Revelry

Oh, to be a kid again…

Happy Easter, darling Revelers.

xx,
A

Oh, to be a kid again…

Happy Easter, darling Revelers.

xx,
A

CARROT CAKE WITH MASCARPONE FROSTING

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With Easter coming (not that I need an excuse…) I’ve had carrot cake on the brain.  But not just any carrot cake - the recipe I’ve been honing since my first scrumptious bite as a child.
I use a white whole wheat flour in my cake, which when laced into any molasses or brown sugar sweetened baked good makes for an earthier, more sophisticated flavor.  I balance this richer taste and texture by rejecting the often heavy and too-tangy tranditional Cream Cheese frosting, opting instead to fix my frosting with a combination of Cream Cheese and Mascarpone.  The Mascarpone brings a subtler, lighter, more directly sweet flavor that complements the spiciness of the fresh ginger and nutmeg that my recipe employs.  The combination of elements is nothing short of delectable.
Best part?  Because my carrot cake features such simple, whole ingredients - I also trade the usual canola oil for grapeseed oil - and is so much lighter than other recipes, you can smile from the first bite to the last, then keep smiling as you start your second piece.  Heck, whenever I make this - assuming any leftovers have survived - I end up becoming a dessert for breakfast girl for days after.  After all, it’s just carrots, right?
xx,
A
ALI’S CARROT CAKE
Cake Ingredients:
1 cup White Whole Wheat flour                                                                
1 cup All Purpose Flour                                                                            
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt 
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
dash of Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup White Sugar
1 1/4 cups Grapeseed Oil
2 tsp. Grated Peeled Ginger
4 Eggs
3 cups Finely Grated Peeled Carrots
1 1/2 cups Chopped Walnuts
Icing Ingredients:
8 oz. Mascarpone                                                                                      
5 oz. Cream Cheese
6 tbls. Softened Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
pinch Flake Sea Salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter 2 9-inch cake pans, then lay parchment inside and  butter and flour.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugars, oil, and ginger and whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture, and stir in carrots and walnuts.  Divide batter and bake until toothpick comes out clean - 40 minutes.  Let rest for ten minutes, then flip onto racks and let cakes sit until completely cool.  
For the icing, using a mixer beat mascarpone, cream cheese, and softened butter for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, and once incorporated flavor with maple syrup and sea salt, mixing until color and texture achieve consistency.  
Ice top of one layer of cake with about 1/3 of icing mixture, add second layer, and cover entirecake with rest of icing - using about 1/3 on top, and the other 1/3 to cover sides.  Decorate with walnuts if desired.
Enjoy!
Makes: 1 cake
Total Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Cooking Time: 50 Minutes

Because I’ve been chuckling over it since my buddies from the upcoming horror film, THE DIABOLICAL, sent it over from the edit room, here’s an outtake to kick off the weekend.

Just a reminder that no matter how horror-filled your day is (in my case here, literally), there’s always room for laughter.  

Happy friday!  Go out and scare up some fun.  

BOO!

xx,

A

Hello, Hummus.

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Summer is coming, and with it pooltime, beachtime…bikini time. Be gone, winter snacking habits! Goodbye cheese platters, hello hummus.

I love to whip this up for company, or just to make a big batch for my family to chomp on throughout the week. Delicious served with crudité, as a spread on sandwiches, or dipped into pita chips, hummus is a mediterranean staple due to it’s healthful qualities. High in protein and low in fat, hummus is a creamy, satisfying way to dip into flavor while skipping out on guilt.

xx,

A

ARTICHOKE HUMMUS WITH TAHINI

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Tahini

3 tbls. Lemon

2 16 oz. cans Chickpeas

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 can Artichoke Hearts (reserve the water)

2 Cloves Garlic

1.5 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Hot Paprika

Directions:

Place the tahini and lemon in a food processor, and blend until they achieve a thicker, paste-like consistency that is lighter in color - this should take 1-2 minutes. Next, add the rest of the ingredients, one at a time, blending each one in for about a minute.  At the end, add the water you’ve reserved from the Artichoke cans to thin the consistency to your level of preference.  In a time crunch, you can add everything at once, but a smoother texture will be achieved by isolating each ingredient. Once all the elements have been added and the hummus appears smooth, cut up some veggies, grab some pita chips, and snack away!

Total cooking time: 10 mins.

Serves: A party of 10, or your family for a week of snacking and flavoring!

THE MIRROR THAT TELLS YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT IT TO

Be honest…how much time do you spend standing in front of the mirror, just wishing it would say something encouraging back?  

Recently, I had a friend going through a bit of a tough time - a breakup had her down - and while making my best-gal go at cheering her up I rattled off one of my favorite Marilyn quotes:

"If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as Hell don’t deserve me at my best."  

My friend joked back “man, I wish you could tell me that every day.” Turns out, with the power of a repurposed mirror and some inexpensive items from a local art supply store, I can!

This mirror project is easy, fun, and really packs a gift-giving punch.  If you want to keep costs down, check out a thrift shop or even your local Goodwill to provide the mirror - even if it isn’t perfect, a little spray paint and creativity will spruce it up just fine.

We often wish we could be the mirror that shows our loved ones all the things we see in them - now, with a little DIY magic, we can.

xx,

A

DIY INSPIRATIONAL MIRROR PROJECT

(A note: Steps 1-4 are only necessary if you don’t already like the color of your frame; otherwise, you can start with step 4!)

STEP 1: 

Remove the mirror from the frame.  You may need a small knife, depending on how the mirror is affixed.  Be careful not to bend the mirror at any point, as it will break!

STEP 2: 

Lay down a thick, fully overlapping layer of disposable bags, with a plastic bag directly underneath the frame - this area will receive the most spray paint and is the most likely to bleed through if you go paper.

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STEP 3:

Spray an even layer of spray paint of choice - we went with a tangerine colored Gloss Enamel spray, as our frame was porcelain and we were concerned about the coverage being even and lasting.  That said, if you’re going with a wood or less “slippery” surface, you may want to check with the art store.  We here at Kitchen Revelry are big fans of asking questions!

Regardless of which paint you go with, make sure to leave several hours for the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat.  If you’ve chosen a gloss spray, you may even want to go for 3 total coats to get that extra gleam!

Oh, and we loved our frame, so chose simply to go with a change of hue, but if you want to spice things up masking tape can be used to create stripes or other patterns.  Get creative!  image

STEP 4:

Reapply the mirror to the inside of the frame.  Ours didn’t have brackets, so we used Epoxy to seal it back in.  After applying the goop carefully to the edges of the mirror, we set it in place facedown on a table, then set heavy books on top of it and left it to dry overnight. 

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STEP 5:

This is the fun part.  Use an oil-based paint pen (water-based will not be permanent on the mirror’s slick surface)- they come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of thicknesses- to write your message of choice on the mirror.  We recommend practicing with a mirror-sized paper cutout first, to make sure you leave enough space for all of the words.  

Voilà!  Giftwrap, and watch as #quotestoliveby becomes a real live thing on your loved one’s wall.image

paris, je t’aime

Much like my lady Ella, I love Paris in the springtime.

Well, let’s be honest, I love Paris anytime. My two main interests outside of my family and acting are cuisine and couture - and a couple of weeks ago, I got my fill of both in the fashion foodie capitol of the world!  The trip, which my husband and I took to celebrate my birthday à deux (that means just the two of us…I can speak un peu de French!), was absolutely perfect.

Here are some lessons I learned on my trip for how to live like a Parisian (or, at least, how to survive all that cheese!)…

TAKE A GOOD PAIR OF FLATS:

Paris is a walking city, but it’s also a city of glamour. Want to step out in stilettos? Take a pair of flats in your purse - this way, you can rock your heels without fear of ruining your day.imageimage

WALK UNTIL YOU CAN’T ANYMORE, THEN EAT UNTIL YOU CAN’T ANYMORE, THEN WALK UNTIL YOU CAN’T ANYMORE, THEN EAT UNTIL YOU CAN’T ANYMORE, THEN…:

Seriously, eat everything. You deserve it! You just did all that walking!

Hayes and I enjoyed a full range of culinary delights, starting with selecting fine cheeses and meats from a delicious fromagerie

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and picnic-ing in the Luxembourg Gardens.

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We also spoiled ourselves nearly rotten with tea and pastries at world famous LaDurée. Try the macarons! 

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We couldn’t help but splurge a bit for the prix-fix menus at two of Paris’s most notable dining destinations du jour. The first, Septime, was one of the best meals I have had in quite some time. Chef Bertrand Grébaut is a Frenchman through and through - a genius in the kitchen, and a gentleman everywhere else.

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Dinner at Frenchie was equally incroyable. This salmon dish alone has me dreaming of my next visit to France…image

And, of course, I sampled my way through many other less famous but equally scrumptious local delights. Candy calories don’t count if they’re purchased in another language, right?

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DO THINGS YOUR WAY, WHILE ALSO DOING THEM THEIR WAY

When you’re traveling, it’s good to dig in to the local ways of living, but it’s equally good to know what you must do to keep yourself happy.  When traveling, I still make sure to exercise, but I avoid the hotel gym as much as possible - workout time can be a time for exploring, as well! Running by the seine is something I already miss…

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FIRST STOP, THEN THINK.

How often do we do this in our days? How often, when home, do we have the time to just stop and think?

When traveling, give yourself the time to meander, and to full-stop, and to allow your mind to wander - after all, a trip for your body that has your mind back at home is no trip at all.

After our lunch at Septime, Hayes and I walked through Père Lachaise cemetary, visiting some old icons - Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, and others - who are buried there. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and passing time at the gravestones that mark some of our world’s greatest creative minds provided much appreciated support (literal, in the case of Hayes’ back) to the voyage of our thoughts. Sometimes, we must look to the past to be inspired, and Paris is forever a land replete with inspirational pasts. imageimage

BE IN LOVE WITH SOMETHING

The bridge at the Pont des Beaux-Arts has become a site dedicated to love - what you see in this photo is hundreds of thousands of locks, big and small, people have affixed to the bridge to represent the commitment in their hearts to another.

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Whether you come to Paris in love with a person, or a dream, or simply with the idea of being in love, bring a lock and find your place on this bridge.  It is cheesy, oui, but also moving, and a positive emblem for the world at large.  Plus, it’s romantic. And what is more Parisian, may I ask you, and more essential to life itself, than un peu de romance?…

I hope these tips have inspired you to go steal a bite and a kiss from Paris. And if you’re still saving up for that dream trip? Grab yourself a bottle of Rosé, a baguette, and some good french literature - I recommend the divine “Henry and June” by Anaïs Nin for some gorgeously romantic reading - and take a flight of fancy! The French variety is the fanciest of all…

Gros bises, tout le monde!

xx,

A

Meyer Lemon Cake with Lavender

On this beautiful day, I thought I’d post a recipe I recently shared with greatideas.people.com, adding in the more health-conscious option. When cooking for company, I use butter, but when making a weekly breakfast loaf for my family, I like to make some heart-healthy substitutions.

I know spring has arrived in my garden when I look outside my window to discover my Meyer Lemon tree ready for picking. Meyer Lemons are the plain-Jane variety’s more floral, less acidic sister – perfect for squeezing into baked treats, like my Meyer Lemon Cake with Lavender Sugar. Spring and summer mean many a garden party, and this recipe is my favorite to bring along for the host. Wrap your loaf in burlap and tie with twine. The sweetly sophisticated flavor, and unfettered presentation, will have the party talking – and wanting more! I took the first loaf of the season to a party last weekend, and let’s just say parents were fighting their children for the last crumbs…I recommend doubling the recipe. For my Lavender Sugar recipe, see last week’s post!

xx, A

MEYER LEMON CAKE - FOR COMPANY

Cake Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups White Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt

1/2 cup Buttermilk

1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice, and zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Paste, or Extract

8 tbls. Unsalted Butter, softened

1 1/3 cups Lavender Sugar, or White Sugar

3 Large Eggs

1/2 cup Almond Meal

Glaze Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups Confectioners Sugar

3 tbls. Lemon Juice

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°. With non-stick spray, coat a loaf pan measuring 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 2 3/4.” In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. In another bowl, mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Set both mixtures aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add half the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Beat until consistent. Fold in the ground almonds. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake, about 55-60 minutes.

3. While cooking, prepare the glaze. Whisk together confectioners sugar and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemon cake when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto plate. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, until coated. Sprinkle with lavender, if desired. Devour! X

Makes: 1 loaf

Total Prep Time: 20 mins.

Total Cooking Time: 1 hr.

MEYER LEMON CAKE - FOR HOME

Ingredients:

¾ cup Wheat Flour

¾ cup White Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt

1/2 cup Plain Yogurt

1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice, and zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Paste or Extract

8 tbls. Earth Balance Butter, softened

1 cup Lavender Sugar, or White Sugar

3 Large Eggs

1/2 cup Almond Meal

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°. With non-stick spray, coat a loaf pan measuring 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 2 3/4.” In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. In another bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Set both mixtures aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add half the flour mixture, alternating with the yogurt mixture. Beat until consistent. Fold in the ground almonds. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake, about 55-60 minutes.

3. Remove the lemon cake when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto plate. Sprinkle with lavender, if desired. Devour! x

Makes: 1 loaf

Total Prep Time: 20 mins.

Total Cooking Time: 1 hr.

Work to be better, but also appreciate your work, every day.
Love the person you are - you made her!
xx,
A

Work to be better, but also appreciate your work, every day.

Love the person you are - you made her!

xx,

A

LAVENDER SUGAR

Straight from the pages of my book, you will love this recipe for Lavender Sugar.  Use as a glaze, sprinkle it on yogurt, enjoy it as a sophisticated sweetener in tea, or make and keep in glass containers for simple, at-the-ready homemade gifts. Sweet, calming and unexpected at the same time - your best friend in a jar.

xx,

A

LAVENDER SUGAR

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Dried Lavender Flowers

6 cups Sugar

Directions:

Mix Lavender Flowers and Sugar, jar, and enjoy!

BLUE JEAN BABY

Like the perfect pour of whiskey, or gingham in summertime, denim embodies all-American elegance.  Who hasn’t spent hours digging through racks and stacks for the perfect pair of jeans?   I know my stride feels sexier when I’ve found a pair of baby blues to bring some extra attention to my, ahem, assets.  

But denim is so much more than just pants.  Denim is dresses that can be worn from office to on-the-town; it’s pencil skirts; it’s a chambray shirt that can be loose with leggings for a coffee date, then tucked into a pleated skirt for a very happy hour.

Here is some blue-hued inspiration for your spring wardrobes - put the wool away, it’s time to lighten up! 

xx,

A

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SAMBAL OELEK

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I adore all the little sauce-pots at Thai, Vietnamese, and other Asian restaurants - not to mention the daily presence that Sriracha has become in my life since discovering it a few years back.  But when I look at the labels on any of these sauces, I can’t help but think there must be a simpler, cleaner way to add a kick to my dishes. 

That’s why I love Sambal Oelek.  In the purest versions of this Malaysian recipe, you need only combine three ingredients - chili peppers, vinegar, and salt - to bring depth and spice to dishes of all kinds.  That said, customization is key!  I make mine with Serrano chilies - halfway between the jalapeno and the habanero on the heat index - and smoked salt, and add lime.  

You will be addicted to this easy-prep, long-lasting sauce, which is ideal for adding some quick-at-hand spiciness in your stir-fries, sandwiches, or scrambled eggs.

A note about the seeds - like your favorite mini-skirt, they bring the heat. Add with caution to get smokin’, not scorched.

xx,

A

SAMBAL OELEK

Ingredients:

20 Red Serrano Chili Peppers

2 tbls. Rice Vinegar

The juice of 2 Limes

Smoked Salt to taste

Directions:

De-stem and de-seed chilies, reserving and placing aside the seeds from 3 of them, then cut chilies into 1-inch sections and blend in food processor until they achieve a paste-like texture.  Combine with rice vinegar and lime juice, then add seeds - slowly, they are very hot - and smoked salt to taste.  Place in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 30

I AM THE LUCKIEST

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Today is my birthday.  

This is me in Jersey back in the day, nappin’ with my daddy.  Whenever I look at this photo of where I came from, which hangs in my beautiful closet in my beautiful home where I live with my beautiful family, I feel wonder at all my blessings.  From the family I was given, to the family I’ve made - my friends, my peers, my incredible husband and son - I am truly humbled by my fortune.

On your birthday, you’re supposed to do what you want.  Today, I’m taking a cue from this picture - this afternoon, I’ll nap so tonight, I can dance like a kid.  On the table.  After eating all of the cake.

That is, except the piece I’ll save for you, my Revelers, for whom I am also - it goes without saying, but should be said -  so very grateful.

xx,

A

OSCARS STYLE - MUSSELS AND MUSES

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The Oscars - what single event better encapsulates the Revelrous lifestyle?  From the glamour we watch sashay across our television screens, to the hors d’oeuvres we nibble and cocktails we sip on the other end, the Academy Awards are an annual excuse to gather for some old Hollywood style - and, of course, to play Joan Rivers with celebrities’ takes on the same from the comfort of our living rooms.  

Here are a couple of my favorite looks from the past several years, and a perennial favorite for a simple, chic bite - Moules Farcies, from Food & Wine.   This year’s Oscars fall just 2 days after I wrap shooting a feature film, so I’ll be foregoing the fêtes for some much needed r&r time with my family - but just because I won’t be dolling myself up doesn’t meant I won’t be participating in the festivities!  These Mussels pair equally well with pj’s and ale as they do with ballgowns and bellinis - regardless the mode of celebration you choose, this timeless appetizer will help you do it in style.  This year, mine will include my favorite set of flannels and a belgian white…mmm.

xx,

A

MOULES FARCIES by Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup crushed panko bread crumbs
  2. 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Sea salt
  4. 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  5. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  6. 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  7. 2 pounds large mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  8. 1 cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. In a small skillet, toast the panko over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly golden, 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt.
  2. In another bowl, combine the parsley with the cheese and half of the garlic. Stir in the 1/2 cup of oil and season the pesto with salt.
  3. In a large, deep skillet or pot, stir the mussels over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook just until the mussels open, 3 minutes. Drain the mussels and let cool on a baking sheet. Loosen the mussels in their shells and discard the empty half shells.
  4. Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Spoon the parsley pesto over the mussels and sprinkle with the panko. Broil until the crumbs are golden, about 6 minutes, shifting the pan for even browning, then serve.

Cooking Time: 45 min.

Serves: 8

Curried Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash

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Although I love my steaks, I equally enjoy playing around with meatless recipes, especially as winter turns to spring.  I Developed this recipe for my friend Kasey. A new mother, she wanted a healthy, nutritious soup that she could feel both confident feeding her toddler, and proud feeding whoever was gracing her table for that evening’s meal.

The sumptuous creaminess this soup develops when you allow it to cook down balances against the spiciness offered by the lemongrass and the turmeric, and you end up with a hearty, yet shockingly healthy (look at that ingredients list!) soup that can wow for days. When I prepare this, I make double the recipe, and freeze half for last minute meals with substance and style.

xx,

A

CURRIED LENTIL SOUP WITH SQUASH

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped

1 Tbls. Curry

1 tsp. Turmeric

1 Tbls. Salt

1 tsp. Cumin

1 Tbls. Coconut Oil (or more if needed).

1 Onion – diced

4 cloves Garlic – diced

1 Can light Coconut Milk

2 Stalks Lemon Grass cut in half lengthwise

6 cups Vegetable Broth

1 ½ cups Red Lentils

1 bunch Kale

Lemon Juice

Salt

Pepper

Directions:

Cut squash in half, then into strips. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat, then add the squash, cover, and cook until it has softened and taken on a caramel color and smell - about 20 minutes - stirring and turning occasionally. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool.

Heat a soup pot to medium heat. While stirring constantly add curry, tumeric, salt, and cumin, and toast for 1 minute. Add coconut oil, onions, and butternut squash and sauté until slightly golden brown and aromatic, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic and lemongrass, and continue to sauté for one more minute. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth and lentils and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add Kale, and cook for about 20 more minutes, or until the soup has adopted a stew-like consistency.

Flavor with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Serve in brightly colored bowls and top with fresh cilantro.

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Serves: 4-6

I’ve said a lot about my thoughts on love in the past ten days - how to love each other, how to love yourself…

Whoever you’re with, or missing, today, some last words: in my experience, the best love really is simple. Here, simply, are some things that I love, chosen for you and those who you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Revelers.  I carry your hearts.

xx,

A

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

(source: www.poetryfoundation.org)

(Source: Spotify)