Consider me an occasional fan of tofu.
My parents were early adopters of tofu. Remember back when health food had as much cheese and potatoes as tofu? Sure… there was the weirdest brown rice ever, but we covered it in cheese and sauce and all was right with the world.
Nowadays, I’m an occasional tofu enthusiast. Count me among the few who just realized that you can make a delicious dipping and salad dressing from TOFU! Did you know this? Were you keeping it from me?
This thick dressing is creamy, satisfying, and doesn’t read as tofu per say… not that that would be a bad thing, but you know what I mean. This dressing is more Ranch in distinction. Herby, bright, and almost so good you want to rub it on your face (which is weird).
I’m don’t have a cool party trick. I’m not double jointed. I’m not a gymnast or former cheerleader. I can’t curse in Russian. I never could do one of those beer funnel things. My tap dancing skills really need some work (mostly because I never had them in the first place). I can play a few jazz tunes on the piano, but that always ends up being more embarrassing than impressive.
In the absence of a party trick there is this: Roy Choi’s Furikake Kettle Corn. Praise the Lord above. This is SO FOR REAL GOOD.
There’s a lot we need to talk about. I know that I’ve mentioned the work ‘furikake’ like it ain’t no thing and you might be like.. um, WHAT!?
Furikake is a sweet and savory Japanese spicy that is meant to be sprinkled over white rice. In furikake you’ll find, dried fish flakes (bonito), seaweed bits, sesame seeds, sugar, salt, and (in the case of my furikake) wasabi. It’s a magic seasoning that encompasses every sweet, salty, savory, and umami desire. Find Wasabi Furikake (with fish flakes) here. Find Furikake (without fish flakes) here.
To our kettle corn we also add Corn Pops (YES a cold cereal), finely chopped bacon (burnt is best), finely chopped dried pineapple, red pepper flakes, chives, and browned butter.
Should I step back a bit and let that sink in. Those are some crazy flavor combinations.
This recipe comes from Roy Choi, the god-father of the food truck movement in Los Angeles. This magic popcorn is served at his restaurant A-Frame in LA. Happy Hour, get to it!
I have a soft spot for brownies. Well… actually, don’t we all?
Brownies were the first thing I learned how to bake in the kitchen. My parents kept the flour, sugar, and those gnarly bars of unsweetened chocolate in a little cabinet just within reach of my little 8 year-old body. It only took me one nibble of the unsweetened chocolate to figure out that it was not at all suitable for sneak-snacking… but the box of unsweetened chocolate had step-by-step instructions on how to turn the dark blocks into something entirely delicious, aka BROWNIES!
In our house filled with whole wheat fig bars and date rolls, I felt like a wizard… like an actual wizard… because I could make brownies.
I still feel like a wizard. I mean… brownies are magic! Dense, moist, waaay chocolate-y, chewy at the edges, earnest, and everything!
There are so many great Fall cookbooks hitting the shelves this year! I need to make us a list. There’s just too much good!
One of the books I’ve been looking forward to most is The Kitchy Kitchen by Claire Thomas. Claire is the beauty and brains behind the blog The Kitchy Kitchen and she’s turned all of her amazing food-brain-thoughts into a lovely cookbook! Among the goodness in this book (it has an amazing soup chapter) are these BEER BROWNIES!
Think about it. Dark stout beer with all of its earthy bitterness + dark chocolate with all of its deep sweet fruit undertones. This is a very good marriage. Right on, Claire!
I always have the best intentions of making myself some sort of celery and grapefruit juice for breakfast. Maybe a green smoothie… with extra green. A protein powder something-or-other. A green powder this-or-that. Something very Gwyneth Paltrow-y. I have the best of intentions, really. The very best.
Inevitably I end up standing in front of the pantry shoveling a bag of granola into my face by the handful. It’s not pretty but it does feel right. I sweep up after. I’m not a complete heathen.
It feels like we’re making oatmeal cookies and, while I relish the idea of eating cookies for breakfast, we’re taking a slight right turn and making a hearty granola from all of our oatmeal cookie ingredients.
This recipe was inspired by the new and deliciously awesome cookbook by Jessica of How Sweet Eats. She’s the master of tacos and cocktails and adding neon sprinkles to every dang thing. Get yourself a copy of Seriously Delish!
That first bite of doughnut… that very first taste is success, surrender, satisfaction, joy, and celebration all wrapped up into one bite. It’s the anticipation that makes it so great! And the brown butter, obviously.
These doughnuts feel like an extra special treat because they’re topped (as all things should be, really…) with browned butter glaze and chopped salted pistachios.
Where brown butter and pistachios combine, the gates of Heaven open wide and welcome you in with open arms. Not literally… but that sure is what it feels like!
It’s time to make an extra pot of coffee. Call a friend. Pull up a few chairs and relish in it all. What a lovely life when doughnuts are fresh and pretty.
I wish there was some sort of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced savory avocado delights instead of candy. In addition to that statement making me sound stone-cold craaaazy, the reality of that sort of factory would be absolutely AMAZING! Don’t lie. You want in.
I’d totally Veruca Salt my way all up in there. No shame.
Since there is no fantasy-land avocado factory I’ve settled for roasting a big ol’ bunch of cherry tomatoes, and tossing them (along with just a little too much feta) into a batch of creamy do-no-wrong guacamole.
Don’t roasted cherry tomatoes look a little bit like candy? If candy were vegetable.
Related and rhetorical: why won’t I shut up about candy!?
It would seem as though I’m trying to drink my way through the rainbow, lemonade style. First there was bright red with Beet Lemonade. Here we have a pretty peachy-orange color with Peach Cardamom Lemonade. We also worked in the deep purple with Fresh Blueberry Mint Lemonade.
I’ve missed green lemonade but I figure we can work some sort of cucumber jalapeño situation into our future.
I’ll tell you now, I’m showing no signs of stopping this drinkable rainbow. Hop on the lemonade train now! I know you’re thirsty.
This Summer is brought to you by lemons, over-ripe fruit, and a dose of sugar. Cheers to us!
I’m the most dangerous person at your dinner party.
I’m the one that lingers near the Deviled Eggs at a party. (If not Deviled Eggs, I can also be found lingering near the homemade guacamole or cheese plate.)
You’ll never ever know how many Deviled Eggs I’ve eaten because I pop the entire bite in my mouth while you’re looking down at your wine glass…. and I chew quickly. I go back for seconds (which you think are my firsts). I go back for thirds and fourths (which you think are my seconds). I will clear you out of nearly every Deviled Egg on your appetizer table.
The worst part is (my breath?) that I have no remorse. I eat all of your eggs then I casually move along (…probably to the table with wine). I’m the worst. I really am. At least I won’t mess with your music selection, unless I do. Again… I’m the worst.
These eggs are extra-special because they’re dill-y and radish-y, and I was feeling extra-special when I made them. Just let it happen.
Here’s the difference between you and me. You’re armed with reason, and willpower, and common sense, and common decency. Me? Less so.
Perhaps it’s this lack of common decency that would lead me to dip perfectly good savory potato chips into perfectly good dark chocolate. The result seems to be a perfectly sinister meeting of savory / sweet / and chocolate. It’s trouble. Nothing but trouble.
Remember that time I made Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwiches and everyone was like, UM… Joy the Baker has LOST IT! This is that! Except there’s chocolate involved, so maybe you’ll let this one slide.
I’d never go so far as to say that baked doughnuts are better than fried doughnuts. That’s downright madness. Perhaps we can we all just agree that they’re good… like, really really good. Right?
Baked doughnuts are the real life version of Homer Simpson doughnuts that we get to eat without being cartoons ourselves. They’re emoji doughnuts, in our hands, for our bellies. Just a little bit of magic. That’s all I’m saying.
I do have a history with baked doughnuts. Call me biased. See: Brown Butter with Chocolate Glaze or Double Chocolate Cake or Sweet Apple Cinnamon.
Today I’ve combined my love for cartoon-esque baked doughnuts with my love for Black and White Cookies and a bonus rainbow cloth because we’re worth it.
Let’s doughnut like we always do!
I lay in bed some mornings trying to will my food brain into action.
On the particular morning that these Banana Bonbon things were born into my brain, I was lying in bed thinking that I’d really like to eat Oreo cookies… but I’d like them to be frozen… and then maybe I could smear peanut butter on top… except that’s crazy… crazy good!!!
No food brain. No. Be reasonable. (That’s what I think to myself as I lay in bed thinking about Oreo cookies first thing in the morning.) We need more fruit. Can we turn bananas into cookies? Yes. Let’s add peanut butter… and probably chocolate while we’re at it… and we’re going to need something crunchy… peanuts! And let’s pull that awesome coconut oil trick to make a the chocolate as smooth as can be.
Alright food brain. Good job! Essentially you’ve created a chocolate-dipped frozen banana and found a way to smash peanut butter inside. You started with Oreos cookies and, well… here we are.
Think of these frozen treats as mini banana peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate an topped with peanuts. It’s beyond easy and might be one of the better ideas ever on the Internet. Speaking of the Internet, these treats are aaaallll over the dang thing, which just goes to show that no matter how hard my food brain works, it’s impossible to think of anything brand-spankin’ new. Still though…. still delicious! Just saying…
I think we’re obligated to treat ourselves to some proper summer days this season. Lazy days with sunshine, iced tea, and a cool breeze if we can get it.
I had a proper Summer Sunday this past weekend, and I have the pink toasted skin to prove it. I tend to be really bad at sitting on the beach with loads of free time and not even one bar of cell service, but the shores of Mississippi are slowly teaching me a thing or two about slowing down and unwinding. I’m also re-reading Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways which is very much like food for the soul.
Speaking of food… that’s why we’re here, right?
Hot summer days calls for light and fresh foods… and beignets, but that’s always.
I have been craving a shrimp cocktail dish that doesn’t involve cocktail glasses filled with sweet ketchup and dangling pink shrimp. I found this recipe for something called Mexican Shrimp Cocktail that combines my love for avocado and salsa with my love for shrimp cocktail. It’s fresh and spicy and I totally used store bought Pico de Gallo because all of that chopping would work up an unnecessary sweat.
Let’s set aside our pretentious and our kale. We won’t need them.
We’re also going to set aside any tinges of guilt or doubt.
What we’re going to do is smash candy into our crispy rice treats… and we’re also going to feel really good about it.
We’re looking down the barrel at Father’s Day so it’s time to start thinking about beer and bow ties and burly dudes with beards bouncing babies on their laps, right?
It’s hard for me to pin down the right Father’s Day celebration. My dad is unique, he likes classic literature, pie, gossip, and emojis. It’s like… what do you get the man that already has everything? Seriously.
Mother’s Day celebrations seem easier. I’m pretty sure most moms just want a mimosa and a little peace a quiet. Dads are more of a wildcard.
Can onion rings be the answer? I’m pretty sure the answer is HECK YES, because I’ve never seen anyone (beard or not) walk away from homemade onion rings and ranch dressing.
Let’s start with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing because onion rings must be dipped, on the real on the reg.
I mean… we can do it for the dads.
I grew up in a ‘because I said so’ household.
“Why can’t I have an Easy Bake Oven?”, I no doubt said in the whiniest voice ever. “Because we have a real oven and because we said so!” was likely the answer from my very reasonable parents.
“Why can’t I wear these filthy overalls and Nirvana inspired grunge flannel to church!?” I’d ask my mom as we were rushing out of the house, almost late for service. “For so many reasons, but mostly because I said so!”. Thank goodness for mothers.
“Why can’t I drive a car like all of my friends who have cars that their parents bought them to drive!?” Gah… what a brat I was. My parents response was likely somewhere along the lines of, “You’re crazy. You’re lucky there’s food in the fridge for you to eat. You’ve only been on the planet for 16 years and we care too much about you, and our cars, and about other people on the road to ever merge the three. Also BECAUSE WE SAID SO! Get out of our faces starting now. ” Thanks parents.
In that vein, I bring you the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER… because I said so (and also because of browned butter).
I think I’ve posted this recipe on my blog before, but I’ve found a renewed spirit for these cookies after my friends at King Arthur Flour put these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to the test. They asked, in step-by-step pictures of butter melting and flour whisking, if these cookies were the very best there are. The answer is up to you, really. Are the cookies that come out of your oven after mixing up this dough the best you’ve ever had?
Every day I need a treat. I need a little something that says ‘Hey, I see you trying to get through this day standing on your own two feet and you deserve this special something just for you”.
Sometimes that treat is a whole milk cappuccino with extra cinnamon. Whole milk tastes like ice cream to me. It’s just too good. Sometimes that treat is a high-kick dance along to old school Beastie Boys… because, yea I’m still listening to Beastie Boys. Often times that treat is a piece of chocolate. A piece usually turns into a good portion of the chocolate bar… but then again, you knew that.
It’s Monday. We’re going to need a little something to savor. Reach for the chocolate… Or! Better yet, make these creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet, chocolate studded pudding cups! Actually… get someone to make it for you. That’s the real savor.
It’s so hard to keep that vacation feeling. That feeling that lets me linger in bed to read a book instead of jumping up to chase the alarm and caffeine. The smell of sunscreen, the sound of the ocean, the beauty that I don’t immediately need to Instagram. Clean sheets, card games, lazy laughs. It’s so good. It always feels like waaaaay more than I deserve, with a teeny-tiny sprinkle of something that I’ve earned, but really it’s just a big fat blessing.
I spent some quality time on a tiny stretch of beach on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica last week. Way more than I deserve. I learned a lot.
I learned a lot about sunsets and how to sit and enjoy them with surfers and beach dogs.
I also learned some how to survive the heat of the dry season in Costa Rica: liquids! For real. I spent the entire week flailing around in the waves with a surfboard tethered to my leg and developed a healthy thirst… totally undeserved based on my surfing skills, but healthy nonetheless.
One of my favorite smoothies of choice in Costa Rica was Bananas y Leche: a simple mixture of bananas and milk. Of course, because few things are just left to be as they are in my kitchen… of course I added coffee and chocolate.
This smoothie is just what I needed to help that vacation feeling linger a bit. The cancelled flights and rushed airports can really harsh the vacation buzz. Nothing a little Banana, Leche y Cafe con Chocolate can’t help! I mean… right?
We all have our favorite bites. My favorite bite of a brownie is the slightly burnt corner edge. My favorite sips of coffee are the first and the last. My favorite part of the pepperoni pizza roll is the soft gooey center. If you leave me alone with a tray of these Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, be prepared to come back to just the outsides because my favorite bite is the gooey center of every.single.roll.
I stand by the fact that the best part of baking is sharing what you create with people who you love. Baking is totally a love language. If you can share your favorite bites?… now that’s something special. If you were to ask me to share the gooey center pizza roll bite, it would probably take me a good while before I said yes. That’s just real.
Remember last Fall? Last Fall I shared my partnership with Fleischmann’s® Yeast, Fleischmann’s® Simply Homemade® Baking Mixes, and Karo® Syrup as a part of their Baking a Difference Program to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program. I love this charity because they focus on ending childhood hunger in America. If I can help that cause with a bit of baking, I’m all in! One in five children in the U.S. struggle with hunger and cannot rely on having access to the daily nutritious food they need to grow and thrive, and the No Kid Hungry campaign works to end that hunger. Big deal, right?
Last fall we made Salty Pretzel Vanilla Caramel Corn with much success, and now we get to talk about a really cool free e-cookbook and Pepperoni Pizza Rolls!
Pizza Rolls for charity? Yea… that’s totally a thing.
Spring is teasing us.
It feels like the sun is juuuust about ready to creep out and stay. Well… it feels that way up until the time the rain pours down.
Despite Spring’s indecision, I happen to think it’s time for a Spring cocktail!
I ventured out into the French Quarter on a particularly sunny afternoon just after a rainstorm. It’s just a short walk from my front door to the Napoleon House, a building build 200 years ago. It’s first tenant, Nicholas Girod, was the mayor of New Orleans in the early 1800’s. In 1821, Girod offered his beautiful home up to Napoleon who was living in exile. Nice, right? Napoleon couldn’t make it… he died first.
Even though Napoleon never stepped foot in this house, the name stuck and now the Napoleon House is a restaurant and bar filled with history and old smarmy (I mean that in a good way) waiters.
The Napoleon House is known for their Pimm’s Cup Cocktails. Because I’m a girl who likes extra cucumber slices and a good dose of ginger ale, there’s no reason I can’t recreate these at home! And so it is.
Often my cravings tell me more about what I want, than the produce tables at the farmer’s market.
I know fresh tomatoes and cucumbers aren’t exactly deep winter foods, but I really just needed to combine them in a bowl with salty feta…. juuust to be sure.
This pasta salad feels extra indulgent because it tastes like early summer when most of you are ankle-deep in slush. To be fair, this pasta salad is also loaded with an almost embarrassing amount of sheep’s milk feta. So… should we start counting the days until Memorial Day now? Too soon?