Josh's Birthday Hang Out - the food

The party! was awesome but I love love making food for parties as much as the party!

The cake:
Milk chocolate cake iced in spiked caramel frosting

milk chocolate cake with my favorite airy whipped caramel frosting.

   -I edited it a little by doubling the recipe, adding in 1 cup powdered sugar & 2 tsp spiced rum

Topped the cake with some shards of cocoa nib brittle

I made a trio of homemade hummus and they all turned out to be super tasty. Paired with some cut carrots & naan. The colors of them all and the textures were perfect! They looked so fancy! Bonus- we get to eat all the leftover hummus for lunch the rest of the week. 

Tahini Hummus:
15 oz can of chickpeas; drained, reserve 1 tbs liquid
1 clove garlic
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbs olive oil
sea salt

1   in a food processor combine chickpeas, liquid, garlic, lemon juice, tahini. 
2   scrape down the sides and drizzle in olive oil, pinch of paprika, pinch of salt
3   process until smooth, serve drizzled with olive oil and salt

Agave Sriracha Humus:
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas; drained and rinsed
1/4 cup sriracha
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs agave or honey
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs cold water

1   in a food processor combine chickpeas and garlic until chunky
2   scrape down sides and add sriracha, oil, agave, and salt process
3   drizzle in olive oil and process until smooth

roasted beet hummus:
1 small beet; roasted in oven until easily pierced with fork
15 oz can of chickpeas; drained and rinsed
1/2 lemon; juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil

1   cut beet into large chunks. in a food processor process beet until chunky
2   add in chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini and process
3   scrape down sides, drizzle in olive oil and process until smooth

large meat, cheese, crackers plate with olives & spicy pickled vegetable

I've been dying to make these cute little peppermints. Joshua loves loves Junior mints and these are those inside out. They make tons so a party was finally the time to make them.

chocolate peppermints:
1 lb powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
6 oz dark chocolate

1   beat the cream cheese and gradually add in the powdered sugar
2    mix in the peppermint extract
3    the mixture should be soft but not sticky, if it is too sticky add in 1/4 cup more powdered sugar until you can roll it into balls in your hand. Then place parchment paper on a baking sheet and in batches of 6-8 roll the mixture into small balls. Then using the back of a tsp, dip it in powdered sugar to avoid sticking, press the back of the tsp on top of the balls and make a indent. Repeat until the mixture is all used.
4   place in fridge for half hour. in the meantime in a double broiler melt the chocolate and place in an icing bag.
5   squeeze chocolate into the indent of each peppermint and then place back in fridge until chocolate dries. store in fridge with layers of parchment paper separating each layer of peppermints

and I hung our hanging fruit basket over the table to hold the mustard bowl and pretzels for fun. We don't have a very big table so this saved space and made the food table more dimensional and fun.


Joshua Birthday Hang out

I wasn't allowed to call it a party. Parties overwhelm him, parties thrown for him stress him out. Luckily the perfect amount of people came over to hang out for his birthday and he confessed he had a great time. 

We just hung out at our place and ate appetizers and giant slices of cake, listened to records, and lounged around until some super late hour of the night.

We sang to him & he probably hated it.

I swear I did not ask for them to all sit together.
All these photos were taken because they asked :)

Because I can't help myself, I made an entire food post for the party- up next.


He's 28!

Happy birthday my Joshua!

This is probably one of the first pictures ever taken of us together. We were playing euchre in the dorms, obviously my team was getting beat.

I still feel the joy of this photo, of this time in our lives. We've known each other for 8 years and 6 months, and all I ever want is more time with you. You're the only person I never grow sick of and the only person who sees all the way inside me. I'll never forget the us in that photo and I can't wait for all the us's that we get to grow into together.

For that I'll make you a cake and force everyone to come drink in your honor :)


President's Day off

I had Monday off work so Joshua decided to join me. They only told us about a month ago that we were getting President's day off so all the cabins and such were already booked. Instead we had a city exploring day together, which we really haven't done in a long time.
We bused over to Capitol Hill and ate at Stateside, Seattle Met's 2015 restaurant of the year. It was the lunch menu so it was cheap but so so pretty and everything was delicious! Also since it was Vietnamese food and mostly fresh veggies and homemade sauces it felt like it was all good for you :)

Then we went to the Starbucks Reserve/Roastery. We'd been before but never had any of their drinks. They were decadent! Mine was an Americano with some fancy syrup/flavoring foam that was so thick I tried to take a drink and the liquid couldn't penetrate it. We dipped our cookies in it, so creamy! Joshua's was an espresso with Madagascar vanilla and a little bit of cream. Darn good coffee.

After that we went to Kurt's Ice Cream Shop which is down an unassuming looking space between two buildings. It opens up into a hidden walkway with shops restaurants dotting the sides. I would love to come back to this spot at night, it feels like a secret. The ice cream shop has a dairy farm on Vashon Island and usually makes cheese, but this little store sells ice cream too. We had nocino & salted plum and they were way better than you would think.(Nocino is a liquor made from steeping green, unripe walnuts in spirits, divine)
After that we headed home and took a nap, I believe on a day off you should always nap.


Valentine's Day Dessert

The dessert was very tasty and I love how bright and fun the pistachios make it look. We've been enjoying a slice each day for the past few days, I'll be sad when it ends!
here was our dinner!

Pistachio Shortbread Milk Chocolate Tart:

5 oz shortbread cookies
2/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs butter; melted

1   pulse the cookies, pistachios, sugar and salt in a food processor. Then add in butter and process until the mixture holds together.
2   press the crumbs into a 9" tart tin on the bottom and up the sides. Refrigerate for 15 minutes
3  preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tart in to bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely

1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut oil

1   pulse all this together in a food processor.
2   sprinkle all but a few tbs onto bottom of tart shell. The bit you keep will be to decorate the top of the tart. Gently press the pistachio mixture down onto the tart shell.

5 oz milk chocolate; finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1 egg; beaten

1   in a double broiler bring cream and milk to a light boil and remove from heat. Immediately pour in the milk chocolate. Let sit for 1-2 minutes and then stir until all the chocolate is melted.
2   let sit for 7-10 minutes then beat in the egg.
3   pour into tart shell and bake for 30-35 minutes, chocolate mixture should be set
4   let cool and decorate with remaining pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, mini meringues or anything else you can think of.

I finally gave him a haircut. I forgot how handsome his face is without all the hair in the way :)

Valentine's Day Dinner

Joshua and I opted to cook a fancy dinner for Valentine's Day. We made it an all day affair by simmer sauce all day prepping pasta dough. Around 4 we made some fancy cocktails and asparagus ribbon salad so we wouldn't be hangry while making pasta. Then we rolled out all the pasta and let it hang to dry, made another cocktail and rolled into our olive bread heated in butter and rosemary. Once the pasta was dry we boiled it all up added the sauces and moved over to our trunk set up in candles. Eventually made our way to playing a short round of darts, then ate some pistachio chocolate tart and watched the 007 Spectre movie.
So in less words, we slowly ate tons of carbs all day!
I love egg white cocktails. Joshua is good a making fancy cocktails. Ergo I passed the recipe I wanted onto him in hopes that it would turn out well. Luckily I was right and it turned out tasty and a cute shade of purple. The egg white foam was a successs!
The Elk's Own:
double it to make 2 drinks
1 1/2 oz straight rye whiskey
1 oz Ruby Port
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 large egg white
1   place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake viciously for 3-5 seconds
2   add a few ice cubes and shake again for 8-10 seconds
3   strain into cocktail glass

We hadn't tried uncooked asparagus salads before and it turned out to be delicious. I've only made asparagus ribbons once before and it is a little frustrating at the beginning but once I got the hang of it all was well. This salad looks really impressive but is quite simple and delivers great flavor.

Asparagus Ribbon Salad:
1 lb asparagus
1/2 lemon; juiced
olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts; toasted
sea salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

1   rinse off asparagus and using a vegetable peeler strip the stalks into ribbons, from the end toward the tip
2   toss asparagus ribbons in a bowl with a sprinkling of lemon juice and olive oil
3   place in gentle bundles on 2 plates and top with pine nuts, salt & pepper, and parmesan cheese

We feel we are now master pasta makers- we didn't jam up the machine with sticky dough at all this time! We used the same recipe as last time found here.

For the pasta we made the most complicated Bolognese sauce I've ever attempted. We had to make 2 pestos and then the sauce. I really want to try the 2 pestos though with just the pasta, they were even quite tasty on their own. In the end it was definitely worth it and had so much great flavor!
Chorizo Bolognese sauce:
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb ground chorizo
2 cloves garlic; minced
28 oz can whole peeled roma tomatoes
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto; recipe below
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 dried bay leafs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 cup baby kale
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup manchengo cheese
parmesan cheese
1   in a large pot or dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add in the chorizo and brown all over. Then add in the garlic for 2-3 minutes.
2   crush the tomatoes into the pot with your hands, watch for splatter. Stir in the whole milk, wine, pesto, basil, oregano, pepper flakes, pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 20-30 minutes over medium low heat, stir occasionally.
3   The sauce is technically done after this but for more flavor simmer, covered, on low heat for all day, stirring occasionally.
4   when ready to serve pasta, in a food processor process the sage, kale, olive oil and manchengo cheese into a pesto
5   cook pasta unil al dente. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Place pasta back in pot and add kale pesto. Add in pasta water a few tbs at a time until a sauce forms
6   plate pasta and then add on a heaping ladleful of chorizo Bolognese. Top with parmesan cheese

Sun-dried Tomato pesto:
can be made a few days in advance and kept in the fridge, also makes a good sauce on it's own.

6-8 ounces sun dried tomatoes; drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

1   place all ingredients except oil in a food processer and grind together
2   slowly drizzle in olive oil until pesto has formed
3   store in air tight container in fridge

I'm going to do a dessert post separately, as this one is already quite hefty.


Galentine's Day

I had the pleasure of spending Friday evening with my friend Liz. We had a Galentine's day evening. We wore pink and snuck in just under happy hour ending to snag sparkling rose that matched our outfits. The evening consisted of truffle fries, truffle mac & cheese, and a grilled salad for good measure. We sat at our little high table for quite a while talking and laughing. One of those nights where you'd be okay if it didn't end and the whole thing somehow works out to be just perfect.
To round it out we grabbed the best chocolate cake I've ever had in my whole life. I take cake seriously and I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it. Generally I don't even like chocolate cake! One was chocolate cake with the creamiest most perfect white chocolate frosting and the other had a decadent caramel frosting. It was extremely hard to stop once I was stuffed and not just go for it and finish it anyways. It's from Simply Dessert in Fremont and it's open until 11pm. I promise I will ride my bike to this place late one night in the oncoming weeks.
Lovely lovely time with a lovely lovely woman!

Leslie Knope on Galentine's Day- "Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas."


Rosewater & Pistachio Rice Krispie Treats

In honor of the oncoming Valentine's Day I wanted to make something unexpected. But, looking in my kitchen I didn't have the ingredients to really make anything, anything except marshmallows that is. I also spotted my rosewater and I love any excuse to put a few drops of that in so rosewater marshmallows were born.
I popped one in my mouth and it was super delicious but it felt lonely. So then pistachio rice krispie treats with rosewater marshmallows came to be. The light pink color of the marshmallows shows up in the rice krispie treats and I love the small flecks of pistachio within. They turned out adorable and most importantly delicious. Now I'm off to share them!
Rosewater & Pistachio Rice Krispie Treats:
4 cups rosewater marshmallows, recipe below
1box Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 cup crushed pistachios
6 tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz white chocolate
1/2 cup pistachio crumbles for decorating

1   cut piece of parchment to overhang sides of 9x13 pan. Coat with coconut oil
2   in a pot melt butter and marshmallows, stir until combined
3   pour Rice Krispies into large bowl, our marshmallow mixture over top, add salt and pistachios.
4   Carefully stir it all together and press into prepared pan with an oil greased wooden spoon
5   let sit until set, 30-60 minutes
6   Pull out of pan by parchment and cut into 2"x3" bars
7   Over a double broiler melt the white chocolate. Dunk one end of each bar into the chocolate, place on parchment paper, sprinkle each with pistachio crumbles. Let dry.

Rosewater Marshmallows:
1/2 ounce unflavored gelatin (2 packets)
1/2 cup cold water
2 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp rose water
1 drop red food coloring

1  cut piece of parchment to overhang sides of 9x13 pan. Coat with oil and shake in cornstarch or powdered sugar to cover
2  in a small bowl put 1/2 cup water and sprinkle gelatin over top, set aside
3   In a large mixer bowl whip 2 egg whites until soft peaks form,set aside
4   In a saucepan,over medium-high heat, place 1/2 cup water in and add sugar. Stir until sugar is melted, brush sides of pan with water and let come to a boil. Simmer until mixture is at 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
5   Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until melted
6  with mixer on medium, pour sugar mixture slowly down the sides of the bowl until it is all incorprated. Then mix in rosewater and food coloring.
7   Immediately pour into prepared pan and smooth out. Let sit for overnight or at least 4 hours, until set
8   Cut with a warm knife into 1" cubes


Winnie the Pooh Cake

I had the honor of making a co-worker's daughter her first year birthday cake. She is a Winnie the Pooh and pink & purple fan so I went quite cute on this one. I love the way the marzipan that I colored for the honey contrasts with the frosting texture. Sometimes you plan something and it turns out nothing like you envisioned, I was so glad the drippy honey was an exception to that!
It was a vanilla cake with a blueberry filling and marzipan "honey." I drew out, scanned in and laser cut Pooh & Piglet and then colored them with watercolors. I love that the colors turned out so well for that! Her smash cake is a cute butterfly which was darn near impossible to ice! I heard that she really went for it which makes me happy. Love it when they just dig their hands in it smash cake on their faces!
This coworker is one of my best customers and I'm very grateful for it! She lets me run with whatever vision I want for the cake and hopefully I don't disappoint. Her other daughter's first birthday cake was one of my favorites- the hungry hungry caterpillar