Sunday, April 29, 2012

Raspberry Custard Bars with an Almond Shortbread Crust

The weather has been really nice these past few days, warm in the upper 70's with a cool breeze, very spring-y. For some reason when the weather starts to turn warm again I always find myself craving berries, and I'd been wanting to make some sort of fruit bar for a few weeks, so I decided to combine two of my favorite things and make bars with raspberries and custard. And I added another favorite thing by putting some cognac in the custard mix. Liquors always add another interesting dimension of flavor to desserts, but to work it has to be complementary and not overdone, and in this case the cognac melded right along with the vanilla notes, the sweet berries, and the rich and creamy custard. The combination was wonderful, I actually ate an entire row of the bars off of the tray within a 30 minute period. Not the healthiest decision I've made this weekend, but definitely worth it. Also, last post I held a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Glass Dharma, the makers of beautiful and eco-friendly glass straws. Today I'm announcing the winner of the giveaway, so a big congratulations is in store for....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hawaiian Wine Coolers with Frozen Pineapple Slices and a Giveaway

I've been catching up on a lot of household chores this weekend, and our new place only has an AC unit in the living room so I've reallllly been feeling the heat wave we've had in Southern California. To combat this, I decided to make a wine cooler beverage that my Hawaiian friend had made a few years back. It's just perfect for hot weather: fruity, cool, sparkling, and with that nice citrus kick. I was able to use the glass straws I'd gotten from Glass Dharma in the drinks too, so incredibly beautiful! They add a really fun and elegant touch to the drinks when you serve them, plus they're reusable so it's good for the environment. They come in a bunch of different styles and sizes, I'm super excited to make boba tea again sometime soon so I can use the big glass boba straw! And to make it even better, the nice people over at Glass Dharma have volunteered to give away a $25 gift certificate to a lucky reader! To enter, please leave a comment on this post about your favorite beverage. For extra entries, you can:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling & Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting, Plus a Giveaway!

This past week has been a whirlwind. We're still unpacking from our move, and since the storage space in the kitchen is lacking we're building our own little kitchen hutch from scratch, which means I've spent the majority of my weekend in and out of home depot and wiping down and staining boards of wood. It is a LOT of work, but it should look really nice in the end so hopefully it will all be worth it. There has also been a lot of rain lately, especially for Los Angeles, so I decided to make some spring-y cupcakes with poppy seed lemon cake, filled with lemon curd, and a bright blueberry frosting inspired by Week of Menu's Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting. I'm hoping that these April showers really will bring May flowers, as most of the seeds I ordered came in the mail these past couple weeks and I've been gardening a lot as a result. I do my seed starting the way my Dad taught me: seeds folded into moist paper towels placed in a plastic sandwich bag in the sun for a few days, then transplanted into starter pots with potting soil. So far, so good, but I realized after my orders came that seed packets always seem to be meant for people with enormous backyards, not the small urban patch of grass at my new place. So, I've decided to share my surplus of seed in a springtime giveaway!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jalapeno Cornbread with Caramelized Onions

I've spent the entirety of this past week unpacking from my move up to North Hollywood, and I've done it all while having an annoying head cold that I thought I beat Thursday, but returned Friday morning with a stuffy vengeance. All of this laboring and illness made me crave something warm and cozy and comforting. I was planning on making some kind of veggie-egg bake, but Jeremy mentioned that he was craving savory cornbread yesterday, and I'd just recently re-seasoned my cast iron skillet using this handy guide, so I decided to try my hand at making a savory version of my other cornbread recipe. I chopped up some sweet onion and slow-cooked it with some butter until it caramelized, then I stirred it into the batter along with some shredded cheddar cheese and diced jalapeno, poured it into the skillet, and popped it in the oven. It was...absolutely delicious. Crispy around the edges, warm, cheesy, salty, sweet, soft in the middle, basically all the flavors and textures that the human palette enjoys. I made it this morning, and 4 and 1/2 hours later we've eaten 3/4 of it (update: by 10 pm that evening it was completely gone. Probably should've parceled it out more.) Jeremy said it was his favorite savory recipe I've made yet! It was definitely comforting, and felt great to just lay on the sofa eating cornbread after days of ceaseless physical and mental activity. So the next time you're feeling stressed or tired or completely run down, pop this little baby in the oven and let yourself enjoy the moment.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Roast Leg of Lamb

This week has been a whirlwind. Jeremy and I have been packing since we got back from our trip to Palm Desert last weekend, we got the keys to our new place in North Hollywood on Wednesday so slowly started moving things over then, but yesterday was the big rent-a-U-Haul-and-put-all-the-stuff-we-couldn't-fit-in-my-ford-focus day. It was tiring, and at times this past week I wondered if we'd actually be able to move all our stuff to the new place in time, but with the help of friends it came off without a hitch and everything was made it over to North Hollywood in one piece. To celebrate the new place, and since it's getting close to Easter, I thought I'd make my Dad's leg of lamb recipe. I've posted this recipe before over at my old blog, 52 Weeks of Greek, but wanted to make it again here because I was craving it terribly. It's my favorite preparation for lamb; the garlic, oregano, olive oil, pepper and butter are simply there to enhance the lamb's natural earthy flavors, and roasting it in an oven bag helps keep the meat nice and juicy and prevents it from drying out. And now that the whole place smells like lamb, it really feels like home. However, looking around me at all the boxes that still need to be unpacked leaves me longing for the Palm Desert again...