I’m kidding and being very dramatic but no lie, this pie took us about twenty million tries to get right but it survived! Or more like, we survived. It was one of those recipes that went way past my “three-fail rule.” Meaning, if we fail three times when trying a recipe, we abandon it all-together. But that rule went out the window because I liked the idea and flavor so very much.
We finally got it working like a fine-tune machine. At first it was too thin and kinda watery. Then the chocolate swirl wasn’t the right texture. And then we changed the chocolate and that got messed up. There were a lot of variables going on and we kept changing them and we kept getting messed up results. But we finally got it working and it was 100% worth it!
This fine thing is like a pumpkin cheese cake and a pie had a baby…but with chocolate swirled throughout. The bitter chocolate is so welcome within the constructs of creamy cream cheese flavor. It’s so good.
Hello from heatwave land. It’s going to be 100 degrees today in Los Angeles. And then 101 tomorrow. I can barely compute these numbers in late-ish October and frankly, they make me angry.
I know that’s probably not a sensible emotion over weather. I understand. But it really does feel relentless. I’m craving permanent sweater-weather. But the Dodgers are in the world series! So that’s good, I guess. I barely watch sports, which means I don’t at all. I know that they’re in the world series because every LA person is in a Dodgers hat with a gigantic smile on their face. Lol. I’m happy for them! Don’t we all need a lil’ happiness and distraction in our lives?
I feel like we’ve deserved it this year. This recipe is from The Year of Cozy. Remember when I made that book?! I loved that little book and I have some exciting news about it (AAHHH! I’m being annoying) coming soon!
I’m in big-time fall mode, cooking up as many things as I can for Thanksgiving. This year I really want to BRING IT. But oddly enough, I’m kind of a classics girl when it comes to Thanksgiving. I want classic Thanksgiving. I want a classic pumpkin pie. I kinda don’t like too many crazy twists.
Are you in the twists, weird interesting Thanksgiving foods?
Are you a classic Thanksgiving foods human?
Leave a comment below.
If you’re a classics, maybe I’ll do a whole post on making suuuuper fluffy potatoes. Maybe I’ll try and make the BEST classic Thanksgiving stuffing everrrr.
It would actually be fun content to create either way!
OK, let’s talk about these cookies because these scream fall. My friend, Matt, works in one of those hip cool communal workspaces in New York and he texted me a few months ago and was like CHAI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.
Apparently a baker drops off chai chocolate cookies to his workspace and he was obsessed wit them. I though the sound of chai in chocolate chip cookies sounded AMAZING…so here we are.
I like to consider myself a fairly interesting person but when fall arrives I’m as basic as they come! I want to go apple picking, wear flannel, drink lattes with pumpkin flavors in them. And I wanna bake everything I can.
But real life quickly sets in and all my fall-aspirations and goals usually fall by the wayside and I do about one fourth of the activities I actually intend on doing. This fall I’m trying to make things very easy on myself.
For this post, I teamed up with Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk because I looooove their product. I also use sweetened condensed milk A LOT and theirs has such good flavor and texture.
Let’s talk about sweetened condensed milk for a quick second:
Sweetened condensed milk is milk which has water removed and replaced with sugar. Basically it’s milk and sugar—simple!
To make fall baking a bit easier on myself, last week I made two batches of dulce de leche and I have it in the fridge just chilling, ready for all sorts of recipes that I can’t wait to use to add it to.
The first up are these cookie bars that take ONE BOWL. I feel like one bowl things are the saving grace of baking because it means less dishes and less mess and just the sound of it is encouraging.
Also cookie bars are my new found love. There’s no scooping out cookie dough nor is there rolling out dough and stamping it out with a cookie cutter. It’s simply spread in an even layer in a 9×13 pan and baked—that’s it! Also, there are no batches of cookies that need to be baked up. In about 25 minutes, you’ll have all the bars you’ll need.
One of my favorite food bloggers of all-time has always been Naomi from Baker’s Royale. Her work has always been GOALS. Her photography style is so beautiful and her food styling skills are amazing. She’s super talented.
I was super excited when her book, Bakers Royale, showed up at my door step! When I thumbed through it, my jaw fell when I saw this beautiful chocolate pear tart. It is so easy to throw together and it’s kind of like a brownie meets a tart…but with fruit in the center. I loooooved it.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but me and sheet cakes have a thing. It’s not an old relationship at all. In fact, this guy right here was kinda the first sheet cake I’d ever made. But once I made that one, I was like WHOAA. This is WAY better than a big, layered cake because it’s a million times less stress and time. I also think that anyone, AND I MEAN ANYONE, can decorate a sheet cake.
It just takes some swoops and swirls with a trusty off-set spatula and that’s it. I mean, even a butter knife could do the trick.
Here’s the trick—I found—to making those bomb-ass swirls: You gotta plop all the frosting right in the center and then push it out. It really works splendidly. It also takes under 5 minutes. If you mess with it too much then it starts to look too purposeful.
I go to Italy on Tuesday! AHHH!! I’m so excited. But also there’s, like, that crazy panic that ensues when you’re going to be gone for a long time. I’m feverishly trying to meet a bunch of deadlines I have. And I’m also trying to wash clothes and make sure I have enough underwear and socks for eight whole days. I also wanna look kinda cute but haven’t had the time or energy to go shopping or do any of that. I KNOW, LIFE IS HARD!
I’m also super excited about Fenty Beauty. I’m going to try and find some time this weekend to head to Sephora to get some stuff for my trip. I’m super excited to try out the tones of the foundations because the shade range is huge! I think that’s rad. And no one is a bigger badgirlriri fan than meeeeee!
Let’s talk about this baklava now because it’s SO GOOD.
When I first moved to LA, my friend Setu took me to this place and she forced me to order her new obsession—this milk and honey milkshake. It was so long ago and yet I remember them vividly. I was thinking the other day, why aren’t there more milk and honey things because the combo is so soothing and delicious.
For this almuerzo, Western Union engaged me to participate in their “On the Map with Western Union” program where they are exploring the inspiration and innovation that different heritages inspire. Western Union asked me to share my story about how my upbringing has influenced my cooking and how their mobile app is a super easy way to send money to different parts of the world. This almuerzo is going to focus on my heritage, stay tuned for more on the mobile app and how easy it is to use!
The first food I ever learned how to cook was Peruvian food. My mom is from Peru, a country I grew up learning about through her. My mom would play old Peruvian boleros (ballads) by Luchas Reyes (she’s like our Celia Cruz) while she’d simmer chicha on the stove and sing along and sometimes cry because her music is just so beautiful.
I remember having friends over and having to explain to them that the drink was made from purple corn. LOL. The looks I’d get! But they’d all love it because it’s a drink that is flavorful and perfectly spiced and just delicious.
My mom was a young mom and literally the only dishes she knew how to make (minus a chicken broccoli casserole she learned from a back of a soup can!) were all Peruvian. I now realize that the flavors of Peru absolutely shaped my palate.
If you’ve had Peruvian food, you know that it’s very spicy. My mom always cooked with heat. I was like 5 years old eating dishes with ají amarillo—which are bright yellow Peruvian peppers that are VERY spicy—in them. Peruvians put them in everything from sauces to soups to pastes. Ají amarillo paste sits on nearly every Peruvian table and is used as a condiment—it’s SO good.
And a lot of Peruvian food is very acidic (see: ceviche and causa). It’s food that has a lot of flavor and balance and pulls influences from Asia (there are a lot of Asians living in Peru), Africa and Spain, all while using indigenous, Peruvian ingredients.
Even now, in dishes that aren’t Peruvian, I find myself making sure that acidity is very prominent and always, always adding some form of heat. I love adding a dollop of ají amarillo to everything from salad dressings to marinades for chicken or fish (not traditional at all but such a good move!).
My mama was in town for a few weeks and I took advantage of having her here to make a little almuerzo (lunch). Growing up, Sunday almuerzo happened nearly every week and it was a big deal. There was cooking ALL day long and it was my favorite.
My mom and I tried to recreate a bit of that Sunday almuerzo nostalgia with this lunch. We made lomo saltado but veggie (she no longer eats meat); there was papa a la huancaína (my favorite!); pie de limón which looks like a normal lime/lemon pie but is so unique in texture and ease; and lastly, my mom’s chicha.
Today I’m sharing with you two recipes, one for pie de limón (my mama’s favorite!) and chicha (recipe straight from her).
The pie de limón is unlike a lot of other lemon pies. Traditionally this calls for Peruvian lemons which are much smaller than American lemons and are super acidic. So I made do and combined limes and lemons. We always did this growing up. Similar to how I add both limes and lemons to make the pie de limon, if we couldn’t find Peruvian peppers, we’d use jalapeños or habaneros as a substitute. The filling is super easy because it’s not a ton of ingredients and there’s no tempering the custard. The texture is SOOOO good.
I spent this past weekend in Seattle, chilling at Create + Cultivate, where I spoke on a panel about food and digital media. It was loads of fun and I met so many cool, interesting, awesome people.
I also spent the weekend biting my finger nails, worried about Florida. It looks awful and I think it’ll take a day or so to really know the extent of the damage. Hoping and praying for everyone’s safety!!
OK, let’s talk about cookies. I love cookies. And recently I shared the Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookies with you and they are pretty much one of the top recipes of 2017 on this lil’ blog.
A lot of people have made them and it makes me so happy. I met someone at the conference and she told me it’s her family’s new go-to cookie recipe and that made me so happy. One of the bonuses that we both agreed on: it doesn’t require to soften any butter so there’s really immediate satisfaction involved.
Are you guys chilling this weekend? After a little bit of a crazy few weeks, I was lucky enough to be able to relax most of the weekend. I slept, I tried to stay cool (it was literally 105F every single day, help us all!), tried to stay away from the crazy fires, washed clothes and went to a bbq for a friends birthday. It was all good.
This weekend I’m headed to Seattle for Create + Cultivate and I just learned that Issa Rae is the keynote speaking and it has me a little scared/shy/excited to meet her!! EEEE! I love her so much. I’m actually leaving before she hits the stage so who knows if I get to meet her BUT if you haven’t watched Insecure DOOO ITTT!
It is my favorite show on TV right now; it has be DYING every single episode. And every time an episode is done I’m like UGGGHHH I wish there was more!
Let’s turn our attention to this late-summer galette because it is SO good. At the base of the galette, underneath the peaches is a baklava-type of mixture and it is B O M B. It’s spiced and crunchy and flavorful. It gives the entire thing such a good flavor and texture.