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Let It Be Sunday, 155!

s Hello dear friends. Happy Sunday. I hope this finds you ready and fortified to face another day.  Well… have a cup of coffee first.

Whole Orange Bundt Cake

So much of our kitchen experience involves throwing parts of food into the trashcan, right?  I hate that part.

Let It Be Sunday, 154!

The real truth is, I’ve just eaten far more cookies than I need and I’m sitting on the couch watching what is commonly known as the BEST episode of The Office EVER:  Dinner Party – Season 4, Episode 9.

White Bean, Kale, and Sausage Soup

Making soup means you have some time.  Some time and some fire.   Question… what’s going on with this Instant Pot?

10 Things I’ve Learned In Ten Years Of Blogging

You know what’s all the rage? Food blogging. Wait… right?  This week marks the 10th year that I’ve showed up in this humble space as Joy the Baker.

Let It Be Sunday, 153!

Hello friends!  What’s good?   I’ll tell ya what?  New Orleans is seeing some slightly warmer days this weekend, it’s the start of Mardi Gras, I’ve just popped a King Cake in the oven, and I’ve already decided which cocktail I’m going to enjoy when I head to dinner tonight.

Supreme Pizza Quiche

Here’s what I know about pizza.   •  It is the best food, the Lord’s work, the most important combination of ingredients that ever was.  •  I’ll eat any pizza, good or bad, cooked from frozen, cold and leftover.  •  Everyday is a negotiation of when and where I will eat pizza again.  •  Pizza is better with friends as long as there is enough pizza for everyone.  •  It truly is amazing the things you can turn into pizza.

Let It Be Sunday, 152!

What a time to be alive. End end of the year is full of feeling.  I find myself looking back at the past few years feeling satisfied and proud, wondering what-if, staring strong at situations I could have been better in.

The Sparkling Negroni

We all deserve a pat on the back and a clink of the glasses come December 31st.  Another year. Another WHOLE year in the books.

Let It Be Sunday, 151!

It’s rolling into the very early hours of Christmas Eve on the west coast and I’m tucked in my old bedroom at my parent’s house (it’s now my dad’s office where I’m sleeping on an air mattress) eating takeout Thai food, gathering our links for Sunday reading.

Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins

I realized not long back that I have an unchecked list in my head, a list of things that only other people bake.  As in… a list of things that for some reason, thanks to a laundry list of reasons and excuses, I don’t know how and shouldn’t attempt to bake.

Deb’s Chocolate Pecan Slab Pie

It’s not that I don’t like a traditional Southern Pecan Pie.  I’m pretty sure the distinction is that I’ve just never had the right Southern Pecan Pie.   It’s always a problem of proportions.  It’s a problem of what I can only describe as ‘goop’ to crust + nut proportions.  I try to keep my ‘goop’ ratios low in the foods that I eat, unless you’re talking about rice pudding, in which case… I’ll race you to the bottom of the pot.   The problem… and there actually is no problem at all with Pecan Pie… is the amount of wiggly corn syrup mixture in a standard pie dish.  With just a few cups of pecans, we’re left with an inch and filling wiggle that is just more than I can handle.   When I crossed paths with Deb’s slab-rendition of a traditional Pecan Pie I knew we’d essentially be creating a candy bar inside of a pie crust and SIGN ME UP, thank you.  Her recipe also calls for a chocolate ganache (twist my arm), and uses maple syrup or golden syrup instead of the popular corn syrup in a lot of today’s pies.  Added bonus, this pie makes PLENTY so, here we are- suddenly holiday-party-popular!

Let It Be Sunday, 150!

Hello friends!  I swear I’ve worn tracks in the space between my kitchen counter, the oven, and the kitchen sink this week.  There’s been a lot of baking- afridge full of pies, racks full of these gingerbread marshmallows, and a lot of flour I need to sweep from the kitchen floor.  I’ve also managed to watch just about every episode of Next Food Network Star which turn out to be excellent motivation during all day + all night baking sessions.

Sparkling Spiced Orange and Lemon Winter Tonics

Hello friends! Let’s take good care this time of year.  Let’s fill our bodies with goodness in the midst of our holiday run-around.  This is my favorite time of year… mostly because of all the parties that include bourbon and pie – but there must be balance because balance keeps us happy, chill, and from losing our minds at the company holiday party.  (I did that one year and… well, I’m still here to tell the tale but it’s mostly a cautionary tale, ya feel me?

Baking 101: How To Make Pie Crust By Hand

Let’s talk about pie crust!  It’s important because hopefully you have a homemade Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie making it’s way to your holiday table this year.  Pies come in a few parts, homemade pie crust, loads of filling, and some sort of topping (crumble of crust) –  but every solid pie starts with a flaky crust.   Making a pie from scratch can be intimidating.  I know it.  I really do.  I teach people how to make pie crust a lot and I know it’s scary.  I have a tremendous track record.  We’ve got this.   There are a few tricks to making a flaky pie crust from scratch – believe in yourself (this goes a long way, I swear), keep your fat and your water cold, work fairly quickly, add more water if necessary, and knead gently but confidently.   Here are some step-by-step photos to walk us through but leave a comment below if you have any burning pie crust questions!

Let It Be Sunday, 149!

Hello dear friends! A year ago this week I was in the kitchen at the White House, making holiday cookies with Ashley and Molly and oooohhh just the White House Pastry Chef.  Exactly 1 trillion things have happened since that time.  Just all the stuff that makes us cheer and cry, scream and wonder, and hopefully act more generously with our empathy and genuine curiosity for one another.

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

I feel like we’re far enough past pumpkin spice season to really cozy into gingerbread time.   Beyond cookies and breads, we can get gingerbread flavors with a thin battered, fluffy and puffy Dutch Baby pancake.  It’s simple and thank goodness for that.  A Dutch Baby is a perfect weekend activity because with minimal kitchen efforts, you can have a warm, doughnut-like pancake to hustle over to the couch to enjoy like the world is your own.   Here’s how we do:   A Dutch baby, this giant, fluffy, oven pancake is really pretty simple to make.  We’ll start by making a very thin pancake batter, pour it into a very hot cast iron skillet, and finish my slicing very large pieces onto our plates and into our hearts.

Cincinnati Chili Dinner

Earlier this year I discovered the wonders of a warmly spiced savory meat dish.  It was too long a time coming, but moussaka is in my heart to stay.   This chili, some of you from Cincinnati are no doubt nodding your head with knowing, is a cinnamon + chili + cumin and clove spiced meat dish served two ways, three ways, or FIVE WAYS: over spaghetti pasta topped with diced white onions, grated cheddar cheese, and kidney beans.   I’ve seen some of traditional, Mediterranean spiced Cincinnati Chili recipes that also include dark chocolate but this recipe opts out.  I can only go so far where spaghetti and cheddar are involved.   This recipe bring on opinions.  It’s not often you combine ground cinnamon and ground beef without ruffling a feather or two.  The combination warm and comforting and the spice bring such an unexpected roundness to this hearty chili situation.   This recipe is from our girl Ree’s latest cookbook Come and Get It!

Let It Be Sunday, 148!

Hello friends!  It’s December 3rd and we’re off to the races! Or we’re in the races.  That’s more like it… It’s December 3rd and here we are barreling towards the end of the year.   This time of year invariably has me taking stock of the things I’ve done in the last 11 months, in the last few weeks, in the last five minutes.  The highlights include: publishing my third cookbook this past spring, launching workshops at my space in New Orleans, and eating cold rice with my fingers out of the pot on the stove.  It’s a full life, ya know?

Sweet Potato and Lardon Tacos

There’s not much I won’t put in a tortilla.  This comes with plenty of early training.  I think I came home from fourth grade and everyday made a peanut butter and jelly ‘sandwich’ in a cold flour tortilla.  It took me a few months to navigate how to keep the precious filling from slipping out the end after biting through the tightly rolled peanut butter burrito.  It took me another few weeks to figure out that tortillas don’t work well in a toaster, but do fair well over the flame of the stove burner.   But, we’re here to talk about other tortilla things now that I’ve mastered what to put in a tortilla and how to get it in my face.  Sweet potato and bacon tacos.  They could be dinner, they could be lunch, maybe add some scrambled eggs and call them breakfast.