Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

I have good news for us, friends!  Two things.  One:  it’s Sunday.  Two:  life is not boring.  Life is big and beautiful and staggering and hard and long and short and thank goodness for Sunday.  

I hope this day finds you settled and just a little bit lazy.  I’m off to Jazz Fest here in New Orleans.  If you need me I’ll be in the Gospel Tent with a daiquiri.  

Happy day to you.  

I took some of the Internet and gathered it for you here:  

 •  Wonderful people are made, not born.  This is so great:  The Moral Bucket List 

•  This is staggering.  “In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia.”  Read.  1.5 Missing Black Men 

•  Robert Durst and another cold case.  Seriously? 

•  Is the first date too early for couples therapy?   Answer:  no. 

•  Belle Gibson lied about having brain cancer.  Generally and universally speaking, totally not cool.  But here’s why we’re part of the problem, too.  

•  A brief look inside the bizarre and sadistic Presidential Fitness Test.  I remember being reeeaaallly proud that I passed this test with flying colors.  

•  How to design a roller coaster that will make you beg for mercy.  I’d call uncle about 8 seconds in and that picture you captured of me in my moment of supreme terror… well that wasn’t very nice of you at all.  

•  I’m going on the I’m-Running-For-President Diet.  Oh wait… NO I’M NOT.  I confused myself with Jeb Bush which I’ll never ever do again.  

  Give this a listen:  Julia Turshen on The Design Observer.  

•  2015’s list of the 150 Best Bars in America.  Just in case.  

•  Inside the largest Buddhist settlement in the world.  There is big beauty in the world.  

•  Provisions by Food52 has some really beautifully crafted kitchen and life items.  I love this Blue Tart Plate and these perfect Biscuit Cutters.

Have the most wonderful Sunday!

xo Joy 

Strawberry Lattice Pie

Strawberry Lattice Pie

Strawberry Lattice Pie

It’s Summer Pie Practice Season.  Isn’t that what you call Spring?  

Beautiful strawberries are starting to hit the markets, and they’re a bit early for super sweetness, but not too early to start experimenting with pies and practicing our lattice technique!  

I hope this coming weekend finds you in the kitchen baking away.  Maybe throw some blueberries in this pie, or a handful of raspberries.  It’s the perfect time to get our Summer frame of mind right.  Also, doesn’t everyone want a pie in their house come Sunday night?  

Strawberry Lattice Pie

These strawberries are big, beautiful, and not quite sweet enough for pie.  Not to worry… nothing a little brown sugar can’t fix right up.  

For more in pie adventures, see:  Gluten-Free Strawberry Ginger Pie or Peach and Blueberry Pie… though it’s a little soon for peaches.  I suppose we just need to be more patient before we get all Summer-pie-happy.  

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Crispy Avocado Fries with Melty Cheese Dip

Avocado Fries

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

It’s starting to look like I moved to New Orleans as an excuse to deep fry my California vegetables, make melty cheese dip, live off Red Beans and Rice, and plate after plate of fresh beignets.  That’s to say nothing of the sazeracs and oysters.

Truth is, I moved to New Orleans for the suffocating humidity alone.  

Not true at all.  No one has ever ever done that.  

We’ve entered into the 12 most beautiful days of the year here in New Orleans.  After living here for one year, I’m talking like I know…

These are the 12 days when it’s perfectly warm with pleasantly bearable humidity, long pink sunsets, and almost cool evenings.  It’s the perfection before the wrath of summer.  It’s… well, it’s what California is like ALL THE TIME.  

Let’s not talk about it anymore… let’s just fry these avocados. 

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

Can I tell you a secret about free avocados?  

If you’re in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans or Brooklyn you can place an order with the awesome people of Good Eggs and receive a free bag of avocados!  Seems like the very best idea. 

Photographs by the lovely Gabrielle Geiselman with styling (aka throwing food around) by me.  Gabrielle is my friend, neighbor, and fellow avocado fiend.  

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Buttery + Salty Marshmallow Popcorn Crunch

Buttery + Salty Marshmallow Popcorn Crunch

Buttery + Salty Marshmallow Popcorn Crunch

What if there could be a treat that was like Rice Krispie treats, but also like a bowl of kettle corn, and then also salty, but then dotted with an obnoxious amount of sprinkles?  That would be good news.  Actually, that would be what’s happening here!

It’s success and celebration, all in a popcorn bowl.  

Happy Monday!  Just go for it: sprinkle and marshmallow everything today.   

Related:  I’m really into aggressively-flavored popcorn… Roy Choi’s Furikake Kettle Corn

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Let It Be Sunday

sunday

Hello friends!  I hope this morning finds you happy and rested, ready for buttery toast and a leisurely morning. I’m back in New Orleans making the biggest mess of my kitchen just for you.  We’ve got fruit pies, avocado things, and a crazy marshmallow concoction coming your way in the next few days.  I hope you’re into it!

Have the most lovely day.  Let’s be good to the people around us.  

The Internet, distilled:  

•  One hundred and fifty years ago this week, President Lincoln was assassinated.  Here’s the story of The Insane Story of The Guy Who Killed The Guy Who Killed Lincoln.  

•  One Company’s New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a year.  How? The CEO cut his own million dollar salary to increase the salary of his employees over three years.  Yea… think about it. 

•  The Fascinating, Never-Ending Job of Painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  Tall towers and tight corners, over and over again, amen.  

•  Taking Back Detroit, portraits of a city and its people.  

•  The Time Has Come To Redefine Old Age.  Maybe we should define old age by whether or not you SnapChat.  Related:  I’m not on SnapChat.  I’m old. 

•  Something to make us all feel old and technologically inept:  Instagram’s TMZ.  

•  Really interesting:  The Making of Dr. Oz, how an award-winning doctor turned away from science and embraced fame.  

•  Let’s learn Why Knuckles Crack.  

•  What’s So Special About 350 degrees F?  The science of what happens behind the oven door from The Kitchn.  

•  When I first moved to New Orleans, Jessica Bride graciously invited me into her home to teach me how to make a Louisiana specialty: crawfish pie.  She invited her photographer friend Gabrielle, and I was quickly welcomed into their food-loving friendship. Crawfish Pie and the power of cooking with strangers.  

•  The ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon have a new and beautiful book out!  I’m baking from it this afternoon.  It’s The Perfect Egg.

•  For when we need our shoes to say a lot about who we are.     

•  Speaking of things we wear.  How about this for our new Spring Dress?  I like. 

•  New high or new low?  Custom Printed Pet Photo Pillows.  

Happy Sunday!  I love you.  xo

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Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

The days really are warming.  There are the prettiest strawberries in the market.  It might almost be time to daydream about watermelon wedges.  But… I still need soup.  The unapologetically comforting kind of soup with soft carrots, big bites of chicken, almost too much thyme, and the fluffiest floating dumplings.  

It’s Winter comforts in Spring.  Let’s bridge the gap.  You know… like wearing a light scarf or shoes with no socks… except this is food and way way delicious.    

Chicken and Dumplings

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs to start.  I like chicken thighs because they’re more fatty and flavorful than chicken breast.  Always go for flavor!  

The meat is seasoned well and browned in hot hot olive oil.  This is where the layers of flavor begin.  

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello my friends! 

It’s Sunday and I hope you’re ready for some Spring sunshine and frothy cappuccinos.  Maybe treat yourself to a donut. Treat a friend to a donut.  Do things that make you smile.  

I’ve been missing my California home these days.  Something about California air just feels familiar and settling to me.  You can take the girl outta California… but you can’t take California outta the girl (no matter how many times I try to say y’all).  Above photo by Jon Melendez (who just made a Jambalaya Pizza!!).  

Enjoy this beautiful day.  

Here’s the easy of the Internet this week:  

•  We need to keep talking about this California drought business:  are almonds and other nuts really drought villains?

•  An art director on Why She Wears The Same Thing To Work Everyday.  In my world it’s more like, Why I Wear The Same Dress For A Week Straight:  laze and convenience and security. 

•  5 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton.  Bonus thing:  she’s a boss. 

•  From the series “Why I Teach”:  Why I Teach My Students To Be Brave.

•  Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work, Here’s What Does.  I mean… with a title like this you haaave to click, right?  Spoiler alert:  write a list and make a plan.  

•  “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”  50 of the most beautiful lines in The Great Gatsby.  

•  Women Answer Questions Men Are Too Afraid To Ask.  On bras and why it takes us so long to get ready… straight face emoji. 

•  It’s Spring and I feel like now is the time to put root vegetables in our desserts.  Don’t worry… it’s cool.  It’s going to be good.  I promise!  Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.  

•  Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crispy Goat Cheese.  I’d eat my fill.  

•  What if your name was Beyonce… but you weren’t Beyonce.  Are You Beyonce, Beyonce, or Just Regular Beyonce?  It’s complicated.   

Have a most lovely Sunday!

xo Joy

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Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

Hey friends! I’ve been here, there, and everywhere lately eating dang near every single thing I can get my hand on from New Orleans, north to Philadelphia.  This week I’ve been in Philadelphia where I’ve found GOOD everywhere I’ve gone:  good people, good coffee, seriously good bagels, good donuts, and what might be one of my favorite places in the country:  The Reading Terminal Market.  

The Reading Terminal Market is Philadelphia’s indoor public market, packed to the gills with fresh produce, local meats and fish, Amish baked goods, quality coffee, cannolis like whoa, and the best roast pork sandwich is all the land.  I love the Reading Terminal Market because the quality and range of food is bonkers… I can nerd out about food around every corner of this market… but the people that fill the stalls, aisles, and countertops are free of food-person pretensions (eye roll) and just there because they know what’s good.  It’s the most wonderful place.  

Here’s a look inside: 

Reading Terminal Market

Every countertop has people gathered.  Dutch Eating Place for lunch ooorrr the best Roast Pork Sandwich with broccoli rabe and peppers from  DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef.  Seriously with that sandwich… outta control. 

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Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

These cookies are asking for your attention.  Not so much begging or pleading, but asking nicely for you to pay attention.  

They’re here to tell you that they’re a little to big, a little too sweet, have a little too much bacon, and yea… too much chocolate, too.  They’re crisp and they don’t care about your affection for chewy.  They’re gluten-free, but really… they never needed gluten in the first place.  They’re the boss.  They know it.  Don’t play.

Peanut Butter.

Bacon.  

Dark Chocolate.  

Get on the bandwagon before these cookies raise their voice.  Nobody wants that. 

See also:  Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes.  Sorry.  Also, not sorry. 

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!  

How are you feeling this week?  Standing with both feet on the ground?  Wearing a good scarf?  Beating back allergies?  drinking too much coffee?  Me too.  All of the same.  

Last week I was in Nashville.  This week I’m eating and coffee-ing my way through Philadelphia.  I’ve run away from home.  That’s the long and short of it.  

(picture above from HubBub Coffee.) 

What happened in the world and on the Internet this week?  These things, I think:  

•  Amazon’s new Dash Button.    Household items, reordered at the touch of a button.  But doesn’t this take away from standing in line at the grocery store on a Friday night buying a bottle of wine, tampons, cat liter, and a box of mac and cheese?  I feel like there’s real glory in that.  Now… either I’m getting old or I’m just in a constant state of “who are we and what have we become”.  The Horror of Amazon’s New Dash Button.  

•  “As we increasingly outsource our memories to devices, we may be forgetting the pleasures of imperfect recall.”  Remembrance of Things Lost

•  Completely heartbreaking and totally inspiring:  Teenagers Facing Early Death, On Their Terms.  

•  Ellen Pao and The Sexism You Can Quite Prove.  

•  Almonds are drinking all of California’s water.  10% of California’s Water Goes To Almond Farming

 Should Grown Men Use Emoji? (straight face emoji)   

•  Weekend read about Mad Men as we enter the final season:  The Shock of the Pretty.  

•  Billy on the Street with David Letterman.  Thank you!  

•  Watch a Calligrapher Perfectly Draw Famous Logos From Scratch with Pen and Ink.  

•  The one-way ticket to Mars you were hoping for may not be such a good idea.  YA THINK!? 

Have a lovely day, my friends!  Catchya tomorrow! 

xo Joy

Cheddar Croissant Donuts with Honey Mustard

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Can you even remember who you were before you knew that we could turn donuts into croissants and croissants into donuts?  I can’t remember either.  None of that time must have been important.  It’s like life before Instagram… can we even call that life?  

 What if we add cheese to croissant donuts?  What kind of maniacs would we be?  Like mad scientists with cheese on our lips and honey mustard in our hair.  

Well… here’s how!  

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Golden brown.  Melty cheddar.  Not a care in the world… well, fewer cares at least.

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New Favorite Spring Cookbooks

JTB Cookbook Collage

The trees are starting to flower.  Strawberries are starting to fill the shelves at the grocery store.  Easter candy is taunting me at every turn.  The combination of cut grass and sunshine feels extra special.  It’s Spring, y’all!  

(Still experimenting with the word y’all.  Hold on tight.)

Now, it’s not that I need any more cookbooks on my kitchen shelves.  It’s just that I can’t help myself.  These cookbooks feel like works of art to me and everyone needs some kitchen inspiration.  

Here’s what I’m loving, besides Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with feta and parsley… just sayin’.  

•  Date Night In  This thoughtful cookbook from Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt is exactly the right book to reach for when it’s time to open a bottle of wine, hop in the kitchen, and chat-cook… a technical term for getting all up in the kitchen and connecting.  Wonderful for both romance and friendship.  

•  Seven Spoons from Tara O’Brady is just gorgeous!  The recipes are unique, but not too outside of the box to not feel comforting.  I have the Braised Beef Short Ribs on my shortlist.  

•  Food 52’s Genius Recipes  is a staple in my kitchen.  This book understands my needs for the perfect pasta sauce on a Wednesday night when all I want to do is eat popchips and pink wine.  This book inspires dinner everyday.  

•  I’m very protective of my good bowls.  I have three of them.  They’re almost as wide as a place, with a shallow but helpful lip.  Perfect for when you want to eat aggressive amounts of pasta, or an embarrassing amount of beans and rice.  These bowls + The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon.  I’m all set.  

•  I was in Charleston, SC last week and wandered into biscuit heaven:  Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits.  So buttery. So fluffy.  So substantial.  It was pretty perfect.  So… Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions

•  We can never go wrong with a good cookie.  Cookie Love from Mindy Segal.  Elevated, fool-proof and extra delicious cookies.  Don’t forget the salt.  

•  Aimee Wimbush- Bourque of Simple Bites has written a lovely book about food, homesteading, and family.  It’s enough to just abut convince me to plant a tomato tree.  I have a black thumb… are they even called tomato trees?  Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

•  The amazing and brilliant Christina Tosi and her sweet sweet life.  Milk Bar Life:  Recipes and Stories

•  It’s exactly what you need it to be sometimes: Dessert For Two, the pretty and practical new book from Christina Lane.  Me and Tron and set for dessert into the future.  

 Sasha Martin cooked a meal and fed her family from every country in the world over the course of 195 weeks.  It’s the story of food and forgiveness and it’s really beautiful: Life From Scratch

 It turns out that photographers and indie rock stars can make some pretty beautiful and inspiring cookbooks!  I have this book pre-ordered and would like to invite you to dinner.  K?  Twenty Dinners 

 Also on my pre-order list is The Dirty Apron Cookbook.  Simple dinners, confidence building technique, and plenty of flavor inspiration.  

Oh, also… here are some of my favorite cookbooks from last summer.  And… now I want ceviche and donuts, separately but in abundance. 

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  

We’re well into this Sunday and it feels all the way like Spring.  I hope your brunch table runneth over.  

I’ve been in Nashville this week eating everything I can get my hands on and wearing cowboy boots like I know what I’m doing.  I don’t… I barely know what I’m doing, but the boots help with the confidence.  

This week has been a lot, hasn’t it?  Here is what’s what.  

•  Germanwings flight 9525.  “When one person is responsible for 150 lives, it is more than just suicide.”  From Slate.  

•  We work from home, hang out with out cats, take pictures of our home coffee, watch HBO Go while we blog and email and order gluten-free crackers on Amazon.  Is it true?  Are we The Shut-In Economy

•  Let’s go ahead and opt out of everything.  Opting out of group texts and reply-all emails being the most important of all.

•  The perfect bean to save the hot and hungry planet.  

•  Mariel Hemingway on Woody Allen.  It’s important.  

•  Feminist Ben and Jerry’s flavors.  Because.   

•  Tim Cook on running Apple.  Also, he plans to give away all his wealth after he pays for his nephews college education.  

 •  Meerkat app and Periscope.  What in the world is going on?  No, seriously.  Are we going to be ok?  

•  Our president + The Wire creator David Simon.  

•  Remember when your parents had “The Talk” with you?  Ugh.  From NYMag:  Let’s Talk Frankly About Sex.

•  Just in case you need to see everything Don Draper wore on Mad Men.  

•  The X-Files.  Come on BACK!  

Have the most lovely day!  Don’t let the Sunday night stresses get atcha.  Wine and pudding help.  Wine and chocolate pudding.  

xo Joy

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Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet Cake

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

I was looking for rainbow carrots.  I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.

And then, nope.  

Turns out strawberries are in season!  Now.  Already.  It’s time!

Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).  

Come with it! 

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

 Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness.  When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.

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New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

It’s taken me entirely too long to get to soak my red beans.  A year!  I’ve lived in New Orleans a year and I’ve never soaked my red beans to make a pot of Red Beans and Rice.  Some nerve, really.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition.  I thought Monday nights were reserved for red wine, salty popcorn, and M&M dinner… turns out I was totally mistaken.  All the way wrong.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition because Monday was considered the “wash-day”…. laundry.  Red Beans could cook on the stove, mostly unattended, all day while the laundry was done.  Also, Red Beans could be made with the precious ham hock reserved from Sunday supper.  In other words, everything makes sense.  Ham, red beans, Monday laundry.  New Orleans is doing it right and I need to get my act (and my laundry) together.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Let’s get this pot on the stove!  

Classic Camellia Red Beans, dried but soaked.  

Major soup flavors like onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and pancetta.  

Parsley and thyme for fresh herb notes.  Bay leaf for base flavors. Good chicken stock for roundness.  

Lastly, smoked sausage, sliced, for that perfect layer of salty smoky pork.  

Rice too!  And it’s almost dinner! 

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Let It Be Sunday

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Happy Sunday, friends!  

I have three hopes for you today:  

I hope there’s champagne in your orange juice and fresh flowers in  a vase.  What luxuries… seriously.  

I hope you make yourself a big pot of Roasted Garlic Soup and not care a lick about the garlic breath you might have for the next full week or so.  (Kidding… it’s not really that bad.)

I sincerely hope you take some time to slow it all down today.  Leave and the muss and fuss for Monday and Wednesday.  

(photo above from Young Blood, Atlanta.)  

This was a week.  We’re carrying on through the year, aren’t we? 

•  There is an election this coming week in Nigeria, but what’s really most pressing there is Boko Haram.  This from the NYT:  Nigerian Army Noticeably Absent From Town Liberated from Boko Haram.  

•  We live in an age of irrational parenting.  I don’t even want to let my housecat out on the patio, so I totally understand this.

•  Seven years ago Los Angeles banned the expansion of fast food restaurants in South LA in an effort to curb obesity rates.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  

•  In a world that has a review for dang-near everything on the planet, I mean… who can we trust?  Inside The Mad Mad World of TripAdvisor.  

•  Have you seen the new HBO show ‘The Jinx’?  Probably yes.  You’re much more on top of things than me.  I juuust now figured out that House of Cards is back and new.  I have yet to see ‘The Jinx’, but woweee how we blur real life and entertainment:   The Queasy Finale of ‘The Jinx’

•  Ben Dorcy has been a roadie since 1950.  Let’s wrap our brain around that kinda life and then read all about him:  The First Roadie Ever 

•  I haven’t read this yet, but here’s a peek into my Internet-land weekend reads:  The Woman Who Froze In Fargo.  

•  There’s an app for that:  You phone buzzes when you approach places where women made history (aka herstory).  

•  Ask a Wine Pro:  Pronouncing Wine Words.  When you want to do more than wince and point.  

•  I will eat hummus until the cows come home.  Related: I don’t want to talk about my breath.  Thanks.  Green Goddess Hummus

•  New Orleans love!  We have a new happy place:  St. Roch Market.  

•  Kate Spade and her forever-clever clutches:  Wedding Belles.  

Happy day to you and us!

xo Joy

How To Brown Butter

How To Brown Butter

How To Brown Butter

Browning butter is one of those life skills that should be taught to everyone alongside things like:  how to change a tire,  how to tip at a restaurant, how to ride a bike with no hands, and how to mince garlic.  Everyone should know.  

It’s a good thing I’m here.  I don’t know how to change a tire… but I’m here with butter.  

We talk about Browned Butter a lot.  I’m always trying to wrestle you into adding it to Banana Bread, Baked Donuts, and Grapefruit White Chocolate Cookies

Browned Butter is butter cooked until it has melted into a liquid, the water has cooked out, and the milk solids begin to toast and brown to a delicious and nutty state.  

When incorporated into desserts like breads, donuts, and cookies, it subtly deepens the flavor from delicious to ‘ohmygod who made these cookies!?!?’.  That’s the power of browned butter.  Here’s how to make the magic.  

How To Brown Butter

Step One:  Butter (cold or room temperature, preferably unsalted) meets a lightly colored, medium skillet or saucepan.  

It’s important that the bottom of the pan be lightly colored so you can actually see the butter browning.  In a black-bottom pan, you’re left guessing (and probably burning).  A white or silver-bottomed pan is best.  

Place the butter in the pan and place the pan over a stovetop set to medium heat.  Gently place your arms on your hips, assume a good attitude and peaceful face, and standby.  

How To Brown Butter

Step Two:  Allow to butter to melt.  No stick of butter has ever browned without melting first.  

No need to stir of swirl.  Just let the business melt.   

Daydream a bit.  That might be nice.  

Whatever you do, do not multitask.  As soon as you step away from your pan, it’s scientifically proven, you’re going to burn your butter.  

Step Three:  Now we’re going places!  

Once the butter has melted into a liquid, it will start popping and crackling.  That’s the water cooking out of the butter.  Once the water cooks out, the milk solids in the butter will begin to brown.  

So… first popping, then browning.  

Swirl the pan around if you’re feeling restless or chef-y.  Don’t even think about stepping away from your butter. 

How To Brown Butter

Step Four:  Getting there!  

Once the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  This means that little brown bits will start to appear on the bottom of the pan.  The actual melted butter liquid won’t brown, but rather, the milk solids will begin to brown at the bottom of a pan.  

Use a heat-proof spatula to stir the browning milk solids off the bottom of the pan so they brown more slowly and evenly.  

Once you see the butter browning on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the process will move pretty quickly.  But don’t forget you’re in charge!

To prevent the butter from browning too quickly and burning, simply remove the pan from the heat source.  The heat of the pan alone will slowly brown the butter.  Leaving the pan over the heat source will brown the butter much more quickly, forcing ninja-like reflexes upon you.  

Once the butter solids are browned to golden, immediately remove the pan from the heat (if you haven’t already), and remove the butter from the pan.  The pan is still hot, even when it’s not over direct heat, and will quickly burn the butter solids.  So remove the butter from the pan!  Burnt butter is not as good as Browned butter.  That’s also been scientifically proven. 

How To Brown Butter

Just as the butter browns to golden, a trombone parade should be passing by your house, confetti should fall from your kitchen ceiling, the bathroom will magically clean itself, kittens will trot by wearing party hats, and a unicorn with a bag of hot french fries should be waiting at your front door.  

If those things don’t happen, you’ve done it wrong.  

Golden, nutty, fragrant browned butter is now ready for your favorite recipes!  I humbly suggest The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Known To Man… but maybe I’m biased.  

Happy butter browning! 

How To Be A Better Baker

How To Be a Better Baker

How To Be a Better Baker

We talk a lot about doughnuts and waffles.  We talk about my cat a bit too much.  We talk about New Orleans and beignets and parades, and beads.  We could, if you’re at all interested, talk about how many peanut butter cups I just shoved in my mouth.  That conversation would be short and barely interesting.  6.  That’s the number. 

Today let’s talk about 7 ways to be a better baker.  A few small tweaks and little nuggets of advice to build confidence in the kitchen.  Read through and leave a comment below if any questions come up for you!  I want us to be the best bakers we can be.  

Cookie dough above: Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies.  

1.  You’re only as good as your relationship with your oven.

Well, unless you’re a raw pastry chef, in which case, cheers to you.  No need to have the fanciest, latest and greatest oven.   It’s more about your relationships, how well you know each other, and how readily you accept all the quirks.  

Some ovens have hot spots, little zones in that hotbox that are hotter than others.  Get familiar the hot spots by seeing how a cake browns in the oven.  Is one side more golden or burnt than another?  Take note and rotate the your cakes and breads during baking.  

Stop what you’re doing right now and invest in an oven thermometer. A gauge inside the oven is the only way to know how hot the hot is.  Sometimes the dial doesn’t reflect the actual heat correctly.  

2.   Yes you have to follow the directions, mostly. 

Baking is a delicate balance of flours, moisture, leavening, and heat.  A recipe is there to hold your hand, lead the way, and give you a high-five at the end.  You’ve got to trust the recipe to be good. Sometimes they’re not, but you have to trust the process, cold butter, buttermilk and all.  

Here’s how to read a recipe.  It’s nice to know how to read a map.  

3.   If you’re not using a scale, here’s we measure flour. It’s important. 

4.  Waste Not, Want Not

So often I end up with a container full of egg whites after making ice cream, a small handful of pecans, and leftover fresh herbs from various baking projects.  Don’t throw these things away or let them languish to death in the refrigerator. Delicious treats come from leftovers!  Don’t let em go!

• Turn egg whites into crisp Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues!  

•  Toss pecans, and whatever other nuts you have on hand into a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Granola!

•  Smash leftover herbs into butter with lots of salt and call it Super Herb Butter.  Delicious done!  

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  Welcome to another Sunday!  This weekend my new neighborhood, the Irish Channel, is alive with green beer, Irish pride, and lots of dudes in green cumberbunds handing fake flower out to ladies in the Irish Channel Parade.  You’re supposed to kiss the dude on the cheek when they give you a flower… kiss them on the cheek and ignore the fact that they’re a sweaty stranger with a fake flower… or maybe embrace that actually?  It’s New Orleans.  You’re supposed to just go with it even though it feels like a swampy episode of The Bachelor.

Along with all the green, it’s Easter candy (and yes… Lent) season and if you’re not careful, I’m going to buy every single Cadbury Easter candy-coated mini eggs.  I’m not even kidding. 

Cheers to you, your cozy pajamas, and that extra cup of hot tea.  

The Internet, for us:  

•  Hey guys, we’re drinking whiskey too fast. Why does it have to be old before its time? 

•  The Good, The Bad, and The Hangry

•  Quick note:  Exhaustion is not a status symbol.  

•  I own one Nicholas Newcomb mug and it’s a treasure in my kitchen.  Nicholas Newcomb studio visit on Design Sponge.    

•  Before I Go:  A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time. 

•  California has about one year of water left.  Will you ration now? Still real.  

•  It’s Ikea’s World, We Just Live In It and hate those tiny frustrating screw driver things. 

•  Vegan BBQ Lentils with Millet Polenta is beautiful and food.  

•  Pickling Spring Vegetables (and other things I’ll probably never do but will be equipt with knowledge about. )  

•  A friend recommended I read The Piano Tuner.  Let’s do it! 

•  New news in lipstick technology:  Color Changing Lip Paint.  

I love you as much as you love Sunday.  Enjoy!

xo Joy

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

I always have the best intentions when I buy a bundle of bananas. ! daydream about protein-packed green smoothies.  I toy with the idea of afternoon snacks with almond butter.  I know I’ll eat them for breakfast with a cup of black coffee and a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, exactly none of that actually happens, and I’m left with a shameful bundle of brown bananas on my countertop a week later.  

It never fails.  It never does.  

A bundle of bananas is meant for cake.  Destiny.  Sightly under baked with strawberries and pecans.  Let’s!  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Make and bake in the skillet!  It’s really the best.  If you aren’t a neurotic food blogger like me, you won’t need a million bowls big and small to bring together this skillet cake.  Just a skillet, and spoon, and good attitude. 

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