crispy chocolate peanut butter squares

When it comes to Easter candy, what’s your favorite? Are you a jellybean fanatic? Are marshmallow Peeps more your jam? What about those egg-shaped malted milk balls? 2014-03-24 18.09.13 For me, nothing even compares to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. Can we just talk about how glorious these things are? It’s like a regular peanut butter cup on steroids. Everyone knows the best part of the peanut butter cup is the peanut butter filling. I don’t know anyone who likes that awful, waxy chocolate. The wonderful part of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg is the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate. You get like three times the amount of peanut butter filling, and hardly any of the chocolate coating. My favorite way to eat them is to put them in the fridge first so they get nice and chilled. I first made these peanut butter squares at Christmas time cause I needed one more item to round out the jars of sweets that I was gifting to family. They came together in no time, and holy crap, were they ever good. They’re far superior to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg, and that’s saying a lot. Continue reading

spring flower cake with meyer lemon curd + strawberry frosting

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It’s Easter time again! Time for little bunnies and chocolate candy and the smell of vinegar mixing with dye tablets (we always made way too many colored Easter eggs when I was little!). It’s the perfect time of year for a bright, cheerful cake. After most of you have slogged through a winter packed with snow and ice, don’t you deserve a springtime-y cake filled with meyer lemon curd, covered with fresh strawberry frosting and topped with fresh flowers?

Yes, you most certainly do.

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when life gets in the way

HomerCouch

The life of food bloggers is not always as glamorous as one would think. Sure, lots of them have Pinterest-worthy kitchens, varied and adorable props (if I get some paper straws and Mason jars, does that give me more credibility as a food blogger?), and fancy cameras. Others (like me!) have small, dark, 1970s-era kitchens with ugly fluorescent lighting, random plates picked up from the Goodwill, and take all their food photos with a Galaxy S3.

Some of us also just plain forget to write up the post for the upcoming weekend, not realizing until they’re lying in bed on a Saturday morning that there’s nothing in the queue. Sometimes loved ones have car trouble, or dishes have to be done, or work gets busy. These things happen and interfere. D’oh.

Rest assured, there will be a post next Saturday, and it’ll be glorious! Stay tuned for a lovely Easter-themed cake that’s all sorts of cute, replete with pastel colors and flowers everywhere.

Until then, enjoy your weekends and I’ll catch you on the flipside, dudemeisters.

:) A

mini bread bowl quiche

Sometimes you discover an idea that you wish you’d thought of first. Chocolate chip cookie shot glasses? Guacamole grilled cheese sandwiches? Cake pops? All brilliant, but they’re sadly the brainchild (brainchildren?) of other people.

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And how about little single-serving quiche made in bread bowls? Not my idea, but I love them just the same! I saw them on some random blog back in the day. I adore the idea of miniature food and single serving snacks (for years, I’ve loved the Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook by Martha Stewart, mostly for the pictures inside!). Instead of serving a whole gigantic quiche to your breakfast or brunch guests, why not create individual versions stuffed with all their favorite quiche fillings, adorably crammed into little bread bowls? Tell ‘em the idea was yours alone. I won’t be bummed if you take the credit — they’re just too cute!

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cherry + lime aguas frescas

Looking through my blog, you can find plenty of recipes for desserts, snacks, main dishes, and pretty much anything else. There’s one area where oven&apron is slacking off, though, and that’s in the beverage department.

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You may remember my honeyed peach aguas frescas from last March? I must get a craving for sweet, fruity drinks around the end of wintertime. This drink is similar in idea, but a little less sweet and more complex. I’ve always been enamored with the flavor combo of cherry and lime (and who doesn’t love the Cherry Limeaid from Sonic?) Consider this drink the older, more mature cousin of Sonic’s fruity, overly sweet version.

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tortas de carnitas with pineapple + pickled onions

Have you all heard of Serious Eats? Well, one of the guys who runs the site is like a mix of all the best parts of Alton Brown and America’s Test Kitchen rolled into one. His name is Kenji and he has a recurring column called The Food Lab. Kenji knows a LOT about food and is always sharing with the readers of SE, some in-depth recipe for the best version of ________. Whatever it may be, Kenji will come up with an amazing recipe for it. Like this crispy pork carnitas, for one!

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Typically, carnitas (pork shoulder slow-cooked in a big pot of lard) is something I only order when I’m out at a restaurant. I didn’t think I had it in me to make it at home, until Kenji’s recipe came along and gave me hope. He really simplified the process! The goal with carnitas is to slowly break down the connective tissue in the pork shoulder, and the result is some of the most tender, tasty pork you’ll ever want to eat. Usually, the big pot of lard will freak some people out, me included. I didn’t want to have to buy lard (cause who buys lard?), and a larger cut of meat like a pork shoulder was sort of intimidating to me. With Kenji’s carnitas recipe in all it’s simplified glory, I had all the confidence in the world, and soon, I’d have the best pork I’d ever cook in my life.

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devoured phoenix 2014

It’s that time of year again! Time to crowd into the courtyard at the Phoenix Art Museum, nearly elbow to elbow with other valley dwellers, all in the name of some damn fine food and drink. Let’s go to Devoured!

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Tickets to this 2-day event sold out long ago. Luckily, I was able to snag a staff lanyard as an employee of Urban Cookies Bakeshop! So, I made my way to the museum with my foodie friend Dusty in tow, and we made a day out of stuffing ourselves with some of the Phoenix area’s finest eats.

Devoured Food + Wine Classic is held this year in the first weekend of March. This is Devoured’s 5th year, and boy is the event going strong! There’s no better place to try such a varied bunch of local restaurants all in one place. Last year was my first time attending Devoured, and it was my most favorite food-centric thing I did all year long. Could you say I was excited to attend this year? Oh yes.

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strawberry scones with cornmeal + black pepper

I can never resist the combo of strawberry and black pepper. I can’t remember where or when I first heard of pairing the two together, but it’s somehow genius! I’ve done it before with these popsicles, and I had always wanted to apply those flavors to a pastry of some kind. These scones seemed like a natural match!

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cauliflower + roasted garlic soup

Are there some recipes you just can’t get out of your head once you’ve made them? Dishes that you crave and can’t wait to make again? For me, this soup is one such recipe.

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I first made it this past Thanksgiving as a starter for the whole giant meal. I had been looking for a somewhat light soup that was also fall-weather appropriate. When I found this creamy cauliflower soup from Martha Stewart, I knew my search had ended! How could cauliflower combined with wine, cream, roasted garlic and parmesan cheese NOT be downright amazing?

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dark chocolate mousse with rose whipped cream

Another Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us!

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Last year I made these super cute chocolate tuxedo strawberries, which were a big hit for sure! I wanted to create a rich and somewhat fancy dessert for Valentine’s Day this year. I knew I wanted to incorporate chocolate into this dessert, cause what’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Chocolate mousse just seemed to be the quintessential romantic dessert, so I had the main part covered. When it came time to think of some sort of garnish or additional element, what’s a more popular romantic combination than chocolate with roses?

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