"SPRINKLED" BABY SHOWER

The last couple weekends have been exceptionally busy for us at Stems + Savories. And we've been loving every minute! Recently, we (along with two amazing Los Angeles girlfriends, Jen & Erica) hosted a Sprinkle for a dear friend who is expecting baby boy in March.

Sometimes hosting a party for another person can be stressful. Luckily, our crew was ready to go with plenty of fun and unique ideas for our "Sprinkled" theme. We also went super simple on the menu - healthy (and not so healthy) snacks that we knew would be a big hit! We included mason jars of baby's breath that guests took home as a thank you for attending, hand painted cards by fellow blogger Jen (check out her blog here) and glittered lettering.

Our treat bar included all things sprinkled: 
Donuts, Cupcakes, Cookies, Crispy Treats and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels. 

The healthier fair included:
Personal veggie crudités, Cous cous Corn and Basil salad, Garden salad, Rainbow fruit skewers and a Meat and Cheese platter.



















































































































































































































































































FARMER'S MARKET FRESH

One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is its variety of local Farmer's Markets year round. This past weekend we visited the Farmer's Market in Palos Verdes. Although the market isn't as big as Santa Monica or Long Beach, it was still a great experience. Live music, fresh flowers, an amazing selection of local fruits and vegetables and some tasty local vendors. We at Stems and Savories are big supporters of eating fresh and buying local. Here are some of our favorite finds of the day.















































Farmer's Market Fresh: Magenta Tulips. We're obsessed with the vibrance of these stems.















































Farmer's Market Fresh: All things green and leafy!!















































Farmer's Market Fresh: Eggs! Farm Fresh, Free-range, Grain-fed!















































Farmer's Market Fresh: Tropical Fruit. That's all we were told. They were interesting and quite tasty. 















































Farmer's Market Fresh: We brought home kale, basil and mint. Our kitchen smells amazing!















































Farmer's Market Fresh: We could leave without some stems. And we fell hard for these blush colored ranunculus. 















































We can't wait to try another Farmer's Market next weekend!! 


WILD RICE, FARRO, AND SAUSAGE BAKE

I haven't had much time to cook lately because I'm taking the GRE in two weeks and just began to study... ahh!.. so whenever I cook I've been making LOTS of servings-worth so that it can last me for a while. This week I literally only made three dishes and rotated them for lunches and dinners: roasted carrots, butternut squash, and tofu with rosemary and sea salt; rice cooked in adobo sauce with diced tomatoes and sliced red peppers with a side of black beans; and a wild rice, farro, and sausage bake. I have to say, they all were tasty enough that I wished I could keep this rotation going longer than my supplies allowed! Plus, all of them took only 15 minutes each of active cooking! I'm usually one to extend the cooking process as long as possible, but since I'm in a crunch for time, I can't really do that right now! All three recipes are good enough to share, but I thought the wild rice bake had a deliciously savory and wintery (not to mention Minnesotan!) flavor so I figured I'd post that one! It reheated suuuuupppper well as leftovers, even four days later! And, it still tastes amazing, even over some physics homework!



wild rice, farro, and sausage bake

1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup farro
3 cups water
1 chicken bullion cube
4 sausage patties
1 teaspoon rosemary
5 carrots

Add the rinsed rice, farro, water, and bullion cube to a rice maker and cook according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat and begin to sauté the sausage. There's no need to coat the pan with any oil because the sausage will release some of its own fatty acids and won't stick to the pan anyways! Using a spatula, break the sausage patties up into small pieces and mix in the rosemary. Let brown completely and then remove from the heat. While the rice continues to cook, you can slice your carrots into coins. When the rice is done, combine it all in a casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until the top has browned. This ingredient list is fairly short, but for the amount of effort this recipe takes, the flavor is amazing!


HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! BLEEDING HEARTS + OUR FAVORITE TREAT!







































If you haven't noticed, we LOVE Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a Hallmark holiday. But we'll take every opportunity we can get to shower the ones we love with sweet things. Last night we made a few sweet treats in honor of the holiday. They are both extremely simple recipes (which we love) and are Valentine's Day Tradition (which we also love). Below are our recipes for Bleeding Heart Valentine Chocolates and Valentine's Day Rice Crispy Treats. Here's what you'll need:


bleeding heart valentine chocolates

1lb melting chocolate (we chose dark melting chocolate from Trader Joes)
fresh raspberries
heart shaped molds (ours are ice cube trays from Ikea you can purchase here)


valentine's day rice crispy treats

6 cups rice crispies
1 package marshmallows
white and red sprinkles
1 tbsp coconut oil













































































Melt the chocolate on low on the simmer burner until fully melted. Make sure to stir frequently so the chocolate doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan. (It's been our experience that melting chocolate is quite picky about it's heat intake. Slow and low is always best!)












































































Spoon the melted chocolate into the heart trays. It's ok if it looks a little messy, you can wipe off the edges later with a paper towel. Make sure that each of the bleeding heart shapes is at least 3/4 full. Place 1 raspberry into each of the bleeding hearts. Cover the raspberry with a little more chocolate and let set for 12 hours. You can put it in the fridge for an extra chilled treat.

The recipe for rice crispies is a simple one but as far as I know, a real crowd pleaser.  We always substitute the traditional 3 tbsp of butter with 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Heat the oil in the pan until in liquid form. Add the marshmallows. Stir frequently so the marshmallows don't burn. Once fully melted, remove from heat and add the rice crispies.

Spoon the marshmallow mix into a well greased pan. I always like to add some coconut oil to my fingers before pressing the mixture firmly - this way it doesn't stick. Add sprinkles on top and let sit for 20 minutes before digging in!

















































































































Happy Valentine's Day! May today be extra sweet for you and the ones you love!


VALENTINE'S DAY STEMS

We've decided to host a party for our girlfriends this Valentine's Day. Nothing says "I LOVE YOU" quite like a little heart day soiree with a great group of girls. This year we've named our theme Hearts & Crafts. The night will include: crafting, wine, savories, stems and GIRLS seasons 1 & 2 on repeat.






































This morning we picked out some stems from the local Trader Joes. We went with a white and red palette using hydrangeas and tulips. But because Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to play with pinks and reds in the same vase, we might have to stop by the flower mart to choose some more stems to play with.























































































































































Tonight we are going to make our favorite homemade raspberry filled chocolates and a few other super easy recipes before the party tomorrow. Make sure to stop by later and see what we're whipping together!

CAPPUCCINO COOKIES

Happy Valentine's day! Ever since sophomore year of high school, I've made different homemade valentines and treats to distribute to family and friends. I can still remember my first round of valentines: red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting and a pink powdered sugar heart for decoration! This year I'm choosing, what I think is, a very classy and mature treat- cappuccino cookies. Mostly because they are absolutely amazing (I have to give credit to a friend and colleague who passed the recipe along!) and very aesthetically pleasing:) I've had the same favorite cookie my entire life (I'll have to post it next Christmas!)... but these might just come out on top!
















cappuccino cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used equal parts 85%, 70% and 65% cocoa)
1 tablespoon fine coffee grounds
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg 

chocolate icing

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (again, equal parts!)
1 tablespoon butter

Whisk the flour, cinnamon and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. In a double-boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate over gently-simmering water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. In the meantime, combine the butter and sugars and beat with an electric mixer for about a minute until light and fluffy. Add the egg, coffee grounds, and chocolate and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough is stiff enough to shape, divide the dough in half and shape in to two logs with a diameter of 1". Wrap dough in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 5-6 hours (or overnight if that's easier) until very stiff. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the logs into 1/4" slices and place 1" apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool for 2 minutes before removing from the pan and cool on a wire rack or a flattened paper bag. When the cookies are completely cooled, begin to make the chocolate icing. Again, melt the chocolate and butter in a double-boiler over gently-simmering water. Once melted, dip one half of the cookie into the chocolate mixture and lay flat on wax paper until the chocolate completely cools.

Another option: roll out the stiff cookie dough to a thickness of 1/4" and then cut heart shapes out with cookie cutters! Then you can dip one of the top edges in chocolate when it comes time for the icing! I really wanted to post this, but didn't have time to run to the store to grab a heart-shaped cookie cutter.









INSPIRATION: FOOD TOUR OF THE BAY/DAY 3/

food tour of the bay


/day 3/

I don't know if I can ever eat anything again. I am so incredibly full. I keep thinking these thoughts, and then we arrive for our next reservation and end up eating and repeating the cycle!

bar tartine- mission dolores, san francisco

        We arrived a few minutes before the restaurant opened for brunch to find a line already forming at the door! Now I understand why! This meal started off with the most amazing bread! Their oven must have been extremely hot because the crust was dark, crunchy, and amazing while the center of the loaf was almost elastic-y, like it was barely cooked. It was an amazing contrast. And tasted delicious! We started with this bread and an assortment of condiments: cultured kefir butter, pistachio dip (wow was it good!), and an uptauer cheese dip.







kefir pound cake with rhubarb compote
        This pound cake was slightly lemon-flavored, so the sweet rhubarb compote (which had a bit of cinnamon and anise I think!) was a nice contrast. The pound cake melted in your mouth- more similarly to how powdered sugar treats do than butter, but I'm sure there was quite a bit of the latter as well:)



broccoli with goat cheese and mushrooms over smørrebrød

        This goat cheese was amazing! Definitely made the dish. The smørrebrød was great too- very wholesome with lots of seeds!






potato flatbread with pears and sweet cream

        I have to admit that I expected something more bread like rather than donut like (I was picturing something more like potato lefse when I ordered), but the mild potato flavor combined with the thin pear slices and amazing sweet cream was delicious!


avocado toast with scrambled eggs, mustard, and cheese sauce
        This was delicious! The cheese sauce was so creamy! And the eggs must have had cream in them as well because they were so flavorful! Avocado always equals mmmmmmm so the combination was perfect!


rueben toast with smoked brisket and paprika island
        I'm picky about island dressing... very picky. This one was great though because it wasn't sickly creamy and had a really nice spice to it. I was also really impressed with the cabbage! It wasn't too sour but was really flavorful.


and then we couldn't resist bringing some bread home! 



our lemon tree!!!

Just had to post this- it's too cute not to! We have a lemon tree in our backyard! Actually, we have two. Oddly, one has a million lemons and the other only has one. 




snack time

Fruit is so fresh in California. I just cannot get over it. We tried to catch the end of the farmer's market but arrived when they were packing up, so we picked up a few things from Whole Foods on our way home from walking 24th street. Even though I buy fruit from Whole Foods in MN, the fruit here does not compare! I don't think I can go home. In addition to lots of berries, I also had some lemon hummus and a feta-olive-sun dried tomato mix over spicy falafel chips (I'm addicted to those things... SO good!). It was the perfect snack to tie me over until dinner:)




contigo- noe valley, san francisco

Alright, I couldn't possibly take pictures of all of our courses tonight, but I can tell you that they were all amazing and list the courses below:) My favorites are #1, 6 and 7!

corqueta de jamón serrano

wood oven roasted local sardine and avocado toast

seared caña de cabra goat cheese with chicories, clementines, Buddha's hand citron, hazelnuts, and px vinagreta

spinach and chickpeas"el rinconcillo" style, simmered with Moorish spices and sherry vinegar

local xipirons (squid) a la planxa with arròs negre, chorizo, squid ink, artichokes, allioli, and guindilla chile

seared McFarland Springs trout "a la Navarra" with jamón serrano, roe, turnips, carrots, capers, and cava butter

albóndigas pork, lamb, and jamón meatballs in a tomato sherry sauce

And then for dessert we had xocolata calenta (a thick, creamy, Barcelona-style hot chocolate for sipping) and a caramel cappuccino flan.

Like I said, I am so full! But the food was delicious!! Sadly, I leave tomorrow morning:( But first I'll make something delicious for breakfast with the bread from bar tartine and some cheese from a local cheese shop! Check back for some recipes!

/conclude day 3/