Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category

12.13.18

OLIVE OIL CAKE!

olive oil cake | designlovefest

we recently wrote about our olive oil trip to northern california which was filled with delicious food. one of the things we ate the first night there was an olive oil cake. it had such a nice subtle flavor with fleck of lemon and a moist crumbly texture and bri and i both looked at each other and said, “let’s make this when we get home!” when we had it they served it with whipped cream on top, we tried it with a lemon frosting which was delicious but dare i say a little too sweet? the frosting makes it great to use as a birthday cake or for a celebration because you can decorated and it looks fancier. but alone, the cake is great and the recipe has a sugared crust and it pairs perfect with tea or coffee. if you consider yourself general to not be a sweets person (like bri) then this is the cake for you, it’s not overpowering and won’t leave you with the sick sugary feeling. – joanie p.s. sweater is and i loveeee it. true to size and the color is a dream! 

olive oil cake | designlovefest

we used an olive oil from california olive ranch’s new . it was the one which was delicious and the perfect one to use for the cake. i highly recommend using a great olive oil for this as it’s a main component of the cake and you even drizzle some on top after it bakes which means the flavor really counts.


what you’ll need:

• 1 1/4 cup 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for the pan
• 1 cup 2 tablespoons sugar, more for dusting
• 2 cups cake flour (important! this really matters, don’t use all purpose, we tried it and it didn’t work)
• 1/3 cup almond flour
• 2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or another liqueur like sweet vermouth)
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 large eggs

* you need a spring form pan for the recipe

olive oil cake | designlovefest

– preheat oven to 400 degrees. drizzle olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan, use fingers to coat. cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and then put more oil on top of the paper. sprinkle sugar to cover the bottom of the pan.
– whisk cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps.

olive oil cake | designlovefest

– in a separate small bowl stir together the Grand Marnier, vanilla and lemon juice.

– (make sure you’re using a clean and dry bowl for this part!) using a stand or hand mixer beat eggs, lemon zest and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar on high until the mixture is light, thick and pale in color and comes of the beaters in a slow dissolving ribbon. the recipe says this will take 3-5 minutes, it took us closer to 7 minutes. while it’s still on high start adding the 1 1/4 cup oil slowly, we did this in a very slow drizzle, it took about 4 minutes to add all the oil. beat until it’s incorporated and mixture is even thicker.

olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest

– next take the flour mixture and the Grand Marnier mixture and add it to the egg mixture on a low speed. the flour will be added in 3 parts and the grand marnier in 2, start and end with the flour. fold batter to make sure it’s all incorporated but don’t over mix!

– pour into prepared pan, sprinkle with sugar and place in oven. immediately lower the temp from 400 to 350. cook for 35-45 minutes.

-once cooked cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then poke holes all over the cake and drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil on top and sprinkle with sugar. remove the pan and let cool completely on the rack.

olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest

this is we used, it’s delicious but not a necessary step.

olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest

enjoy! and the flavor gets even better the next day…

olive oil cake | designlovefest
olive oil cake | designlovefest

photos by

12.05.18

NEW SCHOOL OF COOKING

cooking school | designlovefest

as you may have noticed from my stories, ! it’s hard to believe i went from someone who barely knew how to cook beyond beans, rice and eggs to now making something most nights of the week, hosts and cooks thanksgiving dinner and loves doing it! here’s a peek into the class, and i have to admit it did feel like i was on the show Chopped for the first few weeks haha.

cooking school | designlovefest

about 6 months ago i had the strong desire to take my skills to the next level and started investigating what it would look like to attend some type of culinary program. i wanted something that wasn’t too intense and would allow me to still work as normal but that wasn’t just recreational and had some intensity to it. for me, it’s important for there to be a note of seriousness to the classes i’m taking because if i’m going to commit the time, i want it to be worth it. and that’s when i landed on the . they offer all types of classes, from certificate programs to one time classes for date nights but what caught my eye was their , it’s designed for people like me who have foundational knowledge cooking but want to build my skills with hands on guided lessons. and they provide everything, the uniform (yes, we wear chef coats and hats!) and all the tools and food we need each week. it makes it really simple for me to commit when all i have to do is show up.

cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest

joanie and i were both so nervous to start, like first day of school nervous. it felt a little scary but also nice to be pushing myself outside my comfort zone. it’s odd to think that we go from being kids and always learning and being in classes and programs and we sort of loss that adaptability as adults. continuing education is something i’m really starting to see the value in.

cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest

we’re currently in our 8th week of classes and it’s been such a blast. sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but in a good way. i can feel myself growing. our schedule the past couple of months has been nuts and coming to this class weekly is a great way to unwind and really put my focus on something specific for 4 hours. our teacher is really sweet and passionate about the history of everything so i really feel like we’re learning not only skills but facts about dishes and locations. we can make up class on saturday if we have to miss monday and it’s actually kinda cool to get different teacher’s perspectives.

the whole series is working towards giving you the skills to be able to recreate dishes on your own and not necessarily needing a recipe. building CONFIDENCE! each week has a theme, say it’s eggs and we’ll have a lecture talking about eggs, different ways to prepare them, serve them, use them, etc. and then the chef will demonstrate a recipe and then we’re off to try it on our own. the hands on part is super important because that’s how it really sticks in my brain. in a class like eggs we’re covering a lot of ground, so we learned about roux and made egg and cheese soufflé with it and then turned the roux into béchamel by adding milk and made mac + cheese and we also made french omelettes and eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce from scratch (talk about an arm workout!). it ends up being a really full four hours with a lot of information and learning. but it’s also really fun.

cooking school | designlovefest

i thought it would be fun to show you a little bit of what we have learned (and we have more recipes to show you down the line too! we made a green curry that was SO good) i’ve been working on perfecting my french omelette ever since we properly learned in class. i have a feeling it’s one of those things you work on for quite some time until it becomes natural, but it’s so worth it! the result is delicate and amazing and makes you feel PRO. and as we have learned in class, there is always going to be many ways to do anything with cooking, everyone does things a little differently. and that’s the beauty of cooking, find what works for you, experiment, and have fun!

cooking school | designlovefest

a few tips we’ve learned on the french omelette:

• add a little salt to the eggs to get the white and yellow to combine easier, whisk until you see no streaks

• the main tip is to cook your eggs on VERY LOW HEAT. i’ve been making my soft scrambles this way for a while now and they are so perfect, i will never go back to cooking eggs on higher heat. you don’t want to put color/burn your eggs. to keep them fluffy and light you need to cook them low and slow and constantly move them around if you are making it scrambled. it takes a few extra minutes, but again, worth it.

• using clarified butter is recommended so it won’t burn. clarifying butter just means you cook and remove the milk solids which is the part that will burn.  i still use regular butter at home but it’s a good tip.

• you can use a fine mesh  to strain the egg which removes the albumen (that’s the white stringy part that doesn’t mix in well with the eggs). this is an optional step but it only takes a second and ensures you’ll have a smooth color and texture.

• definitely use a non-stick pan for eggs.

• remember that your eggs will continue to cook after you take them off the heat so remove them a few seconds before you think they are ready and plate them right away!

if you’re into eggs, this . everyone has their own tricks!

cooking school | designlovefest

• heat up the butter and once it’s totally melted and you see small bubbles you add the eggs to the pan and turn the heat all the way down.

• you can use a rubber whisk or a fork if you are careful. i just use the fork on the top and whisk the eggs around to keep them really fluffy and cooking evenly when i pour them in the pan. just don’t touch the fork to the nonstick pan, you don’t want to scratch it at all because the teflon is bad for you!

• i use a rubber spatula to make sure to keep the eggs from getting too cooked on the edges, so continue to lift up the sides. you don’t want it to get too thin and cook faster on the outside.

• remember this is a practice in PATIENCE, which i know i need more of in my life!

cooking school | designlovefest

• now! we tried two different techniques. one is to turn the heat all the way off and keep the pan on the burner and put a plate (or i think a skillet is easier to handle) on top so that the eggs steam for a few minutes and don’t cook too much on the bottom. this way works well but takes a little more attention to it. or you can put your oven on low and as soon as you start to see the sides of the eggs cooking a little bit (maybe 2 mins) you can pop the pan in the oven at 275 degrees for 4 minutes or until the egg is cooked but not overcooked!

(i know this all sounds a little confusing, but you have to try it one morning, it’s fun to master!)

• folding it might be the hardest part and i am still working on it myself! usually i fold over one side to the middle line. then i slide the egg onto the plate from the opposite side and let the omelette fold over onto itself, making a perfect tri-fold. practice makes perfect.

cooking school | designlovefest

• brush with butter to give it that pretty shine on the plate.

• garnish with chives or parsley or both and some flaky salt!

• serve with crème fraîche (YUM!!)

the texture is so perfect and light it tastes almost like there is cheese inside. no more brown, textured, dry omelettes! and the effort is only an extra couple of minutes.

cooking school | designlovefest

hope you try it at home!

we take class at the pasadena location but they also have a school in culver city as well. we’re doing the 20 week pro-cooking series but they also have it for baking too which i’m sure is equally as amazing. (i find myself not as drawn to baking, but maybe someday) let me know if you have any questions! xx bri

11.26.18

CALIFORNIA OLIVE RANCH HARVEST TOUR!

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

we just took a quick trip to sacramento (i’ve never been, love how laid back it is there!) to visit during their annual harvest. i’m sure you’ve noticed their signature green oil bottle in many of our recipes posts, it’s been the only olive oil we use at our studio for years so we were excited when they asked us to join the trip.  i’ve been in total learning mode when it comes to food and i loved seeing the harvest in action.  their team really cares about the quality of their extra virgin olive oil and giving it to the consumer at an affordable price, and i loved spending time learning about their process and getting to know their small team.

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

we learned how to properly taste olive oil and got to taste many different varietals which was a really cool and new experience to me. we even did a blind tasting with a competitor oil currently on the market and saw an extreme difference between the two. it was actually pretty shocking when tasted side by side! olive oil can be the foundation of so many dishes, and the quality and taste is super important. i also go through so much oil with how much i cook so keeping it affordable is key.

california olive ranch | designlovefest

we got to visit one of their fields during harvest and were able to ride on the harvester and watch the olives being picked off the trees and then got to see the olive oil being made from start to finish at the mill. i definitely felt more connected to the experience since i’ve been cooking so much and it feels good to dive deeper into the process! they also just launched their Destination Series which is extra virgin olive oil sourced from all over the world and brought back to california to their mill where they curate blends of the international growers oil mixed with the California oil. we got to try some of the blends and they were delicious!

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

i also love that it’s a california-based olive oil brand. when i travel to europe i’ve brought olive oil back at times because i really felt a big difference in the taste and quality and is bringing that to the states. they really don’t cut any corners when it comes to their product which is awesome.

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

we ate so much good food while we were there too! had dinner at in sacramento, brunch at which i was really impressed by and then had a really beautiful meal and wine at  their wines were delicious, especially the mossback pinot!

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

i never cease to be impressed by the diversity of california’s landscape and i feel so lucky to get to call it home!

california olive ranch | designlovefest
california olive ranch | designlovefest

thanks for a fun trip !

(this post was created in sponsorship with, a brand we’ve loved and used for years!)

11.02.18

PIE WORKSHOP!

pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest

this is a post you’re going to want to bookmark because we’re giving away some serious pie secrets from the dessert genius Valerie of . we first met valerie a few weeks back at the Samsung dinner we attended and we were blown away by her pies and her charm. we asked if she’d want to offer a little pie workshop to get us prepped for the holidays and she kindly agreed and our friends over at , who are always game for our fun food related ideas, offered to sponsor the event. we had the best afternoon, making pies, sipping mulled wine, eating cheese and feeling very fall and festive! and we’re sharing all the recipes below! let us know if you make one, we’d love to hear how it turned out.

pie workshop | designlovefest

we started the day with making a roasted grape galette which is essentially a pie without the top crust. it’s really easy to make and doesn’t require the crimping or a pie pan.

Roasted Grape Galette

2 Quarts Purple Seedless Grapes, sliced in half
2 Ounces salted butter
2 teaspoons corn starch
12 ounces Vanilla cream (recipe below) 
one 13” Pie dough Round (pie dough recipe below)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel

• Heat Oven to 350F

• In a medium sized bowl, pour melted butter over prepared grapes and thoroughly combine.

• Sprinkle cornstarch over the buttered grapes and mix until evenly coated.

• Place the dough on a baking sheet. Evenly spread the Vanilla cream in the center of the dough creating a 9 inch circle.

• Pour the prepared grapes onto the vanilla cream creating a tall mound.

• Lift one side of the dough onto the fruit and press down so it gently adheres. Continue all the way around the galette creating 5-6 folds in total.

• Refrigerate until firm to the touch. valerie and i are pictured below with the that i’ve had for a little over a year now and love!

pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest

• Using a pastry brush, evenly paint egg wash over the dough. Generously sprinkle sugar over the entire

• Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

• Finish with bits of fresh thyme and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Vanilla Cream

6 ounces whole milk
1.75 ounces sugar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
2 ounces heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 ounce unsalted butter (cut into small chunks)

• Combine the milk, sugars, and vanilla paste in a medium saucepan and bring to just a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

• Whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolks, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Continue whisking as you slowly stream in the hot milk mixture. Pour the vanilla cream back into the pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the cream thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.

• Pour the cream through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin, refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest

the foundation of every good pie, the pie crust! Valerie is a crust lover and rolls her dough out thick, it makes it easier to handle and gives a solid base. one tip she gave and that i found helpful is that once your dough is rolled out, don’t pull on it. you can pinch it, fold it, etc but no pulling!

Buttery Pie Crust
makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie, two 9-inch single-crust pies, or fifteen 4-inch hand pies

2 ½ cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 to 1/3 cup (2 to 2.5 ounces) cold water

• To make the dough in a food processor: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the processor bowl and pulse once or twice to combine. Drop the pieces of butter through the feed tube, continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add 1/4 cup water as you continue pulsing a few more times, then add more water if necessary; stop when the dough just starts to come together.

• To make the dough by hand: Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl and mix together with a fork or small whisk. Cut the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter or a large fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 1/4 cup water directly over the dough, mixing with the pastry cutter or fork, then add more water if necessary, mixing until the dough just comes together.

• Remove the dough from the processor or bowl and form into 2 equal disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months; thaw in the refrigerator.

pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest
pie workshop | designlovefest

CLICK THROUGH FOR MORE RECIPES!!

(more…)

10.31.18

TORTILLA SOUP

tortilla soup | designlovefest

my aunt gave me the cookbook and i’ve been loving it. i’m really picky when it comes to cookbooks i’m willing to add to my collection because i don’t have a ton of space and i want ones that i’m actually going to use. her recipes are approachable, beautiful and fit for a weekday dinner or entertaining. i made her Tortilla Española and for today’s recipe post we made her tortilla soup. there are a zillion recipes out there for tortilla soup, this one is super approachable and could be bumped up by roasting your own chicken and making your own chicken stock or make as we did, the short cut way! the only thing i’d add would be some spice in the broth. we also made our own fried tortilla strips but you could skip this part and use chips. although, the fresh strips really take it up a notch – joanie

tortilla soup | designlovefest

what you’ll need:

• 1 rotisserie chicken shredded
• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 15oz can of whole kernel corn
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the edge of your knife
• 5-10 tortillas
• 1 32oz container of chicken broth
• 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
• olive or avocado oil

garnishes:

• 1 avocado diced
• 1 bunch of radishes thinly sliced
• 1 cup diced Cotija cheese
• 1 bunch cilantro chopped
• 1-2 limes

tortilla soup | designlovefest

• to make tortilla stripes place the tortillas in a single pile and cut into strips. heat oil on medium in a pan filling it about 1-2 inches high. place the tortilla stripes in small batches so that they don’t overlap each other and fry on each side until golden brown. place fried strips on paper towels and set aside.

• in the same pan,  toss the corn until slightly charred (trader joes sells fire roasted corn in the freezer aisle if you want to bypass making it yourself!)

• in a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, add diced onions, a big pinch of salt and cook down until translucent; about 8 minutes. add 3 peeled and mashed garlic cloves and continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes, tossing occasionally.

tortilla soup | designlovefest

• remove the onions and garlic and place in a blender with the canned diced tomatoes. blend until smooth. heat 1 tablespoon oil and pour the pureed tomato mixture in, cooking down until most of the liquid is gone and it starts to thicken like tomato paste about 6-8 minutes, add the broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste, adjust seasoning as needed. next add the shredded chicken and the roasted corn. continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes on a simmer. remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.

tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest

• prep all your garnishes, and set out on in bowls so people can top their soup as desired. we highly recommend a big squeeze of lime before serving!

tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest
tortilla soup | designlovefest

images by:
styling by: joanie cusack 

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