The Professor’s Party (Or Albus and I Threw a Halloween Party)

Professor Albus Dumbledore and I threw a Halloween party yesterday.

He even had a friend of his own in attendance.

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Miss Olive Piggie made an appearance.

She stayed in her costume a lot longer than Albus, however.

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This photo was taken about 15 seconds later.

There were many failed attempts to put the costume back on him. We even tried bribery with beef sticks to get him to hold still, but it was all in vain.

He just didn’t want to be a shark.

Despite my failure to dress my dog in a festive ensemble, everything else went well. It was lovely to catch up with human friends I haven’t seen in ages, and the treats were a success.

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The persimmon and mozzarella apps were devoured.

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And so was the pumpkin shaped bleu cheese ball.

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I do have a bit of skull carrot cake left.

So I’m pawning it off on neighbors.

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We even had evil wine.

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And mini pumpkins in the hallway.

I may keep this situation up through November if the pumpkins last. It has a nice non-creepy fall feel to it.

If they wither and die soon, it will give me the perfect excuse to set up for Christmas early, though….

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The Sky is Falling (Or It Rained for a Minute)

It hasn’t rained in LA since May, but I woke up to precipitation this morning.

I mean, it didn’t legit-midwestern-thunderstorm rain — it LA misted for a minute and then stopped, but any sort of precipitation is cause for celebration (and car accidents) in SoCal.

The gray skies and cooler temperatures have me fantasizing about fall… and my macabre cake pan.

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Who doesn’t want a slice of skull cake?

It would go perfectly with this ice bucket I need from Pottery Barn.

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It is everything. (source)

These festive skeletons make me want to throw a Halloween party…

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Or recline in a tub of beer. (source)

Either one sounds good.

 

 

Taste Testers and My Easterelle App (Or Mint, Leek, and Pea Puree in Parmesan Crisp Cups)

OK, one more Easterelle post and then I’ll get back to the Taco Bell fiesta discussion.

In addition to the inside out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes I told you about yesterday, I also made two appetizers for our Easter beach soiree because I’m an over-achiever like that.

I did end up making the melon with mint and prosciutto app (recipe here) because it’s easy and it involves pig. (You absolutely can’t do Easter without pig. I mean, that’s the whole point of Jesus coming to earth. He died so I can eat bacon. Duh!)

OK, maybe not really, but ANYWAY.

I also made a mint, leek, and pea puree and put it in parmesan crisp cups because it just sounded good and Easter-y to me. (I also liked that both apps involved mint. I like overlapping ingredients for cost-saving and menu coherence purposes.)

I was still suffering from the lingering effects of my nuclear germ assault at the time, so I had to call in the reinforcements to test the recipe because I couldn’t taste ANYTHING.

Luckily, I had plans to watch the Michigan Spring Game with my friend Mike the day before, so I made him try the app to tell me if it was a mess. He’s a really good cook, and he’s honest with me when I screw things up in the kitchen, which I appreciate. You can’t have a taste tester who is too “nice” to tell you when there’s too much mayo in the deviled eggs and whatnot because it’s just not nice to serve things that suck. I do NOT need a bunch of sycophants patting me on the head and telling me I’m marvelous when my food actually isn’t amazing. (What is the point of THAT?!?)

So anyway, the app passed the Mike test, and then it totally passed the test at Easterelle Day too.  People DEVOURED it at the picnic.

Along with all of our other great food.

Along with all of our other great food.

My crew knows how to rock a beach picnic. For real.

And here’s a close up of the pea puree situation in case you’re wondering what pea puree looks like.

Boom!

Leek and pea puree in parmesan cups.

SO parmy and cute, right?

I’m planning a few picnics for May and June, and I think I may make these again.

I’m totally looking forward to being able to taste them next time too!

Here’s how I made them just in case you wanna…

Leek and Pea Puree with Mint
Serves 12

2 T Olive Oil, divided
2 Leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 C Water
1 C Frozen Peas
1/4 C Grated Parmesan
20 Mint Leaves, 12 reserved for garnish
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add leek and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add water and reduce heat to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more water by 1 T, if necessary, if the pan becomes dry and the leek isn’t soft yet. Cook until the water evaporates.

Meanwhile, blanch the peas in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until still bright green but softened. Strain the peas and add them to the leeks and stir.

Transfer peas and leeks to a food processor. Add remaining 1 T of olive oil and pulse until coarse. Add the parmesan and mint and pulse again. The mixture should remain a little chunky.

Parmesan Cups

3 C Freshly Grated Parmesan
Non Stick Olive Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 350. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray.

Put 1/4 C scoop-fulls of parmesan onto the parchment paper. Pat the piles down a little so the parm is evenly distributed. It will spread, so make sure you leave enough space between the piles. (You will need to do this in batches or use two baking sheets.)

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until bubbling. Remove baking sheet from oven. Allow discs to cool slightly before placing them into the muffin tin.

Assembly

Scoop the pea puree into the parmesan cups, garnish with mint leaves and fresh cracked pepper.

Devour.

And now I will leave you with this song I’m crushing on while writing. It’s “Pink Medicine” By Bearson. Consider it my gift to you today. It was my medicine while I was sick. I looooooove it.

OK, I’m off to make Paleo Porn’s Beef Brisket for my dinner party tonight.

Yee haw, brisket, ya’ll!

#texasforever

Peter Rabbit and the Peanut Butter Cupcakes (Or Chocolate Ganache-Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes)

I need to pause this Mexican fiesta conversation and go back in time for a minute.

OK, maybe not like 1955 far back… but back to Easter because the chocolate ganache filled cupcakes I made for our beach picnic were 1.21 gigawatts of amazing (or so people said), and I promised you the recipe.

Peter Rabbit was all about them.

Don't you just love his little blue jacket?

Don’t you just love his little blue jacket?

I do. And Obviously it wasn’t an accident that the Reese’s Pieces egg on top matched the jacket. I did that shit on purpose.

The boys were way into them.

The boys totally noticed too.

OK, that’s probably a lie, but whatever. At least they liked the cupcakes so much that I didn’t have to take any home, which is the basically the whole point of baking.

So here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Ganache-Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18

Preheat Oven to 350. Place cupcake liners into muffin pans.

Make the ganache before starting cupcakes; the ganache will need time to cool.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4 C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or Chunks (do not exceed 61% cacao)

Bring the cream just to boil in a heavy sauce pan and remove pan from heat. Put chocolate in a bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for one minute before whisking until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until it has set up, about two hours.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 C Granulated Sugar
2 C Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
4 Large Eggs
1/2 C Buttermilk
1 C Creamy Peanut Butter (NOT natural)

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing until combined. Pour the buttermilk into the batter and blend. Add the peanut butter and mix. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the baking cups and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Remove pans from the oven, transfer the cupcakes to a rack, and allow them to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 C Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 8 oz Package of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 C Creamy Peanut Butter (NOT natural)
Dash of sea salt

Mix butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter together. Add dash of salt. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until fluffy.

Assembly

After the cupcakes have cooled completely and the ganache has set up, take a spoon and remove a small, circular section from the top of each of the cupcakes. Fill the cupcakes with the ganache and then top with frosting.

Decorate as you see fit, and then feed them to your friends.

Peter Rabbit and friends.

They’ll probably love you for it.

Easterelle Day (Or Easter + Elle’s Beach Birthday Celebration!)

I know Easter was so four days ago, but I’m finally ready to write about it. I’ve been in major screenplay mode all week, and I just didn’t have the time or energy to put together a post about my weekend until today.

So…

Here are a few shots.

I started my Easter celebration by attending the intimate, outdoor sunrise service at Bel Air Presbyterian.

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Fire pits are essential before the sun comes up ‘cuz it’s cold in SoCal when it’s dark….

And actually, it’s still cold after the sun comes up….

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Did I mention it was cold?

ANYWAY, After freezing my tukhus off at church, I came home and made an Easter basket for my cousin Maddie.

See?

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So much pink.

I even put a bow on it because everything is better with a bow on it.

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Everyone knows that.

Then I picked Maddie up, and we went to the beach for Easterelle Day. (Easterelle Day = Easter + Elle’s Actual Birthday. Just in case you were wondering.)

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The birthday girl is barely in the pic, but I promise she had fun.

And the food was epic.

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All of the boys thought so.

Actually, everyone thought so. (I’m going to take their word for it; I was still sick so I couldn’t really taste any of it.) We didn’t even get that much sand in any of it either, so that was awesome.

I’ll get to the cupcakes and the leek and pea puree in parm cups later. I need to get back to my script now.

But before I go… here’s one of my favorite songs at the moment. It’s the Mr. Fiji Wiji remix of Tiesto and Kyler England.

Just ‘cuz.

❤ XOXO ❤

 

You Can’t Eat Art (Or Glitter Eggs for Good Friday)

Guys, guess what?

It’s Good Friday!

And nothing says, “Let’s commemorate the crucifixion,” like bows and glitter.

These are going in the sand soon.

Everyone knows that.

ANYWAY

Now that all of you think I’m going to hell, I’ll show you what’s inside those eggs.

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Art.

3-D art…

Stunning work with scissors, right?

I made magic with scissors.

And since you can’t eat art, I also put a little candy in there too.

Art!

It’s hiding in the egg. I promise.

Pretty soon, I’m going to hide the candy filled eggs in the sand for Elle’s Birthday/Our Easter Extravaganza on the beach!

Peter Rabbit's ready to hide his eggs in the sand.

Peter Rabbit’s totally ready to help.

But first… I’m off to make my 90th Orange Julius of the week because I am still sick.

Have a great weekend, and HAPPY EASTER, YA’LL!

More Peter Rabbit for My Purse! (Or Easter Cupcake Inspiration)

It’s another sunny Friday in SoCal, which is a reason to smile even if Buzz Feed says we’re three years into a vile drought.

This drought's for real. Source.

This shit’s for real. Source.

So, that is all terribly sad.

Wanna talk about bunnies instead?

Good, so do I.

I happened upon this darling Peter Rabbit cupcake kit when I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and it cried out for me to buy it.

I mean, who could blame me?

Williams Sonoma KNEW I needed a little more Peter Rabbit in my life.

More Peter Rabbit for my purse! Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

I’m going use them for the Easter beach picnic I’m planning with my friend Nicole. It’s her sister Elle’s birthday that day so we’re having an intimate gathering of close friends that will serve dual functions.

When I asked Nicole what flavors should fill my darling find, she requested lemon curd and chocolate peanut butter. (Not together. OBVIOUSLY.)

She loves the lemon curd cupcakes I made for my grandma’s birthday (you can find the recipe here), but I don’t have a go-to recipe for chocolate peanut butter, so I’m doing some research.

See, I’m trying to decide if I want to do peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate filling or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

What do you think?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Albus and I are heading out for a walk while our spicy maple ribs slowly get amazing in our oven.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to buy the cupcake kit but don’t want to leave your house, you can find it here.

P.P.S. I do actually care about the planet and if you do too, you should check out Chef Nathan Lyon’s article on the impact of California’s drought on the rest of the country here.