Making good use of leftover buttermilk is something we feel is an indispensable talent in the kitchen. It was originally purchased to start testing a buttermilk pie, something that has intrigued us for several months now. But of course the recipe didn’t call for a whole quart of buttermilk so here we are, with a bowl full of delicious buttermilk ice cream topped with crushed graham crackers. No big deal.
And as for the buttermilk pie, that will remain in the test kitchen vault until we can make it 100% Cat and Mara tested and approved ;)
Ice cream is fairly easy to make, especially since we recently invested in the ice cream attachment for the Kitchen Aid. However, there are millions of different ice cream recipes and we are currently wading our way through this mountain of frozen treats to find the best ones.
This recipe is the first real winner, but the title of this blog post is slightly misleading. If you want to have a lazy Sunday eating buttermilk ice cream, you should make this on Saturday so that the frozen custard has ample time to ripen in the freezer.
Pairs well with Game of Thrones or new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 C heavy cream
1 1/4 C sugar
8-12 egg yolks*
2 C buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
Combine heavy cream and 1 cup sugar in heavy bottomed pot or saucepan. bring to simmer over medium heat.
Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly drizzle in egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid curdling. Transfer the whole mixture back to the sauce pan and cook over low heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Strain mixture into another bowl then whisk in buttermilk, salt and vanilla. Cool completely then freeze according to your ice cream makers directions.
*The original recipe uses 12 egg yolks, but you can use whatever you have on hand. If you use all 12 yolks the result will indeed be creamier, richer and more luscious….but using 6-8 will taste damn good. Actually more than damn good. But if you eat egg white omelettes every morning, then go for it.
Did you take your mother to some crowded restaurant yesterday? Was there a long wait, even though you made reservations? Did you almost wring the necks of the idiot children running rampant throughout the patio seating area? Could you feel the tension between family members who only see their mothers twice a year? Did you end up getting drunk and telling your brother that it’s about time he gets a real job? Did you leave your poor mother in tears at the end of that awful meal?
Shame on you!
Next time skip the restaurant and make your mom a bad ass brunch!
This was the first time in 9 years where I haven’t had to work on Mother’s Day. I was always showing up late to the party after having worked the dreaded lunch shifts on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all the other appreciation days the candy/flower/power tool/greeting card companies deem essential celebrations for any human.
And truth be told, i’ve never really been a brunch person, but it’s an excellent excuse to day drink and isn’t that what Mom really wants on her special day?
On the Menu:
Blood Orange Mimosas
Overnight French Toast Casserole
Overnight French Toast Casserole (adapted from Epicurious)
1/4 C butter at room temperature
1 large loaf Challah bread
1 1/2 C whole milk
1/4 C sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional maple syrup for serving
Spread butter over bottom and sides of a 9x13x2 baking pan. Cube or tear the Challah bread into 1”- 1 1/2” pieces.
Beat eggs, milk, sugar, syrup, vanilla and salt to blend in large bowl.
Pour mixture over bread. Make sure all the pieces are moist with egg mixture. Use your hands to do this. Place bread in prepared dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes, stir mixture with a wooden spoon so the bread on the bottom gets a chance to be on top. Bake for about 5 minutes longer, or until top is golden.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and blueberries. Serve with warm maple syrup.
Here is a photo of my mother in laws recipe for the Egg and Ham Soufflé, she made it the night before and after several mimosas, I had completely forgotten to ask her how she did it.
I found this hand written recipe more endearing. Happy Mother’s Day to all.
Because you will need some decent cardio after making (and very likely devouring) this chocolate covered crack. Yeah, yeah I said crack. I thought it was weird too, but there’s something strangely addictive about these things. I’m thinking it could very possibly have something to do with the two sticks of butter. Just maybe.
Don’t judge. Don’t get all bent out of shape because you’re on a gluten-free-juice-and-babyfood-diet. Oh, I don’t feel bad. Ok well, sort of bad. But there’s also a point in life when you say, sure I could get up at 6am to go to spin class before I work a 16 hour day. Suuuuuuuuuure. OR, I can stay in bed for another two hours, soaking up some desperately needed Zzz’s and snuggling with my boo. I usually choose the latter and also choose the slightly jiggly but lovingly appreciated bum.
That being said, I made these indulgent suckers because after depriving myself of sleep, fun, and carbohydrates for several weeks, I now have the shingles. (Carbs actually have nothing to do with it. Stress does.) I’m not sure it’s even the chocolate I’m craving; I’m more of a savory girl than a sweets girl. I’m more craving time alone in my own kitchen cooking what I want to cook, and generally being at home performing in my favorite role: domestic goddess.
Don’t do what I did. Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t get the shingles. Sleep in. Snuggle with your boo. Eat the chocolate. Feel better, even if it’s just temporary.
But seriously though. You probably shouldn’t eat too many of these chocolate caramel crackers.
I’ve heard about these things everywhere and the inter-web is abound with recipes. Ours is slightly adapted from David Leibovitz.
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Line the bottom of the sheet with the saltines.
3. In a 3-4 quart saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over the crackers, spreading with a heatproof or offset spatula.
4. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while.
5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
6. If you’re feeling wild, sprinkle with toasted almonds or toasted coconut or smoked salt or pistachios or something of the like. I did a toasted almond/smoked salt version and a toasted coconut version.
Let cool completely (in the freezer if you’re human and just can’t wait), then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Yesterday was one of those rare Sundays when I have the time and energy to be in the kitchen all day. One of the highlights was a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart. I also made lemon bars, and if you scroll back to January 28th you can make those too!
Mascarpone Tart with Strawberries via Sunset magazine
This tart is more like a cheesecake, but since it’s half the volume of a regular cheesecake, you won’t feel like you just went to Cheesecake Factory and made a really bad decision by polishing off one of their slices.
9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (couldn’t find them at the grocery store and substituted CHOCOLATE TEDDY GRAHAMS. Don’t judge me.)
1/2 C melted butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 pound softened mascarpone or cream cheese
1/3 C honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 C strawberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush cookies using either a food process or a rolling pin and a ziploc bag. Pour 2 cups of crumbs into bowl and mix with melted butter, sugar, salt and espresso powder. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom.
In a mixing bowl, beat mascarpone, honey and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and salt.
Pour filling into chocolate crust and set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pale golden and barely set in the center when you gently shake the pan, about 30-35 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then chill until set, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
Remove rim from pan and decorate with sliced strawberries.
So here’s the party about Mitt Romney.
Right before dinner was served, I ran into the son of the woman who abandoned my dog, Mitt Romney (yes that’s his name if you’re late to the party. We found him on election day and thought it would be funny to temporarily name him the losing candidates name and it stuck)….
So the story goes like this, they had this dog for about 8 or 9 years. During that time he exhibited aggression toward other dogs, but nothing serious came of it. One day he bit some lady’s dog and she threatened to call the cops. So the owner decided to get rid of him. How did she get rid of the dog? She apparently gave it to someone else and that person tied him up to a fence, a few blocks down from our house. And they made sure to remove his tags so no one would call the contact number and find the original owners. I should also mention that he was fat, dirty, covered in fleas and his teeth we’re almost black from never having been cleaned.
Now this made me a pretty grumpy girl as I was putting the finishing touches on our spring vegetable pasta (recipe not included, don’t be pissed), and it continued to bug me for the rest of the night.
I have always wondered what Mitt’s life was like before he came into ours. To be honest I wonder if maybe it would have been better for his previous life to remain a mystery. I know things could have been a lot worse for him, but it still rubs me the wrong way.
A friend of ours told us that in his experience, dogs come to you, not the other way around. Mitt is apart of our family now, and I would have given him that whole damn tart to eat if he wasn’t on a major diet because his former family made him super fat.
Those people are idiots. And while it doesn’t excuse their mistreatment and misunderstanding of Mitt Romney, it’s time to let go of the anger we have toward them. But if those idiots didn’t do what they did, we wouldn’t have the coolest dog in the world. Now we just need to work on those dog aggression problems…
Remember our unremarkable picnic? Probably not. The best decision we made that day was to make these brownies courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. Seriously, these brownies are amazing and super easy to make.
And even is your chocolate is chalky (ours was), they’ll still turn out incredible.
To fill the centers, use a teaspoon to scoop out a ditch in the middle of the brownie and fill ‘er up. Put them in the fridge for a bit so the caramel sets up a bit.
Brownies (Smitten Kitchen)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon flakey sea salt
2/3 cup flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8X8 pan with a parchment or foil sling. Grease that sling.
Melt chocolate and butter over medium heat in a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
Whisk in sugar, followed by one egg, then the other, then vanilla, then salt, then flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread out to an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies are cracked on top and cake tester comes out clean.
Once brownies are cool, or however long you can stand to wait, scoop the centers out with teaspoon and fill with caramel. Sprinkle with additional sea salt.
I am just going to direct you here for the dry caramel recipe. It’s David Lebovitz so you can’t go wrong. Feeling a little lazy today as Mara is still in Mexico and I’m just pacing around my house until she gets back.
It all started with this super sweet Hunger Games picnic basket.
Cat’s sister scored this from someone who worked on the film and gave it to us since she has no use for such a ridiculous item taking up valuable closet space.
We were stoked, especially since we have been dreaming about an extreme picnicking post for almost a year. We decided to set up our sweet spread at the Silverlake Meadow. We arrived early and the sun was a bit too high in the sky for good pictures, so we waited. We soaked up some rays, talked about Catherine’s impending nuptials, and scoped out all the hot Silverlake bros running shirtless with their dogs.
And somewhere during all that, we decided what we were doing was really stupid so we packed up and went home.
But first we took some pictures that we thought we be in keeping with the Hunger Games theme. Spoiler Alert: they don’t really have anything to do with HG other than the fact that we were outdoors.
We tried to set up the picnic in the front yard.
And then looking at this ridiculous spread and feeling completely uninspired, we just kind of gave up and started eating.
You see, the day had been kind of half assed already. The pasta salad was made on Sunday. The quiche was made the day before (and who the fuck wants to eat quiche on a picnic anyway) and the brownies were a total last minute decision made in the cheese store.
We just kind of weren’t feeling it today. And while there is a certain amount of staging that goes into our posts, this just felt like it went a bit over the top.
But we did learn some very important lessons:
1. Rose water is best used sparingly. (We made a Rose Lemonade that had quite a floral kick to the face.)
2. Sometimes it’s important to be honest with oneself: if it feels stupid it probably looks stupid and therefore should not be written about like it’s anything worth doing.
3. Filling brownies with salted caramel is always a good idea, but not if you’re on an exercise kick.
4. The Hunger Games are kind of last year. ‘Nuf said.
Stay tuned for something more inspired (and maybe a recipe or two! what a novel idea!) when we are relieved of our pre-bikini season diets.
Welcome to our desert road trip photo album.
To celebrate Mara’s 21st birthday we hit the road and headed east to Palm Springs. There was Sun! Booze! Wind! Old People! Knives! A Mild Sickness! Hot Tubs! Cocktails! Danish People! And SO MUCH MORE.
Below are some pics of what we did and made.
Author’s Note: We get by with a little help from our friends, which means every meal was a group effort. We have an amazing circle of friends that are very kitchen savvy and for that we are thankful! Enjoy :) :)
Mara did this all by herself and it didn’t fall off. Hooray.
I always forget to buy a card so I scrawled a love note on this Christmas wrapping paper I had lying around.
Mara copped some ‘roons from work.
THEY WERE AMAZING.
Taro Macaroon. Murr knows they’re my favorite.
Mara telling Abe it’s 10PM and we should probably start the fried chicken.
Zen in the Art of Frying.
Mmmmmm…..the recipe is from Bon Appetit, and it’s amazing. Good job, Abe. I did find one of your chest hairs in my food though. I didn’t want to say anything because I like to blast people online so the shame will last longer.
Franco German Potato Salad
Breakfast. Ebelskivers with blueberry jam, lemon cream and I believe there were some cheese ones in there as well….courtesy of Chef Chase.
Beautiful Dercks, our personal trainer, cocktail mixer and salad maker. And no matter how much fried chicken she eats you can still see her rock hard abs.
Let’s look at that salad close up.
See, we do healthy stuff sometimes.
Jesus Christ my arms got really burned. And also the look on Abe’s face.
Ummm…..someone else can clean that kitchen up.
Happy Birthday Mara!!!! XOXOXO.
Before I left for a long over due trip to South Carolina to visit the family, I stopped by the local Barnes and Noble on a mission to buy Vegan Cookbooks.
Let’s all just calm down and take a breath.
My parents have recently gone vegan, a move mostly inspired by reading The China Study and Ultra Metabolism. I am very proud they’ve made a serious commitment to this new lifestyle, I need them to be around as long as possible because I’m sure I’ll have a lot of questions about married life.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT PARAGRAPH, I GOT ENGAGED! AND IT WAS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE! BUT BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT THAT LET ME TELL YOU WHAT THIS POST WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT!!!
I had been planning Vegan Post #2 for a few months, and had hoped to post something as marvelous as Mara’s experience back in Baltimore. While I did not get to slaughter a rabbit, I did cook a big vegan dinner for my family (sadly, no blood was involved.) My intention was to craft a “vegan food isn’t that bad but I still ate a shitload of ice cream afterwards with my sister” post.
I didn’t get very far because the next night my boyfriend of six years finally proposed! It was a big surprise that everyone had been holding in for weeks. So the whole family said screw the vegan diet, and we ate cake for the remainder of my trip. (Because I sure as shit ain’t celebrating my engagement with a vegan chocolate chip cookie.)
So you see this post kind of fell apart. And I’m sorry about that. I do have two recipes for you though so don’t fret. I made broccoli potato soup with whole grain croutons and bell peppers stuffed with mediterranean barley salad.
If you are someone who flirts with a vegan diet from time to time then pick up a copy of Veganomicon, it is an excellent cookbook and will impress all your hipster friends if you display it prominently on top of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home.
I was pretty impressed with my vegan feast, but when we look back on this trip, no one is going to remember the food, and for once, that’s completely fine with me.
Broccoli Potato Soup with Fresh Herbs
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion diced
3 Garlic Cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (use more if you like)
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups vegetable broth (I’m not going to lie, I used chicken broth. Don’t judge me)
2 pounds russet potatoes cubed
4 cups broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh mint (I didn’t use mint because the grocery store didn’t have it.)
Ancho Chile Oil for a spicy finish if you’re into that
Saute onion in olive oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tarragon, pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minuted longer. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add broccoli and cook for 10-15 more minutes.
Either using an immersion blender, food processor or blender blender, puree the soup in batches. Now, I chose to puree the whole batch of soup, but you can also puree 1/3 of it or 1/2 of it to preserve some of the chunkiness. You can even strain the soup to get an even smoother consistency. Whatever floats your boat.
I finished the soup with a drizzle of chile oil and some big homemade croutons.
Mediterranean Barely Stuffed Peppers
(I made this up, so bear with me.)
For Dijon Shallot Dressing:
4 Tablespoons Sherry VInegar
1 Tablespoon Minced Shallot
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Peppar to taste.
Combine ingredients in tupperware container, shake it all around to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Rub 6 multi colored peppers with a little bit of oil, wrap in foil and place in 350 degree over for about 15 minutes. Unwrap and let cool.
4 cups barely, cooked in vegetable broth.
1/2 Cup Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
1/2 Cup 1” diced cucumbers
1/2 Cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 red onion, diced
Let barely cool after cooking. Toss with vegetables and dressing, add dressing in two parts to avoid over dressing. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley. Stuff into peppers.
We’ve all done things we are not proud of. The other day Mara ate a very expensive french macaron in front of a homeless man. Catherine recently backed her car into a cop car. Cat AND Mara both got too busy with their dumb jobs and and completely ignored this great project that is a constant challenge and inspiration.
We are sorry for not being there for you and we’re sorry for second guessing ourselves.
But all that is going to change soon. Because something happened while we were knee deep in dough rolling, espresso making hell. Some of you kept bugging us about not posting. Which means that someone is reading all this jibberjabber. Which also means we need to get our shit together because something is working here. In the midst of all the running around from job to job we both realized that we were missing the whole point of why we had each gotten new jobs in the first place. We were trying to legitimize our cooking experience so that we were more than just experienced home cooks. We wanted more clout and respect from the supposed “real” chefs who cook professionally. A few months into our insanity of bouncing back and forth six to seven days a week between money making job and passion/learning curve job, we realized we were missing the whole point of this new journey because we didn’t have time to work out new skills on our own projects. We were learning a bit, sure but not making as much progress in other people’s kitchens as we do in our own. We also both realized that we need to have more confidence in our skills because we are talented (new year’s resolution self affirmation!) and it’s not about what other people think. This is our own path and we need to stick to it so that we can see the evolution.
We’re sorry. We got distracted being mindless worker bees and weren’t giving you the attention you needed and weren’t giving ourselves the chance to succeed at something we love to do.
So we baked a cake, a showstopper cake. A cake to win over disapproving in-laws, dazzle curmudgeonly coworkers, celebrate a gay wedding or perhaps use as a tool to beg forgiveness for your transgressions. Of which we have none.
It is not advised to make this cake alone. We didn’t realize what exactly we had gotten ourselves into until we were in the throws of rainbow overload. But the reasons you shouldn’t bake this cake alone are the same reasons we love cooking together. Because not only will there be an outrageous number of dishes to do, but you’ll need someone to consult with when weighing out batter, tinting the multi-colored tiers and deciding just the right ratio of filling to layers. More importantly, there’s so much love that goes into this cake, it’s something you’ll want to share as you slice into the stark white frosting to reveal quite possibly the greatest rainbow you’ve ever seen.
We’ve pulled out all the stops for you. We are sorry. Sorry to you. Sorry to us. Sorry to our boyfriends who have been near starving since we’ve stopped recipe testing at home.
Enjoy this virtual cake then go make it for someone special and watch the look on their face when they cut into the big plain white frosted mass and see what’s hiding inside.
Rainbow Cake, recipe via Whisk Kid, adapted slightly
You will have to make this recipe twice, unless you have a large capacity stand mixer. This is where your baking partner comes in, so this is the final warning about making this cake by yourself.
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple food coloring. We used a mixture of both gel and liquid.
Preheat oven to 325. Gather as many 8 or 9 inch cake pans as you can find. Prepare appropratie sized parchment circles to line the bottom of the pans. (Don’t skip this step!) Grease and flour.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg whites one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.
Divide the batter among six bowls. We weighed out 18 ounces of batter for each layer. (If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can use a ruler to measure how far the batter goes up the side of the cake pan.)
Tint your layers the colors of the rainbow.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for a total of 20-30 minutes, rotate pans after 15 minutes, front to back top to bottom.
***We lowered our over temperature for this recipe to fight the cake’s urge to dome when baking. It worked out great, and we only had to do a minimal amount of trimming.
Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack.
Wrap layers individually and freeze for at least a half hour.
In the mean time, make frosting.
7-Minute Frosting (aka Marshmallow Fluff) from America’s Test Kitchen
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
6 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine first 6 ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer. Set that bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (you can use another bowl if your stand mixer bowl won’t fit over your favorite saucepan) Make sure water does not touch bottom of said bowl
Heat mixture while whisking constantly until it reaches 160 degrees. This could take as long as 10-12 minutes. Make sure your thermometer isn’t going to crap out on you (THANKS SUR LA TABLE).
Remove bowl from heat and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. About 5-7 minutes.
Add vanilla, increase speed to medium high and whip until stiff peaks form. If you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing moves, you’ve achieved stiff peaks. Keep at room temperature until you are ready to frost the cake.
Lemon Cream Filling (optional, but strongly encouraged) straight from Dorie Greenspan.
This frosting is a bit too slick to layer in between the cakes. We decide to use lemon cream instead. This really brightened up the cake and paired very nicely with the frosting. Super simple and keeps well in the fridge.
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
Make sure you have: instant read thermometer, strainer, and either blender or food processor at the ready.
Bring a few inches of water to simmer in a saucepan, set a heatproof bowl over it, without letting the bottom of the bowl come in contact with the water.
Rub sugar and zest together until sugar forms clumps and smells very fragrant. Place in the bowl which is sitting on the saucepan and whisk in eggs followed by lemon juice.
Cook until cream reaches 180 degrees, whisking the whole time. Be patient, it could take as long as 10 minutes. Cream will begins to thicken and leaves tracks from the whisk as it gets closer to 180 degrees.
Remove cream from bowl and strain it into a blender or food processor. Let the cream cool down to about 140 degrees.
Turn machine on high and add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down sides of container as needed. Once all the butter is in, continue to mix for 3 minutes to get the light, airy texture of lemon cream heaven.
Put the cream in a container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and chill for at least 4 hours.