June 2012

What do you do when you have an ample amount of toasted marshmallow ice cream hanging out in you freezer? You make graham crackers so that you can make sandwiches with all that goodness. Who would make their own graham crackers? People like me. Seriously though, store-bought graham crackers have nothing on this homemade variation. They’re crunchy, snappy, spicy, and dangerously addictive.       Last winter I ordered some mesquite flour online, and I was immediately impressed by it’s slightly nutty, sweet flavor. It has a hint of earthy, woodsy-ness to it too. I think it best complements anything with a little heat, chocolate, coffee, and brown sugar flavors. The mesquite flour is made from mesquite tree seed pods that are dried and then pulverized into a flour that [...]

Poor, poor Colorado. It is so hot and dry here that there is (and has been for some time now) a statewide fire ban. So that bride who wants sparklers at her wedding this weekend? Nope. Fireworks? Nope. Campfires when you’re CAMPING? Nope, nope, nope. I was hiking today and a bunch of grey, puffy clouds rolled in. I thought, finally. They left after a few sprinkles. Let’s hope we get some rain, soon. So while you’re trying to get into the summer spirit, sans campfire, here’s a great way to start: toasted marshmallow ice cream. It’s cool, it’s creamy, it’s TOASTY, it’s delicious. All the toasting is done using a girl’s best friend- the propane torch; or your broiler/oven. Colorado-safe. I whip up batches of this ice cream in [...]

Last summer I created a plated dessert one night that involved chocolate profiteroles, honey ice cream, and roasted apricots. It was a pain because during service the freezer broke, and the honey ice cream was melting like crazy. Each mini profiterole had to be scooped and assembled to order, which took time, and that ice cream wasn’t getting any colder. It felt like that night would never end. But, I do remember that dessert fondly because there truly is something special about the flavors of chocolate, honey, and fruit coming together in one bite. Honey is such an incredible ingredient and as a pastry chef; a valued friend. I can’t even begin to count how many times honey has come to the rescue as the garnish for a plate or [...]

Today was hot. The usual cool air accompanying our mountain surroundings was noticeably absent. And the trail was so parched it created a fine powder of dust that surrounded my feet as I dragged them up the slope. Several things ran through my mind. First, I need to drink more. Water, that is. The spontaneous happy hour followed by sushi (and wine) followed by a stop at our favorite watering hole didn’t put me in the best of conditions this morning. Second, I need to stop eating fluff. The fun-size Snickers bars and a handful of granola just aren’t cutting my energy needs for breakfast (as embarrassing as it, I eat fun-size Snickers like it’s my job. Those and pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream). And finally, why do I keep [...]

A long time ago, we used to eat at Arby’s. Having the sweet tooth that I do, I always wanted to get a turnover. They were sitting in plain sight, under the heat lamp, just begging to be sold. It was always a struggle to win over my mom and convince her that getting me a turnover was a GRAND idea. Now I suppose I see why she was so reluctant. They weren’t anything that special, being a fast food turnover. Nobody lovingly made them from scratch with a homemade fruit filling. But when it comes down to it, I think turnovers are just plain adorable. Look at one and tell me you disagree. We don’t see so many turnovers these days, which is why they’re a fun treat to [...]

Ahh, summer. They say you come for a winter out here, experience a summer, and then never leave. Hard to argue. This is my favorite time of year and I try to soak it up as much as I can. I feel particularly blessed going into this summer season with more creative freedom than I have ever had in my life. A chance to finally work on all of those business ideas I’ve always had and chase those dreams. It’s important to work hard and earn your way in the world. But to some extent as well, life should feel full, happy, and lived. I have been out in Colorado for almost three years. Until recently, my entire Colorado time has been spent working non-stop in restaurants. And I had [...]

While citrus fruits have their peak season in the winter, there’s just something incredibly refreshing about their tangy, bright, and acidic flavor on a hot and steamy summer day. One bite of this creamy and tart pie, topped with a fluffy mound of toasted Italian meringue, and things cool waaay down. Had to run to the post office today? The line was probably too long anyways. Laundry to do? You can find something else to wear tomorrow. You’ve had this problem a few times before and you managed to make it work. Oh and that dinner party you planned for tonight? Embrace the art of buying nice things and merely assembling, darling. Everyone loves a good antipasto platter. The point is, lemon meringue pie is just one of those desserts [...]

I don’t know why, but the other day I decided to make tiramisu. Or wait, perhaps it had something to do with my freshly made batch of mascarpone cheese… Either way, we know three things: 1. Tiramisu is really good. 2. In some ways, it’s hard to mess up tiramisu when you are working with such delicious ingredients. 3. The word tiramisu translates into “pick me up” due to all those espresso syrup-soaked layers. Unless I can find a loving home for my creations, I’m the one stuck eating them (a true tragedy, I know) so I like to change things up from time to time. Instead of a normal tiramisu, I wanted to eat one of a different flavor. Perhaps something more unique, maybe a little unexpected. My mind [...]

I have to admit, I bake cakes a lot. But who can resist one like this? This tender poppy seed buttermilk cake is layered with sweet berries and a smooth, whipped creme fraiche cream. Any fruit could be substituted for the berries, and even jam would be delicious. This cake is kind of like a sophisticated homage to strawberry shortcake. Everyone always loves cake, cream, and fruit. In addition to baking with creme fraiche, you can easily use it to accent any dessert, as shown. To learn how to make your own creme fraiche, click here. This cake makes a four layer 9″ cake, but I made individual portions here with a ring mold. A good tip- chilling your cake before cutting or assembling it makes it sturdier and easier [...]

A few days ago, I started my batches of creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese, which you can read about and learn how to make on your own, here. So this week I will be utilizing them in recipes that celebrate all of their creamy, delicious glory. Yesterday I decided to make some sweet accompaniments for my homemade mascarpone cheese. The intention for this dessert was to let the mascarpone stand out, unaltered. Almond Polenta Cake with Caramelized Nectarines and Fresh Mascarpone. Polenta, a coarsely ground cornmeal, pairs well with toasted almonds in this moist, dense loaf cake. The finished product is buttery and nutty, with a slightly crunchy texture from the polenta. Fantastic left as is, but equally lovely dredged in powdered sugar and bruleed, like I did for this [...]

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