Instagram Lately: Watch With Glittering Eyes

September 2014

I recently saw a praying mantis land on a pregnant belly, and a rainbow emerge over a wedding party. The week was full of good omens and slices of sweetness.

Quince and Cake

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

- Roald Dahl

Blue City

May you find some magic this week!



P.S: You can follow all of my rosy and blue toned Instagram adventures here.

Donut O’ The Month for JoJoTastic: Nutella Coconut Baby Donuts

September 2014

Dear Donut Lovers,
ie: Dear Everyone in the World,

I am so excited to announce I will be devoting a fraction of my monthly food brainstorming to the creation of donut recipes to inspire your coffee dunking. You’ll be able to find these recipes at my pal Joanna’s blog JoJoTastic.

Donuts and Nutella

Joanna is a social media powerhouse, filling the web with inspiration and beauty left and right, and not to mention some pretty cute pet photos too. To kick off this Donut O’ The Month series, I bring you the Nutella Coconut Donut.

Donuts and Toppings

I’ll be bringing you a new homemade nutella recipe soon, but in the meantime, you can use this version from my archives.


Stay tuned for more donut adventures!

A Garden Hot Dog & Dessert Party

September 2014

Often mocked for its mysterious components, the hot dog is an institution even I can’t deny. Mind you, the idea of leathery dogs rolling repeatedly on a lamp-heated conveyor makes me sincrely nauseous (ie: on the verge of dry-heaving while typing), but the idea of a quality link, grilled to perfection, is garden party worthy! Thus, some good friends and I gathered in the Floral King’s garden on a summer night to celebrate the good ol’ hot dog in new ways.

Hot Dog Party Table

Watermelon Salad

Friends arrived with plenty of wine, and we put them to work adding the finishing touches to the apps and sides! Bess added mint from Thommy’s garden to this watermelon, black olive and feta salad. Don’t skimp on olive quality here- good olives make all the difference! Meanwhile, other willing workers prepared the prosciutto-wrapped, melon skewers destined for the grill.

Prosciutto and melon

Thommy (ie: The Floral King) picked fresh herbs and hibiscus from his garden, which we mixed with various wines, vinegars, peaches and strawberries. We left the fruit to marinade while we ate, and after the hotdog feast, we grilled the fruit in the garden-inspired marinades.




The key to a good hotdog party? In our book, the crucial elements are quality meats (sans weird, unpronounceable preservatives and the like) and corn-syrup-free buns. Yours truly might have forced a grainier bun, but I was willing to respect certain traditions. Being the controlling curators we are though, we divided the table into three hot dog flavor profiles. Being the drama queens/kweens we are, we theatrically demonstrated the assembly of each style:

The Picnic

The Picnic Dog
A Thommy Conroy creation

Potato Salad

(I like to make my potato salad with Greek Yogurt, but the Floral King insists the classic store-bought potato salad is the key to this combo)

Banh Mi Fixins

Bánh mì (3)

The Bánh Mì Dog

Sriracha + Mayo (organic versions of both preferably)
Cucumber Slices
Daikon Carrot Slaw (Recipe coming soon)
Jalapeño Pepper Slices
Ginger Sauce or the Asian Condiment of your choice (ex: Hoisin)

Assembly and Decor

The Garden

The Garden Dog

Blue Cheese
Garden Fresh Tomato
Garden Fresh Arugula
(hot dog link not shown but definitely included)


Hot dogs and a fancy, excessive dessert spread go hand-in-hand in this garden world. Layers of almond, vanilla cake paired deliciously with the varieties of stewed fruits, homemade whipped cream and a special frozen coffee dessert (recipe coming soon).

Flower Reflection

Another round of Romanian wine finished the night (check out those floral reflections! That bottle looks like a magical place for bees!)!

Though fall and pumpkin flavors will quickly be upon us, I hope you have the chance to sneak in a hot dog party of your own, maybe even over a campfire!


Happy Hot Dogging!

#TBT: A Very Important Question

September 2014

My answer is “none of them, of course,” but that’s not to say this isn’t a valid question…


All purist baker snobbery outside, “4th Meal” is my favorite meal, or at least, a close second to brunch.

#TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) glimpse into the vintage visual feasts in my personal collection of food and entertaining books.


Happy Debating!

Instagram Lately: Balancing Acts & Buckwheat Pancakes

September 2014

Lots of people talk about unwinding, detaching, disconnecting, etc. These notions are admirable and inspiring in their own right, but every now and then, it’s refreshing to curl up with the internet and be amazed by the inspiration and beauty you can behold.

The Queen and the Farmer

I recently took a night to disengage from people, from conversation, from the public, and I lost myself completely to watercolor backdrops, layers of chocolate, wide plank wooden floors in minimalist rooms, endless lace dresses and florals all dressed up as ice creams. With just a dash of focus and a dose of carelessness, these rabbit holes can feed conversations, start brainstorms and sometimes become a moment worth capturing and preserving. It’s all about balance… or balancing acts… however it is that balance happens.

Drying Flowers

Beyond my rabbit hole, Queens appeared (certainly a good oman), I savored my last corn popsicle on a super hot day, farm stand purchases blossomed into perfect Sunday pancakes, dogs, dudes and felines stretched lazily in summer breezes and blades of grass, and the Floral King returned, which means… I gotta get back to work! There is a LOT on the horizon!


Happy Balancing Acts!

p.s: You can follow all my Instagram adventures here.
p.p.s: You can follow my inspiration here.

A CSA Inspired Cake: Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries

August 2014

Back when the corn was barely knee-high, the Urban Farmer and his truck were stranded beyond the urban limits awaiting a mechanic’s touch. The con of this scenario was waiting a week for that boy. The pro of this scenario was scoring that boy’s CSA basket of summer goodness! Many a recipe developer may have seized this opportunity to create a savory plate, but I saw a zucchini and gooseberries, and my mind went straight to layer cake.

Cake Stand

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Lemon Rosette

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries


2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup pure cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large organic eggs

1 cup organic whole-fat yogurt

3 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

Local Gooseberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Raspberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Local Mint or Fresh Herbs
Lemon Peel
Organic powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan with butter or olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Alternately, stir in the flour mixture and the yogurt, starting and stopping with the flour.

Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing from the springform pan. Use a serrated knife and a lazy susan to cut the cake into two layers.

Spread an even layer of the whipped cream (recipe below) over the base layer of cake. Top with the remaining layer. Add more whipped cream to the center, and top with berries and lemon garnish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Whipped Cream Filling


1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 lemons, zested


In the chilled bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.


Here’s to Community Sponsored Cakes!

#TBT: Craving the Comforts of Fall

August 2014

Last night I had pumpkin for dinner.


I’m digitally shouting this statement, not because of pure pumpkin excitement (though making pumpkin & sage gnocchi for the first time is shout worthy!), but because I had pumpkin for dinner in August! This was a real pumpkin, from a local garden, not from a can. There it was, making its spherical, orange August debut while kids were heading back to school, pools were being drained, and I was reaching for a hoodie at night.

Though I am attempting to cling to August and hold to the last moments of summer ever so tightly, that first taste of pumpkin has me craving the comforts of a constantly warm oven. High on that list of craved comforts is fresh baked bread, so before too long, maybe I’ll be pulling one of these varieties from the warm oven…

IMG_0754_bread varieties

#TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) glimpse into the vintage visual feasts in my personal collection of food and entertaining books.


Happy Summer to Fall!