Monday, February 28, 2011

step one.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
I have a problem.
And that problems name is, Nutella.

I have surprised many of my girlfriends with ways in which I manage to incorporate it into other foods to create new foods. What's sick, is that I actually get pleasure in knowing that I have passed on this addiction to said girlfriends.  I feel less alone in my illness.
{Nilla wafers with Nutella & Strawberries, Nutella, Nutella and Banana}
I can't tell you how many nights I've come home after a dinner/drinks/date situation and taken the standby box of Nilla wafers out of my pantry and sandwiched them with a healthy dollop of Nutella.  Instantly you're introduced to Oreo's sexier, blonde, foreign cousin and girls, let me tell you, he's AH-mazing.
So I decided to just embrace my addiction and take it to the next level. Ladies, Gents {okay, mainly ladies} allow me to introduce you to:
Nut-illa Ice-cream - {one more time for the cheap seats in the back} that's Nutella & Nilla Wafer Ice Cream folks!

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis 
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of sugar plus 1/4 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup of Nutella
1 cup of chopped Nilla wafers.
Whisk together milk, cream and 1/2 cup of sugar in saucepan over low heat until sugar has completely dissolved. In separate bowl whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until light and thick.  Take 1/2 cup of warmed milk mixture and slowly add to yolks while continually whisking. Then take all yolk and milk mixture and add back to the milk mixture on stove and continue to whisk over the medium heat for around 10 minutes until it's thick and coats the back of the spoon. Add Vanilla bean paste and Nutella stirring until smooth.
Place strainer over bowl and pour custard mixture through strainer to ensure you're left with a silky consistency. Refrigerate until chilled. Then follow your ice cream maker instructions.
Fold in Nilla Wafers right before serving or placing in freezer. I like it all soft straight from the ice cream maker but if you like it frozen, you'll need to exercise your patience for another 2 hours {boo to that}.

xo tash

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello, lover.

Recent conversation between an ex and I:
him: You love to read. Have you read anything great lately?
me: ummmm, nothing I think you'd be interested in.
him: Oohhhhh!! Have you read 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?' It's seriously amazing.
me: .........................aaahhhh no...... I haven't..... BTW, don't tell anyone we EVER dated.

It's not that I have a problem with that book per say, just the fact that a dude, a dude I dated no less, called it "seriously amazing".
Cook books are my reading material of choice. No one dies, no one's getting their heart broken and I don't feel bummed about the fact that there really are no Vampires. The Cullens are not real. I usually wake up in the morning with the company of three different cook books in my bed {yes, I'm a Polyg-read-ist, don't judge}. The recipes marinate in my mind overnight and in the morning I usually wake with some kind of inspiration for the day.  And then on special days like today, I'll wake up with a downright revelation. 
It's cold. I feel like something sweet..... something chocolatey but warm....What about Hot Chocolate French Toast?... WHAT?! Am I crazy?! That can't be done! Oh, but YES it can....

But, how..?

...and that's why they pay me the big bucks folks {except for the fact 'they' don't.}
Double Chocolate Loaf
Firstly we need to start with a dense, ridiculously chocolatey loaf. Something that will hold up to all that vanilla custard and fried goodness. This is it! It's from my new favorite cook book Baked Explorations. Do yourself a favor, get this one asap. In the meantime, recipe found here.

Now, once you've made this little baby and it's cooled to room temperature, it's time to slice it. Remove the 'butts' of the loaf so that each slice has a moist exposed surface that's able to soak up all that custardy goodness. You should get around 8 - 10 slices of bread per loaf.
Hot Chocolate French Toast
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 bag of Large Marshmallows
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil

Preheat Oven to 250 degrees.

Place heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl and lightly whisk until evenly incorporated and slightly thickened. Pour into your desired serving boat as this will be your substitute for traditional Maple Syrup.

Whip together eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Place as many slices of the loaf into shallow dish with custard mixture and allow to soak in for around 5 minutes turning once. Heat one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of vegetable oil in pan and place soaked bread onto hot skillet. Cook on each side for around 2-3 minutes until crisp and toasty. Place toast on baking sheet in oven until you've finished cooking the entire loaf.
When everything is toasty and delicious, cram as many Marshmallows as you can on top of each slice {I can safely fit around 9, remember they will expand} and place back into the 250 oven for around 5 mins until they get all puffy. Take them out and then blaze with your trusty kitchen torch! If you don't have a kitchen torch, never fear, just place the chocolate toast under your broiler until Marshamallow's are puffed and caramelized on the outside.

Drizzle with vanilla cream...
I'm not playing... this ones a life changer. If you've never made any of my recipes before, you just have to try this. Except you Jeanette, I'm still working on a Gluten recipe for you :)

Happy weekend beauties! Hope it's filled with a sweet love that fills you like this one did this morning!

xo t

Thursday, February 24, 2011

YES! get lost

"The easiest way you can tell yourself what you're worth, is by what you say 'yes' to. The easiest way you can tell your body what it's worth, is by what you put into it."
You might remember last week after doing that interview over here, I mentioned that I would dedicate one day a week to celebrating something that I'm saying yes's to:

Getting lost....ALONE!
Okay, don't freak out. Breathe...

I'm not talking all extreme style like Emile Hersch in "Into the Wild". I'm talking about finding something that envelops you, something that you can dive into without consideration for anyone else.

{note reading a book alone in a bath = good, reading a book entitled "help your husband get ahead = not so good"}
So to answer your question, no Friday and Saturday nights binge drinking don't count and neither does Sunday's food feast after you realize he never asked for your number {it's okay, we've aaaall been there haha}. Nor does copious amounts of The Real Housewives franchise or being alone in the car for 5 mins while you run yourself ragged for friends and family. I'm talking about something that you can metaphysically plug yourself into. Just. For. You.

Here's some of my guidelines:

  • It's something you should be doing entirely for yourself that's egoless. If you're waiting for someone else's approval , a pat on the back or their direct input then that's not what I'm talking about.
  • In an ideal world you need to do it a couple of times a week and here's the kicker, not feel guilty about it!
  • It should feel like you're completely alone even if you're in a room filled with 100's of people.

For me this looks like:

  • Mediatation
  • Dancing alone like a psycho in my living room {I know, I apologise downstairs neighbor if you're reading this}
  • Yoga
  • Running/walking
  • Cooking myself dinner and eating it alone with no TV

See, here's my theory.  When you're alone and not only are you okay with being alone, but you actually enjoy your own company, there's a stillness that comes from wholeheartedly embracing who you are as an individual.  The strength that comes from such stillness infiltrates every aspect of your life.  People resist being alone all the time and sometimes without even knowing it, it's their greatest fear. I get it, I do. We can hide behind the "I'm just more of a people person", "I'm too busy",  but that unconsciousness can get you into a whole lot of trouble when you say yes to people and situations to avoid confronting that fear.  It might feel a little strange at first but I promise you after a while, it will become extremely liberating.
So, chickadees I ask you, when's the last time you were alone and still with yourself? More importantly what are you waiting for? Take yourself on a date! Not only are you a really really good time, you really are fantastic company... but you don't need me to tell you that, go find out for yourself!

xo chirps

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

oh doughn't be so difficult

I decided to make a quiche. Easy. Simple. Quick.
Lies. Lies. Lies.
Firstly, this shortcrust pastry was like a difficult relative. Someone you love and have history with but no matter how hard you try, they just aren't interested in getting along with you. In fact, the harder you try to make it work, the worse the outcome. {I'm suddenly feeling nostalgic for the Holidays haha}
I'll give you the recipe but be warned lovelies, I wouldn't go out of your way to try it. The filling is absolutely delish though and if you want to make it, just substitute the shortcrust pastry for some fabulous store bought puff pastry available in your frozen section {don't forget to blind bake that though}.

Rosemary Shortcrust Pastry
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of Rosemary finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of salt
one egg yolk
1/2 cup of wholemeal flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons of water

Preheat oven to 350.
Whip together room temperature butter and rosemary until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and whip until completely incorporated.  Then add remaining ingredients on slow until barely brought together. If you can make a fist with your dough batter, it can be bought together on a floury board.

If you can't, you'll need to adjust the amount of water you add. Add more flour if it's too wet, or more water if it's too dry. Either way, it shouldn't be sticky whatsoever.
Bring together on lightly floured board and then make a flat disk. Place in plastic wrap and allow to sit in your refrigerator for at least an hour until fully chilled.

Once chilled, roll out to fit your desired pie tin, line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans and cook for around 20 mins in 350 preheated oven until lightly browned.

Mushroom Goat Cheese Filling
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
3 Portobello mushrooms
handful of Crimini mushrooms
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
5 oz of crumbled goat cheese
In a saucepan, heat olive oil and begin to saute onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until the flavors have been developed and they become tender. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes until it becomes aromatic. Take off of heat and allow to come to room temperature.
Whisk together all remaining ingredients bar goats cheese.
Layer mushrooms, onions and garlic on the bottom of the pastry and then pour egg custard over mushrooms.  Take goats cheese and crumble over the top of custard. Place in the 350 preheated oven for around 35 - 40 minutes until egg mixture has set.
I must admit, the aromas are pretty AH-mazing!

Hope your day was filled with something gorgeous, simple and delicious.

xo t

love fest

this is just a quick shout out to my bestie... or 'wife' as we call each other :)
We've known each other for almost 20 years.
We've been through it all together....we've been mugged in Disneyland, chased by a pimp down Sunset Blvd {story for another time perhaps?}...and we may have even 'crashed' a wedding or two {see bride above}.
We live in separate countries but she is and will always be one of the great loves of my life.
Happy Birthday Wife!!! I can't wait for our girly adventure to begin in a couple of weeks. 

See you later on you gorgeous people with some delicious savory goodness...
{I hope I didn't lose you on the savory part....hehe}

xox t

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Alice: I simply must get through! 

Doorknob: Sorry, you're much too big. Simply impassible. 

Alice: You mean impossible? 

Doorknob: No, impassible. Nothing's impossible. 

~Alice In Wonderland

Remember that, friends.

xx t

ahh speaking of remembering, I should remember to quote my photographic source...eeeekk.

Monday, February 21, 2011

shots on me

This weekend is was uncharacteristically rainy in LA and rather than going out to one of our fav local hotspots in Hollywood, I decided to stay in with my girlfriends and create the perfect shot... Let me warn you, I'm not much of a drinker.  In fact I'll just be completely honest and say I'm hopeless. But I did create a shot that I could down with the best of them, time and time again. 

A pie shot.

Yes, that's right, I said pie shot.
I introduced those drunkin berries to an amended version of the graham cracker recipe and let me tell you, it was perfection.  These shooters were the perfect combination of jammy goodness with a crunchy sweetness to top it off. They will absolutely be making many appearances in the future!
Drunkin' Berry Pie Shots
Fill miniature souffle cups 3/4 way full with drunkin berry mixture. 

Graham Cracker Topping
add 1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of slithered almonds
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Rather than rolling out the dough, bring it together with your hands and crumble mixture on top of your drunken' berries. In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake for around 15 to 20 minutes until drunken berries thicken and get nice and jammy and cookie chunks turn a deep golden brown color.
That's my kind of shot!

xo tash

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Move It

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. - Rumi
Today is the second installment of the interview that I did over at Tame Your Mind Monkey, all tackling the delicate topic of finding balance.
One of the key factors that aids me in finding my own balance is moving my body. Apart from the benefits of working off the obscene amount of food I have coming out of this itty bitty kitchen, it's the peace of mind and clarity that comes with burning off excess energy that I'm really after.  Suddenly the 'white noise' is separated from what truly matters and when that happens, it's a hell of a lot easier to navigate my way through the day.
This is one of my favorite things about Los Angeles, the hiking.  Living right under the Hollywood sign means it's pretty easy for me to access some of the greatest hikes in this city and I really try to make the most of it. Especially on days like today where it's just so beautiful that it's easy to forget that you're actually in LA....well perhaps if it wasn't for the massive white sign giving it away of course!
There's a horse stables up here too, so I spend most of my mornings running with these guys by my side.
After some windy trails, steep inclines and spectacular scenery, I'm always relieved to make it to my marker.
In a town where everyone's trying to "make it", it's nice to know that I do.  At least 4 times a week anyway. :)
Now head over HERE to check out the second installment of the interview! Hope you're having a gorgeous day filled with all the balance, peace and clarity you desire. 

xx tash

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

avert your eyes

Who doesn't love Graham Crackers? They're amazing. If 'Graham' was a guy, he'd be the ultimate date... Interesting enough to enjoy some simple one on one time with and easy going enough to get along with a million different characters. He gets along well with Mr and Mrs Chocolate Marshmallow, Ms. Nutella, Miss Cheesecake, Mr Ben & Mr Jerry's, the list goes on. In fact, he gets along so well you might need to avert your eyes because Mr Graham has been known to be a bit of a slut. Am I Right? Wrong. Turns out we were all wrong. Mr. Graham Crackers won't be getting R Rated with anyone. 
Apparently this 'treat' was created for the exact opposite reason. These subtly sweet cookies were developed by a Presbyterian minister by the name of Sylvester Graham, who believed that a poor diet let to sinful sexual excess. He became a ferocious advocate for a strict vegetarian regime that was high in fibre {explaining the whole wheat flour and wheat germ in the recipe} as a way of suppressing carnal urges and rampant desire.  He also believed that ketchup and mustard made you crazy.
Turns out Mr Graham was a judgmental loon. 
Look away Sylvester, I'm about to teach your sexually abstinent cookie a thing or two.
note: I turned them into spoons just to make interaction and consumption that much easier. Ooohhhhh yeah, there's nothing abstinent about this experience. 
TCB's Graham Crackers 

1 cup of butter at room temperature
3/4 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of milk
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon 

Preheat Oven to 350

Whisk together all of your dry ingredients and set aside.
Whip together butter, milk, vanilla, sugar and honey in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. It will take about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low and slowly add dry ingredients. Turn off just before it's entirely incorporated so that you can finish it off by hand. I never like to overwork my dough.  It shouldn't be too dry or too crumbly and if it's either one, adjust accordingly by adding a fraction more milk or a fraction more flour. You want it to come together nicely.  Half mixture and begin to roll out dough on a floured work surface until it's around 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes and set on parchment paper in the freezer for around 20 minutes until dough is completely chilled.  When dough is chilled remove and pierce holes in dough with fork, place on baking sheet in oven for around 9 minutes until deep and golden in color. Transfer to drying rack and allow to come to room temperature.
Then if you want to get crazy, cover in the following ingredients:

~Toasted Almonds
~Toasted Coconut
~Maple glaze
~Whipped Cream

xo tash


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