A few things I’m thinking about, reading, or loving right now:
- I am addicted to this game.
- Would you move to a neighborhood built around a farm?
- This essay made me think twice about being critical of myself – you never know what impact your careless thoughts have on someone.
- Badass traveler!
- I seem to have adopted yoga clothes as my daily uniform, which apparently makes me appear authoritative.
- Beautiful slow-motion dance moves by the Washington Ballet.
- “Plans or no plans, keep a little space in your heart for the improbable. You won’t regret it.” And other advice that powerful women would have given their 22 year old selves.
- Skinny jeans threatened the US money supply. The mint’s cotton-blend paper supplier was forced to innovate when denim makers started incorporating spandex. (h/t Quartz)
- I think you all know by now how much I love the National Geographic photo contest.
p.s. Happy 8th anniversary to my love! Cheers to us!
Let me preface this by saying: this mousse does not make sense.
Making mousse usually requires a good bit of work (melting, beating, whipping, folding). Here, you just add a few ingredients to the blender and boom. Mousse.
The key with this recipe is time — not slaving-away-time, but let-it-sit-in-the-fridge-time. Unfortunately, you can’t start making this mousse right before everyone arrives for dinner and expect to serve it an hour later. But if you plan a bit ahead, you’ll have an easy, rich dessert with which everyone will be impressed!
Blender Chocolate Mousse
1 1/3 c. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
1 c. water
2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites
for the whipped cream
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Bring water to a boil then remove from heat. Add the espresso powder and sugar. Stir and let sit for 4-5 minutes.
Place the chocolate chips and vanilla extract in the blender, then pour the hot water in. Cover the blender and let the mixture sit for one minute (the chocolate will start to soften). Blend for 25-30 seconds. Add the egg whites and blend for another 60 seconds.
Pour the mousse into four serving containers (small bowls, ramekins, short mason jars). Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until set. This will take about 4 hours, but can be done up to 24 hours in advance.
When ready to serve, beat whipping cream with sugar and vanilla. Serve mouse with a spoonful of whipped cream.
I’d had a really, really great flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant earlier this year and was obsessed with recreating it at home. I tried three different recipes (utter and total failures) before landing on one from Food52. The trick was that it wasn’t actually flourless. One little tablespoon of flour gave it just the right texture — not too chewy and no need for a complicated water bath.
It is quick, super simple, and I always have all of the ingredients in my pantry so it pretty much became my dinner party staple for 2014. There is a high likelihood that if you ate my house this spring or summer, this was the dessert we had.
Easy + delicious = repeat appearances in my kitchen.
Dense Chocolate Cake
7 oz. 72% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
7 oz. butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 1/3 c sugar
1 tbsp. flour
8 oz. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. sugar
fruit for garnish (pomegranate seeds, raspberries, blueberries)
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut a sheet of parchment to fit in the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. Grease the pan with butter or cooking spray.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Use a whisk to combine until they are fully melted. Whisk in the sugar and then remove the pan from the heat. Let cool for 3-4 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, being sure to fully whisk each one in before adding the next. Then whisk in the flour.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. When you remove the pan from the oven, set it on a cookie cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. To remove the cake from the pan, invert it onto a plate and then revert it onto your serving dish. Cool completely before serving.
Serve in wedges with whipped cream and fruit.
This is a bittersweet time of year for me. Not to sound too dramatic or anything…
I hate being hot and so I really hate the summer (especially in Houston) but I love the produce we get in the summer more than any of the other seasons. So I’m trying to hang on to the last few weeks of summer’s bounty right now by making as many tomato, pepper, and berry recipes as possible.
This green bean salad is IDEAL. It is perfect for a light lunch or a great side dish with grilled chicken.
Green Bean Salad
1 lb. green beans, preferably haricot verts
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
4-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 red onion, diced
Salt and pepper
Snap off the ends of the green beans. Blanch them by cooking them in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then removing them and setting them in an ice bath for 4-5 minutes. Drain toss with the diced onion, halved cherry tomatoes, and crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss with balsamic vinaigrette.
Whitney wasn’t feeling well earlier this week and he wanted comfort food for lunch one day.
Generally that would be a reasonable request… except that Whitney considers Whataburger comfort food! I was pretty sure he would have another kind of sickness in addition to his respiratory infection if he had a #4 plain and dry, Whata-sized.
So instead, he got the next best thing — spinach and egg roll-ups. These are loaded with iron and vitamins from the spinach and protein from the eggs. A couple of these and he was feeling like a new person!
Spinach and Egg Roll-ups
1/4 c. yellow onion, diced
2 c. fresh baby spinach
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tbsp. skim milk
1/2 c. Monterey Jack, shredded
4 flour tortillas
Salsa for serving, if desired
Sauté the onions with a sliver of butter in a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they are slightly browned. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, another sliver of butter, and the spinach to the pan and cook until it is wilted. Remove the spinach and onions from the pan and place on a cutting board. Roughly chop the spinach-onion mixture and then sprinkle with the cumin. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs and milk and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Wipe out the skillet you used for the spinach, and soft scramble the eggs over low heat. Remove to a plate. Wipe out the pan again.
Heat the pan over medium heat. Down the middle of each flour tortilla, add eggs, spinach, and cheese. Roll up the tortillas tightly and place each in the pan, seam side down. Let cook for 2 minutes, until browned and sealed. Flip and cook on the other side for another minute or two. Serve alone or with salsa.
This time of year marks the annual craziness that is also known as Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. I’m personally a pretty strong adherent to my double grande nonfat latte, but I have to admit that the PSL has an undeniable appeal.
And what could be even better than PSL? PSC! As in, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. Enjoy!
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 c. light-brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar and melted butter. Whisk until just combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and whisk until smooth. Then mix in the pumpkin puree.
Fill each well in the cupcake pan about 3/4 full and bake until the tops spring back when touched, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Garnish with a cinnamon sprinkle, if desired.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
8 oz. cream cheese
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until just combined.