The Broken Bread

Herbed Focaccia

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Oh sweet focaccia! You truly are a bread after my own heart. Not only can you be topped with an array of fresh produce, but you taste equally delicious when sprinkled with a bit of fresh herbs and salt. Either way, you are by far one of my favorite breads to eat, and now, make. Focaccia has actually been on my list of breads to make for quite some time now, but I promised myself that if I ever made this bread, that I would only use authentic Italian 00 flour and olive oil. Now thanks to Hamptons Lane, I have finally been able to make a delicious and authentic focaccia bread, using ingredients from a box filled with imported Italian goodies.

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If you haven’t heard of Hamptons Lane yet, they are a wonderful company that curates exceptional products from around the world and ships them straight to your home. They offer various pre-boxed collections that you can choose from, and no surprise here, I choose the Coastal Italy Box the moment I saw it. This box was filled with imported Italian flour, olive oil, pasta, essence of anchovy, and $25 towards a bottle of wine. Basically, this box gave me everything I needed to make the focaccia bread of my dreams.

I especially enjoyed this box because it gave me a theme to work with, which resulted in John and I having a very nice “ode to Italy” meal. Surprisingly, this box inspired me to try and recreate more meals that John and I have enjoyed during our past trips. The only thing about doing that is now I have to hunt down quite a few special ingredients. But for now, I am thankful that Hamptons Lane was able to do the work for me.

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And speaking of inspiration, I wanted to share with you some amazing links that I came across this week. I am constantly inspired by these wonderful women who’s blogs are always jammed packed with pure beauty!

So while you are getting your fill of visual beauty this week make sure to spend time…

looking through the most stunning images that one can always find on Manger

or perhaps just staring at this BEAUTIFUL funfetti cake, that Molly, from mynameisyeh just made

enjoying the reminder that going gluten free cannot be a bad choice, I mean just check out these Buck Wheat Pancakes that Kathyrn from London Bakes made,

also, this Chai Tea Ice Box Cake cannot be missed, by Melissa from the Faux Martha

I just have one word for you MOONCAKES from Two Red Bowls, go there….now :)

 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

For the recipe, Read more here »

The Greenleaf

Okay friends, here is the second half of my collaboration with Tiffany from offbeat + inspired. Today we are sharing two delicious drink recipes infused with some delicious wildcrafted tea from Juniper Ridge.

When trying to name this drink, I had a vision of me taking my first sip, and immediately blurting out some sexy name for it; well that didn’t happen, not even after finishing the drink. Hey, taste testing is the best part anyway, right? In a nutshell this drink was created to celebrate the ever-so lovely combination of mint and bourbon, a combination that is utterly delightful. Juniper Ridge has a wild mint tea that also has white sage in it, which give the tea this earthy edge that I really love. The tea comes in packets, but cut them open and you will find the most fragrant green leaves that smell as if they had just been picked; and so I ended up calling this drink the Greenleaf, a sweet little homage to the main ingredient in this tasty drink. On a side note, I also live on a street called Greenleaf, so let’s just say that it was meant to be.

This drink is so refreshing and would be perfect for all those bourbon lovers out there. The tea is sweetened with a homemade strawberry simple syrup which is great to have in the fridge, especially if you crave Italian cream sodas as often as I do. I also added a splash of lemonade, which I love because it give a little extra hit of flavor that works so well with the mint and strawberry. This drink is easy to make, and even easier to drink, so go celebrate that last days of summer with this sweet drink in hand.

Now, Tiffany, at Offbeat + Inspired created a drink that I am probably going to make tonight: a chocolatey, minty glass of bourbon goodness. You must head over to her site right now so you can watch her dreamy video, and drool over her inspiring photography.

Song by Richard Swift

For the Recipe, Read more here »

Sage & Mint Chocolate Mousse

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As I write this post, I am still in disbelief that I was able to collaborate on this project with the insanely talented blogger, Tiffany Mitchell from offbeat + inspired. Her photography is absolutely stunning. The images she is able to capture are so lovely, that I often wish that I were galavanting around town with her. Oh, and her instagram feed? It’s basically perfect. For all these reasons and more I am so happy to share with you some delicious tea-infused recipes that Tiffany and I created using Juniper Ridge wild crafted tea.

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If you haven’t heard of Juniper Ridge, I highly recommend you check out their site. They are the world’s only wild fragrance company. Their fragrances and teas are made from all natural ingredients cultivated on their trecks through the backcountry, making each bottle of their cologne, soap, or tea smell as if you just stepped foot into a lush, fragrant forest. I especially love their white sage and wild mint tea; its earthy, minty flavor is delightful to enjoy either hot or cold.

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As I was thinking about how to use this tea in a dessert, I wanted to make sure that I created a recipe that would let the flavors of the tea shine. Then, as I was doing a little research, I found an incredible recipe for chocolate mousse on Food52 that only used 2 ingredients: chocolate and water. Seriously, chocolate and water? I was a bit skeptical at first, but after my first batch I immediately ate my words. I decided to replace the water with tea, and added only a bit of kosher salt. I topped off this dessert with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and a little crushed toffee bar to give the mousse a little crunch. What I ended up with was a delicate, ethereally smooth mousse. Each bite was a light and fluffy spoonful of whipped chocolatey and minty goodness, accented with bits of earthy sage.

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There are many ways to use this particular flavor of tea, and Tiffany can prove this with her recipe for a whipped-sweetened butter, infused with wildcrafted tea. Sounds amazing right? Head over to Tiffany’s site to check out her recipe.

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Be sure to check back tomorrow, because Tiffany and I will be sharing short videos we created using this tea in a delicious cocktail that I am sure you will love!

Wishing you all a safe and happy Labor Day!

For the Recipe, Read more here »

Orange Blossom Zucchini Bread

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So I was speaking to my father the other day about a new recipe I wanted to make with a special ingredient, the enchanting orange blossom water. I soon found that just the mere mention of oranges threw him into a pit of laughter as he recalled the “good old days.” See, my father has lived in the same house since he was 15 years old, and over the course of 50 years he has seen a great deal of change in his city. He spoke of how the orange groves used to go on for acres and acres around this town, and shared some stories from his younger years (mostly the mischievous ones), like when he and his friends used to throw oranges at cars passing by just to pass the time (don’t worry, they crushed the oranges first!). His face lit up reminiscing about his past times, and we had a great afternoon of laughter together.

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Well, after this conversation I went home to experiment, and decided to make an orange blossom zucchini bread. It ended up being delicious, while not being too greasy at all (I really don’t enjoy breads that leave grease on your hands, they make me feel guilty). I love the combination of the fragrant orange blossom water with the zucchini, and the burst of chocolate chips completes the bread in a beautiful way. I also added a light cream cheese glaze that gives this bread a little extra depth of flavor. This bread is incredibly easy to make, and is a great way to use up that summer zucchini.

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For this recipe I used a new brand of unrefined sugar called Zulka. I have been using it recently and I am hooked. This is a family run company that provides an excellent product, plus their sugar is vegan which means they don’t use bone char for refinement, yay! So if you need some sugar I highly suggest you head over to their website and give them a try.

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This was my first time using orange blossom water, so let me pass along this little nuggets of wisdom and say that a little goes a long way. This blossom water is wonderfully fragrant, and would surely be an excellent addition to many recipes. Enjoy!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Whipped Mascarpone & Fig Pie

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As many of you know I am slightly obsessed with figs, and since they are in season I am trying to use them as much as I can; thus I give you a delicious pie recipe filled to the brim with fresh figs!  I am a huge fan of pies, but what I love most about them is their versatility. From savory to sweet, or fresh fruit to baked, a pie is a great way to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer.

This pie is a combination of all things I love, from butter to honey, with a bit of cinnamon. Inside the pie is a airy, whipped mascarpone and vanilla bean filling, topped with freshly sliced figs, and a delicate honey glaze. This pie is so versatile, so feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand, be it peaches, plums, or even fresh berries; the options are endless.

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 The recipe for this pie can be found at, Go bold with Butter, a place where using real butter is proven to be the way to make baked goods taste their best. Head over to their site for the full recipe.

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Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Birthday Cake

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Last week my brother and I were brainstorming about what kind of cake he wanted for his 12th birthday. It was yet another hot afternoon, and we were sipping on something cool as I jotted down all of his ideas. After I having gone through a few ideas he quickly blurted out, “Wait, why don’t you just make my cake? To be honest I really like yours better anyway.” My heart practically exploded because I knew that he had been dreaming about a cake decorated with vibrant characters from his favorite movie. I made sure to properly warm him that I couldn’t make an epic cake like he had been dreaming about, like a Lego castle with a river running through it and a spaceship coming in for a landing, but to that he quickly said “eh , I don’t care about that, I just want it to taste good.” Oh, my sweet baby boy is growing up.  After I agreed to make his cake, we instantly started talking about flavors, and in the end he decided that he wanted a classic chocolate cake, filled with chocolate and frosted with chocolate; that’s a boy after my own heart.

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As requested I made my brother a two layer chocolate cake filled with a whipped white chocolate ganache & freshly sliced strawberries (for health, of course). A thick layer of whipped chocolate ganache completed a wonderful cake. I ended up using the Barefoot Contessa’s chocolate cake recipe because not only is her cake light and moist, but it truly is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made. Now, I really do adore many of her recipes, but she typically calls for XL eggs, which is a pity because I never have them at hand. On this particular occasion I only had large eggs and wasn’t all to eager to make another trip to the store. Thankfully after a little time spent on the internet, I found a great egg 101 on Joy the Baker, in which she gives you the weight difference between large eggs and extra large eggs. This bit of info was so helpful because I was able to weigh my eggs, ensuring that just the right amount would be added to my batter. Joy, you were a life saver.

Once the day finally came and we lit the candles on the cake, the sight my brother’s joyful face was simply enough for me to shed mini tears of happiness. This is one of the reasons that I adore baking so much, because it is not only an insanely enjoyable process, but because seeing the faces of my family and friends enjoying what I made for them gives me an overwhelming sense of joy and community. Thankfully, the birthday party and the accompanying cake was an absolute success. My sweet brother had the time of his life, and when it came to the cake, he told me that I can make “all of his birthday cakes from now on,” which to me was a relief to hear because I quite frankly never want him to grow up. So for now, I will continue to make him his birthdays cakes until he tells me to stop.

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I ended up making way too much frosting so I listed a recipe for one serving of each. I would say that making 1 1/2 servings of the chocolate frosting would be sufficient, while making only 1/2 of the listed white chocolate ganache filling would be enough. If you are making this cake, I promise you that nothing but smiles and empty plates will be return to you. I hope that you had a lovely weekend!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Blackberry Lemon Cake

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Last weekend we were lucky enough to have some of our dear friends from Seattle visit for a few days. We tried to show them as much of Southern California as we could, making sure to take them to our favorite places to visit, which basically means we ate a TON of great food. It was so good to enjoy California like a tourist for the weekend, filled with hanging out on the beach, enjoying a midday beer on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, or watching a rich and colorful sunset. It really couldn’t have been more perfect. I am so thankful that our friends visited because we not only got to hang with some of our favorite people, but I was also given a sweet reminder to constantly look at my surroundings with fresh eyes. Because it’s simply all too easy in California to become jaded and forget the true beauty of something like a trip to the beach.

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Last month, I fell in love with a recipe for a raspberry lemon cake that I saw in my July issue of Bon Appetit. I ended up adapting it because I have been wanting to experiment with oat flour for a while and thought that this would be a great place to start. I was a little concerned that using oat flour would make a weak batter, which might cause all the blackberries to sink to the bottom of the cake. Thankfully, after a bit of experimentation I found that the berries didn’t sink, and so I mixed some of them into the batter and sprinkled the rest on top.

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Like I said, not having much experience with oat flour I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this cake thankfully turned out to be beautiful! It was very moist, with a hearty, pleasing texture. The spelt and oat flour that I used lent such an earthy flavor to this cake which was perfectly complimented by bursts of fresh blackberries and a hint of lemon. Oh, I wish I had another slice of it right now.

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The original cake is glazed with a lemon simple syrup, but I just decided to use a blend of lemon juice and powdered sugar to coat the cake. I personally enjoyed the cake both with and without the glaze, so feel free to leave it out if you like. I hope you can enjoy this cake before summer is over, because we only have a few weeks of it left!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Spicy Leek & Corn Scramble

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I needed to bake something the other day and despite the fact that is was 90 degrees outside, I thought, “it can’t get much hotter if I bake now, right?” Boy, was I wrong. What the heck was I thinking? I knew that cranking my oven up to 400 F would be rough, but then reality hit, and I was sweating my face off before the oven was fully warmed up. That whole experience was a bit frustrating, but also really funny. At least I learned my lesson: never bake in the middle of an extremely hot day, simple enough. After that fiasco, I thought it would be fun to share with you a savory breakfast recipe that does not require you to touch your stove, or require you to be in the kitchen for more than 15 minutes.

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So, despite what some of you may think, I promise I eat more than heaps of baked goods, and other sweet treats. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sweets, but everything in moderation, right? I crave vegetables daily, and as of late I am obsessed with eating bowls filled with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, celery, basil, and a splash of oil and balsamic vinegar. It is so simple, but tastes SO GOOD!!

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For today’s recipe, I made a delicious, herby scramble that totally satisfied my need for some greens in my breakfast. I really love this dish because it is filled with so much summery goodness. The leeks and corn lend so much flavor to this scramble. And don’t even get me started on how delicious those chipotle peppers are. So smokey and spicy; this dish was made to be eaten in the summer time.

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Hope that you are having a lovely week and staying cool during this beautiful weather!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Caramelized Figs & Yogurt

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.”

Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

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For some reason I find figs to be an especially romantic fruit. From their delicate tear drop shape, to their ever-so-soft interior, this fruit is by far one of my favorite to behold. Even though I do not live in the Mediterranean, like Elizabeth I have a similar affinity for freshly picked figs. Upon reading her short quote I felt like I found something to which we could both relate, because that is one of the great things that food can accomplish: it can bring people together and connect those who are seemingly separated.

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My mother has a few fig trees in her backyard that have been teasing me ever since I noticed that their branches were filled with tiny figs. I will admit that I am a touch impatient, but I am just so excited to begin cooking with them. I think that I might be especially fig crazy since fig trees are literally everywhere in California. Apparently California produces 98% of the nations fig supplies, which means that I will be consuming a lot of them in the next few weeks, but I am more than okay with that.

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I recently decided to spice up my current breakfast options, so I thought that caramelizing my figs would be a be a great way to boost their natural flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating them in their natural state, but there is something about cooked figs with a bit of sugar that I couldn’t say “no” to.  I made sure not to add a lot of sugar because I didn’t want to end up with a batch a  of syrupy figs. Instead, I only added just enough to lightly caramelize them, resulting in a perfect companion for a lonely bowl of yogurt.

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After I devoured a bowl filled with these dreamy figs, I found myself convinced that they would taste great on top of some warm oatmeal, or maybe over some chocolate ice cream. I am pretty sure one of those options will become a reality for me quite soon. Let me know if  you choose to go down that road.

I hope that you all are enjoying fig season as much as I am!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Peach & Vanilla Bean float

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Last week I was able to attend an amazing blogging conference in Salt Lake City called Alt Summit. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but being that I was blessed with a free ticket, I wanted to make sure that I took full advantage of this incredible opportunity. This conference was truly a place of inspiration, for it was filled with so many people whom all shared a love for creating, crafting, styling, and cooking. Everyone I met had a deep desire to improve their blog and wanted to learn how to continually connect with their readers in an authentic way. This conference provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I am forever grateful for. I came to this conference alone, and left with new friends from all over the world. Many of them have recently posted lovely recaps on their recent trip to Alt Summit, so if you are thinking about going, I highly suggest you head over to their site and say hello. Here are just a few you should check out : Ourstylestories.comAnniereeves.com, and S&S Heart.

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Now after that short recap, how excited is everyone that summer has officially arrived?! I realize that it has felt like summer for a while now, and although the weather hasn’t changed much, my state of mind sure has. Lately, all I can think about are bbq’s, ice tea, summer produce, and late summer nights. I really do love this time of year! I adore how the sun rises early, and each time it sets, the sun dazzles us with a multicolored show as it slowly dips below the horizon.

During this time of year, I find myself drinking a lot more “summer time” appropriate beverages. There are so many options that to choose from in order to quench ones thirst on a hot day. But, what do you do when you have a craving for a sweet drink? Sure, an iced coffee sounds great, but why not make a delicious ice cream float filled with some of summer’s finest produce. If you were anything like me as a kid, then the mere mention of a root beer float was enough to make you jump up and down, so naturally making this drink brought back many fond memories for me as a child, so I hope it does the same for you too. So, a float is exactly what I made. I had an excessive amount of peaches in our home, and  bucket of ice cream that was begging to be used. So I stopped by the store to pick up some Dry Vanilla Bean Soda and ended up making a drink that perfectly satisfied my sweet tooth. I really loved the combination of all these ingredients, for they created a perfectly refreshing drink, that ended being just what I needed for a summer night spent on our patio.

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There are a variety of fruits that you can use for this drink, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Also, I am sure it would be fun to play around with different ice cream flavors too. Make this drink your own and enjoy during one of these lovely summer nights

For the recipe, Read more here »