we know it's been an entire week since our last visit but we really can't believe how quickly this week has flown by! lots going on and unfortunately, little time for cooking, baking and creating recipes. getting ready for a huge garage sale tomorrow since we are moving across the country in about 2 weeks - very excited but a little overwhelmed at the moment. our house, and kitchen, is overflowing with boxes and piles of stuff to sell, stuff to store and stuff to move - it's amazing to see how much junk we've accumulated over time! we had a cookie craving this morning and decided to make a bunch of these little gems to nibble on as we pack. who doesn't love nutella?! well, how about nutella sandwiched between two round buttery hazelnut cookies? um, yes please. when baking with hazelnuts, you usually toast them and remove the skins first. well, today i didn't have the patience to do that and the cookies still turned out fabulous, good to know. if you don't have any nutella in your pantry, these would be great sandwiched with your favorite jam or jelly as well. have a great weekend!

Hazelnut & Nutella Sandwich Cookies
makes about 36 cookies

1 cup hazelnuts
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup nutella or jelly
in a food processor, grind hazelnuts until they are finely ground but not clumping together. in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. add vanilla and combine. add flours, salt and ground hazelnuts and stir until well combined. divide the dough in half and press each half into a flat disk. wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. remove one of the dough disks from refrigerator and let soften slightly. roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick. using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. gather scraps and continue to re-roll until all the dough is used, returning briefly to refrigerator if the dough becomes too soft. bake cookies 14-16 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly. cool completely and sandwich with 1 tsp desired filling. enjoy!

frozen treat

sometimes we forget how simple it is to make homemade ice cream and sorbet and what a special treat it really is. this buttermilk sorbet is originally from a martha recipe for a rhubarb float which we'll have to try another time - instead, i adapted the recipe and folded in ripe fresh cherries for a sweet & tart combination. did anyone see this great article from the new york times magazine back in april? it got me on a serious buttermilk kick! have a great weekend and treat yourself to something cold, rich and creamy.

Buttermilk Sorbet
makes 1 quart

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cherries, pitted & halved (or other ripe fresh fruit!)
in a small saucepan, combine sugar with 1 cup water and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. let cool completely. whisk together cooled simple syrup with buttermilk, cream, corn syrup and vanilla. freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. transfer to an airtight container and freeze at least 1 hour before serving.


french macaroons

macaroons are one of those delicate french pastries that make a beautiful display at a fancy patisserie but something i never thought of tackling at home. remember when i mentioned that we are going through years of old magazines and ripping out recipes and inspiration? well, leave it to martha stewart to have a great french macaroon recipe. you can read her recipe here which is basically what i used but with a few variations for flavors and fillings. they turned out beautifully and it was such a fun adventure! piping perfect circles took a little practice and unless you are a naturally patient person, make sure you attempt this recipe on a day when you feel especially patient. even if they don't turn out perfectly round and pretty, they'll still taste wonderful! i used the basic recipe to make three different flavors - pistachio with chocolate ganache, chocolate with lingonberry jam & espresso with caramel - check out martha's recipe for even more variations.

Pistachio Macaroons
makes about 35

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup finely ground unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup finely ground slivered almonds
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
pulse confectioner's sugar, pistachio flour and almond flour in a food processor until combined. sift mixture and if not fine enough to go through, grind again in food processor or spice grinder. whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. increase speed to high and whisk until soft peaks form. reduce speed and add sugar. whisk until stiff peaks form and then fold in flour mixture. preheat oven to 300 degrees F. spoon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. pipe 3/4-inch rounds about 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets. let macaroons stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or until a light crust forms. bake on upper and lower third racks until crisp, rotating halfway through, about 22-26 minutes. cool completely on baking sheets to harden bottoms and remove carefully with a spatula.
meanwhile, bring cream to a boil over medium high heat. pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl and let sit 2 minutes, covered with a small sheet pan. remove cover and whisk until smooth. let cool and slightly harden before assembling cookies.
sandwich two same size macaroons with 1 tsp chocolate ganache and serve immediately. can be stacked between layers of parchment, wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to three months.


oscar mayer

just saying hi on this hot southern california day.  it's a little too hot to turn on the oven, but maybe it will inspire a new drink of the week.  we'll keep you posted on that front.  we came across the oscar mayer wiener mobile last week on the same day mr. mayer died.  if you're craving hot dogs, maybe this time you can enjoy one as a tribute to a classic!?!  this hot dog on wheels feels like the perfect polaroid inspiration, almost like the camera was made to photograph the vintage feel of the mobile.  enjoy your summer monday & we'll see you soon...


almond cherry cake

the last time we were in los angeles, i took a little excursion to one of my favorite stores in culver city - surfas! it's a very dangerous place because i can't leave without spending under $100 and it takes at least an hour to wander around the aisles looking at all the great supplies and ingredients, tasting cheeses and grabbing lunch. i discovered a great almond paste made in CA by these guys and even though i had nothing in mind to bake, i knew i had to get it. this recipe is adapted from the almond pound cake recipe on their website - i love the rich moist flavor almond paste adds to pastries and thought it would pair nicely with sweet ripe cherries. a slice of this cake would be an especially sweet treat with a pot of coffee for breakfast - enjoy!

Almond Cherry Cake

5 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
16 oz natural almond paste
zest of 2 lemons
5 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cherries, pitted and cut in half
confectioner's sugar for dusting
preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with an electric mixer, beat together butter, olive oil and sugar until fluffy and combined. add almond paste and lemon zest and beat until smooth. beat in the eggs one at a time. add flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. fold in cherries. pour batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until center is set. cool in pan for 20 minutes, remove and cool completely on wire rack. dust with confectioner's sugar to serve.


hippie salad

today we are taking a healthy turn with a little hippie salad. quinoa has been gaining popularity and is a very beneficial grain but can sometimes be a little boring. in this easy salad we've added tons of flavor and fresh summer vegetables to liven things up. we rarely call for store bought products in our recipes but this salad utilizes trader joe's roasted garlic hummus to create a quick "dressing" - feel free to make your own hummus if you're feeling adventurous! and throw in whatever summer veggies and herbs you happen to have on hand. enjoy!

Quinoa & Carrot Salad
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
2 carrots, peeled and made into ribbons
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 ripe avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
3 tbs roasted garlic hummus
3 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 lime, juiced
salt & pepper to taste
in a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well to coat evenly.


pictures & pickles

our post today is inspired by many different sources - momofuku ssam bar, farmer's market and old magazines. on our recent trip to nyc, we had a great plate of pickled vegetables at ssam bar and tasted some ingredients i'd never think of pickling! farmer's market on sunday was beautiful but all i could think of was which vegetables could bath in vinegar, salt and sugar when we got home. we've also been going through years of old magazines to recycle and ripping out loads of recipes and photo inspiration - food & wine, gourmet, domino, the list goes on and on. but i found a fun recipe for david chang's sweet & sour pickles in an issue of Food & Wine from 2007 and adapted it for this recipe. the brine works for almost any veggies you'd like to pickle. enjoy!

Pickled Veg
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups daikon root, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 cup carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/-inch thick
combine water, sugar, salt and vinegars in a pot and bring to a boil. simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved and remove from heat. arrange prepared vegetables in clean glass jars and cover with hot liquid. let cool to room temperature, seal and refrigerate overnight or up to two weeks.


crab & corn

as promised, here's a little appetizer that will go perfectly with our pretty in pink cocktail! sweet corn is nice and ripe right now and a great friend to big lumps of crab, a squeeze of lime and a hint of spice in these crab & corn cakes. serve them as an appetizer with some homemade meyer lemon aioli or make it a light refreshing meal with two cakes and a little salad of mache, avocado and grapefruit. 

Crab & Corn Cakes
makes 10 cakes

1 lb lump crab
3 ears corn, white or yellow
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 green onions, chopped
1 egg
juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for garnish
2 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sambal chili garlic paste
olive oil for frying
drain crab well and place in a large bowl. cut kernels of corn off cob carefully. use the back of the knife to scrape some of the "milk" and bits left on the cob and combine with crab. add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. form 2 1/2-inch patties with your hands and place on a sheet pan. refrigerate for 20 minutes. heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and carefully add a few cakes, not overcrowding the pan. lightly pan fry cakes for 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. remove any corn kernels that fall out from the pan while frying, as they will jump and pop. let rest on paper towels, repeat with remaining cakes and serve immediately. enjoy!


pretty in pink

here's a bright refreshing cocktail for you since the weather seems to be warm everywhere now. this drink is inspired by something similar we had before dinner here and is kind of a ramped up greyhound proper, one of our favorite go-to beverages. a splash of aperol gives it a unique flavor. it's an italian aperitif we've been seeing more of lately and is also a great addition to a glass of champagne. enjoy this cocktail on a sunny patio or rooftop deck with friends and check out a crab & corn appetizer recipe here on friday that would go perfectly. cheers!

Pretty in Pink
5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
2 oz gin
1.5 oz aperol
5 drops bitters
combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. pour over ice into a highball glass and serve.


the big apple

back from a busy but great week in nyc! we had a little rain, a little sun and a lot of great meals. we had a fabulous lunch at momofuku ssam bar which included steamed pork buns (of course!) and amazing pork scrapple with thick cut bacon, a perfectly poached egg and a little salad of frisee and mizuna on top - unreal!! another great lunch was had sitting at the bar of gramercy tavern for a late afternoon cocktail and delicious pulled pork sandwich. we had an amazing dinner at locanda verde in the greenwich hotel - the garlicky fava bean crostini and homemade ravioli were great but the best part of the meal was dessert - a scoop each of malted milk chocolate and rice custard gelato. another highlight of the meal was meeting jeffrey steingarten, food critic and author, and his lovely wife at the bar after dinner. can't wait to go back again for more foodie adventures!


natural beauty

we are having a very busy week but wanted to say hi and leave you with something pretty to look at! the two polariods are from this trip to napa & sonoma last fall, when persimmons were growing and leaves were changing color. remember this sneak peek? well, the berry recipes i developed are in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times as well as a beautiful beach picnic article i styled and this lovely lady shot - check it out & have a happy holiday weekend!