Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake

 One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to babble on about the people who make my world go 'round.  You've met Jill, PamDorien & Kenny, and obviously Allison.  So it's a pretty glaring omission that after all this, not much has been said about the guy I'll be spending forever with.  Without further delay, meet John Francis...

We met in college while working at California Pizza Kitchen.  I thought he was handsome, and he followed me around the restaurant delivering extra ranch dressing to my tables and opening bottles of wine for me.  He kissed me one Friday night after a late shift, I was smitten, and then he ignored my calls for a week.  Then he called me, and I ignored his calls.  But whatever phase of the ridiculous dating dance we found ourselves in, we'd usually end up together in the dive bar across the street from the restaurant, smooching to "Don't Stop Believin'" after eleventy six Miller Lites. 

5 years later, I still think he's handsome, although I've mastered the art of opening my own wine.  We share an obsessive love of Mad Men, Mexican food, and our dogs.  He puts up with my messes (a trail of shoes and dirty laundry follows me around our house), and I put up with his questionable taste in snack foods (atomic jalapeno Cheetos are never ok).  If he's not marathon running, playing exquisite classical guitar, or working on his dissertation, he's charming the little kids in my family, or listening intently while my dad recounts the 1981 NFC playoff game.  And get this:  he does the dishes.  All.  The.  Dishes.

A guy like that comes along once in a lifetime, so his birthday dessert matters.  While I've never seen him turn his nose at any of my baked creations, John Francis is a chocolate-peanut butter man.  And since he's watched me make countless birthday cakes, I knew I wanted to mix it up and surprise him with something special.  Enter the ice cream cake...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

It is so good to be back beautiful readers!  Last week Allison shared a gorgeous post with all the delicious summer food she's been eating.  I thought about doing something similar, but then I remembered that my meals from the last few weeks consist of frozen pizzas, prepackaged salads,and Thai takeout.  Not exactly the stuff that culinary dreams are made of.  John has spent the last 3 1/2 weeks working in Chicago, and what I've learned is that I don't cook well without an audience.  When it's just me, a giant bowl of chips and salsa and a glass of red wine does the trick.       

The good news is that John is back on California soil, and I found a new frosting I'm crazy about.  I'm feeling like myself again, and really excited to bring you a great cupcake.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hamburger Buns

Hey there! My goodness but its been a while since I've been around these parts. I've missed writing and sharing and all that other blogging goodness, but it seems that summer has a way of sweeping you up in its arms and not letting go. What is it about the days of summer? At moments they appear stretched out as long as the eye can see, but then in a blink of that same eye they're gone.

I had such a fun, busy, relaxed yet productive summer that I am bummed not to have shared more of it with you all. Much of the summer has, of course, revolved around food. There have been BBQ's, Fair's where I consumed my yearly quota of fried food, lots of hummus and falafel at this gem, and even a trip to the Reno Rib Fest where I embarrassingly managed to not consume a single rib, but did stuff my face with an embarrassing amount of pulled pork.

Much of my food experience has revolved around summer produce as I have become a bit obsessed with canning over the past few months, and as such, most of my free time has been spent preserving those fleeting fruits and vegetables of summer. It has been an extremely fun and rewarding hobby that has made me appreciate the food that we cook for ourselves even more. If you will indulge me, I hope to share some of that canning joy (and some of the trials and tribulations as well) with you soon.

In the meantime, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite produce of the summer season, and a few of the things I've been making with them, along with a Hamburger Bun recipe that changed all future hamburger experiences for me.
Being a very food oriented person, I tend to associate the changing season with the foods that go along with them. I particularly experience this association with fresh produce. As soon as a fruit or vegetable comes in to season it triggers a changing of the guard for me. I love the way that pumpkins scream fall, that the taste of fresh peas make me feel like it's spring, and that there's nothing else like a ripe heirloom tomato that's picked at the height of the hottest time of year. And those strawberries above, eaten at their peak of ripeness in May, tasted like the promise of summer. With every weekly trip to the Farmer's Market comes a sense of excitement of what newly ripened item may have blossomed in the short time between my last visit. Here's where some of that excitement led me this past summer:
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