The Kitchen Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide {under $100}

date12.10.14

mini cast iron skillet smal pinch bowls small artisan jams wood coffee scoop and clip linen napkin Bamboo Matcha Whisk smoked chocolate chips teak measuring spoons wood cheese knife set personalized recipe cards gold serving set copper snack bowl heath salt and pepper shaker summer fruit art brass bottle opener cat embossing rolling pin mint bib apron enameled tea kettle walnut cutting board Milk Glass Mixing Bowls Image Map

Happy Holidays, lovelies! Are you celebrating with Christmas lights, snow, hot cocoa, and so much baking? I’m not quite there yet – I’m still hibernating while writing my dissertation like crazy this week. Did you ever pull an all nighter to get a paper done in college? Well I’m basically doing that, but for a week straight. And it feels productive. This is probably the only time in my life you’ll hear me say the words, “I wish I had a dining hall meal plan again.” Except now that I’m older, I’d like the food to be fancier (read: more edible). I know that’s what normal people call ‘dining out’, but I don’t want to have to get out of my jammies to get food.

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Gift in a Jar: Walnut Cocoa Brownies {gluten-free}

date12.08.14

Gift in a Jar: Walnut Cocoa Brownies

When it comes to gift-giving, I’m all about the homemade kind (as all of our friends who received a set of hand-carved salad spoons, a color-dipped bird’s-eye maple cutting board, or a custom-painted kitchen bakery sign as a wedding gift in the past couple of years can attest to). A sentimental streak passed down from my mom who still has a framed card on her wall that I made when I was 5. Nothing says “I Luv U Mom” like yellow construction paper with oil pastels. You know the other direct route to someone’s heart? A batch of this Walnut Cocoa Brownie mix all layered up in a jar.

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Healthy Nutella Pistachio Truffles & Our Wedding RSVP Recipe Book

date12.06.14

Healthy Nutella and Pistachio Truffles

You probably thought you were done hearing about our wedding, didn’t you? You know how people say “it’s my birthday week” or “it’s my birthday month”? Well it’s our wedding decade, alright?! (Indulge me for a bit longer, will you?)

When we mailed out our wedding invitations, the RSVP postcards had a recipe card on the back that asked our guests to “please share a favorite family recipe.” We ended up collecting 68 time-tested family recipes that filled my grandma’s wooden recipe card box to the brim. Occasionally we flip through them, quizzing each other on dishes based on the ingredients. Yet for some reason I’ve still only shared one of the recipes with you (Lana’s BEST EVER Mac & Cheese). Let’s change that.

Starting with these Healthy Nutella Pistachio Truffles that I adapted from one of these recipes and a (free!) downloadable RSVP Recipes cookbook I made using my new Sprout.

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Oboro Tofu: Silken Tofu Curds

date12.02.14

Oboro Tofu: Homemade Silken Tofu Curds

Oboro Tofu

Is there one restaurant dish that you could eat for dinner every night? For me, that’s the oboro tofu from Eiji that Angi introduced me to a few months back (this is the same restaurant that serves up strawberry mochi with red bean). Many food-loving folks in SF are probably shaking their heads yup right along with me. It’s a dish that doesn’t boast with complexity, but comforts with its cloud-like simplicity, and unfortunately for me, it’s served at a tiny Japanese restaurant that’s located a 36-minute BART ride from my house (flanked by a 15 minute walk on either side).

In other words, TOO DARN FAR to make it my regular joint.

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Frosted Spiced Persimmon Cookies with Cranberries and Walnuts {gluten-free}

date11.30.14

Spiced Persimmon Cookies with Cranberries and Walnuts

Spiced Persimmon Cookies

The holidays seem like the best time of the year to pull out cherished family recipes. In addition to my great grandma’s candied walnuts recipe my mom pulled out last week, she also passed her mom’s persimmon cookie recipe on to me – typos, butter stains, and all. I’m not exactly sure what my grandma meant by “add water and raisens” when she didn’t list water in the ingredients. Also, what kind of nuts, grandma?? And apparently the rest of the steps after you beat the eggs are just implied.

Since I can’t ask her, I’m imagining my grandma looking down at me, “If you can’t figure it out, you shouldn’t be making cookies.”

(Hang tight for your chance to win some hand crafted wooden kitchen tools at the bottom of this post)

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No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Mousse with Candied Walnuts

date11.25.14

No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Mousse

No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Mousse

One reason I love when my mom visits (besides the dishes, of course:), is that she helps me brainstorm recipe ideas. And the holidays are her specialty. When I told her my idea for these no bake caramel cheesecake mousse cups, she added “and you can top them with grandma’s candied walnuts.” Then she went on and on about how my late great grandma made THE BEST candied walnuts every Christmas that she’d put in jars as holiday gifts.

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Ginger Miso Acorn Squash with Toasted Pistachios

date11.20.14

Ginger Miso Acorn Squash

My mom’s here for the week hanging out with me (and doing dishes) while Lucas is in China. I’ve been spending my days jumping between meetings and stretches of dissertation writing, so when I popped over here to tell you about this Ginger Miso Acorn Squash dish, I was stumped. I turned to my mom for inspiration, “tell me a story mom.” And that’s when I realized, that was my story.

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Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing with Sage {gluten-free}

date11.17.14

Apple & Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

Sausage Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Even though I’ve dreamed of city life since I was just a kid hoping to one day make it big in the movies, I’m a small-town country girl at heart. I like to think I’ve learned a bit of city street smarts over the years since I moved away from home, but it hasn’t always been that way and it’s certainly taken time. There are things you take for granted when you live with your parents that slap you in the face as soon as you’re on your own – subtle but more vital things than laundry or dishes.

Things like changing the oil in your car, for example. How are you supposed to know that your dad’s been changing your oil all these years? Hopefully not by your car overheating and your radiator cracking during your first year in college like me.

Or things like how much liquid to put into homemade cornbread stuffing. That one’s from today and we’ll come back to it.

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