Occasionally while I’m mixing drinks behind the bar I feel like I’m a mad scientist: a dash of bitters here, a droplet of tincture there . . . you get the idea. And as you know, I’m a huge fan of self-serve cocktail stations at parties. After all, I made a whole business out of it back in the day. So you can imagine my excitement when I got the idea for an evil drink lab this Halloween. With so many fun props to choose from, you can really get into the “spirit” of the holiday – get it, the spirit . . ? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
I wanted to push the styling to the max, so I decided to keep it simple with the cocktail. Just lemonade, vodka, and a little bit of food coloring. It is Halloween after all. Let’s call them “Gremlin Drops”.
I finally hopped on the baked donut train, bought a couple donut pans, and made my first batch the other day. I really lovedonuts. This is coming from someone who had a tower of Dunkin’ Donuts as her birthday cake when she was 5, so when I say I love donuts– I love donuts. This recipe is one of those recipes that I ended up testing and re-testing and re-testing– just couldn’t get it right. I finally realized there wasn’t really anything wrong with the recipe necessarily, but that I was expecting it to taste like a donut. And the sad truth is that a baked donut is NOT a fried donut, no matter how much caramel glaze you dress it in. That being said, it was still delicious once I reminded myself that this was a baked donut. I just love the tanginess of the buttermilk combined with the pumpkin, but what really makes it is the luscious caramel glaze coating. Mmm mm, getting so excited for fall!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack set in the middle.
Joy the baker has a special place in my blogging heart. She was one of the first people to reach out to us when we launched HonestlyYUM, welcoming us into the wild world of food and drinks on the internet. Eventually, we collaborated on a Mother’s Day brunch spread, and to this day I’m still dreaming of her white chocolate rose cake. Joy has been such an inspiration to me: her photography, her writing, and of course her recipes. So you can imagine how happy I was when I finally got my hands on a copy of her brand new book, Homemade Decadence. I know just how much hard work (and butter!) has gone into this book. Believe me it shows. It didn’t take me more than 24 hours to get down to business, and try my luck at these these bourbon-chocolate pecan pie bars. Wow . . . I don’t know what to say except that I know what I’m bringing to every single holiday party this year. Congratulations Joy! I look forward to spending hours with the fam working our way though these pages. Hey, the little one’s gotta learn to bake at some point!!
The first sight of pumpkins in October always gets me giddy with delight. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays – second to Thanksgiving, of course. I love getting into the dark and ghoulish spirit, always looking to outdo the previous year when it comes to decor. I’m super excited to share this Halloween themed floral centerpiece with you – I mean, who knew a human skull makes for such a wonderfully creepy vessel?!
** GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN (congratulations to Bailey Pollack!) **
Call me simple, but one of my favorite things in the world is really good roast chicken. Executed well, I’d choose it over a steak (just can’t get enough of that crispy chicken skin). I haven’t strayed from my routine roast chicken recipe for years– it’s a dry brine with lemon and onions smothered in butter. It’s fantastic. So when I saw this milk chicken recipe by Jamie Oliver, I never thought I’d get around to trying it. Sounds intriguing, right? I finally had a reason to give this milk chicken a go when I got this gorgeous burnt orange cast iron Staub Cocotte. The chicken was so incredibly moist and I just loved the intense lemon, sage and cinnamon flavor.
Allow the chicken to get to room temperature before cooking.
No cheese week would be complete without a trip to Cowgirl Creamery. Located in a charming old barn in the quaint California coastal town of Pt. Reyes Station, Cowgirl Creamery boasts a collection of my alltime favorite cheeses. Needless to say, Erica and I jumped at the chance to go take a peek (and a taste) behind the scenes. While most of the cheese production has been relocated just up the highway to their Petaluma creamery, the barn at Pt. Reyes station is still the home of their famous Red Hawk – a heavenly triple cream that simply couldn’t be made anywhere else. The wild bacteria that give the Red Hawk its unique character are native to Pt. Reyes! Cheese makers need only open the windows. How cool is that?! Of course we made sure to pickup some Red Hawk, and a variety of other cheeses (Fromage Blanc, Wagon Wheel, and the seasonal Chimney Rock) and had ourselves a picnic. I highly recommend you do the same.