The Broken Bread

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 »

Plum & Cardamom Crisp

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Living in California has been amazing. The weather is hot and sunny, my legs are getting tan, and our local farmer’s market is only a 10 minute walk from our house. Back in Seattle, I loved visiting various farmers’ markets, so it is nice to find a local one where I can continue the routine. I often head over to the market fairly early, prepped with my basket and a cup of coffee, eager to see what each season brings. Just seeing all of the vibrant fruits and vegetables is enough to bring a smile to my face. I enjoy taking my time, talking to the farmers, and learning about new ingredients that I have yet to work with.

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While on this trip, I saw a mountain of stone fruit that I found hard to walk away from. Samples of each fruit were laid out including nectarines, peaches, and my favorite, plums! The one I tasted was very juicy and delightfully warmed by the summer sun.

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I love stone fruit so much, not simply for their various flavors but also for their versatility. And since I have had a hankering for a true summer dessert, I decided to use them and make a plum crisp. I love this recipe because the fruit is the main focus. A buttery, cardamom crisp topping, baked over fresh plums, sweetened with a bit of brown sugar. Oh my friends, this is summer baked into a jar! I thought it would be fun to bake this into individual jars, which makes it even easier to serve.

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Now, this crisp is quite delicious on its own, but it is best when accompanied by a hearty scoop of ice cream. I prefer to make my own, but that’s not always very practical. When I lived in Seattle, I came across Snoqualmie Ice Cream, and after one pint I was sold. This company truly cares about their product, which is evident from their use of local ingredients and their belief in sustainability. I also learned that they own a mini-farm where they produce their own eggs and lavender which are they use for their ice cream. So, if you are looking for an ice cream that is pure and made from only the best ingredients, then I highly suggest you try out this brand.

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The official start of Summer is only a few days away now, so I encourage you to go out and enjoy all of the produce that comes around during this time of the year. You never know what sort of ideas and inspirations it might give you!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Blueberry Cupcakes

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Friends, I meant to share this with you last week, but better late than never, right? Last week I attended Saveur’s Best Food Blogger of the year awards. It was a beautiful two day celebration for both the winners and nominees. For the second year in a row this event was hosted at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, and the whole celebration was a whirlwind of events, from cocktail parties to behind the scenes tours at the hotel. As I write this post I am in disbelief that I was actually there, or nominated for that matter, which is an honor that I am so thankful to have received. And it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for you, my dear readers and friends. So thanks again to Saveur for actually selecting my blog, and to everyone else who has supported me and my passion for seasonal baking.

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Now let’s talk about these blueberry cupcakes. I know that I have used blueberries quite a bit lately, but they are at every farmer’s market, and I can’t stop myself from buying them. I like to think that I am giving you a lot of sweet ideas if you are looking for new ways to use these berries just in case you have an obsession for them like I do.

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I have been meaning to make this amazing yellow cake recipe that I found on the Smitten Kitchen for a while now, and I thought that this would be a great way to use my fresh berries. I was also craving cupcakes at the time, so this was a win-win situation for me.

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I was especially excited to bake because I have been wanting to test out some new baking mitts that I received from Artek’s ABC collection. Their pattern was designed by Alvar Aalto, originally for fabrics in 1954, but has been adapted for some small products now available on their website. They have a great selection of colors, of which I liked blue the best. I really enjoyed using their mitts, and their adorable tray is perfect for serving small items. So if you are in the market for a few kitchen items, I suggest you head over to their site.

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Deb’s cupcakes are fantastic and I really do love her recipe. I only made a few small changes to it, and what I ended up with was just simply delicious. Delicate cupcakes, filled with blueberries, and frosted with a fresh blueberry frosting. Yea, these didn’t last too long, which is a good thing right?

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Hope that you are enjoying the first signs as summer as much I am. I am so excited to experiment with all of my favorite fruits that only come around during the summer.

For the recipe, Read more here »

Spelt Pancakes With Blueberry Compote

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We finally moved into our new apartment! Just the ability to utter those words feels so good. After being displaced for quite sometime, it feels amazing to have a space that John and I can officially call “home”. During this time of transition I was reminded of how many things I tend to take for granted. I am so grateful that this move was able to reminded me to be in a state of constant thankfulness for everything we have. We are still slowly getting settled in, but with this refreshed mindset we are make sure to soak up every moment as we set up our new home.

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For some reason I got up especially early today, and went straight to the kitchen. I couldn’t sleep, I guess the excitement of cooking in our new kitchen drew me out of bed. We currently only have a few odds & ends in our refrigerator, but thankfully I had all the right ingredients to make pancakes. It was kind of perfect, because I couldn’t imagine a better thing to make as we celebrated our first proper meal in our new place. So after a bit of familiarizing myself in this foreign space, I was off and cooking. Within a few minutes our place began to smell like butter, and cinnamon. Oh, just the smell alone made me leap with excitement.

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These pancakes are light and fluffy, and since I used spelt flour, they possessed a flavor profile that was both slightly sweet, and nutty. I ended making large pancakes, because we were starving, but you can always reduce the size of the pancake just incase you want to serve more people. Although, if you have the appetite of a 13 year old like we did on that day, than I say stick to the recipe below.

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I wish you all a wonderful week!

For the recipe, Read more here »