Hello! Hi. Remember me? I've been busy. I promise, there are a few recipes queued up for you here at Bella Eats and it is my goal to post them this week. But first, I am so excited to share a project I've been working on at Andrea Hubbell Photography, in collaboration with Sarah of Cramer Photo. We are both lovers of food, photography, and life. Together we are reaching beyond the flavor to capture the stories behind meals shared at the tables of local chefs, farmers, bakers, and food enthusiasts, because we believe that recipes are deeper than the ingredients used to prepare them.
This project has been an independent dream for each of us over the past couple of years. After several lunches, many glasses of wine, long hikes with our dogs and an inspiring trip to New Orleans with our husbands, we took the leap and combined our two visions to create this delicious collaboration. We love working together, and are thrilled to finally share our new project with you.
For an introduction to Beyond the Flavor, check out our new website, www.beyondtheflavor.com. I hope you'll sit back and enjoy the stories behind the meals that fill our town. This is just the beginning.
Tomorrow Brian and I are heading to New Orleans with friends! Second only to Charlottesville, NOLA is our favorite city and we are so excited to be heading back for a few days. In the spirit of the trip, I thought I'd share this Red Beans + Rice with Andouille Sausage from a couple of years ago.
Be ready for some NOLA-inspired recipes when we get back! :)
Happy New Year, friends! While I am excited for all that 2012 has in store, 2011 contained some of my favorite recipes and images I've ever shared here on Bella Eats. i've got a little recap of the lovely year, just in case you're looking for inspiration this cold January day. Or, maybe just the sunny hope that Summer and her tomatoes will, indeed, be here eventually.
I am thrilled and flattered to have been asked by Lisa of A Dinner Party to participate in her What's For Dinner series. Just look at her list of past participants...wow! Thank you, Lisa, for including me!
Check out my interview with Lisa to find out more about entertaining in the Hubbell / Bella Eats household!
Last weekend we gathered with friends to celebrate the forthcoming birth of a new family. The party [yes, party. this was not a baby shower. and yes, boys were invited.] was co-hosted by myself and two lovely ladies, all of us brought together by our shared bond to Joe and Erin, the parents-to-be. The event was in the works for two months. Dozens of emails were passed between the three hostesses as we planned. The only request from Erin was that there be no diaper decorations and no silly shower games. No problem.
We decided to throw a simple summer party and to decorate using colors inspired by the nursery; shades of blue, yellow, and green. There was fruit-laden sangria and homemade lemonade, pulled-pork sandwiches and corn straight from Erin's family's farm. The weather was kind, overcast and cool with only the slightest spattering of rain. We sat outside sharing stories and laughter as candlelight flickered across happy faces long into the night.
Also, we ate cupcakes.
[To see more images of the evening, visit the AHPhoto blog.]
I love an opportunity to make cupcakes, and an outdoor summer party seemed to be the perfect occasion. A quick email to Erin verified that she had no preference for cake flavor, which was lucky because I had already decided that chocolate wasn't an option. It just didn't fit in with the party decor, which is a perfectly valid excuse I assure you.
And so I was left thinking about vanilla and lemon. It is no secret that I am a fanatic for citrus-flavored sweets, with four lemoncakes, citrus scones, key lime butter cookies, and coconut lime bars all listed on the Bella Eats recipe page. I should probably apologize for giving you yet another citrus dessert...but I won't. You just can't go wrong with citrus, and that requires no apology.
The cake itself is actually a modification of an old favorite, borrowed from the Lemon Mousse Cake I made for my own birthday a few months ago. It is a chiffon cake, made light and spongy by the egg whites folded into the batter just before baking. The addition of lemon and orange zest brightens the flavor, but it is the swirl atop the golden domes that truly stands out. The meringue buttercream seemed to be a hit, although it is the most unusual frosting I have ever tasted. A finger swiped across the side of the mixing bowl produces a dollop of ultra-creamy spread that melts as soon as it hits the tongue. At first the taste buds are overwhelmed with the flavor of butter, which then melts away to become a bright pop of lemon, that then fades to the slow warmth of Grand Marnier. It is a three-step process using each third of the tongue - front, middle, back - in succession, with each flavor forming its own distinct statement. And it isn't too sweet, so you could easily eat several cupcakes without causing your teeth to ache.
Not that I would know that...
The frosting shapes beautifully, and despite my fears did not melt in the warm and humid evening air. A summer winner, for sure.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 fresh lemon, seeds discarded
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened slightly
1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350º. Line 1 standard muffin tin with 12 liners, and another with 6 liners.
In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, butter, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt to blend. Add the lemon and orange zest and blend with your fingers to separate clumps. Add the egg yolk mixture and stir until well combined. Set aside.
In a clean dry bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Lower the mixer speed to medium and gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating the whites until they hold stiff peaks. Stir about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Gently fold the remaining whites into the batter, in two batches, to blend thoroughly.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, filling each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted near the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Set the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely on wire racks.
Heat whites and sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved and a thermometer registers 160°F. Remove bowl from heat and beat mixture in standing electric mixer on medium-high speed until thick, glossy peaks form. If mixture is still warm, continue beating until cool. (this takes about 10 minutes)
With mixer running, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add liqueur and lemon juice, beating on high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes. If buttercream begins to separate, beat on high speed until smooth.
Use a pastry bag to pipe frosting over cupcakes once they are completely cool. Keep refrigerated until ready to consume.
Congratulations Joe and Erin, we are so excited to meet your baby boy!
Hello Friends! Remember me mentioning how busy I've been lately? Well, I am here to tell you the main reason... I've launched a photography company, Andrea Hubbell Photography! I'd love to share my portfolio with you, and hope you'll subscribe to the AHPhoto blog I've started as part of my new website. You can also follow me on Twitter, if you'd like, for photography-specific tweets.
No worries, Bella Eats isn't going anywhere! In fact, we are in the midst of a big website and branding overhaul that will be revealed in the next two months. I even have a lovely lime and blackberry tart to share with you very soon... (see if you can find an image of it in my portfolio!)
Until then, I'd like to entice you over to the AHPhoto blog with a few teaser images of our recent trip to Chincoteague. Consider it an [almost] Wordless Wednesday.