Cherry season is one of the seasonal fruits that I wait for all year. Cherry season signals the start of warm weather and all that gorgeous sunshine that summer has to offer. It also signals BBQs, outside dinners and picnics - the reason I love summer so much.
I love the combination of cherries and almonds because they have a natural affinity for each other. Cherries and almonds are actually related to each other - they are in the same family as peaches, apricots and a lot of other types of stone fruit. You know that saying what what grows together goes well together, well in this instance it is totally true, almonds and cherries are a perfect pair.
I get asked a lot what my are my favorite types of recipes. Do I love to bake, do I love to cook? Well here is the answer I love to bake, that was my first love as a kid, but creating recipes like this is what makes me truly excited. Recipes that are healthy, involve minimal clean up and come together in 30 minutes. I have mentioned this before but I think about my sister a lot when I am developeing these kinds of recipes. Will a mother of 2 be able to do this while wrangling those kiddos and managing a hangry husband? Yes, then it will pass the test!
When I was a kid you convince me to do just about anything by bribing me with donuts. Swim practice, sure as long as I get those Dunkin Donuts munchins after. Church, great as long as I am allowed to eat those those Publix glazed donuts they served after. Don’t judge but this may still holds true as an adult.
When I was first learning to cook, this was my go-to dish to make when we would have people over for dinner. It is an iteration of an Ina Garten dish who uses lobster and anise liquor in hers..so fancy!. I have since expanded my menu slightly for when we have people over for dinner dishes but I still love this recipes. Plus it makes the perfect one pot weeknight super.
The rain has finally stopped and the sun is shining. It had been raining for days and days on end. So much rain it is hard to remember when it started. It just always seemed like it is going to rain. I am not complaining because goodness, the whole state of California was about to shrivel up before it started but I am excited that it is over... for now at least. With all this rain comes the good stuff like all of the flowers in boom and everywhere you look seems to blanketed in bright flourescent green. It is a sign of spring and what's to come. This time of year is always so special in Oakland because I am reminded of everything that grows in this area - there are citrus trees, jasmine, magnolias, roses - the list could go on. I have become a horticulture dork in my old age and love walking the streets staring at everyone else's front yards, especially since ours is pretty busted.
When I lived in NYC (in what seems like a lifetime ago) I worked at the @MetMuseum. It was a pretty dreamy job if you liked art and history. On days when I wanted to venture out for lunch I would walk over to this little bakery on 78th and Madison where I would just have cake for lunch. I was 25 and running marathons at the time so this was totally acceptable in my mind. It wasn’t just any old cake, it was a slice of crepe cake from Lady M Confections.
I recently professed my love of supermarket cakes to someone in the food world and they were appalled. It is the nostalgia that gets me and I will take a supermarket cake any day over a fancy schmancy cake. I grew up on Publix cakes in the southeast and I can still smell the way that bakery smells all these miles away.
This Thai chicken satay combines all of the flavors that I love in Southeast cooking (and yes I know there are a lot them ) It also involves my love of coconut milk. I love using coconut milk in so many dishes because it adds a sweet richness to whatever is begin cook - savory and sweet. And don't get me started on this spicy peanut situation. I could drink that sauce it is so freaking good. Peanut butter is mixed with lime juice, soy sauce and all sorts of other yummy flavors. Be prepared to be obsessed.
Let's talk about how I have become this crazy pie lady! I don't know where it came from. Actually scratch that, I blame my family. We never had cakes growing up - we always had pie. Fast forward to my cooking career and my love of pie has basically taken off. I wrote a cookbook on pie when I was in the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen and have loved, loved creating videos out of pie. It is universal, everyone loves a good 'ol pie
It is crazy how sunshine affects my motivation. There is a reason this south florida raised girl has landed in California! I crave sunshine. It was raining non-stop for the past three months in LA (which is great for the drought, but bad for my motivation). When it rains all I want to do is curl up on the couch with the dog and read a book. But when it is sunny, I feel like I could rule the world. So to the sun is finally out and I am ready to celebrate. Blueberry lemon bars seem like a good thing to celebrate with right?
I get asked all the time to choose my favorite restaurant in LA. Well...that is a hard question. To be honest we haven't tried too many so I am not ready to officially nominate a favorite restaurant, but if I had to stay one of my favorite ones so far, it would be John and Vinny's. Mostly because they serve this amazing chicken cutlet for lunch which is out of this world delicious. It literally is just a chicken cutlet, deep fried, served with a lemony salad dressing - so basically it is fried chicken.