brie bites with sugared cranberries

Brie Bites  with Sugared Cranberries | daisysworld.net

Oh my gosh!  I can’t believe the holidays are here and that means parties galore. Whether you’re hosting a party or need to bring something to one, why not give this recipe a try? These Brie Bites with Sugared Cranberries will make a stunning addition to any holiday table and is a wonderful accompaniment to the festive cocktails of the season. It’s made with rich and creamy Brie cheese and topped with sugar-frosted cranberries. They make a simple, yet elegant appetizer. It’s  actually quite easy to make, but it requires some planning as the fresh cranberries are best when soaked in simple syrup overnight. 

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pumpkin rice pudding

Pumpkin Rice Pudding | daisysworld.net

I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy,  it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency. Continue reading

mini pumpkin butter and orange cream cheese sticky buns

Mini Pumpkin Butter and Orange Cream Cheese Sticky Buns

“I could eat a million of these!,” exclaimed my husband, Chris, as he took a bite out of the first of many mini sticky buns he had for breakfast. I definitely agree with him as not only are they cute, but they are delicious and very easy to make. These miniature version of sticky buns are filled with orange-flavored cream cheese and pumpkin butter and topped with a pecan and brown sugar glaze.  Continue reading

orange buttermilk pancakes with blackberry maple syrup

Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Blackberry Maple Syrup

Made-from-scratch pancakes take a few minutes longer to make than the pre-packaged mix, but they are definitely worth the extra effort. These tender and flavorful Orange Buttermilk Pancakes are perfect for soaking up the homemade Blackberry Maple Syrup. I topped these pancakes with fresh blackberries and peaches, but any other berry, sliced bananas, and toasted nuts would be delicious as well. Continue reading

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

strawberry rhubarb mini-tarts

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini-Tarts

I don’t often repeat things on the blog, but I love the concept of tarts made with puff pastry so much that I made another version, this time with a strawberry and rhubarb filling. These simple and easy to make tarts come together quickly once the sheet of frozen puff pastry is thawed, so these mini-tarts are great if you’re pinched for time. The best part is that they’re absolutely delicious. I love the flaky layers of dough as the base for tart rhubarb, sweet strawberries, and an almond crumble flavored with a hint of cinnamon. There’s also a hidden layer of orange-scented cream cheese on the bottom that gives these mini-tarts a touch of creaminess.

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spiced cocktail nuts

spiced cocktail nuts

As a kid, I used to love those mixed nuts that came in a big can. My mom would buy the one with the peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans. We each had our favorites. I would fight one brother for those enormous brazil nuts and the other for hazelnuts, but my absolute favorites were the cashews. Both my mom and I loved them. When the can eventually got passed to my dad, he had to settle for the peanuts and almonds. The pecans were almost always left on the bottom.

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vietnamese coffee ice cream in a cardamom, almond, and orange tuile

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

I guess I picked the wrong week to give up ice cream (see my last post).  My intentions were good, having recently acquired chef and cookbook author, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I told myself I would explore the somewhat lighter offerings from his granitas and sorbets sections. Blood Orange Granita…Champagne-Cassis Granita…Nectarine Granita…Tangerine Sorbet…Cherry Sorbet.  So many choices!  I settled on Pink Grapefruit Granita (again, see my last post).  It was light, zingy and refreshing.  I loved it and felt very satisfied with myself for avoiding most of the fat and some of the calories of full blown ice cream.  I was off to a good start.

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cranberry-orange walnut bread

 

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic, but a lot of fun and I’m sure that the next couple of weeks will be too. Last month I went to London and a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to New York. Tomorrow I’m taking the train down to San Diego for a shopping trip with my girlfriends and next week I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my parents in Las Vegas.  While I am loving the time off and the opportunity to travel, I have not had much time to cook and, as I am sure you have noticed, post entries to my blog. Continue reading

pumpkin cookies with brown sugar & orange glaze

pumpkin cookies

Aaaaah!  It’s finally starting to cool off here in Southern California, which really gets me in the mood for fall baking. I look forward to this time of the year, when I can relax with a cup of hot cocoa and a sweet treat.  A couple of weeks ago, I featured a pumpkin coffee cake, and this time, I have a pumpkin cookie recipe to share with you. If you are a fan of soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, you will definitely like these. They are tender and fluffy, almost resembling mini cakes.

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almond and orange shortbread cookies

I have always loved reading catalogs from my favorite stores like West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and CB2.  To this day one of my guilty pleasures is leafing through pages looking for food styling inspirations and new props to use for plating.  I’ve been busy lately, but yesterday I finally had a time to relax with a cup of coffee, a cookie or two (or three) and my pile of catalogs.  Naturally, I found a few things I want so I folded down the page corners and left the catalogs conspicuously on the coffee table in the hopes my husband would get some hints for my upcoming birthday.  I wonder if it will work? Continue reading

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