Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sister Winter

And so the end to my first year of blogging approaches. Soul Food has definitely served its purpose for me personally, which was primarily to motivate me to cook more, to develop my personal cooking style, to challenge myself in the kitchen...mission accomplished! Maybe you found something tasty to eat in the meantime? Well, here's a final roundup of my major inspiration for the coming change of season. Happy holidays!

Winter Soul Food

Clockwise from top right: A bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, my absolute favorite champagne (and champagne is my favorite altogether); David Lebovitz's orange marmalade, which I'll be whipping up for a holiday gift this year; Black Swan, an increeeedible film; a sharp look from Chanel's Pre-Fall 2011 collection; a beautiful Peppermint Crush cake from Sugar Skull; Ella Fitzgerald's Swinging Christmas - classic; The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, a fascinating book explaining what flavors pair best in food; a gingerbread snowflake cookie from Martha Stewart; my planner for 2011, by Jill Bliss, from here; and the original Four Freshmen's breakout record, which my charming brother had signed by the latest incarnation of the group when we caught their show this weekend. I will love those boys forever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Pizza DoughMG Cinnamon Buns

Since my boyfriend started working at a pizza shop, it's been pizza in the morning, pizza in the know how it goes. And it's AWESOME! Because, as the bumper sticker I got for his car reads, "I'd rather be eating pizza." So there. Anyway, the thing is, pizza dough is just so malleable, you know? You can be the sculptor, shape it into whatever your heart desires. This time, when a leftover ball of dough was placed in my hands, it told me it wanted to be cinnamon buns, and listening was the best decision I have made this month! (Besides, perhaps, those petits fours.)

Also, due to the nature of the glaze, this is the ideal opportunity to gush a little bit about Spekuloos, which I believe may actually have come to me from heaven, though for some reason, now they're calling that place Wafels & Dinges. I ordered a jar of this otherwordly stuff about two months ago, but didn't get around to trying it until November. When I finally did, even after planning to use it in several special recipes, it proved impossible because all I wanted to do was eat heaping spoonfuls of it, all by itself. UGHHHH, it's just so GOOD!!! Now it's gone, though. Used the last of it to boost my buns all the way into the next life. :)

Pizza dOughMG Cinnamon Buns

makes 9 buns

1 small-medium pizza dough
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted in microwave
1/3 cup Spekuloos spread
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400. Mix together cinnamon, ginger and agave in a bowl. Fold in pecans. Push out the dough with a rolling pin until it's a nice rectangle about a 1/2-inch thick. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the top of the dough, then roll it up the long side of the dough. Cut the roll into buns, nine in total. Stick 'em in an ungreased square pan, three by three, and bake for about 15 minutes - until golden-brown on top.

Blend the glaze ingredients until smooth. Pour over the hot buns. Cut and serve!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celeb Inspiration: Marie Antoinette

So my birthday was this weekend, right? And it happened to be a birthday significant in the States for the reason that when one reaches the age of 21, one is allowed to purchase alcohol legally. For this reason, I attempted to put together the most outrageous and decadent party that I possibly in order that I might dance, drink champagne and eat cake all the live-long day/night. Since any excuse to channel Marie Antoinette/Sofia Coppola's representation of her is quite enough for me.

Marie Antoinette Me Antoinette
My ensemble was assembled from various sources, encompassing things old, new, borrowed, and blue, pulled together with a few accenting pops of pink and a fabulous pair of fake eyelashes. The decor and food were of course conceived around the general theme of decadence, hence the abundance of flowers, bubbly and sweets.

The Spread
You may or may not be able to identify in the picture above (from left to right) my moderately successful attempt at recreating Vegan Yum Yum's petits fours, the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies from Veganomicon courtesy of my boyfriend, a bowl of ever-delicious and surprisingly vegan Jordan almonds, the tree of chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and my personal bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne popped alongside the perfect birthday goblet that my mom magically discovered for me in time for this occasion. Ever-so appropriately, it reads "Let them eat cake!"