Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category



angel food cake | designlovefest

i have to start by saying that Ivan had never had angel food cake!! i couldn’t believe it. i hadn’t had it for years before last week and had never made it from scratch. i forgot how wonderful it is; light, fluffy, subtle almond and vanilla flavor wrapped in a thick layer of whipped cream. it’s strawberry season here in California again (YAY!) and this cake felt like the perfect way to celebrate. i included a picture of how we cooled the cake below because i remember watching my mom doing this when i was a kid and being utterly confused why the cake pan was resting upside down on a soy sauce bottle (also, the fact that this cake has to completely cool before taking it out of the pan is torture), but it’s an important step, don’t skip it! – joanie

angel food cake | designlovefest

Angel Food Cake
recipe adapted from allrecipes. com 

• 12 egg whites at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cup cake flour
• 1 3/4 cup white sugar
• 1/4 salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

now, i’m going to be honest and say that i overworked the egg whites this time around, you want to whip them and then immediately, gently fold in the dry ingredients. this cake is delicate so treat it with care!

• start by sifting together your flour, sugar and salt, do this five times and set aside.

• beat your room temp egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add cream of tartar and the vanilla + almond extract. gently fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients and pour into an un-greased tube pan (make sure the inside of your pan is really clean and really dry!).

• place pan in a cold oven and turn oven to 325 degrees, cook for about 1 hour, ours needed 55 minutes. until cake is golden and bounces back when you push on the top.

• place the pan upside down on a bottle (as shown above) until it is completely cool. once cooled, use a knife and run it along all the edges to loosen, turn the pan upside down on a plate and hit the bottom until the cake falls out.

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

we topped ours with whipped cream (to make – just beat whipping cream, a splash of vanilla and a bit of white sugar until soft peaks form!) and sliced strawberries but it would also be great served with ice cream!

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

happy strawberry season!

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

photos by: ivan solis
styling by: joanie cusack



last summer i went on a serious pizza kick, making it at home with dough from trader joe’s and all sorts of produce from the farmers market. i was making it on a baking sheet for the longest time because we have a pizza stone but it won’t fit in my oven from the 1950’s. and then i realized i should be making it in our cast iron! it’s the perfect size and i pre-heat it in the oven before putting the dough inside so the bottom actually gets crispy which is one of my biggest complaints about homemade pizza, i hate a doughy crust! a cast iron pan is a total must have in a kitchen, really inexpensive and if you maintain it well it will last you a lifetime! one of my favorite ways to make a pizza is to make the base a super simple cheese pizza and then throw together a big salad and serve it directly on top with a little olive oil and lemon! it’s seriously delicious and a pretty balanced meal if you ask me. – joanie 

what you’ll need:

• 1 package of pre made pizza dough room temperature (from Trader Joes)
• olive oil
• 1/2 red onion diced
• 4 – 6 cups arugula
• 1 avocado diced
• 1/2 lemon juiced
• parmesan cheese
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less based on your desired cheesiness!)
• 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
• 1 shallot thinly slice
• salt and pepper to taste

• preheat oven to 425 degrees. place cast iron in oven to heat up for at least 20 minutes.

• fry the shallots: put about 1 inch of oil on medium heat in a pan. once hot, add the thinly sliced shallots and fry till browned. remove and set aside on paper towels.

• remove cast iron from the oven and brush with olive oil. carefully stretch the pizza dough into a circle and place into the cast iron, covering the bottom. brush dough with olive oil, spread a layer of mozzarella cheese and garlic slices on top of the dough and bake the pizza for 15 minutes. you want your cheese to be golden brown!

• in a large bowl place the arugula. add the red onion, avocado, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper

• once the cast iron is out of the oven place the arugula salad over the pizza and garnish with shaved parmesan and the fried shallots. cut into slices and serve while hot. enjoy!

do you have any fave cast iron recipes?!

images by: ivan solis
styling by: joanie cusack + ivan solis

see more recipes HERE



crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest

i watched a few chefs cook on the masterclass and really enjoyed it. i learned how to make wolfgang puck’s crispy chicken with mustard sauce and it was SO good. i always feel like i don’t know how to make chicken not taste boring or dry but this one was perfectly crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside.

in the spirit of le creuset’s new purple provence collection, we decided to go purple wild and pair it with purple cauliflower, onions and radish. a gorgeous and easy weeknight meal! let’s make it… -bri

crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest

my latest obsession is this purple braiser. white enamel on the inside and very pleasing on the eyes. the dutch oven is perfect for so many dishes and is good looking enough to sit out on your oven at all times.

and you can use the little guys for baked eggs (try this recipe!), desserts, or to hold salt or spices on your countertop.

crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest
crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest

for the chicken, we followed this recipe by wolfgang almost down to the tee with a few important notes:

1. it might be hard for your to find a butterflied chicken, but you can go to a market that has a good butcher counter (we went to Whole Foods), and ask them to butterfly a whole one for you. the smallest chicken we could find was 5lbs so our cooking time went longer than he says, about 25 minutes.

2. make sure to pat your chicken completely dry and then generously salt and pepper each side before placing it in the pan.

3. pay less attention to the cooking times noted and more about the notes on how it should look, i.e. make sure the chicken skin is really crispy, that could be less than 5 minutes or more than 7 depending on the size.

4. when you put the pan in the oven to cook make sure it is skin side down! it will have been skin side up and you’ll want to flip it back over before putting it in the oven. also, we used rosemary instead of tarragon and it worked great. you could also use thyme instead as well.

crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest

we prepared the cauliflower and red onion really simply with a light drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt, roasted at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. it’s nice to have the flavor on the plain side because the chicken packs a punch and you won’t want anything competing with that. we also served mashed sweet potatoes along side, for those we peeled and cubes the potatoes and placed them in boiling water until tender. we then drained them and mixed with butter, cream and salt and beat until soft and creamy!

crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest
crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest

we plated the chicken directly on top of the veggies and in the same pan we cooked them in. cuts down on dishes and the purple Le Creuset looks great for presentation!

crispy chicken recipe | designlovefest



i’ve found myself in a dinner time rut lately that involves eating too much pasta and not enough vegetables. i was looking for some colorful inspiration and turned to gwyneth paltrow’s book “It’s All Good” which is one of those cookbooks that i was surprised that i love and utilize so much.  i expected the book to be way too hippie and involve having to buy lots of bizarre (and expensive!) ingredients but it’s really not that way. the recipes are straight forward and everything i’ve made so far has been excellent. and there are tons of recipes that don’t have really long ingredient lists which is my main requirement for a weeknight dinner. i made her chicken with green olives twice in one week because it was that good! we made a version of her Chinese chicken salad and it’s simple and satisfying. lots of crunch from the vegetables with tender pieces of chicken and a slightly sweet dressing. we simplified the recipe from how she asks for the chicken to be cooked and added a few more things and i love how it turned out and wouldn’t change a thing from how we did it below. -joanie

• 2 carrots cut into matchsticks
• 2 heads of gem lettuce cored then finely chopped
• 2 green endive cored then finely chopped
• 1/2 a radicchio finely chopped
• 12 snow peas cut length wise
• quarter cup chopped cilantro
• black sesame seeds
• 2 green onions diced

• 1 large bone in chicken breast
• five Chinese spice
• salt and pepper

• 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
• 1/3 cup cold pressed untoasted sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 inch ginger finely grated
• 1 garlic clove finely minced

• pre-heat oven to 375. generously salt and pepper each side of the chicken and then add a sprinkle of the five Chinese spice to each side. place the chicken skin side down on a cold cast iron skillet. turn heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until skin is brown and crispy. remove from the stove top and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. set aside to cool for about 10 minutes before shredding.

• for the dressing whisk the ingredients in a bowl.

• to assemble combine all the salad ingredients with the chicken and the dressing, top with black sesame seeds and enjoy!

images by: ivan solis
styling by: joanie cusack + ivan solis

see more recipes HERE



the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

my mom is the queen of desserts, we used to have a dessert corner growing up at our house and she always had something on hand whether we had guests or just our family. she has some classics that i can picture her making, mini chocolate tarts with fresh raspberries in the summer, bread pudding, creme brûlée with the perfect burnt sugar crust, molten chocolate cakes with warm liquid centers, toffee in the winter and tiramisu. the story that goes with the tiramisu recipe is that it was my mom’s favorite from an Italian restaurant in telluride and she really wanted the recipe. so my dad offered to leave a $500 tip after one of their meals in exchange for the recipe and they agreed. the restaurant has since closed which makes the recipe even more special. i’ve never attempted to make it because truthfully i’m always been intimidated. it feels so involved, the layers, the soaking, the egg whites, the dusting. but it was so simple (and i’m not just saying that) and it really is a high impact dessert, you make this for a dinner party and people are going to be impressed! – joanie

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

serves 12
recipe by meg cusack, adapted from Excelsior Cafe in Telluride, CO

• 1 400 g package of lady fingers (not all stores carry these, we found ours at sprouts but an italian market would have them too)
• 4 cups boiling water
• 3 teaspoons instant coffee (can be decafe or regular!)
• 6 tablespoons Kahlua
• 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese
• 10 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks
• unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 -3 ounces bittersweet chocolate

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest
the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

how to make:

• bring water to a boil in a saucepan. turn off heat and add instant coffee, kailua, and  2 tablespoons sugar. stir mixture and set aside.

• with a hand mixer, beat 10 egg whites to stiff peaks form, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. you know the peaks have formed when you pull the blender up and the egg whites hold their shape. in a separate bowl, blend egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar together with a whisk, stir in mascarpone cheese and then fold in stiff egg whites with a spatula; set aside.

• use a 9 x 13 ” glass pan and then dip 1/2 of each lady finger in coffee mix and layer in bottom of pan, generally lady fingers have one side that is crunchy with sugar, soak the other side and put the soaked side up (about 20 ladyfingers).

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest
the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

• next spread 1/2 of mascarpone mix on top. sift a solid layer of cocoa powder over top. sprinkle 1/2 of grated bittersweet chocolate on top of this.

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

• Repeat everything exactly as you did on the first layer. Top with cocoa powder, and shaved chocolate. chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour, but ideally 2-3 hours if you have the time.

• Cut into pieces and serve! this will last 2 days, but after that it starts to get a bit soggy so eat up!

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest
the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest
the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

one note from my mom: the ladyfingers you should use are found near the cookies at an import store- not the ones found in the dairy section of the grocery store.

the best tiramisu recipe | designlovefest

images by: ivan solis
styling by: joanie cusack + ivan solis


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