February 2010 archive

Cakery Friday: Beignets

I spent last weekend eating my way through New Orleans, and I had to share some of the wonderful tastes of the Big Easy with you. The only catch is… I used a mix! These beignets taste so good, I hope you forgive me for cheating! I’ve tried to make beignets from scratch, but the truth is the mix is superior (the ultimate is getting yourself to New Orleans and eating fresh beignets from Cafe Du Monde in person, but this is the next best thing!) You can purchase the mix on Cafe Du Monde’s website.

Beignet is actually the French word for “fried dough” and these have been made famous in the U.S. by Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. They are also the official state doughnut of Louisiana. Don’t you think every state needs its own official doughnut?

It has become a family tradition for years that my Dad an I make these delicious doughnuts for an annual family breakfast at our cabin in Arkansas (Arkansas you say? Very long story for a future blog).

There really aren’t many ingredients to gather. Start simply by pulling out the box


Place two cups of beighnets mix in a large bowl.


Add 7 ounces of water (add the water slowly and mix, you want the dough to be slightly sticky but not very wet).


Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.


Cut into 2 inch squares.


Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a pan and heat to 370 degrees. Place each dough square into the hot oil (be careful not to burn yourself!) basting continually on each side until puffy and light golden.


Drain well.


Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and be sure to eat them warm (with a cup of Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee).


Mine looked almost as good as the ones from Cafe Du Monde!


Happy Beignet Day! Be sure to get yourself to the Big Easy soon to eat these at the real live Cafe Du Monde. In the meantime, hope you enjoy bringing a little piece of Cafe Du Monde into your kitchen.

xoxo,

Ali

Gorgeous Garden Table


I rarely give her due credit, but my wonderful mother has become a blog-fanatic these days. I’m so lucky to have the daily barrage of emails from mom, sending me the latest and greatest ideas in design, fashion, weddings, and so much more.

Yesterday’s email idea from mom was so fantastic I just had to share it today. She found it on a newly discovered blog, Slim Paley. {The blog is incredibly chic and the photography is to die for!}
The table is a landscape installation known as “The Future Feast in the Garden of Flow Accumulation.” It was created for The Late Show Gardens in Sonoma by Equinox Landscape and designer Suzanne Biaggi.


There are so many things I love about this table, but sustainability and the integration into the landscape and surrounding garden are two of them. It’s so stunning, and my head is exploding with so many ways to translate this unique concept into beautiful event decor. The best part is that it’s real–you can actually eat right on the table, with plants growing in the center and gorgeous water cascading to a waterfall at table’s edge.
Enjoy, and thanks mom!
xoxo,
Niki

Mason Jar Love {Part Deux}

I have developed a recent obsession with Mason Jars. Niki posted about them a few months ago and I just can’t seem to get them out of my head. For my Super Bowl party I created an ice cream buffet and served the ice cream in Mason Jars. Tt was a huge hit and got me thinking about the multiple uses of these fabulous jars!
They make the most beautiful flower vases, like these ideas from Style Me Pretty.
Or as a wide-mouthed glass (I really think drinks taste better from a Mason Jar!)
Martha Stewart illustrates “lantern” Mason Jars, which would be beautiful along a walkway or lining a long table.
Bakerella creatively put all of the dry ingredients for her Cowgirl Cookies in a Mason Jar. What a perfect gift!
I love this idea of baking cupcakes inside of Mason Jars from Cake Spy! You can put a lid on them and ship them as gifts!

Can’t get enough of Mason Jars either? Buy The Mason Jar Dessert Cookbook!
Happy Mason Jar Day!
xoxo,
Ali



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