If you don’t like candy canes, I don’t blame you. However, I think that their prevalence in the Christmas days has certainly conjured up a desire to have something “minty” this season. And while the lush in me would absolutely have posted a peppermint schnapps hot cocoa recipe, well, that’s not exciting or innovative. So, I figured I’d make one of my favorite cupcake bases and turn it into something beautifully holiday-esque. That way, you have a superb cake recipe, and then can get all festive if you want to do the full monty, like I did.
I was inspired to make the mini cakes a bit colorful after receiving a fresh pomegranate from my dad’s wife in Northern California. Apparently they had unearthed a little pomegranate plant (? don’t know how you do that, but it was hidden) and that’s amazing because pomegranates are not only delicious, but they’re also expensive so having those mysteriously show up is fabulous. The seeds are delicious and provide such a fantastic crunch when used in cakes. I’d never really seen it done but instead of using food coloring or artificial flavors to create a candy cane coloring I figured, let’s use what we have.
Places that change your life are like lovers. When a connection is first discovered, the following infatuation becomes almost addictive. Dopamine surges and it can become, for the moment, the only thing you want to experience forever. Paris was zero exception to this: it was my first city romance — the second we met I know there was something I could not deny.
But, as with many lovers, that initial infatuation inevitably morphs, how you subconsciously knew it would in the beginning but didn’t want to remove that rose-like curtain because you know the trip will be worth it one way or the other.
Paris was love at first sight, and a 4-year total richness that continues to impact my life in the way I visualize the world to the way I cook to the way I even speak. There’s always a thread of French shadowing every English word I speak or write.
Hello! Well, this has been a long time since you’ve received something in your inbox from your friendly allergy-free chef and I’m happy to say we’re back in action. These past few months have been exceptional and full of travels and finishing an album and filming music videos… so culmination of all the above left me with little time to actually put together the many many inspirations I’ve had lately. But now it’s starting. With a little musing from my trip to Tokyo.
Tokyo is a fascinating place. Of course upon return to California I cannot tell you how many times I was, and rightfully so, asked how I “liked” Tokyo. Well, I liked it a lot, but it was not at all what I was expecting it to be!
One of the best things about the place, for me, was the food. This is probably a typical thing for me to think, as I am frequently ruled by my belly, but in a very very specific and phenomenal way I was feeling complete food tourism this time. Their flavors are so refined, simple, yet contagiously different from Western ones. Everything, from simple cooked eggs to cheesecakes, tasted, just “Japanese”. Since I do have a formally trained palate now at this point, it was fascinating to pick up pourquoi. And a lot of the savory flavors came from, well, dried seafood.
I have really good news: I’m leaving for 2 weeks to Tokyo in a few days for a very very late honeymoon. Years later, guess we’re both super procrastinators, match made in heaven.
So is this. (Like that segueway? Yeah you do.) Quinoa and a creamy béchamel sauce — aka macaroni and cheese without the macaroni — is one of my go-to dishes when I want to make something that’s delicious, lighter than its traditional version, and kinda-surprising but not scary. I mean, what’s not to love: it’s cheese sauce with quinoa. Twice cooked. That’s… that’s just nice.
The nutmeg in this really makes the dish to me: it adds a super comfort food sweetness that is hard to replace with other spices. Of course real cheese does taste more “accurate” (and for those who love cheese, you get me when I say “better”) but it’s actually really good with a vegan cheese substitute if that’s your style, because the quinoa itself is already so moist this dish is naturally just gooey. And crispy on top. Oh my I just got hungry again. Read more
When life gives you tangerines, well… I mean that’s not really so bitter as life giving you lemons, but when it’s this many tangerines, you’ve gotta do something with it! So, you see, I’m now mother of a beautiful, ridiculously fertile tangerine tree in my backyard. It’s boreth many fruit.
And now I’m literally climbing in the tree every morning with an attempt to eat/do something with its really really sweet gifts and it’s just too much for me + my, like, 5 friends to eat raw.
OK, I have more than 5 friends, but we’re all super busy. Apparently too busy to eat tangerines off of my tree every day. So I wanted to find a way to preserve them, and this is a recipe I’ve been wanting to share with you guys for a long time now! Back-to-my-days-in-France long time! Read more