Thank you, West Elm, for including me in your 4 Questions series. Let’s eat some pie!
While you may still be a bit overstuffed from Thanksiving, this is a perfect time to remind you that we’re officially in holiday mode which means S-W-E-E-T-S! And I really do want to remind you as well that the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest is well under way!
You’ve entered, right? What do you mean you haven’t? What?
Get on it!
This year the category is Sandwich Cookies, and if that’s not exciting enough, there’s the chance to win a $25,000 grand prize. That’s a lot of cash!
To be eligible, combine any Scharffen Berger chocolate with one or more of 12 select “adventure ingredients” (yerbe mate, coconut cream, tapioca flour, corn meal, pine nuts, sweet potato and other ingredients native to cacao-belt countries) in an original recipe. Whether whoopie pie, macaron, s’mores, ice cream sandwich, alfajores or any other sandwich cookie—you can enter up to 10 recipes total. More information at www.chocolateadventurecontest.com.
So get those creative, cookie-minds started, folks! The $25,000 prize is nothing to laugh at, and you can enter up to 10 recipes.
This past summer I photographed some delicious holiday items for Target. As in that Target. As in one of my favorite retailers. And can I tell you something? Working with them was every bit as fun and exciting as I thought it would be. Such wonderful people. The signs are up now, if you’re in your local Target you might see them. And if you see the pie shot in store, please know that I ate an entire pie all by myself.
Food Styling: Susan Sugarman Prop Styling: Kate Martindale
I’ll spare you the tale of Work, because that would seem like I’m complaining. I am not. Lots and lots of things have changed in the past few months, all great things that are keeping us really busy. Perhaps the biggest thing is that we bought a house. A lovely beautiful California Spanish-style home built in 1928, and it could not be more California if it tried. It’s sweet, quaint, and I’ll share some before-and-after photos just as soon as we’re done with decorating, which at this rate should be by 2037.
Although we moved in 3 months ago, we’ve had no time to enjoy the new digs. In fact, these past two weeks have been the first time we’ve been home together with a somewhat regular schedule, and all those things one does are starting to happen again: cooking dinner, sitting on the couch, grabbing a book and sitting next to a window and reading, organizing a garage. I am loving these life activities, and with the way things have been they are just like mini-vacations to me. I never thought I’d say that but it’s true. And considering what’s happening to a huge chunk of the country right now, to have a regular life with a roof over one’s head and working utilities is a blessing. A huge blessing.
This morning I’ll be able to do something I’ve wanted to for a long time: I will make breakfast. In my new kitchen. For us. Novel, ain’t it? But this breakfast will be the first that doesn’t involve two slices of bread and a razor thin smear of Marmite. It will be leisurely, satisfying, and made from The Picky Palate Cookbook: 133 Recipes for Even Your Pickiest Eaters by Jenny Flake. Jenny’s new book just hit the store shelves right before halloween, have you seen it? It’s as lovely as Jenny is, packed with delicious recipes that are neither daunting nor fussy, they’re just right and will surely get you in the kitchen cooking.
And when I say everything is delicious, I mean it. How do I know? I photographed it!
And yes, I am trying to remain as objective and partial as I can, but to know Jenny is to love her so you’ll have to excuse my bias, ya know.
This morning we’ll be digging into this Streusel Baked French Toast, which I’m pretty sure I ate the entire pan, if memory serves me correctly. You can’t blame me. And in the next few weeks I’ll see if I can run my favorite recipe from the book, something that had me drooling and freaking out from its deliciousness. In the meantime, there’s a new kitchen waiting for me to get busy. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
Streusel Baked French Toast from The Picky Palate Cookbook by Jenny Flake; John Wiley & Sons. Photograph © Matt Armendariz.
1 12.5-ounce French baguette
8 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Cut the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and layer in the prepared baking dish. Add the eggs, milk, heavy cream, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, the vanilla, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to a large bowl, whisking to combine. Pour over the bread.
3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, the flour, butter, cinnamon, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a medium bowl. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is combined with the flour and the mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle evenly over the bread. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve drizzled with maple syrup.
Many thanks to Jenny and Justin! And to help those still in need from Hurricane Sandy, the American Red Cross makes it easy to donate online.