Mushroom and Mash

Mushroom and Mash

Mushroom and Mash

I just realized something essential to my next week.  Um… this is my first Thanksgiving!  This is the first year, of my 33 years in the world, that I’m hosting my first totally-grown, matching-casserole-dishes, not-paperplate, make-all-the-pies THANKSGIVING at my New Orleans apartment with aaallll of my family.

I’m pretty sure this is a big deal.

I need a plan.  I really need a plan.

Nervously tapping my foot, biting my nails, and drinking toooooo much coffee is not a plan, right?  It’s the opposite of a plan.

I’m putting together a meal that is simple, casual, non-traditional, and filled with sides and pies.  I’m not cooking a turkey… which either makes me THE WORST person, or a genius.  Probably the worst, but even knowing that, I’m still not doing it.  We’re going to enjoy a giant pot of gumbo and aaalll of the Thanksgiving sides, including these fluffy and earthy mashed potatoes.

The plan is coming together (and also includes a triple batch of this Mac and Cheese).

Mushroom and Mash

Being bigtime thankful is also part of the plan.  Thankful for New Orleans, and visiting family, and warm gumbo, and mashed potatoes with roasted mushrooms.  Thankful for all of the good and the gnarly and everything in between.

The Internet wants us to succeed next week:

•  I’m definitely into group games… unless I have to act something out and hope people guess it:  10 Thanksgiving Games To Make The Holiday Fun For Everyone

•  These Molasses Spice Cookies are developing quite the reputation here in New Orleans.  I also love Jessica’s Thanksgiving Dos and Don’ts.  

•  I’m not making a turkey BUT I am ordering aaallll of the gumbo from Cochon Butcher.

•  Dijon Maple Green Beans sound like juuust the ticket.  They also have bacon and feta!

•  Deb’s Pretzel Parker House Rolls!  Just pretzel everything, thanks!

• Tracy’s Creamed Spinach should be an everyday thing, don’t you think?

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Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie (7)

I’ve set out on the very serious task of brainstorming ALL of the Thanksgiving pies.  Good reason.  I’m preparing the welcome most ALL of my family to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  There will be no turkey in my oven.  There will be no stuffing.  Green beans and cranberry sauce are a major maybe.

There will be a tremendous amount of gumbo and an equally tremendous amount of pie, Apple Cranberry among them.

In addition to a bounty of gumbo and pie, I’m also prepared for a week full of (ohhh gosh) family fun with a detailed week-long itinerary, a bull horn, a few bottles of bourbon, and a whistle.  I mean… right?

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Send help.

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Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch

5 Tips To The Best Pie Crust / joythebaker

Chocolate Pecan Derby Pie

You know what breaks my heart?  Store-bough pie crust.  It’s a tragedy.  It’s a crime against good pie.  It’s illegal in at least eight states.  It’s not cool and I just can’t let you do it to yourself.  See, store-bought pie crust is usually made up of unpronounceable fats that can’t possibly taste good.  What does taste good?  Butter in pie crust.  Two syllables.  Approachable and delicious.

Let’s talk about how to make the best pie crust from scratch.  All it takes is a bit of confidence, a good amount of cold butter, tenacity, and a love of pie.

A pastry teacher once told me that ingredients can smell your fear.  It’s true.  Butter can sense your hesitation.  With these tips, I hope you’re inspired to get in the kitchen this holiday season and make a pie.  You can totally do it.  I’m a believer… and also, I’ll know if you buy a store-bought crust.   I have a sense about these things.

Here’s the lowdown on pie crust.

•  Flour, sugar, and salt are whisked together.

•  Cold, cubed butter is added and broken down into the dry ingredients.

•  Buttermilk is stirred in creating a shaggy but moist-ish dough.

•  With a wink and a prayer, dough is kneaded together, left to rest in the refrigerator, then rolled out into a buttery, sturdy, soon-to-be-flakey dough.

You can do it, here’s some extra know-how:

1.  The first rule of successful pie crust:  Keep your butter cold!

See, there’s a reason that our fat starts cold and needs to stay cold before the pie crust hits the oven.  Butter is made up of milk solids and water.  When cold butter hits a hot oven, the water in the butter evaporates quickly, helping to create a flavorful and flakey crust.  When warm, soft butter goes into a hot oven, the butter weeps in the crust before it evaporates.  No one wants a weepy butter crust.

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Posted in Pie

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

It’s Sunday and aren’t we glad!

I spent much of this week in Oklahoma (Oklahoma!!), signing cookbooks and visiting Ree’s ranch, feeding cattle, gawking at wild mustangs, and incorrectly answering ranch trivia questions from Cowboy Josh.  My city roots are strong.  I don’t know much about cows.  This has become very clear.

Here’s the thing about these book signings.  First, THANK YOU for coming out.  Second, the more strangers I stand in front of is directly related to the amount of ex-boyfriend stories I awkwardly share.  More strangers. More stories.  It’s a ridiculous quirk.

I’m home for a bit and trying to wrap my mind around Thanksgiving.  Luckily the Internet is exploding with cranberry sauce recipes (straight face emoji).  Are you in the turkey spirit?  Not to worry, we’ll get there together.

Here is what the Internet was trying to tell us this week:

•  Let’s go ahead and know what’s going on with our President and his upcoming immigration reform.  Executive order is a big deal.

•  This Frontline Documentary is really interesting:  The Rise of ISIS.

 We celebrated Veteran’s Day this past week and this short audio recording is so real and raw and important.   A Marine’s Parents’ Story:  The Memories You Should Hear

•  “The examination to become a London cabby is possibly the most difficult test in the world — demanding years of study to memorize the labyrinthine city’s 25,000 streets and any business or landmark on them.”  The Test To Become A London Cabby

•  What it’s like to be black or female in Silicon Valley.

•  From Gawker:  Both You and Morgan Freeman Are Wrong About Racism

•  Science says relationships come down to two basic traits.  This article has some really great thoughts!  Are we masters or disasters?

•  Go: What I learned from going to NYC with $100 and no hotel reservation

•  Sorry I Murdered Everyone, But I’m An Introvert.  These things happen.

Happy Sunday to you!  I love you and can’t wait to cook for us next week.

xo Joy

Inside The Baker’s Kitchen + Sweet and Savory Buttermilk Biscuits

biscuits sweet and salty

inside the baker's kitchen

Once upon a time I was a baker in a professional kitchen.  I’m talking about the kind of kitchen with bins of flour so large they you could climb inside and take a nap…. the kind of kitchen where you had to yell (and I mean YELL) ‘behind’, so no one crashes into your pan of scones on their way to the oven…. the kind of kitchen that was noisy, full of chocolate, hot pans, sheet trays for days, savory scones… and smelled REALLY GREAT.

I spent so much time in the professional kitchen that my home kitchen was as modest as it was tiny.  I had two mixing bowls, a spoon, and a spatula to my name.  Why bother with more than one cake pan when I make ALL of the cakes in a rowdy kitchen with thundering ovens?

My working kitchen these days is very different.  I have more than one cake pan.  I have more than a single wooden spoon, yes… and while it’s still a humble kitchen, there are a few tools in the kitchen that feel like necessary extravagances.

I want to take some time to talk about what I keep in my Baker’s Kitchen.  I think it’s important to know what’s over-the-top extravagant, and what’s a reasonable tool to stock.  Kitchen real-estate is a precious commodity.  Let’s only stock up with what we really need.

I’ve partnered with my very favorite kitchen brand KitchenAid in a 3-part series to show you some of my very favorite kitchen tools and baker’s tricks.  It doesn’t take a lot to coax great flavors and flakey crusts out of the oven.

Today we’re talking about my favorite 11-cup Food Processor.  It will have you making ALL of the biscuits, ALL of the pie crusts, and ALL of the pesto.  It’s the best, and super versatile!

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Notes From The Road

book larder

notes from the road, literally

Hey friends!  I’ve been on the road for the past month to celebrate, sign, and coax people to buy my second cookbook Homemade Decadence.  Literally… on the road, in the road, get-out-of-the-road-trying-to-take-a-picture-of-that-bridge-or-you’re-going-to-get-hit-by-a-car.

I’ve been in cities east and west, made countless pies, and written awkward paragraphs in many many books.  Here are a few images from the road.  Lots of coffee.  Lots of life.

These are the days!  Thank you for being part of them with me.

Note:  The booties above are Seychelles (since so many of you were curious).

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Baking Bootcamp: Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

The first thing you should know is that it’s time for our THIRD installment of Baking Bootcamp with King Arthur Flour! Bring out your jazz hands. It’s about that time.

The second thing you should know is that we’re making the most delicious and chewy, salty and cheesy loaves. Like cinnamon rolls, hold the cinnamon, extra Gruyère and green olives.

The third thing you should know is that I always wanted to be a hand model so I’m beyond satisfied with myself here… that’s just my truth.

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

For our first baking bootcamp we piled berries high and braided bread for the Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread. You amazed me with your kitchen bravery.

For our second baking bootcamp we folded dough and made Apple Pie Biscuits. So stellar. You guys got all up in the season!

Now we’re taking a step to the savory side. Salty and soft. And we’re using an entirely new flour: King Arthur Flour’s Unbleached Bread Flour!

Baking Bootcamp Essentials III

Here’s what we’ll need:

1 • King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.  High protein content for chewy and sturdy buns!

2 • I use this King Arthur Flour Bench Knife just about everyday in my kitchen. It’s perfect for scraping little dough bits from the countertop… something a sponge just pitifully attacks. You might also use the bench knife to slice though the center of the rolled dough. It’s sharp too! I love this tool!

3 • Kitchen fashion is important to me. Hedley & Bennett understands my needs for a functional, durable, totally chic apron. Not too frilly. I always want to be more badass than 50’s housewife-y in the kitchen.

4 • A good 9×13-inch baking pan is a kitchen staple.  The new ones are nice, mine happen to be covered in years of kitchen rust. Part of the charm!

5 • Having Colorful Mixing Bowls is the kitchen equivalent of having a great black dress in your closet. Necessary treat.

6 • We’re going to need lots of medium shreds of Gruyere cheese. Box Grater to the rescue!

7 • I like a natural bristle kitchen brush in my arsenal.  Great for egg washing biscuits and rolls!

8 • The Pyrex glass measuring cup.  A forever kitchen classic.

9 • These wooden spoons just get better with time.

10 • Is it normal to have a completely mismatched set of Measuring Cups, or should I just treat myself to a matching set like this? Don’t answer that…

11 • Same goes for the Measuring Spoons… it’s nice to have a full matching set.

12 • I go through Paring Knives like I go through socks.  How is it possible to have them one day and then lose them the next? I don’t know.  Clearly I have an issue.

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

There are loads of resources to help you get from here to warm cheesy buns.

• All of these step-by-step photographs in the post were done by the incomparable Jon Melendez.

Baking 101: The Difference Between Baking Flours for all the nitty-gritty on bran and germ and protein content.

• King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Hotline is a fantastic resource for curious home bakers to discuss your fears, concerns and eventual successes. Give them a ring! It’s magic. 1-855-371-2253

Four Flours + Four Recipes Challenges + One Instagram #bakingbootcamp + Four Awesome Sets of Prizes!

The idea is simple!

• Make these Gruyère and Green Olive Rolls (they’re sooo delicious!) and take a picture of your creation!

• Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

• Photograph your beautiful rolls and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

• When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!! Official rules and details can be found here.

By entering the challenge you’ll also have amazing cheesy rolls in your kitchen, so… you really can’t lose.

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Let It Be Tuesday!

seattle bridge!

I’ve been in Seattle this past week.  It’s all greens, bridges, and clouds.  If you’re wondering why Seattle is completely out of coffee and wine this week… that was me.  I drank it all.  It wasn’t pretty.  Sorry.

Let’s go ahead and add “nervous breakdown” to the list of things we should never Google, or admit to Googling.  Ooops.  But, I mean… if you have the foresight to Googling it, does it mean that you’re probably not having one?  Probably.  Likely.  Don’t look at me.

The Internet is a mad world.  Here’s some:

•  ‘Alex From Target’ and the Mess of Uncontrollable Fame.  The internet is the weirdest place and I suppose now a random candid picture of you at work can lead to hundreds of thousands of social media followers and tweets from Ellen.  But what do you even doooo with that!?  “Fame has always been fickle; but in the past, ascending to internet stardom involved at least some effort on the part of a fame-seeker.”.  Does anything mean anything anymore?  Not rhetorical.

•  “In short, people with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture.”  A Natural Fix For ADHD

•  It takes some comedic bravery to say the words Chris Rock does.  There’s something beyond the humor though… always. Chris Rock Monologue on SNL

•  On Kindness:  My Mother Is Sick  FYI: Really beautiful.

•  Where do all of these stories even come from?  People that are brave enough to go out and get them.  The Committee to Protect Journalists says that 370 journalists have been killed in the last 10 years as a direct result of their jobs.  Here’s that story.

•  Broken Sleep:  People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love.  What have we lost by sleeping straight through?

 Tomorrow we have another Baking Bootcamp!  First we made Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread then Apple Pie Biscuits.  Tomorrow we hitting up the savory side!

•  The Kitchn has some lovely Thanksgiving inspiration.  Not complicated or fussy.  Just right.

•  No You Are Not “Running Late”, You Are Rude And Selfish.  Think about it.

•  I’m going back to school with PBS and The Fault In Our Stars‘ John Green:  Crash Course.  Is this going to be on the test?

•  Milk Stout and Sea Salt Caramels.  Perfect.

I hope you sail through this Tuesday.  Google all the cries for help you need to.  Maybe just don’t me like me and tell aaalll of the Internet.

Cool. Byeee!

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

These November days are quickly running away which can only mean one thing:  we’re going to need to think about Thanksgiving and let’s try not to completely freak out about it.

It’s possible… the thinking without the freaking out.  We’ll make a plan.  We’ll ask someone else to roast a turkey.  We’ll cross our fingers a few times.  It will all work out.  Part of our success includes roasting aaalll of the sweet potatoes and adding oats and pistachio.  We’re making a play on Sweet Potato Pie:   no crust, extra crumble, easy and delicious!

Oat and Pistachio Crumble Topped Baked Sweet Potatoes

When in doubt, can we just go ahead and add an oat crumble?  Hearty and sweet, buttery and spiced.  The oats make for a wholesome crumble that is both comforting and substantial.  We’re going to need the hearty oats to stand up to the butter and not shy away from the spices and sweet potato.  Balance, you know?

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Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies (10)

Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies (9)

My food brain dreamed up these shortbread cookies with creamy pumpkin caramel back in June when the rest of you were thinking about watermelon and Jell-O shots, and bikini tops, and summer sunsets, and all of the amazing summer things.  I was sweating it out in my kitchen, covered in pumpkin puree, completely confused by the smell of holiday spices.

It’s about time these cookies make sense!  I mean… I’m wearing a scarf for goodness sake.  A scarf!

better homes and gardens

I made these cookies back in June for this month’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  These cookies are just one of a good handful of pumpkin recipes that fill the pages.

All I’m saying is… this is really good news on the pumpkin front.  Because there is a pumpkin front…. we’re looking right at it.

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Candy Bar Cookie Bars

Candy Bar Cookie Bars (7)

Candy Bar Cookie Bars

This is me finding a solution to your Halloween candy dilemma.  It’s a problem, right?  I mean… how are we supposed to live surrounded by the mini Snickers bars?  It’s entirely distracting. Snickers breakfast lunch and dinner.  Let’s not talk about it.  Instead, let’s add butter and flour and disguise our Halloween stash into chewy sweet and salty cookie bars… all suited and booted for sharing and giving.

Suit and boot.  That’s what we do around here.

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Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

let it be sunday

Hello friends!  I hope this finds you properly reclined and sipping on something Sunday.  I’m been back in New Orleans for a week of waaaay too much Halloween fun.  I dressed up as Cleopatra.  Fierce with a side of crazy-eyes.  I’m sorry I’m not more forthcoming with photographic evidence.  I also bought a bag of Halloween candy and find that I’m mostly just eating it myself because… just let it happen.  I’m packing my bags to head to the west coast for a week.  I hope to see you in San Francisco and Seattle to show you how to make pie and write in your copies of Homemade Decadence.  It’ll be fun!

I hope your Sunday is relaxed and mellow.  I hope you over-indulge in Halloween candy even if you have to sneak it from your kid’s  stash.  Just hide the empty wrappers in the trash can… not like I’ve ever done that… who steals candy from children!?

Here is this week’s internet, condensed.  Carry on (and on and on).

•  My very favorite chef Jacques Pepin, on ketchup and other important things.

•  A woman walked around New York City for 10 hours and filmed every catcall she received.

•  A long read for a short weekend:  The Secret Life of an ISIS Warlord.

•  “How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening?”  What the what happened?  Against The Grain.

•  My Life On Olive Garden.  I’m getting each one of you a Pasta Pass for the holidays so GET EXCITED!

•  Similarly… My Week With A Flip Phone.  Committed but not insane… I mean, really.

•  We Are All Confident Idiots, I’m sure of it.

•  Theo Padnos on being kidnapped, tortured, and released in Syria.  This piece is 100%.  

•  Categorize under: truth is stranger/worse/more madness than fiction.  Mexico’s First Lady Of Murder Is On The Lam.

•  This is really interesting:  The Ten Greatest Changes In The Last 1,000 Years.

•  I’m headed to San Francisco and Seattle next week!  I’m giving away 4 tickets to the San Francisco pie demonstration and book signing.  Comment on this post, I’ll pick four of you tonight and see you at the signing tomorrow night!! Easy, right?

•  I need a kitchen blow torch because I want to make Creme Brûlée French Toast a reality for us.

Tweet Game Strong.  The very best of the very worst of the very funniest tweets.

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Apple Snap Cocktails

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

It’s time for a new go-to cocktail.  This summer’s negroni and sangria indulgences are long past me.  I’m looking for an Autumn cocktail that feels ample and cozy… but nothing like mulled wine or syrupy sweet pear drinks.

Has there ever been a tasty mulled wine?  I think no.

Apple Snap Cocktails

I wanted to combine the sweetness of fruit with the spiciness of the season.  Apple juice.  Fresh pressed and unfiltered.  Bourbon, naturally.  Lime and bubble water.  But spiiiiice! Needed and necessary.

Have you heard of Art In The Age?  They make the most lovely, unique organic spirits.  My favorite this season is SNAP, inspired by old school Pennsylvania Dutch ginger snaps.  Yessss, right?

SNAP is made from a neutral alcohol, molasses, ginger, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, tea, and sugar.  So so good!  Pairs perfectly with bourbon (yes!) and fresh apple.  I’ll be sipping on this SNAP all winter and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep a bottle or two around for hostess gifts.  It’s a treat.

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Curry Roasted Acorn Squash

curry roasted acorn squash (4)

curry roasted acorn squash (3)

I‘m back in my kitchen this week… back from making pies with you up and down the east coast… back from gently and not so gently asking you to buy my dang book… back to my roasting pan.

curry roasted acorn squash

This acorn squash was patiently awaiting my return.  Just sitting tight, waiting to be more than it already is.

I hacked my way through the protective skin (didn’t even lose a finger), removed the seeds, sliced, and drizzled.

This is the result of those efforts.  Let’s make it together… I mean, right!?

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Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

Good morning, friends!  This might be too many sprinkles for a Sunday morning.  A little aggressive.  I’m in Vermont this weekend teaching people how to make pie at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center.  The air is crispy and the trees are golden brown and otherwise drunk in love with Fall.  I’ll soon be back in New Orleans, back in my kitchen, back being tormented by cat and claw.  I hope your Sunday is mellow and more great than good.

•  This American Crime: Sarah Koenig On Her Hit Podcast “Serial”.  Have you listened!?  Riveting, obsessive storytelling.

•  The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out Of Your Facebook Feed.  That’s has got to be exhausting.  Also… thank you.

•  The Making of the Warrior Cop.  Why we saw what we saw in Ferguson.

•  Two teenage girls run away from their Colorado home to join ISIS.  Really, tho?  The Colorado-to-ISIS itinerary.

•  The Three Sizes of Guilt.  This is quite real, concise, and accurate.

•  12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People:  stillness, hobbies, and priorities.

•  When Introverts Should Avoid Coffee.  Thanks for the tips, yo.

•  Persimmon Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese.  Let’s just eat all the persimmons.  ALL.

•  The number of eggs a woman has predicts heart attack risk.  Cool… what else should I stress out about besides EVERYTHING!?

•  The World’s Youngest Female Billionaire.  Dropped out of college.  Revolutionized the world.  Tale as old as time.

•  Monica Lewinsky helps to put an end to cyber bullying.  Better than making purses.

•  Why Every Newborn You See On Facebook Is Wrapped In The Same Baby Blanket.  Good to know.

 •  A Kid Crying Over a Cat. “Let it all out…”

Happy Sunday!

xo Joy

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San Francisco + Seattle + Tulsa

Joy the Baker West Coast

Hello friends!

Thank you so much for coming out to celebrate Homemade Decadence with me in New Orleans + New York + Philadelphia.  After working on this book for two years, it’s such a mega blessing to see your smiling faces, write in your books, and talk about pie.  It’s the best ever!  Thank you for taking the time to come say hello.  It means everything!

I’m headed west in the next few weeks.  Here’s the deal:

November 3rd  •  SAN FRANCISCO  • JCC  3200 California Street 94118  •  415.292.1200  •  7pm pie making demo and KitchenAid giveaway $25 for demo or $45 demo and book.  •  Free signing at 8:15pm  •  Sign up here!

November 5th  •  SEATTLE  •  Book Larder 4252 Fremont Ave 98103 •  (206) 397-4271  •  6:30 pie making demo and KitchenAid giveaway also includes a copy of the book $30  •  Free signing at 7:45pm  •  Sign up here!

November 13th  • TULSA  •  Book Smart  1719 S Owasso Ave 74120  •  booksmarttulsa (at) gmail.com  •  Free demo and signing at 7pm!

See you so soon!

xo

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

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).

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Do You Ever Worry About Running Out of Ideas?

finding inspiration

Hi friends! New York City has lots of views of walls and windows.  It feels like a mirror with strangers on the other side.

At this weekend’s book signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen (which, incidentally, is an AWESOME place) someone asked me this question:

Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

Can we talk about this?  For real tho.  For real.

Here’s the calm, cool and collected response to that question:  No way!  I am confident that my brain has an unlimited amount of really awesome ideas to sustain me from now until forever and ever amen.

Here’s the real-life answer:  OHMYGOSH YES!  What if I’m working from a well that I’ll soon reach the bottom of!?  What if that’s real!?

The deal is, creativity and inspiration must be fostered and fed.  But good grief, how do we have time to foster and feed things these days? My cat is fostered and fed because he’s really demanding with his loud meows and untrimmed claws.  My creativity is much less demanding and often gets stomped on by every other more demanding task on my list.  Do you find this to be true?

I try to find inspiration in all of the little moments, the quiet moments, the unexpected moments.  It’s not always grand days or epic meals that provide me with the clearest inspiration.

What’s inspiring me lately:

•  “I’m not afraid of dying.  I’m afraid of not trying.”  THANK YOU JAY Z.  I mean… TRY is everything.

•  I’m traveling right now and the fact that I don’t remember if I know how to navigate Penn Station scares the crap out of me.  I remember that there’s some sort of waiting area then a mad dash to the right train, a long time, and a seat find.  Nerves are inspiring.  They make me see my surroundings more acutely and not breeze by the details.  There is always inspiration in the details (must like there is always money in the banana stand).

•  This new Damien Rice song because sometimes inspiration comes from things that break your heart.

•  I’m working on a book about Brunch so this NYT article about the fall of this most precious meal was very interesting to me.  Can we take Brunch back from the jerks? Of course we can.

•  The Kitchn’s Cooking School is 20 days + 20 simple kitchen lessons.  The simplicity and solid learning is inspiring!

•  Did you know that you can get a freshly fried, sugar dipped donut at Federal Donuts in Philadelphia.  That’s where you can find me for the next three days.  I might even forget what a beignet is. Sugar-high inspiration.  I’m going all the way in.

I’m a person with more questions than answers.  There is creativity and learning in simply trying to figure it out everyday… you know?

Thank you for for joining me on my book tour adventures!  Thanks for coming out and asking me the questions that make you feel weird and vulnerable, because I’m weird and vulnerable too.  I also accept cat-related questions with glee.  I’ll announce my west coast book signing dates later this week!

Love you!  See you at Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia tonight!

xo

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

You know my tricks.  You know the games I play around here.  The more browned butter, sea salt, and chopped pistachios, the better! It’s just that… pistachios are the best, browned butter reigns supreme, and I think good sea salt is my secret weapon in my baking pantry.  I’m not wrong.

We’re keeping it simple by shoving all of the good things into one pan of rice krispie treats.  Fancy rice krispie treats are totally my go-to party trick.  They never disappoint.  Also consider Salty and Malty Rice Krispie Treats.  So much win.

I’m traveling these next few weeks to meet you and celebrate the release of my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  I’m in Philadelphia Tuesday 10/21 and you should totally come say hi!  Keep in mind that for some reason I’ve been listening to the Once soundtrack nonstop for the past week, so… just so you know where I’m at and that I’m weird.  Ps. Do you know how easy it is to cry to the Once soundtrack?  Like crazy easy.  I don’t know what’s going on with me.  I really am in a happy place, I promise.

I’ve said too much.

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My Favorite Autumn Bakes

mashed potato waffles
the leftovers the leftovers to rise again
one more thing mr & mrs glasses ny notebook
jason priestley mac and cheese drip mugs

 

It’s about time we get down to it, wouldn’t you say?  Time to roast all of the vegetables, carve all of the pumpkins, peel all of the apples, and eat all of the mac and cheese.  It’s Autumn and we have every right to apple our doughnuts and put chicken in our pot pies.  Here are a few of my very favorite Autumn recipes… full of all sorts of comfort and joy.

•  My Dad’s Perfect Sweet Potato Pie is hands-down my favorite treat to bake during the chilly Autumn months.  And when I say ‘perfect’ I mean ‘without a single flaw’, and when I say ‘favorite’ I mean ‘heeck yes it’s the best thing in the world’… just so we’re clear.

•  This recipe for Morning Glory Oats is so warm and satisfying.  Finely shredded carrots, sweet currants, and steel-cut oats.  Who knew carrots belonged in a warm bowl of breakfast?  Think of this is carrot cake in a bowl with oats.  This recipe is from the book Whole Grain Mornings; an excellent book for Autumn.

•  Excuse me while I dip ALL of the things in chocolate and sprinkle ALL of the things with crumbled gingersnap cookies.  BRB:  Gingerbread Spiced Marshmallows

•  What would you say to waffles made out of leftover mashed potatoes, cheese, and chives?  If you’re a friend of mine you’d say YEA BOO LET’S DO!  Mashed Potato Cheddar and Chive Waffles

•  This Salty Honey Pie hits my sweet tooth and my salt tooth.  I love the deeply golden color and flavor of this pie.  Recipe from the ever-present Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.

•  Scones for days!  These Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Brown Butter Glaze are tender and cake.  Perfect with one, two, three, four cups of coffee.  These scones are so moist from the pumpkin that they’re even delicious reheated several days after baking!

•   You know I support a baked doughnut.  It’s just cake shaped in a conveniently petit ring!  These Apple Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts have fresh shredded apples and warm cinnamon all up in the batter.  Perfect for Autumn weekend breakfast.  Perfect for being generally awesome.

•  Mac and Cheese with Minty Peas should be a  food group onto itself.  Why are we even fighting this?

•  Do you need convincing in order to take the time to make a  Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie from scratch?  It’s time consuming, yes… but truly such an indulgence.  Beyond!

I hope you have some quality kitchen times this weekend.  Big love from my hungry belly to yours!

xo