day. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

hello! from instagram

here are some of the things i've been looking at lately, via instagram's lovely squares.

there are a lot of arrows on the one way street i walk down to get home. sometimes they feel encouraging. come on, this way!

early morning light. i've been waking up extra early. i'm super into the calm silence of everything at 6 in the morning.
how much of that is normal and how much of that is weird?

last night's dinner of choice: ice cream and potato chips. 
this is just the way life goes. 
if cookie dough ice cream is in the freezer, it must be had. 

sleeping pup. his favorite thing is sleeping. he doesn't like walks. i just love this little weird animal.

cool blue pipes. they're so trendy and ombre. if i had to pick a favorite color.. which i often do because every child seems to be interested in knowing my favorite..i'd be blue. so these are my favorite pipes, obviously.

boy with guitar.


those marshmallows turned into this..joy's chocolate peanut butter krispy fudge. it is crazy and beautiful.

my glass of water stained a notepad. then it looked pretty. i love the colors. i'd totally blow it up and put it on my wall.
maybe i will.

i hope you do something fun this weekend. i'm happy you're here. i'm also tired. goodnight!

tomato goat cheese pizza tart

holla atcha!

the sun is out, the birds are squawking, and i made something round that isn't a cookie.

today is not about sugar.

it's about tomatoes.
and angrily buying herbs because all my herb pots have died.
and welcoming goat cheese back to the blog...it's been since september(!!?!)

AND lez not forget about magical puff pastry..it's a goooood thing to have hanging out in your freezer.
it's like a more delicious bread that you can wrap twist and fold. the inclusion of puff pastry almost guarantees success.

so this thing, it's a tart, it's like pizza. there are sweet winey onions. and three kinds of cheese because let me be excessive.

the best bites are the ones with the bits of crispy broiled parmesan.

this is totally an ina classic..i just made one big tart instead of a bunch of littles. it can totally be lunch, dinner, snack, leftovers for breakfast....that seems to be the way it goes around these parts.

i'm gonna go do art. meow meow!

Tomato Goat Cheese Pizza Tart
adapted from ina garten

1 sheet all-butter puff pastry (round or rectangle), defrosted
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
olive oil
2-3 tbsp white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
handful of mozzarella, grated
2 ounces goat cheese
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
2 tbsp basil, julienned

unfold sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it out slightly. preheat oven to 425. heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil  in a skillet over medium to low heat. add the onions and garlic and saute for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining. add 1/4 tsp kosher salt, a couple pinches of pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook another 10 minutes, until all the onions are lightly browned. remove from heat. 
using a fork, prick the puff pastry a bit, leaving an inch border. sprinkle most of the parmesan over the puff pastry. top with onion mixture, and spread out evenly. crumble goat cheese over the onions, then top with the tomato slices. brush each tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. finally, scatter the remaining parmesan and a handful of mozzarella over the top. 
bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

brown sugar rosemary pound cake + lemon cream

i've caught myself summer daydreaming hard lately...thinking of all the things i want and hope to do.

reminding myself to slurp up all the goodness, the brightness and lightness that comes with summer.

take trips. eat popsicles. walk barefoot. the smell of water on asphalt. barbecues every sunday.

and this lemon cream.
i want a summer full of this lemon cream.

it's tart and fresh like lemon curd, but creamier, lighter.

it's my new favorite dessert condiment and i shall slather it on everything i can get away with.

cake, scones, tarts, as a filling in a layer cake...

i declare summer 2012 the summer of lemon cream.

sounds like a pretty lovely summer, amiright?

dessert condiments need cake to ride on. brown sugar rosemary pound cake is dense caramely bliss.

if this humble looking loaf had arms, it would smack be for never giving it the attention it deserves.
because it's delicious.

it takes all of 5 minutes to whip up the batter.
next, chop up rosemary, smell your herby fingertips, then fold those pretty green flecks through the batter.

what is better than a beautiful pound cake?

two beautiful pound cakes. one to eat now and one to freeze and eat later.

this summer of lemon cream is gonna be good.

we'll be sitting on porches, iced tea in a glass, lemon cream on cake, fingers licking our plates clean.

it's everything i can hope for.

Brown Sugar Rosemary Pound Cake
adapted from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
5 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp chopped rosemary

preheat oven to 325. grease two loaf pans. sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. set aside. in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar til light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl. add the rosemary. add the flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. beat until just combined. divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with a spatula. bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. turn out cakes onto the rack to cool completely

Lemon Cream
adapted from tartine inspired by for me, for you

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

create a double boiler by placing a steel or glass bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water. over medium heat bring water to a simmer. combine lemon juice, eggs, and sugar and continually whisk until mixture registers 180 degrees F on a thermometer and has thickened, about 10-12 minutes. take off stove, strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool for a couple minutes. transfer to a blender. cut butter into 1 inch pieces and blend, adding the butter a couple pieces at a time 
beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and gently fold into the lemon cream. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

lemon poppyseed cookies + cream cheese frosting

for all the moms,

your job is no joke. i mean, you've grown humans inside your bodies. and once us children are out of your bodies, you moms need to remember to feed us always.

you teach us language, and read us the same stories over and over, with enthusiasm.

you smother us with love, and don't mind if we barf on you.

and then, when we turn thirteen and suddenly turn on you, you still love us.

we're sorry for all those teenage angsty years. thank you for not punching us even when there was a small part of you that wanted to.

we really love you.

so this is for my mom, who taught me how to eat cookie dough like a champion. who patiently sat through "bug checks" every night before bed, rubbed my back, and asked me the 'best and worst' of my day.

my mom decided to jet off to europe, so she is there, and i am here.
mom, i know a beautiful house in the south of france is much more picturesque than this wobbly kitchen table i'm sitting at now...but i wish you could be here, if only for breakfast.

if there is anything my mom loves almost as much as her children, it's cookies.

so these are for my mom, who yells "I LOVE COOKIES" without fail, every time she eats a cookie.

they are lemon poppy seed cookies, with a twinge of almond and a light schmear of lemon cream cheese frosting. total mom cookies.

so mother, mom, mama darling...you are dear in my heart, today and always. even when i give you tude and make fun of you for leaving your keys all around town. you absolutely deserve to be on vacation, galavanting over europe without any humans whining at you. you best be living it up like crazy, dancing on cobblestones, drinking too much wine, eating too much cheese.

and when you get back, i will make you cookies, for breakfast.

Frosted Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
adapted from joanne and annie's eats

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 - 1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest

preheat the oven to 350. line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. in a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. set aside. rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips to release the fragrant oils in the peel and make a lovely light yellow sugar. in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. mix in the lemon zest and egg. then the almond extract. then mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. 

drop balls of dough onto the prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart (i rolled them a little in my hands to make them more uniform). bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the cookies are set and just beginning to brown at the edges, but not the tops. cool on the baking sheets for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to fully cool before icing. 

to make frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until whipped and fluffy. add the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and zest, and beat. taste and adjust sugar and lemon to desired taste and consistency. (i don't like frosting that is too sweet so i always start with a little sugar and keep tasting and adding a little more until it's just right)
frost and eat up. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

buttermilk ranch + a salad of red lettuce, tomato, corn & pecans

you know how posh spice goes to classy restaurants and orders arugula sans dressing?

what do you think she'd think about this ranch? what if i somehow managed to lock her in my kitchen and force her to eat a plate of arugula doused in this ranch dressing?

i'd automatically become her least favorite person in america.

i'm a ranch freak, of the non-bottled variety.

if it were up to me, hidden valley would forever stay hidden. in its valley.

but homemade ranch, This homemade ranch! .....a sauce to be cherished for sure.

this is gonna be easy. check out these ingredients.

chives and parsley..their freshness is unbeatable.
garlic. salt. pepper. really?! no way! you have these things. yes way.

buttermilk. sour cream. how can this go wrong?

mayonnaise. 'mayonnaise is my favorite thing!', said no one ever.

..i know i know, but really, there is a time and a place for mayonnaise. ranch is just one of those times.

stir. refrigerate. done. that's literally it. that took 5 minutes. and it's so balls out delicious you'll want to smack yourself for not churning out homemade ranch sooner.

put it on everything..french fries, supa crunchy celery, pizza, hashbrowns with arugula. and salad, salad that you actually crave. salad that you'll gladly eat 5 plates of.

i'm obsessed with the taste of buttery pecans and fresh corn together..

this plus this.

i threw together a salad that marries those flavors with a couple simple lovely things from the market...pretty lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crisp slivers of onion. AND THE RANCH.

it's creamy, but it's not heavy. it tastes fresh and tangy. this is salad done right.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce

mince the garlic, then sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt onto the garlic and mash with a fork into a thick paste. 
in a bowl combine all the ingredients except for the buttermilk. stir. whisk in the buttermilk until you've reached your desired consistency. taste and season. add a dash of hot sauce. chill for a few hours before serving. can thin with a little buttermilk or milk when it comes out of the fridge if you'd like. 

And a delicious salad..

1 head red leaf lettuce
kernals from 1-2 ears corn (can boil the ears if you prefer to eat it not raw)
handful toasted pecans
2 ripe tomatoes
slivered red onion
buttermilk ranch dressing!