Spring is here! The air smells of maraschino liqueur and my lemon tree is loving the sun. Simple routines like checking on its flower buds gives me so much joy, and I'm savoring every moment of this short lived comfortable weather because summer is near, here in Texas. With my launch of my new site Libation, I've slipped into hectic work mode and I realized I desperately needed to sit back and breathe. And what better way to relax than to invite some friends over for an all vegetarian dinner to nourish our souls?
I wanted to catch up with my talented creative friends so I invited Lindsey and Dimitar from Era Ceramics and Jo from Hi, I'm Jo and her new husband Taner. And since Lindsey is a ceramicist and I, a collector of her work, we set the table with all of her hand-thrown plates. We made my own version of caesar salad with fresh anchovies and greens from our garden (a vegetarian option was there for Jo of course), our popular shiso miso mushroom tacos, fresh pasta with arrabiata sauce, tomatoes cooked three ways on buttermilk sourdough bread, truffle pate, and my plum frangipane tart. Lindsey and Dimitar brought a couscous dish made with cauliflower instead of couscous (so good!), and Jo and Taner brought pasta salad. For drinks, we had mojitos with Chareau and lots of wine.
It's cookie swap season! I'm participating in my first ever virtual cookie swap with a bunch of talented food bloggers this year. I experimented with three cookie recipes and this is the one I chose to share with you because it's super easy and there's not much you can do to mess this one up. Literally, it'll take you 15 minutes to prepare and then it's in the oven. I tried coming up with a chocolate chip cookie with fresh mint but that was a disaster because somehow it ended up tasting like weed cookies once it came out of the oven. I also thought up of a salted caramel sandwich cookie, but it's labor intensive and easy to mess up the consistency of the caramel. These snickerdoodle wedding cookies are quick and fool proof, no need to add an extra level of stress on this stressful enough holiday!
If you want inspiration for holiday cookies or if you're just here for pretty food photos take a quick peek at my snickerdoodle wedding cookie recipe and hop on over to everyone else's recipes!
Snickerdoodle wedding cookies
for the cookie:
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
for the cinammon sugar:
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tsp cinammon
- 1/8 tsp salt
Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Make sure it's fully mixed.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a kitchen aid with the scraper bowl attachment, cream the butter (about one minute on high speed). Add the powdered sugar and cream until light and fluffy (another minute on high). Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until the mixture looks smooth, but don't overdo it! Over mixing once the flour is incorporated will encourage unnecessary gluten formation. We want the cookies to be crumbly, not bread like. Form dough into small balls about the size of a melon ball and roll each of the cookies in the cinnamon sugar. I like to roll all of the cookies in it once and then go back and do it again for extra cinnamon flavor. Place the cookies on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
Apple cider bourbon cocktail
- left over cinnamon sugar from the cookies
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 oz brown sugar simple syrup (see below for recipe)
- 1/4 oz Campari
For the simple syrup, combine a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of water in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds and mix until all of the sugar dissolves.
Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar in a small plate. In another plate, add some water. Take your coupe and turn it upside down. While keeping it flat, wet the rim of the coupe in the water, then place it in the plate with the cinnamon sugar to coat.
In a shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, 1/4 oz simple syrup and Campari with ice and shake.
Garnish with a rosemary sprig with cranberries for extra festivity (I usually make the holes in the cranberries with something else beforehand to make it easier).
Check out these amazing ladies and their holiday cookie recipes:
- Madeline Hall - Snowflake Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- Katherine in Brooklyn - Cranberry Jam Linzer Cookies
- Lyndsey Eden - Orange Zest and Almond Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- Nommable - Nutmeg Nutella Rice Krispies
- The Foodwright - Peanut Butter Cup Thumbprints
- Wood and Spoon - Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Pumpkin & Peanut Butter - Gluten Free Gingerdoodle Blondies
- Seek Satiation - Cinnamon Chocolate Dipped Shortbread
- This Brown Kitchen - Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies
- Bappy Girl - Strawberry and Blueberry Meringues
- The Table of Contents - Sesame Almond Ginger Lace Cookies
- Gracepcheng - Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Jenna Hazel - Soft Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
How cute is this glass? I found these vintage glasses at my favorite boutique liquor store (The Austin Shaker) and wanted to make a drink that really enhanced the beautiful lines of this coupe. A really clear and colorless cocktail sounded perfect for this, so I pulled out all of the liquors that fit the category that wasn’t rum or tequila and started experimenting. The end result, a high alcohol content cocktail that doesn’t taste boozy and has pleasant floral notes.
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz St Germain
1 Luxardo Cherry
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Scenes from Marfa. Desert meets artist community meets star gazing paradise. We spent a relaxing weekend here for Anthony's birthday. Here are some of my favorite things to do when I go out west. We enjoyed some local beer at a brewery facing the mountains in Alpine, sipped on wine in our beautiful airbnb while observing the paintings around the house, cuddled in a safari tent with heated blankets in the chilly desert, saw a heard of havalinas, and had a romantic dinner at Al Campo surrounded by Jesus candles. There's influence from Mexico and contemporary artists in every corner. Check out my list of favorite things to do!
1. Attend a star party at the McDonald Observatory. You'll get to look through one of the biggest telescopes at stars from neighboring galaxies. You can buy tickets online.
2. Have a margarita at Hotel Saint George. One of the best margaritas I've ever had outside of Mexico. They also have bites and coffee and a cute bookstore on the other side.
3. Stay at El Cosmico, a glamping site with teepees, safari tents, and airstreams. Every part of this site is curated with retro furniture and colorful mexican blankets. Inquire about the salsa bowl hot tubs for a chilly night in a steamy hot tub while watching the stars. (Fills up quickly, book in advance!)
4. Eat dinner at Al Campo. Sit inside for a cute candlelit dinner surrounded by carefully picked out antiques or enjoy a bottle of wine in the patio next to the open fire.
5. Try some local craft beer at Big Bend Brewing Company. Locals love this place, and if you sit outside, you get a beautiful scene of the mountains.
6. Go hiking or camping at Big Bend National Park. If camping, you'll need to book in advance because this fills up quickly as well. If going on a day hike, I recommend the 4 mile hike on the Window Trail. If you want to drive around and take photos instead of hiking anywhere, go to Chisos Basin for the best views!
8. Check out Cobra Rock for handmade leather shoes and retro looking shoe making tools. Colt Miller might be making a boot when you walk in! If you don't want any shoes, there are cute purses and leather goods you can buy.
9. Have some cheap tex mex at Mando's Restaurant & Bar. A spot locals come to. It's unassuming at first, but their beans are to die for!
10. Drive out to the iconic Prada Store. An art installation in the middle of nowhere. Great for taking photos.
11. Head to Planet Marfa for cheap drinks. You might run into locals playing the guitar in the teepee.
12. Tour the Chinati foundation. You can do a self guided tour or you can opt for one of the guided tours. The longest one (4 hours) will get you access to all of the installations. Book tours in advance. The concrete blocks are free!
13. Buy some wine at the Get Go. A local grocery store reminiscent of Royal Blue with a great wine selection.
14. Visit the other small art galleries. Most of them are free, and are on the main strip of the town.