Tuesday, May 31, 2011

burning house

This is probably one of the coolest sites I've found in a while. The Burning House is a collection of photos sent by readers and photographers displaying things that they would save in the event of a fire. It's more of a showcase of the things that have the most sentimental value to them. I'm sure in the event of a fire, they wouldn't be able to grab all of these things, but the visual lists are quite beautiful.

our backyard {another work in progress}

I wanted to share some pictures of the backyard since I've been talking a lot about it over the last couple of months. While it's not perfect, or finished, it's definitely a huge improvement from where it was 6 months ago. At least there's somewhere to sit now, and the buddies are happy, so really, that's all that matters.

sunday sweets {avocado ice cream}

Ok, stay with me here. This may sound weird, but it's actually pretty good, if you like avocados, if not, well, maybe tune in next week. On Sunday I was sitting outside, trying to think of what sweet to make. It was hot, really hot. I decided I wanted to do something {anything} that would be cold. I had a bunch of ripe avocados and I thought, if nothing else, it will look pretty cool. I found an Alton Brown recipe that was so easy, it was kind of ridiculous, and I didn't need to go to the grocery store because I had all the ingredients. Life was good.

Now, this recipe comes with a disclaimer. It's not really that sweet, and if you're looking for something decadent at the end of the day, this is not going to be it. However, the fat from the avocados makes this very creamy, and it's really good if you want something cold and refreshing. I had no prior experience with avocado ice cream so I followed the recipe to make sure it came out, but now having made it once, there's just a couple things I would change, and I'll include those for you.

If you can't get past the idea of avocado ice cream, I think you can at least agree that it's color is quite lovely, no?

3 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice {I used a whole lemon's worth}
1 1/2 cup whole milk {I used 1% and it was still very creamy}
1/2 cup sugar {if you don't want this to taste like a frozen avocado, that is, if you want this to be a sweet dessert, I would suggest using a whole cup of sugar}
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine avocados, lemon juice, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a blender. Mix on high until fully combined.

Pour mixture into a large bowl, whisk in heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, until mixture is at 40 degrees.

Pour into ice cream maker and churn. Because of the fat in the avocados, this sets up pretty quickly so watch carefully and only churn for about 5-10 minutes. For soft ice cream, serve right away, or place in freezer for about 3-4 hours.


Friday, May 27, 2011

happy memorial day weekend!

{via here}

I'm sure many of you will be at the beach this weekend, wouldn't it be nice it if looked like this?

Around the world wide web this week:
1. This amazing boy scout wedding {look at those invitations!}, and this zig zag cake.
2. What I wouldn't give to throw a backyard party like this.
3. We all know my obsession with new updos, so when I stumbled across this blog, I was extremely happy. Also this is hilarious.
4. Finally, what I will be doing this Saturday night.... SO EXCITED!

day dreams {glamping}

{paws up ranch, montana, my personal favorite}

Yes, that's right, GLAMPING. This Memorial Day weekend, wouldn't it be nice to be tucked away in one of these amazing, and romantic, retreats? I know the whole point of camping is to be in nature, with the bare necessities, however, has a little luxury ever hurt anyone? I mean, if you can fish, hike, kayak, and then get a massage and eat foie gras next to a fire, would you complain? Didn't think so.


I'm in love with Zara's awesome {and affordable} summer looks. When it comes to fashion, I can be somewhat simple. Give me a cinched waist and I'm good. These looks are perfect for summer. Relaxed, flirty, and fun. I'm going to have trouble not buying the whole website.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

daydreams {peonies}

This photo from a street market in Paris has got me a little down. I like to fill the house with fresh flowers whenever I can, and lately I've been craving peonies. I would fill the entire house with them if I could, but I can't find them anywhere in Savannah. I know they grow them in northern Georgia but I'm not sure about down here. Why can't there be a mountain of them somewhere like this?

And just in case you needed to see more...

sunday sweets {raspberry chocolate pie}

I'm not gonna lie, this pie gave me some trouble.

First, I made the crust from scratch again {I'm absolutely determined to get better at this} and once again, it was extremely delicate, falling apart every time I tried to lift it. Eventually I got it in the pie dish and molded it to the sides, but not without some choice words.

Second, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of raspberries, which I had, but it didn't seem to be enough, so I added some blueberries and blackberries. This really wasn't a problem, and maybe even made the pie more delicious, but it wasn't part of the recipe.

Finally when I went to take pictures of it, the yellow walls of our kitchen gave the pie a very unpleasant look, which I tried to fix in photoshop, but even my best attempts fell short of how pretty it is in person. I also tried to cut a slice and take a picture of that, but it was somehow even less attractive. So, I scanned Martha's photo in. I don't like doing this, but I will admit, her photo is quite lovely.

Despite it's aggravating assembly, this pie is super delicious. Chocolate ganache, berries, and a chocolate cookie crust, yes please!

For the Crust {chocolate pate sucree}
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into small pieces
pinch coarse salt

For the topping:
1/12 pounds raspberries (5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
coarse salt

Chocolate Pate Sucree:
1. Pulse flour, sugar, cocoa, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolk, and drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
2. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

1. Preheat oven to 375. Make the crust:Roll out pate sucree to a 1/8 inch thickness between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, and trim crust to a 1 inch overhang using kitchen shears. Fold edges under and press to seal. Crimp as desired. Prick bottom of pie all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
2. Line crust with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Fill completely with dried beans or rice. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and remove beans and parchment. Bake crust until bottom is completely dry, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool for 30 minutes.
3. Make the filling: Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat; pour over chocolate, and add butter. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add salt; whisk until smooth.
4. Pour filling into piecrust. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5. Make the topping: Combine 1 cup raspberries, the sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan, crushing berries to release some juice. Stir in water, and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring, until mixture is thick and liquid is clear, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool for 5 minutes.
6. Add remaining 4 cups raspberries, very gently stir to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool slightly, then spoon over pie. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

yay weekend!

This weekend is supposed to be beautiful and super hot so I'm thinking the beach is where I'd like to end up. During the time that I'm not at the beach, i'd like to be eating some of these awesome pixel cakes.

Around the web this week:
1.These AMAZING neckties that Jacob will be wearing for the next wedding we have to go to.
3. Awesome leave behind cards for parking jerks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

extreme decor

New York Magazine's list of Extreme Decor apartments for spring 2011 includes a couple of interesting characters. I've been a fan of Amy Sedaris and her hilarious books for a while, of course I expected her to have quirky style taste. She claims to decorate as if she "owned a child," which is a ridiculous design theory off the bat {speaking of bats, she has 60 decorating the hallway} and makes for an interesting home.

My other favorite from the line up is artist Ruda Slaska's crocheted apartment on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Nolita. How crazy is that? The walls are all decorated with graphic representation of text messages received from some of her exes. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire Beer

Generally I leave the beer talk to Jacob, but this one was so good {and the label was so pretty} I couldn't resist. Baudelaire Beer from Jolly Pumpkin combined two of my favorite obsessions right now. It's a floral beer, brewed with rose hips, rose petals, and hibiscus, plus it pours slightly pink. I'm pretty easy to please, make something girly and throw in a beautiful label: Sold. Florals are pretty hot right now in the beer world, which I think is kind of funny because they've been some of my favorite beers for a while now. If you can find a bottle of this I seriously suggest picking one {or two, or three} up.

Monday, May 16, 2011

sunday sweets {strawberry-rhubarb lattice pie}

This was my first attempt at making pie crust from scratch. I read the recipe and I thought it sounded pretty easy, and even when I was making it I was thinking to myself "why does everyone talk about how hard this is?" Well, I soon found out. After making my Pate Brisee and allowing it to sit in the fridge for an hour, I rolled out one disk and fit it into the pie pan for the bottom layer. I then began rolling out the top and cut it into 15 strips. Easy enough, I thought, Samantha Huba can do anything Martha can do, right? Wrong. As soon as I started moving the dough to the pie for the lattice, the strips began to fall apart.

SO after some "un-Martha like" words came out of my mouth and Jacob and I had a silly couples fight about how I didn't move fast enough and the dough was ruined, the lattice top was made out of store bought dough. The pie ended up being delicious despite the pillsbury topping, and I was able to compare the home made with the store bought, different but not THAT different.

Anyway, this is the perfect spring/summer dessert. The tartness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness of the strawberries to create a lovely, not too sweet, end to a meal.

For the filling:
1 3/4 pounds rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch thick pieces
6 ounces strawberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice
Coarse salt

For the Crust:
2 disks pate brisee {I will include this recipe in case you want to brave your own crust}
All-purpos flour, for surface
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Sanding Sugar for sprinkling

For the Pate Brisee:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water

Pate Brisee:
1. Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture holds together when pressed between 2 fingers but is not too wet or sticky. If dough is too dry, add some water, 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse.
2. Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

1. Preheat oven to 375. Make the filling. Mix together rhubarb, strawberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
2. Make the crust: Roll out 1 disk pate brisee to a 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Pour in filling, dot top with butter. Refrigerate while making top crust.
3. Roll remaining disk pate brisee to a 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. cut into at least fifteen 1/2 inch wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter.
4. Lay 8 strips across pie. Fold back every other strip, and lay a horizontal strip across the center of the pie. Unfold folded strips, then fold back remaining strips. Lay another horizontal strip across pie. Repeat folding and unfolding strips to weave a lattice pattern. Repeat on remaining side.
5. Trim bottom and top crusts to a 1 inch overhang using kitchen shears, and press together to seal around edges. Fold edges under and crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake pie on middle rack, with a foil lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch juices, until vigorously bubbling in center and bottom crust is golden, about 1 1/2 hours. Loosely tent with foil after 1 hour if crust is browning too quickly. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Friday, May 13, 2011

have a great weekend!

I plan on spending much of this weekend outside, either at the beach or in the backyard. I believe I may also fit some baking in on Sunday. Nice and uneventful I think. Hope yours is lovely!

From around the internet:
2.These haunting photos of caged animals.

color board {minty}

Mint chocolate chip happens to be my favorite ice cream, partially because of the color. I love the grasshopper green look. I really wanted to find a room to paint in this color, but I think it goes best in a kitchen. Anyway, it's very summery and I thought you may be growing tired of all the pink.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

chronic bitch face

I saw this print from Kris Atomic a while ago and thought it was really funny. Now it's for sale in her print shop, which is pretty awesome.

These sassy lady prints are equally awesome.

photogenic friends

My friend Mary is featured on The Sartorialist today!

Monday, May 9, 2011

sunday sweets {pink champagne cake}

I've never been a huge cake person. I mean I'll eat it, but I prefer brownies or cookies any day. However, I do appreciate how pretty cakes can be, and this one is no exception. When choosing things to bake for the blog, I think about what I would like to eat, then what you might like to see me eat, and finally how it will look while I'm eating/baking it. I knew this would be pretty, and I would be able to use my John Derian cake stand, which was enough to convince me.

Jacob made me this cake for my birthday a couple of years ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. Why you ask? Well first off it's pink {going along with my current obsession}, secondly I feel like Marie Antoinette while eating it, and thirdly it has champagne in it {on second thought I probably could have put this as number one and stopped there}.

A cake takes a little bit of time, I suggest devoting an afternoon while also catching up on episodes of Real Housewives or Glee {as if you would be behind on either}. Which brings up the other reason for baking this particular cake. Tomorrow night is the Prom episode on Glee {please, hold applause until the end of this blog post} and my friend Eileen and I are making a night of it. Rose {duh}, pink champagne cake, perhaps shrimp cocktails, and dresses {don't judge us}, anyway, I may take pictures so this cake will probably pop up again this week, good thing it's pretty.

For the Cake:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. table salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup brut sparkling wine {this can be really cheap, you're not going to drink it... unless you do plan on doing that and then I suggest not going with Cook's}

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 drops red food coloring

6 egg whites

For the Frosting {Disclaimer: this frosting is weird. They want it to be a sparkling champagne whip, but the liquid makes it seem a little runny. It needs to set up in the fridge overnight, I might suggest going with a nice buttercream frosting instead.}

1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup brut sparkling wine

5 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin

1 Tbsp. cold water

3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine 3/4 cup sparkling wine, milk, and vanilla.

Add flour and wine mixtures alternately to butter mixture, combining well after each addition. Tint batter with red food coloring.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with clean beaters until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold egg whites into cake batter in thirds, stopping as soon as whites are incorporated. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center has only or or two crumbs on it, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.

Beat together shortening, 1/3 cup sparkling wine, and powdered sugar for frosting in a bowl until smooth. Spread 1 cup frosting on top of one cooled cake round. Place second cake round on top of the frosted round.

Sprinkle gelatin into water in a small saucepan. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then gently warm over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature.

Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to cream; continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Working in batches, gently fold whipped cream into remaining frosting.

Spread frosting onto top and sides of cake, being careful not to overwork. Refrigerate cake 1 hour with a large bowl over the top to protect frosting. Use a spatula to gently swirl frosting before serving.



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