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Taste the weekend

5 Oct
Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiving a lovely pair of shoes on my doorstep (more on that later) and I promptly tried them on. Then… did I go out? Did I wear them out with friends? Or at least in public? Nope. I wore them ALL night, I even cooked dinner in them. I may or may not have put on nicer clothes. And touched up my makeup. Am I alone in this? Does anyone else cook in heels? I can’t decide if it’s cool or sad. All dressed up and no place to go, or all dressed up and making a fantastic meal, I prefer the latter. And fantastic it was! Guys, I made my own salad dressing. Like grown ups do. Chefs even. As you can see from these instagram snaps, it was delish. So this weekend, why not try making your own salad dressing! If I can do it, you can too. As always have a lovely weekend, and if you’d like the recipe for this pasta salad, click here

Baby spinach, feta cheese, almonds, roasted peppers, bowtie pasta, cherry tomatoes, and that awesome homemade vinaigrette? Triple yum.
xoxo Cristina



20 Sep
The peach surprise that I alluded to is finally here… Our first GUEST COLUMN

Our esteemed guest blogger is the sublimely talented Mindy Cohrs, pastry chef extraordinaire and owner of What the Fudge Bakeshop (eep! how cute is that name!?). Yup, my friend’s a pastry chef. Jealous? If you are, have no fear, she’s here to teach us how to bake in our brand new column Baking for Beginners! Now without further ado, let’s give Mindy a warm welcome!

Peach Cobbler Cake

Mindy here, and I love grocery shopping. Love it. It’s one of my most favorite things. Now granted, I have lots of ‘most favorite things’, but this one is definitely top ten. And the love I feel is multifaceted. It encompasses every aspect of the grocery shopping experience, from the fabulous people-watching (always a fun pastime), to the fresh produce, to the cute-but-way-too-young-to-flirt-with boy bagging my (oh-so-hip) greek yogurt.
Speaking of produce, there’s a game I like to play. I call it “which fruit are you?” (because I’m super clever like that) and the goal, surprise surprise, is to match up your personality traits with that of a particular fruit. For example, my friend LJ is the perfect embodiment of pineapple: fresh, sweet, a little tangy, and pairs nicely with the sun and a good cocktail. My mom is more of an apple: traditional, sweet, always crisp and clean like her signature white collared shirts. Peaches are my favorite fruit and so, naturally, they are reserved for my favorite person. My grandpa. He was totes a peach. In every sense of the word. Sugary, syrupy sweet in the most charming way but with a flavor all his own and ripe with southern hospitality. He said things like, “gooder ‘n garlic” when you asked him how he was doing and called his pants “britches” but my favorite term he used was the one he reserved for me, “grandpa’s baby.” I was SO grandpa’s baby. Always will be. 
If grandpa were still here, this is the cake I’d bake him. We’d eat it sitting on the back porch with his dog, Peggy, and his parrot, Jack, while shelling pecans and listening to old country and western songs. Then we’d go for a ride in the golf-cart, maybe play a game of dominoes, and turn in for the night with Lawrence Welk lulling us to sleep in the background. It would be glorious. 

Keep reading for the ingredients and steps, after the jump!

10 1/2 oz unsalted butter (or 2 1/2 sticks), at room temp+ 2 tbsp for glazing
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz ground almonds
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 (heaping) tsp baking powder
4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and halved
2 tbsp brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350* F.
  • Grease and flour a 10″ cake pan that’s been lined with parchment paper. (A springform pan is best if you have one, but it’s not a must.)
  • Cream together the 10 1/2  oz of butter with the granulated sugar until nice and fluffy, about three minutes. Scrape down bowl and add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl as you go. Add in vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 
  • Toss your almonds into a food processor and pulse until you have a fine meal. In separate bowl combine ground almonds, flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to butter and egg mixture all at once and beat on medium to low speed until incorporated. It should be very thick.
  • Soon into prepared pan. Place halved peaches on top of the batter around the perimeter of the pan, flat side down. Melt the extra two tablespoons of butter and brush it onto the tops of the peaches. Finish by sprinkling the brown sugar on top of the buttered peaches.
  • Bake for approx. 70 minutes or until deep golden on top (if your cake is browning too quickly just make a tent with some aluminum foil and set it on top). It should be firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out ALMOST clean. 
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. The  moist nature of this cake gives it a nice shelf-life of about a week, but there’s no way it’ll last that long.

This cake tastes like every good memory. It’s got texture and heart and the mild warmth of a summer day bordering on fall. It’s, as grandpa would say, “gooder ‘n garlic.”

p.s. If you have any baking questions or requests, be sure to leave them in the comments so we can focus on it for the next post! 



7 Jun


Rising in the oven. Yum!

Y’all, these are hands down the best cookies I ever made. Please don’t let this deter you, but they were also the first cookies I ever made. From scratch anyway, we’ve all baked that refrigerated cookie dough, and I’ve baked my fair share of cookies with my mom and her oh so wonderful electric mixer (which I can now appreciate) – but this was my first solo batch of cookies from scratch. I baked them for Nancy for her birthday, and they were so good I baked them again for my co-workers and then again for my family… in a span of 3 days. I’m so proud of these babies, and now I’m sharing them with you!

They’re called the 50/50 cookie after their 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cookie. For those of us who aren’t math whizzes, that means this cookie is 50% chocolate. Are you convinced yet? Okay, you may be considering your health right about now (it is bikini season after all) well fear not! I added a cup of rolled oats for the health buffs. That makes them healthy, right? Shhhhh…

And my biggest top secret tip to making these delicious cookies the best cookie you ever made, is to not use the regular hershey-kiss-shaped choc chips, but to use Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate CHUNKS, which are much larger block-shaped chocolate chips. (You can see them in my dough).

I got this recipe from The Tender Crumb via Broma Bakery, find the ingredients and super easy steps  

The 50/50 Cookie
Makes 24 cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 egg
*1 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces whole (or 1 3/4 cups chopped) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
*1 cup rolled oats 
*I added the oatmeal for imaginary health justification, you can leave these out if you wish
*I couldn’t find pastry flour, so I used 1/2 cup of cake flour and 1/2 cup of All-Purpose flour
In a large bowl, cream butter and the two sugars on medium speed using an electric mixer. Then, beat in the egg. Next, pour in the flours, salt, powder, soda, vanilla (I added the oats here) and beat until dough comes together. Using a spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate until well blended. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours to let the dough set.*
*I couldn’t wait 12 hours for the dough to set, I baked them and ate them right away and they were still delicious. But if you have the patience or the foresight to make the dough and let it set, the texture will be even more amazing. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and there you have it, the best cookie you ever made!
May I remind you, these were the first cookies I made from scratch, so you can do it too!
And if you have any cookie recipes I must try, please let me know
xoxo Cristina



29 May

Hope you all had a lovely long weekend! Get up to anything fun? I got a bit adventurous and made bacon egg and cheese scones. I know, yum. My bloglove of course started years ago with street style blogs, but recently I can’t get enough of pretty recipes on pretty food blogs, Tastespotting in particular (anyone else love that site?). I always fall for cookies and cakes (naturally) but this recipe caught my eye with its delicious simplicity: bacon? eggs? cheese? I can do that!

And so I did.
Are you guys liking the videos? Well I’m enjoying making them so tough 😉 I found the scone recipe on the ever excellent Butter Me Up Brooklyn and the super easy whipped butter spread on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. You don’t have to make both of these together, they’re each delicious on their own (the butter spread makes my morning toast so special!). Follow the jump for the details…

Bacon Egg and Cheese Scones

Adapted from Butter Me Up Brooklyn

1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/3 cup grated cheese (all I had was parmesan on hand, but sharp cheddar would be amazing)
4 slices bacon
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold butter, grated

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Start cooking the bacon, and let it sizzle away while you prepare the scone dough.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper and cheese, then set aside. When the bacon is crispy, transfer to a cutting board and chop into small bits.

Whisk together two eggs (oops I did 3) with a pinch of salt and pepper, and scramble them over medium heat (I drained off the bacon fat from the pan and used it to cook the eggs). The eggs should be well cooked since they will be folded into the dough, and will look a bit drier than eggs you would serve.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture so that some chunks remain, add the in bacon, and toss with flour so that the bacon is dredged. Whisk the egg yolk into the buttermilk and incorporated into the flour mixture so that it is well combined.

Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead a few times so that it comes together. Fold in the eggs (working fast since the eggs will be warm) and when everything is combined, pat into a circle. Cut into quarters, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve immediately.

Garlic Herb Butter Spread

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 2 cups of spread (the recipe is easily halved)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter with a handheld mixer (or electric stand mixer) until light and fluffy and smooth. Add in the spices and herbs and mix until well combined. Serve at cool room temperature



23 Apr

High on the successes of my strawberry pie, I decided to tackle the pastry du jour, macarons. You can bake a pie, you can make a macaron, right?

Wrong. Macarons are on a WHOLE other level, and you probably already knew this. I even knew this in the back of my head but I was filled with an inflated self-confidence following my pie so this is what happened. I bought a food processor (the Ninja is a little miracle worker, I highly recommend it. Plus it has an awesome name), I also bought myself a hand mixer, almonds, almond extract, food coloring (I went with pink on the outside and lavender on the inside!). One thing I did not buy: parchment paper. Parchment paper is what will keep your macarons from sticking to the pan, so mine stuck to the pan. They were near impossible to scrape off the pan still looking cute, but here is one example of a cute one! Now, I hesitate to connect these results with a recipe, because I really did not do it justice. But as you can see from Jess’s results, the fault was in my execution and not in the recipe. I skipped the orange zest and went with a buttercream filling (instead of marmalade). I also may or may not have added an extra egg white by accident. And my version of “folding” turns out to have been ALL wrong.

But having said all of that, these macaron-alikes were DELICIOUS. They tasted just right. I’ve had fancy store-bought macarons and yunno what? These were just as good. They just didn’t have that aesthetic appeal.. which let’s be honest is 90% of the attraction with these oh-so-cute pastel-colored morsels. Possibly the cutest thing we’ve ever seen on a plate, right?  I’m gonna work on that.

Get the recipe (with my alterations) after the jump!

Gluten-free recipe courtesy of Forgiving Martha:

2 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups almond flour (I used my Ninja food processor to grind the almonds into a fine powder)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 egg whites, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. 
  2. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
  3. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
  4. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Add zest and almond extract to the batter.  Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. 
  6. Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
  7. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
  8. Cool on a rack before filling.

See Step 4? I overfolded. But this is a fantastic recipe and while my technique could use some tweaking if I wanna make them cuter, the flavor was spot on

As I said in my last food post, (which was my first): 
If I can do it, you can do it!
xo Cristina


9 Apr
I’m trying something new today, in more ways than one! I baked my very first strawberry pie.  And I’m posting my very first recipe on the blog. I never meant for this to be a food blog, but I think of this as just one more idea to inspire beauty in your day. For example, you could eat this pie whilst wearing Dannijo, sitting on your brightly decorated patio. I’m full of ideas. Or on a sugar high.

I couldn’t decide between fresh strawberries or cooked strawberries, so I did a bit of both! Think La Madeleine meets Marie Callender meets homemade strawberry jam. I couldn’t find a recipe that satisfied my craving, so I sort of made one up! A layer of cooked strawberries on the bottom and a layer of fresh ones on top. I highly recommend devouring this with a scoop of ice cream. Or two. Or vanilla yogurt for a waist-friendly option!

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup water
Strawberries (I used two 16oz packs)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup sugar

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all crust ingredients in a bowl, form a ball with the dough and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Finely slice enough strawberries to fill a 9-inch pie tin, keep a separate bowl of strawberries to add on top at the end
  4. Add the cornstarch and sugar to strawberry filling
  5. Roll dough into a circle and place it in pie tin
  6. Fill the crust with strawberry filling
  7. Bake for 40 minutes
  8. Let cool for 15 minutes, then add fresh strawberries on top

I’ll be honest, it’s pretty finger-lickin good for my first time. If I can do it, you can too.
FUN FACT: I do not own a rolling pin. I used a wine bottle
I would love to hear your thoughts!
More recipes?
Never again?
Lemme know! xo Cristina



9 Feb

I don’t really post food. And I’m not a massive Valentiner. In fact my bf and I just gave each other a 2-week extension to find presents haha. But how could I resist these mini cakes that look like a box of chocolates!? Ah-mahzzzinggg. I would you eat you right up. Especially the gold foil hearts. 
If you have the courage and determination, or even just the curiosity, find out how to make them here.
images via sweetapolita