Yesterday we got to meet Oliver the pig. He’s the mascot for Hedley & Bennett, a local company known worldwide for their stylish handmade aprons. His owner Ellen was co-hosting a Southern-themed Sunday brunch at her house along with the folks from Bake From Scratch Magazine, and we were two of the lucky attendees. Tucked away in the steep hills of Echo park, this colorful and artistic home has breathtaking views of the city. Lush gardens filled with native plants and purple sages surround the property which is also home to a half dozen chickens as well as our new friend, Oliver. Apparently he was misbehaving before we arrived, so he spent most of the afternoon in a “time out” behind a wooden gate atoning for his sins. But after a welcoming Southern brunch featuring Rebecca’s homemade melt-in-your-mouth Meyer lemon scones, Brian’s brown butter hummingbird coffee cake, Gaby’s beer bread, and a live demonstration from Callie’s Biscuits on how to make authentically Southern buttermilk biscuits, we took a peek behind the gate and introduced ourselves to the peppy pig before saying our goodbyes. It was hard to leave of course, but we had some important business to attend to at home. And by “business” we mean peanut butter cheesecake.
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Some of you will go out to your favorite restaurant, and perhaps see an entertaining play, while others will choose to stay in. It’s the perfect occasion to sip refreshing cocktails, cuddle under warm blankets, and binge-watch Westworld for the third time this year. The two of us will be doing just that: hoping for a rainy night, cooking a simple meal together, and enjoying a quiet, candlelit dinner at home. Over the weekend, our talented mixologist friend, Prairie (who won “Best Cocktail Blog” at the 2014 Saveur Blog Awards), called to ask if we wanted to collaborate with her to create a dessert that would pair with the new cocktails she made for the upcoming holiday. Desserts? Cocktails? Clearly, this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, and on Saturday, Prairie came over to our house where we sampled and photographed her lovely creations. A splendid time was had by all, and after several rounds, the inspiration and creativity flowed like electricity. Ideas of chocolate and sweet treats were coursing through our veins. Suddenly, lighting bolts pierced the sky while a crack of thunder ripped through the atmosphere. The lights in our kitchen flickered then blacked out, as we stood there staring at each other in disbelief. We peered out the window, and could not believe our eyes: chocolate mocha lava cakes were falling from the sky, like snowflakes floating down gracefully from puffy clouds of whipped cream. This was a sign: a sacred chocolatey message sent from the heavens. These decadent mini cakes just so happened to be the perfect pairing with Prairie’s potations, and we knew it was our responsibility to take this holy treat and share it with the world. Say hello to this divine dessert: your Valentine’s Day just got a little more magical.
When life gives you rain, make cupcakes. Well, maybe the saying doesn’t go quite like that, but it is exactly what’s happening today. So put on warm pajamas and a comfy robe, turn on your favorite tunes, and start a hot pot of coffee, because you have earned this. It’s been four weeks since you committed to those New Year’s resolutions, and it’s time to take a well-deserved break from that Whole-Paleo-Whatever diet you’ve been trying and reward yourself with some delicious cake. This isn’t just any ordinary dessert: this cake is here to make all your sweet dreams come true. So turn off the tv, put down your phone, and start preheating your oven—these horchata cupcakes are here to ease your mind, soothe your soul, and satisfy your mouth.
The restaurant we used to visit on birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions recently shut down. There are other locations, but the nearest one is now over forty miles away. They specialized in delicious fondues and the entire meal was prepared at your table. The three-course dinner would always begin with a cheese fondue of your choice. One of the friendly servers knew how much we liked garlic, so he would make sure to pile loads of it into the pot along with the shredded cheese, spices, and splashes of beer or wine that would cook until bubbling hot and fragrant, right in front of you. Cubes of crusty bread, sliced celery, carrots, and apples would accompany this savory appetizer, which was still light enough to leave room for the next two courses. The main entrée fondue was a tangy Caribbean-inspired broth, aromatic with fresh garlic and citrus. For vegetarians they offered a platter of artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, broccoli florets, cheese ravioli, and mixed vegetables that is simmered in the zesty broth at your leisure. But the most difficult thing to choose on the menu were the dessert fondues. With decadent combinations like chocolate peanut butter, chocolate caramel, and even s’mores fondue, we made sure to try a new one every time. Our local restaurant is long gone, so we took matters into our own hands and figured out a way to recreate this festive dessert at home, and amazed ourselves by turning it into something even better than the original. This pure white chocolate fondue is here to start 2017 off with a warm—and deliciously sweet— welcome.
Sweets or not to sweets, that was the question. As we sat there finishing those brownie-like chocolate sugar cookies, we thought we’d try switching things up and post something on the healthier side. Well… clearly from the photo above, that’s not happening today. Maaaybe next time—although we can’t promise anything because this is a special time of year when eating apple-cider cookies for breakfast with your gingerbread hot chocolate is totally acceptable. So have a salad for lunch and save room for these cups of heaven for dessert: triple chocolate peppermint parfaits—here to make your holidays merry and oh so bright.