This is my absolute favorite time of the year, the end of summer and cusp of fall. You can still order iced coffee during the day, but it’s too chilly to leave your windows open overnight. When it’s sunny, there isn’t any humidity, and you can feel fall in every breeze.

This fall I’m particularly nostalgic because I won’t be returning to school. A new school year highlights the excitement of the transitioning seasons. For the past 16 years of my life, I’ve defined the new year not as New Year’s Day but as the first week of school. Does the clean slate, newness of fall go away now that school is over?

It doesn’t have to. We just need to create our own fresh starts.

Stone fruit season is almost over, but you can still salvage summer with these tartlets. Plums are the best right now, and I’ve already mentioned my intimate relationship with mascarpone.

P.s. Check out my friend Megan’s awesome new blog, Sequins and Shortbread. She made a killer pie — also with stone fruit!

So what’s your fresh start?

Continue Reading »

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I would bake for this blog post. I had every intention of making something that was light and had fresh fruit — a guilt-free something that anyone who’s  from the #paleo school of thought could enjoy.

Who am I kidding? Paleo? ME? Truth of the matter is I knew within minutes of regaining consciousness this morning that I wanted something with peanut butter and chocolate. So at 7:30 this morning, before even brushing my teeth, I came downstairs and started measuring out sugar, butter and peanut butter.

And here’s the result.

Sometimes you just have to shut out all the problems of the world and bake. Bake something that could give you diabetes if consumed regularly.  You have to skip the gym, skip your Chobani and blueberries and eat one twelve of these decadent cookies for breakfast.

That’s what I told myself this morning… it’s what I’m sticking to, and damn do I feel good about it.

Full disclosure — this shot has been glammed-out on Photoshop. I lah-lah-love it.

Continue Reading »

My muffins bring all the boys to the yard. Why? Because they have mascarpone cheese in them, which is smooth, creamy and subtle in flavor. Mascarpone cheese is less rich than butter and compliments any fruit it is paired with. It’s often used in cheesecake, tiramisu or frosting, but when you bake with it, mascarpone creates a dough that’s looser and more pliable, thereby yielding a moister, lighter end product.

In my opinion, mascarpone is really underused. Here’s a pro tip: pair it with Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter when it’s on shelves and put it on toast. Or mix mascarpone with kiwi and strawberries for stuffed french toast. I could go on and on.

Also, I should mention I added lemon juice to these because they enhance the flavor of the berries. You don’t really taste the lemon, but it’s just enough to bring out the flavor of the berries.

Happy almost 4th of July. Love ‘Merica.

Continue Reading »

When the chronology of your day off is: 1. consume enough frozen margaritas to fill a kiddie pool 2. pass out in a sugar/tequila-induced coma in the hot sun 3. wake up famished, disoriented and sunburned, craving a Big Mac (with extra Big Mac sauce) from McDonald’s, your life choices are questionable. I mean #1 and #2 are your own prerogatives, don’t get me wrong. But instead of opting for a Big Mac on this hypothetical (or historically accurate for some) day off, might I suggest a lighter, healthier alternative?

The days of fresh, light eating are upon us. I recommend a bowl of pasta with a dash of olive oil,  plum tomatoes from the garden, mozzarella, basil, rosemary, and prosciutto. It’s simple and cheaper than a few Big Macs that only a margarita hangover would drive a good soul to purchase.

Bring this pasta to the next barbecue you attend. Even if your drunken friends and family embarrass themselves before passing out from all the frozen margs, they will at least thank you for saving them from a potential McDonald’s binge.

Continue Reading »

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s summer. Why the hell would I make soup?” Well, because it’s healthy (perfect for your Giselle Bundchen summer beach bod), refreshing, hearty enough so that it fills you and it’s extremely cost-effective for the amount of soup it makes.

The last and most important reason why you should make this soup is because I know my shit and everyone should abide by everything I say.

Often, what I make is inspired by what I eat when I’m at a restaurant. This is my usual process: I figure out what ingredients they used, how they did it and then confidently (or over-confidently, as some would inconceivably say) decide that I can make it and that I can make it better. That’s what happened here. I had escarole bean soup last week at this little hole-in-the-wall Italian joint by where I work in Woodland Park. Theirs was fantastic. Mine was superb.

Happy cooking.

Continue Reading »

Want to know what my personal hell is? It’s the fact that I’ve been trying hard to get into shape, going to spin class and exercising on the reg and tres leches cake, which my mom got to celebrate my graduation ceremony this week, is sitting in the fridge. My mom’s friend’s mother makes it. She has made this cake all her life — is now 90 years old — and it’s what she’s known for. Truly, there are few things in the universe that parallel this dessert.

So you can understand why this is such a quandary for me. And if you’ve read Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit, you can understand why, if I were a character, for eternity I’d be doing p90x ab ripper as a single slice of unadulterated tres leches remained in a seemingly reachable, but not actually reachable, place right in front of my face.

In that play, Sartre famously said: “Hell is other people.” Hell isn’t other people. Hell is tres leches cake. That version of hell is far, far worse than fire and brimstone. I know because it is in fact my living hell.

Enough of Sartre. He was a depressing dude. I don’t have tres leches on this blog, because that recipe is a guarded family secret, but I do have some dynamite spinach meatballs that are test-kitchen approved. Do you like how quickly I switch gears like that?

I brought these meatballs to work every day this past week. Typically, I can’t stand to eat the same thing every day (first world problem) but daamn they were so good. I tried adding spinach to regular meatballs, and I was so glad that I did. You can cook the meatballs in the sauce or bake them separately. I recommend cooking them in the sauce, because it makes the sauce more complex. Because you’re cooking the sauce for such a long period of time, I can assure you that the meat does cook and you won’t end up with anything raw.

This is a good recipe for a girl (or a guy) on a budget because it makes a lot and anything you don’t finish you can freeze. I kept mine for a few days in the fridge, as I kept taking it for lunch, and still had a container I could save for another week.

Continue Reading »

If you’re having a bad day, these scones will solve all your problems. They might even solve the ills of the world. They’re not too sweet, and they hit the spot with a cup o’ joe. They especially hit the spot if you’re looking at the whatshouldwecallme tumblr simultaneously.

I may or may not have wrapped them up and hid them in the back of my closet in a Forever 21 bag. Don’t judge me…. it’s the length I go to to avoid all the food I make being eaten in my house.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appétit, as a budget chef like myself can’t afford raw sugar. And our food processor is broken, so I did my own thing. I turn my swag on.

Use fresh blueberries if you know what’s good for you.

Continue Reading »

%d bloggers like this: