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Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème

May 7, 2012

Lately, I’ve been craving chocolate.

Like, head over heels crazy, can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head craving.

And as I was watching the recipes floating around in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, I had been gearing up to make Margarita Cupcakes.  But with no chocolate to speak of, I found that my heart just wasn’t in them.  Still, for some reason, I didn’t want to let it go.  I started thinking about the inspiration- to transform a delicious drink into an even more delicious dessert, and I thought: Mexican Chocolate!  The specialty hot cocoa is a favorite drink of mine in the fall, what with its warm, spicy, earthy flavors mixed with smooth creamy milk.  The perfect transformation: pots de crème!

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Mixed Onion Tart

April 8, 2012


Happy Easter! With the spring in full swing and our garden finally planted with the full rainbow of veggies and herbs, I’ve been feeling inspired.  But while my garden-grown veggies won’t be ready for at least another several weeks (lettuce, peas) or even months (tomatoes, cantaloupe, beans), the Thursday farmers’ market is overflowing with early spring goodies.  And the best of these might be the least mulled over: the lowly onion!

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Pull-Apart Cinnamon Loaf

April 1, 2012

I know, I know, I know.  I’ve been away for too long again.  Try as I might, I just can’t seem to work more baking into my busy schedule.  What’s more, the rest of this spring and summer are fixing to be pretty hectic, what with moving to Michigan while I plan a wedding here in California.  Put that together with a full work schedule, a garden that needs planting, and a steady flow of other projects demanding my time, and you’re in for posts that are… well… a little fewer and farther between than I wish they were!  That being said, I did find the time to read a magazine or two in the last two weeks – namely, Better Homes and Gardens, where I found a recipe I really could not pass up.

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

March 14, 2012

I have some news, flourchildren!  Mr. Brillantes and I have been in and out visiting graduate schools for the last month or so and, after much completely unnecessary arduous and purposeful discussion, we’ve realized that the choice was so absolutely clear, it was pretty much smacking us in the face.  So look out, Michigan, here we come!

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about it.  But then we got there and it was like love at first sight.  There are so many things that I loved about the area that I can in no way fit them into one post; suffice it to say that it involved a permanent, year-round farmers’ market, a really astounding overabundance of coffee shops, and several local microbreweries that may or may not claim all my future take-home pay.  But more on that later.

In other news, it’s really spring! Our garden is taking off in leaps and bounds after the long winter wait, and it has been claiming practically all my attention (and muscle strength).  However, I did find a break in the – ahem – back-breaking work to whip up these delicious carrot cupcakes!

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Coconut Cake and Ice Cream

March 4, 2012

It’s been an eventful week and a half!  Our warm February blossomed into full-blown spring and, just as the blue skies and blooming flowers started calling to me, I was hit with a violent bout of stomach flu.  And of course, as soon as I was on the mend, it started pouring rain.  So I’ve been stuck inside with something of a baker’s block for many days.

But now all that is behind us.  The spring weather is back (although now it has confused itself with summer and reached ninety-five degrees!) and I am ready to enjoy it to the fullest extent with a slice of coconut cake and a batch of homemade ice cream!

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Lemon-Rosemary Bundt Cake

February 21, 2012

I’ve been posting a lot about foods that I find at Farmers’ Markets and the supermarket. But, as Mr. Brillantes reminded me early on in this blogaventure, this leaves out at least one important way that food can get to your table: from your own backyard!

I grew up in a family that kept a pretty substantial victory garden out back, growing everything from asparagus to zucchini. In the yard right now are some pretty fat leaves of rainbow kale, a vast array of citrus trees heading toward their peak, an incredibly persistent oregano plant, and the two things I picked for this cake: lemons and rosemary

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

February 19, 2012

Have you ever eaten a Gaviota strawberry?  Chances are, probably not.  The tiny, soft berries are nearly impossible to transport, so they rarely end up in farmers’ markets and never at the grocery store.  But maybe you’ll know what I’m talking about anyway:  you bite into a blazing red berry and it melts – literally melts – into sticky sweet juice on your tongue.  This is the kind of berry you can only dream about until the cool, bright month of June; yet here they are, on my counter, in February!

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