basic creme brûlée

basic creme brulee recipe basic creme brûlée

Considering my unplanned absence from this place, I figured I better make it up to you with a really delicious dessert. Creme brûlée is one of my favorite things to order when I’m out to eat–it just feels fancy, and since it’s something that, up until now, I’ve never made on my own, I always jump at the chance to have it.

 

Here’s the thing though–I haven’t the slightest idea how to make creme brûlée. Cookies? Nailed it. Cake? I’m your girl. But fancy-pants desserts like this? Ehhh….not so much. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I turned to the one woman who I knew could make a creme brûlée goddess out of me. Martha Stewart, of course.

 

eggs for basic creme brulee basic creme brûlée

real vanilla bean basic creme brûlée uncooked creme brulee basic creme brûlée

 

 

And wouldn’t you know it, but creme brûlée is actually really, really easy to make. I know that sounds like a ridiculous notion, but I promise that if you use this recipe (I tried out a few before posting this, and all honestly, Martha’s really was the best. I’m not just saying that!), involve a little patience and some good tunes, you will end the day with a creme brûlée worthy of the fanciest of restaurants.

 

cooked creme brulee without sugar basic creme brûlée

 

But let’s be honest–we all order creme brûlée for that crunchy sugar topping, right? Glad we’re on the same page. Traditionally, the sugar crust on top is achieved using a culinary blow torch, but I speak for everyone when I say that that is a terrible idea for me. Instead, I opted to melt the sugar crust under the broiler, which worked fine, more or less. A few broiler tips: do not close your oven door. That will cause the heat to stay in the oven and overcook the creme brûlée, which will make them chunky and gross. What you want to do is start with a cold oven, and very (very very) cold, pre-cooked creme brûlée ramekins (you could even put them in the freezer for a few minutes before broiling.) Sprinkle the sugar on top, and place them directly under the broiler flame, with the wire oven rack set as high up and close to the flame as it can go. Then, keeping your oven door slightly ajar, allow them to brûlée–the tops will get all melty, then eventually brown up and harden (once you remove them from the heat, that is). You may have to rotate them if you find they’re not browning evenly. 
 
basic creme brulee basic creme brûlée
 
Overall, these were creamy, decadent and really, really delicious. Serve ‘em up cold right after cooking–maybe with a strawberry on top for an extra dose of class. Enjoy!
 
 
 

 

cous cous stuffed peppers

colored peppers cous cous stuffed peppers

 

Whoever nicknamed Sundays the “day of rest” clearly was never a blogger. I’m not sure about you guys, but Sundays are always my go-go-go days. I give myself Saturdays off to do whatever I’d like, but Sundays are typically work days where I’m testing new recipes, writing up posts and planning content for the weeks ahead. After a day spent running around in the kitchen, there’s nothing I like to do more than sit with my feet up on my coffee table and eat a comforting meal. This week, I’ve teamed up with Le Creuset (the holy grail of cookware, as you food fans know) to share my recipe for cous cous stuffed peppers–a great Sunday night (or any night) dinner–and show off their gorgeous new matte color line!

 

 

cous cous for stuffed peppers 1 cous cous stuffed peppers

 

 

If there’s one thing I’ve mastered since living in my own apartment, it’s a rockin’ cous cous stir fry. Literally, it’s one of those “kitchen sink” type meals, which pretty much means I throw whatever veggies and yummy add-ons I have in my fridge into a pan and saute it up. To make it a little bit more hearty, I’ve been stuffing it inside some bright fresh peppers lately–it helps me pack in more veggies (never a bad thing) and makes a very packable lunch for the next day!

 

For the stuffing this time around, I cooked the cous cous per the directions on the container, then added it to a skillet with a bit of olive oil, chopped onions, garlic, yellow squash, kale and feta.

 

le creuset matte color cous cous stuffed peppers

 

And now for the star of the event–my brand new Le Creuset French Oven. I’ve always had pipe dreams of someday being able to own a Le Creuset cookware item, so naturally I was over-the-moon excited to try out their new matte collection when they offered. The mineral blue French Oven they sent over is the perfect size for so many of my favorite meals–roasted chicken, yummy short ribs and of course, these peppers (I’ve also been pinning recipe ideas from their Pinterest page so I know I’m using it for every dish possible!).

 

To cook up these babies, you’re going to want to first coat the base with a bit of olive oil. After removing the seeds and white parts of the pepper (I’m sure they have an official name, but I don’t know it), give them a quick boil (think five minutes max) in water, then drain them upside down. Once your cous cous is done, stuff your peppers with the mixture and set them upright in your dish (you can use any oven-safe dish with a lid for this, or cover one with tinfoil). I like to drizzle the tops with a bit of vegetable broth so the cous cous stays extra moist, but that’s optional. Cover with the lid and cook on 375 degrees for about a half hour, or until the peppers are a bit shriveled and tender to the touch (they should be able to be cut through very easily by a butter knife).

 

cous cous stuffed peppers with le creuset matte french oven cous cous stuffed peppers

 

I swear, these came out extra sweet and juicy this time around, and I’m giving all the credit to the dish–I felt like a real at-home chef when I was making this, and I can wait to break it out for more recipes this spring. The new matte color line from Le Creuset will debut in signature stores and online tomorrow–if you’ve been waiting for the right time to treat yourself to a piece that will seriously last you a lifetime, now seems like a perfect time!

 

 

**Please note, I was given this Le Creuset product to try out, but all opinions and commentary are my own–I completely recommend this French Oven, and all their products, whole heartedly. As always, thank you for supporting the brands and collaborations that make The Glossy Life possible!

roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

fresh salmon roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

 

So about that unintentional blog break–I guess I owe you guys an apology! Work has been pretty crazy for the past few weeks, and in lieu of putting up a bunch of posts that screamed “half-assed,” I instead opted to take the week off. The good news? Things are (hopefully) calming a bit, and I’m back with some fun things this week, starting with this recipe!

 

Salmon was one of the first things I learned to cook for myself, and to date it’s still one of my favorite dishes. I guess I have to attribute that to it’s ease–if you get yourself a good piece of salmon (I always try to buy mine fresh from a place like Whole Foods or the great seafood market on my street), you really have to do minimal work in order to bring out the flavor. I love roasting some veggies right alongside the salmon (as evidenced by that ton of asparagus down there) and making a yummy side to go along with it–which is why I’m forcing upon you my favorite recipe for lemony smashed potatoes. Trust me, there’s a lot of goodness coming your way.

 

salmon with lemon and asparagus roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

For the salmon, you’ll need to first start with a great filet of salmon (obviously)–skin on. Set your over to 375 degrees, and pull out a glass baking dish. Place the salmon in the center, skin side down, with vegetables on the surrounding edges if you want. Top both the veggies and the salmon with 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, making sure you spread it over the top of the salmon with your hand, as well as around the veggies.

 

Sprinkle both with salt and pepper. Cut up half of one lemon into thin slices (you can remove the seeds if you want–I just get annoyed trying to do that so I don’t bother…you don’t really eat these slices anyways) and place them on top of both the fish and the vegetables. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over everything, then place in the oven to cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the fish has turned a chalky pink on the outside and appears to be cooked all the way through and is flakey on the inside. You can serve with an extra half a lemon if you want to give your guests the option of another squeeze.

 

 

red and gold potatoes roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

For the potatoes, you’ll want the small-to-medium sized baby potatoes, in any color you want (I usually go with red, gold and purple, but the store didn’t have purple this time around). Figure about 8-10 potatoes per person if you’re serving more than yourself (you can up that a bit more if a) you’re really hungry, b) you especially like potatoes or c) yours are extra small). You’ll also want two fresh lemons and italian parsley.

 

Smashed potatoes roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

First, you’re going to want to boil the potatoes until they’re cooked through (meaning you can stick a fork in them and it slips out rather easily). Once they’re cooked, drain the water out and place them on a cutting board or other clean surface–it’s time for the smashing! To “smash” them, you essentially want to press down on them with your palm hard enough that the skin breaks, but the potato still stays pretty much intact. No need to Hulk-style your potatoes into oblivion…a nice little smush will do.

 

Smashed sauteed potatoes 1 roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

Once you’ve smashed them, you’re going to want to heat them in a skillet with a bit of olive oil, flipping until both sides are browned evenly. While they’re browning, mix the juice of two lemons in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a generous bit of parsley.

 

roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes roasted salmon with lemony smashed potatoes

 

Toss your potatoes in the lemon/olive oil dressing and serve alongside the salmon and veggies. Lots of lemon, but it’s all delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

easy entertaining: DIY grilled cheese bar

diy grilled cheese easy entertaining: DIY grilled cheese bar

 

 

I like to share my favorite things with people. And one of my favorite favorite things happens to be cheese. When the opportunity popped up to host some of the SELF girls at my house on Monday for a cheesy (figuratively, and literally) game night, the cracked out Ina Garten in me went crazzzzyyyy. I sent out a quick e-mail asking for food preferences and wouldn’t you know it; every e-mail that rolled in said cheese, cheese, cheese. Very SELF Magazine of us, no?

 

selfgame3 easy entertaining: DIY grilled cheese bar

 

I stuck to a pretty simple, fool-proof menu: my famous salted chocolate chip cookies (well, they’re not mine exactly, but you get what I mean), apple cider donuts, mini mac and cheeses (I modify this recipe from Martha a bit and it never fails me) and–my favorite part–a DIY grilled cheese bar.

 

Grilled cheese is one of those foods that instnatly ellicits a content sigh from everyone–it’s just so comforting and yummy. I loved the idea of making it a bit more grown up, so I laid out the spread you see above–really though, anything is fair game when mixing up your GC Bar. You’ll want to stick to a few main groups:

 

| Breads | I stuck with a fancy, crusty white bread, but you could also do wheat, pumpernickel or rye. Maybe even cinnamon raisin if you want to get a little savory and crazy.

 

| Cheeses | The star of the ‘wich, so make sure you get the good stuff! I laid out gruyere, cheddar, mozzarella and goat cheese (not shown), and I made sure to grate them beforehand. The cheese always melts better (and easier!) that way.

 

| Spreads | Here’s where the fun starts. Obviously you know you have to coat the outside of the bread with butter when toasting them up, but the inside is where you can get creative. I gave the option of pesto, sun dried tomato spread and honey mustard for the girls, but something like a sweet chutney or spicy chipotle pepper spread would be yummy too.

 

| Veggies & Fruits | Anything and everything belongs here! Avocado, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms, pears, strawberries–you name it, you can probably slap it on some bread with some cheese and call it delicious. I stuck with onions and pears–kind of random, but they ended up in some pretty awesome sandwich combos.

 

| Meats | Ah, the dark horse of the grilled cheese world. You may think that adding meat veers things a little too close to panini territory, but I disagree–really, there’s room for everybody. I laid out a selection of Italian meets like sopressata and prosciutto, but thinking back on it WHERE WAS THE BACON?! Silly me.

 

 

diy grilled cheeses easy entertaining: DIY grilled cheese bar

 

Here’s my GC of choice: pesto, mozzarella and pears with a little slice of prosciutto for good measure. I want to eat it again right now.

 

 

the sunday edition [+ sweet drop biscuits with strawberry butter]

sweet drop biscuits with homemade strawberry butter the sunday edition [+ sweet drop biscuits with strawberry butter]

 

 

Sweet drop biscuits were everywhere when we were in Savannah–I hadn’t had them since I was younger (my Mom made a variation of this recipe when I was growing up), but I came back newly obsessed and had to try my hand at them one lazy Sunday here in Astoria. They were a big hit with my roommates–especially with the addition of homemade strawberry butter (way easier than it sounds, by the way!).

 

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Add the shortening, and cut it into the mix (this can be done with your hands) until the whole bowl is crumbly. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until just combined.

 

Plop small balls of dough (a little less than 1/4 cup worth) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook in an oven set to 425 for 15-20 minutes, checking occasionally.

 

For the butter: Combine one stick of unsalted butter (at room temperature) in a bowl with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and strawberries that have been minced or even pulsed in a food processor (about 1/4 cup of these as well, although you can add more if you want a chunkier butter). Whip until combined, then spread onto warm biscuits and enjoy with these links from about the web this week:

 

-Have you guys met the girls of SRSLY. yet? If not, you’re missing out–we worked with them for our Girl vs. Sweat videos for SELF, and their web series is so amazing. Very GIRLS-esque.

 

-Need this genius doormat (don’t we all?).

 

-I’ve put off using anti-aging products as long as I could, but I think with my 25th birthday approaching, it’s time to start. I can’t wait to try out Maya’s suggestions!

 

-I love any dessert with lemon as an ingredient, so Luci’s Nutty Lemon Bars just shot to the top of my “must try” baking list.

 

-Rachelle always has the best working girl outfits. Definitely saving this one for office inspiration once the weather heats up a bit!

 

-I’ve been obsessed with Bailey’s design style for as long as I can remember–I’m super drawn to her amazing us of color and playful take on decor. You have to check out her newest design project.

 

-This recipe for Split Pea Soup with Watermelon Radishes from Liz seems like the perfect way to try and usher in spring.

 

-A “Lip Flip” sketch with Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon. Enough said.

 

 

 

new orleans style french beignets

new orleans style french beignets new orleans style french beignets

 

Happy Mardi Gras! Well I guess technically Mardi Gras has been going on for a bit already, but today is the day known as “Fat Tuesday,” which sounds like all of my favorite things wrapped up in one. And what better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with a traditional New Orleans-style dessert recipe–I swear there is no link between the fact that it’s called Fat Tuesday and the fact that I made donuts…they’re not that bad for you.

 

If you’ve ever been down south, chances are you’ve probably found beignets somewhere on the menu. They’re a French-style pastry that’s become synonymous with the Cajun and Creole food that New Orleans is known for, and they are delicious. I don’t even like donuts (or donut-style desserts) and this beignet recipe had me reaching for more than a few of the pillowy dough puffs.

 

raw beignets new orleans style french beignets

 

 

Truthfully, I didn’t know where to start with making beignets, so I searched for a few recipes until I found this one that looked relatively straight forward. I will say this: they are a bit time consuming. The from-scratch dough took about an hour and a half to rise, during which I worked out with my roommates and earned those beignets, baby. It also makes a massive batch of pastries. I didn’t even use up all the dough, but I’d say it would make you at least 30-40 beignets if you use the whole batch. Not that you’ll have a hard time finding people to take them off your hands…

 

fresh fried beignets new orleans style french beignets

 

Frying sounds intimidating, but I assure you it’s much easier than it looks. A few things you should make sure you have on hand: a deep-sided pot (like something you would make sauce in), a slotted spoon to lift the beignets out of the oil, a rack to let them cool a bit on (you’ll want to serve them warm, though) and a newspaper or magazine on hand in case you have to fan your fire alarm to get it to shut off (not that that happened to me or anything).

 

new orleans style french beignets with caramel new orleans style french beignets

 

I served my beignets dusted with powdered sugar and along side a trio of dips: melted semi-sweet chocolate, raspberry preserves (I love Bonne Maman) and my favorite easy-to-make caramel. I cheat when I make it, and combine a melted stick of butter in a sauce pan with a cup of brown sugar, stirring until it’s smooth in melted, about two minutes. Add a half a cup of heavy cream and whisk together for another two minutes, then remove from the heat and add in some vanilla and a good dose of salt. Once it cools it will be perfectly thick and sweet–the ideal partner alongside these doughy, crispy beignets!

 

I promise if you try these out you won’t be disappointed–they’re worth their weight in tacky plastic beaded necklaces.

 

 

 

 

mussels in a bread bowl

mussels in a bread bowl mussels in a bread bowl

 

 

Do you ever find that, no matter how many times you go out to eat or how many new restaurants you try, you always end up ordering the same thing? For me, that “same thing” is always mac and cheese as a main dish–I like to say it’s because I’m on a quest for the best one in New York City, but really, I think I’m just an addict.  Another dish I’m going steady with? Mussels in a bread bowl.

 

 

fresh baked bread mussels in a bread bowl

 

In. A. Bread. Bowl. Just wanted to make sure you heard that correctly, because how could anything served in a bowl made out of crusty, warm bread not be delicious? Now add fresh mussels and a chunky sweet tomato broth and you’ve got the makings of your new impress-the-guests dinner appetizer.

 

parsley onions and tomatoes mussels in a bread bowl

 

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 dozen mussels, cleaned and “debearded” (see how to do this here)
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped fine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano tomatoes–they’re the best!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh parsley
  • Dried oregano

 

fresh mussels1 mussels in a bread bowl

 

In a sauce pan set over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic in a thin layer of olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add the contents of one can of crushed tomatoes to the pot, then refill the can halfway with water and add that as well. Stir to combine, then cook on medium heat covered, until the sauce is bubbling.

 

Carefully, add the fresh mussels to the pot along with salt, pepper, a few dashes of oregano and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley. Stir so the mussels are completely integrated into the sauce, then cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until the shells have popped open. As a rule of thumb, any shells that don’t open, you’ll want to discard–this means the mussel was dead before cooking and could get you sick.

 

fresh baked bread bowl mussels in a bread bowl

 

Cut into a loaf of bread with a serrated knife at an angle so that you can remove part of the “top” of the bread. You might need to go back and scoop out some additional bread to create more of a “bowl” to put your mussels in, but just be sure to leave enough of a cushion on the bottom and sides so that your sauce doesn’t leak through/out.

 

mussels with red sauce in a bread bowl mussels in a bread bowl

 

Ladle the cooked mussels and some extra sauce into the bread bowl and serve immediately. You’ll need an additional bowl for the shells, and your hands at the ready for the best part–scooping out all that sauce-soaked bread once you get to it! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

valentine’s day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

Valentines Day homemade ravioli valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

 

I can still remember one of the best meals I’ve ever ate. It was in Florence, on the final Thursday of our trip–a few friends and I ventured over to the other side of the Arno (which we didn’t really do much, as the side we were staying on was more populated/central) to a little restaurant called Trattoria Quattro Leoni. I ordered the pear tortellini (Somehow, even after 5 months, I still didn’t get sick of pasta. Go figure.) and I’m telling you right now, it was out. of. this. world. It was one of those dishes where you’re instantly like, “I wish everyone I’ve ever loved in my whole entire life could eat this right now.” That kind of good.

 

So that long-winded explanation boils down to this: for Valentine’s Day dinner, I’ve recreated that best dish ever in the hopes of letting you guys in on it. Is it going to be as good as the original? Nope. Probably not even close. Are these even tortellini? Also a no, but I made fresh pasta, OK? Shaping them into tortellini just seemed too complicated…

 

I know homemade pasta sounds intimidating, but I promise it’s not. You can even make it without that fancy Kitchen Aid attachment (I should know, because I don’t have one either). All you need is three ingredients, which I suspect are already hanging out in your kitchen.

 

pasta base valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

 

For the fresh pasta, you’ll need:

 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • olive oil (I used truffle oil for a little extra somethin’ somethin’)
  • sea salt

 

To start, sift your flour onto a clean, flat surface. Create a well in the middle with your fist or finger, like shown above. Crack the eggs into the well, adding in your oil and salt too. Mix together carefully using one hand–the dough will start to come together sticky at first, but keep kneading it until it’s smooth. If it feels too dry still after about 5-7 minutes, add a few drops of water–likewise, if it seems too wet still, add a pinch more flour.

 

raw pasta dough valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

 

Ball up the dough and coat with a bit more oil. Wrap in saran wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime….

 

 

chopped pears valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

…Chop up two pears! You can leave the skin on, but you’ll want to cut them rather small and cubed. First up is caramelizing the pears. If you’ve ever made apple pie filling, you’re going to be a pro at this. Just put the pears in a skillet with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cooking them on low until they’re slightly mushy and deep brown in color.

 

ravioli filling valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

Add the pears to a bowl with the ricotta (I used one whole small container) and a handful or two of chopped fresh spinach (uncooked). You’re also going to want to add one teaspoon of granulated sugar to this mixture (like you would with lasagna, etc.). Mix together fully, then cool until you’re ready to use it.

 

homemade ravioli valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

After a half hour, your dough should be ready–roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s very thin–about 1/4 of an inch or less. You’ll need two of these “sheets” for your ravioli–one to serve as the base, and one to serve as the top. Plop teaspoon-sized scoops of the ricotta mixer onto the bottom sheet in a grid formation. Top with the other sheet of pasta dough, then cut between the ricotta dollops to form squares. Press around the edges of each with a fork to seal them. Allow to set for an additional 10 minutes, while you boil a pan of water that’s been heavily salted.

 

Spinach ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli valentines day eats: spinach, ricotta and caramelized pear homemade ravioli

 

Cook the ravioli for about 3-4 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and cooked through, but not mushy. Plate with a bit of unsalted butter, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Enjoy over a romantic candle lit dinner, then check each other’s teeth for spinach afterwards.

 

True love…there’s nothing like it.

 

 

 

 

valentine’s day eats: dessert first!

molten lava cake ingredients valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

There is literally nothing I love more than lava cakes. Truthfully, it all started at Applebee’s…seriously, no one does a lava cake like Applebee’s (except for maybe you, after this recipe). There’s just something so amazing about the ice cream on top of the warm cake, and that very satisfying gush of chocolate that comes out when you attack it with a spoon.

 

I have this thing where I love to order dessert first, if whoever I’m with will let me, so I figured for the big V-Day meal, we’d start with dessert first (don’t worry you traditionalists–I have a delicious dinner recipe coming at you later today). The great news is that these chocolate lava cakes, adapted from a recipe I found in Food and Wine, are super quick to make (like 20 minutes, quick) and are best eaten right out of the oven, so there’s that whole immediate satisfaction thing. You’re going to want to grab a glass of wine–let’s do this:

 

You’ll need:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken up
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (that’s two whole eggs, plus the yolks of two additional eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the ramekins.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

melted chocolate for molten lava cakes valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. In a double-broiler on the stove, melt the chocolate and butter together–you’re going to want to chop up both of these a bit so they melt easier and combine more quickly. Stir occasionally to ensure an even melt.

 

whipped egg whites valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs/egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt on high until light and thick, like above. Using a spatula, gently and gradually fold the melted chocolate and 2 tablespoons flour into the egg mixture, taking care to combine well (but don’t go crazy on it–you don’t want to deflate the eggs).

 

lava cakes valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

Pour the mixture into ramekins that have been coated with butter and dusted with a touch of flour–this recipe makes just enough for two perfectly sized cakes (they won’t expand that much, so feel free to fill them almost to the top). Pop in the oven to cook for about 10 minutes. It’s important to keep an eye on the cakes, because cook time will largely depend on your oven. You want the edges of each cake to firm up, but the middle to still be a bit soft.

 

Valentines Day lava cake dessert valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

Once cooked, remove the ramekins from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for one minute. Invert them onto a plate and allow them to cook upside down for five minutes before slowly lifting the ramekin–the cake should stay on the plate, but if it doesn’t, feel free to run a knife around the edges of the ramekin to loosen it up.

 

Dust the finished cake with some powdered sugar, or top with your favorite ice cream flavor or dessert syrup (carmel sauce would be amazing I bet!). Serve warm and to chocolate-lovers only…these are very rich, but so so worth it. Enjoy!

 

Valentines Day lava cake desserts valentines day eats: dessert first!

 

 

the sunday edition [+ five minute french toast]

five minute french toast the sunday edition [+ five minute french toast]

 

 

French toast might actually be my favorite breakfast food–at least this version. Some restaurant-style french toast dishes can be too sweet, or overloaded with stuff on top (bananas! peanut butter! strawberries! chocolate chips!), but this quick, five-minute version (seriously!) tip toes that line perfectly. It’s simple, it will make your house smell amazing and your Sunday morning even that much better!

 

french toast breakfast the sunday edition [+ five minute french toast]

 

 

For 3-4 pieces of french toast, you’ll need:

 

  • 3-4 pieces of bread (your choice which kind!)
  • 3 eggs
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

 

egg soak for french toast the sunday edition [+ five minute french toast]

 

 

Mix the cinnamon (again, it’s up to you how much. I like to keep my french toast mild, so I only use about 2 teaspoons) and eggs in a bowl, scrambling with a fork until combined. Heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove, melting the tablespoon of butter.  Soak your bread in the egg mixture, being sure to coat both side evenly. Place in the pan and cook, flipping the french toast occasionally, until both sides are browned and a bit caramelized.

 

five minute french toast recipe the sunday edition [+ five minute french toast]

 

Serve the french toast with a dusting of powdered sugar (if you want) and some maple syrup (Vermont Maid was a staple in our house growing up). Cut it up, then enjoy with some coffee and these links from around the web this week:

 

-This NYC Etiquette graphic is both brilliant and so, so true.

 

-Architectural Digest featured Patrick Dempsey’s Malibu home recently and it is stunning. I’d kill for that amazing outdoor space!

 

-I’m still into that whole “trying to be a runner” thing, so I’m soaking up these running tips from Anne, who is the pavement pounding new mama behind In Residence.

 

-The supremely talented Alissa (great name, too!) had a ton of killer blog photo tips and tricks on her blog this week–everything from how to edit better photos, how to take better blog photos and photo basics. She was a photography student in college and her outfit photos are always spot on, so you know this advice is legit.

 

-Um kid, I feel ya. This little boy is having a lot of feelings towards “Say Something.” Me too, me too.

 

-I love the look of this chain link braid featured over on A Beautiful Mess. Plus, it’s perfect for short hair!

 

-A lavender vodka lemonade? Yes, please! So classy for cocktail hour.

 

-This Washingtonian piece, This is Danny Pearl’s Final Story, was amazing. Definitely just read. it.