blueberry lemon galette

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Nothing says summer like a nice and rustic blueberry pie. Well, actually I don’t know who says that, but annual Lee family trips to Maine for the summer meant that blueberries and lobster were bountiful for at least one week of summer. With end-of-July temperatures making it too freaking hot to leave the house, why not bake a no-fuss galette and get a fun summery dessert out of it? Read on for the recipe and some more gorgeous shots because galettes are more photogenic than I am…

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a joyful celebration and mini lemon lavender bundt cakes

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It goes without saying that most celebrations are, without a doubt, happy. I guess I felt the need to include the word because just putting the word ‘celebration’ didn’t seem quite enough. One of my dearest friends (also one that I’ve known for over 15 of my 22 years!) got engaged last year, and to celebrate, we had a mini bridal potluck in my backyard to kick off her wedding week. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we got to reunite with old friends, make new ones, catch up, and most importantly, laugh together. It was such a blessing to spend time with nine amazing women who, despite our physical distances, are still capable of laughing up a jolly time whenever we get together. It was blissful and happy; a whirlwind of makeshift photobooth pictures and goofy emoji-inspired Polaroids. I think my face muscles hurt from laughing and smiling for literally 5 hours straight. As it was a potluck, my contribution was naturally, dessert. To complement the beautiful July weather, I decided on mini lemon bundt cakes. An unexpected dried lavender gift I received made its way into the simple vanilla icing that I drizzled on top. Read on for the recipe and some more snapshots!

 

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Just Call Me The Cookie Monster

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I’m a lazy baker. I don’t always level my measurements (shhh…) which may or may not explain why the majority of baking adventures I take are just shots in the dark. In any case, as a self-proclaimed lazy baker, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect chocolate chip cookie for those personal days when I feel like baking without having to think too much. This recipe is it. It uses measurements that are easy to remember and the best part is that it uses melted butter. Yaaas! No more pre-planning when to take the butter out of the fridge so it’s “softened” for me!

I made these cookies tonight in between movie binging with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Theory of Everything. All by myself and all for myself (the movie night, not the cookies). It was a great night to mark not only the end of a tough, paper-filled weekend but the start of another long, paper-filled two weeks to come. Thanks, college!

Also, apologies in advance — there is a super limited range of light in my apartment and I accidentally set my ISO level too high, hence the intense noise in the images.

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Icebox Cookies (and their many variations!)

Ice, Ice, Baby. All right stop, collaborate and listen. Whenever I hear this song (which isn’t that often), I always think about that scene in 13 Going on 30 where newly-transformed Jennifer Garner is greeted by a striptease and cheesy dancing by her boyfriend to the chants of “Ice, Ice, Baby…” Why that scene? ‘Cause cheesy dancing is what I’m all about.

Now…on another relatively separate note:

Luckily enough, my parents are very supportive of my irrational urge to bake at any and all hours of the day (and night). This is mostly because I’ve devised a way to lure them into a false state of “okay-ness” by always making sure to bake some of their favorite cookies. One of them is a crispy almond cookie that I’ll spotlight in a future blogpost. Another is a chocolate almond icebox cookie that I’ve found myself making very frequently. Icebox cookies in general are some of the most convenient cookies to make because once you’ve made them, they sit in the freezer until you’re ready to pull them out and bake off a few or the whole roll. They also lend themselves very well to numerous variations. In the past I’ve made them with earl grey tea, dried cranberries, or whatever nuts I have leftover from any other baking adventures and they’ve all turned out gloriously. They’re just so dang versatile and the livin’s easy.

This time I made a classic chocolate and almond combination (for the ‘rents) and a matcha checkerboard version (for the me). Check them out below!

icebox cookies-1 icebox cookies-3icebox cookies-9 icebox cookies-10icebox cookies-6The recipe for these cookies is super quick and easy. The base recipe is a simple butter-based shortbread cookie that can then be adjusted for a variety of different combinations.

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar
2 large egg yolks at room temperature
dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour

To make the chocolate and matcha variations, swap out 1/4 cup of flour for cocoa powder or matcha powder and add in any nuts or chocolate chips right before adding the flour.

The checkerboard pattern is a little more complicated but I’ve dug up a handy little diagram from Vera of Baking Obsession! As you can see, I haven’t quite mastered it yet but I’ll keep you guys updated on my cutting and stacking progress.

Walk Through the Whitney

This past Friday, I made my way to the Whitney Museum of American Art with D to check out their exhibits featuring Jeff Koons and Edward Hopper. Fridays from 6-9pm at the Whitney Museum is pay-what-you-want admission prices (as long as it’s above $.01). I’m pretty sure having an unpaid internship this summer has attuned me to my true calling: finding free (or extremely discounted) food, and staking out museums’ special admission days. Let me just say, thank goodness for Gothamist.com and Bedfordandbowery.com for being my frugal friends this summer.

I got there at around 5:50 and there was already a long line wrapping around the corner, down 75th street, and approaching Park Ave. D arrived only a few minutes later and by that point a hefty line had accumulated behind me. But once they opened the doors the line moved pretty quickly and we were able to get in without much of a waiting time.

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“Woman in Tub”

The Jeff Koons exhibit was certainly…interesting. I think what I enjoyed the most was listening to the stories behind his sculptures on the mobile listening device. Although I don’t necessarily “get” the connection between vacuum cleaners and phallic shapes, I am impressed with the detail that he put into his artistic process and all that fun stuff.

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On the other hand, Hopper’s paintings were more my cup of tea. I was drawn to the peaceful everyday scenes of life with just a touch of mystery and titles like “Early Sunday Morning” and “Seven A.M.”

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We ended the night with sliders and cheese fries at Mark (oh St. Marks, I can never escape you) and dessert at the aptly-named La Churreria. All in all, here’s to an indulgent night of high-brow museum browsing and low-brow greasy meals. Yum.

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