Tuesday, March 15, 2011

butter me up

This week is huge..
Two of my best friends on the planet are arriving in LA.  One all the way from Australia and the other from Savannah.  This next month is going to be filled with adventures, live music, road trips, loud/obnoxious gut busting laugher, lots of alcohol, food truck chasing and of course wine {I'm Australian and therefore make no apologies for doubling up on the upcoming alcohol and wine indulgence}. I feel like there's a massive space in my chest that's going to explode from all of the impending love and excitement.  With all the devastation that's been happening world wide over the past few months, all I want to do is surround myself with the people that I love the most and this week I get a little taste of that.
So in keeping with the idea of surrounding myself with simple pure love, of course todays post is about butter. duh.
Here's a simple trick I use in my baking and cooking recipes just to up the flavor notch a little, or rather a whole lot. Make sure that if you try to incorporate this into your baking that the recipe calls for melted butter. If there's any whipping involved, the recipe won't work out.
I mean butter is wonderful on its own, but there's something extraordinary that happens to it after this process. All of a sudden it becomes a little nutty and far far more interesting. Which is kind of how I feel when I'm surrounded by these two beauties; a little nutty, and far far more interesting!

Thank GOD for girlfriends......girlfriends and browned butter.
Browned Butter
Heat your desired amount of butter {salted or unsalted} in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Wait until butter has melted completely and then keep and eye on it as this browning process will happen quite quickly.  You'll see that the butter becomes a little speckled and has separated.  Wait until the flecks are a deep golden brown and then transfer butter to a separate bowl to immediately stop the cooking process. The solids can burn quite easily.

lots of chirpy love,
xx t 

p.s. I hope that you're surrounding yourselves with love and surrounding Japan with love and support too. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

berry patient

"Patience is a virtue babe," my mum would say to a 6 year old mini me in her kindest yet slightly concerned voice, "and perhaps a virtue that could use a little work. Everything will work out the way it's supposed to 'Louie' {my families nickname for me} relax, what's the rush?"
This was usually said to me after hours of trying to perfect my pirouettes or grand jetes, exhausted and covered in blisters and bruises {baby black swan much?}.  I was a very driven, hard working little girl who always had a very clear vision of what I wanted my adult life to look like. My mum was always a little taken aback by how entrepreneurial and dedicated I was to 'succeeding'.
As I have grown and my ideas of 'success' have changed and evolved, I am still hard wired certain ways for better or worse. When I decide upon something, I'm an all in, give it everything you've got and lets make it happen....fast kinda gal.  Why wait when you know what you want?
Well 28 years has taught me that some things just can't be rushed. Like this ridiculous Berry Cinnamon pull-apart.  I know I want it, it knows I want it, but still it has its own agenda. It has its own process that it has to undergo, kneading time {pun intended} and space to grow before it can become even close to ready for what I have in store for it.
That's the thing about patience, it's not about waiting so much, it's about being mindful and considerate of all of the elements that go into creating something that you want. Trusting that when you do the work and have a little bit of faith, circumstances will a-rise {again, with the bread pun} exactly the way they're supposed to.
I don't know what's in store for me in the larger sense but I do know what I'm hoping for.  
Except this time around I'm trusting that all of the elements will come together for a sweet finish, the way they did for this ridiculously sweet bread. 
Berry Cinnamon Pull Apart
Recipe Adapted from Joy the Baker
Copy the recipe above but make the following changes:
  • I didn't worry so much about making the squares even. I enjoy a more rustic looking loaf but that's just personal preference!
  • after adding cinnamon dough squares to buttered and floured bread pan add 1/2 cup of blueberries and raspberries. Stuff them in between folds and around pan.
  • sprinkle 1 tablespoon of oats on top once right before baking
Happy weekend my beauties, sending some chirpy love world wide.

~ t xo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

snack on some sunshine

Sorry for the late start today folks. The temperature today reached around the mid 80's...what? I know. It was only a couple of weekends ago that it actually snowed {ever so lightly but still, c'mon, snowed??} on the Hollywood sign. Okay Mother Nature we hear you... you're pissed. In other news, the fashion versatility has been quite liberating. A total Forest Gump fashion opportunity... "you never know what you're gonna get".
Today I decided to make a little picnic and head up to my favorite park to bask in the sunshine. One of my favorite things to bring to any snack, grub situation is hummus. It's healthy and when you make it yourself you can guarantee that there's no more than 7 ingredients in it. It also takes a shorter time for you to whip it up yourself than if you drive to the store and back again.
Here's how it's done. Don't blink though, you'll totally miss the entire 'elaborate' process. 
Hummus - adapted from Ina Garten {who else}
1 garlic clove roughly chopped
2 10oz cans of good quality Garbanzo beans
1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/3 cup of Tahini
the juice of 2 smaller lemons
2 tablespoons of liquid from Garbanzo beans
8 dashes of hot sauce
Add all of the ingredients to your food processor attached with metal blade.  Continue to puree until coarsely brought together. Taste for seasonings and feel free to add more lemon, hot sauce, salt or a touch of pepper. Enjoy room temperature or chilled with your favorite veggies or crackers.
If you can't get out in the sunshine yet, I hope you get some sunshine soon and when you do, make this part of your basking efforts!

~ t

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


“"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " 

...and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”
-Winnie the Pooh
There's a child like gratitude that comes from having the presence of mind to stop and find the wonder in something simple. That's what I hope for you today dear readers, that you manage to find a moment of pure joy and excitement in something small. 
My first cup of English Breakfast tea with milk.  Today I savored that pre sip moment just a little longer than usual.
Thanks for the reminder Pooh :)

x have a chirpy day my loves x


first image via
second image via

Monday, March 7, 2011

pure gold

Is he hip or is he homeless?
When you're living in super trendy East Los Angeles sometimes that's a valid question. Where the fashion is at times questionable and basic hygiene seems entirely optional, there have been times where you legitimately don't know.
Are you going to buy me a drink?... Or should I actually be buying you one?
To be honest, I've had better conversations with some of the homeless people in this area than half the men that are out and about sporting their distressed garb.  We've discussed the relevance of Aristotle, debated the opposing fundamentals of Plato and then of course Justin Beiber {because who cares about anything else really} all while I'm reaching for whatever change I have left in my purse.
And sometimes, when I'm really lucky I'll find a little bar of gold.. At least that's where these guys got their name {yes judger, sometimes I carry cake in my purse}. "Financiers" were supposedly created in a Parisian Financial district and modeled in rectangular tins to replica little bars of gold.  I decided to make mine in mini cupcake tins which I highly recommend. Made mostly out of almond meal and egg whites, it's a light and slightly chewy tea cake that really should be treated like the bar of Gold is was modeled after.  Okay fine, it's a little bourgeois, but once you get past it's upperclass beginnings, you'll realize that it's just a fancy cupcake that really wants to live out its destiny by going mainstream.

5 large egg whites
11 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
87 grams of Almond Meal
50 grams of all purpose flour
185 grams of icing sugar

Preheat Oven to 350F
Yields around 36 mini Financiers
Generously butter mini cupcake tins but also feel free to use liners for easier cleaning and removal. Beat together egg whites until incorporated. Don't worry about stiff peaks or anything, as soon as you've created a few air bubbles that should do the trick. Then add remaining ingredients all bar raspberries. Mix until evenly incorporated. Add around two tablespoons of mixture to mini cupcake tins and place one raspberry on the centre of each mold. Bake for around 12 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
It doesn't get easier!
If only I could actually financially trade with these guys I'd be set! And so would my neighbors and half the homeless guys in my neighborhood.
Dedicated to John.

xo tash

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pleather and Potatoes...sweet.

Through some strange twist of fate all of my beautiful and talented LA girlfriends {all bar one happily married lady} have managed to slip through Cupids clutches. There's a local trendy diner down the road from my house that's open until the wee hours of the morning, which is really in my opinion one of the best times to enjoy diner food anyway.  There have been some {many} nights after enduring the wrath of the singles Hollywood nightlife, that we have found ourselves recoiling in one of their pleather booths retelling the candid happenings that the evening had bought about; goes something like this...
"no he didn't!"
"umm yes, yes he did."
"what do you mean?"
"he called me by his ex's name and then he cried in my mouth."
"...okay yeah....you're right, you win. I'm buying".

....all taking place over a round {or two} of Sweet Potato fries and buttermilk ranch dressing.
before oil and seasonings
There's something that happens to these sweet potatoes when they're subject to intense heat. Because of their high natural sugar content, the sugar in the vegetable caramelizes and you're left with soft centers and a crispy chewy shell... which pretty much sums up how we feel after nights like these.
nice and shiny after olive oil and seasonings
I prefer to bake them rather than fry them for the sheer health factor. Plus they're so delicious you seriously don't miss it. They're super simple to make and a wonderful treat to soothe the tired moral of the single troops.
Sweet Potato Fries - not fried.
3 Sweet Potatoes
teaspoon of kosher salt
teaspoon of pepper
olive oil

Preheat Oven to 400F
Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice into spears. Try to keep them all the same thickness, length of course will vary but continuity in the thickness is important to ensure that they all have relatively the same cook time. Place onto a large baking sheet. You want to ensure that the baking sheet isn't overcrowded as if so, the spears won't brown, but steam. Boo to steamed sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and mix with clean hands to ensure that each spear is coated. Sprinkle seasonings over sweet potatoes and place in hot oven.  After around 20 minutes turn spears to ensure they get an even coloring. Cook for approximately another 10 minutes and place fries into a bowl with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
I'm sure I'll be seeing these sweet babies and that pleather booth this weekend...sigh. 

Happy Friday beauties!

xo t

p.s. did you perform a random act of kindness? email me! I want to showcase a couple of bloggers and what you did and where! Let's encourage the kindness and show how easy it is.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yes: to 'them'.

aand it's time again for this weeks installment of say Yes... Except, this one's INTERACTIVE.
Okay, this time it's all about saying yes to strangers {no, not the creepers with candy, your mum was right about those guys}. I'm talking about random acts of kindness. I know it's all a little cheesetastic and Haley Joel Osment circa 2000 in "pay it forward" but still, I'm a big believer in it. It doesn't have to be elaborate {we're not all ballers like Oprah} it can be simple.
Whenever I'm out and about and there's parking meters, I usually like to check the cars around me to see if they're running out of time. If they are and I have some extra shrapnel, I'll throw some their way. Why not right? It's $ I'm not missing and there's nothing worse than coming back to your car to see that dreaded white envelope looming under your windscreen wiper.  When I confessed this to my friend recently she pointed out that it's entirely illegal... Well that's some bullshiz. So, I'm certainly not saying that I did that 'today', I'm just saying that everyone parked around me for the next hour, was totally covered.
So whether it's a smile, a wave if someone lets you in line in horrid traffic, or a 'let me hold the elevator door for you'; your challenge today dear readers is to do one random act of kindness for a stranger, without the hope of anything in return.  Here comes the interactive part - I want to hear about it! I'd love to feature a couple of bloggers, pics, stories, about their simple act of kindness.
It's not that you're going to necessarily change anyones life, that's not what it's about. Think of it as planting a seed of sorts. You have no idea what it could grow into, maybe nothing, but when you plant anything, there's always the chance of something. It's my belief that when you experience a small act of kindness from a stranger you feel a connectedness, that we're all a part of something bigger.  Maybe if that starts to become a little more apparent, everyone will start to be more mindful of how we interact with one another...
...and wouldn't that be lovely?

xo tash

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a sweet start

This past year has been huge for one of my besties, the now Mrs Odette Annable. Not only did she say 'yes' to her real life leading man Dave Annable {that talented stud from tv show Brothers and Sisters, who were hitched in October} she also said 'yes' to FOX when they asked her to be one of their leading ladies on the new soon to be hit tv show, "Breaking In", premiering in April {also staring Christian Slater}.

So when she asked me if I would prepare something sweet for the cast and crew to celebrate the beginning of this new work chapter I said, "can't you go to Sprinkles"? Kidding! I said of course, of course!
This is another reason why I love my friend so much. Rather than being concerned with caloric consumption and one of the Atkins, Zone, sugar free, fun free diets that's out there, she's all about enjoying a balanced life style that includes the sweet stuff in life.

I put together a collection of my infamous Chocolate Chip cookies, Caramel Slice {the ones, The Mentalist Simon Baker loves}, Lemon Melts and some Coconut Madeleines.
Coconut Madeleines
1 stick of melted butter, now at room temperature
3 eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat Oven to 375
Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla paste until light and fluffy {see above mixer pic for an idea of color and texture}. Once it's reached desired consistency and color, add butter.  In separate bowl sift together dry ingredients bar coconut flakes. Fold in dry ingredients and once even, add coconut and continue to mix until evenly incorporated.
Spoon around 1 tablespoon of batter into Madeleine pan {shell should be almost full}. Rap baking sheet on tabletop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for around 10 minutes {depending on the size of your shell} or until batter springs back to the touch, turning half way through. Place on drying rack and allow to cool. Dust with confectioners sugar.
If you put these little shells up to your ear, you might think you can hear the rumbling of the ocean, but you'd be mistaken. It's actually your tummy waiting to devour this sweet little treasure and you'd be crazy not to do so! Hope you enjoy these as much as we did :)

xo t

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Daisy: What kind of garden do you come from?
Alice: Oh, I don't come from any garden.
Daisy: Do you suppose she's a wildflower?
- Alice in Wonderland
I've been reliving all of the fantastical genius of Alice in Wonderland lately and yesterday on my hike {which was mostly spent taking these pics} I even bumped into this little guy..can you spot him? 
I would've followed him too...

xo t


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