Thursday, September 27, 2012

oh. crap.

i had a birthday.
and then i spilled a bottle of water on my computer.

it's at the computer store, i'm a nervous wreck.

i'm borrowing my mom's computer for the next hour. i hope i have better things to report soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


it's great to get out into the fresh air, take a walk, stare at the ocean and think about how many strange things could be hidden down there.
it's not cool to randomly catch great whites off the pier. and then casually throw it back in.
"it's okay, it was just a baby"...that's what people have said to me. an 8 foot baby.

i'm intrigued and terrified.

turn up the lights in here bay-bee. extra bright i want chy'all to see this.

this is going no where by the way.

oh, cake!
a picture of cake is here, everything is normal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

fresh veggie sandwich

when seasons end i always feel like i am leaving a part of myself behind. in that happy/sad nostalgic way.

i think i'm dang ready to shoo this humidity away and get under a blanket.
i do believe it is my true natural habitat.

if i were an exhibit at a zoo, it'd probably be me on a couch, oblong bun on the top of my head, with my body buried in sweaters and scarves.
i'd have a creepy smile plastered on my face and stare right back at you looking at me, and then you'd want to leave and move onto the meer cats and i could continue spooning ice cream out of my mug and watching breaking bad on netflix.

i want a sandwich.

SANDWICHES, YES. it's obvious why everyone is obsessed with sandwiches.
i'd pick a good veggie sandwich over a meat one any day. it doesn't matter what the heck season it is, sandwiches are golden.
i like to think that making a good veggie sandwich is an art form.

in my perfect veg sandwich world, avocado is an absolute must.
there needs to be fresh crunch.
there needs to be juiciness.
there needs to be creaminess, the avocado has this covered.
there needs to be good crusty bread. i prefer it toasted.

there needs to be salt and pepper.
there needs to be something bold in flavor or a flavorful spread or pesto.

and there should be lots of color! the more it looks like a rainbow the better.
i like to just wander around the produce at the market and see what pops out at me.

here i have fresh ciabatta bread, too-perfect-for-words-and-soon-to-be-gone tomatoes (wah), cucumbers, red onion, funky sprouts, romaine lettuce, avocado, and a little chipotle sun-dried tomato spread.

dip the cucumbers in the sauce to snack on.

there is grape juice too.
and hold up, does anyone drink concord grape juice on the regular?
no right?
this needs to change. drink that purple drink.

i made this exact sandwich for four days. for dinner. by myself.
it was probably the highlight of those days. i can't wait to eat it while i'm couch lounging under a blanket.

Avocado Chipotle Veggie Sandwich
inspired by wanting to eat sandwiches

fresh ciabatta, or other crusty bread
1-2 ripe avocados
1 large heirloom tomato
1/2 cucumber, sliced
a little red onion, sliced
romaine lettuce
cheese (optional..i added a few shavings of parmesan)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
chipotle spread

mash up the avocado in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon and a liberal pinch of salt and fresh black pepper. 
toast the bread. spread avocado on one side of the bread and chipotle spread on the other. layer on the other ingredients, smush together, and slice. 

Chipotle Spread
1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1 tsp adobo sauce
1-2 tbsp mayo, sour cream, or greek yogurt
1/4 cup red pesto (i had a small jar of this in my pantry, i think it might be from 
whole foods.. its just a pesto made with sun-dried tomatoes)

mix everything up. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

peach marshmallows + graham crackers. s'mores.

eating marshmallows right now = this moment could be even better if s'mores were to occur.
am i right y'ALL?

the marshmallows, they are peach.

not in-your-face gummy candy peach, but delightfully light, sweet, and peachy.

i plunged a few chocolate covered almonds in one corner. whatever, why not.
abstract food art! kind of..

and graham crackers. there were none to be found in my humble abode. blasphemy!
(is that a blasphemous thing? ..not reeally. i dunno, shut up.)
the graham crackers, i had zero of them. i decided, what the heck, i'll just make some. i couldn't find a good excuse not to.

to make graham crackers, all you need are some basic pantry staples. things like brown sugar and honey. this is going great.

and the makeshift s'more..
a composed mess of graham cracker peach marshmallow and white chocolate.

good. weird? sweet treat tasty. there's marshmallow goo all over my hands and i don't care.

if i did it again, i might sneak some tart lemon curd in there. i am a prisoner to the Tart.

oh, must be mentioned.
*this does not fulfill your yearning for that comfortingly familiar flavor of a classic s'more.

i don't think the sandlot boys would approve of this s'more.
luckily they aren't here in this kitchen to stop me.

very lucky, because they must be old now and that'd be uncomfortable.

Graham Crackers
adapted from smitten kitchen via nancy silverton

2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour (i used 2 cups all purpose 1/2 cup graham flour)
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild flavored honey
5 tbsp milk
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. pulse to incorporate. add the butter and pulse on and off until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. 
in a small bowl, whisk together honey, milk, and vanilla. add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times until the dough barely comes together. it will be very soft and sticky. lay out a piece of plastic wrap and dust it with flour, then turn dough onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. wrap it and chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. 
divide dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. flour a work surface evenly and roll out dough about 1/8 inch thick. use it's very sticky so flour is important. cut into rectangles, squares, circles, etc. place crackers on one or two parchment lined baking sheets and chill until firm, about 30-45 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer. repeat with the second batch of dough. (or freeze it to make later!)
preheat oven to 350 degreesF. bake for 15-25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even baking

Fresh Peach Marshmallows
adapted from this recipe

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1/2 cup peach puree, method below
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
drop or two of orange food color (optional)

peach puree:
2-3 ripe peaches, diced
tbsp sugar
squeeze of lemon

place the peaches, sugar, and lemon in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree. strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, and transfer to a small saucepan. cook the peach puree down to about 1/2 cup, to concentrate the peachy flavor 

for the mallows: oil the bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch baking dish. dust with confectioners sugar. 
in a bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and peach puree, and let stand to soften. 
in a 3 quart heavy saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water and salt over medium low heat, stirring  with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. increase heat to medium and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240, about 10 minutes. remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. 
with a standing or hand held mixer, beat on high until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume. 
in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they just hold still peaks. beat egg whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. pour mixture into prepared pan. sift a few tablespoons of confectioners sugar evenly over top. chill until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to one day. 
run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. loosen marshmallow with your fingers and ease onto cutting board. with a large oiled knife, trim the marshmallow and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. 
mix remaining confectioners' sugar with cornstarch and sift into a wide bowl or baking sheet. toss with the marshmallows on all sides. shake off the excess and store in an airtight container for up to a week. 

and then ...

Graham Peach Marshmallow and White Chocolate S'mores
i did it in the oven because i was too lazy to go looking for the old brulee torch. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

triple coconut cream pie (with bananas)

i've been a little of a mess lately. everything's all over the, my brain, my clothes, my eating habits, my slightly clumsy awkward ways.

i feel tired. i'm overwhelmed, i'm bored, excited, and not excited.

i've been getting honked at on my bike a lot, one guy even yelled. it makes me nervous.

i've been surviving off of brownie batter, cheddar cheese cubes, sticky bun scraps, and cereal. in a very not good way. my stomach and my heart and my blood have good reason to be quite pissed off at me.

i make biscuits by hand almost every day of my life. and not like 300. that must be doing something strange to my brain.

the other night, i was laying in bed, and i dropped my phone on my face.
maybe i was hallucinating and thought i was holding a biscuit.
i was not. it was an iphone. it really hurt.

my hair is either in work position - low super tight bun, jutting bobby pins, covered with a baseball hat.
or ridiculous knot mess bun on top of the head.
i'm having a hard time remembering the last time i looked particularly put together.

i went to a crosby stills nash show with my parents. they were rockin, i was falling asleep in my lap with kettle corn stuck in my scarf.

i was out in the world at a shin dig, in a room with well-groomed, seeming sophisticates.
within ten minutes of being there, i bit into a cream puff, and the cream shoots out the other end.
i somehow catch the cream before it lands on my clothes, while trying to lick off the additional cream that made its way onto my chin, and i have a drink in the other hand.
trying to look graceful in this situation is out of the question.

i have even been dreaming about myself doing weird embarrassing things, and then waking up the next day feeling ashamed and dumb, all in the dream.

this has been my life, i'm hoping to snap myself out of it soon.

in the meantime, i'll just keep baking and dropping phones on my face.

coconut cream pie is too dang good. add bananas and, it is, for me, the ultimate pie.

i have read some crazy good tales of seattle's dahlia bakery, and it's famed coconut cream pie.

and the recipe is out in the world! for everyone to bake up and savor, slice by slice.

with a coconut crust, a custardy coconut cream, an added layer of bananas, a blanket of whipped cream and a finish of toasted coconut and white's certainly dreamy.

better than any party cream puff that i could ever drop on myself.

Triple Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas
adapted from Tom Douglas of Dahlia Bakery     

for the coconut pie crust:
1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup ice water, plus more if needed

for the coconut pastry cream:
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut 
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

for whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 2 bananas, sliced
2 ounces unsweetened shaved coconut toasted in a 350 degree F oven for 7 minutes
a small chunk of white chocolate, shaved into curls

for the crust: put all the ingredients, besides water in a food processor. pulse until it becomes coarse crumbs. add water a few tbsp at a time, pulsing in between, until dough holds together when pressed between your fingers. 
dump dough onto a sheet of plastic and press into a disc, cover with plastic and refrigerate for an hour. 

roll dough onto a floured surface into a 12-13 inch circle. ease the dough gently into a 9 inch pie pan (i used a deep fluted tart pan), and trim the excess. chill at least 1 hour before baking. 

preheat oven to 400 degreesF. place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the pie crust extending over the edges and fill with dried beans or pie weights. bake for 20-25 minutes until rim is golden. remove from oven, discard foil and beans, and return to oven. bake for 10-12 minutes more, until golden. remove and cool completely on a wire rack. 

for the coconut pastry cream: combine milk and coconut in a medium saucepan. scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and the pod to the milk mixture. place the saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. 
in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until well combined. temper the eggs (to keep them from scrambling) by pouring 1/3 cup of the scalded milk into the egg mixture while whisking. then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut. whisk over medium-high heat until the pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. keep whisking until the mixture is very thick, 4-5 minutes more. 
remove saucepan from heat. add the butter and whisk until it melts. remove and discard the vanilla bean pod. transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over a bowl of ice water, stir occasionally until it's completely cool. place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent it from forming a skin. refrigerate until completely cold. the pastry cream with thicken as it cools. 

for whipped cream: in an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla on medium speed, gradually increasing the speed to high and whip to peaks 

To Assemble: fill the pie crust with a generous layer of bananas. pour over the coconut pastry cream and spread it into an even layer. dollop and spread whipped cream over the top and garnish with a sprinkling of toasted shaved coconut and white chocolate curls (made with a vegetable peeler)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

strawberry creme fraiche ice cream

the last post was missing a recipe. how rude i am sometimes.

surely some ice cream will strengthen our bond.

strawberry creme fraiche ice cream!

are you familiar with creme fraiche? do you love creme fraiche? you should love it.
it's like a slightly less sour and more thick and creamy sour cream. it's a dream ingredient.

creme fraiche makes me think about the creme fraiche episode of south park.

and now, creme fraiche will make me think about south park and then ice cream.

simple icy creams... the color is cute and cheery, the taste is close-your-eyes good.

it's so smooth, light and fresh.
fresher than fraiche.

i put some fudge sauce on it, because it seemed like the smart decision.
i love this fudge sauce! it's gloopy in the best way.

dreamworld: the weekend lasts for 10 days and i have an endless supply of strawberry creme fraiche ice cream cones.

Strawberry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by Dave Leibovitz

1 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
3/4 cup sugar*
1 tbsp kirsch (or vodka)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup creme fraiche

*i used cane sugar because i was out of regular sugar, and it worked out splendidly

toss strawberries in a bowl with the sugar and kirsch. stir until the sugar begins to dissolve and strawberries are coated. let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the creme fraiche, heavy cream and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky. refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour. freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.