New Favorite Spring Cookbooks

JTB Cookbook Collage

The trees are starting to flower.  Strawberries are starting to fill the shelves at the grocery store.  Easter candy is taunting me at every turn.  The combination of cut grass and sunshine feels extra special.  It’s Spring, y’all!  

(Still experimenting with the word y’all.  Hold on tight.)

Now, it’s not that I need any more cookbooks on my kitchen shelves.  It’s just that I can’t help myself.  These cookbooks feel like works of art to me and everyone needs some kitchen inspiration.  

Here’s what I’m loving, besides Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with feta and parsley… just sayin’.  

•  Date Night In  This thoughtful cookbook from Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt is exactly the right book to reach for when it’s time to open a bottle of wine, hop in the kitchen, and chat-cook… a technical term for getting all up in the kitchen and connecting.  Wonderful for both romance and friendship.  

•  Seven Spoons from Tara O’Brady is just gorgeous!  The recipes are unique, but not too outside of the box to not feel comforting.  I have the Braised Beef Short Ribs on my shortlist.  

•  Food 52’s Genius Recipes  is a staple in my kitchen.  This book understands my needs for the perfect pasta sauce on a Wednesday night when all I want to do is eat popchips and pink wine.  This book inspires dinner everyday.  

•  I’m very protective of my good bowls.  I have three of them.  They’re almost as wide as a place, with a shallow but helpful lip.  Perfect for when you want to eat aggressive amounts of pasta, or an embarrassing amount of beans and rice.  These bowls + The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon.  I’m all set.  

•  I was in Charleston, SC last week and wandered into biscuit heaven:  Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits.  So buttery. So fluffy.  So substantial.  It was pretty perfect.  So… Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions

•  We can never go wrong with a good cookie.  Cookie Love from Mindy Segal.  Elevated, fool-proof and extra delicious cookies.  Don’t forget the salt.  

•  Aimee Wimbush- Bourque of Simple Bites has written a lovely book about food, homesteading, and family.  It’s enough to just abut convince me to plant a tomato tree.  I have a black thumb… are they even called tomato trees?  Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

•  The amazing and brilliant Christina Tosi and her sweet sweet life.  Milk Bar Life:  Recipes and Stories

•  It’s exactly what you need it to be sometimes: Dessert For Two, the pretty and practical new book from Christina Lane.  Me and Tron and set for dessert into the future.  

 Sasha Martin cooked a meal and fed her family from every country in the world over the course of 195 weeks.  It’s the story of food and forgiveness and it’s really beautiful: Life From Scratch

 It turns out that photographers and indie rock stars can make some pretty beautiful and inspiring cookbooks!  I have this book pre-ordered and would like to invite you to dinner.  K?  Twenty Dinners 

 Also on my pre-order list is The Dirty Apron Cookbook.  Simple dinners, confidence building technique, and plenty of flavor inspiration.  

Oh, also… here are some of my favorite cookbooks from last summer.  And… now I want ceviche and donuts, separately but in abundance. 

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  

We’re well into this Sunday and it feels all the way like Spring.  I hope your brunch table runneth over.  

I’ve been in Nashville this week eating everything I can get my hands on and wearing cowboy boots like I know what I’m doing.  I don’t… I barely know what I’m doing, but the boots help with the confidence.  

This week has been a lot, hasn’t it?  Here is what’s what.  

•  Germanwings flight 9525.  “When one person is responsible for 150 lives, it is more than just suicide.”  From Slate.  

•  We work from home, hang out with out cats, take pictures of our home coffee, watch HBO Go while we blog and email and order gluten-free crackers on Amazon.  Is it true?  Are we The Shut-In Economy

•  Let’s go ahead and opt out of everything.  Opting out of group texts and reply-all emails being the most important of all.

•  The perfect bean to save the hot and hungry planet.  

•  Mariel Hemingway on Woody Allen.  It’s important.  

•  Feminist Ben and Jerry’s flavors.  Because.   

•  Tim Cook on running Apple.  Also, he plans to give away all his wealth after he pays for his nephews college education.  

 •  Meerkat app and Periscope.  What in the world is going on?  No, seriously.  Are we going to be ok?  

•  Our president + The Wire creator David Simon.  

•  Remember when your parents had “The Talk” with you?  Ugh.  From NYMag:  Let’s Talk Frankly About Sex.

•  Just in case you need to see everything Don Draper wore on Mad Men.  

•  The X-Files.  Come on BACK!  

Have the most lovely day!  Don’t let the Sunday night stresses get atcha.  Wine and pudding help.  Wine and chocolate pudding.  

xo Joy

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet Cake

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

I was looking for rainbow carrots.  I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.

And then, nope.  

Turns out strawberries are in season!  Now.  Already.  It’s time!

Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).  

Come with it! 

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

 Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness.  When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

Let’s make it easy for these dumplings:  self-rising flour.  

Yea… just get into it!  

I love this self-rising flour from King Arthur Flour because the flour is so light and fluffy, it creates the most fluffy dumplings.  

A dumpling is nothing if it’s not fluffy, and you know that’s true.  

If you want to know waaaaay more about flour:  check it.  

If you want to make your own self-rising flour at home:  check this.  

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

Lots of buttermilk in these little dumplings. 

I also used a dark Muscovado Sugar which is dark and extra lovely.  If you don’t have Muscovado on hand, light brown sugar will also be great!   Depth.  

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

Dumplings are more wet than biscuits.  

It’s just science.

You should  also know that I ALWAYS want to type a ‘z’ when I type biscuits.  

Bizcuits.  

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

The strawberries are roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes while we bring together the biscuit dough.  They’re roasted until just softened and bubbly, then removed for the oven for the biscuit batter to be added.  

Dollops.  Big ol’.  

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

 Biscuits golden and tender.  Strawberries all juicy and new.  It’s Spring fresh and we’re allowed to enjoy it exactly right now.  

Happy Spring!  

Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet Cake


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Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

For the Strawberries
  1. 2-3 heaping cups halved, ripe, and hulled strawberries
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
For the Biscuits
  1. 2 cups self-rising flour
  2. 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  3. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  4. 1 cup cold buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place strawberries in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet and place small pats of butter on top of the berries. Top with brown sugar. Place in the oven to roast for 12-15 minutes. While the strawberries roast, prepare the biscuit dough.
  3. To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl whisk together flour and brown sugar. Add the cold butter and use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour and sugar mixture. Some of the butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
  4. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold buttermilk. Stir with a spoon. The mixture will be rather wet.
  5. Remove the strawberries from the oven and carefully dollop the biscuit batter over the hot strawberries. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and the biscuits are golden.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool until the strawberries are no longer bubbling, and serve warm with or without whipped cream (but definitely with…).
  7. Strawberry skillet cake is best served the day it is baked. Enjoy!
Adapted from Joy’s brain and King Arthur Flour

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

It’s taken me entirely too long to get to soak my red beans.  A year!  I’ve lived in New Orleans a year and I’ve never soaked my red beans to make a pot of Red Beans and Rice.  Some nerve, really.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition.  I thought Monday nights were reserved for red wine, salty popcorn, and M&M dinner… turns out I was totally mistaken.  All the way wrong.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition because Monday was considered the “wash-day”…. laundry.  Red Beans could cook on the stove, mostly unattended, all day while the laundry was done.  Also, Red Beans could be made with the precious ham hock reserved from Sunday supper.  In other words, everything makes sense.  Ham, red beans, Monday laundry.  New Orleans is doing it right and I need to get my act (and my laundry) together.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Let’s get this pot on the stove!  

Classic Camellia Red Beans, dried but soaked.  

Major soup flavors like onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and pancetta.  

Parsley and thyme for fresh herb notes.  Bay leaf for base flavors. Good chicken stock for roundness.  

Lastly, smoked sausage, sliced, for that perfect layer of salty smoky pork.  

Rice too!  And it’s almost dinner! 

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

 Onions, peppers, and celery are added to a pot of crisp and cooking pancetta.  We’re layering flavors.  Pork meets classic stew vegetables.  Very little can go wrong here.  

It’s riiiiight about now, as the smell of cooking onions and peppers fill my kitchen that I’m like… CRAP I FORGOT TO SOAK MY BEANS!  

How to Quick Soak Beans.  The Kitchn saves the day.  Like always.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Vegetables are really cooked down well.  There are no half measures here.  Red beans and rice are about almost burning everything.  Almost.  Taking vegetables and pork and beans to the edge of done.  

That’s where all the flavor hides.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Fresh parsley, lots of minced garlic, and cooked smoked sausage are added to the well-browned vegetables.  It’s already so good!  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

The sausage is cooked down until it’s crisped and almost gnarly.  Everything gets extra done.  

You’ll also note in the left corner, I’ve soaked my beans.  Crisis averted.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Softened beans are added to the pancetta, vegetable, sausage, garlic goodness.

This is where some of you might yell at me for not adding a ham hock to my rice and beans.  I know.  What the heck is rice and beans without a dang ham hock!?!?  Well… it’s still rice and beans.  My version.  It’s cool.  Life goes on.  

(I don’t know where the ham hock aisle is at the grocery store.  Probably the butcher.  Still tho.  Still.) 

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Simmered until softened, fatty, smokey, spicy, and utterly irresistible.  Serve with plenty of fluffy white rice, lots of fresh sliced green onions, and definitely invite at least two friends over for Monday gossip and good times.  

Ps.  Every single time I made rice I have to look it up:  How To Cook Basmati Rice.  Judge not.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
Serves 6


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Prep Time
45 min

Cook Time
2 hr

Total Time
3 hr

Prep Time
45 min

Cook Time
2 hr

Total Time
3 hr

Ingredients
  1. 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and picked through for stones
  2. 1/3 cup diced pancetta
  3. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  4. 3 celery stalks, chopped
  5. 1 green or red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  8. pinch cayenne or a few dashes of Tony Chachere Seasoning
  9. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  11. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  12. 1/2 pound cooked smoked sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  13. about 10 cups chicken stock
  14. 2 bay leaves
  15. 6 cups cooked white rice
  16. chopped green onions, garnish
Instructions
  1. Place clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Allow to soak overnight before making the beans.
  2. If you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight, don’t fret. Place the clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the beans boil, cover, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Carry on with the recipe.
  3. In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook pancetta until very well crisp, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are very well done, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne or Tony Chachere Seasoning and stir to combine.
  6. Stir in the garlic, parsley, thyme, and sliced sausage. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until the sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  7. Add the softened beans to the pot, the stock, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, uncovered, until the beans are well softened.
  8. Taste and season with more salt or pepper.
  9. For a slightly smoother consistency, blend about 1/3 of bean and sausage mixture in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. This way, some of the beans will be ground smooth and some will be kept whole, creating a really lovely consistency. You can also smooth out some of the beans by mashing them against the side of the pan once they’re softened, but I like the bender method best.
  10. Serve beans with white rice and a hearty garish of green onions.
Adapted from Emeril and Bon Appetit Magazine
Adapted from Emeril and Bon Appetit Magazine

How To Brown Butter

How To Brown Butter

Browning butter is one of those life skills that should be taught to everyone alongside things like:  how to change a tire,  how to tip at a restaurant, how to ride a bike with no hands, and how to mince garlic.  Everyone should know.  

It’s a good thing I’m here.  I don’t know how to change a tire… but I’m here with butter.  

We talk about Browned Butter a lot.  I’m always trying to wrestle you into adding it to Banana Bread, Baked Donuts, and Grapefruit White Chocolate Cookies

Browned Butter is butter cooked until it has melted into a liquid, the water has cooked out, and the milk solids begin to toast and brown to a delicious and nutty state.  

When incorporated into desserts like breads, donuts, and cookies, it subtly deepens the flavor from delicious to ‘ohmygod who made these cookies!?!?’.  That’s the power of browned butter.  Here’s how to make the magic.  

How To Brown Butter

Step One:  Butter (cold or room temperature, preferably unsalted) meets a lightly colored, medium skillet or saucepan.  

It’s important that the bottom of the pan be lightly colored so you can actually see the butter browning.  In a black-bottom pan, you’re left guessing (and probably burning).  A white or silver-bottomed pan is best.  

Place the butter in the pan and place the pan over a stovetop set to medium heat.  Gently place your arms on your hips, assume a good attitude and peaceful face, and standby.  

How To Brown Butter

Step Two:  Allow to butter to melt.  No stick of butter has ever browned without melting first.  

No need to stir of swirl.  Just let the business melt.   

Daydream a bit.  That might be nice.  

Whatever you do, do not multitask.  As soon as you step away from your pan, it’s scientifically proven, you’re going to burn your butter.  

Step Three:  Now we’re going places!  

Once the butter has melted into a liquid, it will start popping and crackling.  That’s the water cooking out of the butter.  Once the water cooks out, the milk solids in the butter will begin to brown.  

So… first popping, then browning.  

Swirl the pan around if you’re feeling restless or chef-y.  Don’t even think about stepping away from your butter. 

How To Brown Butter

Step Four:  Getting there!  

Once the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  This means that little brown bits will start to appear on the bottom of the pan.  The actual melted butter liquid won’t brown, but rather, the milk solids will begin to brown at the bottom of a pan.  

Use a heat-proof spatula to stir the browning milk solids off the bottom of the pan so they brown more slowly and evenly.  

Once you see the butter browning on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the process will move pretty quickly.  But don’t forget you’re in charge!

To prevent the butter from browning too quickly and burning, simply remove the pan from the heat source.  The heat of the pan alone will slowly brown the butter.  Leaving the pan over the heat source will brown the butter much more quickly, forcing ninja-like reflexes upon you.  

Once the butter solids are browned to golden, immediately remove the pan from the heat (if you haven’t already), and remove the butter from the pan.  The pan is still hot, even when it’s not over direct heat, and will quickly burn the butter solids.  So remove the butter from the pan!  Burnt butter is not as good as Browned butter.  That’s also been scientifically proven. 

How To Brown Butter

Just as the butter browns to golden, a trombone parade should be passing by your house, confetti should fall from your kitchen ceiling, the bathroom will magically clean itself, kittens will trot by wearing party hats, and a unicorn with a bag of hot french fries should be waiting at your front door.  

If those things don’t happen, you’ve done it wrong.  

Golden, nutty, fragrant browned butter is now ready for your favorite recipes!  I humbly suggest The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Known To Man… but maybe I’m biased.  

Happy butter browning! 

Let It Be Sunday

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Happy Sunday, friends!  

I have three hopes for you today:  

I hope there’s champagne in your orange juice and fresh flowers in  a vase.  What luxuries… seriously.  

I hope you make yourself a big pot of Roasted Garlic Soup and not care a lick about the garlic breath you might have for the next full week or so.  (Kidding… it’s not really that bad.)

I sincerely hope you take some time to slow it all down today.  Leave and the muss and fuss for Monday and Wednesday.  

(photo above from Young Blood, Atlanta.)  

This was a week.  We’re carrying on through the year, aren’t we? 

•  There is an election this coming week in Nigeria, but what’s really most pressing there is Boko Haram.  This from the NYT:  Nigerian Army Noticeably Absent From Town Liberated from Boko Haram.  

•  We live in an age of irrational parenting.  I don’t even want to let my housecat out on the patio, so I totally understand this.

•  Seven years ago Los Angeles banned the expansion of fast food restaurants in South LA in an effort to curb obesity rates.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  

•  In a world that has a review for dang-near everything on the planet, I mean… who can we trust?  Inside The Mad Mad World of TripAdvisor.  

•  Have you seen the new HBO show ‘The Jinx’?  Probably yes.  You’re much more on top of things than me.  I juuust now figured out that House of Cards is back and new.  I have yet to see ‘The Jinx’, but woweee how we blur real life and entertainment:   The Queasy Finale of ‘The Jinx’

•  Ben Dorcy has been a roadie since 1950.  Let’s wrap our brain around that kinda life and then read all about him:  The First Roadie Ever 

•  I haven’t read this yet, but here’s a peek into my Internet-land weekend reads:  The Woman Who Froze In Fargo.  

•  There’s an app for that:  You phone buzzes when you approach places where women made history (aka herstory).  

•  Ask a Wine Pro:  Pronouncing Wine Words.  When you want to do more than wince and point.  

•  I will eat hummus until the cows come home.  Related: I don’t want to talk about my breath.  Thanks.  Green Goddess Hummus

•  New Orleans love!  We have a new happy place:  St. Roch Market.  

•  Kate Spade and her forever-clever clutches:  Wedding Belles.  

Happy day to you and us!

xo Joy

How To Be A Better Baker

How To Be a Better Baker

We talk a lot about doughnuts and waffles.  We talk about my cat a bit too much.  We talk about New Orleans and beignets and parades, and beads.  We could, if you’re at all interested, talk about how many peanut butter cups I just shoved in my mouth.  That conversation would be short and barely interesting.  6.  That’s the number. 

Today let’s talk about 7 ways to be a better baker.  A few small tweaks and little nuggets of advice to build confidence in the kitchen.  Read through and leave a comment below if any questions come up for you!  I want us to be the best bakers we can be.  

Cookie dough above: Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies.  

1.  You’re only as good as your relationship with your oven.

Well, unless you’re a raw pastry chef, in which case, cheers to you.  No need to have the fanciest, latest and greatest oven.   It’s more about your relationships, how well you know each other, and how readily you accept all the quirks.  

Some ovens have hot spots, little zones in that hotbox that are hotter than others.  Get familiar the hot spots by seeing how a cake browns in the oven.  Is one side more golden or burnt than another?  Take note and rotate the your cakes and breads during baking.  

Stop what you’re doing right now and invest in an oven thermometer. A gauge inside the oven is the only way to know how hot the hot is.  Sometimes the dial doesn’t reflect the actual heat correctly.  

2.   Yes you have to follow the directions, mostly. 

Baking is a delicate balance of flours, moisture, leavening, and heat.  A recipe is there to hold your hand, lead the way, and give you a high-five at the end.  You’ve got to trust the recipe to be good. Sometimes they’re not, but you have to trust the process, cold butter, buttermilk and all.  

Here’s how to read a recipe.  It’s nice to know how to read a map.  

3.   If you’re not using a scale, here’s we measure flour. It’s important. 

4.  Waste Not, Want Not

So often I end up with a container full of egg whites after making ice cream, a small handful of pecans, and leftover fresh herbs from various baking projects.  Don’t throw these things away or let them languish to death in the refrigerator. Delicious treats come from leftovers!  Don’t let em go!

• Turn egg whites into crisp Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues!  

•  Toss pecans, and whatever other nuts you have on hand into a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Granola!

•  Smash leftover herbs into butter with lots of salt and call it Super Herb Butter.  Delicious done!  

5.  Cakes can fall in the oven.

That’s not just something your grandmother said to get you from jumping up and down indoors.  Cakes need a bit of care even when they’re in the oven.  There’s a critical stage about 12 to 18 minutes of cake baking where the leavening and eggs are doing their best to support the rise of the cake, if you jostle the cake by rotating it in the oven during this period, the cake could sink in the center.  No good. 

6.  Underbake or Overbake?  

Underbake:  skillet cakes, fudge brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  Soft, doughy centers are sometimes just the way to go.  

Overbake:  charred things, toast, hot dogs, and really nothing else. 

7.  Even the best bakers HATE a springform pan.  

They always leak and make for really infuriating and soggy cheesecake crusts.  It’s not right to blame yourself.  They’re just the worst.  And don’t even get me started about wrapping the springform pan in tin foil.  That worked for one person once and then never again.  

What’s the work around?  A pie dish.  See: Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie 

7.  It is my mission in life to get you to make great pie crust from scratch.  

Not an exaggeration.  Pie crust is the perfect balance of fat and flour that combines, chills, and bakes into the perfect vessel for sliced fruit and hot oven temperatures.  

Perfectly flakey pie crust requires a few things:  gumption, guts, love, tenderness, confidence, and patience.  Luckily you have all of those things.  And butter.  Don’t forget the butter!

Here are five tips for the best all-butter pie crust from scratch!

And don’t even think about buying one of those freezer-section pie doughs.  I’ll know and I’ll come squint my eyes at you.  

Happy Baking!  With love and butter. 

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  Welcome to another Sunday!  This weekend my new neighborhood, the Irish Channel, is alive with green beer, Irish pride, and lots of dudes in green cumberbunds handing fake flower out to ladies in the Irish Channel Parade.  You’re supposed to kiss the dude on the cheek when they give you a flower… kiss them on the cheek and ignore the fact that they’re a sweaty stranger with a fake flower… or maybe embrace that actually?  It’s New Orleans.  You’re supposed to just go with it even though it feels like a swampy episode of The Bachelor.

Along with all the green, it’s Easter candy (and yes… Lent) season and if you’re not careful, I’m going to buy every single Cadbury Easter candy-coated mini eggs.  I’m not even kidding. 

Cheers to you, your cozy pajamas, and that extra cup of hot tea.  

The Internet, for us:  

•  Hey guys, we’re drinking whiskey too fast. Why does it have to be old before its time? 

•  The Good, The Bad, and The Hangry

•  Quick note:  Exhaustion is not a status symbol.  

•  I own one Nicholas Newcomb mug and it’s a treasure in my kitchen.  Nicholas Newcomb studio visit on Design Sponge.    

•  Before I Go:  A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time. 

•  California has about one year of water left.  Will you ration now? Still real.  

•  It’s Ikea’s World, We Just Live In It and hate those tiny frustrating screw driver things. 

•  Vegan BBQ Lentils with Millet Polenta is beautiful and food.  

•  Pickling Spring Vegetables (and other things I’ll probably never do but will be equipt with knowledge about. )  

•  A friend recommended I read The Piano Tuner.  Let’s do it! 

•  New news in lipstick technology:  Color Changing Lip Paint.  

I love you as much as you love Sunday.  Enjoy!

xo Joy

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

I always have the best intentions when I buy a bundle of bananas. ! daydream about protein-packed green smoothies.  I toy with the idea of afternoon snacks with almond butter.  I know I’ll eat them for breakfast with a cup of black coffee and a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, exactly none of that actually happens, and I’m left with a shameful bundle of brown bananas on my countertop a week later.  

It never fails.  It never does.  

A bundle of bananas is meant for cake.  Destiny.  Sightly under baked with strawberries and pecans.  Let’s!  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Make and bake in the skillet!  It’s really the best.  If you aren’t a neurotic food blogger like me, you won’t need a million bowls big and small to bring together this skillet cake.  Just a skillet, and spoon, and good attitude. 

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Butter is melted and browned until it smells like warm roasted nuts.   It’s removed form the stove top and then the fun starts.  Lots of stirring fun!  

First, brown sugar meets butter.   

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Mashed banana and an egg.  Banana adds mega flavor and moisture and also removes the rotting banana from your countertop and turn it in to cake… so.  WIN.  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Flour, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  

Dry ingredients for body and flavor.  Baking essentials. 

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Whisking the dry ingredients in to the butter, sugar, egg mixture.  

We’re still working in the skillet we’re baking in!  That feels extra satisfying.  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Glossy banana batter plus pecans.  

Pecans are definitely a natural fit.  Also, they fall from the sky in New Orleans so… of course we’re putting them in cake! 

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

These are the first of the Louisiana strawberries for the year.  I hope that they feel justified on this cake.  I tried to make them proud. 

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

I like my skillet cakes earnest and slightly under baked.  That gooey center is my absolute dream!   This cake is soft, comforting, spiced nightly, sugared moderately, and otherwise lovely.  

With a banana it’s breakfast cake.  With strawberries it’s an afternoon cake.  If you make a 2pm pot of coffee, it’s afternoon cake.  This skillet dessert is versatile and forgiving and dang delicious anytime of day or night!  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Delicious, moist, and super simple skillet cake with strawberries and bananas.


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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
30 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
30 min

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  5. 2 small ripe banana (mashed)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  12. 1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in an 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract and remove from heat. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to stand and cool for about 5 minutes. The mixture should not be super hot when the eggs goes in, or the egg will cook.
  3. When the sugar and butter mixture has cooled slightly it will look a bit clumpy, greasy, and broken. That’s ok. The egg will bring it all together.
  4. Add the egg and whisk together until smooth. The mixture will be glossy and no longer greasy. Add banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, and stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir carefully until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the pecans and fold together. Spread evenly across the pan and place sliced strawberries on top.
  6. Place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 18-25 minutes until mixture is dry on top, but still slightly soft in the center. I like to slightly under-bake this cake.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Top with ice cream and serve warm… with lots of spoons. I like this dish served immediately, but it will last two days, well wrapped, at room temperature.

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

If you found me sitting on my living room floor drinking this green juice, eating peanut butter with a spoon straight from the container, and blasting 90’s Ani DiFranco, well… you could chalk that up to awesome taste, cool life-stylings, or… more likely, single real-life independent-woman cat-lady instincts come to life.  Related:  please listen to Dilate asap.  

I also have my old pair of Dr Martens from 1997 and I always think that oooonnneee day they might make sense on my body again. I know that will never be true, but a girl can hope.  

Can we just get on with the juice? My peanut butter and Ani consumption are always part of the deal.  You can dig it. 

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

These days New Orleans is party stormy, part warm breezy, part haunted tropic, part angry beauty.  I wanted a juice that matched that in sweet and sourness.  

Lemons (from a local tree thankyouverymuch), romaine for green, apple for sweetness, and cucumber for girth and clean juice!  The combination is both satisfying and bright.  Totally the gateway into Spring.  Just like those dang Cadbury candy coated eggs that are taunting us at the drugstore.  Don’t buy those! (Until you’ve had all your green juice and they’re on mega sale after Easter… then go NUTS! cool thanks.) 

We’ve talked about juicing before:  On Juicing.  

More juicing inspiration here:  Good Morning Greens and Carrot Orange Ginger (and bourbon).   

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet, sour, earthy and bright. This juice is healthful and delicious!


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Ingredients
  1. 1 large apple, cored and sliced
  2. 1 unpeeled cucumber, quartered and sliced
  3. 1 large handful clean romaine lettuce leaves
  4. 1 lemon, sliced, quartered, and peeled
Instructions
  1. Run all of the fresh fruits and vegetables through a slow juicer. Serve over a bit of ice, or room temperature. Enjoy!