Entries Tagged as 'Events'

Farewell 2012, Hello 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Honestly, I can’t believe the year is gone.  In 2012 I tried my hand at catering.  I made cheese at home for the first time and it was delicious.  The blog turned 1 and then I putzed out on it, but only after the LA Times and NY Times recognized me on various internet platforms…because that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  In honor of a great year for food, may I present to you, a retrospective:

The most popular recipes on the blog, as dictated by my precious readers, were all sweets.  I guess I know where my strengths lie?


 Mexican Chocolate Cakemexican_chocolate_cake

The Pastry Queen‘s Mexican Chocolate Cake was the year’s big winner by a long shot, and rightfully so.  The intense chocolate flavor with that hint of cinnamon and pecan taught me that not all chocolate cakes are created equal.


Blueberry Supremes

blueberry crisp ice cream

These little Blueberry Supremes count as one of my favorites of the year as well, because they were from a recipe handed down from my Great Aunt, who had the recipe from an old Junior League of Tulsa cookbook.  Not much more than blueberries, a little butter sugar and flour for the topping, and voila!  Those ladies sure knew how to cook!  Pulling these hot and bubbling from the oven is one of my favorite food memories of the year.


Caramel-Filled Brownies

caramel-filled_brownies watermark

Another winner from The Pastry Queen, these Caramel-Filled Brownies were definitely some of the richest treats to ever come out of my kitchen.  Wash down with a tall glass of milk.


Chewy Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies

chewy coconut lime sugar cookies

I don’t blame people for loving these Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies- they are without a doubt the best basic sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever come across (Thank you, Cooks Illustrated!).  The best part is how easy it is to add in great twists of flavor, like the coconut and lime in this particular variation.




Lemon Sugar Dutch Baby

lemon sugar dutchbaby

If you want a way to make breakfast more interesting without adding a lot of extra work to the process, look no farther than this fun treat.  The Lemon Sugar Dutch Baby is a fabulously easy and equally impressive for guests.


Fat Tuesday King Cake


This soft, cinnamon and cream cheese twisted brioche King Cake makes the list of my favorites because (trumpet fanfare) it was the first yeasted recipe I was able to pull off properly.  For all the failures I’ve endured this year, I was finally rewarded with a soft, tender bread dough filled with spicy cinnamon and rich cream cheese.  Leave off the colored sugar and you’ve got yourself a breakfast item that you’re going to want to eat all in one sitting.


Creamy Chicken Taquitos


I know, I know, Creamy Chicken Taquitos certainly made the rounds in the food blog world this year, but it did rightfully so.  They’re the perfect minimal effort fun dinner.  They’d also be great for leftovers, if only some lasted beyond dinner whenever I make them…


French Yogurt Cake

french yogurt cake

Rounding out my favorites of the year is a delightful French Yogurt Cake.  Easy to make but tasting far more complicated, it’s a light, airy version of a pound cake.  It was gone within 24 hours- you can’t argue with results like that!


Even though 2012 is looking hard to beat, I’m sure 2013 will be even more tasty.  I can’t wait to see what comes out of my kitchen to share with you.  Given that Santy Clause left a Himalayan Salt Plate and a sparkly new Ice Cream Maker under the tree for me this year, I predict we’re going to see lots of new recipes rolling out very soon.  Happy New Year, everyone!


Food Legacy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Now that June is over, I will (hopefully) have time to get back to blogging more regularly—I’ve missed it!  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a final memory from my recent trip down Family History Lane.

As we were meandering through the Sugar Creek Historical Museum in Independence, MO, the walls were covered with photographs and memorabilia that had meaning in one way or another to my family; there were pictures of the community pool that my dad and his brothers and sister swam in when they were young, the oil refinery where my grandmother and grandfather met, great uncles in their navy uniforms and so on and so forth.

And there was this portrait:

Freda Chaney Cairns 1943

Freda Chaney Cairns 1943

As we passed by the wall this picture was hanging on, my grandmother airily remarked, “Oh!  And this is Freda Cairns!  She introduced me to Philadelphia Cream Cheese!” and continued walking on down the hall.

I was left behind to stifle my giggles at the simple, yet apparently profound mark this woman left on my family history.  Isn’t that an adorable legacy to leave behind?  Thank you, Freda, for the cream cheese!

Virtual Baby Shower for Baby Ruf Love!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Emily Ruf, of Ruf Love, is having a baby!!  While we would all love to show our support for her in person, the truth of the matter is that us members of Project Pastry Queen are scattered all over the country.  Thus, the Virtual Baby Shower was a way to show we care by doing what we do best: blog!  Members of Project Pastry Queen submitted items they would like to “bring” to the shower and I’ve shared them below.  Click on the photos below to be taken to the website for each recipe.  Emily, feast your eyes…


Vicky, of Avocado Pesto, made these Dried Fruit and Nut Bars.  Gotta keep Baby Ruf healthy!


Emily (yes, there are three of us Emilys in PPQ!), of She Makes and Bakes, made this beautiful Lemon Blueberry Cake that matches Baby Ruf’s nautical themed nursery!


Shawnda, of Confections of a Foodie Bride, made this thirst-quenching Cherry Lemonade- looks delicious!


Jennifer, of Sweet Morris, made these Fruit Crostadas from the PPQ cookbook. Nothing beats fresh fruit in the summer!


Amanda, of Homekeeping Adventures, made Orange-Cran Sparklers-I love drinks that tickle your nose!


blueberry crisp ice cream
and finally, I made individual Blueberry Crisps for Emily and Baby Ruf

Aren’t you just dying to dig into all of that food??  Thank you to all of the PPQ members who contributed.  Emily, we all sincerely wish nothing but health and happiness coming your way in the next few months!


Happy Birthday, Little Blog! + Fruity Pebbles Treats

Friday, May 25, 2012

blogiversary fruity pebbles treats

One year ago today, I took my first little step into blogging.  A Gilt Nutmeg is one year old.  I wasn’t sure exactly why I wanted to start blogging, but I knew somehow that it was the right path to start walking down.  One year later and I can’t even begin to describe what this little project has done for me.  On the most basic of levels, it has taught me cooking skills I never would have guessed I would possess.  It has forced me to continue trying new recipes as often as I could instead of relying on tired old recipes I’ve used a million times and, perhaps most importantly, given me a focus in life for this odd in-between stage of being in my mid-twenties.  I admit, coming home from a job in a field I never planned to go into can be very draining and I think if it weren’t for the blog, I would just go home and plop in front of the tv each night with some fast food-and this is coming from someone who loves to cook!  Cooking was such an important part of my childhood that I think it was really just waiting patiently inside of me, waiting until I had a kitchen of my own (or at least roommate who didn’t commandeer it) and the drive to really get in there and let all this pent up cooking shine and spark out of me like a Katy Perry music video.

blogiversary fruity pebbles treats wide shot

So now I cook as often as I can.  I have a CSA box delivered once a month with organic fruits, veggies and herbs.   My baking cabinet is now so full of supplies that I have to store my cupcake tins on a chair at the dining room table because there’s just no room anymore.  I can proudly say that I know what an f-stop on a camera is, Jonathan Gold ate and liked my pie, and that I have been recognized by the New York Times as something “they’re reading“.  If you had told me a year ago that I could check even one of those things off my bucket list, I would have thought you were crazy….but here we are.  I can’t thank you enough for the support and encouragement you, my dear friends, family and readers have given me over the last 12 months.  Truly, nothing makes my heart sing more than to hear that someone has tried a recipe from my blog and loved it as much as I did.

To celebrate, I did want to pull an oldie but a goodie out of the hat: Fruity Pebbles Treats.  Just like Rice Krispies Treats except you swap out the flavorless puffed rice with one of my all time favorite forbidden cereals, which just happens to be packed with flavors (albeit extremely artificial flavors).  You put one of these gorgeously colored treats in front of me and I guarantee that plate will be licked clean in no time at all!

Fruity Pebbles Treats
Makes 1-2 dozen, depending on dish size and cutting measurements

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 bag (10 oz) mini marshmallows
  • 1 box (11 oz) Fruity Pebbles
  1. In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  In the meantime, spray an 8×8 baking dish or a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  An 8×8 pan will yield fewer treats, but they’ll be thicker (as in my photo).  A 9×13 dish will give you much thinner treats, but more of them.
  2. Add the mini marshmallows to the melted butter, stirring until they are melted entirely and incorporated with the butter.
  3. Add the Fruity Pebbles, turn off the heat, and gently stir and fold the cereal into the marshmallow-butter mixture.  Keep mixing until all the white patches of marshmallow are gone and the cereal is evenly coated in marshmallow.
  4. Dump the cereal-marshmallow mixture into the prepared dish and firmly press the mixture flat into the pan.  I use a lot of pressure, because if you squish the cereal down enough, it’ll break up a little and make for a chewier treat instead of an airy one that falls apart.
  5. Put in the fridge to cool.  Once cool, flip the treats out onto a cutting board and slice with a pizza cutter or large knife.  Enjoy!!

Amanda’s Bridal Shower & Watermelon Gin Fizz

Monday, May 7, 2012

margarita cupcakes

On Saturday I had the honor of making the food for the bridal shower of my dear friend’s sister.  I learned a very important lesson this weekend: catering is EXHAUSTING.  I also learned that you should NOT leave something as finicky as Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting to the very last minute because you will be literally running on foot to the closest mini-mart for butter to start a backup American style Buttercream that will have you leaving 2 hours later for San Diego than planned.

herbed cucumber bites

Since the party was for 2pm on a gorgeous spring day, I had planned out a menu that would be very light and all non-fork foods for the guests to snack on.  Would you believe that out of all of the different items, the hit of the party were the cucumbers?  Also, a green and red theme inadvertently emerged and yet the table somehow didn’t look like Christmas, which is a miracle-instead all the green just reminded you that Spring was getting underway.  I’ll be posting the recipes throughout the week; any one of them would be a great appetizer to a Spring dinner.

While tiring, the experience was very rewarding and I’m so proud and happy to have been able to do this for my friend’s family.  I wish nothing but the best for Amanda and Christian!


  • Herbed Cucumber Bites
  • Strawberry Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Goat Cheese
  • Shaved Asparagus, Prosciutto & Parmesan Tea Sandwiches
  • Margarita Cupcakes (it was Cinco de Mayo, after all)
  • Watermelon Gin Fizz

strawberry basil bruschetta

Since I don’t have a great photo of the drink, I’ll post the recipe here and save the other recipes for their own posts.  It is going to be perfect for a hot summer’s day with friends and I can’t wait to drink it all season long.

Watermelon Gin Fizz
Adapted from Eating Well

  • 1 medium sized watermelon (the melons a little bigger than a soccer ball)
  • 2 bottles (2 liter size) of ginger ale
  • about 1/2 a  bottle of gin (you can, of course, adjust this to taste)
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • extra limes to cut for garnish, if you wish
  1. Cut the watermelon into large chunks.  If you wish (and I highly suggest it) set aside about 1/3 of the melon and neatly cut those slices into 1″ cubes.  Put the cubes in a bag and put them in the freezer to act as edible ice cubes later.
  2. Puree the remaining watermelon in a blender or food processor (although the processor isn’t liquid proof so it may make a bit of a mess) and strain the watermelon puree in a sieve; discard the fibers and seeds left behind in the sieve.  You should end up with about 12 cups of juice.  This step can be done a few days ahead of time; refrigerate until needed.
  3. When ready to serve, combine the watermelon juice, ginger ale, gin, and lime juice.  Stir, add the watermelon “ice cubes”, and enjoy!

Another great hostess tip: In addition to the watermelon ice cubes, fill a cupcake pan with one round slice of lime (or lemon) in each of the 12 cupcake wells, then fill each well about half way with boiling water (boiling the water means the ice will freeze clear instead of looking white).  Put the tray in the freezer and voila!  Some of the cutest decorative ice cubes ever for your punch.  If you have trouble getting them out of the cupcake pan, run some warm water over the pan to loosen them.

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming Soon…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For most cooks, these first few weeks in November are the calm before the storm, the last relaxed period before the holidays really kick in and you’re required to put large amounts of food on the table for large numbers of guests.

For me, however, it’s the last storm before the skies clear-right now I’m strangely busy, amongst other obstacles (flat tire!  sliced finger!-can’t cook with that, anyway) and I’m so looking forward to getting through this week because after that, the clouds part, the sun shines through and…it’s Thanksgiving.  The week before Thanksgiving I go into zen mode and am in pure bliss making grocery lists and time tables and scheduling how far ahead to start one dish before another (confession: I may have started some of that already).

This year I’ll be joining my great aunt and uncle at my cousin’s lovely house in Anaheim and I couldn’t be more excited to be sharing Thanksgiving with them.  I always hope to take as much pressure off the hostess as possible on the Big Day and am always happy to contribute as much as I can bring to the table.

Since this is my first Thanksgiving in Anaheim, I’m bringing all of my Turkey Day Specialties:

  • Caramelized Onion Cornbread Stuffing
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Buttered Green Beans with Dill
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Southern Comfort Apple Pie
  • Emily’s Famous Pecan Pie

I’ll also be making some homemade turkey stock the week before so that I have plenty for gravy making, since there is nothing more upsetting to me than a shortage of gravy for leftovers!

In the meantime, I’m going to be spending this weekend in a “stay-cation” of sorts-the International Food Bloggers Conference will be in Santa Monica!  With great thanks to the generous event sponsors who awarded me a scholarship, I’ll be in lectures and tutorials, wine-tastings, and mingling with other food bloggers, learning all I possibly can for three straight days.  I hope that it will bring me and my blog to the next level for you to enjoy!

Countdown to Thanksgiving: 15 Days!


Good Eats for Cheap: The $5 Challenge Pot Luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Emily here, with a special announcement!

I’m pleased to be taking part in the “$5 Challenge”-an event taking place across the country because (as they so perfectly worded it): “slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”

I will be hosting the event at a lovely little park in Santa Monica and encourage anyone in the LA area to join me.  I’ve capped the attendance at 15 people, so hurry up and RSVP already!

Each person should bring a dish that cost them $5 or less to prepare.  We know it’s possible; just use your noggin!  The good news is, this is one challenge that is really worth thinking through, as I know I’m guilty of occasionally grabbing a drive-thru taco because it costs less than a dollar and then trying to convince myself that I hit all the proper food groups: veggies (unripe tomatoes and pathetic lettuce), dairy (sour cream, processed cheese), protein (mystery meat), whole grains (the taco shell LOOKS like whole grain, right?).  Let’s prove to ourselves that we can eat a lot healthier than this for just as cheap!

To join me on September 17th for my $5 Challenge Pot Luck, RSVP at this link: http://donate.slowfoodusa.org/goto/emilyb

If you can’t join me, host your own dinner!  It can be a pot luck like mine, you can make a big dinner for a church group or school group and charge people $5 at the door, or you can just pledge to cook your family a healthy dinner that night that costs $5 or less per person.  Or hold cooking lessons and teach a healthy menu for less than $5 a person!  What ever you choose to do, PLEDGE HERE that you’ll take the challenge even just for yourself one night, or register your event (publicly, so others can join you or privately, for just your friends or family) on the $5 Challenge registration website.

First Organic Produce Delivery!

Friday, July 22, 2011

So this first post this morning isn’t a recipe; I couldn’t let the day pass without sharing the wonderful box of goodies that showed up on my doorstep yesterday afternoon!

I signed up for Farm Fresh To You, a service that delivers a box of organic local produce to your home.  Now, for months I searched for exactly this, but only found services that were too expensive and gave more produce more frequently than I would be able to eat before the next delivery.  Farm Fresh To You, however, has a LOT of things going for it:

  • You can choose to get deliveries every week, every other week, or every 3 or 4 weeks.
  • You can choose the size and variety of your box-small, regular, large sizes and you can choose to get just fruits, just veggies, both, or even options beyond those, like only “grab and go” fruits and veggies that you can pick up on the way out the door and eat just with your hands.
  • You can choose what exactly comes in your box.  I know some people might think this is cheating since, after all, part of the fun is figuring out how to use the produce that week.  But there are some people with allergies (I should have said no apples, since I am indeed allergic to apples, but I love cooking with them and giving the treats away) and there are some people who don’t want to let food go to waste if they already know they will not eat them (I, admittedly, said no beets and no celery).

So back to the first box:  it was a bumper crop!  1 head of green leaf lettuce, 3 stalks of broccoli, 2 slicing tomatoes, 1 yellow onion, 1 pound of yellow squash, 1 avocado, 1 cantaloupe, 2 doughnut peaches, and 1 pound of lemon cucumbers.

If any of you out there have ever had a lemon cucumber, then you had me beat.  I’d never even heard of them!  Turns out they look like a small yellow tennis ball, but taste exactly like your average every day cucumber.  The only difference is that the skin is just ever so slightly tougher-but we ate the skins anyway and only barely noticed them.  What an experience!

I absolutely suggest you find a service like this in your area.  You may be surprised to find that they do exist in your area, especially since the locavorism trend has begun to take off in popularity.  I can say this much…you guys will definitely benefit from these produce deliveries.  My head is already churning with recipe ideas for how to use everything!  Except the peaches-those will be a delightful little breakfast on the way to the office tomorrow.

Bonus-if you live in California, check out the Farm Fresh to You website and see if they deliver to your zip code.  If you want to give Farm Fresh to You a try, use code “6164″ for $5 off your first box. Mention my name and I get a treat too!

More Sweet Things to Come…

Monday, February 28, 2011

Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies


Coming Soon: musings on my small yet hopefully delicious contributions to the world.