For those of you who made it past the unexpected title, welcome! You are in for a treat. One of our favorite restaurants to visit on special occasions is The Stinking Rose. They are famous for menu items like their 40-clove garlic chicken, but since we are both vegetarian, we choose from the array of garlicky pasta selections on the menu. The meal officially begins when the server delivers bagna cauda to the table: a hot iron skillet sizzling with roasted garlic which spreads onto crusty slices of baguette like smooth butter. If you still have room after the main course, you cannot leave without trying their famous garlic ice cream with caramel molé sauce. As odd as it may sound, it is actually quite delicious, and from this eclectic eating experience we have learned to not judge a dessert by its title. While some of you may think that mixing avocado and chocolate is sacrilege, let us assure you it is quite the opposite. In fact, if you didn’t know there was actually avocado in this chocolatey dessert we are sharing today, you would probably never guess. With just eight simple ingredients, this creamy no-bake pudding is here to shock your mind and your mouth.
While the east coast is experiencing heavy snow storms and below-freezing temperatures, we are relaxing in our family room at ten o’clock in the evening, cooling down our house with the windows open, listening to the calming sounds of an owl hoo’ing in a nearby tree. It reached ninety degrees today here in Eagle Rock, California. Apparently Mother Nature had no interest in Spring this year, as she’s already in flip-flops and sunglasses, sipping passion coladas on a private beach in the south of France. How do we know that? We emailed to remind her that some of us enjoy all four seasons, but we got an automated out-of-the-office response to contact her partner, Flora. But since this is her busiest time of year, we were left on our own, trying to figure out ways to stay cool. It was much too hot for hiking today, so we pumped up the A/C, turned on some summer tunes, and consumed the clock, creating a cure that could cool our cores. For national pi day, we took our favorite girl scout cookie and turned it into a dreamy pie—ultra-rich and mint-chocolatey delicious. You can almost feel the chilly breeze as we introduce her to you: please meet the lusciously invigorating thin mints pie.
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.