Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

sunday sweets {banana pudding}




Banana pudding is one of those things that is quintessentially southern. I had never had it before moving down here, but it became one of the only things I would sneak from the restaurant I worked at. It's delicious, so delicious that when invited to a friend's house for dinner this weekend, I felt it was absolutely necessary to make. When said friend worked with me at the restaurant, we used to sneak spoonfuls of this stuff from the kitchen. It wasn't even that great. The thing about banana pudding is... there's no such thing as a bad one. There's "not that great" ones, but you'll still eat them. This recipe is a good one, really good. Lots of vanilla, and vanilla wafers, which I believe is the best part. You could also make pound cake for this, but I think vanilla wafers are just as good.

Ingredients:
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla {I may or may not have used about an extra teaspoon of vanilla paste}
vanilla wafers cookies
4-5 ripe bananas
home made whipped cream

Directions:
In bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and flour. Slowly stir in milk until smooth. Pour into double broiler over simmering water and stir until mixture thickens.
In a small bowl, whisk 3 large egg yolks, then slowly mix in about 1 cup of hot milk mixture. Return mixture to double broiler, stir in vanilla and butter. Continue whisking and cooking until thickened, remove from heat and let cool.

To cool the pudding mixture quickly, transfer to a ziplock back and rest in an ice water bath.

In a deep dish layer cooled pudding mixture, vanilla wafers, and bananas until full. Make homemade whipped cream {about 1 1/4 heavy cream and 2 teaspoons powdered sugar {depending on taste} and layer on top. Chill until serving. Serve by scooping all layers together, adding crushed vanilla wafers to the top.

Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

have a safe weekend!



An earthquake and a hurricane all in one week, gosh east coast, what did you do to piss off mother nature? Hopefully the weather won't effect your weekend plans. I had planned to do a lot of stuff outside this weekend, farmer's market, cookouts, a short trip to Charleston, you know, stuff that would be much more enjoyable without rain and wind.

Hope you all have a lovely {and dry} weekend!

Around the web:
2. Yet another thing to learn how to do to my hair.

Monday, August 22, 2011

birthday wish list

{tea and crumpets apron}
{My Father's Daughter}

My birthday is coming up September 1 and I'm always really bad at telling people what to get me. Throughout the year I always talk about things I want, and then when people ask around my birthday, I mysteriously forget. Honestly, I don't really need anything, I usually just like to go out to dinner or go away for the weekend, however, there's a couple of things I guess I wouldn't mind getting. I will probably post a few more before next week, but here's a couple of things that I feel as frequent baker and hostess I may need.

P.S. No Sunday Sweets today due to my weekend trip, but I may have something in the middle of the week for you.

monday morning eye candy








New prints from Brainstorm! I've talked about my love for their prints before, but since I never ordered them and they are now sold out, I think these would definitely suffice. Ever since we added this map print to our home, I've been obsessed with the theme, so these would be a lovely addition. Perhaps for my birthday coming up? Eh?

Friday, August 19, 2011

THANK GOD it's friday


{via a cup of jo}

This has been a beyond awful week, so bad it cannot even be described to you, you wouldn't believe it if I did. So, I'm quite relieved to get away. This weekend some lady friends and I are headed to St. Simons Island to soak up some sun and hopefully drink A LOT of wine. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Just some small stuff:
1. WWF ads that are beautiful and sad.
2. Remember this from last week? Well here's a real life one.
3. My striped shirt obsession continues. And here too.
4. Old Try. I may need to order the Georgia one before we move.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

missoni for target






Missoni's line for target launches September 13 and it looks like it's going to be pretty awesome. Just look at that bike! Check out the full lookbook here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2012 botanical calendar





Every year I go through the arduous task of choosing a calendar before the next year comes around. I go back and forth on what design studio I would like to purchase from. My mother buys the calendar for me for Christmas every year, and usually has to insist on an answer from me about a week before the holiday. I'm never totally sure I've made the right decision, there's just so many lovely designs to choose from.

This year, we can both rest easy. I have already chosen, and I've been waiting for them to post these so that I can share them with you. Rifle Paper has designed a calendar featuring their trademark watercolor flowers that I'm totally in love with. I know it's a little early, but I can't wait for 2012.

day dreams {floating bed}



I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night. Perhaps if I had one of these, sleep would be easier?

Monday, August 15, 2011

sunday sweets {thyme, peach swirl ice cream}


It had been a long time since I had made ice cream and I felt, it was time. I wanted to make something festive for summer in Georgia {cue the peaches} so I had planned on making peach ice cream. When I mentioned this to Jacob he got excited and said that he had wanted to try some new technique he had seen in Saveur this month, I obliged, and I'm really happy I did. This method does not include egg yolks, but instead uses cream cheese to give the ice cream and extremely creamy texture. It's kind of amazing. Also instead of cooling the mixture down in the freezer it suggests putting it in a ziplock back and an ice water bath, which means it's ready in about 20 minutes as opposed to the usual hour/two hours. This is perfect for me because I am impatient.

The new technique also gave us the idea to do a different kind of peach ice cream. Instead we cooked the peaches down with a little bit of sugar, mashed them up and layered them with the ice cream after it had been churned. The result is amazing, chunks of peaches all throughout the ice cream. Yummmm.

Ingredients:
Peach swirl:
1 lb peaches
1/2 cup sugar

Ice Cream:
2 cups milk
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese softened
{that is the base but we also added:}
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. fresh thyme

Directions:
Peaches:
Cook peaches in a saucepan with the sugar on medium heat until they reduce and thicken. About 30 minutes. Mash them up {with a potato masher if you have it} so they are still chunky but resemble more of a syrup. Set aside.

Ice Cream:
1. In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.
2.In a 4 qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
3.Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and thyme, stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes.
4. Pour mixture through sifter and into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to your machine.
5. Transfer ice cream, layering ice cream then peach swirl, ice cream, peach swirl; into a storage container and freeze until set.

Enjoy!

sunday sweets {tyme

Friday, August 12, 2011

happy weekend!


{zooey deschanel and ben schwartz found via my new favorite blog, awesome people hanging out together}

It's been a long week. I've been quiet, and I'm sorry for that, but...it's been a long week. This weekend I plan on getting some much needed down time by baking, exercising {i know!}, going to farmer's markets, and catching up on bravo shows from the week... sounds good right?
For your viewing pleasure:
1. Another amazing {and different} Savannah wedding.
2. This is a real wedding. Seriously. {1,2,3}
3. Lovely fashion/nature print combinations.
4. I've been meaning to learn how to do this to my hair.
5. If only self promotion could be this easy.
6. Last but certainly not least, the craziest picture ever, seriously makes me nervous just looking at it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

wildflower saison {a year in the making}


A year ago our lovely friends Kelsey and Erik {!} were married. Their wedding was so quirky and fun that we wanted their gift to be the same way, so we decided to brew a batch of wildflower saison in their honor. Unfortunately we may have jumped into the brewing pool a little too quickly and made a few mistakes {too much carbonation in beer = exploding bottles, now you know}. Because we didn't want are newly married friends to be cut and/or maimed by exploding glass, we decided not to give them their beer last year. We had to wait a little while for the perfect saison brewing climate to brew another batch, but we finally finished it and gave them their gift just in time for their first wedding anniversary.

The idea was that they could open a bottle each year around their anniversary, so we gave them six bottles, one for their wedding day and one for the next 5 years. I made the labels depicting them and their ever-changing looks for each year. Apparently in year 3 they turn into Amish folk singers based on Erik's facial hair and Kelsey's "peter pan" collared shirt. We also dipped each of them in gold wax to and made personalized tulip glasses with their graphics etched on them, to really complete the look.

It was so much fun to work on these and even more fun to give them to our friends!

sunday sweets {bacon, bourbon brownies}



These are not for the faint of heart. These are serious.


I've been making a lot of pies and cakes lately so I wanted to do something different. I came across these brownies in Food & Wine in an article about the Fabulous Beekman Boys and their new cookbook due out in October. They sounded so decadent, I knew I had to make them.

Now, if you're looking at these and thinking "Bacon, on brownies? Really? That's just too much!" I must point out that it is you who is crazy, not I, for the answer is: Bacon on anything is a FANTASTIC idea.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecans {this is optional, I don't care for nuts in brownies so I didn't use them}
1/2 pound sliced bacon {crispy}
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
4 large eggs {using 4 eggs makes these a little cakey, not dry but dense, if you would prefer them to be very fudgey you can use 2 or 3 eggs}
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the paper with vegetable spray. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the bacon.

In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 50 minutes {I checked them after 30 minutes and they were ready, so make sure you keep an eye on them}, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve.

Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

happy shark week-end!



Ah Shark Week. One of my favorites of the year. It always creeps up on me and then is gone in an instant, much like Christmas. It doesn't matter how many times I watch Air Jaws or see a fake shark attack on the Discover channel, I can't get enough. So I encourage you all to cherish these last couple days of Shark Week 2011, I know I will.

While sharks were jumping, somehow other things happened around the internet:
2. Amy Merrick's beautiful new website.
3. I seriously want one of these doors.
5. 30 days of hair ideas, such a great idea.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

all good things...



must come to an end.

I'm headed back to Savannah today {and not looking forward to it} where it's said to be 102 degrees. Last night I slept with the windows open here and right now it's 70. I've had such a wonderful week visiting friends and family, and I've been able to visit places I'd never been before. Whenever I come home, no matter how long I stay, it never seems quite long enough. It would be nice to extend my trip and avoid work for just a little while longer, but I suppose my boys miss me {maybe}. Aside from seeing them, my lovely friend Reba is in town, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

cooperstown




Yesterday we visited Cooperstown, NY and went to the Ommegang Brewery. I'm a big fan of belgian style beer so I was really excited to see the brewery, and it definitely didn't disappoint. The facility is beautiful and the setting of Cooperstown is amazing. Also I ran into a friend from high school {and grade school and junior high} who works there and who I haven't seen in years, so that was pretty exciting. We also walked around town and visited Doubleday Field to watch a little baseball being played. Not a bad day at all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

sunday sweets {blueberry pie}



When I came home last week I noticed my mother had a lot of fresh blueberries in the fridge and I knew I wanted to make a dessert with them. My grandmother was always famous for her blueberry pie and I knew it was one of my dad's favorite desserts so I got to work.

Sometimes when a relative is known for a certain recipe it can be somewhat overwhelming to try to recreate it, but blueberry pie couldn't be easier to make, and even if it's not as good as grandma's, it's still pretty darn good. The pie came out great, the blueberries were fresh and remained whole inside, and, like with many of my desserts, it wasn't too sweet. My only complaint is when transferring the pie to my aunt's it started to leak despite my double plastic wrapping. The real unfortunate part was that it was sitting in my lap and I was wearing a dress {my father turned to me and said "oh yeah, sometimes those things leak," then turned back to driving, thanks Walt}.

Ingredients:
All-purpose flour, for dusting
8 cups (about 4 pints) blueberries, picked over
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch {if you would like it thicker you can add more}
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions:
1. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing it into edges. Trim dough to a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold edge of dough over or under, and crimp as desired. Roll out remaining dough in the same manner; transfer dough (on parchment) to a baking sheet. Chill pie shell and dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

2.Place blueberries in a large bowl; with your hands, crush about 1/2 cup of berries, letting them fall into the bowl as you work. Add sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; stir to combine. Spoon mixture into chilled pie shell, mounding berries slightly in the center. Dot with butter. Remove dough from refrigerator, and place over blueberry filling. Tuck edge of top dough between edge of bottom dough and rim of pan. Using your fingers, gently press both layers of dough along the edge to seal, and crimp as desired.

3.Using a paring knife, cut several vents in top of dough to allow steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cream. Brush surface with egg wash, being careful not to let it pool. Freeze or refrigerate pie until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third.

4.Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking, rotating sheet halfway through, until crust is deep golden brown and juices are bubbling and have thickened, 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely. The pie is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!

the finger lakes





On Saturday my parents and I took a drive up to Cayuga Lake to visit some wineries and Ithaca Brewery {unfortunately no pictures were taken there, mainly because I had been drinking since 11am and operating a camera was the last thing on my mind}. I had never been to the Finger Lakes and was slightly apprehensive about the wine produced there, but I have to say it was absolutely beautiful and the wine was was not too shabby either.

It takes about 3 hours from Albany {my father kept saying "this is a long way to drive for a glass of wine," and "I've driven 3 hours and I haven't seen a grape yet girls"} but it was well worth the wait, and the drive was through NY's farmland so it was really pretty too. We made our way around Cayuga Lake, stopping at about 5 winers and a hard cider tasting room. The weather was amazing, 80 with a cool breeze, absolutely perfect for driving around and drinking wine. My favorite winery was Goose Watch , perhaps because they had a dry Rose and a Pinot Noir Brut Rose, as you can imagine, I was a happy girl.

We spent some time at Thirsty Owl Winery, and had lunch on their deck overlooking the lake. Some chicken liver and Pinot Gris and the three of us were content. Overall, a perfect summer day, and one that I hope to repeat since I definitely plan on visiting the Finger Lakes again.

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