Labor of Love || Rainbow Cookies

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This is the story of the cookies that came home after the cows – based very loosely on the outdated idiom “until the cows come home”. I’m not a farmer, and I don’t play one on TV, but I am left to assume that it takes cows a very long time to come home. Possibly even longer than an unedited version of a Martin Scorsese film!

For my roommate’s birthday last week, I wanted to surprise her with her most favorite desert. And of course that culinary confection just so happens to be one of the few baked goods that takes upwards of 12 hours to complete. The things we do for love.

{recipe from deb, of course }

RAINBOW-COOKIE-2{these bad boys sat wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 14 hours! }

RAINBOW-COOKIE-3{ my best attempt at cutting the edges in a straight line }

RAINBOW-COOKIE-4RAINBOW-COOKIE-5{ another pitiful attempt at cutting straight lines }

RAINBOW-COOKIE-6{ yum! }

lust list || decor delights

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{ 1. red bowl, 2. gold flatware, 3. food processor, 4. marble pastry board, 5. brass stars, 6. table, 7. basket }

Well folks, it is another frosty fuck-fest here in NYC. And if you believe in the psychic meteorological powers of America’s most famed rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, then we are looking at another 6 weeks of this arctic anguish.

So to help assuage my wintery blues, I’ve compiled a lust list of just a few of my favorite decor crushes and cravings.

The Italian Botch Job || Deconstructed Chicken Parm

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My roommate and I have been living in our apartment together for a little over 15 months now. And like the parent of an infant child, I’ve been counting our cohabitation in months rather than years. During this time I have wined and dined my lady love with some truly inspired and delicious meals. I have also come eerily close to poisoning her with some of my more inedible cooking catastrophes.

While it is almost always glaringly obvious which category a particular meal might fall into, sometimes, like Robin Thicke’s marital vows, the lines can get a little blurry. This was the case with my deconstructed chicken parm. The recipe called for a skillet. I used a 5-qt dutch oven. The recipe called for sliced mozzarella. I used string cheese. It was a creative interpretation of the recipe. At best.

But before you go on calling me Chef Boyare-don’t, let me tell you this stuff was delicious. There’s something about phallic shaped processed cheese that was just so much more delicious than its fresh round counterpart.

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Photoshop Phorum || How To Replace Backgrounds

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Hay folks hay! Sorry for my cyber absence. I took a bit of a birthday break. But don’t fret, I’m back and with a very useful and phun photoshop phorum! too much?

This tutorial goes through the steps for changing and replacing the background in an image. In this phorum I introduce masks – one of the most powerful and daunting tools in Photoshop. Masks (short for masking tape, I think?) can be really useful for hiding or revealing things in your image. Just like masking tape! I introduce a few handy dandy tips and tricks for masks in this tutorial, but it is (at best) a basic introduction.

One final note before we begin, you will also notice that I make the sneaky (and probably aggravating) assumption that you have patterns already loaded in Photshop. If you don’t, I’m sorry. You can download a few I snagged from Pugly Pixel (here) or check back here for a future phorum on pattern creation!

In the meantime, enjoy and drop me a comment if there’s anything you think i’m missing or that is confusing!

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happy birthday to me || chocolate beatty cake

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It’s my birthday and I’ll bake my own cake if I want to! And this year, I wanted to bake Ina Garten’s Chocolate Beatty Cake.

I rarely ever bake for myself. Of course I taste most of what I bake, but the fruits (or cakes) of my labor are usually for friends, family and coworkers. So when I got the chance to bake something that I really LOVE to eat, there was only one option. Ina. Obviously, Ina.

{i’ve only included one photograph because the rest of the cake was devoured before I had a chance to shoot it}

Gooey Goodies || Artisanal Marshmallows

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It’s my birthday and I’ll eat gluttonous gelatin treats if I want to! Well technically my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but my father was so kind as to bestow my gourmet gift onto me a little bit early this year.

As any four year old will tell you, birthdays are really all about the gifts. And this year, my dad did it big. He combined my love of all things handmade and edible into one magnificent birthday bag. First, there was a gift certificate to Sur La Table. Need I say more? I needn’t. Second, and more deliciously, he got me an assortment of different flavored artisanal marshmallows. That’s right folks, you can buy artisanal marshmallows (from these guys!).

My favorite flavors (in order) were smores, sugar cookie, bourbon and last (and most certainly least) the Guinness flavor. Seriously, don’t get the Guinness.


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My Main (citrus) Squeeze || Whole Lemon Bars

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Lemon bars are to my recipe box, what the little black dress is to any woman’s closet. A necessary classic for uninspired moments. They’re simple to make and I almost always have all the necessary ingredients already in my pantry. And on the (increasingly regular) occasion that all the lemons in my fridge are almost entirely engulfed by mold, I can always find a fresh set at the local grocery store or bodega. Lemons are one of those magical fruits that has no season. Or if they do, I am entirely unaware of it.

Over the past decade, whenever life has given me lemons, I have used this Smitten Kitchen recipe to make lemon bars. I am an orthodox disciple of all that Deb Perlman does, and I would never ever dream of trying another recipe. That is unless, Deb told me to do so.

That was the case with my most recent batch of lemon bars. In the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb proposes a different, even more simple, version of her scrum-didlee-umptious lemon bars. While I was nervous to try these second edition bars, I thought back to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in The Hunger Games Catching Fire movie and was reminded that sometimes, the sequel is better than the first.

So here are some photographs of Deb’s much more stellar second edition whole lemon bars…

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Pumped Up Kicks || My New Sole Mates

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That’s right folks, I gone got myself a brand spanking new pair of sneakers. My excitement for these new sneaks is so large that I could only express myself in ebonics.

I came across these bad boys during a desperate search for a pair of nude pumps. I have a family wedding this weekend and I needed shoes. Needed. But, as a descendant of Casper the friendly ghost, it is nearly impossible for me to find a beige anything that doesn’t make me look sickly. But with the help of a very sassy sales associate James, I  tempted my fair skinned fate and tried on every pale, sand, oatmeal, khaki, and coffee colored heel that Bloomingdales has to offer. By some miracle, James and I were able to narrow it down to two pairs that didn’t make my foot look a fungus infected prop from a zombie movie.

At this point, the only remaining concern was whether or not the shoes would match the dress. So after a quick Google search I found my dress… paired with bright red pumps. Bright red. A normal person might have ignored this alternative color pairing after so seriously committing to a different option. But I was elated! I was free from all the misery and trappings of taupe!

A few moments after this revelation, I had my eyes locked on a pair of coral pointed toe pumps. I had James bring them over, only to discover they were 65% off. I could have left at this point, glee in my heart and lots of extra money in my wallet. But I didn’t. I could feel the gamblers rush. I was on a lucky streak and I wasn’t about to fold. I took one more lap around the floor when I my gaze fell upon the above sneakers. They were not on sale. My sales streak might have ended, but I was not about to give up on my new sole mates.

When I added the cost of the sneakers to the sale price of the pumps, the total still came in way under what I was expecting to spend on the now obsolete off white pumps. Boom. Bang.  Purchase justified. the case of the kicks was closed.

To Brunch or Not To Brunch || Bacon Hash

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When my boyfriend and I first started dating we would go out for brunch every weekend. It was the most delicious of times, and also the most expensive of times. Rather than confess my financial shortcomings to him, I convinced my beau that, staying in and cooking our own brunch would be SO much better. I’m still not sure if he believed that giant load of horse poop, or if he just felt bad for me, but either way, I got my way and we started making (some) of our weekend morning meals at home.

Here are some snaps of this past Sunday’s brunch – recipe inspired by our favorite dish at mile end and adapted from this!

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It’s Been One Week || Celebratory Sea Salt Brownies

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To celebrate my first week of regular posting, I decided to treat myself to some homemade sea salt brownies. I don’t usually eat what I bake – not because it isn’t tasty – but by the time I’ve finished all the measuring, tasting, whisking, tasting, pouring, and some more tasting, I’ve consumed enough sugar to send an average sized toddler into a diabetic coma.

But there is something special about these brownies. They are incredibly simple to make. I’m talking only two bowls and a wooden spoon, kind of simple. They’ve also got the most perfect salty sweet flavor profile that makes them highly addictive. I dare you to eat just one. I dare you!

I use this recipe (sans the caramel, although I’ve made it that way too and it is equally delicious, but a little too sweet for my liking).