Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Fresh Mint Buttercream Filling

Saturday, June 30


Last week my Internet service was down for about 8 years hours. Of course my mind, with it's flair for drama, went into panic mode. "What if something happens somewhere to someone and I'm the last person on the planet to find out?" "What if someone has a question about a recipe that will be ruined if I don't answer within the next five seconds?" What if that same person ends up hating me and tells everyone that I'm mean and that I ignore emails?" "What if the celebrity marriage that I've been waiting out finally ends, and I can't make my move?" (No, not TomKat.) And perhaps the most frightening; "What if service is never restored, and I'll never be able to post a recipe, or Tweet, again. Ever.?!"

After I calmed down enough to be semi-rational, I took a breath, went outside, and read a book for 2 hours straight. (Something that I usually reserve for my bedtime ritual...it rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes.) It was surprisingly enjoyable, and relaxing, and rejuvenating.

Chocolate-Stout Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Tuesday, June 26


I'm not a fan of romantic comedies. I like romance and comedy, but I don't think they need to be fused into 90 minutes of predictable "quirky girl" antics, and yawn-inducing happy endings. I like movies that throw curve balls. Sorry, 95% of Jennifer Aniston movies. (Ouch, I know.) Apologies.

Okay, I admit that I'm slightly jealous of the fact that the quirky girl always gets the guy. And while I'm outwardly showing my disdain by muttering sarcastic zingers, inside I'm actually huddled in a blue Slanket eating a rapidly-disappearing pint of Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream and sipping from a never ending grasshopper.

Just like the movies, I think food sometimes needs a good plot twist...something that will keep people guessing and prevent self-deprecating inner-monologues, and lethargy.

Lemon Tea Bread

Saturday, June 23

lemon tea bread | une gamine dans la cuisine

This is really a cake disguised as a bread. (The little minx.)

If it seems as though just about all the sweet breads that I make involve lemons, you're right, they do. But each is unique in its own way...I think. It's difficult to keep track of former recipes when I fall head-over-heels in love with the current one.{Maybe I'm the minx.}

Strawberry - Lemon Muffins

Wednesday, June 20


This time of year, with juicy fresh berries so readily available, I sometimes end up buying more than my refrigerator (and light-colored clothes), can handle. I have several non-berry recipes waiting in the wings, but for some reason, I felt an urgent need to share these muffins with you...as though the recipe would wither away as fast as it's scene-stealing, unassumingly sweet, not-enough-room-in-the-fridge-for-'em, strawberries.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Monday, June 18


Sometimes people ask me why I don't sell the stuff that I make. Aside from the noble response of "Oh, I have a passion for pastry, I just do it for the love," *dimple smile* (But it's true!)  I also have an annoying, metallic sliver-like fear of failure running through my stomach. And every time I'm asked to bake something, for someone, the sliver bristles and throws out quills like a mad little porcupine.

Cookie Dough Bars

Wednesday, June 13


When I was little, my mom would constantly warn me about the dangers of raw cookie dough and someone called "Sally-Mella." I was never allowed more than a nibble. (A ridiculously small amount that was barely distinguishable...a teaser, really.) Thanks to a childish belief in immortality, I always took a spoonful when she left the room to answer the phone. (In the 80's and 90's, phones were bulky contraptions that sat on telephone seats, or clung to the wall like koala bears. People had to physically walk over to them when they rang.) To me, a ringing phone meant that it was time to spring into action.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Saturday, June 9


I'm a "light" stalker. When all you have to work with is a point and shoot camera, you need the patience of an owl, and the speed of a cheetah. It's frustrating and exhilarating. (But I have it on good authority that Instagram's Lo-Fi filter is the new natural. Noted.)

Every time I run from room to room, stalking light, with an armful of foam boards, cutting boards, napkins, and cutlery, my napping cat regards me with one open eye...just another day in the life of a crazy food blogger. 

Maple-Glazed Oatmeal Cookies

Wednesday, June 6


Dear Spring,

I remember you. You made a surprise visit in March and then left without closing the door. Well, if you're going to ignore the calendar, I'm going to ignore you. I'm going to make food that thumbs it's maple-y oats at all things perky and green and annoyingly absent.

These cookies are an homage to your punctual counterpart, fall. In fact, I'm also wearing a nubby grey sweater that I usually reserve only for fall. Thanks for that.

Fall is like you in some ways. It's short and gorgeous. But I don't like to see fall come to an end because I don't like what follows. You, however, I don't mind seeing in the rear-view mirror. Summer and I get along quite well. (She thinks you're lazy btw.)

If you continue to keep things chilly, I'll continue to not use the fruit that you're not producing. I think that's only fair. 

So until next year (or week), Cheers.

~Valerie

P.S. Niles, and my clothes, say Thank you for allowing him to maintain his thick winter fur. It's going to be a pleasure when summer arrives.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Sunday, June 3


My love for all things lemon took a turn for the worst when I attempted a chocolate citrus adaptation of this recipe. Everything seemed to be going so well, I rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar that went into the dough, and I replaced the cinnamon/brown sugar filling with orange zest, granulated sugar, and shaved chocolate. Big mistake.

Everything sank to the bottom of the muffin tin. I was left with a dozen, semi-naked, embarrassed rolls of dough. The small amount of chocolate that managed to cling to the surface of each roll just looked sad and defeated. Good try, chocolate. Good try.

(I heard the bottle of cinnamon trying to hold back stifled laughs.)

Lesson learned. Not everything can be replaced with lemons.
 

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