Mt. Pilchuck

We've almost hiked Mt. Pilchuck multiple times, but there was always still too much snow or we caved to our love of Mt. Baker and drove past it. But this past Sunday we finally went for it. The sky was so blue and so clear, we could Mt. Baker, Glacier Mt, Three Fingers Mts, Mt. Rainier, and lots of little ones in between. The hike is super popular so there were tons of people crawling all over the trail, makes for great people watching at the top.

We found a great rock shaped with a perfectly angled backrest to hang out on while spying on mountains for lunch, took a quick peak up on the fire lookout up their, and headed back home. It was lovely and I'm so glad we finally made it to Mt. Pilchuck.



Work Parties Galore

We randomly had a lot of work parties to go to this weekend. First up was a dinner at one of Josh's boss's house. The guy went and dove for crab for the party! He also has the best stockpile of fancy wine so it was a fun night and nice to hang out on the patio with everyone.

Next up one of our favorite people in Seattle, James, is leaving. He threw a dinner thing at a friend's house and made so much delicious food it was impossible to stop eating. We sat around the fire, they made up songs and we ate and ate. I brought a chai chocolate cake and whipped a can of coconut cream to top off as frosting. Sad thing to get together for, but a really really great night.


Last up my work had a summer picnic at the zoo. We got free admission and some grilled burgers. I was pulled into facepaint and luckily managed a recognizable puppy on a very cute little girl's face. Then we walked around the zoo with some coworkers until we found dippin dots (one of the main reasons we wanted to go to the zoo) and fed the birds some seeds. Another really beautiful day in Seattle so we just mozied around outside in the sunshine.



I'm in a German Magazine!

Awhile ago a German Magazine Sweet Dreams (dessert magazine) emailed asking if they could print my Grapefruit Curd Meringue Tart in their spring magazine. Uh YES! Fast forward to now and I finally got a copy in the mail proving they published it!

It's a beautiful magazine and I'm beyond flattered that they used my photo (editing out the wood background from a clear glass dish = kudos to whomever took that on) and recipe (I'm certain of it because I google translated the whole thing)

This is what the little medallion by my photo says:

Grapefruit Meringue Tart
successful trio of meringue roses and citrus zests crowns the fruity naschverngnugen* (nibble-pleasure or pleasant to nibble)

 *I couldn't find a translation for naschverngnugen so I asked a coworker that I knew spoke German, but had never really spoken to. He is shy and got a little red when he tried to find an American word meaning "nibble-pleasure." I found it quite fun :)

Also I was excited to see they rated it was :
involvement/difficulty: moderate

and it was the second most difficult one on the page, which I'm really proud of because that means it's a complex recipe that includes technique. I'm even more proud because I didn't follow a prescribed recipe for this dessert but came up with a lot of it and put the combo of flavors together on my own. Which makes this an even bigger deal to me.

Thanks to all of you for the support and encouragement you give me in pursuing baking. Your love got me to here and I couldn't be more thankful!


Bittersweet Chocolate Tarts with Creme Fraiche

I came home in the mood to bake the other day and a lovely friend happened to come over and work as a fabulous assistant. Chatting and baking with a friend = lovely Monday.

Also lovely are these adorable tarts! They are very straight forward and you have to do a few things at the same time but with almost no risk of finding a way to screw them up! Plus they're adorable and delicious!

Bittersweet Chocolate Tarts with Creme Fraiche
adapted from this recipe

makes 1 9" tart or 10 3" tarts, or bunches of mini tarts in cupcake tins-adorable!

1 cup spelt flour (could use whole wheat but the spelt is a great flavor, and you can just buy a cup from grocery store bulk sections!)
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp salt
12 tbs butter; cold
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
2 tbs milk

1     mix flours, sugar, salt in a bowl
2     slice butter into tbs, then using pastry cutter or 2 knives cut butter into flour mixture
3     add 1/4 cup of water and using a spatula mix it in, you want the flour mixture moist
       but not soggy, just enough that it can come together in a dough- this makes for a flaky crust
4     if you need more water, you probably will need 2-3 tbs more, mix it in a tbs at a time
5     flour a surface or parchment paper and turn dough out onto it
6     gather the dough into a rectangle the width of you palm and then frissage the dough,
       frissage is using the heel of your hand the smear the dough across the surface,
       this pushes the butter into the dough
7     as you smear parts across gather the bits into a pile, once you have done all the dough
       gather it into a rectangle and frissage it again
8     separate the dough into two balls, place in bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least
       45 minutes-overnight
9     preheat the oven to 400 degrees F after when you're ready to pull the dough out again
10   pull out one dough ball and roll it so the dough is around 1/8" thick
11   for the mini tarts cut out a circle about a 4" circle and for the cupcake tarts I used
       my largest biscuit circle cutter which was about 2" and worked great
12   lightly spray olive oil spray onto cupcake or tart tins press the dough into desired
       tart tin and repeat with other ball of dough
13   place in fridge for 10-15 minutes
14   pierce the bottom of each tart a few times with the tines of a fork, lay a square of
       parchment paper in each tin and put in some pie weights or just coins to keep the
       dough from rising too much
15   bake tarts until light brown- 4" tarts 10-12 minutes, cupcake tarts 8-10 minutes
16   mix an egg and 2 tbs of milk in a small dish, remove tarts from oven and lightly brush
       each one with the mixture
17   place back in oven for 2-3 minutes
18   pull out and let cool while preparing filling

bittersweet chocolate filling:
1 cup heavy cream
9 oz bittersweet chocolate; finely chopped
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
crème fraiche, pink sea salt, cocoa nibs, edible flowers for topping

1    using a double broiler (or small saucepan filled with water and a pot in it)
      bring heavy cream to a simmer
2    remove from heat, whisk in chocolate, it should all be melted in and become a silky texture
3    whisk in egg and vanilla
4    spoon mixture into tart shells
5    bake for 7-10 minutes, until the chocolate mixture is set and doesn't
      jiggle much when you nudge it
6    remove from oven, let cool and then add on your desired toppings
the crème fraiche is a great choice because it gives a lot of depth and freshness to the flavors


Chocolate Chunk & Pecan Scones

We had a friend stay over the other night but nothing for breakfast in the morning. So I pulled together these scones with what we had and they turned out to be quite simple and perfectly delicious! Even better when eating them with a hot cup of dark coffee.

Chocolate Chunk & Pecan Scones

2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup/1 stick butter; cold!
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used almond milk and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar to make mine)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg; cold
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)
1/2 cup pecans
1 egg yolk
2 tbs milk
cocoa nibs and chocolate chunks for sprinkling on top

1    preheat oven 350 degrees F
2    mix flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl
3    pour  mixture into food processor and add butter in pieces (or use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut in the butter) pulse a few time to chop butter into mixture
4    pour mixture back into bowl
5    in another small bowl whisk together buttermilk, cream, and vanilla
6    slowly pour into flour mixture and stir them together
7    stir in chocolate chips and pecans, don't overmix
8    flour a piece of parchment paper on table, gather dough and place on floured paper
9    knead the dough 2-3 times and then pat into a circle about 1 inch thick
10  put a few chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs on top and push them into the dough
11  cut circle into 8 wedges and pull them apart about 1 inch from each other
12  place parchment with scones on baking sheet
13  whisk together egg yolk and milk, using pastry brush, brush the tops of each scone
14  bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown
15  top them with a little bit of butter and dig in

Outdoor movies & Brewery Patios

This past week we finally made it to an outdoor movie! We grabbed a blanket bought some kettle corn and pizza and spread out on the grass to finally watch the Lego Movie. It was hilarious and I highly recommend it! Better yet though our friends ended up being only a blanket away from us by coincidence, a lovely coincidence. And lucky they were there to help us tackle the kettle corn. There's something awesome about watching a movie after a pink sunset spread out on the grass and laughing with a bunch of people you don't know and then leaving when it's totally dark and finding your way out of the mass.

A group of our friends had a spontaneous cookout and supplied all the food, it was magic. And we played a great game of fishbowl- which includes pictionarying, charading, and one word clue rounds.

And very very sadly one of our friends is headed out on an epic adventure so we spend Saturday hitting up brewery patios on bikes and eating late night hot dogs that are fried or covered in mac and cheese. Also eating people we don't know's fries because I accidentally threw a menu at one of them and they joined our table, so we ate their fries :) And ending the night playing guitars and pretending like we know how a harmonica works and singing folk and bluegrass songs way to loud with our door open.

Side note: I love living in a busy place and leaving our door open, people sometimes get daring and peep their heads in or fishbowl us at our windows.
Side story: the other night a guy was primping himself and I guess didn't realize we could see him, so we waved at him, he made a very embarrassed face and waved back- we loved it!


Rose Frosting stole my heart

This frosting just makes me happy! It's like a marshmallow with a little hint of rose that makes me feel like I'm eating a happy cloud. I always seem to have extra once I'm done frosting a cake and it saves really well in the fridge so I've brought it out and slathered it onto some these cinnamon rolls which was a huge win!

Joshua also frosted my birthday cake in this rose frosting and it has been a hit every time we've made it. The unique but subtle flavoring really intrigues me and kind of loses me for a minute in it's perfect texture, so in other words make this and slather it on everything!

Rose Frosting:

6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
3 cups butter; room temp, cut into 1 tbs pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla bean
1 tbs rose water (beware it's powerful)
1-2 drops pink food coloring (only if you want to)

1   put egg whites and sugar into a metal bowl
2   fill a saucepan with about an inch of water and turn stovetop on medium heat
3   place bowl into saucepan stirring occasionally until it reaches 155-165 degrees F (mixture hot to touch)
4   remove bowl from heat and whisk (best if you have a mixer with a whisk attachment!)
5   beat on high until mixture cools and the egg whites form stiff glossy peaks
6   then using the paddle attachment turn mixer on medium-low and add butter in a few tbs at a time
7   add in vanilla and rose water
8   turn mixer up to medium to medium-hight and mix until it has all come together, may look curdled at some point but keep mixing
9   add in food coloring if you'd like (1 drop goes a very long way!)


Our New Lofty Apartment

This is our new place! It has a strange wall color strangely paired with a bright orange wall and really steep stairs and full height walls blocking off the bedroom. It's awesome! Joshua described it as my dream apartment minus a giant exposed brick wall, and it is. (We even still have a tiny strip of brick that we put our record player under, it's our hearth) I've always wanted a loft and this one has beautiful 20ish foot ceilings and bay windows all the way to the top. We even got to hang our bikes, which makes me feel cool!
hearth :)
steep stairs
all six bikes tucked safely under the stairs

kitchen with no counter space! so we got the cute wood hutch to fix all our woes!
We feel so lucky to have found this place! It feels like we're in a permanent coffee shop that caters perfectly to us! I love leaving the door open with a record on and hearing all the people walking by and sometimes friends randomly popping their heads in. I also leave the door open hoping a puppy will walk in and then I can trap it and make it mine, so far 2! have wandered in but only to the doormat. I think they saw the hunger in my eyes and knew I was thinking of how to trap them inside to snuggle them to death.

worlds largest bathroom, more counter space than kitchen, weird
view from above, love throwing blankets and pillows over the edge
largest bedroom I've ever had and it has a fun bunk bed feeling 

That's it the Elrod's new abode, come visit!!!


Chia Obsession

Haven't had much time for food experimentation lately but I've got a new breakfast favorite that's blowing our minds! It is so simple, you can make it the night before, and it is customizable with very little effort. A coworker couldn't believe I'd never had it before but it was totally foreign to me- Cold Overnight Oatmeal. It is packed with chia seeds and oats that congeal overnight into a delightfully thick consistency. Joshua is obsessed with it and I love how filling it is.

Here it is Cold Overnight Oatmeal:
serves 2

4 tbs chia seeds
1/2 cup quick rolled oats
1 tbs honey or agave syrup
2 cups almond milk

1   mix all these ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and put in fridge overnight


1   pull out oatmeal and put about a cup into each serving dish (I like to put ours in jars to take to work)
2   cut up a banana and put half in each jar
3   sprinkle in some berries or a little jam
4   top with remaining cold oatmeal
4   top with granola or a dollop of almond butter, maybe even a drizzle of honey

I love that any berries or jam will do, pull some from the freezer the night before and stick in fridge until morning, top with almonds or walnuts. I like changing it to how I'm feeling that morning, sometimes a spoonful of almond butter hits the spot.

Also you can make a larger batch for a few days in only a few minutes, gah LOVE

Then since I was really excited about Chia seeds I made some pudding for dessert

Chia Chocolate Pudding:

1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
2 tbs cocoa powder
1-2 tbs honey or agave syrup
optional- pinch of cinnamon or cardamom

1   easy peasy mix it all together, cover, put in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours
2   pull it out and whisk it to get air back in it
3   serve in dishes and top with things like: cocoa nibs, pecans, walnuts, yogurt chips

It is like a fluffy mousse pudding and the bittersweet cocoa just rocked it. I'm officially in a chia seed frenzy (I love that they pack so much protein! and are such little effort to concoct something delicious out of!)


The Elrod's take back July

That is our mantra for this month : The Elrod's take back July

We've been saying yes to everything and after a great adventurous month of June we are ready for a little break. So this past week we did a few chill hangouts, made dinner in our apartment and ran to the beach. We spent this weekend in our neighborhood reading books at coffee shops, walking around in the sunshine and to the fruit stand, playing mancala at a brewery, played lots of guitar and wandering around the seafood festival (great music this year)

Joshua accidentally got a filter stuck on his photos and couldn't get it off
(ha so hipster looking now)

a random amazing bluegrass group we stumbled
upon in the Salmon Bay Eagles Establishment,
they let us and we got an amazing free concert

So far July, you've been just what we've needed!

Also one of the nine machines Joshua is building came through the Ballard locks on Friday so a bunch of his coworkers all came down to watch it. It may only look like a giant white box but inside is a freaking awesome 3 story tall machine that rivets together airplanes partially designed by my husband! He's the coolest and I'm the proudest!

We also finally hung up the last bike so I'll have some apartment photos up soon.