baking

November’s End

November’s end is the ultimate I-can’t-believe-the-month-is-over.  Maybe you’re already embroiled in the holiday season and happy to see December, but December means the year is coming to a close.  November’s always been a favorite of mine, and I have a major reason to love this particular November…

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[1] We went to a wedding in Tennessee in October, but I didn’t get my hands on these photos until this month. [2] Matt made these little pumpkin rolls twice.  I hope he realizes he’ll be making them a lot more. [3] I taught myself to weave!  It went okay.  Here’s the first thing I made. [4] Matt sent me these flowers on the day he proposed.  I had no idea they weren’t the end of it. [5] Yes, this is the reason I am sad to see this month go! [6] POKEMON SUN & MOON [7] Celebrating Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday [8] Driving up north and seeing the first signs of snow. [9] And the Christmas tree is up for our first Christmas together!

So, there’s lots of good stuff to come.  Are you looking forward to the holiday season?

Pumpkin Everything

We totally didn’t mean to make only orange foods this weekend… it was just a thing that happened.  Seriously, watch my baking boyfriend make this adorable pumpkin dinner rolls, then comment for the recipe, ’cause I know you want it for your Thanksgiving spread!

June ‘Grams

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Why yes, I am itching for my mini Fourth of July vacation.  I’m off tomorrow, so let’s say goodbye to June.

Highlights include: my first 5K attempt, celebrating Matt’s birthday, the first beach trip of the season, Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios, adventuring around JP & the Arnold Arboretum, and a lot of cooking together [here, here, and here].

I’ve got a couple of trips planned for July, but stay tuned.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

 

Banana Bread + Sweet Peach Palette

Mostly I did two things last weekend– made Smitten Kitchen’s double chocolate banana bread recipe & purchased/tried out Too Faced’s limited edition Sweet Peach Palette.  I was super happy with both.  There was also running shoe-buying and Pokémon shirt-wearing.  Check it out!

Top Chef: Restaurant Wars – Dinner

Oh hey – I took my three day weekend really seriously and this post is super later!  When we last left Top Chef, it was Restaurant Wars part 1.  Lunch service had come and gone; one team’s service may have gone better than the other’s, but in the judges’ eyes, the score was pretty even.

Team District LA– Amar, Jeremy, Kwame, and Phillip– are in the weeds a bit when it’s time to switch to dinner service.  Team Palate– Carl, Isaac, Karen and Marjorie– has a lot of prep to do too.  This time it’s Karen at the front of the house and Carl as executive chef.  Get it, Boston!  Here’s what they make:

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Not pictured above is Marjorie’s appetizer, parmesan parsley garlic bread.  The judges are always impressed with Marjorie’s baking skills and I’m super impressed that she pulled off bread and two dessert courses!  The judges aren’t crazy about her berry soup, and they definitely aren’t keen on Karen’s trout, but overall the meal goes well.  Isaac’s braised lamb is the real winner.

District LA serves:

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This team does an extra amuse, and also (not pictured) an aperitif– Phillip’s Bangkok Dangerous served, awkwardly, right at the hostess stand.  With Amar as executive chef and Phillip at front of the house, the service does not impress the judges.  In the bottom right corner pictured above, Tom and Padma note that Phillip is probably talking about his own LA restaurants, not the one he’s currently running.  Almost none of the food impresses, and the judges have a clear winner when they walk out.

Thankfully, team Palate takes home the win, specifically, Isaac!

Padma asks Phillip to pack his knives and go, and the viewers breath a collective sigh of relief.

What did you all think?!

MasterChef Junior: Season 4 Finale

It only took us four seasons, but we finally saw a girl vs. girl finale (actually– we finally saw a girl in the finale)!  Nine-year-old Avery faced off against nine-year-old Addison for the title.  Personally, I was happy to see both of these amazing girls in the finale and knew I’d be happy to see either of them win the title.

There is only one challenge in the finale: both girls cook an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, present them to Gordon, Christina, and Graham, all while their families and former competitors cheer them on from the balcony.

Here is what they make for their final stand in the MasterChef kitchen:

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Down the left, we have Avery’s appetizer, cream of asparagus soup with smoked oysters, creme fraiche, and a Creole crouton; her entrée, lobster and crawfish etouffee with crispy okra; and dessert, strawberry and rhubarb shortcake with orange chantilly cream.

Down the right, we have Addison’s appetizer, sake marinated shrimp with seaweed and sea bean salad, sour plums, and puffed rice; her entrée, miso black cod with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and coconut ginger broth; and dessert, green tea panna cotta with brûléed plums over crumbled cookie.

It was especially fun to see Christina during her first season of MasterChef Junior– while Gordon and Graham are well-acquainted with what ulta-talented kids can do, I think these girls knocked Christina’s socks off a little.  They always impress me, and I don’t even get to taste their creations!

The moment of truth comes, and it’s Addison for the win!

Congratulations to both girls!  What did you guys think about this season of MasterChef Junior?  I can’t wait to see another crop of kids come through this kitchen!