Orange Marmalade

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I got this orange marmalade recipe from Ina Garten who got it from her friend Anna (go figure!) This recipe is so good that I gave some to my landlord and he loved it so much that he dropped a heavy hint that he was running low so I made him more. 😉 Enjoy!

Ingredients
4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar
Directions
Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

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Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Balls with a Raspberry Center

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I came up with so many inappropriate one liners for this dessert but I thought of my daughter digging this up years down the road and decided to omit them. So you’ll just have to ask me personally when you see me next…

I have to say that this dessert is truly unbelievably and its only 3 ingredients! Its a bit messy but definitely worth it. I made these for movie night with our friends and they were gone in two seconds flat. If you make these for a special event you’ll have to be slapping your husband (or wife’s) hand because they’ll be trying to sneak them out of the fridge. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pint raspberries

1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1 small 8 inch pre made plain cheesecake from the store

Directions:

Take the cheesecake out of its container and place in a mixing bowl. Mash cheesecake with a fork until crust and cheesecake is just mixed. Take one raspberry and cover with cheesecake mixture. Roll between your hands until a smooth ball. Set on a cookie sheet. Repeat. When you are done place the cheesecake balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm them up for dipping in chocolate.

After 30 minutes, empty chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and mix. Continue to microwave for 30 second intervals (mixing in-between) until the chocolate is just melted.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a fork, lower a cheesecake ball into the chocolate and then turn once gently to cover the opposite side. Take out the cheesecake and place on parchment. Repeat until all the balls are covered in chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows (Food Shoot)

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Sometimes there is nothing better then a steamy cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. But homemade marshmallows and Jessica Foster Confections hot chocolate really takes this over the top. Styled by Kelly Oshiro of Santa Barbara Chic, this photo shoot was a MAJOR high. (sugar high that is… 😉

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Chocolate Deliciousness (Food Shoot)

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Jessica Foster Confection chocolates are so to die for and I had the pleasure of eating AND photographing them. Styled by the fabulous Kelly Oshiro for SB Chic this set up was such a fun party (I mean photo shoot).  Deliciousness squared…. 😉

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Chocolate Mousse Pie with Lavender Icing (Video Tutorial)

I’ve been meaning to put up this video tutorial of my Chocolate Mousse Pie with Lavender Icing and finally got the time to edit it. I have to say that its monumentally embarrassing for me to watch/post video of myself but I really hope that its useful and somebody out there learns something. 😉 I love this recipe because its really easy and the pie  itself (san’s icing) is literally only 4 ingredients. Enjoy!

Find the Recipe HERE

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Georgiana’s 1st Birthday Party!

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My darling precious baby girl turned one and we of course had to throw a big party. I, being a victim of pinterest, decided that the only thing to do was to totally kill myself and do all homemade food AND a three tiered fancy cake (see menu below). It wasn’t such a great idea on my part but it all turned out great. A special thanks to my Mom for helping me haul everything to the party location and to my friend Gina who generously hosted it at her house. Georgiana really enjoyed her party (although she was of course oblivious that it was HER party). When the kids arrived they promptly dressed Georgiana in a hawaiian lei and a crown which was pretty hilarious. I mostly ran around doing everything from BBQing outside in the rain to making sure all the girls got a tutu favor that my friend Jen spent 4 hours tying together. It was a whirlwind and now I have to decide whether next year I’ll make all the food OR do the homemade fancy cake. (I just can’t do both…) I’d love you to cast a vote… (maybe one option will be doing no party except for a family get together in which case my Mom will do all the work. Yep, that sounds good!) Happy Birthday Georgiana! I can’t believe you are already one year old…. 😉 😦

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Menu:

Appetizers

Crudite Platter with Dip

Salt & Pepper Potato Chips

Main Course:

Grilled Sausages

BBQ Pulled Pork on Brioche Rolls

Potato Salad

California Asian Pasta Salad

Green Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Red Peppers and Pistachios

Corn, Bacon & Jalapeño Salad

Baked Beans

Dessert:

3 Tiered Homemade Yellow Cake with Homemade Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Ice Cream

Pink Candies

What to do with all that extra eggnog? (Photo Shoot)

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My friend Kelly Oshiro came up with this fabulous concoction and asked me to photograph it for her website, Santa Barbara Chic. So if you have extra eggnog your trying to figure out what to do with it, try this eggnog float. I promise it won’t disappoint!

Here’s to “scoop”-

– Two scoops of ice cream

– Pour the eggnog over the ice cream

– Toast some sliced almonds and sprinkle on top.

To toast the almonds: 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until you can smell the almonds, watch them closely, they’ll burn if you’re not paying attention.

Holiday French Apple Pie

I used to live with my Grandpa in Van Nuys California. My Grandpa had a VERY distinct personality and was very vocal about what he liked and did NOT like. He loved french apple pie but did NOT like apple pie with a double crust. Every holiday he was in charge of bring the pies that he would buy from a restaurant. He would always buy the french apple and would always make a comment about how much better it was than a double crust. It cracks me up just thinking about it. He passed away two years ago and I still miss him so much. He had so many funny quirks that will forever be missed. Love you Grandpa!

The apple filling  is from my very battered and loved Better Homes and Garden’s Cookbook. 😉 The pastry is my recipe adapted from the “Baking with Julia” cookbook. And the topping I found online!

Filling Ingredients:

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (granny smith)

1 tbs lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Pastry Recipe: (makes double)

2 3/4 Cups Flour

½ Tbs Salt

4 Tbs cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

1 Cup Shortening

½ Cup Ice Water

French Apple Topping:

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

5 Tbsp. cold butter

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers cut in into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Break up the shortening an add it in little bits and cut it into mixture with your hands. Continue working the mixture until it has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fold it over on its self a few times. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days.

Take chilled pie dough out of refrigerator and lay out on floured work surface. Separate into equal amounts. Roll out the first portion of dough and transfer to a glass pie plate. (Freeze the second half in plastic wrap for future use). If the pie crust isn’t even on all sides then use excess dough to fill in open spots.  With your finger, pinch the sides of the pie crust to create an edge.

In a large bowl thoroughly mix together filling ingredients and pour into pie crust. Combine french apple topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over pie. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake 25-40 minutes longer, until apples are tender when pierced with fork and juices are bubbling. Cool pie on wire rack.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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I HATE HATE HATE raw banana’s.  BUT I like them cooked. You can fry, flambé or bake a banana and I’m good to go. But a raw banana makes me gag. So needless to say I had my husband do the mashing of the banana’s when I made this recipe… Banana bread  is so comforting and delicious and I like to make it that much more decadent with a some delicious chocolate chips. And if you want, spread some butter and maybe even some nutella on top and you’ll be in heaven. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 beaten eggs

1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 5 medium)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter

1 cup chocolate chips

Streusel Topping (recipe follows)

1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. STirr just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping over batter

3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the bread. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over browning). Cook in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (Truthfully we never get to this last step because we’ve already gotten into the hot bread before we have a chance to cool it down….)

Streusel-Nut Topping Recipe:

In a food processor or small bowl combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Pulse the processor (or just mix with a fork)  2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Fondant – Step by Step!

Fondant was a challenge for me the first time I tried using it. It was ripping and tearing and looked like an absolute disaster. I was in cake decorating class at the adult school and this one student who was more experienced then me basically had to help me fix it by covering up the WHOLE cake with little decorations and strips of additional fondant. It was a MESS! I basically swore off fondant but then decided I wasn’t going to let something as silly as fondant get me down. So I had my friend Erika walk me through the process one on one and it really made all the difference. Below are the step by step photos of how to make this 3 tiered fondant princess cake!