Friendsgiving I | Earl Grey 'Mallows + S'MORES

posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This past weekend Josh and I hosted our very first dinner party, Friendsgiving (imagine all of the delicious food of Thanksgiving with all of the hype of Christmas). It was an evening to celebrate honest cooking, beautiful aesthetics, and the combination of old and new friends. Josh and I sent out the invitations about a month ago along with a list of menu items from which our guests could choose to make. It was one heck of a dinner because with each person entrusted with a dish, we all ate well. To make it even better, I had two helpers in the kitchen - a complete miracle. I will be sharing the complete collection of the Friendsgiving recipes over the next few weeks.

I was in charge of dessert and after drooling over a certain early grey marshmallow recipe a few weeks ago,  I decided upon s'mores - delicious earl grey marshmallows, various types of dark chocolate, and the necessary graham crackers. We used an assortment of dark chocolate: plain dark chocolate, peppermint, ginger, and coffee crunch. Our recipe for our 'mallows came from the wonderful food blog Local Milk.

Not much of a baker, I was lucky enough to have one of my favorite friends in my kitchen who knows a thing or two about baking. Even better, with Anastasia's extra set of hands in the kitchen, I ran around photographing it all without a worry. And, we pulled it off. These puffy, tea-tasting, sweet marshmallows were perfect and they left nothing but a delicious taste in your mouth afterwards. Enjoy.

Earl Gray 'Mallows | taken entirely from Local Milk 

makes 24 2inch marshmallows
nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Earl Grey
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 1/4-ounce envelopes of unflavored gelatin

Line a 13x9x2 inch pan with parchment paper or foil. Coat lightly with nonstick spray. Bring the 1.5 cups of water to a boil and add the Earl Gray. Remove from heat and steep covered 10 minutes.

Strain and measure a 1/2 cup of the tea into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until very cold. Measure another 1/2 cup of tea into a heavy medium saucepan. Discard extra tea (or drink it!).

 Once the tea is chilled, pour it into the bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.

Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the tea in the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240 degrees, about 8 minutes.

With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down side of bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract if using and beat about 30 seconds longer. It will be voluminous and white, begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl, and will fall very slowly in a thick ribbon when the whisk is lifted when done.

Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan with a wet spatula, work quickly as it gets harder to work with if it sits. And by harder I mean almost impossible. Smooth top with wet spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

 Sift corn starch and powdered sugar together in a bowl. Sift generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13×9 inches. 

Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off parchment or foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab. Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with water or nonstick spray. 

Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes, keeping knife wet or coated. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture. 

Store marshmallows in an airtight container. They will keep for about a week.

Combine the earl grey marshmallows with delicious dark chocolates and graham crackers to make the best s'mores of your life. 

And maybe wrap it in twine to make yourself and your friends smile. 

Away - But Just For A Bit

posted on: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oh hey there. I'm sorry about the silence last week - and this week - but we have some exciting things happening!

First, I purchased a new camera and am in the process of selling my old one. Second, we are in the midst of planning and prepping for our largest dinner party to-date, Friendsgiving. The entire dinner will be on the blog in the next few weeks but for now, here's our dinner menu:

f r i e n d s g i vi n g

- victuals -

caramelized onion flatbread

roasted vegetables atop arugula
baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon + butter 
roasted butternut squash + cashew soup 
grilled lemon herbed chicken

- ambrosia -
pumpkin cookies + pumpkin butter 
campfire s’mores: homemade ‘mallows + dark chocolate

- libations -
mulled red wine spiced cider 

Sweet Herb Eggplant + Vegetable Quinoa

posted on: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Have you ever tried to do something new, to attempt to take your craft to something more professional and sustaining? Because I am. And it's not all that terrifying. More than anything, I find this moment in time to be extraordinarily freeing and life-giving. The thought of pursuing something that provides such joy and the chance to cultivate beauty in a work environment makes my heart beat faster and my mind race around multiple ideas. By authoring and photographing for The Beanstalk, I've found that I have quite a fascination with photography, with documenting life in all situations. It's grown into something to pursue in the most natural of ways, almost without my realizing it. So here I go.

I think that perhaps these feelings of excitement are only able to persist against fear because of the immense support and push I've felt from people in my life. From friends joining my new Facebook page to my husband and parent's kind words and careful questions, I feel brave. I am confident and I am excited. 

Expect to see some more news in the near future (hello website).

Vegetable Quinoa | makes 4 servings

1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/3 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup kale, chopped finely
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped

Mix the quinoa with the appropriate amount of water (for 1/2 cup quinoa I use 1 cup water), bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes (until the water dries up). In a cast iron pan, add a bit of olive oil and heat the sweet onion on medium heat. Add the green onion and allow them to cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and green pepper and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, kale, and parmesan cheese, reducing the heat to low. Make sure to constantly stir the ingredients. When the quinoa finishes cooking, add it to the vegetables and remove from heat. 

Sweet Herb Eggplant | makes 2 servings

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 eggplant, sliced
crushed dried basil
crushed dried oregano 

Warm a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Once heated, add the butter. Combine the olive oil and honey into a large bowl and mix together. Add in the cinnamon, basil, and oregano. Lay the eggplant in the mixture and then flip, coating each side. Place in the cast iron and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until browned. Remove and plate.

Gluten-Free Galette: Apple + Thyme

posted on: Sunday, September 29, 2013

I enjoy a little direction when it comes to recipe development because I know that it pushes me to be more creative than not. If I am developing something for a post that only Josh and I will eat, it's easy to stick with my favorites, those things I know I make well. When I'm making something for anyone but myself, I like to step up my game. 

Cue Delighted Mag. I love reading the blog every week and I get excited with the beautiful magazine issues (which, thankfully, are now bi-monthly as opposed to quarterly), so I was beyond thrilled when I found myself with the opportunity to develop a recipe for the November issue of "sweets". There was just one or two problems: I'm not much of a baker, and I can't eat most baked goods. 

So this recipe here is a labor of love and an early holiday gift to all of those with gluten issues; it is darn hard to get a galette to hold, bake, and not maintain that weird gluten-free taste that comes at the end of a big bite. But friends, it's happened, and it's going to keep happening. Oh, and the whole apple-and-thyme combination? Just trust me, you'll like it.

Gluten-Free Apple + Thyme Galette | makes 2 small galettes

for the crust
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups tapioca flour

for the inside
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons butter
8 small apples

sprinkle of thyme
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 teaspoons of honey
2 tablespoons of butter

Mix the salt, xanthan gum, instant dry yeast, cinnamon, brown rice flour, and tapioca flour together. Add the honey, olive oil, and warm water to the mixture and roll into a ball. Cover and allow the dough to sit for 40-45 minutes. 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Halve and slice the apples into the appropriate size for your galettes. Melt the butter on the stove but do not let it burn. Chop the thyme into very small pieces. In a bowl mix the apples with the melted butter, cinnamon, honey, and thyme. Stir well. This will make the necessary ingredients for two galettes.

Allow the mixture to sit while you wait for the dough. 

Sprinkle some brown rice flour out onto parchment paper and roll the dough out. I made two small galettes (each about 8 inches across before folding). Bake the dough for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately pour half of the mixture on top of each dough. Arrange the apples out into rows. Make a 1 inch fold in the crust over the apples, pressing down firmly. Slide the butter over the top of the crusts and lay any extra pieces of butter on top of the apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon and thyme over the apples and drizzle the honey over the entire galette. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the dough begins to brown and the smell of cinnamon invades your kitchen. 

Serve as a sweet side dish or as a dessert with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

Saturday Switch-Up: Bridal Portraits

posted on: Saturday, September 28, 2013

A few weeks ago I wrote about the confusing struggle of being too scattered in thoughts about what it is that I am doing, what I am developing as my own craft. To be honest, I cannot say that I am any more certain than before, but I am taking steps to figure it out. Photographing food week after week teaches you a bit about working a camera, styling, and editing and I have been flattered when people ask me to photograph something other than food for them. But I always say no. People are something entirely different than food; feelings and thoughts and opinions exist when photographing a person, food sits pretty while you do your thing. And you get to eat it. Win, win.

It started with my reflecting on another conversation with a fellow photographer in which I refused to second shoot with him. I decided that perhaps I would enjoy expanding my portfolio - just as simple as that. Maybe tag along on some shoots and help photograph the little details: lines in a veil, placement of a napkin, you know, the things a food photographer looks for. Within the week I worked on two shoots, set up three meetings, heard of four potential shoots, and booked a wedding. 

It just sort of happened. And so I'm just sort of going with it. So pardon the lack of food in this post, but  this is what I did last week. On Monday you'll get food. A gluten-free apple and thyme galette sort of post. 

Congratulations to the newest Mrs. I know! Explore Colorado enough for the both of us, sweet thing. 


To keep up with these new exciting projects, follow us on Instagram.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter: This Ain't Your Kids' Version

posted on: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I remember the time when I first acknowledged a rule and decided that it was to be broken. A night filled with wild chasing of the moon through abandoned fields, smuggled cookies and jars of peanut butters, and the crisp, burning air of fall. Pierced by freedom and completely undone, my hair tangled and my shoes ruined, I felt full on the night and utterly free. I pretended to know how to do this thing, this ignoring responsibility and being adventurous, but inside I quivered at my new bravery and the risk of being caught. We had abandoned the road a mile before and raced one another. The edge of the field was wet with mud from the September rains and for a moment I paused -

I was young(er) and life seemed unimaginably and yet honestly difficult; handling responsibilities not intended for me to uphold. I ached to find a way to be free of those troubles, to be young and allowed to grow with mistakes. I lived as an innocent one but with conviction; wisdom was mine, uncommon for my age, but only in certain things not meant for children. In every other part of life I was a child, convinced I was more but still lacking in the ways of a woman. But this night, this night of choosing to do something other than what was told to me (although the rule was of sound mind and should have been respected), was a night of personal stand. A movement towards independence. Perhaps unnecessary or possibly achieved another way, but for me, it was a fighting chance at moving forward. 

- I looked to my right, my shoes sinking slowly into the mud, and disappeared into the corn field first and alone. Hidden by the height of the corn stalks, I threw my head back and looked for the moon, feeling the quick and hard beats of my heart against my ribs. A battle cry.

Gluten-Free Homemade Peanut Butter | makes 25 oz.

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw honey
14 oz. raw peanuts | handful for topping

Everything in this recipe can be refigured for your personal taste. I wanted a peanut butter that was somewhere in between a smooth and crunchy consistency with a sweet undertone and an obvious bourbon-vanilla flavor. Play around with the combinations and enjoy having peanut butter made for someone with taste buds.

Set aside a small amount of peanuts and place the rest of the peanuts along with the olive oil in a food processor. This should take anywhere from 1-4 minutes, depending on your processor. Look for the consistency you want, occasionally stirring the mixture in between spins. Add the cinnamon, honey, extract and food process again. Add in the final set aside peanuts for a crunchier peanut butter and process for only a few seconds (to keep some of the peanuts in larger pieces).

Store the peanut butter in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Use for snacks, sandwiches, or you know, on a spoon with the fridge door open real wide.

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