Joy the Baker

Mint and Cumin Salted Lassi

March 31, 2013

salted mint lassi

I got lost in a Google search time-suck.  I really did have the best intentions.  I was very fervently doing research for a Boston Cream Pie recipe when I stumbled upon the words ‘Salted’ and ‘Lassi’.  Hm.  Usually I find the word ‘Lassi’ paired with the word ‘Mango’, and I’m made to think of the too-thick-for-my-taste yogurt drink served at Indian restaurants.  A Salted Lassi is totally a new addition to my culinary mind.

This yogurt-based drink is paired with fresh mint and cumin.  Yea!  Cumin!  Get excited… this is actually really cool.

The mixture is blended until herby and smooth and them topped with a bit of sparkling water for serving.  This drink is super fresh, easy to drink, and majorly refreshing.  Paired with a super spicy chicken dish… seriously!?  This was delicious enough to make me forget about Boston Cream Pie.

Ps.  I like that we try new things together.

Pps.  Maybe this Salted Lassi isn’t new to you… in which case, what other treats do you have up your sleeve!?

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69 Comments

Whole Grain Waffles with millet, poppy, sunflower, and flax

March 28, 2013

whole grain waffles with millet and poppy

I have this favorite pair of jeans that feel like magic.  They’re a vintage pair of Levi’s with worn wallet cellphone marks in the back pocket and holes in the knees that I’ve actually earned and not overpaid for.   I can dress them up.  I can wear them with beat up Converse.  I’ve even slept in these things.

 I’ve lived in these pants for years and… realtalk:  I can’t fit into them anymore.  It feels like a shame.  It feels unjust… but I know it’s just life (and butter).  It also feels too hard to let them go.  So I won’t.  Maybe I’ll fit into them again.  Maybe I just need to find the perfect pair of jeans for me to embrace my thirties.  I’m not stressing it… everything will work itself out in the land of pants.

whole grain waffles with millet and poppy

Why am I talking about jeans?

These waffles feel as classic as my favorite pair of jeans.  They’re waffles so they’re inherently fancy and homey.  They can be dressed up with sliced fruit and pure maple syrup… or they can be dressed down with spicy mustard and sliced ham.  They’re an any-which-way situation.  I’ve also packed these waffles with a major amount of seeds.  Accessories are always nice.  Let’s discuss.

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The Flower Recipe Book

March 27, 2013

the flower recipe

I have a black thumb.  I can look at a plant and basically watch it wilt before my eyes.  I’m not good with greenery.

Conversely, I can look at a stick of butter and basically watch it turn into biscuits.  I’m good with butter.  Butter is my spirit animal.

the flower recipe

There’s a gorgeous new book from called The Flower Recipe Book.  It creates recipes for flower arranging.  (!!!!!)

Maybe you’re one of those people that can just pick the prettiest flowers and throw together stunning arrangements.  I’m sooo not that person.  When it comes to flower arranging, I can be a bit of a dolt.  This book is filled of beauty and inspiration.  It’s sweet and clever.  If it were scratch and sniff… it would be just beyond!  This might be the solution to my black thumb. Also… cut flowers are going to die anyway so I’m really just off the hook.

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67 Comments

Happy Hour Hot Fudge Milkshake

March 26, 2013

happy hour HOT FUDGE milkshake

My very first job was in an ice cream shop.  That means between the ages of fifteen and seventeen I smelled like a waffle cone and had between three and seven sprinkles scattered throughout my hair at any given moment.  Summers were long and hot, but if you made nice with the boys that worked in the pizza place next door you either had a make-out partner for the deep freezer, or someone to trade you obscene amounts of pizza for obscene amounts of ice cream.  I opted for the later exchange… mostly because I was awkward and didn’t really have a choice.

Everyday on my ice cream lunch break I would make myself a giant milkshake and head outside the ice cream shop to sit on a sunny stoop.  These were the days before cellphones (… I know, BONKERS), so I’d watch people mill about and think about what the future held for me.  I’d daydream about being a writer, or being a backup dancer for Mariah Carey, or devise ways to find Jared Leto and make him fall in love with me.

The milkshake was my super indulgent escape.

The backup dancing didn’t pan out, and I couldn’t find Jared Leto… but all’s well that ends well.

I sure do know how to plan an afternoon escape.  Nowadays we call it Happy Hour.

This Happy Hour Hot Fudge Milkshake is steeped in a rich tradition of indulgence.  What does that mean?  It means that I’ve paired my deep love of milkshake with my fondness of rich dark chocolate… I’m talking about the fancy stuff.  Throw in a shot of bourbon and this Happy Hour escape is just beyond.

Ah!  If I could only tell my fifteen year old self what I know now…

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235 Comments

Strawberry Time

March 25, 2013

strawberries

So maybe I’m not the most perceptive person in the world.  I’m really bad at noticing new bangs, different sunglasses, or mismatching shoes (because you totally do that sometimes).  I don’t always notice the smokey flavor of the wine, or the huge character of the dark chocolate… I’m probably just shoving it all in my mouth too quickly.

Some people are perceptive enough to notice pretty puddles and precious fuzzy dog ears.  I’m not really that person.  Again… I’m probably shoving chocolate in my face.  It’s a problem.

I did happen to notice one important thing (that doesn’t have to do with chocolate): Strawberries!

I know it’s early in the season, but strawberries are starting to shine in the markets.  It’s early.  Their sweetness is muted.  Really, I just think they’re trying not to show off too much.

I think it’s time we get excited… that sort of tempered excitement a five-year-old might have a few week before Christmas.  Strawberries are coming… they’re waaay better than Santa.  Get into it!

roasted strawberry buttermilk cake

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake is one of the most wonderful cakes to grace a cast iron skillet.  Strawberries are roasted in a hot oven with a bit of sugar and olive oil.  Their flavor is intensified and texture is softened.  Buttermilk cake brings it all together.  Amen.

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53 Comments

Let It Be The Weekend

March 21, 2013

let it be the weekend

I didn’t want to have to be the one to tell you this, but March has almost come to a close.  You know what’s next?  We’re going to steamroll through April, freak out through May, scream through summer, then Christmas music starts.

It’s scary.  Time is an unstoppable beast… unless you’re sleeping (but even then).

I think we should make time work for us this weekend.  I think we should try to stretch every hour and every minute to its deepest point of relaxation.  A time massage?  Is that possible?

Maybe it’s a good weekend to get nice and cozy with a few of your favorite things… unless you’re like, a bridesmaid in your best friend’s wedding… in which case, NO COZY FOR YOU!

Here are some of my favorite weekend cozy essentials.  Maybe some of these elements will inspire you to make some hot coffee, pull out the pretty stationary, flip through a new but forgotten cookbook, and just maybe… take a few moments to daydream.  Also… there better be brunch.  On the real, on the reg.

I’m revisiting The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.  It’s from famed Seattle restaurant dude, Tom Douglas.  There’s a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie that has my name aaaallll over it.

I’m so smitten by this stationery from Minted.  It feels so special to write notes on personalized stationary.  I love this watercolor look.  And this sweet monogrammed situation makes me feel fancy.

Also… am I the only dork that’s totally into stamping their handwritten letters with monogrammed wax!?  Lettered stamps and sealing wax make letter writing sooo worth it!

Sometimes I receive gifts that I deem ‘too good to use’.  Take this pretty turquoise journal.  It’s leather-bound and utterly lovely.  I’ve got it in my brain that no words I put together are good enough for its pages.  That’s ridiculous.  I’m taking pen to paper this weekend!

Have you read the book One Hundred Demons?  If you’re a thinking and feeling woman in the world, I think you should read it.  It’s a cartoon narrative (yea, I said that) about love and growth, awkward times and forgiveness.  Lynda Barry lays it all out there.

Have some strawberries this weekend!  In California they’re starting to get good.

Speaking of strawberries.  I’m testing recipes for the second Joy the Baker Cookbook (it’s happening), and I’m going to nail a recipe for Strawberry Mascarpone Ice Cream if it kills me (which it probably won’t).

Lastly, let there be brunch.  This Creme Fraiche Quiche was, and continues to be, THE BUSINESS!

I love you most sincerely.  Enjoy your weekend time!

xo joy

73 Comments

Hot Cross Pancakes

March 19, 2013

hot cross pancakes

Every year around this time I have two distinct thoughts.  Thought number one goes something like this:  ’Oh great!  It’s Easter season!  Time to get my hands on some Hot Cross Buns!’.  Thought number two quickly follows thought number one and sounds something like this:  ’There’s no way I’m making Hot Cross Buns from scratch, I don’t care how many people call me an Easter Scrooge… what else can I hot cross?’.

Last year I made Hot Cross Biscuits.  They’re almost shaped like buns, and they’re buttery tenderness totally excuses the fact that biscuits aren’t buns.

This year we’re getting away with Hot Cross Pancakes.  It’s Lent you can eat, breakfast-in-bed-style.  Is that how you’re supposed to celebrate Lent… in bed?  Probably not, and yet I’ve still hot crossed my pancakes and doused them in too much syrup.

A more clever woman would insert some sort of Pope joke here but I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.

Let’s pancake.

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99 Comments

Honey Chamomile Soda

March 17, 2013

honey chamomile soda

I think someone should throw me a dang parade for coaxing Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread out of my oven.  With hours dedicated to flour and yeast, I feel like a parade (or a really solid high-five) is a totally reasonable return.  It’s yeast induced hero-status… am I wrong?

Sometimes hero status doesn’t require multiple hours in the kitchen, and flour in your hair.  Thank goodness.

honey chamomile soda

Making a simple syrup is the easiest way for me to feel super clever in the kitchen.  It’s the best way to bring together ultra comforting flavor combinations without making a huge fuss.  Make a big fizzy soda, totally fancy-up happy hour, or add this sweet syrup to hot water with lemon.  It’s bottled delight… and you really don’t have to tell anyone just how easy it is to make.

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67 Comments

On Toast: White Bread

March 14, 2013


IMG_9074

 

Thank you for humoring my love for toasted bread this week.  Thank you for understanding my love of melty, spicy bagels and smashed avocado on baguettes.

We can cream butter and sugar into cakes and cookies until the cows come home (not literally), but sometimes it’s just nice to celebrate something simple.  Sometimes we just need an excuse to buy a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread.  I hope that this week has inspired your toasted bread adventures, and I hope this weekend finds you with ample amounts of soft butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

I love you (and toast) most sincerely.

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90 Comments

On Toast: Bagel

March 12, 2013

on toast: bagel

I’m not the sort of adult who can be left alone in a house with bagels.  It’s only a (short) matter of time before the bagels are drenched in an embarrassing amount of cream cheese and pickled jalapenos and I’m writhing on the floor in… shame(?).

Actually, while we’re here being honest, it would be best to clear out all traces of pink wine and cookie dough along with the bagels.  I really can’t be trusted.

This week we’re exploring toast.  Toast of all kinds, though mostly we’re just  browning bread and topping it with goodies.  Talking about toast is a good reminder.  It’s a good time to think about what makes us happy in the kitchen… happiness translated as melty, crunchy, and entirely uncomplicated.

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On Toast: Baguette

March 10, 2013

on toast: baguette

Let’s explore TOAST!!!

Toast feels all at once completely childish and utterly adult.

Toast was the first thing I learned how to make for myself in the kitchen.  Actually… false.  I first learned how to teeter on our old kitchen stool to reach for the box of Cinnamon Life cereal, dig for milk in the fridge, find the canister of brown sugar in the bottom left shelf, and slap it all together in a bowl.

Toast was the second thing I learned how to make.  Toast with cinnamon and sugar.  Toast with peanut butter and jelly.  Toast with butter and relish when I was feeling strange.  In my kid-brain of chores, allowance, homework, be-nice-to-your-sister, and no-singing-at-the-dinner-table… a piece of dry toast felt like something I could control and explore.

When I eat toast as an adult, I always think back to my kid-brain.  Toasted bread is a blank slate.  I can pile it high with sardines and lemon juice, and stand in my kitchen trying to convince my cat that I’m eating people food… not cat food.  Sure, I know how to roast a chicken, make a salad, and drink wine out of a proper glass, but sometimes it’s just nice to eat toasted bread, topped with whatever I dang please, and drink wine out of a mason jar.  I’m grown.   Thank heavens toast can be dinner.

We’re exploring toast this week.  Let’s get into this blank slate.  Let’s smash avocados, and mix our own cinnamon sugar.  There might also be Nutella and sprinkles.  It’s a week full of toast.  Get into it!

on toast: baguette

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127 Comments

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys

March 8, 2013

IMG_8694

Now might be a good time for me to look you straight in the face and tell you two things:  I’m a full-blown crazy cat lady and… It’s about to get weird.  If you think you should go, I totally understand.  If you think you should stay and read about homemade cat toys…. ohmygodILOVEYOU!

I’ve had an image of little kittens playing with yarn balls running through my head ever since my grandmother bought me on of those cat-a-month calendars when I was a little girl.  I’ll pretend I don’t still have one of those calendars, for sanity’s sake.

IMG_8425Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

It turns out that making homemade cat yarn ball toys is totally easy!  Cat calendar here we come!!!

All we’ll need are styrofoam balls, catnip, an excessive amount of yarn, and a good wrapping sense.

Yarn Ball Catnip Toys | joy the baker

Just the making of these toys felt like heaven to my cat.  He was certain I’d portioned out this bowl of catnip as his afternoon snack.  He was also certain that all the strands of yarn being pulled and wrapped were for his pouncing pleasure.  He was mostly right.

Ps.  If you’re as cat crazy as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out the homemade Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats on Design Sponge.  If you’re smitten with the cat treat jars above… they’re exactly what you think they are:  mason jars, cat figurines, hot glue, and spray paint.

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111 Comments

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

March 6, 2013

peanut butter banana smoothie

Some mornings are milkshake mornings.  These also tend to be the kind of mornings that also require old-school Mariah Carey blasting into the bathroom while you belt it out in the shower.  It’s possible that I’m only speaking for myself here.  Surely you’re more refined in the morning with your black coffee and classical music.

I created a smoothie that could best satisfy my morning milkshake craving.  Peanut butter helps things feel much more indulgent (so does Mariah Carey).

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110 Comments

Maple Blueberry Scones

March 3, 2013

maple blueberry scones

This is an exercise in restraint.  I made Blueberry Scones without bacon, without lemon zest, without goat cheese, without toasted coconut flakes, without white chocolate chips.

Ok… the more things I mention, the more things I want to shove into these precious breakfast treats.  No, Joy.  Just let a Blueberry Scone be what it is.

I have a history of additions as evidenced by these Feta and Chive Sour Cream Scones and Peach Cobbler Scones (ooh summer…).

maple blueberry scones

Ps.  Ok… so I added a bit of maple and a touch of nutmeg to these biscuits.  These aren’t fancy additions… they’re mostly staples in my life.  I carry a jar of maple syrup in my purse.  I have nutmeg in my pocket.  Totally normal.  No big deal.

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131 Comments

Everything Ever: a list

March 1, 2013

Biscuits_005096

Just so you know… we’re allowed to doodle around here.  Doodle with our hands, and doodle with our minds (whoa, that’s deep).  It’s safe.  Just be you (even if you just want to doodle hearts and flowers).

What follows is a list of things that happen in my mind.  Maybe you have a little of the crazybrain too?

ONE:  I’ve been thinking a lot about the barometers of adulthood lately.  I think of marriage and children as easy adult gauges… and since I’m nowhere near either of those, I can still act a childish fool, right?!  Not quite.  I once thought that managing my own taxes was a clear sign of my adult-self living my adult life.  Living alone?!  Surely I’m grown!  Eating Cheetos for dinner… pffft, it’s like I rule the entire adult kingdom!!!

In fact, none of these are accurate barometers of adulthood.  I know, because I found the real measure:  It’s not taxes.  It’s not living alone… It’s cleaning my walls.  Actually scrubbing WALLS in my house.  I did this…. for hours.  I am now, most officially, living an adult life.  I also now  understand why we eat Cheetos for dinner.  Necessary comfort.

Buttermilk Beignets

TWO:  I wish there were one word to describe the following happenings:

- the act of adding water to you totally-already-empty bottle of dish soap, in order to extend its (already gone) life.  I have definitely never done this… but I know people who have (pffft).

-the act of using your roommate’s expensive shampoo then replacing the bottle exactly the way it was on the shower rack, as if they remember exactly how they place their shampoo.    Ps.  You smell like your roommates shampoo… you’re not actually fooling anyone (namely, your roommate).

- the act of freaking out that your yeasted dough is too wet, too dry, not risen, over risen, and otherwise totally shot-to-hell (as was my constant fear with these Buttermilk Beignets).

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