Share Our Strength Food Blogger Bake Sale


Saturday’s bake sale was a success! The delicious cakes, breads, cookies, brittles/candy, and cupcakes raised $700.  I had the best time meeting other L.A bloggers, and feel such a kinship with these ladies and gentlemen.

Here are a few photos of beautifully packaged and very tasty baked goods made by my fellow bloggers:

I made chocolate cookie sandwiches with vanilla buttercream. I am on such a chocolate kick this month, and couldn’t resist making a chocolate cookie. This is a cross between an Oreo cookie and chocolate cake with vanilla icing.  The cookie stays chewy and the filling stays gooey long after baking, making these very easy to eat.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (for the cookies):

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup Valrhona unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ lb Valrhona 70 % dark chocolate
  • ½ lb milk chocolate (highest quality you can find)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (a hand mixer works fine too), cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping after each addition, then add the vanilla and mix.
  5. On low speed, add the cocoa/flour mixture and mix until combined.  Do not over mix.  You don’t want tough cookies.
  6. Fold in the chocolate, and stir to combine.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, form the dough into medium sized balls.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Ingredients (for the filling):

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar (depending on how sweet you want the filling), sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Cream the butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
2.  Add the vanilla, salt, and sugar and beat on medium/high speed until shiny and doubled in size.
3.  Once the cookies are cool, spread the filling evenly over one cookie, and sandwich with another cookie.
4. Eat the cookie sandwich. Then eat another. And another.

Pizza two ways

Hope my pizzas inspire you to make and share your own.  These are two of my favorites.

Haley’s favorite pizza number one:

Italian pork sausage, ricotta cheese, and fennel pizza

Italian pork sausage, ricotta cheese, and fennel pizza

Ingredients:
Pizza dough
2 hot Italian pork sausage links, casings removed
6 to 8 oz ricotta cheese (I used homemade because I am obsessed with making it, therefore I had it in my fridge), drained of its liquid
1/4- 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you have it)
1 28 oz can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes (you’ll be using this can for pizza number two as well), pureed in a food processor or blender
Extra virgin olive oil (highest quality as possible)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
*Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
*Roll out, or gently stretch out your pizza dough, then proceed to decorate your pizza.  You may use a sheet tray to bake your pizza, or if you have it, a pizza stone.
*Drizzle olive oil over the dough, then spread the sauce.
*Drop little bits of sausage and ricotta cheese all over the pizza, then evenly distribute the fennel.
*Top the pizza with a bit of cracked black pepper, and maybe a sprinkling of salt.
*Bake the pizza for 7 to 10 minutes until golden.
*Slice the pizza and serve hot or at room temperature.  I always burn my mouth taking the first bite because I don’t have the patience to let it cool.

Haley’s favorite pizza number two:

Anchovy, shallot, and basil pizza

Anchovy, shallot, and basil pizza

Ingredients:
Pizza dough
8-10 anchovy fillets (highest quality you can find)
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced (mandoline recommended)
1 handful of fresh basil
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes, pureed
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
*Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
*Roll out, or gently stretch out your pizza dough, then proceed to decorate your pizza.  You may use a sheet tray to bake your pizza, or if you have it, a pizza stone.
*Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the dough.
*Drizzle olive oil over the dough, then spread the sauce.
*Lay anchovy fillets evenly over the surface of the pizza.
*Now place the shallots evenly over the pizza.
*Drizzle the top with a bit more olive oil, and bake for 7 to ten minutes.
*Before serving, tear basil leaves over the pizza and slice. Eat up! The anchovies will melt in your mouth. So delicious.

Real Raw Live

This place is fantastic!  Walked to Real Raw Live this morning, and treated myself to such a delicious drink called “Forever Green.”  I was told this combination of juice energizes, builds immunity and soothes nerves: Green Leaf, Celery, Coriander, Green Apple and Lime.  So refreshing.  I can’t wait to go back and try their smoothies. Maybe a juice cleanse is in my future.

A Moveable Feast

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast

Blake and I walked to La Poubelle last night for oysters and drinks.


I needed some french fries. These were truffled and very tasty.

I ate everything, washed it down with cold white wine, and was very happy “and began to make plans.”

Chocolate pudding pie

Alright everyone. Its not a secret how much I love chocolate pudding. And in pie form with whipped cream? Forget about it. Treat yourself and your loved ones to this luscious chocolate pie as soon as possible. It’s kind of life changing. Or at the very least, bad day changing.

A little note:  The pudding and the crust can be made separately, a day or two ahead, and then assembled when you are ready to serve.

Ingredients for the pie crust (yields 2 pie bottoms):
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable shortening, cold
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into little cubes
¼ cup to ½ cup ice water

 Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
  • Add the shortening and cold butter to the flour, and crumble the mixture with your fingers (or a pastry cutter) until it looks like coarse sand.
  • Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together.
  • Form a dough ball, then immediately stop touching the dough so it doesn’t get over worked.
  • Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic.
  • After wrapping in plastic, flatten each ball a bit.  It’ll be easier to roll out later if it’s shaped like a slightly flattened disc.
  • Chill the discs of dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Grease a nine-inch pie pan and set aside.
  • Once the dough has rested in the fridge for 30 minutes, take out one of the discs to roll out.  sAve the other disc for a rainy day when you need pie crust.  You can freeze it too!
  • Sprinkle a little flour on a piece of parchment paper, and set the dough on top.
  • Now sprinkle a little more flour on the disc, and place a second piece of parchment paper on top.
  • Between the two pieces of parchment, roll out the dough into an 11-inch circle to fill the bottom and sides of the 9-inch pan.
  • Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment, and invert the dough into the pie pan, peeling off the other layer of parchment.  Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill before baking.

Directions for the crust baking:

  • Now we’re going to blind bake the crust.
  • Tear a piece of foil or plastic wrap large enough to fill the bottom of the pie.  Press it down to shape the pie, and fill it with beans to weigh down the crust.
  • Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees, until golden brown.
  • Remove the beans,and set aside.

Ingredients for the pudding (fills one 9 inch pie):
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tblsp cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I love Valrhona)
1 tblsp plus 1 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
8 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona, again, is my favorite), finely chopped
1 tblsp butter
3 tsp vanilla

Directions for the pudding:

  • In a heavy bottomed pot with the burner off, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.
  • Now add the milk and egg yolks and whisk together with the dry ingredients.
  • Turn the burner on medium, and continually whisk the pudding mixture, alternating between a whisk and a spatula to scrape the sides and prevent curdling.
  • Cook until the mixture looks like pudding and thickens (about 10-12 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, and stir in the chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla.
  • Spoon the filling into the baked pie shell, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold.
  • When you are ready to serve, top the pie with freshly whipped cream and if you’d like, shave a little chocolate on top. Devour!

Moroccan spiced cauliflower

This is my new favorite way to roast cauliflower. I was craving a little heat, and the smokey warmth from the cumin and coriander really did the trick! I served it alongside the fig and olive pork tenderloin and couscous, and had a very happy evening.

Cauliflower
Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1-2 tsp ground tumeric (depending on the size of cauliflower head)
1-2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin (Cumin is very strong, so make sure to taste as you go.  Add more if you like)
The juice of one lemon
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Cut the cauliflower into florets.
*Spread the cauliflower onto a large sheet tray.
*Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower.
*Now add the your spices. I like to measure them in my palm before adding them to the vegetables.
*Sprinkle the cauliflower with the spice blend and salt and pepper, and using your hands, mix everything together, spreading out the cauliflower evenly on the tray.
*Roast the vegetables for approximately 20-25 minutes, squeezing the lemon juice on the cauliflower half way through.
*Give the tray a shake, then continue to roast until golden and slightly crispy. Taste for salt.
*Serve immediately with anything you want! I like this with the fig and olive pork, but it’s also great by itself over quinoa or rice.

Blueberry and olive oil muffins with fresh lemon curd


Happy Friday friends! My dad is coming for coffee this morning, so I made blueberry muffins.  Just for fun, I used extra virgin olive oil instead of butter in the batter.  Butter in the batter: say that ten times fast.  Olive oil is great for cakes, so why not muffins, right?  And to make things extra special, I decided to utilize the hundreds of lemons hanging from the tree in my backyard, and make lemon curd.  Lemon curd is one of my favorite condiments (Yes, condiments.  I like to put it on just about everything if I have it around) and it contrasts perfectly with these airy muffins.  I think my dad is going to love them.

Ingredients for the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk (or buttermilk if you have it)
1 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup blueberries (dried or fresh)

Directions for the muffins:
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners.
*In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (plus the sugar)
*In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then add the wet ingredients to the drys.  Do not over mix or your muffins will be tough.
*Gently fold in the blueberries.
*Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray, and bake for 18 minutes until golden.
*Serve with lemon curd (recipe follows).

I used to make lemon curd using a recipe from pastry school, but the following recipe has become my favorite.  Below is Ina Garten’s lemon curd and it is fabulous!  Perfectly tart and perfectly sweet.

Ingredients:
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:
*Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
*Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
*Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

*A little note from me, not Ina:  I like to strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve before refrigerating.