Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Party 2012

Saturday was our 2nd annual Ugly Christmas Sweater and White Elephant Party. The house was filled with delicious desserts and horrendous fashion. It was a great time. I made classic gingerbread cookie, my pumpkin pie spice cookies, sugar cookies, stained glass cookies, and delicious glitter cookies. I was particularly excited to use my brand new 'A Christmas Story' leg lamp cookie cutter. This is my favorite holiday film and thought this was such a fun shape to make. Everyone had a great time. Little did I know that I'd be making chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream a couple days later for another holiday get together.

This will be my last post for a little while. We're going out of town all next week for my birthday and Christmas. I'll have updates on all the delicious food we eat while we're in St. Louis. I'm excited to try some new restaurants. In the meantime here are some pictures from the party. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

French Lemon Cream Tart

When I came across this recipe by Dorie Greenspan I couldn't wait to get into the kitchen and start baking. Ever since I first made lemon curd I was amazed at how a few simple ingredients could be transformed into something so delicious. But of course, Dorie Greenspan, with some help from Pierre Hermé, took lemon curd to the next level. Instead of adding the butter at the beginning you first cook the lemon curd then pour it into a food processor, or blender, and slowly add the butter. By emulsifying the butter it turns the lemon curd into an amazingly creamy taste and texture. Wow. Move over lemon curd, this new method is taking your place. Top a crispy baked tart shell with this creamy lemon curd along with some whipped cream and I am amazed. This is a recipe that you have to try.

Tart Shell or pâte sablée
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp frozen (or very cold) unsalted butter, cut into tbsp
1 egg yolk

1) Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to mix them together, then add the butter, being careful not to over process the dough, you want it to be sandy and have visible pieces of butter. The pulse in the egg yolk slowly then pulse for 10 seconds until everything is combined.
2) The dough will be very loose and you will have to work it together with your hands to form the dough, just be careful not to over-knead the dough.
3) Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan and then press the dough into the pan, working up the sides to make sure the dough is evenly dispersed. If you have extra save some to fill in cracks if necessary after baking.
4) Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes
5) Butter the shiny side of some foil and press it against the tart shell then bake in a 375 F oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 8 minutes, you can bake it slightly longer, just be careful that it doesn't burn.
6) Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack until completely cool before filling with desired filling.

French Lemon Cream Tart
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 cup sugar
Zest from 3 lemons
4 eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tbsp (room temperature)

1 fully baked tart shell

You will need a thermometer for this recipe

1) Add the lemon zest to the sugar and combine these ingredients to make a lemony sugar, rubbing the lemon oils into the sugar. Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice and place them in a double boiler over simmering water.

2) Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it reaches 180 F, it will thicken while it cooks, just keep whisking, this can take about 10 minutes
3) Once the mixture reaches 180 F take it off of the heat and pour it through a sieve, to remove the zest, into a food processor or blender and let cool to 140 F, then turn the machine on and slowly add the butter, about 5 tbsp at a time, you may have to scrape the sides down a couple times
4) After the butter is incorporated let the machine run for about 3 minutes to fully emulsify the butter and lemon mixture together

5) Pour the lemon cream into a container and press with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours (this will keep in the fridge for 4 days). Just make sure it is airtight

6) Once the lemon cream is cooled you can then pour it into the cooled tart and let it set up for a few minutes. I like to add freshly whipped cream on top. Then slice and serve and enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rictotta and Olive Tortellini

Ricotta. Or as I refer to it. The forgotten cheese. Why you may ask? Well, because whenever I get an impulse to buy ricotta it inevitably ends up getting pushed to the back of my fridge and forgotten, until I find it and ask myself, "what am I supposed to do with this?". Ricotta is fine, its not the greatest cheese that has even been crafted, but it does have some great uses. I've added ricotta to a delicious cake, I've even made gnocchi. It seems as if everytime I buy this cheese I am stuck wondering what to do with it. So when life gives you ricotta I say make tortellini, or ravioli. 

I made homemade pasta and mixed together the ricotta with some basil and Kalamata olives then got to work filling and shaping the tortellini. I usually make ravioli, but I wanted to try to make tortellini. It took a few duds to get the shaping correct. Trial and error. Don't worry you'll get the hang of it. Sure you may have a few odd shaped pieces, but that doesn't mean they are any less delicious. 

Homemade Pasta
Adapted from Trattoria Grappolo (aka one of my favorite restaurants)

5 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups AP flour

1) Beat together the eggs, salt, and olive oil and set aside
2) You can either do this by hand or use a food processor. I've done both. The food processor is a lot quicker, but sometimes I don't want to wash all those dishes. 
3) If using food processor add the flour and with the machine on add the egg mixture and pulse until combined and a dough has formed. 
4) If mixing by hand make a mound of flour and then make a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the center and slowly incorporate the dough into the egg mixture and knead until mixture is combined
5) Divide the dough into 3 balls and wrap with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 
6) Set up your pasta machine and get the dough out and start rolling it out into the desired thickness and cut and shape into desired shape

Olive, Ricotta, and Basil Filling
Adapted from Cook with Jamie

Bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped, divided 
9 oz of ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or sliced
14 oz of fresh tomatoes, or use canned (but use really good quality here)
Balsamic vinegar

1) Mix together the ricotta, nutmeg, olives, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and half of the basil in a bowl

2) Have pasta rolled out into 4-inch squares and the place a small amount of filling into the pasta and shape into tortellini. You will have to practice this a few times before you get it right. 

3) When the pasta are filled place them on a sheet pan with a liberal dusting of flour to prevent them from sticking. You can cook now, or place in the fridge until ready to cook. (These are best the same day)

4) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with lots of salt
5) While the water is coming to a boil begin making your sauce bu adding some olive oil and butter to a pan then add in the garlic and the remaining basil, then add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes

6) Add the tortellini to the water and cook for about 2-3 minutes then drain them, reserving some pasta water if needed for the sauce.
7) Add the tortellini to the sauce and let them cook in the sauce for a minute and toss with some more Parmesan if desired, and add pasta water if sauce is too thick

8) Add to a plate and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

AKA the first year I cooked the turkey. That's right. I accomplished what I had always envisioned to be an impossible task. I cooked a moist and flavorful 14 pound bird. Surely this must have been a fluke? I'm still not quite sure how I pulled this off. I spent the whole week before Thanksgiving worrying about the many ways that I could mess this up. Would it still be rock hard frozen Thanksgiving morning? Would I drop it? would my dog Maddie eat it? Would I burn? What if it was dry? Undercooked? These were my worries.

So what did I do? I spent the days before searching for recipes and advice. I called my mom numerous times a day to ask the many questions that came up. Particularly about her stuffing/dressing recipe. I gathered this information and the night before Thanksgiving I decided that instead of brining the turkey I would salt it. Kind of like brining, but a lot easier. All you have to do is cover the turkey with kosher salt. Lots of kosher salt. Then I left it in the fridge, uncovered, in the roasting pan to dry it out a bit. This helps the skin get crispy and browned.

The next morning I took the bird out about 2 hours before oven time and let it warm up a bit. Then I drove it over to my friends house where we would be having our Thanksgiving meal. I heated up the oven to 450 F and let it get nice and hot in the oven. I quartered an onion and an apple and stuffed them inside the cavity, but only after disgusting my friend as I pulled out the hidden neck. I grabbed some butter, put some under the skin of the turkey and melted the rest. I then covered the turkey in cheesecloth and poured the hot butter all over. I poured some chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan put the turkey in the oven and turned down the heat to 325 F.

We had other dishes to prep while the bird did its thing. So I left it alone for 45 minutes then basted it, I did this a few more times. Then the kitchen began to smell like lovely roasted turkey. Yum! So I took its temperature and it was ready to take a little rest. I pulled it out of the oven, covered it with foil and left it along while we finished the rest of the dishes: cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. I had already baked 2 apple pies and made cranberry sauce the day before. This doesn't even begin to take into account all of the dishes our friends were bringing. Wow, there was going to be a lot of food.

People began to flow into the kitchen and once those sides were done I was presented with another daunting task. Carving the turkey. I had quickly looked up how to do so and followed some pretty basic directions. I could do with a little practice, but all in all I did a fairly good job with the carving. As I was carving I was astonished at how moist the turkey was! I couldn't believe it. All of that worrying for nothing.

We sat around for hours, eating and overstuffing ourselves with delicious food. It was a great Thanksgiving and I was so happy to get to celebrate it with all of my friends and all of that great food.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Crumb Pie

Apples are an under-appreciated fruit in my opinion. Sure, you can buy them almost anywhere. And yes, sadly, the grocery stores only sell a few varieties. But for me they are one of the most versatile and delicious fruits. They are great to snack on anytime of the day and also make the most elegant desserts. Nothing beats a warm slice of apple pie, whether its for breakfast or for a late night snack, or anywhere in between.

When making apple pie I usually stick to my mom's recipe. But I was in the mood for something that took a little less time than making my own crust and was a little bit different. I found a recipe for an apple crumb pie made with an almond crumb crust by Martha Stewart. Yummy! This pie is delicious! The crust is almondy and crispy, while the apples are warm and tart. I even got to use my new apple peeler. Trust me, if you don't have one of these and you use apples a lot in cooking then you need to get one. They will make your life so much easier, especially around this time of year.

Apple Crumb Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook
For the filling I used my mom's recipe

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup plus 1 2 tbsp almond meal (or used ground almonds)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter, really cold and cut into small pieces

1) Whisk together all of the ingredients except the butter. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it it is crumbly. Then with your hands squeeze the dough together until it starts to come together a little bit.

2)Press a little more than half of the filling into a 9-inch pie pan then freeze for 15 minutes.

3) Follow instructions for making the filling
4) Add the filling to the pie and then dot with a few tbsp of butter from apple pie recipe, then cover with remaining dough crumbs

5) Bake in a 350 F oven for about 1 hour, then let cool and enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn Minestrone

After the dust (or flour in my case) has settled from Halloween festivities we decided that we needed something a little healthier in our diet. Something warm and comforting, yet not overly heavy, like pot roast. I love pot roast, but sometimes you need to mix it up a bit. So I decided to make a hearty stew full of sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, kale, and orecchiette. An Autumn minestrone if you will. This is one of those meals that will become a favorite. Perfect for lunch and dinner. I even had some for breakfast to warm me up. It's also a very versatile recipe. You can spice it up or spice it down, adding whichever seasonings you like best. I'm always a big fan of crushed red pepper and rosemary, but if you like something else, by all means, add that. I hope everyone is staying warm as the weather cools down!

Autumn Minestrone
1 onion, diced
5 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalk celery, diced
3 sweet potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
5 cups or so of kale (I used about half of a bag of the already chopped kind)
2 cups cooked white beans
5 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp rosemary
Crushed red pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz cooked orecchiette or other small pasta
Olive oil

1) In a dutch oven saute the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic until onion is translucent, then add the chicken stock, sweet potatoes, white beans, seasonings, and kale
2) Simmer soup until vegetables are soft and to your liking
3) Add the orecchiette and stir to combine, season to taste and pour into a giant bowl and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I would go door-to-door every year until, well, let's just say I was probably way too old to go trick-or-treating. I don't even really like candy that much. Don't get me wrong, I love certain types of candy (mainly anything with chocolate and peanut butter) but for me trick-or-treating was always about the hunt. I'd grab a pillowcase from the linen closet and throw on my walking shoes and head out for a long and adventurous night. I didn't want to return home until that bag was full (or as close to it as I could get). When I returned home I would pour the contents onto the living room floor and take inventory of what I had received. I loved to see what the popular choices were that year and try and figure out why people still handed out those creepy plain orange wrapped "candies". What were those? I'm not really sure because I was too afraid to try. I would snack on a few of my favorite treats throughout the next couple of days, but I would inevitably hand over the collection to my dad (who has a real sweet tooth).

Now that I'm older and have left my trick-or-treating years behind me I bake my treats to share with my friends. And just as when I was a kid, one type of confection is never enough. So for the Halloween party this year I baked cookies, cupcakes, and cake pops in different flavors and many different decorations. For all of those who tried them at the party, I hoped you liked them! To those of you who didn't I hope you get some delicious treats tonight. Even if you have to sneak some from that giant bowl you left out for trick-or-treaters.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween and Autumn Baking

Cookie baking season has begun at our house! Halloween marks the beginning of our kitchen being consistently coated in flour and powdered sugar, well not just the kitchen, I'm usually covered in it as well. It's been a while since I decorated cookies with royal icing. I always find it too hot and humid in the summer to be hovering over cookies with a piping bag in hand. But now that the weather has calmed down become a little milder I'm happy to be back at it.

A couple weeks ago I made some Autumn leaf and acorn cookies for the beginning of the Autumn season. I wanted to add a little spice to my usual go-to sugar cookie recipe so I added 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice.  Wow. Phenomenal. Plus, it makes the whole house smell like pumpkin pie. Everyone seemed to enjoy this new twist so I decided to make these cookies for the Halloween party. Hopefully they'll invoke the Autumn spices.

I decided to get an early start on the baking for the Halloween party, which takes place this weekend. I'm planning on bringing not just cookies, but cupcakes as well. So I figured I would get the cookies out of the way so I can focus on cupcakes for Saturday. I spent the morning yesterday rolling out dough and trying to decide on which of my many cookie cutters would be put to use this Halloween. After focusing on a few shapes I baked them up and spent the morning decorating. All done and now I just have to make the cupcakes. I'm super excited to share the pictures from the party!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Red Beans and Rice

I've recently started buying dried beans rather than canned beans. First of all, they're cheaper. Second, you can control what goes into them. Third, they produce less waste. So I'm a big fan. I always thought that you had to soak them overnight, so this always deterred me from cooking them because I never knew when I was going to need them unless I had been planning the menu for the week a little better. While reading How to Cook Everything I discovered that you could skip this step. I'm sure that if you soak them they will cook faster, but I can never remember the day before to soak them.

After making homemade refried beans a few times I thought I would change the recipe up a little bit and make my own red beans and rice. During my teenage years I was a vegetarian and one of my favorite restaurants was Bon Temps, a Cajun restaurant in San Luis Obispo. On their menu they had a great vegetarian option, which was red beans and rice, collard greens, and fried green tomatoes. Yummy. I thought reproducing this menu option would be delicious homemade. So I gathered up some ingredients and got to work creating my own recipe for red beans and rice.

Red Beans and Rice
1 cup red beans
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Serrano chile, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
Cayenne to taste
Salt to taste

1) In a large dutch oven add the beans and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes, cayenne, and salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil
2) Let beans simmer until tender, this can take anywhere from 45 to 2 hours. You just have to keep checking. Add more water to keep barely covered
3) When the beans are tender add the salt, tomatoes, and cayenne
4) Mash some of the beans to thicken them
5) Season and serve over white rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hot Chicken

When I first moved to Nashville I expected great barbecue. I thought (generically) that every city in the South was known for its barbecue. Well, I learned that for great barbecue you better keep moving to Memphis. Don't get me wrong, you can get some great pulled pork, but this isn't a city known for its ribs or distinct sauces. But I did learn that Nashville as its own twist on making fried chicken: hot chicken.

If you don't know what hot chicken is, well, you should. Instead of plain, mild, fried chicken you get a crispy, red, spicy coated, perfectly crunchy piece of fried chicken. This stuff will burn. If you don't like spicy food then don't even attempt. Your lips will be burning long after you've finished your meal. But the flavor is so insanely good and satisfying. I don't know how hot chicken is made, but I do know that people have their favorite hot chicken places and debates are made on who has the best.

You may prefer Bolton's to Prince's or Pepperfire over 400 Degrees or whomever has your favorite. I'm not here to get into the middle of that conversation. People like what they like for different reasons. But there is a new hot chicken restaurant on the scene: Hattie B's. The advantage this place has over the others for me: location. It's within walking distance from my house and is a lot easier than getting in my car and driving over to East Nashville. They also have beer and a patio. Trust me, beer is practically a requirement to keep the flames at bay. I don't think that their chicken is as diabolically hot as Bolton's or Prince's, so I say go one level higher than you're used to. We've gone twice in the past couple of weeks. The first time I had hot, but the next time I got damn hot. The chicken is super moist and the skin is crunchy, crispy, and on fire. Great flavor and great heat. Plus, they have great sides. So if you're on the lookout for a new hot chicken place to try I strongly recommend Hattie B's.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Tacos are amazing. You put practically anything between a corn tortilla and it will be delicious. But my favorite filling for a taco is none other than carnitas. Little bits of pork fried in its own rendered fat. Throw some onions and cilantro on top and I couldn't be happier. I may love many elaborate dishes, but sometimes simpler really is better.

I had never made my own carnitas before. Frankly, I thought they were so simple that I would inevitably mess them up. I wouldn't season them properly, I wouldn't cook them right, and I wouldn't use the proper method. So when I came across Diana Kennedy's recipe for carnitas I knew that this would be the recipe. I came across her book The Cuisines of Mexico at the used book store a couple weeks/months ago. It contains great recipes and explanations on regional cuisines of Mexico, as well as ingredients and techniques. Her recipe couldn't be simpler. Seriously, there are three ingredients: pork, water, and salt. I know. I was shocked too. Where does all that flavor come from? I swore that there must have been chiles or cumin, or something? Trust me. This recipe really does the pork justice.


3 lbs pork shoulder, bone and skin removed, cut into small pieces (about 2 x 3/4 inches)
Cold water to cover
2 tsps salt, or to taste

1) Place the meat in a dutch oven and cover with the water, not too much, just enough to cover, then add the salt

2) Cook the meat with the lid off until all the liquid has evaporated, then lower the heat and continue cooking the meat in its own rendered fat, letting the edges crisp up, turning the meat to brown completely, this should take about 1 hour or so

3) Once the meat is browned it should be crispy and fried and falling apart a little. Heat some corn tortillas, chop some cilantro and onion, and you have yourself an amazing dinner!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I spent the last week visiting my family in California and had a great time. I couldn't believe that I hadn't seen them since last Thanksgiving. Time sure does fly! So I spent the week sailing with my dad, shopping with my mom, and eating... a lot. There were a few restaurants that were on top of my list that I had to eat at. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant Grappolo, in Santa Ynez, on Wednesday night. My dad is their plumber and knows the owner so he asked him if he would make their amazing fish raviolis for me, and of course I had to have the flourless chocolate cake which is the most amazing dessert. The recipes for both dishes can be found in their cookbook.

The next morning I met my friend for breakfast burritos at La Unica, in Santa Maria. This taqueria makes the best breakfast burritos I have ever had. Bacon, eggs, potatoes, and refried beans. Delicious! I spent the rest of the day in San Luis Obispo shopping with my mom and enjoying the amazing California weather.

The next day there was more Mexican food on the agenda: Lunch with my grandma at Casa Manaña. Santa Maria is full of Mexican restaurants. They are everywhere, and most of them are really good. But there is something about the cheese enchiladas and refried beans at Casa Manaña that I love. I haven't found a place in Nashville that comes anywhere near these. I could have eaten another order, but good thing I didn't because my mom had gathered up all of the family friends for a dinner at The Swiss. This restaurant has been newly renovated and the menu has changed a lot since I moved away. Now it is one of my mom's favorite restaurants. I had a tri-tip sandwich with pinquito beans because they are the specialty of Santa Maria, a dish that I took for granted until I moved away and realized I couldn't get it anywhere else. It was a great time with family and friends.

Saturday was dedicated to sailing with my dad and brother in Santa Barbara. My dad bought an old beat up sailboat and has been restoring it for the past couple of years. It looks great! We spent the whole afternoon on the ocean. We had gone sailing when I flew in on Tuesday and even saw some whales! But none on Saturday. It was the perfect day to go sailing. When we got back to the harbor my dad started cooking dinner. We bought marinated steak from the Mexican market up the street, along with some mini corn tortillas, cilantro, and onions and made some of the best tacos I've ever had. It was the perfect day.

Sunday was my last full day in California so we went to the Hitching Post in Buellton for dinner. This is my favorite steakhouse. We had the grilled artichokes for an appetizer and I had the filet mignon. Basically the same thing I always get, because its the best! I had a great time back home visiting with my friends and family. Food, friends, and family. Throw in some great weather and California sunshine and you have the makings for a perfect vacation. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lockeland Table

The restaurant scene in Nashville seems to get larger every month. New restaurants are have been opening all over the city, especially in East Nashville. For our anniversary last week we decided to head over to the newly opened Lockeland Table to check it out. A week before I was trying to decide on which restaurant we should go to for this occasion and when I came across the menu for Lockeland Table I knew that my search was over. Everything on this menu sounded amazing! So Will called them up to make the reservations. And good thing we did. Lockeland table has a small dining area, and it was packed when we got there. Nearly half of the restaurant is the bar area and there is even a pizza bar in the back of the dining area. Mason jars line the open shelves that separate the dining room and the bar. They are filled with pickles and jams which speak to the local, homemade feel of the restaurant. Will always makes fun of me for this, but I really love when restaurants use dish cloths as napkins. So homey and rustic. 

We decided to skip appetizers this time so we could save room for dessert. Next time I am definitely getting appetizers. I was trying to decide between the bone-in pork loin or the trout. I went with the pork loin. This may sounds strange to some people, but I know that many will agree. Sides and condiments are usually my favorite part of the meal. So when a dish comes with mac and cheese, braised greens, onion jam, and pickled mustard seeds, I know exactly what I am going to get. One word: fantastic. The pork was flavorful and made even more so by the sweet and tangy condiments. The mac and cheese was smokey and creamy and went amazingly with the greens, which were the perfect tenderness and great balance of flavors. Will had the steak frites with a perfectly cooked steak. I have to mention something about the fries. While they were not the level of crispiness that I usually prefer, they were some of the best tasting fried I have ever had. I have no idea what they were fried in, but wow. We ended the meal with deliciously fried ricotta doughnuts filled with jam. Yum!

So anyone looking for a great new restaurant in Nashville really needs to try Lockeland Table. I know we'll be back really soon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Hello everyone who reads my blog. Sorry I have been an absentee poster lately. I haven't been too particularly busy or anything, things just seem to rush by in the evening and I haven't been too motivated to try too many new recipes. But I promise that this will change! I know how pathetic this sounds, but Summer is my least inspiring foodie season. I know, all that fresh beautiful produce and I can't find inspiration? What's wrong with me? Well, living in Nashville in the hot and humid summers doesn't exactly having me rushing to crank up the oven. I also love cooking really homey comfort foods from around the world, and those too aren't ideal when its 100 degrees outside. 

But enough excuses. Autumn is approaching and I can already feel the urge to rush into the kitchen and bake a thousand apple pies. Ok, maybe not a thousand. But I am planning on baking a lot this season. I'll also be cooking a lot more and finding new inspirations and recipes to share with all of you. I'm off to visit my family in California next week and after that I'll be posting more. Sharing my culinary adventures and hearing about others adventures is one of my favorite things to do. I'll leave you with some photos of recent baking projects. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog! You inspire me!

Brunch: featuring Almond Puff Loaf, Herb Frittata, and Kanelbullar 

Birthday Cake for 3 great friends 

Mustache cookie-on-a-stick modeled by the beautiful Molly