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.
Everything is going to be fine. You’re cooking tonight’s Valentine’s dinner, but still haven’t decided what to make. First, take a deep breath, and realize you’re not the only one browsing the web for “romantic home-cooked meals” right now. We’ve gotcha covered, and have definitely been there before. There was the time we waited to buy champagne on our way to a New Year’s party, only to learn the store was sold out of everything bubbly. And the time we tried to buy eggs on Easter morning, finding the dairy case completely empty. Sometimes procrastination works, and sometimes it does not. But no worries: your Valentine will never know you were browsing our site at the last minute on this intimate holiday. In fact, from the very first sip of the evening’s cocktails, it will seem as though you’ve been planning this special night for a long time. And when you bring out this first course, pan-seared artichoke with an aioli trio, and see the smile on your date’s face, it can be our little secret that you just discovered it today.
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.
Adam: It didn’t matter that Ryan had to get up at 4:30am yesterday. He was determined to test these cocktails with me late Sunday night after his choir rehearsal. Energized from making beautiful music with his friends and excited to spend this week filming a part in a new television show—which we will tell you more about once we are allowed to—he rolled up his sleeves and together we began testing after 10pm, even though he had to wake up in just a few hours. Thankfully, this drink didn’t take long to perfect, and after sampling a bit of this and a touch of that, we literally stumbled upon a secret ingredient that turned this delicious cocktail into one of the tastiest we have ever tried. Ryan was able to get to bed quickly while I finished the dishes, and because of his hardworking dedication, today we are able to present a hopping new beverage that will soothe your soul and alleviate your winter. Say hello to the white rabbit.
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.