Monday, December 30, 2013


I went to Mood the other that was two weeks ago. I guess I have been busy!

For those of you who don't know, Mood is a giant L.A. fabric store. They sell all kinds of fabric, including silk, suiting, denim, beautiful beaded textiles, hides, even upholstery (read: pants and coats). There's another one in New York that supplies the designers on Project Runway. It's a great place to go if you're looking for inspiration or aren't quite sure what you need because their fabric is varied and beautiful.

I love Mood.

My mom and I made a pinch weekend trip because I wanted to make myself a dress for a fancy lunch my grandpa was hosting that Friday. I was looking for a pearl-gray silk-satin with some sort of beading/ intricacy. My first idea was to try dying grey a white beaded polyester fabric that my mom had in her closet, which despite being synthetic was very beautiful. My mom took one look at this

with its dubious dying capacity and glued-on beads and all of its as-of-yet unadulterated loveliness and suggested that we go to Mood.

I didn't end up buying anything, mainly because I was being picky and the only beaded silk-satin they had was bridal. But my mom did buy some alpaca fur for a vest she's making, and I got inspired for an essay I have to write, and...


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Almond Caramel Custard Tart


And I apologize for not saluting you punctually, but a week into Christmas break I have been busier than during school! But never fear that this means a deficit of web-worthy scrumptious recipes! In fact, most of my business involves making brag-worthy outfits and desserts in time for various holiday deadlines! You have a wave of confections and clothing coming your way!

SUCH AS THIS ALMOND-CUSTARD TART I MADE FOR CHRISTMAS...this tart is notable because both of my brothers, who usually spurn dessert-related convolution in favor of steadfast staples like chocolate cake, LOVE IT. (as in, I get frequent requests nags). It probably has something to do with the fact that the custard tastes something like substantiated sugar. :)

Merry Christmas and I hope you like your present(s)!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pistachio and Mustard Lamb Rub--Trust me

OK so I've been wanting to try this lamb rub recipe for a long time. I actually got it from my amazing facialist, who is from Eastern Europe and whose family apparently has as much interest in food as mine! (We're Croatian, and we all eat a lot of lamb.) A while ago my mom bought three racks of lamb (does that sound excessive? it's not) while they were on sale and stuck them in the freezer for a day when the grocery store gods were not smiling upon us. She decided to pull them out last weekend and in the absence of another styling I managed to secure rein to experiment on the lamb.

Despite constant commentary from my dad and brothers while putting this together about the green color and the source, it was really good.

(I feel like in return for such a yummy meal, I should probably give thorough acknowledgement to my facialist. I've been going to her for over two years now and she really is great and keeps my face in line so I look good wearing all my home-sewn clothes ;) Check her out at Glo European Skin Care!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The "It's too early for chocolate" Muffins

The other evening I was taken with the creative spirit and decided to throw together (with a few alterations) a muffin recipe I found in my mom's recipe binder (I use the term loosely, since the spine of the rings is not bound to the spine of the cover and half the pages are not bound to anything). It was worth making off-the-cuff because I actually didn't have to do anything to the recipe to make it healthy enough that I wouldn't mind eating it for breakfast on a normal day and I had the essential ingredients.

Review: I thought they were okay. They weren't horribly flavorful, and I definitely appreciated the apple chunks I threw in there. The shocker, though is that my brothers LOVED THEM. To give you some context, these are the same brothers for whom I will make 50 cinnamon rolls in a sitting and they will come back a month and a half layer petitioning more. That meaning, that they have no aversion to sugar for breakfast (and snack and lunch and dinner, sometimes). But they really liked the subtle flavor of these muffins. My youngest brother (who isn't really a big eater in the first place) had two for breakfast and another for DESSERT. He told me he liked them better than my amazing and time-tested chocolate-chip muffins. Hear that, folks? BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE.

Another upside of these muffins is that if you have your oven on convection, they take like 10-15 minutes to bake, which is great if the designated baker (oh shoot, that was me) oversleeps and forgets to preheat the oven until half an hour before you have to leave.

So in the honor of those who are looking for something more toned-down, less sugary, and less time-consuming in the wee pre-school hours of the morning, I present:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

More Pumpkin, and More Pie

What would Thanksgiving dessert be without pumpkin pie?

(Well, delicious, but that's besides the point.)

Each year my family makes two pumpkin pies (because let's be honest nothing gets the rush of gratitude flowing like extra dessert :D). The idea is that by gorging ourselves on pumpkin on Thanksgiving and the approximately two days it takes to polish off the rest of the pies, we'll probably make it to the next Thanksgiving and its promise of pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, whereas making food is a Thanksgiving tradition, processed food seems to be something of an American tradition. Last year I was a little troubled to find out that pumpkin pie was one of the most pre-processed items that leaves my house. Not only did we use pre-packaged pie crust (the horror, right? how are you supposed to brag about that), but my mom directed me to the recipe on the outside of the pumpkin can. Like couldn't between me and my mom and my aunt and my grandma and the Internet we scrounge up something a little more original?

Evidently not, because I ended up using the same on-the-back-of-the-can pumpkin pie recipe again this year. Because it is really good.

But I could not find it in myself to forgive the pre-made pie I made my own. The dough is really simple and when you do chill it properly (yes, I learned my lesson) it turns out really good. It has no shortening in it because half of them are carcinogenic and the other half were not avaliable at the grocery stores my mom visited in the three days leading up to this project. And it was actually very flaky, and I will explain why below :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pecan Pie (without gelatin, of course)

I have an incentive for everyone to read my blog.

And that is, when I make a recipe, I can tell you honestly which instructions you need to follow, and which ones you don't. We want to bake, not wade through a set of directions that could fill a small pamphlet. I can think of maybe one recipe where the outcome is materially benefitted by sifting the flour beforehand, and a good dozen where dumping all the ingredients in the bowl together in no particular order produces a quite lovely batter, thank you.

Well when I made the crust for this pecan pie it was 9:30 on the eve of Thanksgiving and I did not want to wait for my dough to chill for an hour before I rolled and baked it, so I rolled and baked it on the spot.

So you should chill your dough before baking it.

Pretty much what happened is that A) my dough did not roll out as neatly and B) my shell was not sturdy enough, so when I poured in the filling I got leakage. (Sorry to dissappoint, but I didn't take pictures of that part.) The filling is really runny before baking, because its pretty much composed of eggs, sugar, and melted butter. The leak stopped up soon enough once I put the pie in the oven.

Patchy crust :(
It is a testament to this amazing recipe that the finished product still looked stunning, but in the interest of avoiding a crispy corona around the base of your pie, I recommend chilling your crust.  Just follow the instructions below!

Thanksgiving!...and more importantly, pumpkin bread

You know what that excuse to put aside homework to spend all day baking inedible amounts of dessert!

My grandma was handling the main meal, which means my household was responsible for providing dessert. Which is just how I like it :D
Between us, my mom and I managed two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, four loaves of pumpkin bread (with and without chocolate chips--more on that later), chocolate chunk and macadamia nut cookies, and a plate of pucharata (is that spelled right?)--essentially Croatian doughnut holes. They're good.

(That's how you know.)

I did the pumpkin bread and the pies along with the crusts (storebought pie crust? please), which explains why my mom thought Thanksgiving was so relaxing this year.

I started with the pumpkin bread. The chocolate chips were at the request of my uncle, who vehemently exhorted of me (and a week ahead of time, too!) that I make pumpkin bread WITH chocolate chips and-don't-forget-the-chocolate-chips! So I ended up making four loaves of pumpkin bread--two with chocolate chips for my uncle, and two regular for my family. I was kind of skeptical about the chocolate and the pumpkin, but all too willing to try it because remind me what doesn't taste good with chocolate? Unfortunately, the chocolate ended up overwhelming all taste of the spices, so in defense of the delicate spice-based appeal of traditional pumpkin bread, I advocate for leaving out the addition. (Don't think this means I'm not in favor of chocolate in breakfast food: that will be forthcoming.)
Besides, the normal version looked prettier ;)
I've made this recipe once before, and both times it has come out wonderfully. If you're not in the mood for bread, I recommend upping the sugar content and making muffins/ cupcakes, which you top with fresh whipped cream. Delicious.