Blondies, Babkas and Boules

Before I begin my post, I just want to express my hope that everyone reading this had a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with family, friends and food. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation, which I’ll detail in an upcoming post. Before I can catch up to the near-past, I’m reaching a little further back to share some of my at-home baking adventures earlier this month.

After a period of time where I did anything BUT bake on my days off, I’m now fully into experimenting during my free time. The tricky part about this most recent round of trials is that they took place while I was engaged in the Whole30 eating plan – so the thirty days of “no sugar” and “no grains” meant I was tasting briefly and then spitting it out. Not the most fun, but it worked out just fine.

BLONDIES

I was sitting around, scrolling through Facebook, when pastry chef David Lebovitz posted a new recipe on his blog. I’m a big fan of David’s and had actually just seen him (and Yotam Ottolenghi, a fantastic savory chef) speak at a recent San Francisco event. His recipe for Butterscotch Caramel Blondies (which he purloined from the new Violet Bakery cookbook) sounded delicious. The last time I’d made blondies, and perhaps the only time, was back in pastry school and the recipe we’d used wasn’t something I liked very much. But I trust David and was eager to give this one a shot.

Step one: Make caramel, pour it onto a silpat, let it cool, then break it into shards.

Step one: Make caramel, pour it onto a silpat, let it cool, then break it into shards.

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Twenty Out of Whole30

As I mentioned in the last post, visiting and consuming doughnuts from five (FIVE!) different stores in LA over a forty-eight hour period set off little warning bells in my brain. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I do love my sweet treats, especially doughnuts, and it’s no surprise that sometimes my willpower vanishes completely.

Day 1: With friends in town, a seafood place made sticking with the program pretty easy. Ceviches and tiraditos.

Day 1: With friends in town, a seafood place made sticking with the program pretty easy. Ceviches and tiraditos.

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Beverly Bakery Blitz

Toppings at Sweet Rose Creamery

Toppings at Sweet Rose Creamery

When you grow up in a large city, you have a very narrow scope of what that city is, what it encompasses and what it offers you. It’s shaped by your experiences, your connections, your schooling, your friends and more. At least, that’s my take on being raised in Los Angeles, and I would imagine it’s a common experience for people in LA and other big (or even small) cities. So as I’ve evolved as a person, and more specifically as a food-lover, I’ve taken a new perspective on Los Angeles. It’s changed a lot since I’ve lived there (twenty-one years ago), I’ve changed a lot, and there are many parts of LA I just never explored or appreciated. I grew up in the Valley (albeit on the very edge of it), and so “the city” was basically foreign to me. It wasn’t until my late high school years and summers home from college that I did more on “the other side of the hill.” (A vast majority of that was spent either at weekend house parties or the Cheesecake Factory in Brentwood, both with my camp counselor friends.)

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