Avocado Cilantro Dip

You guys, I hosted a clothing swap with a bunch of my girlfriends, and I highly recommend you do the same.

I cleaned out everything – my closet, under my bed, my drawers, and my jewelry box! It was an unintentional spring cleaning, but regardless, it was BIG (7 bags stuffed to the brim!), and it feels so liberating.

healthy avocado dip

Granted, it’s an arduous process pulling everything out, evaluating an item’s current fashion status, trying it on, and finally, weighing the likelihood of how often you’ll sport your clothes that have fallen out of favor, but the de-cluttering is worth the work.

It’s especially worth it when it comes with a party and gazpacho, cherry gin sours, and avocado cilantro dip. For the cherry gin sour, just replace the simple syrup with cherry syrup, and follow the rest of the recipe. To my gazpacho, I added three slices of good white country bread to the bowl first to let them soak in the tomato juice and vinegar to soften before blending.

Now for the avocado cilantro dip! …keep reading!

Mom’s Crab Cakes & Homemade Mayonnaise

Today, I have a guest post for you from my beautiful mother. She’s the woman who taught me how to laugh, how to love, and how to cook. You’ll quickly see where I get my personality and cooking style from. She’s the best.

I made her outstanding crab cakes, but I realized I didn’t have any mayonnaise, so I made my own – that recipe is here too! Without further delay, here’s Momma Artichoke…

Crab Cakes recipe

Crab, crab, crab! No not my usual personality, only sometimes! But seriously, who doesn’t love good crab? And you can have quite the luncheon with your best friends with one or two of those large cans of refrigerated crab meat and just a little effort.

First of all, make a nice big pitcher of bloody Marys! However you like them is fine, but I go the easy route with some spicy V-8 juice, a good vodka, and some celery sticks. Once everybody has a drink in hand and takes a sip, you can start working on the crab!
Here goes… Some crab Louie salads and some fresh crab cakes with seafood sauce (or homemade mayonnaise).

Crab Louie salads are so easy to make and really an old fashion yummy treat.
Cut iceberg lettuce into wedges, top with your favorite thousand Island dressing, and then top with as much crab as you want. Maybe a few cherry tomatoes and gherkins on the side and voilà! you’re done.

Crab Louis salad

Now for the crab cakes. I often find crab cakes a little tricky. Nobody wants a really bready crab cake, but they are often served that way because they hold together better during cooking. I really just want crab meat in a patty with not much extra. So here’s the trick to a perfect crab cake.

Wait… Have another sip of your bloody Mary first.

OK, now… …keep reading!

Cream of Artichoke Soup

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of lady who can just kill it at a gospel church. Belting it out, laughing and smiling ear-to-ear, calling everyone by name, and giving everyone big mama bear hugs – all with a healthy dose of sass.

I would say I can accomplish most of those, minus the actual gospel singing and remembering all the names. The belting, laughing, hugging, and “call ‘em like I see ‘em/ playful hard time” sassing I think I have down. And they can only grow from here!

Creamy vegan artichoke soup

Along with this sunny, yet sassy personality I try to reflect outward, comes a strong desire to feed all my friends and family. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is a growing girl/boy. And one of my favorite ways to achieve this is with soup accompanied by a good hearty bread.

Super fast, super easy, and super flavorful, this creamy artichoke soup nourishes bellies and warms hearts.

My favorite way to “cream” a soup is with velvety cashew cream. (This creamy kale soup and this corn and leek soup are also worth checking out!) This artichoke soup starts with …keep reading!

Spanish Chicken Marbella

Hi friends,

Get excited because today is a GUEST POST!!  Yes, that’s right folks, Katie has relinquished her blog to me, the best friend Caitlyn…

Cait

 

Yep, that’s me!  The Caitlyn who’s been quoted and pictured in many of our dearest chef’s blog creations.  Some of my favorites: Coffee chiffon birthday cake, The 712 cocktail, and The ultimate eggplant parmigiana. And today it’s my turn!  In all fairness, Katie and I have been talking about doing this for years. I’m just an excellent procrastinator, seriously, one of the best, and have FINALLY gotten around to doing the damn thing. So here goes!

First things first.  You may be wondering what our lovely ginger has been doing with her time.  It’s been a busy year for this girl hence why there have been less frequent posts here.  Well, she’s been doing this:

image

Seriously.

I’ve had several things from this place, and I can tell you unequivocally that they have the best pastries. Keep reading…

Obsession-Worthy Brussels & Kale Winter Salad

Kale Brussels Salad with dried cherries and quinoa

Toasted hazelnuts, pickled red onion, shaved Brussels sprouts, dried tart cherries, Parmesan, quinoa, kale, and a lemon cider vinaigrette. These ingredients all join together in a perfect symphony of flavors to create an obsession-worthy salad. I’m so incredibly excited about this recipe that I think I made it four times in two weeks, and I can’t wait for you to make it too.

My man and I are in the process of looking for a house, and I’m happily baking up a storm at the Bakehouse – where my Spiced Triple Ginger Cookies recently made it onto our menu! Between the decadent pastries I bring home from work and the lavish weekend brunches to fuel up for house-hunting, I felt the need for a big, hearty dinner salad. This one is just the ticket.

Kale Brussels Sprouts salad with hazelnuts and pickled onions

The toasted hazelnuts, dried tart fruit, and salty sharp cheese bring a richness and heft to make this salad a stand-alone meal. Meanwhile, the quick-pickled onion Keep reading…

Apple Thyme Shrub Cocktail

I flick apples in the produce section. I get the occasional eyebrow raise my direction, but I always end up with the crunchiest, crispest apples. The higher pitch the apple makes, the crunchier the fruit. I don’t compromise here, so I’ll happily endure the raised eyebrows. A good fall apple should be bright in flavor and almost brittle like kettle-cooked potato chips.

Apple thyme shrub cocktail

Apples bring back a flood of memories of gallivanting through an apple orchard in Virginia with my family and our close family friends. The rows were littered with half-eaten apples discarded only to sample another variety until our bellies could fit no more….that is, until we were presented with hot apple fritters and fresh-pressed apple cider back at the farm store.

I recently concocted a drink that captures that sweet, bright, tart burst of flavor in an autumn apple. The trick? Keep reading…

Honey Roasted Cocoa Chili Pecans

Sweet and spicy roasted nuts

Hello fellow fall-lovers, and welcome to the best time of year. A long, tomato and cocktail-filled summer is now behind us, and we can greet autumn with a warm scarf, warmly spiced sweets, a hot cup of coffee, and a comforting bowl of carrot ginger soup.

In an wonderfully cliché manner, I wandered around Berkeley neighborhoods with my man yesterday – hot coffee in hand and crunchable golden leaves galore – and I became giddy with the feeling that fall has finally arrived as I planned our evening menu of pumpkin leek soup with mustard croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds. The only things missing were a plaid flannel and boots. We may have also purchased decorative gourds and a pumpkin ale, and I may have required a cozy blanket while we enjoyed them out on the balcony. No shame – I want all the autumnal clichés! To round them out, we’re also having a pumpkin carving party soon.

Spiced Nuts Recipe

Another thing that I always associate with cooler weather is spiced nuts. My mom makes …keep reading!