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Showing posts from March, 2013

s'mores bars

I love online personality tests.


Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.  The ones that tell you what flavor of ice cream you are and which Friday Night Lights character you're most like.


Making s'mores is a lot like taking one of those online quizzes. I can tell a heck of a lot about you by the way you make your s'mores.  Let me elaborate.

You shove your marshmallow into the fire and burn it to a crisp.  You are a strong believer that marshmallows are one of the few foods that tastes better burnt.  You hate waiting in lines, enjoy Chinese take-out food, and tend to be argumentative. You think you've mastered the s'more technique.  You're Lord of the S'mores.  You might be a dad and/or a camp counselor.  You can be found whittling your perfect "s'more stick," or trying to assist a less capable s'more maker with this delicate art.  People may call you a "busy-body."  You enjoy team sports and activities…

julia's banana bread

I just woke up from one of the best dreams I've ever had.  At the moment, I am sitting on Amtrak -- rolling through miles of factory towns and burnt out buildings on my way to New York City.  As much as I love the city that never sleeps, I seriously needed some sleep. Thank the Lord it's spring break and I can finally log out of my school e-mail account, hang up my backpack, and get some serious shut eye.  About an hour ago, the bumpiness of the train lulled me to sleep, and I was transported far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city...


It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people tell me about their dreams.  Not their dreams as in aspirations, but their nonsensical, rambling, nighttime dreams about purple cows and police chases.  Please forgive me, but I need to share this awesome dream with you guys.  It's nothing crazy or complicated  -- just a small tree house, a winding road, and some really good banana bread.


I had my noise cancelling headphones on, …

grilled guacamole with parmesan and basil

Looks can be deceiving.


When I was little, I avoided guacamole like the plague. My reasons for hating guac?  It was mushy, and it was green.  One day, when I was feeling a tad bit adventurous, I dipped my chip into the creamy, dip and I've been seriously obssessed ever since.


I must confess that I feel guilty about my former hatred of the wonderful dip, especailly since my two reasons for avoiding it (green and mushy) were not good reasons at all to miss out on all of guacamole's magic for the first decade of my life.  To make up for this, I came up with three very good reasons to love guacamole.

1.  Guacamole gets you friends.  Eating guacamole is a communal event.  Nothing says "be my friend" like a big bowl of chips and an even bigger bowl of guacamole.  Whip some of this out and you'll be one of the most popular kids in town. 

2. Guacamole is like nature's form of butter.  It's creamy, spreadable, and buttery.  And we all know how awesome butter is.…

dark chocolate lava cakes

All my life, I've had a really hard time picking favorites.  When I was little, people always asked me about my favorite color, favorite food, favorite book etc.  All of the other kids seemed to have an immediate response to these questions, while I would just stand there dumbfounded for a few minutes weighing the pros and cons of each choice.  Even to this day these questions stress me out. Do I have to pick just one?! I can be a little indecisive.


But this past summer, I discovered my favorite chocolate.  This was a pretty huge deal, now that you know that I don't take favorites lightly.  When I took my first bite of Recchiuti at the San Fransisco Ferry Market, I was in love.  I've had my share of different chocolates -- but this was nothing like anything I've tasted before.  It was smooth, with a bold, fruity chocolate flavor as well as smoky, subtle cocoa flavor.  It was perfect. I brought home a few bars, and although the first few didn't last long, I had enou…

lemon raspberry cupcakes

Surprises are funny, you either love 'em or you hate 'em.
Scratch that. That's not true at all.  It just sounded like a good hook for this post.
Personally, I'm in the middle.


Sometimes, I like to be in the know.  For example, I set different ringtones for different people. It takes the anxiety out of texting. I know whether to stop and reach into my bag on a crowded escalator, whether to start whistling and pretend it never went off, or whether to go into full-on panic mode. Do other people do this? Discuss.


Other times,  I love to be surprised -- like when I bite into one of these seemingly simple cupcakes and discover that they're filled with my favorite raspberry jam.
One thing's for sure, I love to surprise people.  On Friday, I organized a surprise birthday dinner for my friend Erin's 16th birthday.  I told her I wanted to go shopping with her at Bloomies (I bought a pair of shoes for the cause ;) -- but I had actually invited ten of our closes…

sex in a pan

Did I catch your attention? Good.
This is a sinfully decadent, sinfully easy dessert with a sinfully rewarding response.

It's not the daintiest, nor the prettiest. As a matter of fact, it's basically a hot mess in a pan.
But you know what? Despite it's frightening appearance, people just can't keep their hands off of it.
I made this for the first time for my school's Winter Sports Banquet.  In the morning, I put it in the fridge, all wrapped up in foil with a big sign saying DO NOT EAT...


When I came back to get it for the banquet, some sneaky little devil had eaten half the pan.  I wonder who it was...
Was it the P.E. teacher, trying to get his chocolate fix before he had to teach another period of freshman Health?
Was it the librarian, trying to drown her sorrows due to the fact that no one checks out anything but textbooks anymore?
Was it that "innocent" little freshman boy from Baking club?
I'll never know...

However, what I do know is that som…

rosemary chicken

"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at ones most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers."


My dad just got home from Newport and brought me a little tin box full of family recipes.  They're all written out by hand and spattered with pasta water and melted chocolate. Although I have never met any of the women behind these recipes, each one gives me a glimpse into the lives they led.

I know that Ms. E. M. Langley felt very strongly about adding extra cheddar to her stuffed peppers, and that Mrs. Pierce liked to dip her doughnuts not once, but three times in powdered sugar.  Even though I don't even know their first names, I think Ms. Langley, Mrs. Pierce are pretty cool, and I think we would all be very good friends.  (I don't joke around when it comes to powdered sugar)


This got me thinking -- what recipes define my immediate family?

We don't ha…