Tuesday, February 28, 2012

giveaway! win a copy of the 'joy the baker cookbook'

Hi all! Today I'm giving away a copy of the brand-new, just-released-today Joy the Baker Cookbook! It's full of delicious-looking photos and even more delicious-looking recipes -- it definitely deserves a place on your bookshelf. Unless you hate butter and sugar. And if that's the case, we can't be friends.

To enter, please leave a comment here. I'll pick a winner by 5 P.M. E.S.T. Good luck!

UPDATE: Gab, you are the winner! Please email me your address. Thanks for playing!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

what's for dinner, joy the baker?

Oh, Joy the Baker, how I admire you. You have such a breezy, charming blog, you've got a talent for making anything made with butter and sugar (and other things as well), and you have this great looking, sunshine-filled life in California. At least that's how it seems to this reader, anyway.

If you haven't discovered Joy's blog yet, do yourself a favor and click on over there. And once you've become hooked, like me, you'll probably want to pick up her brand new cookbook, which out this week. (Stay tuned for a giveaway!) Here, she shares all of her dinner party secrets.

1. Name, occupation, and city
Joy Wilson a.k.a. Joy the Baker. Baker, author, butter appreciator. Venice, California

2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?
I threw a dinner party to celebrate Valentine's Day. It's was super simple: oysters and champagne. Every couple got an oyster shucking glove, an oyster knife, and a lesson in shucking. Shuck, eat, sip, retreat.

3. What is the best menu you've ever made for company?
I'm such a sucker for a solid brunch menu. My favorite brunch involves homemade Bloody Marys and fresh waffles with a sweet and savory waffle topping bar. People just about lose their minds for this brunch.

4. What's your preference: wine, beer, cocktails?
I love a well-crafted cocktail. Right now I love gin with elderflower soda and a few slices of cucumber.

5. What's your favorite dinner party soundtrack?
I'm so immersed in food preparation that music is sometimes the very last thing that crosses my mind. My friends know this and usually come with their iPods to play. Yeah...I'm that bad when it comes to music. Does crackling cooking bacon count as a soundtrack?

6. Some friends are coming over for a last-minute dinner. What do you make?
Easy! Grab a baguette, greek yogurt, cucumber, olives, and lox. You can spice and season the yogurt with whatever you have on hand: ground cumin, smoky paprika, fresh parsley, lemon juice and zest, or a bit of minced garlic. On a big board, arrange sliced bread, sliced cucumber, olives, yogurt spread and lox. Open a nice bottle of white wine and have people arrange little salmon bites for themselves. Throw together a quick salad for a more substantial dinner situation...but above all, keep it simple!

7. Do you usually cook everything yourself, or do you have help?
I usually cook everything. Maybe I'm a bit of a control freak in the kitchen... maybe.

8. Do you ever buy store-bought food, or is everything on your table made from scratch?
I make most everything from scratch, or buy it from places that make it from scratch. Good, quality, real food is super important to me.

9. What do you like to serve for dessert?
Dark chocolate chunks. Coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts. Soft, sweet whipped cream. Simple and comforting flavors.

10. If you could invite anyone over for dinner (living or dead), who would it be?
Easy... Julia Child.

[Photo credit: Michael Friedman]

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a note fromm mabel

Mabel heere.

Woh, look at me. I am soo sleepee. Mommee tuk thes peechtur after thes peeple-dog cam to my haus. They colled it a baybee. Wot is this? I thot. It loked like a leetle peeple but crowled on the flor and stol my toys lik a dog. And it beet Mommees fingur with its shorp teth. Wot was this theng theenking? Onlee I can do thees to Mommee!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

link-o-rama, valentine's day edition

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but I love any excuse to make something sweet. So if you're looking for last-minute treats to make for your valentine, or friends, or co-workers, here are some fun ideas.

Food + Wine
's most beautiful desserts
[via F+W]

Two-ingredient chocolate mousse [via Food52]

15 easy dessert recipes for Valentine's Day [via iVillage Food]

The Kitchn's best chocolate recipes [via The Kitchn]

Love potion cocktail [via Eat Make Read]

Salted caramel pretzel pie(!) [via Good. Food. Stories.]

Gorgeous chocolate desserts from Bon Appetit [via BA]

In the box (above):
Candied orange peel
Candied ginger-topped bourbon balls
Mint chocolate truffles
Chocolate blocks

And from the Dinner Party archives:
Chocolate-hazelnut semifreddo
Chocolate peanut butter squares
World Peace Cookies
Oatmeal coconut raspberry bars
Best-ever brownies

Monday, February 6, 2012

sleeper hits

Another weekend, another brunch. Maybe I should change the name of this blog to Brunch Party?

Thankfully, this brunch was more successful, food-wise, than the last one. There was also a bottle of prosecco involved, which makes everything taste better.
Our friend Julie came over to meet Mabel (and see us, of course) so I made a sausage and chard frittata, a pretty winter citrus salad with pomegranate seeds and chive biscuits. Which were not as puffy as I'd like. They were more like chive discs. Tasty, though.


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