Entries Tagged as 'Sweet'

Humblebrag Cranberry Upside Down Cake

0

24.1.14

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

Since I started working for the Energy Department, I’ve been pretty lucky in the sense that I’ve gotten to take several trips to the White House grounds, either for work or for tours. And, as much fun as photographing events in the EEOB next door is, the tours are particularly exciting — and honestly, visiting the White House grounds never gets old.

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

Between fall and winter, I was able to score tickets to two White House East Wing tours, thanks to awesome coworkers (who are the well-connected ones that actually get invited to these things). The most recent adventure was right before I left for California for Christmas — most of my office took a trip together for the Holiday tour, which is extra special because you’re allowed to take photos. They had the GWU a capella group singing Christmas carols and Michael Jackson tunes, and Christmas trees galore. It. Was. Gorgeous.

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

I’m heading back in a few weeks for bowling in the basement — something my Norwegian friends could not believe was a “thing.”

Next time, I’m bringing my camera.

Anyway, this recipe comes from the adorable little book that the White House gave out to everyone that attended the Holiday Tour — it’s filled with illustrated pictures of Bo and Sunny running around the White House. And, at the end, this recipe for cranberry upside down cake is featured, straight from the White House Pastry Kitchen. Honestly, make this cake while you can still find cranberries in at the grocery store. If you’ve missed the season, then sub in any sort of fruit — peaches, apples, cherries, you name it. It’ll all taste pretty amazing.

Someone tweet these photos to Michelle. I’d die of happiness if she saw it.

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

humblebrag cranberry upside down cake // sweetsonian

Cranberry Upside Down Cake, from the White House Pastry Kitchen

Ingredients:

Caramelized cranberry topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter (half of a stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1-2 cups fresh cranberries

Cake:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Cooking tools: Cast iron skillet or cake pan (use parchment paper if using a cake pan), three mixing bowls, silicone spatula.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a cast iron skillet (mine is 9.5 inches wide), melt the 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cranberries, making sure the cranberries are coated in the butter and sugar. After a minute or two, turn the heat off, and let them sit while you prepare the cake batter.
  4. In one mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Using a stand mixer (or any electric mixer), combine the 1/2 cup butter with about half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix in the orange juice, and then add the egg yolks, one by one.
  6. Gradually, mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  7. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar, until they hold a firm peak. Then, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  8. Once completely incorporated, pour the cake batter into your cast iron skillet, covering the cranberries.
  9. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, when a toothpick comes out clean. After baking, let the cake cool on a wire rack (or the grate of your stove) for an hour or two. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife along the edge of the cake, and flip onto a plate.

Red Velvet Crinkles

2

26.11.13

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It’s cookie season. The bane of my fitness’s existence (or lack thereof). I’ve probably eaten my weight in these crinkle cookies.

It’s also about that time of year when DC starts freaking ouuuuut about weather. It’s not raining too hard outside, but all of the paranoia has me worried about holiday travel.

I’ve been down that road too many times. After so many missed flight connections between last Christmas and this summer, I’ve already purchased all non-stop flights for the holidays. I refuse to let weather in Cleveland and Chicago and Dallas obstruct my travels.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending a lot of time inside. This weekend, Shaeda and I took an impromptu trip to Winchester, Virginia to visit our favorite thrift shop, as recommended by Sydney Lianne over at the Daybook — we even Tweeted at her and she tweeted back! It tied for the highlight of my day, along with the purchase of a 1970s automatic typewriter ($18) and a vintage mink stole ($65).

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Side note, self portrait. See what I did there?

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Anyway, after a day of driving and thrifting, I spent a glorious Saturday night in a bubble bath with some badly needed episodes of Dexter — my latest Netflix obsession. I also taught myself how to knit. That’s been fun. I desperately need a snood for these frigid bike rides to work.

Clearly, nothing that new has been happening here in DC. If you’re traveling this week, best of luck with the weather! Hope y’all have a lovely Thankgiving with your friends and families.

sidebyside

Red Velvet Crinkles, derived from Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I use soy)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Lots of red food coloring… I used a few squeezes of red gel
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ~1 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Helpful tools (with links to the ones I use):

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpats).
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until it’s light and fluffy — maybe a 3-4 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla, milk, and food coloring.
  4. I usually switch to the dough hook attachment when I mix flour in — because flour literally gets everywhere when I don’t — and then slowly add the flour to the batter. Once it’s combined, add in your white chocolate chips.
  5. Refrigerate the dough until it’s just slightly firm (I threw the bowl into the freezer for 5 minutes).
  6. Using a 1-tablespoon-ish scoop, spoon dough balls from the bowl into a cup of powdered sugar, coating evenly. Arrange on your baking sheets, a couple of inches apart.
  7. Bake for 13-14 minutes. This made about 30 cookies for me.

Snickerdoodle Remix

2

18.11.13

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

When I think of snickerdoodles, I think back to the DLG.

The DLG — De la Guerra Dining Commons, was one of the main dining halls at UCSB. It’s a gorgeous building, really — super modern, mostly-white design, with giant glass windows that we used to watch the sunset from over books or family dinners with friends.

The DLG. That place had fantastic snickerdoodles. They didn’t have the healthiest of foods all the time, and there were rumors of them spraying sugar water on the salad bar (because of the beach school’s eating disorder problem), but we used to smuggle juices and fruits and snickerdoodles out as often as we could.

Oh, the days of freshman year, when going to a cafeteria was the norm. It was weird, and wonderful — and felt like going out to eat with your friends, every single day.

I’d never want to go back to those days after having lived on my own (and thankfully, with a kitchen), but it’s nice to reminisce.

These cookies are an ode to the DLG, and a rehash of one of my earlier recipes on Sweetsonian. The blog birthday is this week, so I’ve been trying to rephotograph some of my older recipes — from before the DSLR!

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

The last two weeks have been a little weird, honestly. Fun, exhilarating, and weird. Between the finnicky freelance world, too many mediocre dates, and a couple of job offers (that I did not go hunting for), November really has thrown me for a whirl with decision making. I know I always said that I’d never move back to California, but an opportunity in San Francisco presented itself so freely and perfectly for where I envisioned my career going, that it only took an hour of thinking over for me to actually picture myself not hating my life there.

You know how I feel about the East Coast. I would never want to leave it, but I guess, like everyone, if you’re given the perfect job, you’d probably take it.

Anyway, that one came and went. That firm brought in a freelance director for the next year or so — so for now, I’ll keep designing for them. But who knows? I guess I would go anywhere for the perfect job and the opportunity to build a team of fantastic designers.

I had a fantastic trip to New York, experiencing the city from a different lens. Up until that point, I had only experienced the hipster city — raging parties and bars in the village, meeting handsome strangers left and right, and snuggling up in a friend’s bed or couch. This time was a totally different feel, visiting the friends who married last August, and now live on the Upper East Side. It was so lovely. And I mailed them a box of these cookies as a thank you.

Side note, a discovery from my colleagues: dipping these snickerdoodles in coffee will change your life.

Anyway, apologies for the absence! With travel and freelance and impromptu job prospects and craziness at work (and Tesla vs. Edison week), it’s been hard to find room for creativity. If it makes up for the lack of posting, I really do miss being on here! Xo.

snickerdoodles // sweetsonian

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • WHAT YOU NEED
  • 1cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons coarse, white sugar
  • 1/4 cup teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In your stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy (4-6 minutes). Add each egg, letting one fully incorporate into the batter before adding the next. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients — flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda — whisking together to mix evenly.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter, and mix thoroughly.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the coarse sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Use a scoop or a spoon to roll approximately one-inch sized cookies, and then roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I like my snickerdoodles a little chewy.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Pumpkin Tea Cake

2

29.10.13

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

There’s a somberness that comes with the end of summer and beginning of fall. The air is drier, there sun is lower, and the sky feels a little bluer. Maybe it’s because the wind is a little colder.

But with every changing season, I reflect on the past few months — for me, summer was exhilarating. I was jet setting between California and New York and spotted through Europe (can I go back please?). The day job and the freelance clients have all been pretty amazing lately, so it’s safe to say I’m in a good spot.

I spent a couple of hours on Kristen’s floor with Winston last night, drinking wine and catching up after a busy day of work and biking all over DC. I’ve actually had a couple of anxiety filled days, mostly coping with the realization that no one is happy all of the time. It’s painful, to see people you care about struggling. Whether you’ve been in their shoes or not, it hurts. We meowed with Winston, told stories about how we’re too old to be drinking as much as we do, and chatted about the ups and downs, the balancing act of good times and bad times in our circles of friends.

A few of our close friends are going through some rough transitions in life, and I’ve been trying to figure out how the best ways to help them. Most of the time, I just want to rescue the people I love, take a few days off work and sit them down in my living room while I blast music and bake up a storm. Or fly to wherever they are and do the same in their own kitchen. It’s the company that matters; the location is usually meaningless.

Long story short, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. I love you, and this pumpkin tea cake is for you.

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

pumpkin tea cake // sweetsonian

Pumpkin Tea Cake, derived from the Tartine Cookbook

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (or three mini loaf pans) with parchment paper, and brush with oil or rub with butter.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, and salt on medium speed, until well-mixed. Add each egg, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, beating until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and then beat on medium speed for 10 seconds to make a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan (or pans) and smooth the surface with your spatula. Bake until the centers are set and a toothpick comes out clean — the time will depend on your oven, but it should take about 1 hour.

Serve the cake at room temperature. It keeps well if wrapped in saran wrap, but it won’t last long.

GUEST POST: Chai Tea Biscotti

1

30.9.13

chai biscotti // sweetsonian

There’s something about this time of year.

It feels like the city is standing on a precipice, holding its breath at the very edge of a cliff, waiting to tumble into autumn.  Anxiously waiting to step into thick woolen sweaters, to spend lazy evenings in front of a crackling fire.  Or maybe, what the air is full of is the hope that the turn of seasons will bring a fresh start.  A tabula rasa with the first change of bright green to burnt orange, ochre, fiery red.

Or maybe it’s just me.

chai biscotti // sweetsonian

chai biscotti // sweetsonian

I’ve always loved autumn.  The awakening that most people feel in April as the air begins to warm usually hits me in the middle of September.  See, I grew up in Southern California.  Wasn’t even remotely out of the ordinary for temperatures to soar into the triple digits in December.  Nothing, not even Christmas, is sacred.  Any month is fair game.  I’d heard of seasons, but until I was eighteen, I’d never really experienced them.

That September, eight years ago, a knot formed in the pit of my stomach as I explored my new city with nothing but the city traffic and midday hustle as my background noise.  The thick humidity of summer began to loosen its grasp on the air.  The city seemed to relax, and with it, so did I.  The uncertainty I carried with me as I moved my entire life from one coast to the other eased its vice on my nerves.  As I sat on a bench in Washington Square Park, sandwiched in between strangers, I began to feel like I’d found home.

This recipe reminds me of my first days in New York, when I spent hour upon hour wandering block by block, soaking up my surroundings before classes began.  One crisp September afternoon, my friend Greg and I stumbled into a quaint storefront that specialized in teas.  Large drums of loose tea leafs, oolongs and darjeelings, lined shelves of bookcases behind the register.  The entire place had this heavenly smell that managed to cling to your clothing hours after you’d left.

The Tea Spot became my safe haven, my place to hunker down with my notes and escape the humdrum of the university library.  I must have sampled every blend they had, in my four years there.  Their chai tea blend was hands down my favorite.

As I measured out the spice mix for this biscotti, I largely relied on memory.  The first teaspoons of cardamom and clove, dancing with cinnamon and ginger smelled like a little bit of a homecoming.   Standing in the kitchen with the brittle mixture between my fingers, I was transported back to that little shop on Macdougal and that fall.  I was that wide-eyed eighteen-year-old girl, heart so full of anticipation and promise it felt like it would burst.

chai biscotti // sweetsonian

chai biscotti // sweetsonian

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I often turn to baking to escape from stress.  In the last few months I’ve embarked on a few new journeys, some unexpected and others carefully calculated.  Turning to this recipe to recreate that fall and that hope just felt natural.  Every once in a while, I open my eyes and am truly taken aback by how much time as past.  Just yesterday it felt like April.  Where has the time gone?

If you need a treat to dunk into your morning cup of coffee, give this recipe a shot.  The combination of spices and sugar give it a little something extra.  It’s almost like the perfect precursor to warm apple cider and thick woolen coats.

And me? If you need me, I’ll be standing on that precipice with the rest of the world, eager for what the rest of the year will bring. It’s time that I stop holding my breath, and exhale.

I guess its called fall for a reason.

 

Chai Tea Biscotti, modified from Food52

2 and 1/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground clove
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 big pinch black pepper
1 big pinch nutmeg
Sontents of two bags of black chai tea

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extra
2 teaspoons almond extract
Seeds of one whole vanilla bean

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients through the chai tea leaves into the bowl of a stand mixer until thoroughly mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks and extracts.

Combine wet and dry ingredients in mixer until a shaggy dough forms.   Turn contents out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead until it forms a sticky, sandy log.  Shape into a long rectangular long, ½ inch thick, of the length and width of your choosing.  I prefer longer biscotti, so mine was about four inches wide.

Bake log for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool.

Once cooled, slice the log width wise, ½ inch each.   Lay each slice cut side down, and return to oven for 30 minutes, flipping over halfway through.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee, or your favorite black tea.

Roasted Vanilla Pears with Espresso Marscapone Cream

1

21.9.13

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Five months. It’s been five months since I moved into my new apartment.

It hardly feels that way.

Only in the past few weeks have I actually begun feeling settled — I guess it’s a result of a summer filled with travels and work and temporary roommates. I’ve learned more about myself as a roommate this summer than I have in the past eight years of living with people who aren’t my parents.

I know I have my quirks. I roller coaster between kitchen nazi and someone who’s so all over the place that I can’t tell left from right. I struggle between pleasing people and being selfish. We all do.

But after a summer of travel in basically every direction that exists, filled with weddings and sailing and rope swings — it’s a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I finally feel settled enough to sit down and write.

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

I just bought a new Apple display screen for my home office, but there’s something comforting about writing my posts from the laptop in bed. It’s how I’ve written almost every sentence for the past eight years. Four of which, as of last Tuesday, have been written in DC. I considered leaving the apartment and being productive when I woke up this morning, but after seeing the forecast and by the time I got to the bottom of my French press, I gave up. I snuggled into bed with a sweater from Bergen and a few episodes of Breaking Bad.

For today, that’s all I need. The weather is cooling down, which makes me just absolutely smitten with this city. And, if you’re on the hunt for a good fall transition food, these pears make an impressive dessert (or breakfast, if you happen to share an apartment with me).

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Roasted Pears with Coffee Marscapone, Serves 3 or 6, depending on how much dessert you want

Roasted pears:
¼ cups light brown sugar
½ vanilla bean
3 Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored (or whatever you can get your hands on)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
Bourbon or rum to drizzle before serving

Espresso marscapone cream:
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup marsacpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Stir espresso powder and water in a large bowl until dissolved. Add cream, mascarpone, and sugar. Beat in a stand mixer until the cream is thick and smooth. Transfer into a jar or serving dish, and store in the freezer while you roast the pears (you can even make this a day or two ahead).

In a small bowl, combine your sugar and vanilla bean seeds — I store my vanilla beans in a jar filled with vodka (vanilla extract at home!) but this makes it extra easy to extract the beans. Just snip off the end of a bean and squeeze out the contents like it’s a stick of honey. Whisk with a fork.

Arrange your pears, core up, in a baking dish (a pie plate would fit them perfectly). Brush the pears with lemon juice, and put a cube of butter in each core. Sprinkle the pears with your sugar, and pour the water into the baking dish.

Serve each pear with a scoop of cream and a drizzle of bourbon or rum.

Fall Favorites

0

17.9.13

With the weather cooling down, I’m getting the urge to snuggle into one of the big wool sweaters I purchased in Bergen. Nothing beats sweater and boot weather. So cuddle up, hunker down, pour a glass of wine, and check out some of my favorite fall recipes.

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bacon fat gingersnaps // grown-up ramen // roasted beets, goat cheese & pistachio
roasted crusted squash // tomato basil soup // pumpkin swirl coffee cake
apple, cheddar & caramelized onion tart // almond honey granola // fig and brown sugar ice cream

 

Cardamom Pound Cake

13

28.8.13

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Cardamom is a spice that you don’t come across too much in American cooking. I never really knew what it was until I was 19, wide-eyed and living in Tanzania for the summer — it was the main ingredient in a selection of teas and desserts, occasionally, in one of the rice dishes we had. Thinking back, there are a lot of things I wish I could change about that trip, but mostly myself: how I viewed life, how I acted back then. I’m sure we all have those moments (days, weeks, months).

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Just the taste of cardamom reminds me of how much we can change in just seven years. Back then, I was on a mission to prove my dedication to international development, and to prove to my parents that I didn’t need to listen to every piece of advice they scolded my way.

I deserved the scolding. I was an asshole back then (oh man, I hope-hope-hope I’m not nearly as much of an asshole now).

But no matter how broke I was because of that trip, I wouldn’t take it back for the world.

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I lived with a handful of other volunteer teachers in a house near Bahari Beach, just outside of Dar es Salaam. There were a few women who lived in the house that also cooked for us and taught us bits and pieces of Swahili — which I used to be alright at — but honestly, the memory that sticks with me more than anything is the scent and the taste of the cardamom-infused chai tea that greeted me every morning.

They mixed the tea from scratch, and boiled water in huge vats — water that was used throughout the day for cooking, laundering, and other methods of cleaning. The tea was strained directly into a giant, baby pink thermos, and had enough tea for everyone in the house to have at least a few cups of.

Breakfast usually included a few cups of tea, lesson planning, and toast with a glass of fresh passionfruit juice. Then, I’d hop onto tht dala dala, a bus that was so packed with people that no morning was complete without a stranger sitting on your lap or crouched between the other 20 riders on a 10-person bus. After teaching elementary school in the morning and high school in the afternoon, I usually took the bus back to Bahari beach, and walked to the beach itself — not far from Rold Dahl’s house, and a separate dial-up internet cafe.

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I had a typical Tanzanian school notebook that I used as a journal back then. It shouldn’t surprise you that I was a journal-writer, because, well, I write to you here as often as I can. I will say, it’s nice to have an actual reader for this type of stuff.

But after a drink or dinner at the beach cafe, I’d come back to the volunteer house and hang out with the girls and the other volunteers. I’d cross my fingers the entire walk back, hoping that there would be some tea left.

But then again, there was always beer, too.

Baking this cake filled my apartment with the scent of cardamom, which only made me drift back even further into these memories. I bought a massive box of Chai Bora before I left Tanzania — but I went through the tea ever so quickly, back in my UCSB days of daily, chilly morning Arabic classes.

They say scents spark the strongest memories, and when they do, years might have passed between the last time you even remembered the details your mind pairs with those scents.

It felt like years had passed since I smelled cardamom. The scent is comforting.

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Recipe after the jump.  (more…)

Fig and Bourbon Fizz

6

22.8.13

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I know I probably say this all the time, but this was one of the most stressful weeks of my life.

Having just arrived home from Europe on Saturday, I went to work on Monday kind of excited — I knew after having been gone for a couple of weeks, my team would probably have some exciting projects in the works.

That part was very true. Lots of good stuff will be coming from the Energy Department digital team in the next couple of months.

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What I did not anticipate was a barrage of disasters from freelance clients. So, instead of having a leisurely week back from vacation with some nice projects for the day job, I spent sleepless nights putting together draft after endless draft of the same infographic 8 billion different ways. Today, I woke up early to start wireframing a project that’s been on my calendar for upwards of a month (I love people who plan ahead), but the disaster projects were over, so it was actually pretty therapeutic.

But yesterday, in the midst of the crisis and after two nights with minimal sleep and maximum stress, I attempted to write a blog post on my lunch break. That was an epic fail. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t write a sentence that wasn’t a form of frustration venting about nightmare projects. And right at that moment, I had an epiphany. It is 100 percent unacceptable to let myself get that stressed out over a freelance project. So I drew a line. I closed my computer, went back to the office, and worked on day job projects that I enjoy. And then, I went to dinner with Shaeda, who graciously dealt with my venting and reassured me that quitting all of freelancing was not the solution. Thanks, girl.

Anyway, two cocktails and an order of lobster guacamole later, I was at peace. But maybe that was just the booze.

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In the short interval between Europe and that disastrous work week, Nikki invited me to #figfest at a friend’s apartment. And fig fest it was — there was fig chutney and fig crostini… and fig and bourbon cocktails. What I would do to have one of these for happy hour tonight.

Recipe below. Missed y’all!

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Fig and Bourbon Fizz, from My Recipes

Makes enough for one drink — so multiply accordingly.

1 fresh, whole fig
6ish fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
Ice cubes
1/2 cup ginger ale
Mint sprig for garnish

Tools: cocktail shaker, something to muddle with

First, muddle the fig, mint leaves, and brown sugar in your cocktail shaker. You’ll want to break the fig down pretty well. Then, add bourbon and enough ice cubes to fill the shaker up. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.

Strain into a glass or jar filled with ice cubes, and top with ginger ale to taste and a mint leaf. Drink immediately.

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