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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Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

If you found me sitting on my living room floor drinking this green juice, eating peanut butter with a spoon straight from the container, and blasting 90’s Ani DiFranco, well… you could chalk that up to awesome taste, cool life-stylings, or… more likely, single real-life independent-woman cat-lady instincts come to life.  Related:  please listen to Dilate asap.  

I also have my old pair of Dr Martens from 1997 and I always think that oooonnneee day they might make sense on my body again. I know that will never be true, but a girl can hope.  

Can we just get on with the juice? My peanut butter and Ani consumption are always part of the deal.  You can dig it. 

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Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

First things first when moving into a new kitchen:  figure out where to put your silverware and your stand mixer.  Second things second when moving into a new kitchen:  make some sort of spiced quick-bread to make the whole house smell exactly like home.  

I’m a strong believer in this theory.  It’s important to make a house smell like a home, and no amount of banana bread scented candles will do the trick.  They would do the opposite of the trick.  

Last time I moved:  banana bread.  

This go’round:  zucchini bread two ways, gluten-free and waaay gluten-full.  Experiments and good smells all up in this new kitchen!

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Let It Be Monday

Let It Be Monday

Let It Be Monday

Welcome to a new week, my friends!  It’s Monday Funday and if you’re not all the way into it, here’s a few helpful tips to get into it:  11 Little Ways To Get Through This Monday.  

We’re not going to talk about this whole weird dress color controversy.  We can just let that one go, right?  I hope this week holds good hair, hot coffee, easy emailing, and general good vibes.   I’m settling into my new kitchen and have some delicious things in store for us.  There’s a donut thing happening with cheese and mustard.  We need to talk about that soon.  

The Internet, for us: 

•  Leonard Nimoy:  What I’ve Learned.  

•  The Elastic Brain.  Can neuroscience expand the mind of a child past childhood?  

•  Scott Budnick, producer of the Hangover movies, is one of the most effective advocates for prison reform in California:  Outside Man.  Here’s a challenging article about what happens when we send teenagers to adult prisons for non-violent crimes: A Boy Among Men.  

•  George Harrison’s memorial tree in Griffith Park is destroyed by beetles.  There’s got to be an emoji sequence for this kind of irony, right?   

•  Rage against the tyranny of sitting:  The Standing Desk.  

•  Slot Machine Science.  Put a Wheel of Fortune wheel on a slot machine and count me all the way in! 

•  Let’s imagine all the things we can do with Brie Cheese.  

•  The tidying trend.  Let’s do it!  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  

•  New rule:  no WebMD searches after 8pm and if we scroll through more than 3 pages we’re cut off because we’re officially freaking ourselves out.  Also… Looking Up Symptoms Online?  These Companies Are Tracking You.  Nooooooooo. 

I love you and Happy Monday!

xo

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Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Hey can I borrow your kitchen?  Mine is a mess. It’s half of a mess.  I’ve managed to unpack my favorite coffee mugs, my stand mixer, and my mason jars.  I’ve basically unpacked everything pretty.  The rest?  The drudgery?  Not interested. Those will stay in a box for a good while until I lose my mind and can’t live without my boring black plastic tongs for another second. 

So… I’m going to need to borrow your kitchen.  I’ll come in with random bags of baking groceries.  I’ll raid your cabinets for mixing bowls and wooden spoons and I’ll make us some brownies.  

Working in your kitchen will be much better then unpacking my own.  I think they call this avoidance. Really delicious avoidance. 

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

My friend Gabrielle let me use her pretty marble kitchen.  I made a mess, but there were brownies in the end.  Forgiveness through chocolate. 

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Kitchen On The Move

Byebye French Quarter

Byebye French Quarter

I feel like I haven’t been in my kitchen in ages!  

Well… I’ve been in my kitchen, it just hasn’t been to cook.  I’ve packed up my French Quarter kitchen and moved it box my box, beater by beater, to the Irish Channel.  It’s a process!  Do you know how many spoons I have?  A weird amount of spoons.  

Thank you for your patience with me as I get my life, my brain, and my kitchen sorted.  The thing is… I’m still the only person that writes this blog.  It’s just me, making all the donuts I want, and coming here to tell you about them.  That makes times like these… when I don’t have a stockpile of already shot and edited recipes, a little awkward.  Also, moving is hard on the brain, too.  I’ve considered using the packing tape to adhere my car keys to my forehead so I can stop losing them.  This blog is the real life (the super styled, extra delicious version) of my kitchen, so maybe this is a good time to take a few deep breaths and let it be what it is.  

Tron would agree.  It took him a day and a half to pack up all his toys and he’s a little stressed out.

Enough about me.  How are you?  Sincerely.  What’s inspiring you these days?  What are you hungry for?  Can I make you a Sazerac?  I’m practicing.  How should I christen my kitchen?  Stew?  Banana bread?  Chocolate chip cookies?  I need your guidance.  I think I packed my brain alongside my whisks.  

More soon.  Straight from the oven… something good, I promise. 

xo.  

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

I was having one of those days where I was certain that everyone in the world around me was mostly thoughtless, unkind, and out to drive reeeeaallly slowly, and ruin my day.  Turns out, if you feel like every single person around you is a dolt, it’s time to look within, get yourself a snack, and simmer all the way down.  It’s not them; it’s you… or in my specific case, me.  The cure to my crunchy day was a cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich, and a stop to look at the beautiful blooming Magnolia trees.  

I need to call my mom and say hello.  It’s been too long and she’s probably getting worried.  She’s also probably reading this…  I’ll call you, Mom! 

Here’s what the Internet wants us to know this week:  it’s cold so we’re moving to Mars.   

•  What the heck is going on in Boston!? Boston’s Winter From Hell.  Would it help if we sent them all of our sunshine and space heaters? 

•  My Own Life:  Oliver Sacks On Learning He Has Terminal Cancer.  “I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.”

•  One Way Ticket To Mars.  No, please. 

•  Life lessons from The Kitchn.  We know this to be true, but we need a reminder:  Five Times To Say “No Thank You” and Three Things To Do When You Hear It.  

•  Hey, you guys!  Eggs Are Back (along with a list of new dietary guidelines)!  Get excited.  We’re all about whole foods and egg yolks.  Full disclosure:  I read this article while eating boxed mac and cheese, straight from the pot, at 12:21am.  I’M DOING IT RIGHT.  Stay tuned for Joy the Baker dietary guidelines.  Coming soon.

•  Let your brain soak up these election-style Oscar predictions.

•  Shopping while hungry, beware!  “Findings suggest that hunger creates an acquisitive mindset that encourages people to get more stuff in general—no matter if it is offered for free or carrying a price tag.” Hungry Makes You Buy More Stuff, Even If It’s Not Food.  

•  Quick note:  Humans can only distinguish between about 30 shades of gray.    

•  Gray vs Grey

•  Excuse me while I eat 100% of this Taco Salad.  

•  Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips.  Don’t be mad at it.  

I love you.  Happy Sunday!  

xo

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I Love You, New Orleans

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras
New Orleans, you beast.  You wild, unpredictable, crazy fun, wholly overwhelming place.  New Orleans isn’t just a city… it’s a spirit and culture.  It’s a lady and a trouble-maker.  It’s palpable and  irresistible, and will not be ignored.  New Orleans, you excite me.  New Orleans, I’m hungry.  New Orleans, I love you.  

I’ve lived for the past year as a new New Orleanian.  Fresh in this world.  Wide eyes.  Lost in the streets.  Enamored by the sights and sounds.  And sometimes… well, I’m a little overwhelmed by new city.  There’s a lot for this California girl to learn about the Deep South.  A lot to learn about Southern hospitality, being a neighborly neighbor, oyster eating, and brunch.  Those are all the easy things to learn.  

I’ve spent the past year living smack-dab in the middle of the French Quarter.  It’s been nutty:  filled with music and art and always new tourist friends.  I’m saying goodbye to the French Quarter and moving my kitchen, all my cookbooks, and TronCat… Uptown.  Let’s go cook in a new kitchen!  I can’t wait to share my new space with you.  It’s quaint and you’re invited over for cookies, always.  

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in New Orleans:  

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Joy the Baker’s Best Winter Recipes

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

Happy Tuesday!  

Are you thinking about black coffee and chocolate croissants, or is it just me?  Two chocolate croissants.  Two please.  Warm.  Thank you.  

Now that we’re past the holidays and into the part of the year where we’ve conveniently forgotten our New Year’s diet resolutions, it’s time to get in the kitchen, crank up the oven and bake some cold weather comforts.  

Here’s some inspiration.  There’s tons!  

•  Butter Pecan Biscuits for some reason these biscuits put REO Speedwagon in my head.  I can’t fight this feeling anymore.  Pecans make me want to sing. 

•  Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie. In which we spend quality time with chicken and pie crust.  It’s rich, creamy, and worth every bit of time it takes to make this beauty!  

•  Morning Glory Oats are sweet, hearty, and comforting.  It’s like carrot cake, in a bowl, for breakfast.  

•  Maple-Spiced Almond Milk with a hint of pumpkin is Winter-spiced, naturally sweet, and totally huggable.  

•  One Pot French Onion Pasta has all the savory comforts you want from a dinner pot.  Plus it makes the house smell like caramelized onions which is exactly perfect.  

•  Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup.  I hesitate to say it, but the word ‘ZESTY!’ really applies here.  

•  Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins.  Would it sway you to know that my Mom makes these muffins almost every week?  Also, flax seed eggs: wave of the future! 

•  Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash.  Just add poached eggs.  Game over. 

•  Roasted Potato Galette with cheddar and chives.  It’s carb on carb.  Totally a Winter tradition.  

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

•  Turkey and Bacon Meatloaf for sandwiches and beyond.  An embarrassing amount of ketchup is encouraged. 

•  The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: there are no better words.

 •  I love this Apple Fennel Pistachio and Apricot Salad because it’s the perfect balance of bright, fresh, and sweet.

•  Beer-Battered Onion Rings are for any and every season! No excuses.

•  Classic Lemon Bars: one of the first things I learned how to bake and the recipe  remains the same! 

•  Apple Cinnamon Baked Donuts with Brown Butter Glaze. I can’t stop. Neither should you.    

•  Winter Lemonade with Ginger and Cloves is spiced and sweet and full of health promoting Winter goodness!

•  Salty and Malty Brown Butter Treats becsuse Rice Krispie treats are just a blank slate for all the good things in life.  

•  Sausage and Mushroom Risotto is so good! Go on at get your pot on the burner. So hearty and satisfying with earthy mushrooms and spicy sausage! 

Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

What a lovely Sunday to live in!  I hope this finds you happy, well, and still in your embarrassing pajama bottoms.  I mean… I’m still wearing my Christmas pajamas too.  No shame in my game.  

Mardi Gras has been swirling around me and WHOA, just whoa.  I’ve lived in New Orleans for one full year and boy do I have some wide eyes and words about it.  I’ll share those soon.  

This week the Internet has offered us some gems.  These are them:  

•  Bob Dylan has some really excellent and humbling words about what it means to be an artist and to live and breathe in that space. He’s wise.  “These songs didn’t come out of thin air.”   

 It feels like civil rights is only as pressing as our current news cycle dictates.  That’s a problem.   The Public Life and Private Doubts of Al Sharpton.  

•  The current state of public shaming.  We have a problem, but then again… we’ve always had a problem.  How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life

•  How The New York Times Works.  You know… that old thing.  

 I wasn’t allowed to be a picky eater as a kid.  Not an option.  The Tyranny of Chicken Fingers

•  Worry is an important part of being a moral person. Anxiety reimagined.  

Martha Stewart’s beauty routine.  Saying “I don’t get clogged pores” is like saying “I don’t bloat”.  Oh HUSH Martha.  YES YOU DO! 

•  If Stanley Tucci Were Your Boyfriend, “it would always be the second week of fall. The sun would never set before 8pm, but you would never sweat again.”  Isn’t that the TRUTH! (We can also stop eating Cheetos in the shower, which is mostly a relief.)  

•   Fired Sony Executive Amy Pascal thinks actors are “bottomless pits of need”, and also… magical.  

•  Stop what you’re doing:  Salami of the Month Club

•  I’m reading:  The Girl Who Fell From The Sky.  

•  Ten Things You Should Know Before Getting Into a Relationship with Someone Who Loves Food.  More salt, please.  

•  Let’s do this blue

•  Lastly, The New Yorker reviews Fifty Shades of Grey aka “the Downton Abby of bondage”.    

I love you, I do.  Have a most wonderful day!

xo Joy

Grub Street Diet

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Joy the Baker Grub Street Diet

Of course I’m nosy!  Invite me over, please.  I’d like to look in your fridge. I’d like to know what you feed your cat.  I’d like to know how you take your coffee and what kind of cold cereal you have in your cupboard.  I won’t go snooping in your medicine cabinet, because that’s just rude, but I may take a peek inside your linen closet.  I’m sorry.  I’m curious about your thread count.  

One of my favorite ways to be nosy (without being such a creep) is with Grub Street Diet, NY Mag‘s weekly column about who is eating what.  Fred Armisen eats a lot of Grape Nuts.  Diablo Cody knows her way around a Taco Bell.  Molly Ringwald is a wine girl.  These are important things to know about strangers!  Important and totally useless and I’m absolutely positive I’ll bring them up in conversation and get strange looks in return.  

This week, well… I’m featured on Grub Street Diet.  If you have ever wondered what my diet looks like for five days (and wwwhhyyy on Earth would you wonder that?), all of your questions have been answered.  Spoiler alert:  I drink a lot of coffee, impulse buy Good & Plentys, and eat cake sitting on the floor.  It’s really glamorous, all of it.  

Joy the Baker:  Grub Street Diet 

Clockwise from left to right above:  

I ate all the grapefruits in Louisiana // Donuts from District // Ate this cheese plate as Jon made it // Jon also made cocktails (nailed it!) // I made waffles and burnt my hand // Bought all the Girl Scout Cookies 

Clockwise from left to right below: 

Grilled oysters at Cochon (reason enough to visit New Orleans)  //  Perfect daiquiri from Cane and Table  //  Coffee, cranberry water, vitamins, repeat  //  KING CAKE! // In n Out at Dockweiler Beach //  Making brunch with onions, eggs, and asparagus  

grubstreet2

Happy Friday!  I love you, bye-bye!

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Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts and Lavazza Coffee Giveaway

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and, well… we need each other.  Let’s hold hands and get through this together! 

We’re going to need some tools this holiday weekend.  By tools I mean, baked donuts, strong coffee, and festive sprinkles.  Coffee, donuts, and love are fitting for every day of the year, but especially appropriate for a Valentine’s Day weekend.  I hope you sleep in and share coffee and donuts with someone you want to high-five for life.  

JTB V-DAY Coffee Collage

To celebrate the holiday I’ve partnered with Lavazza Coffee to give away a Valentine’s Day Survival Kit!  Just a few important things to inspire a lazy Valentine’s Day morning lingering over really fantastic coffee and sweet, tender donuts.  

1 •  My favorite Bodum French Press.  Makes perfect cups of coffee!  

2  •  Make if official with couple mugs.  Few things are more precious.  

3  •  A good throw blanket.  For picnic-style morning coffee adventures.  

4  •  Critical in any at-home coffee date is the perfect cup of coffee!  Lavazza Italian Coffee is my new favorite!  Dark, rich, and round coffee without a hint of bitterness. Lavazza makes home coffee feel extra special.  

5  •  Two people, lots of love, one journal.  It’s like a little time capsule of your years together!  

6  •  Mornings should smell great with this Capri Candle!

7  •  I always want to watch When Harry Met Sally and I know you do too.

8  •  No coffee date is complete without donuts!  They’re tender, sweet, and jam-swirled.  Get into it!  Here’s the pan you’ll need

9  •  Games of skill and chance on the living room floor:  checkers and chess.  

To enter to win a gift basket filled with Lavazza Coffee, a $25 gift card to Lavazza, and the rest of these Valentine’s treats, please leave a comment below with your favorite Valentine’s Day tradition.  Winner will be randomly selected Saturday February 14th at noon est! 

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Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake

Y‘all… it’s TIME.

It’s time for the brioche-rich, cinnamon-swirled, colorfully sprinkled cake that is KING CAKE! 

It’s carnival time here in New Orleans.  That means that we’re celebrating life, pushing the limits of indulgence, dancing in the streets (most literally), catching as many beads as we can, throwing as many beads as we can, and eating King Cake… all before Lent next Wednesday.  We have a lot to fit into this next week!  

In New Orleans, which is a world in its own, we eat King Cake between very specific dates:  January 6th to honor the Three Kings and Fat Tuesday (the madness just before Lent).

What’s with all of the colorful cake madness?  History.  We need a history lesson.

“The King’s Cake accompanies festivities to commemorate the Epiphany, the day the Magi (interpreted by some to mean “kings”) arrived in Bethlehem and presented gifts to baby Jesus the twelfth night after his birth. The cake is a reenactment of Epiphany, with a bean or baby figurine baked into the cake to symbolize Christ and is eaten throughout Carnival festivities.”  – Three Men and a Baby: A Brief History of King Cakes 

I hesitated to make this cake at home this Mardi Gras.  King Cakes are absolutely everywhere in New Orleans and really… there’s no need to make one at home.  That would be like visiting Paris and staying indoors to make your own croissants. I’m also very new to New Orleans.  Who am I to make a dang King Cake?  Well… here goes nothing (/everything).  

•  Is that a plastic baby Jesus in my cake?  Kinda yea.   

•  10 things to know about Mardi Gras.  Yes… Mardi Gras is only a legal holiday in Louisiana.  It’s a different world.  

•  Mardi Gras Mix Tape Zing!

Mardi Gras King Cake

Here’s what we need:  flour and salt, milk, sugar and yeast.  The makings of a fine and good yeasted bread.  

What takes this treat from bread to cake is fat and flavor.  Lots of melted butter, five creamy egg yolks, ground cinnamon, and lemon zest!  

We’re also going to need a mega amount of sprinkles.  Purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power.  And a little plastic baby to sneak into the cake after baking.  Whomever gets the cake has to buy the next King Cake… and the circle never ever ends.  

If you’re not with us here in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I hope you make this cake and fill your kitchen with the spirit of this city.  It’s special.  It’s delicious!  It’s Mardi Gras!  

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Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Winter Salad

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

I don’t seem to have a brain for meal-prep.  I’m guilty of wandering the grocery store aisles picking up cold cereal, crackers, a really expensive bar of soap and… little else.   I’m notoriously horrible at actually making myself dinner and, as it turns out, scrambled eggs with hot sauce make a tremendously fine dinner meal.  

Understanding my shortcomings, and being entirely tired of scrambled eggs for dinner, I’ve discovered that if I have a big bowl of something in the refrigerator, I’m saved.  

Something could be a big bowl of Carrot Jalapeño Soup, a big bowl of Apple and Fennel Salad, or something like this… with hearty roasted cauliflower and sweet earthy beets.  Farro makes the salad filling and solid.  

A big bowl of something.  Good, hearty, real food that isn’t scrambled eggs that you can eat straight from the fridge… if you’re into that sort of thing (and we’re all into that sort of thing).  

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Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

I‘m back in Los Angeles for five minutes.  Well… one day and five minutes.  I came to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  I came to eat this cheese burger, play at the January beach, and watch the waves.  

It’s funny being back in the house I grew up in with my parents and sister.  Reunion usually means a lot of yelling across the house… just like old times.  I’m also sleeping on the trundle bed of my youth.  Go ahead and be jealous.  That’s understandable. Suffice it to say, it feels REALLY good to be home for these few minutes.  Really quite nice. 

Here’s the world, on the Internet and in your Sunday.  

•  Still the worst.  Still with the hate and terror. Why ISIS murdered Kenji Goto. And, in all the madness this past week,  Jordanian airstrikes may have killed the ISIS’s last remaining American hostage

•  How to grieve when you lose an Interneto friend.  There’s no closure in this weird world of living and dying and twitter.  

•  Weekend Read:  The Forgotten History of Bruce Jenner.  Read this, think about the Kardashians, build a rocket ship, move to the moon, build a new Kardashian-free life.  Good luck.   

•  Captain’s Log(s).  Two friends, all up on a boat.  Making friends and enemies. 

•  I’ve had this tab open in my browser for weeks.  This ring is so so pretty!  Can I borrow $855?  Cool, thanks. 

•  Do you read the Grub Street Diet column from New York Magazine?  It’s a peek inside the lives and diets of awesome people.  The Kerry Diamond edition is a favorite!

•  If you don’t have anything nice to say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS.  Writer Lindy West confronts one of her worst internet trolls… and he apologizes because he’s a human with feelings.  INSANE!   

•  We get another book from Harper Lee.  Yea we do!  

•  Get the know the most influential women in food.  Go on, ladies. Get it. 

•  Why cats love boxes.  Because they’re passive-aggressive and anti-social.  Cool, me too! 

•  Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Dip?  Not mad at it.  

•  Valentine’s Day.  This is a thing we have to recognize, right? Sigh.  How about Lemon Raspberry Pie Crust Hearts?  Or better yet, how about we just have a donut and call it a day.  

 •  ThinkPiece:  I regret to inform you that you simple aren’t doing your best.  

And with that, I leave you to Sunday.  I love you, bye-bye.  

xo Joy

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Brûlée Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

 I‘m going to start a new line of pillows made exclusively out of this cream cheese pound cake.  Edible bed pillows.  Lay your head down at night and snack-and-sleep.  If we’re going to turn aaanny cake into a pillow, this is it.  

This is the softest, most tender cake thanks to both cream cheese and butter.  Sponge-y and moist without being cloying or obnoxious.  It’s the perfect pillow material.  Like memory foam but… edible cake.  

Or.  I suppose you could serve this cake sliced on platters and plates.  Also a viable option, just without the beauty rest.  Think about it.  

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Homemade Salmon and Oat Cat Treats

Homemade Crunchy Cat Treats

Homemade Salmon and Oat Cat Treats

I‘ve done a lot of research on cats.  By ‘a lot of research’, I mean that I’ve lived with an nutcase of a cat-animal for the past four years, and there are a few things I’ve learned.  My cat, in particular, is bossy and unwilling to compromise.  He’s a fan of avocado, anything I open with a can opener, buttermilk, and actually… anything that I eat, he wants to eat.  

Since I am a maker of cookies for human consumption, I feel like it’s only fitting to make healthy and wholesome treats for my monster cat as well.   

Homemade Salmon and Oat Cat Treats

The best thing about these cat treats / cat cookies, is that they’re made out of actual whole foods! Oats, pink salmon, egg, olive oil, and dried catnip because cats are crazy for it.  Cookies for cats!  Let’s do this!

Homemade Salmon and Oat Cat Treats

Tron is happy that, for once, I’m not waving him away from my food prep area.  This time, it’s actually treats for him… not my cookies and biscuits.  

No joke, three seconds after this picture was taken, Tron literally tried to tear through the bag of Purina Beyond Cat Food.  He’s not a subtle creature.   

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Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

let it be sunday

There’s spirit in the air.  It’s palpable.  It feels like confetti and excitement… the kind of excitement you might confuse for anxiety until you realize that there’s confetti, bubbles, and beads in the air. Literally and metaphorically.  

Last night the Krewe du Vieux parade passed by the house.  In other news, New Orleans is magic, New Orleans is Mars, and it’s Mardi Gras so get all the way into it!

This week was a mish-mash of this and that: work, rest, dentist appointments, afternoon lunch with a new friend.  I’m doing my best to slow down, look around me, and take hold of all the inspiration floating in the air.  Let’s get it all.  Also.  Next week:  CAKE. See batter above. 

It’s also Superbowl Sunday, but you should know that the words Deflate Gate mean nothing to me.  Nothing. 

•  BREAKING NEWS!  A ball pit for adults has opened in London.  BRB MOVING TO LONDON FOREVER. Send hand sanitizer, and chewing gum, and maybe a pair of overalls.  

•  David Simon (creator of The Wire and all around crunchy dude and great writer) doesn’t care what you think about… anything really, but especially Omar.  David Simon, Show Me A Hero.  

•  Consider The Bartender.  I’ll have a Sazerac, please. 

•  The Evolution of Diet.  Does this mean donuts are out?  

 Deep thoughts:  The Forgiveness Boost.

•  I went to a spa for my uterus and this is my story.  If you’re raising your eyebrow in question… the answer is YES, of course we have Gwenyth to blame.   

•  Men outnumber women on the planet by a cool 60 million: a story of drinkers, genocide, and unborn girls.  That’s real. 

•  One year ago this week I was in Uganda with Compassion.  I think about these faces everyday.  Gah!  The love I have for them is big.

I hope your Sunday is one of those Sundays you remember in your bones come Wednesday.  

XO joy

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