the love list

the love list || millys-kitchen.com

Hello!

I hope you've been enjoying the first week of spring. I for one am pretty excited to see springtime springing all over the place and so many lovely flowers poking their little heads up through the soil. After the unusually cold and wet winter we had here in Seattle, spring couldn't have come soon enough!

I can't wait for farmers markets overflowing with spring produce and blooms. I'm working on some new spring-inspired recipes to help you put those tender asparagus, sweet english peas, and tart rhubarb to use when they do make an appearance. I'll have those coming your way soon! In the meantime, here's a Love List with some of my latest obsessions and favorite things.


- I am in love with this Cup of Sunshine Dust my friend Sherrie sent me to try out. Maybe because we've been in sore need of sunshine in this corner of the world. Maybe because this warming mix of turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and pepper is such a great way to kick start my day. Whatever the reason, I'm going to be mixing this Sunshine Dust into steamed milk for a caffeine-free boost throughout my day. I'm also going to see if I can work it into some other sweet and savory dishes. I'm thinking maybe a marinade for grilled chicken or fish. Or a golden milk tart with coconut cream and lime. Or spicy turmeric caramel corn. Stay tuned!

Image: Sherrie Castellano for Big Heart Tea Co.

Image: Sherrie Castellano for Big Heart Tea Co.

 

- Instagram feed I'm crushing on this month: Christèle Ageorges. The dreamy aesthetic of this Paris-based journalist, stylist and set designer is always so inspiring. And her floral arrangements are gorgeous. I'm going to be attempting to reproduce this one with cherry blossoms from our yard:

Image Christèle Ageorges via Instagram

Image Christèle Ageorges via Instagram

 

- I am over-the-moon excited to be attending my friend Natasha’s photography retreat in the Scottish Highlands this May! Natasha has gathered a super-talented group of photographers and makers who will be sharing their knowledge with us. We’ll gather around the table to learn, share delicious, locally-sourced meals (I’ll be cooking one!) as well as venturing to the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and a local distillery for vintage scotch tastings. There will also be a crochet workshop and I'm hoping to get my hands on some of the gorgeous yarn Natasha produces on her farm.

There are still a few spots left if you want to come hang out in the Highlands for this amazing retreat. Details and registration are here.

Image Natasha Seidel via Instagram

Image Natasha Seidel via Instagram

 

- This Vietnamese Steak au Poivre from Food & Wine. One thousand times yes.

Image Con Poulos for Food & Wine via Instagram

Image Con Poulos for Food & Wine via Instagram

 

 

- I recently discovered Belong Magazine and I'm feeling it pretty hard. This quarterly digital and print mag celebrates the art and community of blogging, social media and entrepreneurship, and encourages women to use their passions for a purpose, to be authentic, and to encourage one another. Yes to all of that!

 

Image via Belong Magazine

Image via Belong Magazine

 

- And last but not least, this Grapefruit-Cardamom Gin Fizz from the lovely ladies over at the The Modern Proper. Because it's Friday and because no Love List is complete without a little boozy inspiration for your weekend!

XO and Happy Friday!

Olaiya

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about not creating extra stress in my life. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know I’m an anxious person by nature. You also know that I’m a person who loves to start new projects, try new things, collaborate with new people and generally take on challenges. All of which undeniably yields many benefits: new friends, creative satisfaction, travel to distant places, a sense of accomplishment. 

But I’ve realized I cram so many new challenges into my life, I feel like I’m on a crazy roller coaster of stress half the time. I’m either attacking a new project head-on or huddled under the covers with my cat binge watching period films and trying to recuperate. Those have been my two modes recently.

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land
rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land

The other day I paused for moment in the middle of whatever I was doing to check in with myself. I could feel waves of stress radiating through my body. Thoughts zooming. Fingers tingling. Heart banging in my chest. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but it hit me in that moment that STRESS IS A REAL THING. Like a tangible, physical thing. Not just something you read about being bad for you in some vague sense. But something that takes a toll on your body, like sleep deprivation or smoking. 

In that moment, I decided I’m going to stop creating stress for myself unnecessarily. Some stress is unavoidable (taxes). Some stress is good (getting married). We can’t grow without challenging ourselves. But living in stress is toxic. So I’m trying to be extra mindful of what I say yes to and how I spend my days (which means I might be posting here a little less often). I’m also trying to remember that almost nothing matters as much as we think it does. My photography class homework isn’t perfect! I gained 5 pounds this winter?! She unfollowed me on Instagram!?! All small potatoes when I consider that I have a roof over my head, enough to eat, and people who love me and whom I love.

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land
rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land
rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land
rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land

I am 100% certain stress will creep up on me when I’m not expecting it. Because I’m human. But I’m pretty excited that so far my less-stress mantra seems to be working. To celebrate, I have a recipe for a creamy Rice Pudding with Citrus Caramel and Candied Almonds for you. Pure comfort food. Like Grandma used to make--but jazzed up with zingy citrus and crunchy almonds. And hopefully a reminder to step back from whatever is stressing us out and fit in a little old-fashioned comfort. 


Rice Pudding with Citrus Caramel and Candied Almonds

  • 1 cup long-grained rice
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 allspice berries, crushed
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • About 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk (or substitue whole milk)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • Heavy cream, to taste (optional)
  • 1 recipe Citrus Caramel (see below)
  • 1 recipe Easy Candied Almonds (see below)

*Notes: The evaporated milk gives the rice pudding extra richness, but feel free to use whole milk or a mix of whole milk and cream instead.

- Top the rice pudding with the caramel just before serving. The acid from the citrus will cause the dairy in the rice pudding to break if you let it sit for long. If this happens, the pudding will taste fine but look a little strange.

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land

Place the rice in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven along with 1 cup of water, the allspice, cinnamon and salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is starting to soften, about 10 minutes. If the rice is sticking to the pot, you can add a little more water. 

Stir in the two types of milk and the brown sugar. Cover and continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes. The rice should be cooked through but still have some tooth to it. Remove the rice pudding from the heat and stir in a few tablespoons of the heavy cream, if using.  Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid and firm up a bit. Add a bit more milk or cream if you like your rice pudding a bit looser. Serve warm or cold topped with citrus caramel and candied almonds. 

Makes about 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto

rice pudding with citrus caramel and candied almonds || photo: olaiya land

Citrus Caramel

  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 pink grapefruit 
  • 1 navel orange 
  • 1 meyer lemon       
  • 1 cup sugar             
  • 1/4 cup water             
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum             
  • Pinch salt

*Notes: You can use any mix of citrus you like. I’d avoid going very heavy on lemons, limes or meyer lemons, but a few thrown in provide a nice contrast to the sweet caramel.

- This will keep for 3 days, covered and refrigerated. It’s also delicious on cake, pancakes, ice cream, yogurt or ricotta--pretty much anything creamy or cakey.

 

Cut the skin and pith from the citrus and cut into supremes. Squeeze the leftover flesh to remove as much juice as possible. Strain the juice from the citrus (you should have about ½ cup) and set aside. Combine the citrus in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. 

Combine the water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium and DO NOT STIR. (Doing so could cause your caramel to seize up.)

Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (but not stirring), until  the water has evaporated and the sugar starts to caramelize and turn medium amber in color. Very carefully, add the rum. It will splatter so stand back! Once the rum has stopped splattering, slowly add the reserved citrus juice and a pinch of salt. The caramel will likely seize up a little and look crazy. Don’t worry--simply return it to medium heat and cook, stirring often, until any hardened bits have melted and the caramel has thickened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

When the caramel is lukewarm or completely cool, pour it over the citrus. Set aside for at least an hour to allow the flavors to come together. 

Makes 8 servings.


Easy Candied Almonds

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Generous pinch salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and swirl to melt. Add the almonds and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and cook, stirring often, until the sugar has melted and caramelized and the nuts are starting to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Immediately transfer the nuts to a large plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, break up any clusters. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 1 cup candied nuts.

thank you!

love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you’ve been having a great week. Things are looking up over here. The funk I wrote about last week has lifted. Tiny buds and blooms are starting to show up here in Seattle, so it feels like spring is right around the corner. And last Saturday’s Love Trumps Hate fundraising dinner was a huge success!

I got to hang out and cook with some awesome people. I figured out how to make a pretty respectable tamale. I developed a recipe for a smoky, floral mezcal-marigold margarita that is going to be on heavy rotation when the weather warms up. Most importantly, we raised over $3000 for the ACLU

love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott

Before this dinner, I’d been feeling more than a little despondent about the future of this diverse, boundary-pushing, democratic nation I call home. I know we’ve got a lot more to do to protect civil right here in the U.S., but this fundraiser felt like a great start. We were able to support a great organization while also doing a little community-building here in Seattle. To my mind, anything that brings people together instead of tearing them apart is good news. We need more of that. Especially now. 

To keep this spirit of community and engagement alive, I plan to organize some more fundraising events this year. I’m thinking maybe a community potluck. Or a soup night with homemade bread and wine. Or an old-fashioned ice cream social. Let me know in the comments below what sort of events you’d be interested in! If you’d like to volunteer for future fundraisers, shoot me an email.

love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
I’d like to send out a HUGE thank-you to all the hard-working volunteers who made this dinner happen: Alex, Ellen, Erin, Kaylah, Linda, Marianna, Nicole and my sweet mamma! I’m so grateful to Danielle for shooting the event. It was such a pleasure to have such a talented photographer to capture everything so I could focus on cooking. And the gold medal goes to Beau, who first had the idea for this dinner, put up with me being a total crazy person while I planned and prepped for it, and who washed a mountain of dishes afterwards. (You’re my here, Babe!)
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
I’d like to send out a HUGE thank-you to all the hard-working volunteers who made this dinner happen: Alex, Ellen, Erin, Kaylah, Linda, Marianna, Nicole and my sweet mamma! I’m so grateful to Danielle for shooting the event. It was such a pleasure to have such a talented photographer to capture everything so I could focus on cooking. And the gold medal goes to Beau, who first had the idea for this dinner, put up with me being a total crazy person while I planned and prepped for it, and who washed a mountain of dishes afterwards. (You’re my here, Babe!)

I’d like to send out a HUGE thank-you to all the hard-working volunteers who made this dinner happen: Alex, Ellen, Erin, Kaylah, Linda, Marianna, Nicole and my sweet mamma! I’m so grateful to Danielle for shooting the event. It was such a pleasure to have a talented photographer to capture everything so I could focus on cooking! And an extra dose of thank-you goes to Beau, who first had the idea for this dinner, put up with me being a total crazy person while I planned and prepped for it, and who washed a mountain of dishes afterwards. (You’re my hero, Babe!)

love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott
love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott

 

I also want to send out a heartfelt thanks to the local businesses who so generously donated to the dinner: Book Larder for allowing us to use their space, Honor Society Coffee for providing us with their amazing coffee, Marigold & Mint for sending over such stunning flower arrangements for the table, and Tieton Cider Works for offering several cases of thier beautiful dry cider, which we transformed into a sangria blanca with pineapple and serrano syrup (recipe coming soon). 

I feel so grateful for the outpouring of support around this dinner. I couldn’t have done it without all you wonderful people!

XO,

Olaiya

All photography in this post by Danielle Elliott. Click here to check out her beautiful portfolio!

love trumps hate fundraiser dinner // photography by danielle elliott

P.S. There’s only 1 spot left for the Paris food and photography workshop I’m leading with Yossy Arefi in May! Click here to make it yours.