the good eggs

Tuesday morning we delivered a hot dozen piñata eggs to Giselle at Rare Device. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood and take a look (and maybe pick one up)! They look great hanging in the tree in the window. The rest of the July storefront will be in soon. Neon is the theme, these should play nicely with that. I designed most with the neon theme in mind, but also was inspired by ombre fades and dip-dying.

I designed a too complicated delivery box, but it did its job.

Pink + peach.

Giselle hanging the eggs.

Looking up.

The delivery crew.

This one was the last one I made, and my current favorite.


donut pan idea no. 85: little cherry pies

This ones a doozie! It's probably medium-well on the difficulty scale, but only if you're not a baker. There's a little unscientific crust patching going on, and I think I could use the advice of a professional baker to help get them out of the pan easier. But besides all that, these are straightforward enough for most.

These are beautiful little donut shaped cherry pies. I wanted them to be hand pies, but they are just too flaky, and maybe I cut too many slits for the steam to escape while baking, making them so fragile. So you'll probably eat then with a fork. If you do, be sure to fill the center with ice cream. Cherries are peaking right now, so you should think about making these now. I started with my favorite sweet cherry galette recipe from Martha Stewart and adapted from there. This recipe makes SIX hand pies, but you still need two donut pans. That's crucial.

1 batch of Pâte Sucrée, a rich and crumbly pie crust dough. This is the one I use.
12 oz. fresh, in-season sweet cherries
1/4 c. sugar pinch of salt 
1 egg yolk 
1 tbsp. heavy cream
more sugar
Something to grease the pans with, like baking spray, or maybe line with foil. That would've been smart!

There are a lot of photos here, because it does get complicated.

Split your dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle. Cut each rectangle into six pieces,
each a little larger than your palm.

You will cover each of the twelve donut molds with a piece of dough. Make and "x" like this at the center.

Press the dough into each mold. You should end up with two pans like this.

On both pans, make sure the dough goes up AT LEAST to the top of the pan, but better if further up. THEN, on only one pan, trim a little here and there to use to cover the middles. Press it in and around and patch as needed. Try to patch outer edges as needed too.

You should have one pan like this. Put this pan, and the other pan
(without the center patches) in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 Pit those cherries, and chop them into quarters.

Combine cherries with sugar and salt.

When the crust trays have chilled, fill them with the cherries. The filling can and should be higher than the edge of the pan. You're trying to make a donut here!

Now take those other six chilled crusts, pop them out of the donut pan, and press and mold them on top of the cherries. Work with that center piece of dough we filled in earlier to help seal the centers. The better you do at this, the better the removal will be at the end.

Really get in there. It will be ugly looking, but I'll fix that!

Soon you'll have six full pies. Press the empty tray on top of the full one, and refrigerate again for 30 minutes.

Pay attention here. These were not flipped over. These were taken by hand, removed from their original pan and put BACK into their original pan "upside down", so the smooth side is up, not the misshapen side from all the manhandling.

Beat the egg yolk and heavy cream and brush over the exposed crust surfaces.

The final step before baking. Slit as you see fit to release steam. I think my eight slits were about
six slits too many. Maybe ask your grammie. Also, dust with more sugar.

Bake at 375° for about 40 minutes until golden brown and they look like this.
Keep your eye on them while they are in the oven.

Really gorgeous, right?

The backside, not so much. The culprit was an ungreased donut pan and central berry leakage. I worked with a clay knife, which bent a little with the pans and helped get some out a little smoother. I would love a solution to this. Got one?

But! Like with most things, there are ways to hide the flaws. If I hadn't mentioned it you would've have even known. They look beautiful in little wax bags or on a plate, ugly side down!

You will probably find most people don't care at all what the back looks like, by the way.


little gifts, girl friends + a fond farewell

When your friends are packing up their lives and moving across the country (again), the last thing they need is more stuff, even if TWO out of the four of them are celebrating their seventh birthday before they leave. So, two little gifts for my (our) favorite twins in the world.

Seriously, I can't believe this is happening again. A little over ten years ago I learned to be a good girl friend, after years and years of hanging with the boys. It started with my beloved, life changing Gelsomina, then there was my gorgeous and hilarious Patty, then my darling soulmate (and roommate) Jasmina. And then a slew of mommies and dancers and artists who I love very much as well. 

But all of my very closest ones move away. Gelsomina left for Spain, then Japan, then all over the Bay Area. Patty left for three of the four corners of the United States, only to settle in Los Angeles. Jasmina up and moved to Alaska. When my closest friends move, they REALLY move.

And here I am again. My friend Beth is getting out of dodge, back to the east coast. We've only known each other for a year and a half, but she is the kind of friend that means so much to me. The kind that never judges me, that can not talk to me for weeks/months/years but knows I am thinking of her, and the kind that when we meet again it will be like no time has passed at all.

So I bid you adieu, my dear Beth. You are one crazy lady, and I love you for it. Good luck with everything, and I'll be right here whenever you need me. xoxoxoxo


indoors + a friend in need

Aaaaand, it begins. The beautiful warm weather we have been enjoying in spurts over the last few weeks blew away last night. Perfectly timed with the first day of summer. Now we're spending our time indoors, wearing fisherman's sweaters and flannel pants, and battling nasty head colds. OF COURSE. Stella's extra sick right now, poor thing. Thank goodness she loves to read for hours on end. Good for her, and for me.

Oliver, however, is feeling great, and during our hours and hours of down time yesterday he made this "carousel" (and many, many other messes). I love his carousel.

We have a friend who doesn't have a choice about staying indoors or playing outside right now. His name is Jake. He is a wonderful kid whose sister was in class with Stella this year. This past February he was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, which has changed the lives of everyone close to Jake. I can't begin to describe what Jake and his family are going through, but they are fighting tooth and nail for Jake's health. You can go to this website HERE to read about Jake and his condition.

This is Jake.

Where things are at now is that Jake needs a bone marrow donor. There are a few things that all of us can do to help, and if anyone reading this does help, I would be so grateful.

First, you can sign up for the National Bone Marrow Donor registry by clicking HERE and ordering a cheek swab kit. It is free. They will send you the kit, you just swab your cheeks and send it right back. Easy. Jake's heritage is strongly Irish, so if you are of Irish heritage it is more likely you might be the match, but EVERYONE who meets the age and health requirements is urged to register. If you are not eligible to register, or even if you are, there is a place on that web page where you can donate funds to help pay for the costs of registering each individual that sends in a kit.

Second, you can share the information about Jake with your friends via your own blog, your Facebook page, or however you see fit. You can use the link I shared above for matchjake.org, and also please "like" the matchjake.org Facebook page (click HERE).

Third, you can help the Be The Match Foundation (HERE is Jake's page) by actively participating in one of their drives. Last Saturday Stella and I worked at a drive, registering applicants and swabbing cheeks for two hours. It was hard roping people in on a hot summer afternoon, but it was good work and there are some great people on Jake's team. I hope we found the match that day. 

There are some drives coming up on the east coast, and I know they are looking for people to help. They are specifically looking for people to help set up a drive site in Boston (imagine how many Irish cheeks there are there). If you think you know a way to help, please contact the team through the Facebook page, or even here. I can pass along your information to Jake's parents.

Thank you, and I hope you have a warm, summery weekend!


donut-shaped donut peach mini clafoutis

These donut peaches from our CSA practically ASKED to be involved in our 101 Donut Pan Ideas project so I'm rolling out another idea today. We've been talking about these donut ideas so much, neither Stella and I can remember who thought of this one, but I'm pretty sure it was the peaches' idea. They are the PERFECT size for gently slicing and setting in a well-buttered donut pan, covered with the sweet clafoutis custard batter, and baked (just a few minutes shy of a full clafoutis, by the way).

I'm going to let the photos do the talking. Just remember to double-butter those pans, follow the Joy of Cooking Cherry Clafoutis recipe (but substitute donut peach rings for the cherries), and you'll do fine.

You do need to work at them just a little bit to get them out of the pans. The more golden
they are, the easier it is to get them out. And let them cool fully first!

 Packed up for a ferry ride.

Kid tested, mother approved.


ice donuts

Here's a no-brainer: ice donuts. These look beautiful in a punch bowl, or a large glass pitcher, or in individual drink glasses, but they need to be pretty wide-mouthed in order to fit the donuts.

I made a few trays with lemon bits in them, perfect for a pitcher of iced tea or water. They came out beautifully.

Then we had a little more fun with the donut ingredients. We used blueberries, Forget-me-nots from our gutter garden, ginger ale and peach bitters. Go light on the peach bitters or the donuts won't freeze up. These also came out nicely.

Look at the little flowers! SO lovely.

You've really got to get your hands on a big glass if you want to enjoy these directly your drink. A faceted working glass or a big canning jar would work. Once your drink gets poured over the ice donut, the donut starts to melt and release its flavors and bits, and separates into smaller pieces like regular ice chips or cubes.

The bitters and ginger ale donuts were especially good in Campari and soda cocktails, and would be great in a little whisky or rum drink, too!

Curious about what else we've done with our donut pans? Click here!

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