a new normal + a plum tart

August 5th, 2013

Wow. It’s been a long time and a crazy journey since I was here but it feels so good to be back. I’m happy to say that after 55 days in the hospital, my sweet daughter Claire is doing so much better. Thank you for all the kind words and thoughts sent our way—it really meant the world to me and my family. 

We’ve been home for a few weeks now and things are beginning to feel normal again—of course it’s a new normal, but one I’m pretty jazzed about that. I’m not only seeing things through a new lens as a mother, but also as a Californian—it’s so fun (on both accounts)! When we arrived home, the tree outside our window that had little green berries on it a few months ago was now laden with deep red plums, some of which literally fell into my window when I opened it. Umm, yeah, that’s kind of awesome. After getting adjusted to our new routine, it seemed high time that I pick some of those plums and start whipping up some tasties. I got a few suggestions on instagram and my sweet tooth won—a simple plum tart was the first one and sounded like a perfect way to ease back into the swing of things while using up some of those plums. Ok, and it sounded pretty dang delicious. Lucky for all of us, it lived up to my expectations. 

One of the biggest lessons I learned while Claire was in the hospital was to savor the small things. There were days when I dreamt about simply sitting on my couch with my family, or even better, I loved dreaming about all the adventures we could go on together—from a walk down the street exploring the crazy botanicals California has to offer to taking a trip to Point Reyes together. These things got me through the crazy— I just had to believe that they were more than just dreams, that they were really going to happen. Standing in my kitchen this week picking plum, I felt so thankful that I was able to be in my kitchen, not only look at, but pick awesome fruit, and actually bake something—(there was no kitchen in our hospital life). This tart was like a welcome-back-to-life-tart and man, it tasted good.

Read more »

A time out

May 17th, 2013

I was all geared up to share a delicious summer hand pie recipe with you that I made for a little adventure Aaron, Claire, Maude, and I were going to take- then my life turned upside down. Early this week my sweet 5 week old daughter was rushed to Stanford University with heart problems after a routine doctor appointment led us down a hellish rabbit hole. Needless to say the post did not go up and the hand pies were hurriedly grabbed on the way out the door to the ER and became the only thing we ate in a day. Claire is stable and in the hands of amazing doctors and we’re hopeful that she’s going to be great and live a fantastic life but we’re in for a long haul. Sadly whipping up something in the kitchen (and photographing it) is not going to happen anytime soon- so please bear with me as I dedicate everything in my powers to helping my daughter get better. I look forward to the day when I can sit down and write that hand pie post with a babbling little lady by my side.

rhubarb + blood orange spritzer

May 3rd, 2013

Oh, hello there! Ummmm, I have a daughter now! How crazy is that?! It’s been nearly a month since Claire Beatrice arrived and I still can’t believe that I’m a mom to this beautiful little lady. So much (babies change so fast!) and so little (ahem, housework, blog, any correspondence) has happened over the past month—I feel a little shy coming back. Chances are that’ll last about one post.

This week we’ve been working on taking little adventures in and out of San Francisco, one of which landed me in a cute little grocery store that had ruby red stalks of rhubarb—my most favorite sign of spring. In years past I’ve eagerly stalked the farmers market waiting, waiting, waiting until finally it arrives; this year there was none of that (I suppose all the waiting was reserved for a little someone’s arrival) and simply a “woohoo!” yelped when I saw it amid the produce. I picked up a meager two stalks and promised myself I’d make something with them.

Thus I present you with a delicious springtime beverage, a rhubarb + blood orange spritzer. This little number can be made with or without a splash of vermouth (which gives it a nice bit of body) and is perfect for days when the sun is out and the weather is looking up—of which I hope you’re having plenty.

Cheers, to being back, warm weather and rhubarb! Oh, and I can’t leave my biggest accomplishment to date out of this toast—to my amazing little lady, Claire Beatrice, welcome to this wonderful world babycakes!

rhubarb + blood orange spritzer

makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 ounce blood orange juice
1 1/2 ounce rhubarb syrup
1 1/2 ounce red vermouth, optional
seltzer water
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the blood orange juice, rhubarb syrup and vermouth. Shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a glass.2. Top the drink off with 2-3 ounces of seltzer water, stir with a straw and enjoy!

spicy baby!

March 26th, 2013

Yesterday I was searching through my cocktail archive for a project I’m working on (I can’t wait to share it with you!) and the drool practically rolled off my chin. Man, do I miss cocktails! I miss thinking up new combinations as much (ok, almost as much) as I miss drinking them! For some reason I just wasn’t inspired during my pregnancy to make many “mocktails”—maybe it’s because I hate that word so much and could never come up with a good replacement for it. But recently I’ve been drinking up this wacky, but oh-so-good combination that I came up with at a local bar and had the bartender make for me. I suppose it’s kind of like a virgin margarita, but it really holds it’s own. A combination of blood orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, jalepeno slices and seltzer, it’s the perfect palette pleaser for this pregnant lady. And for those of you who are allowed to get all boozy, I think a little tequila added to it would be perfect!

Speaking of being pregnant—today is my due date! Woohoo! As much as I’m excited to be able to drink again, I am leaps and bounds more excited to meet this mystery person who’s been hiding in my belly for 9 months! I’ll obviously being taking it easy and out of it for a few weeks, so I’ll probably be absent from this space for a little bit, but if you’re not following me already on instagram, please do— @kellycarambula. I’m much better about updating it with all sorts of food adventures, craft projects and general life goodies, so I hope to see you there! In the meantime, wish me luck and I’ll see you soon!

Cheers!

spicy baby!

makes 1 cocktail

1 ounce fresh squeezed blood orange juice plus 2 slices blood orange (for garnish)
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
5 thin slices jalepeno
seltzer water
1 1/2 ounce tequila, optional
salt for rim 
1. Rub the rim of a tall glass with a slice of lime, then dip it in salt. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the blood orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, jalepeno slices and tequila, if using. Shake for about 10 seconds.

3. Add ice and blood orange slices to the salt-rimmed glass, then pour the juice mixture, including the jalepeno slices into the glass.

4. Top it off with the seltzer water, give it a gentle stir and drink up!

mushroom quinoa casserole

March 11th, 2013

Oh goodness—it’s been a long time my friends! I’ve been in a bit of a food rut and it’s totally bumming me out. Does that ever happen to you? I just can’t seem to get inspired to get in the kitchen. I feel like my passion got misplaced in our move or something and I just need to find it again. I have faith that I will, but if you have any tips on how to find it again, please send them my way! One of the few things that’s gotten me in the kitchen is this oh-so-good mushroom quinoa casserole—both Aaron and I actually crave it. It’s earthy and nourishing with a hint of spice to jazz things up, plus it makes enough that there are leftovers for the next days lunch—woohoo!

My friend Dana served this to us soon after arriving to San Francisco and I think all four of us went back for thirds—it’s that good. I’ve since made it twice at home, making a few tweaks here and there. It’s a pretty adaptable dish—you can switch out the spices, the original called for tarragon, I swapped it for red pepper flakes, or toss in a few more veggies like kale and it’ll still be great. Whatever you do, just give it a chance, it’s a keeper.

Speaking of, do you have any favorite casseroles? With a baby due to arrive in our house in two weeks (!!) I’d love to freeze a few dishes so we can just pop them in the oven without even thinking about it.

Read more »

blood orange + pomegranate pancakes with blood orange + honey syrup

February 15th, 2013

I’ve come to realize that pancakes are one of my favorite foods. They’re super easy, super flexible, and always comforting. Honestly, they’re one of my favorite ways to start the day—but only if I make them at home. Which brings me to this crazy realization—I’m now a Californian. My home is no longer that cozy apartment in Brooklyn—or even simply Brooklyn—the place I lived for over eight years and basically became an adult. I think some people think that we’re a little crazy moving across the country with a baby due in less than two months, but for some reason, this move seemed like the right thing to do. Life is already going to dramatically change, so why not embrace more change? It seems like an awesome adventure—although, yes, sometimes a little crazy—to us. Oh, and did I mention that our new apartment has a totally dreamy kitchen? That didn’t hurt. So, while I’ve been a wee-bit absent here, I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to reassemble and adjust to our new life in sunny california.

After the initial week of simply getting logistical things done (with a little fun sprinkled in of course), we finally went to the market. I was immediately drawn to the things I’ve never been able to by fresh at the market—fresh citrus and pomegranates. Since blood oranges are on the top of my favorites list, I loaded my bag with those and since I’d never had a fresh pomegranate, I figured there’s no better time to try one out. The next morning I woke up with a vision—blood orange and pomegranate pancakes—and since we hadn’t picked up maple syrup yet, I’d make a blood orange and honey syrup. I love waking up with a good idea, then being able to execute it—especially when it’s this tasty.

Read more »

happy hour: westward!

January 11th, 2013

Well hello again and happy belated 2013! This time of year I find myself feeling a little angry about the weather—it can be bitter cold here in NYC (although I haven’t had much to complain about this year). Luckily, my favorite winter fruit, blood oranges arrive at just the right time to bring a little sunshine into my life during these cold, gloomy months.

This week I used my inaugural haul of blood oranges to make two versions (boozy and non-boozy) of a drink I’ve dubbed Westward! I created this little number not only because I love these juicy fellas but because I have big news to share. In less than two weeks, the Carámbula household is packing up and heading to sunny California—San Francisco  to be exact (so I’ll add foggy into the equation)— home of blood oranges!! It’s been a totally crazy (did I mention I’m almost 7 months pregnant) whirlwind decision, but I couldn’t be more jazzed about it! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to explore a new city with new farmers markets, restaurants, and shops.

So, a big old cheers is due… Cheers to a new year, to big changes, and of course, blood oranges.

Westward!

makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 ounce cinnamon-infused simple syrup, recipe below
1 1/2 ounces vodka (optional)
1-2 ounces seltzer water
2 blood orange slices

 

1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the blood orange juice, simple syrup and vodka, if using. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.

2. Strain into a tall collins glass filled with ice. Top it off with seltzer water and add the blood orange slices and a straw, giving it a little swirl to incorporate the seltzer.

3. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-infused simple syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1. In a small saucepan stir together all the ingredients over medium-low heat.

2. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and let cool completely.

3. Strain out the cinnamon sticks and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

puppy chow

December 20th, 2012

The holidays have been bonkers for me this year (and I’m sure I’m not alone)—between craft fairs and shipping for Remedy Quarterly and this whole pregnancy thing, But yesterday I found myself with a little free time and decided it was time to make at least one thing to share with you. I had three favorites in mind—but the one that rose to the top is this oldie but goodie, puppy chow. I have no idea why it’s called that, but honestly it’s so good that I don’t care what you call it. A mixture of melted peanut butter, butter, and butterscotch all over rice chex, then topped with powdered sugar—this treat is far from healthy but oh-so-good. In fact, that first bite took me right back to my mom’s kitchen growing up where I’d sneak a handful of puppy chow as I walked through the kitchen—then before you knew it the whole bag was gone.

Read more »