Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013.


Hello long lost friends. 
I know it's been so long. 
Way too long.

It took me a year to figure out what I wanted. Where to go from A Sofa in the Kitchen.
As time passed I decided to begin a new adventure, a new endeavor.
I hope you'll follow me over, and read all about it at my new home,

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back : 2011

2011 was the year. 


It always starts with breakfast


After which, the biggest question was popped.


Speaking of questions, I spent a week over at Glamorous Gadabouts answering Miss Poppy's fabulous questionnaires all about yours truly. Which culminated with my 300th blog post featuring some very delicious sweet & salty chocolate pretzel cupcakes. 


I then hosted the infamous Daring Bakers, challenging my fellow bakers to whip up a batch of silky panna cotta & chewy oatmeal Florentine cookies.


I shook up these kiwi martinis spiked with a bottle of Dry's lemongrass soda. Somehow the company got wind of these green beauties and asked to feature this recipe in their Dry Soda App


Then there's this whacky creation. 
It's one hell of a cornbread mess, but delicious nonetheless. 


Something sweet & simple. A whipped cream pound cake for Easter.


After a dream of a foodie trip to Portland, and breakfast at Pine State, I had a hankering to make the perfect biscuit. These may be as close as I ever get.  


One particularly stressful, wedding planning, grey and rainy weekend called for my favorite comfort dishes of all time - macaroni and cheese. This one spiked with bacon & caramelized onion.


Our indian summer produced some of the sweetest, floral apricots you've ever tasted. The fiance, our beard and I spent an evening turning 10 pounds into 20 jars of vanilla bean apricot jam - which turned out to be the most delicious of wedding favors.


As the big day approached my dearest friend, and maid of honor, hosted the most perfect of bridal showers.








I took a few months away from blogging to spend weeks in Kauai and get married
Without a doubt, the best three weeks of my life.


We then thoroughly enjoyed our first Thanksgiving as a married couple.


So a serious toast to the year 2011, one which I will never forget. 
And a look ahead to 2012, a year I intend to make just as unforgettable. 

Cheers!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Simply Breakfast : Smoked Salmon Egg Salad


Smoked salmon egg salad, it's quite possibly the quickest, mind-blowingly delicious weekend breakfast there is. Confession; it's also one of the husbands favorite simple weeknight dinners. It hits all the tastebud spots. Creamy, hearty, salty and bright. And from start to finish, about 20 minutes to make, which doesn't get better on the weekend, leaving you plenty of time to do all the wonderful things you love to do come Saturday and Sunday. Read the newspaper, sip coffee on the beach, snuggle with your hubby (or the dogs), window shop - that's what weekends are for. In our house, they're also for breakfasts like this.


Now, this dish is so simple you don't even need recipe, but I'll lay it out for you anyway. Because let's be honest, it's Saturday and who really wants to use their brain or braun today?

Slathered on crackers, piled high on warm toasted english muffins, or wrapped in butter lettuce leaves, you'll be happy you whipped this one together. The protein will keep you going for hours, whatever activity it is you like to do on Saturday, and the dish itself will having your stomach and your tastebuds feeling spoiled. 

Happy Saturday readers! Wishing you a lovely one!

Smoked Salmon Egg Salad

Ingredients 

5 eggs
2 Tabelspoons mayo (I always use light)
3/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
squeeze of lemon
3 ounces smoked salmon

Directions 

1. Medium/Hard boil the eggs (bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, ice bath eggs when finished).
2. Mix remaining five ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
3. Chop eggs and pile into bowl with the other ingredients.
4. Mix well and enjoy in, or on, whichever vessel you choose! Perhaps straight out of the bowl?!




Thursday, December 01, 2011

Masculine : Orange Spiked Brandy



I realized something today that should've been entirely obvious. As I spent the afternoon in my kitchen cooking (or in this case pouring) up three recipes for the blog - I found myself grinning. Ear to ear. There  I was hopping about the kitchen to the music pouring out of the speakers in the next room, smiling like a fool. Dancing, cooking, pouring, and photographing. I was truly happy. That's when it hit me. I love blogging. I love every aspect of it. I love creating food to share, I love setting it up, taking pictures of it, and ultimately writing about it. It brings a joy to my day to day life that cannot be compared. I need more of this feeling in my life, I must blog more. So there you have it, my (perhaps slightly obvious) confession.

Okay, moving on.

As far as drinks go this is just about as simple as it gets. I've never been a brown-liquor girl. I've always enjoyed the clean, often barely there, taste of clear liquors. Darker spirits aren't that. They're generally richer, mustier, deeper. They're not to be ignored. These facts have always put me off. Until recently. 


I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I'm a little (at best) odd. Case in point. For no good reason one day, I decided that I wanted to teach myself to enjoy dark liquor. I got it in my head that there was something sophisticated, classic, masculine and a bit dangerous about a pour of dark liquid in a crystal clear glass. And I wanted a part of it. My understanding is that whiskey's, bourbons, cognacs and brandys are best enjoyed pure. Leave the the frilly mixers, and fancified rims to the vodka cocktails of the world. So that's (essentially) what I did here, my first at home attempt at a classic dark drink. A few ounces of high quality brandy poured over crushed ice, add a touch of triple sec and a thick orange twist and you've got yourself one delicious at-home-happy-hour sip. One thing I love about these darker drinks is that they encourage a bit more enjoyment, you're not likely to guzzle this one down as you would, say a pear martini. As the ice melts a bit, the drink gets even smoother and more enjoyable. A drink to be savored, who wouldn't love that?!

After a few of these drinks at home in the evening, around our christmas tree, and an order or two of similar drinks at my favorite bar, I'm on my way to becoming a true lover of the dark side. 

Cheers!

  



Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving two-thousdand-eleven















Happy Thanksgiving readers! 

This year marked the first thanksgiving my dear husband and I spent as a married couple.
We enjoyed copious amounts of food, wine, and delightful company. This wonderful day has me giddy for the holiday season, that as of today, has officially arrived. Hoping your day has been a wonderful one! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

makin' whoopie : part deux


Hello there. It's been a while, hasn't it? During the interim this food blogger married the love of her life, then proceeded to spend two glorious weeks with said love on the island of Kauai. Planning and pulling off a wedding is no an easy feat. This, coming from a girl who relishes throwing lavish soirees. That wedding kicked my butt. Kauai healed it. And here I am. Back to cooking, writing, photographing and absolutely ready for the holidays! So, I present to you the pumpkin whoopie pie. 

This isn't my first time makin' whoopie. Two years ago during the holiday season I shared these decadent chocolate peppermint whoopie pies with you, surely a Christmas treat worthy of any cookie platter. Those chocolate cake, cookie combos marked my virgin whoopie baking experience. I was immediately smitten. Whoopie pies are basically perfection. Two incredibly moist lumps of cake filled with heaps of frosting. Plus, they're pretty darn cute, especially miniaturized (the only way I've ever made them). Tiny whoopies also make a fantastic gift, as they're a bit more exciting than your standard cookie, but nearly as simple. These whoopie pies were just that, a little 'just because' giftie for a few of my nearest. We'd made plans to slurp down some spicy hot Pho on a particularly chilly Friday evening and a I had nothing to do the day of, so on a whim I decided to whip them up a little something to take home and enjoy after dinner. A bit of tissue paper, a few craft paper bags, and some yarn made the package pretty. Whoopie pies inside made them delicious. Needless to say, the recipients were quite happy. After dinner, I don't think one person made it out of the restaurant lobby before tearing open their bags and enjoying at least one of the treats buried inside.


Seeing as it's not quite December, and we have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the states, chocolate and peppermint were off the table. I wanted whoopie that screamed "fall!" "autumn!", and I think these gems do just that. Pumpkin spice whoopie pies filled to the brim with a maple vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. The cakes themselves not too pumpkin-y, not too spice cake-y, I'd say a perfect balance, piled high with plenty of sweet maple filling for good measure, how could these be anything but perfection? And I swear the cakes were even moister the next day, making them a great holiday choice. You'd be safe whipping these up a day ahead and keeping them stored in an airtight container. I promise you, these whimsical little treats will be sure to delight whomever you decide to share them with, that is, if you can resist the urge to hoard them all for yourself.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies 
adapted from Bon Appetit 

Ingredients 
(Whoopie)

3 cups unbleached AP flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons butter (room temp)
3/4 golden brown sugar
3/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs (room temp)
15 oz pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients 
(Filling)

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon mapel-ine (maple extract) 
(or subtract a bit of powdered sugar and add a few tablespoons of pure maple syrup)
1/2 vanilla bean scraped 
1 to 2 Tablespoons half and half, cream or milk (to thin filling if needed)

Directions
(Whoopie)
Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Sift first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and both sugars. On medium high, mix until well incorporated (2-3 minutes).
3. With the mixer still going, slowly add your vegetable oil.
4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing 30 seconds between each.
5. Add pumpkin and mix until incorporated (scraping down bowl as needed).
6. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour and milk in two additions, staring with flour, milk, then ending with flour.
6. Cover bowl and chill for one hour. 
7. With a melon baller scoop chilled dough out onto a prepared cookie sheet (you need a silpat or parchment, and if using parchment oil it too, these babies are that moist, they will stick).
8. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet, transfer to parchment lined counter (my wire racks dug into their moist cakey flesh).
9. Repeat until all of your whoopies are baked.
10. Cool completely, then fill with your filling. I use my melon baller, about half full, dump onto one whoopie top with another and viola! Whoopie!

Directions
(Filling)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. 2-3 minutes.
2. Reduce the speed to slow (or all of your sugar will escape) and add powdered sugar. Mix until creamy. Another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add maple extract, vanilla bean scrapings and milk (if desired). Mix well.
4. Fill your cakes and make whoopie!


Monday, November 21, 2011

a most important day