Friday, September 30, 2011

Afternoon Snacks

I've been feeling peckish before dinner all week. When it comes to afternoon snacking, sometimes four types of crostini and white wine with a delightful blog friend are necessary, sometimes you need a bowlful of edamame sprinkled with sea salt, and sometimes a raspberry and yogurt smoothie does the trick. And if none of those cut it, there's always one more slice of chocolate cake.

Happy Friday! I'm going to Harvest Fest tomorrow and busting out the pumpkin on Sunday for a little fall baking. What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ivy League

I'm always drawn to ivy on a building. There's something so romantic about it. Do you like it, or do you think it's a sure sign of a crazy old lady inside? You know, a real Miss Havisham type.

[spotted here: 1, 2, 34, 5]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Classic Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream

I didn't just want to eat a piece of chocolate cake. I wanted to mix and sift and bake and frost and spend a few relaxed hours in the kitchen surrounded by butter and chocolate. It was bliss. This cake did not disappoint and it only got better as days went by. The cake and the mocha frosting are mild and light, not dense and rich as some chocolate on chocolate cakes tend to be. It makes it easier to eat larger slices of cake more frequently, if that's what you're into.

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting
Cake recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson; Frosting recipe adapted from Guilty Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup good quality cocoa
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream

Take the eggs and butter out of the refrigerator so that they can come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put all the cake ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to use a mixer, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into buttered tins. I used three 6-inch tins, which baked for about 20 minutes, but test the cake before removing from the oven. When done baking, move the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning them out of their tins.

Mocha Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso
1/3 cup cocoa

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat butter until fluffy, about five minutes. In a small bowl, combine instant coffee or espresso powder with vanilla extract, stir until coffee granules completely dissolve. Set aside. With mixer on low, add half of powdered sugar to butter and mix until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and coffee to butter and beat in remaining sugar. Beat in cocoa until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Assemble and frost cooled cake using an offset spatula. Coat entire cake with thin layer of frosting, a crumb coat, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove cake and add final layer of frosting over the crumb coat. Use the back of a spoon to achieve swirls on top of the cake.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Where do you keep your rings when you're not wearing them? I have a little dish in my bedroom on top of the dresser, but these bunny ears seem like a cuter option.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend in Photos

It was a sugar-filled weekend. I spent Saturday morning in the kitchen baking a chocolate cake, which deserves its own attention, so more on that later in the week. Saturday night, the husband and I went out for Indian food followed by a visit to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, a food truck which recently opened a permanent shop in the East Village. It's just soft-serve ice cream, but it's topped with things like dulce de leche, sea salt, chocolate, Nilla Wafer crumbs, toasted curried coconut, pumpkin butter and more. And when you order, you say things like, "I'll have a Salty Pimp and a Bea Arthur." Hilarious and delicious.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Treat Yourself

Sometimes you need to treat yourself for no particular reason. Yesterday, a Thomas Keller Oreo, or TKO, from Bouchon Bakery was calling my name and I answered. It has all the appeal of an Oreo cookie, except bigger and better, made with dark chocolate sable dough and a creamy white chocolate ganache filling. Let's all just stop and think about that for a minute. 

Happy Friday! Be sure to treat yourself this weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When He's 64

Happy Birthday to my dad! I love this awkward family photo of me, him and my brother and how bizarrely serious we are all being. Based on my appearance, one can only assume it was raining outside. I wouldn't typically broadcast someone's age, but when there's a song to go along with it, it's necessary. Love you, Dad!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tropical Shrimp Salad

I'm still eating like it's summer even though fall is creeping in. This shrimp salad with mango and avocado is flavorful, filling and comes together fast. It's perfect for a busy weeknight while the weather is still warm.

Mango Avocado Shrimp Salad
Adapted from Sunset

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large ripe mangoes
2 medium ripe avocados
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
1 pound shrimp

Pan fry peeled, deveined shrimp in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side or until pink. Let cool at room temperature. Remove tails if desired. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, 2 tablespoons of oil, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Dice mangoes and avocados into 3/4-in. cubes; add to bowl. Add green onion, cilantro, chile, and cooked shrimp. Mix gently. Serve or cover and chill for up to 1 hour. Makes four servings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Light Up the Night

I'm one of those people that loves Christmas lights year-round. That might put me in the corny category, but I think even Christmas lights can look sophisticated thanks to these ideas.

[spotted here: 1, 23]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend in Photos

It was a lazy weekend, which went along perfectly with our cooler weather. There was a long-awaited brunch at Public, and the coconut pancakes topped with mango and ricotta lived up to my expectations. A sweet little arrangement I ordered from Flores del Sol arrived in the mail, we indulged in gooey grilled cheese sandwiches courtesy of Milk Truck, and got gorgeous views of the city during a nighttime ferry ride. How was your weekend?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Poster Imposters

I love these re-imagined movie posters by Claudia Varosio. Just so charming and clever. I think the last one is my favorite because the way Meg Ryan orders food in When Harry Met Sally cracks me up every time. Happy Friday!


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