glazed passion fruit bars

Glazed Passion Fruit Bars | daisysworld.net

If you like lemon bars, I think you’ll love this variation of my Meyer Lemon-Mascarpone Bars, which substitutes passion fruit juice for lemon juice. Like lemon bars, these Passion Fruit Bars have a thick, buttery shortbread crust and luscious ooey, gooey filling, but with the distinct, floral flavor and aroma of passion fruit. The sharp tartness of the passion fruit is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the creamy mascarpone. The glaze adds a touch more sweet-tart flavor and a little crunch from the passion fruit seeds.

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orange mocha mousse

Orange Mocha Mousse

Brint: You know what would help you sort through these important issues? 

Derek: What?

Ridiculously Good-Looking Male Models, in unison: ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCINO!!!

- quote from Zoolander, one of my favorite movies

Ok, so this isn’t a frappucino, because who needs the brain freeze in this weather? But, maybe Derek, Brint, and the rest of the ridicously good-looking male models were on to something. If you’re pondering a big decision or are conflicted about something, don’t you think having an orange mocha treat would help you think more clearly?  Well, I think this Orange Mocha Mousse definitely would.  Not only because of the yummy combination of flavors, but did I tell you there’s also booze in here?  Well, just a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur, but  you’re making it, so nobody will know if your hand slips while pouring the booze in and you “accidentally” put more in than the recipe calls for.

Anyway….on to the ridiculously delicious-tasting mousse!

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apricot cornmeal cakes

Apricot Cornmeal Cakes

These days, I am completely obsessed with stone fruits. Every time I go to the store, I pick some up, either to eat fresh or to cook with.  I am featuring apricots in this recipe, but peaches, nectarines, or even plums would work just as well.  I came across this recipe from A Spicy Perspective, a beautiful blog from professional writer, recipe developer, and food stylist, Summer Collier. What intrigued me was her addition of Chinese Five-Spice Powder, which I have only (narrow-mindedly) used in savory dishes.  Continue reading

at the county fair: funnel cake

At the County Fair: Funnel Cakes

For many Americans, going to the state or county fair is as much a summer tradition as baseball and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Despite the searing heat and sweaty crowds, we flock to the fair to enjoy the carnival games, rides, attractions, and, of course, the food. For me, the food is only one reason to go. Shocking, right? I can skip the games (I’m way too old for stuffed animals), the rides (I never understood the appeal of spinning really fast while suspended in mid-air), and the animals (too smelly, too hot, and ewww, too smelly). I just can’t skip the corn dogs, grilled corn, and, of course, the funnel cake! Continue reading

pizza carbonara

PIzza Carbonara

One of the things my husband, Chris, and I like to cook together at home is pizza (recipe here and here). It’s quick and easy to make and allows us to customize and be creative with the toppings. When we have time, we like to make our own pizza dough, but when we’re on-the-go, like this weekend, pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods does the trick just fine.  Just roll the dough and add toppings and it’s ready to go in the oven.

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parmesan bread pudding with baby broccoli, mushrooms, and pancetta

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

It seems that I can’t get too far away from thinking about food and blogging, even if I wanted to. Last Monday, I had a day off from work and I had planned on a rmuch-needed day of rest and relaxation. I was going to read magazines on my iPad, get a mani/pedi, and order some takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant down the street. I wanted a day away from the blog, which meant no cooking, writing, and taking photos. I even banned myself from Pinterest to try to disconnect from anything that might remotely lead me back to the blog.

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breakfast sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, eggs, and aioli sauce

This is one of my favorite things to eat when I get a craving for bacon. I was introduced to this breakfast sandwich a few years ago at Square One Dining in Hollywood, and I’ve been making it at home ever since. This sandwich is delicious in its simplicity, thereby letting each element shine. The key is to use good-quality ingredients. I start out with thick slices of brioche bread, with the ends cut off. Then, just as they do at Square One, I also like to use the applewood-smoked, thick-cut variety from Nueske’s, an online purveyor of smoked meats from Wisconsin. Then, I generously spread the garlicky aioli, which is the secret ingredient to this terrific sandwich.

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eggs in clouds, italian-style

Italian-style Eggs in Clouds

I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this.  Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast.   Continue reading

pumpkin swirl coffee cake

Today I’m doing my best Paula Deen imitation with this recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Coffee Cake which requires almost 12 ounces of butter. I certainly don’t recommend baking with and eating this much butter all the time, but it is a nice indulgence once in a while.  The result is quite possibly the most buttery and moist cake I’ve ever made. It is also  light and tender with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The crumbly pecan and brown sugar streusel made for a great topping, as well as a base, for the cake. My kitchen was filled with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, reminiscent of Thanksgiving, which, by the way, is a mere 56 days away!

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red currant and poppy seed cake

A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious.  On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say!  Continue reading

bacon jalapeño and cheddar cheese biscuits

I love finding more and more ways to use my cast iron skillet.  I know this isn’t a new idea, but I had never thought to use it for biscuits before. What a wonderful way to bake biscuits because they turn out beautifully brown on all sides, with slightly crisp bottoms.  Plus, the biscuits sucked up all the flavor from the drippings of the bacon, which I had cooked in the pan beforehand. Continue reading

pâte à choux: éclairs and cream puffs filled with pistachio cream

Pâte à choux, or cream puff pastry, is versatile dough that is used as a base for many sweet and savory treats.  Strictly speaking, it is more like a thick paste that is made by adding flour to boiling water and butter to form a sort of roux to which eggs are then added. The resulting dough, called panade, should be light, with a smooth and shiny appearance and sticky consistency. Continue reading

pumpkin bread pudding

pumpkin bread pudding
This bread pudding is so fantastic that I’ve decided to serve it at next month’s Thanksgiving Feast instead of pumpkin pie.  It is such an easy and quick dish to make, yet so satisfying.  The rich, warm custard has just the right amount of spices and pumpkin flavor. Garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, this is the perfect fall treat!

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Joe Jost’s Pickled Eggs

Since 1924, Long Beach locals have been flocking to Joe Jost’s, one of the oldest continually operating bars west of the Mississippi. It was originally a barbershop, but it is now known for serving ice-cold schooners of beer (and rootbeer), Joe’s Specials, a Polish sausage on rye bread with Swiss cheese, pickle, and mustard, Virginia-style peanuts, and the best pickled eggs. EVER!!

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