Super-Quick Cream Drop Biscuits

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I’ve had an annoying cold for a little over a week now.

I’m finally on the upswing, off the Robutussin and Vicks VapoRub, but I am still getting coughing fits every now and then.

Like last night. At 3AM. When Brad finally came to bed, I immediately got out of bed and hit the couch.  Because no one deserves to have to sleep next to this hacking cough.  No one could even pretend to be asleep next to me during one of my fits.  It’s probably the worst sounding cough ever. In the history of the world.

Ok, it’s really not that bad.  But I finally drifted off to sleep again last night, and when I woke up there was a gray light shining through the living room windows.  I hadn’t brought my phone with me, so I figured it was just past dawn.  I stumbled back into the bedroom, where the shades were down and it was still nice and sleepy dark.  Just for good measure before I zonked out again, I checked the time…

It was already 9:30! What was that crazy gray dawn light? Where was the hot summer sun that had been blazing in on us for what seemed like weeks and weeks?

Hidden, I guess. That melting hot sun was hidden behind a cool, foggy mist. And for some I-can’t-wait-until-fall reason, I jumped right out of bed, made myself a cup of tea, and got to baking.

Because baking during the day is completely out of the question when your apartment is a balmy 82 degrees before you’ve even turned the oven on.  But when the high is 73 and the sun is nowhere to be seen?  I preheated all the way up to 400°F.

I was making biscuits.

And not the difficult, layers of butter, rolled out, cut with biscuit cutter biscuits. Nope – I had been up half the night coughing. I hadn’t drank anything but herbal tea and orange juice and good old H2O for a week straight. This was going to be a quick, simple breakfast biscuit.  I was going to whip up some scrambled eggs with ham and have a nice, hearty, foggy morning breakfast.

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Thirty minutes later, as I sat down with my sleepy husband, my room temperature cup of tea (I’m really bad at tea), and my fluffy drop biscuits with eggs, the sun was shining bright through those front windows.  The fog had already burnt off and the white hot sun was pouring in on us like every other sunny summer morning before this one.

But I had won breakfast. The 400° oven was already off, and the thermostat only read a cool 75.  Plus, I had yummy, yummy just-baked biscuits.

xoxo

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Super Quick Cream Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cubed
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, melted
turbinado sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Mix the first four ingredients in a food processor or stand mixer until just combined.  Drop the dough in six equal parts (about 3/4 cups each) and drop onto a greased baking sheet.  The less perfectly round, the better.  Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Eat them piping hot right out of the oven.

Giant Squashagne

Once, at the market, there was a stand that sold giant squash.

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They were the most giant squash in all the land. Or maybe not, but they were ridiculously huge. And there was one girl who couldn’t resist buying one of the giant squashes just to dream up something fun to do with them.

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So she went home. She pondered over it for a few days. She displayed the squash in a fruit bowl that was about 5 gallons too small for the it to actually fit in. And then, after having it catch her eye and make her laugh on the third day, she decided to do something magnificent with that squash.

But first, she wanted to make sure everyone realized how big this squash really was. And that it totally matched her new favorite nail polish. Super cool.

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The girl broke out her very dangerous mandolin and carefully sliced that giant squash into something that resembled lasagna noodles. She had recently been making zucchini into noodles (we call those “zoodles” around here, and – yes – they are delicious), and figured lasagne with squash may be just as delicious.

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She sliced and sliced until she had piles of beautiful zucchini noodles (zoodles!!).

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She piled on ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. She browned her favorite local sausage and threw it into the tomato sauce she had made with early girls from her favorite tomato stand (the recipe is here!). She layered and layered, and then she baked that lasagne just like it was a regular, delicious pasta lasagne.

(this is where she forgot to take any pictures…)

She peaked in at her masterpiece as the timer went off. It was perfect!

But… then her phone rang!  Friends were gathering with wine by a fire! They would probably be hungry, too!

She quickly wrapped up the masterpiece and headed out with giant squash, local pork sausage, homemade tomato sauce lasagne in tow. (because this is a totally normal thing to do when invited to a campfire. just bring lasagne.)

The girl and her friends laughed and drank wine and ate grapes off of vines and listened to music by the fire late into the night. And everyone was happy that she made squash lasagne (squashagne?) and just happened to bring it to the party.

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No one even missed the noodles.

Moral of the story? If you are ever invited to a last minute campfire with wine, bring a squashagne. No one will be mad at you, I promise.

xoxo

Be still.

Be still

Way back in the beginning of July when i first got back from our glorious summer vacation (it seems like forever ago), I vowed to myself that I was going to come back recharged and ready to push forward on getting my new business up and running.

And push I did. Drive forward I did. I have made so many advances towards getting my pastry business (oh, I haven’t told you about that yet? oops…) legally running, and I’m so very proud of what I’ve accomplished even this far.

But today? Today I don’t want to make any business calls. I don’t want to take any notes or do any research. I don’t even want to fill any orders or come up with fun new ways to package things.

Today, I slept in until ten. I laid in bed on Instagram until eleven. Then I got up, put on a funky playlist, and whipped up some pancakes from scratch.

Today, I’m going to take Gibson on a couple of long walks. I’m going to bake myself something that I can put in my cake stand. I’m going to freeze cookie dough balls to eat randomly throughout the last of the hot summer days. And I’m going to go out and buy myself a nice bottle of wine to have with dinner.

Because every now and then it’s important to take a step backward from your two jobs and your non-stop life. It’s important to just sit. Be still. Be silent. Listen. Just look around and what you’re creating and where you’re going. Because creating a business and a life for yourself takes a lot of hard work, but it’s supposed to be a lot of fun, too.  I’m creating memories and friendships and learning a lot of lessons along the way.  Today is my day to just relax, soak it all in, appreciate myself for the good work I’ve done, and maybe go outside and get a little bit of sun while I’m at it.

In the near future, I’m looking forward to writing more.  I’m looking forward to sharing more challenges and recipes and stories. I’m looking forward to sharing my successes and my struggles. Because this blog has been one of my favorite projects I’ve ever taken on, and I’m ready to see it grow. I’m excited to keep it evolving and changing alongside of me.

But for now, I’ve got a sun to bathe in. I’ll see you very soon.

xoxo

The Incredible Summer Market

I could give you a million excuses for why I’ve only posted – what – twice in July?

But who wants to hear that. It’s July. I’ve been working on awesome, awesome things. I’ve been building projects and baking my butt off.  I’ve been planning and viewing and researching and (always) eating.  I’ve been documenting it all and sharing what I can when I have a second to come up for air and send a picture through vscocam or something of the sorts. And today, I actually had a second to sit down and look through all of the pictures in my July 2014 Photostream.

You just really have to see what’s happening at the market right now.  It is glorious.

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I can’t even explain how happy it makes me that it is tomato season again.  I literally just had tomatoes (and a hard boiled egg) for breakfast.IMG_6672IMG_6573IMG_6413 IMG_6410And the melons! Is there anything that tastes more like summer than melons?  I’m over the moon happy with my summer fruit!
IMG_6412IMG_6661 IMG_6837 IMG_6574 Ok, one more tomato shot. I actually started a #kelslovestomatoes hashtag so I could document all the beautiful tomatoes in my life – before they quickly disappear into my stomach’s life.IMG_6833 IMG_6834 IMG_6665I’m always glad I brought my cart…
IMG_6847I hope you are all enjoying your summer, and that it has been just as bountiful as ours has been!  Happy summer market to all!

xoxo

 

 

I hope you are all I hope you 

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Bread

My fridge is stuffed right now.

Not because we have a crazy amount of food.  I mean, we always have sort of a crazy amount of food in our house, but this time it’s just because it’s summer.

Summer stuffs our fridge for two reasons.  The first is that everything delicious is in season.  Cherries and apricots are on their way out, peaches are at their peak, and tomatoes are just about ready.  We’ve had to start bringing the cart to the market with us because It’s kind of impossible to carry around three Weiser Farm’s melons, a bag of peaches and a flat of tomatoes.  For three hours.

Talk about a food blogger workout.

The second reason our fridge is stuffed is because we don’t have air conditioning.  So if we left those tomatoes I’m in love with out on the counter for more than twelve hours, we would not only have tomato mush, but we would also have a swarm of fruit flies.

No bueno.

Somehow recently, a few bananas got left out in the fruit bowl in the summer heat.  And I kept telling myself they’d be ok or that I’d finish them in the morning. But then I was having breakfast and I realized I could smell the bananas on the shelf next to me.  It wasn’t a bad smell, just a “use me now or I’ll turn into a big blob of gross” smell.

One of the bananas even looked like this, so I was almost sure I’d just be throwing the whole bunch away.

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Except when I peeled it, just to make sure, the banana inside looked just right…

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Which, of course, meant banana bread!

I started looking up recipes.  I also discovered I had a pint of strawberries that were on their last days.  (Strawberries and bananas take a back seat to stone fruit in this house, I guess.)  I figured I’d throw them in the mix.  I started making a grocery list.  I almost headed out the door.

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But before I did, I just happened to stumble across a recipe for chocolate banana bread.  Chocolate. Banana. Bread.  I had an epiphany where I realized that the combination of chocolate and banana in bread was even better than banana and walnuts.  And sounded so much more like dessert than breakfast…

Plus, I was still going to add in strawberries.

Yep. I was making Strawberry Chocolate Banana Bread.

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Banana bread is one of those comfort foods that just makes me happy.  It’s fluffy and light and crunchy and is kind of like a cake, but can definitely be categorized as breakfast.

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This banana bread was even better.  Even more decedent.  Even more tempting to just cut yourself off a piece every time you happened to be near the kitchen.

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I truly had to give away half of this loaf because it was so rich and delicious and amazing.  But mostly because I’m supposed to be on a post-vacation detox, and I just couldn’t stop eating it.

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No one I gave it to seemed to mind too much.  It was almost like a giant strawberry brownie.  And topped with vanilla ice-cream on a hot summer day?  Oh. My. Gosh.

Give it a try.  I promise you’ll be tempted to always leave your bananas out a little too long when the temperature goes up…

xoxo

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Bread

ever so slightly adapted from smitten kitchen’s Double Chocolate Banana Bread

3 medium very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup Strawberries, chopped
3-4 Strawberries, sliced length-wise for topping

Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, & vanilla. Use as sifter to sift baking soda, salt, cinnamon (if using), flour and cocoa powder over wet ingredients. Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chopped strawberries.

Pour into prepared pan, top in whichever design you’d like with the remaining strawberry slices, and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

My Perfect Lake Day

Let me just tell you.  There isn’t much that is more opposite of living in Los Angeles than packing everything up and heading to our favorite lake house in Burdett, New York.

One of my favorite parts about heading to the part of the country where Brad grew up is when I tell people I’m going on vacation to New York.  You see them immediately think of sky scrapers and shopping and Broadway and subways and crowds of people.  They ask where I’m staying and what I’m doing.  They expect days of crazy plans and lots of hustle and bustle.

No, no, no.

Here’s how the lake works.

We hop onto this big jet plane, typically sometime just before midnight, and we do our very best to get a few hours of sleep before landing minutes after sunrise somewhere on the east coast.  This time, it happened to be Newark.

IMG_5317We rub our eyes, we reset our watches, and we scramble down the terminal to a much smaller gate where we are shuffled with about twenty other travelers onto a plane that I like to pretend is my very own private jet.

IMG_5321The propellers spin and whir. Brad falls back asleep.  I – the “expert” traveler – am the one who never gets comfortable in those tiny planes.  We are only up in the air for about an hour.

The airport we land at has one baggage terminal.  It has maybe two gates.  The air feels heavier than Los Angeles.  The people seem calmer.  The trees are infinitely more green.

We drive down to the house where we are staying.  The road is definitely not paved.  It is lined with grapevines and a dog or a chicken or two putting around.

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We pull up to the house and Brad is down on the dock before you can blink.  He grew up here.  He feels the most at peace next to this lake.IMG_5807 Not that I can blame him.  All of the stress and noise of big city living fades away here.  All you can hear is the heavy trickle of a creek draining rainwater down off of the hills.  The sky is the bluest blue I can imagine.  Clouds hardly look real, floating in the sky like they were placed just where they were meant to be.  Water gently laps past the dock.  Sun beats down, and I remember how long it’s been since I’ve had a tan.IMG_5783Brad finds a handful of old fishing rods and it is vacation time in full swing.
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While he untangles the lines and fiddles with lures, it’s my opportunity for a day-after-red-eye nap in the loft – the only room in the place with any type of air conditioning.IMG_5382Later, we head down to the Marina in search of dinner and a little sight-seeing.
IMG_5346 We explore the new fancy hotel restaurant in town.  We have a wonderful dinner, discover a new type of clams (Tiger Clams) and I get about a zillion mosquito bites.IMG_5985 Just before the sun sets, we decide to head back to the lake house for the evening.IMG_5351

Brad tries his hand once more at catching a perch.  Or a salmon, because apparently his uncle has caught one in the lake before…

Really, he tries to catch anything other than seaweed.  But nothing is nibbling.

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Meanwhile, I sit by my fisherman husband on the dock with a glass of rosé.  I watch as the sun sinks behind the trees and turns the sky wild pastels of pink, orange and blue.  I breathe in the humidity and let it frizz my hair into a wavy mess.  I enjoy the quiet.  I forget all about traffic.  I laugh and tell stories with family.  I try my hand – and fail – at fishing.

IMG_5961The sun is gone for the day.  We see a million stars that you could never see in Los Angeles.  We watch the fireflies and sit close to the citronella candles.  And just before 11pm, we can’t keep our eyes open any longer.  We head to bed and dream until we can do almost the same thing tomorrow.

There’s really nothing like the lake in the summer.

xoxo