Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Design | Journey

I will be the first to admit that I have been l...a...z...y... when it comes to keeping this blog alive over the past couple of months. So much has happened in my personal life that it's hard to even know where to begin. Changes with family, keeping up with friends, starting an amazing new job with a design studio I love and respect, traveling, and making time for my health and well-being all while maintaining a busy freelance career... I've been tired y'all! 2012 has only just begun but it feels like I've crammed an entire years worth of activities into January, February and March. Now that I'm getting into more of a routine it feels like an appropriate time to share the things I love once more.

This particular post is a bit outside of my norm. Video games were a hobby of mine when I was younger but somewhere along the line, when games started getting almost too realistic, I started losing interest. It's funny being a graphic designer because I'm constantly interacting with new forms of technology, but with my video games I want it old school. I miss the days of Donkey Kong, Zelda, and Mario Kart. I miss my Gameboy and Super Nintendo!

I came across this article on Yahoo this morning and thought to myself, "I want to play this game like yesterday!"

Created by acclaimed independent developer thatgamecompany, Journey is an exploratory adventure that sees players wandering across a massive desert as they slowly make their way to a beacon of light atop a faraway mountain. They'll come across other online players along the way, but in what's considered a significant breach of gamer protocol, no talking is allowed, forcing players to find other ways to communicate with one another.

Even though I don't keep up with video games and reviews I will say that Journey is receiving some of the highest praise and is being considered, "The most beautiful game of its time," according to IGN.

Rainy days like today make me want to go home and whip up a pot of chicken meatball minestrone in my crock pot, bust out my roommates' PS3 and download Journey.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dessert | Poppy Seed, Bourbon & Butterscotch Bread Pudding

I have a whole list of great excuses for not posting lately, but I'm just going to say Happy New Year!!! 2011 wasn't my favorite to say the least, but 2012 feels good so far. Really damn good!

I've made this recipe 3 times in less then a month. I don't know if that's something I should be admitting seeing as my roommates already voice their concerns about the amount of heavy whipping cream and eggs I've been keeping in the fridge. It's just sooo good. Really damn good! This dessert couldn't be easier to make and will literally have friends drooling and/or squealing like children with the first bite. And just when I go and get (even more) hooked on bread pudding, I find out that someone is opening a bread pudding bakery in my neighborhood. Rumor has it that there will be 108 flavors. I just, can't!

This magical recipe comes from the 2011 November issue of Bon Appétit. "Based on a dessert that Anita Lo serves at Anissa, this custardy bread pudding is shot through with poppy seeds for a stunning visual and textural effect." Seriously, MAKE THIS, you can't mess it up and you won't regret it.

PECAN, BOURBON & BUTTERSCOTCH BREAD PUDDING  |  Recipe inspired by Chef Anita Lo of Anissa

Butterscotch Sauce
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon

1 pound day-old rustic white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2” cubes (12 cups)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Butterscotch Sauce

1  |  Bring brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Boil until mixture is syrupy and measures 1 1/2 cups, about 3 minutes.

2  |  Remove from heat; add cream and bourbon, if desired, and stir until smooth. Let cool. Let cool completely, cover, and chill. Rewarm before serving.


1  |  Toss bread, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl and set aside.

2  |  Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in another large bowl until pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add cream, poppy seeds, and salt; beat to blend.

3  |  Place bourbon in a small bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for another use). Whisk to distribute seeds, then add to egg mixture, whisking to blend well. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture in bowl. Toss to coat well. Transfer mixture to a 13x9x2” glass or ceramic baking dish, spreading out in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

4  |  Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove plastic wrap and bake until top is browned in spots and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 1 1/4–1 1/2 hours. Serve bread pudding with butterscotch sauce.

I was never able to get a good picture of the actual baked bread pudding. It always ended up being eaten as soon as it came out of the oven. No joke.

Design | Bartholomäus Traubeck: Years

YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.

This music - which sounds like a moody piano soundtrack for a existentialist movie about a rainy day - is made by slicing a tree in cross-section, sticking it on a turntable, and dropping a tone-arm with a PlayStation Eye Camera in the head, and processing its output through Ableton Live. It’s called Years, and it was created by Bartholomäus Traubeck.

via BoingBoing

Friday, December 30, 2011

Design | Elio Di Luca

From Spanish studio Puigdemont Roca comes packaging design for Elio Di Luca chocolate. Project description from Puigdemont Roca: In a hyper-competitive market, standing out from the competition is crucial. To this end, we decided to show the basic ingredient of each flavour of premium chocolate with a fresh perspective, shooting the images from a zenith angle. In this way, we managed to convey the concept of ‘top end’, and in turn raise a range of emotions in the consumer.

via Lovely Package.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dessert | Pear Tarts With Peach Glaze

Sorry! To anyone that reads this blog... I have been beyond busy. My life recently took a turn for the awesome and I am happy to report that I have an amazing new job that I love. Love! I've been waking up excited to go to the office since the day I started. Freelancing on top of quitting my previous job to start a new one the very next day - literally - has definitely put my blog on the back burner. Not by choice! I guess the excuse can be the holidays seeing as I haven't posted since Thanksgiving. I'm easing back in to it with a delightful and super easy pear tart recipe I saw on Taste Spotting recently.


6 rectangular puff pastry sheets measuring roughly 3"x4"
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 pears, skin removed, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons peach jam
2 tablespoons water

1  |  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the pear slices in the lemon juice and sugar. Add more sugar if needed. Set aside.

2  |  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper with butter. Place one pastry rectangle on the baking tray. With a sharp knife, lightly slice the tops - do not slice all the way through on the pastry sheet - about 1/2" away from the four edges, creating a kind of 'frame' on the pastry. Brush the insides of the frame with the butter: the space where you will be placing the nectarine slices.

3  |  Arrange the slices on top. Repeat with the remaining pastry rectangles or until your pear slices have been used up. Brush the sides of the pastries with the egg wash. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4  |  While the tarts are baking, prepare the glaze by bringing the jam and water to a boil. Run the mixture through a sieve and allow to cool. When the tarts are out of the oven, lightly brush the tops of the pears with the glaze.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

D&D | Thanksgiving

I am beyond happy and kind of shocked to report that this is my 100th post! And what better way to celebrate than Thanksgiving! I was thinking about sharing stories of past Thanksgivings... a group of nearly 30 family members and friends all gathered at someone's house (usually my parents). Snacking and drinking all morning in preparation to eat that special dinner you only get once a year. Once a year!? I have so many stories from yesteryear, but this year was my turn, and it felt like the right time to stay at home with friends and make my own memories... and recipes! With the stresses of my current life and the holidays approaching, I viewed Thanksgiving day as an opportunity to remember that I can slow down and enjoy myself in my own home with people I care about.

The recipes I'm featuring are from all over. The turkey was my creation (I forgot to take a photo of the final bird - SO mad at myself - but it was great!), the stuffing recipe came from a family friend, and the rest was a combination of Bon Appétit and Epicurious finds.


3 quarts apple cider, divided
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup whole allspice
8 bay leaves
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
16 whole black peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 3”-4” cinnamon sticks plus more for garnish
4 quarts cold water  
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into sixths
Melted unsalted butter (for basting)
1 14-16 pound turkey (neck and gizzard removed)

1  |  Bring 2 quarts cider, 1 1/2 cups salt, and the next 6 ingredients to a boil in a very large pot, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 4 quarts cold water. Add turkey to brine and press down to submerge. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

2  |  Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

3  |  Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the remaining 1 cup of cider and 3 cups water in roasting pan. Scatter apples around. Brush turkey with butter. Flip breast side down.

4  |  Roast turkey, breast side down, basting occasionally, for 1 hour. Using paper towels, flip turkey. Roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 1 1/2 - 2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

- - -


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino

1  |  Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

2  |  Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

3  |  Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

4  |  Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

- - -


2 bunches of thin carrots (2 lb.), cut into 1" pieces (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
12 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh clementine juice or orange juice
2 tablespoons Sherry or sweet vermouth, divided
2 pinches ground cloves
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated clementine zest or orange zest

1  |  Bring carrots, butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 7–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a medium bowl.

2  |  Add clementine juice, 1 Tbsp. Sherry, and ground cloves to skillet and cook until glaze forms, 7–8 minutes. Stir in carrots and remaining 1 Tbsp. Sherry. Season carrots to taste with salt. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing, adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with tarragon and celementine zest.

- - -


4 pounds russet potatoes
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons kosher salt plus more to finish
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 whole black peppercorns
3 sprigs thyme or 1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
Freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment
Using a food mill keeps spuds light and airy. If you have a ricer, that will work, too.

1  |  Fill a large pot halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes and cut into 2" pieces, adding to pot as they are cut. Add cold water to cover by 1" if needed. Stir in kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a baking sheet. Let dry, 5–10 minutes.

2  |  Meanwhile, heat whole milk, heavy cream, peppercorns, thyme or rosemary, and bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very hot but not boiling, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture infuse for 20 minutes; strain. This will add herbal flavor without coloring the liquid.

3  |  Pass potatoes through the smallest disk of a food mill along with butter into a large bowl. Stir in the hot cream mixture. Season generously to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To hold, press plastic wrap directly against the surface and set bowl over (not in) a large pot of simmering water for up to 2 hours.

- - -


1 large head of cauliflower (2 pounds), cut into 2” florets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, soaked, rinsed, patted dry
3/4 cup fresh coarse breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1  |  Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower florets with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl; season mixture with salt and pepper. Divide cauliflower mixture between 2 large rimmed baking sheets, spreading out in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is golden and crispy, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Cauliflower can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Reheat before using.

2  |  Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just golden, 5–6 minutes. Add capers and cook until they start to pop, about 3 minutes longer. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden, 2–3 minutes; transfer breadcrumb mixture to a plate and set aside.

3  |  Add chicken broth and anchovy paste (if using) to same saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add golden raisins and white wine vinegar and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Do ahead: Breadcrumb and raisin mixtures can be made 2 hours ahead. Rewarm raisin mixture mixture before continuing.

4  |  Transfer warm cauliflower to a serving bowl. Scatter raisin mixture over, then toss to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cauliflower with breadcrumb mixture and parsley.

- - -


1 9x9 pan of corn bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
6 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 yellow onion, rough chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
2 sweet apples peeled and diced
1 lb Italian sausage cooked
1/4 cup fresh sage chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cups of stock (chicken or turkey)
2 shallots chopped
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

1  |  In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, apple, and peppers; saute until just soft. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until done.

2  |  Mix the veggies together with cornbread, sausage, and herbs. Add eggs and stock and give it a good mix with your hands. Pour mixture into a buttered pan and bake in a 350°F degree oven for 45 minutes.

- - -


You can find the recipe for this dessert right here on Design & Dishes. I made it last week but it was such a hit that I felt it would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

All-in-all a fantastic meal spent with fantastic people.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Design | John & John Potato Crisps

I came across this project on The Dieline but turns out they found it on Pinterest, one of my favorite new resources and websites for sharing and storing images/inspiration. John & John Potato Crisps is a hard company to find information on, particularly the studio or person responsible for the look & feel of the brand and their products. The website is bold and contemporary and the packaging is insanely stylish, but all I really know is that they're distributed by Market Grounds, a company that develops and produces food and beverage products, so perhaps they designed them in-house.