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Food & Drink

    Food & Drink

    Recipe: Apricot French Tart

    My parents in law were here last week which means I basically got a nice little stay-cation. They entertain Margot, make our food and even did my laundry..If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed that Julian and his dad even built Margot the sweetest playlet in outback yard, which I am still all heart-eyed over.

    While they were here Julian’s mom made us a tummy apricot tart. I was SO easy and she just whipped it up like it was nothing so I wanted to share it with you guys!

    Marilyne (Julian’s mom) was born & raised in France, so, she knows pastries. They grew up together, they are best friends and much to everyones delight, they often show up at parties together. Much to MY delight she has informed me in the past that, really, making a pastry crust isn’t worth all of the hassle on a regular basis and the frozen ones are actually pretty great. YES! Free pass to make things easy! We Americans love that. I have also come to learn that over seas they actually have better flour and butter (etc..) which is why their pastries are soooo melt-in-your-mouth-flaky like little pieces of heaven. SO, if you haven’t been and you get the chance – go to France and eat your weight in pastries. Until then – you can use this super easy recipe to tide you over.

    NOTE: Your tart is only going to be as sweet as your fruit is ripe. So be sure to use nice ripe apricots.

    14-16 ripe apricots

    1 pack of 2 frozen pastry crusts thawed to room temp

    3 eggs

    2 tsp vanilla

    1/2 cup granulated sugar (in two 1/4 cup portions)

    5 oz. Creme fraiche

    **we got it at Trader Joes, I think whole foods has it as well.**

    Butter to grease pan

     1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    2) Grease tart pan with butter

    3)Unroll pastry crust and lay into tart pan with removable bottom, we needed to use both crusts to fit the pan (notice the seam) Just make sure you mend that seam together well.

    4)Using a fork jab some holes in the crust to keep it from bubbling up. (see photo above)

    5)Slice apricots in half and remove the pit

    6)Arrange the apricots cut side down in a circular fashion in the tart pan.

    7) In a medium bowl mix using a fork the 3 eggs, vanilla 1/4 cup sugar and the creme fraiche.

    8) Pour the mixture over the apricots and into the pan until it is just under the top – don’t over fill. 

    9) Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

    10) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar on top – cook for 15 more minutes until browned and set.

    11)Let cool for 10-15 min and remove from tart pan ( OK if you need to leave bottom portion on) and allow to cool completely.

    Serve at room temperature with any toppings you like!

    We had some extra ingredients so we made a baby apricot tart and a little blueberry tart as well just because they are cute.

    ENJOY!

    Food & Drink, Travel

    Vanilla Lavender Fizz Cocktail + Cookie Tags

    Valentines day – love it or hate it it comes around every year and every year I am unprepared. Probably because all my life I sort of glazed over it, when I was little I was only in it for the candy and when I was in high school all it did was remind me that I probably didn’t have a boyfriend. In college I began to welcome the day because I was dating my now husband, Julian, but it was still not an overly exciting day. However, as of recently I have realized that Valentines day doesn’t have to be about a specific KIND of love, romantic love is wonderful but I love and appreciate a lot more people than just Julian and that is just as worth celebrating! This year I am making a vow to be prepared and shower my friends and family with tasty treats. I have THREE exciting things for you here today, my simple yet glorious champagne cocktail, the Vanilla-Lavender Fizz, watercolor tags for you to attach to wrapped up cookies and gifts, and a cookie recipe for  Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies from my good friend Kate Wood, of The Wood and Spoon blog.

    This past weekend I flew coast to coast to spend some time with my besties from college. We met in 2005 and didn’t leave each others side for the next 4 years. Much to our dismay we did have to peel ourselves away from one another at some point and begin our adult lives. Over the past 12 years they have helped me grow into who I am today; they have encouraged my dreams, taught me how to truly care for my friends, and they definitely keep me silly. During the post college years we have all moved to different states, we have different lives, and have made new friends along the way but these ladies have remained such an integral part of my life.  We met up in Flager Beach, Florida; the air was chilly, the sun was warm and the beach was all but deserted. This year I thought ahead and was prepared to celebrate how much I love them all! We layed a blanket on the sand and had a valentine’s day themed beach picnic (I know it’s still January… I’m just over compensating for years of being under prepared). One of these ladies is Kate Wood of the amazing baking blog, The Wood and Spoon. Kate is just as sassy as she is beautiful and she makes magic happen in the kitchen. She and I teamed up for our galentine’s afternoon – we made my Lavender Vanilla Fizz cocktail and ate her Lavender Vanilla Bean sugar cookies. If that doesn’t set the stage for a perfect afternoon with the girls I don’t know what would! We sipped, laughed, devoured cookies and took a series of photos that made the most ridiculous stop motion video.
    Maybe one day if you’re lucky I’ll embarrass us all and post it…

    But, how beautiful are these cookies?! I’ve made my fair share of sugar cookies in my life and usually the dough is finicky and the decorating process takes hourrrrssssss. But GUESS WHAT the dough for this recipe is the easiest sugar cookie dough I have ever worked with – I didn’t have to refrigerate it even once! The dough 100% keeps it’s shape in the oven and Kate shares a decorating technique that is beautiful and super quick! Be careful tasting the dough though because you may end up eating all of it…I probably ate about 5 cookies worth of dough…You can get the recipe and tutorial for them here on the Wood and Spoon Blog.

     

    The Vanilla Lavender Fizz is a delicious concoction consisting of champagne, vanilla bean and lavender bitters – it’s not too sweet, not too floral and bubbly enough to make it feel like you’re celebrating.

     It’s creation was inspired by a drink I had a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to go to a “luxury whiskey bar” in Beverly Hills called Ten Pound, it is one of only two in the entire world! We were led inside in a speakeasy type fashion, the door man took our name and introduced us to the hostess who then led us through a long hall and up a flight of stairs. We ended at an unassuming door which opened to a quaintly sized Old Hollywood feeling bar. The bartender named Cash showed us to our couch on the patio. He explained that he would be preparing our drinks and gave a description of every whiskey and cocktail on the menu. I stuck to the cocktail menu (because I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to straight liquer) and I went for the “Filigree”. He brought it to me and if I wasn’t worried about being able to walk out of the joint I probably would have had 15 of them. Simple, understated and so delicious I needed it to be a part of my cocktail repertoire, so, I created the Lavender Vanilla Fizz

    Champagne – use one that you wouldn’t mind drinking straight

    Lavender Bitters – I used Scrappys

    Vanilla Bean simple syrup – like this one or make your own

    Sugar cubes

    Add 1 tsp vanilla bean simple syrup & 4-5 drops of lavender bitters (a bit less than 1/8 tsp) to champagne glass.

    Pour champagne into glass

    drop sugar cube into glass

    Thats all there is to it! Enjoy with those you want to love on and be sure to tell them all that you appreciate about them!

    Food & Drink

    Recipe: Breakfast AND Dinner Are Served // Carnitas Enchilada Soup

    Soooo, who made a new years resolution to cook more meals at home? I actually made a resolution to eat more mac & cheese because I thought it will facilitate my other resolution to be more optimistic. Not really carnitas enchilada soup related, I just wanted you guys to know…

    OK, back to business –

     Last month my friend, Ashley, was over and she started making breakfast for all of us (where do I find such amazing friends?).  She grabbed my leftover soup from the fridge, put a heaping spoonful onto of some scrambled eggs & handed it to me. Initially I thought…”ummm this is my leftover soup?? For breakfast?!” But she, being more creative than I am, assured me it would be yummy. Well, guess what- it was more than yummy, IT WAS AMAZING.

    I decided to give it a go with a fried egg on top of an english muffin and found that this combination of items amounted to so SO much more than the individual parts alone & I was in love.

    If you fall into the category of being busy-busy but still desiring to make tasty food at home, this soup is the ticket. Not only is it delicious it is also incredibly simple and can be made just before dinner time or in the afternoon and heated up. But, here’s the real kicker: atop a fried egg & english muffin it also makes a fabulous breakfast or brunch. I’m not kidding, I would actually make this soup just for breakfast purposes because it’s that yummy. You would be sure to impress any brunch guests with this recipe and you’ll probably find yourself eating the leftovers every morning for a week after.

    …or wait…. is that just me?

    Trader Joes pre-cooked carnitas
    kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    4 tbsp. canola oil
    1 large onion, diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tsp. ground cumin
    1 4-oz. can green chiles
    1 c. enchilada sauce
    taco seasoning packet OR 3-4 TBS taco seasoning
    1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
    1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    2 c. frozen corn
    4 c. low-sodium chicken stock
    4 small flour tortillas OR tortilla chips
    1 avocado, diced
    Limes, for squeezing
    cilantro for garnish

    OPTIONAL: Cheese + sour cream

    1. Heat carnitas according to instructions and shred with 2 forks.
    2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and golden, 6 minutes, then add cumin and stir. Add canned chiles and cook for a minute. Add enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, tomatoes, beans, corn, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook, 15 minutes.
    3. Add shredded pork and cook until warmed through.
    4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

     

    ***Note: if you don’t live by a Trader Joes to buy the carnitas, other groceries might sell a similar thing, or you can check out the original recipe (link at bottom post) for how
    to cook your own carnitas.

    If, like me, you have a surplus of tortillas because you’re almost completely sustained on quesadillas. You can make your own chips pretty easily while the soup is cooking.

    1. Cut tortillas into pieces, brush with vegetable oil and toast in a toaster oven OR  you can use a conventional oven at 400 degrees.
      • For the conventional oven option watch the tortillas closely because they will crisp up quickly. It will probably only take a few minutes.

    For lunch or dinner serve it up in a bowl with avocado cubes, tortilla chips and a lime wedge. Garnish with cilantro. You can also jazz it up with a bit of sour cream and cheese.

    Additional Ingredients

    english muffin or crumpet
    egg
    butter

    OPTIONAL: Maldon sea salt – see here

    1. Heat up soup and set aside
    2. Fry an egg (I prefer over-easy) in butter and toast the bottom of an english muffin or a crumpet.
    3. Butter muffin/crumpet, lay fried egg on top and cover with a couple spoonfuls of soup.
    4. Garnish with cilantro & sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste — Maldon is an incredible finishing salt -really & truly it makes everything better. It is sold at Target & Williams-Sonoma.

    Serve with avocado slices.

    **If you have never made a fried egg before – give it a shot! It’s really not hard!**

    How to fry an egg video

    recipe adapted from delish.com carnitas enchilada soup recipe