6.12.2013

A LITTLE DOSE OF VITAMIN C

I think orange may be my new favorite color. After doing an event in Key Biscayne with orange as a primary theme color, and also putting a fantastic orange vintage chair in our new place, I am officially hooked on orange. I mean...those pants, that dress...utterly fantastic!

{photo via The Sartorialist}

3.18.2013

MUSIC MONDAY

I'm currently rocking out loving 19 year old British singer Jake Bugg and his hit "Lightening Bolt".

2.01.2013

LANDSCAPED MOTHS

My brother is an amazing landscape photographer, and I just had to share one of my favorite projects thats he's done: Landscaped Moths. He took macro-images of moths with a sterile scientific approach to the composition, but there's a twist. At first glance, the viewer might pass off these specimens as mer photographs of nonfictional moths, but in fact they have a whole world inside of their wings. As an interpretation of the wing pattern, Tommy manipulated his landscape images and layered them onto the wings. So if you look closely, you will see trees, mountains, snow and more. 

{images by Tommy Ferguson}

11.06.2012

7.18.2012

GLAMPING

How fun would this been for an outdoor wedding? Or just an awesome perk to have a bar while you "glamp"! This gives camping a whole new meaning...

7.03.2012

FOURTH OF JULY COOKIES

When planning a menu, I always think about the dessert first (clearly I have a very serious sweet tooth). In anticipation of my favorite holiday, I just had to make 4th of July cookies. The design was inspired by the July 2011 Martha Stewart magazine cover, but I used my own recipe. The cookies were a big hit at the BBQ I brought them to. Plus, who can't help but feel patriotic when taking a bite out of red, white and blue?

Firework Cookies

Serving: 28-34 cookies | Preheat oven to 375ºF

Cut Out Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup butter, salted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Royal Icing:
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Food coloring, red and blue

Make the Dough:
1. Prepare the cookie dough by creaming together the butter and sugar.
2. Add the eggs and mix. Then add the flour slowly until all is combined.
3. Add the baking powder and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Chill the dough at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
5. Roll out the dough onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar (also dust the rolling pin and cookie cutter with powdered sugar). Cut out shapes using a circe shaped cookie cutter.
6. Place on a lightly greased or buttered cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are a light gold color.
8. Let cool completely before decorating.

Make the Royal Icing:
1. As the cookies are cooling, begin making the icing.
2. Using your electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar a bit at a time until combined and smooth.
4. Put a quarter of the icing in a bowl and mix in the red food coloring. Do the same with the blue in a separate bowl. Leave the remaining half of the icing white.
5. Put the red and blue icing into their own piping bags with a fine nozzle tip.

Decorating:
1. Using a small palate knife (or a butter knife if you don't have one), spread the white royal icing evenly across the top of the cookie.
2. Immediately pipe a dot in the center of the cookie. Then pipe concentric rings, alternating colors or staying with the same color, around the dot.
3. Immediately drag a toothpick through the colors. Drag out from the center dot to the edge. Then alternate and drag from the outer edge in to create a burst effect. Wipe toothpick clean between each drag.
4. Repeat with remaining cookies.
5. Let the icing dry before serving, stacking or storing.

Note:
• Once the icing is made, it needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container otherwise it will harden.
• When working with the white icing, put a damp wash cloth over the bowl. It will prevent the mixture from hardening as you are piping and create the design on each cookie.
• Work on decorating one cookie at a time. If you frost all of them with the white icing and then try and go back to pipe/drag the toothpick through, the white icing will have hardened and will not properly work. Thus, it is best to spread the icing, pipe, then drag the toothpick on one cookie before going on to the next.

{photos by Julia Ferguson of Room for Dessert}

4.08.2012

MEYER LEMON BARS

The meyer lemon tree in my backyard had gotten out of control. With so many lemons, something had to be done. The solution, a big batch of Meyer Lemon Bars. I adapted a recipe to make them very lemony (yes, it's a new word...lemony). Like pucker up and enjoy lemony. They were soooo delicious! You have to try them. An absolute hit.

Lemon Bars

Serving: 24 | Preheat oven to 350ºF

For the Crust:
vegetable oil, for greasing
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon grated meyer lemon zest
1 cup cup fresh meyer lemon juice, strained

Make the Crust:
1. Position a rack to the middle of the oven.
2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. Lightly grease foil.
3. Hand blend the butter, flour, both sugars and salt by squeezing it together with your fingertips until all of the butter cubes are squished and the mixture. Mix on KitchenAid for 30 seconds with whisk attachment until the mixture is a sandy texture. Mix again by hand, lightly kneading in the bowl for 10 seconds until dough comes together.
4. Press evenly into the bottom of the foil lined pan, about 1/2 inch deep, until there are no cracks.
5. Bake until crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Make the Filling (while the crust is baking):
1. Whisk the whole eggs, yolks, sugar and flour lightly in a bowel until blended and smooth.
2. Lightly whisk in lemon zest and juice. Do not over whisk or it will become frothy.
3. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce temperature to 300ºF.
4. Pour the filling over the warm crust and bake until the filling is just set, approximately 30-35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan until room temperature. It is also a good idea to then refrigerate (after cooling) to allow them to firm, one to two hours. Lift out of the pan using foil. Slice and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

{Photos by Julia Ferguson of Room for Dessert, Recipe adapted from the Food Network}

3.16.2012

BOTANICAL COASTERS

How adorable are these coasters from Rifle Paper Co.? The perfect hostess gift this Easter!
{image via Rifle Paper Co.}

2.08.2012

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GELATO

I was having one of those days where I just needed chocolate...and lots of it. A piece of chocolate wasn't going to cut it. I needed something ultra decadent, rich and creamy. Really, nothing was going to satisfy my craving but a scoop of Double Chocolate Gelato so I  whipped up a batch based on a recipe by the Barefoot Contessa. The result: so delicious! I highly recommend it.

Double Chocolate Gelato

Serving: 4 people

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Large pinch salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Heat the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer.
2. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup with a spout.
3. Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 4 minutes, until it is thick and light yellow.
4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Mix on low until combined.
5. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F. Don't allow the mixture to boil!
6. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla, and salt.
7. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the custard (so it is touching it) and chill completely (this may take a few hours).
8. Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to your ice cream maker's directions.
9. Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate.
10. Freeze in covered container to firm. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.
11. Enjoy!

Note: This recipe can take a while. I made this with the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment and the bowl needs to freeze 15 hours in advance (which I didn't realize until after I made the mixture). Just be sure to read your ice cream maker instructions to get a sense of timing. Also, you will need a few hours on step 10 to let the gelato firm before serving.
{photo by Julia Ferguson of Room for Dessert}

2.07.2012

WARDROBE STAPLE NO. 3: THE TRENCH

A wardrobe really isn't complete with a khaki trench coat. Although there is some controversy about who actually invented the trench, there is no doubt that is became main stream when it was worn by British and French soldiers during the First World War. Now more than 70 years later, this coat is an effortless fashion classic that will remain a staple for years to come.

2.06.2012

FADE TO OMBRE

With color blocking so popular these days, why not take it to the next step with an ombre theme for your next party? 

2.01.2012

SUPER BOWL DESSERT IDEAS

With the Super Bowl only days away, it's time to start planning the menu. Here are some fun dessert ideas to get the party going (click on the links below for recipes)...

1.27.2012

OLIVIER'S BUTCHERY

Last week I stumbled upon a great little spot...Olivier's Butchery. Located in the heart of the Dogpatch district in San Francisco, this old fashioned French butchery offers high quality meats that they age, select and hand cut to order. In addition to their fabulous selection of meats, they also offer classes and recipes. A great San Francisco find!


{images via Julia Ferguson of Room for Dessert and Olivier's Butchery}

1.25.2012

1.24.2012

HIBERNATING FOR THE WINTER

The rain and cold are making me want to light a fire, bundle up in bed, make a cup of tea and read a good book. 
1. Blanket, 2. Sweater, 3. Pillows, 4. Mittens, 5. Tea, 6. Scarf, 7. Books, 8. Slippers, 9. Fire

1.23.2012

THE ICE CREAM BAR

I am beyond excited to try out this new Cole Valley gem: The Ice Cream Bar (815 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA). This soda fountain and ice cream shop is a art deco lovers delight with 1930's vintage touches. Sit at the bar and watch mixologists make made-to-order sodas, milkshakes and floats just as they were made back at the turn of the 20th century (long before the soda fountain era of the 1950's that everyone associates with milkshakes and poodle skirts).  Along with shakes and malts, this menu will feature phosphates, crushes, lactarts, and panaceas. Never heard of them? Now it's time to try. The Ice Cream Bar opened on Saturday so you have no excuse not to try these tasty treats.



{photos by Paul Dyer via SF Eater}

1.19.2012

DOT DOT DOT

Coming into fashion in 1854, polka dots were named after the dance The Polka, mainly because of its popularity at the time. Now over one hundred and fifty years later, the polka dot is still as hot as ever.



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