Lisa Sanchez

Lisa Sanchez

Writer & Editor. Community Manager at Readmill.

Weekend inspiration (also, an introduction)

Today I’d love to introduce you to The Equals Record, in case you haven’t stumbled upon it already. Created by Elisabeth Thurston Fraser and Miya Hirabayashi, it’s a beautiful collection of stories, thoughts, and images by women in different places (literally and figuratively). I’ve loved Meg Blocker’s thoughts on dating and reading lists, Roxanne Krystalli’s thoughts on home and away, and Erin Loechner’s letter to her mom. I’ll be writing a weekly column on Fridays, and my first post is up today! I hope you’ll stop by and wander around. You’ll certainly find something to sink into.

Wishing you a Happy Friday.

P.S. Do you have any weekend plans? Here are a few ideas.

I’d love to try these Vanilla Bean Cookies sometime.

Photo by 101 Cookbooks.

Lately, Stephen and I have been gravitating toward documentaries whenever we have a bit of downtime. We’ve loved Atom Smashers, Helvetica, and Mad Hot Ballroom, but our favorite was definitely The Buena Vista Social Club. Do you have any favorite movie recommendations? I’d love to know. 

Also, here’s what Lisa Golightly made last weekend.

Handmade clay candle holders. Image by Lisa Golightly.

Starting out

It’s my first day of full-time job searching, so, naturally, I thought we all could use a little something sweet. How about some butter almond cake?

We’d only been back in Atlanta for about 48 hours before it seemed like a good time to bake something. Everything we owned was still in boxes, except for a lovely little package of tartlet pans that had just arrived in the mail from Jess.

Those cute little pans came with a strong recommendation for use with this recipe for butter almond cake. And when Jess tells you to bake something, you better just get right to it.

Fortunately, we had all of the ingredients on hand (there aren’t very many), except for the sliced almonds to go on top. Don’t worry—if I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have even noticed there was anything missing.

As we drooled over our second (or was it third?) round of these last night, we tried our best to fit them in an appropriate category. It’s not completely cake or cookie, since it’s chewy on the outside and soft and crumbly at the center. Perhaps it’s more of an almond brownie? Or a cake/tart? Or maybe just a sweet pillow of happiness?

Anyways, our attempts at typology failed miserably, but we smiled a lot and ooh’ed and aah’ed over all of that almondy buttery sweetness. I’d say that makes the baking and eating of this thing a great success.

This calls for a celebration.

Hello, dear readers. I have one more little announcement I’d love to share with you. You know, in addition to all of that mushy gushy stuff.

Are you ready for it?

(drum roll, please…)

Photo source: Style Me Pretty.

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I would like to partake of your pecan pie.

Remember that scene from When Harry Met Sally? I never really understood it, but I always think of Harry talking in that crazy voice every time I try to say “Pecan Pie.”

Anyways, pecan pie is one of my favorite desserts. I’ve loved it so much for so long that I just assumed it must be very mysterious and very difficult to perfect.

Then, over the holidays, I got to help Stephen’s mom with a pecan pie (among many other delicious comfort foods). As it turns out, pecan pie is pretty much the simplest dessert I’ve ever tackled. I love it when that happens.

This weekend, I had some friends over for birthday sweets (I turned 25!), and a pecan pie made it into the spread. As I’m moving to Atlanta at the end of next month, I thought it’d be symbolic. Fortunately, it was also very delicious.

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I finally crossed red velvet cake off of my to do list over Valentine’s day (I used Joy the Baker’s recipe—just perfect!).  I’m always returning to my favorite comfort foods when it comes to baking, but I also love dipping into unfamiliar territory.   
Macarons are just so pretty and mysterious.  Do you have a favorite book or recipe for beautiful and delicious macarons?  I am in search of pretty pictures and helpful instructions.
These grapefruit and white chocolate macarons from Desserts for Breakfast sound tempting.  Or maybe I’ll start with pistachio.  I’ll keep you posted.
Click photo for original source. 

I finally crossed red velvet cake off of my to do list over Valentine’s day (I used Joy the Baker’s recipe—just perfect!).  I’m always returning to my favorite comfort foods when it comes to baking, but I also love dipping into unfamiliar territory.   

Macarons are just so pretty and mysterious.  Do you have a favorite book or recipe for beautiful and delicious macarons?  I am in search of pretty pictures and helpful instructions.

These grapefruit and white chocolate macarons from Desserts for Breakfast sound tempting.  Or maybe I’ll start with pistachio.  I’ll keep you posted.

Click photo for original source. 

Baking 101: Tips for getting started

These days, I find it so calming to mash butter and sugar together into a creamy, sparkly glop.  There’s something kind of nice about turning the kitchen into a cloud of flour, or trying to figure out the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks.

And then there’s that delicious moment of satisfaction when I get to lick the spoon (or whisk or spatula) and wait as batter becomes cake inside the mysterious cave of the oven.

It wasn’t always this way, though.  Teenage me wasn’t allowed within ten feet of the oven.  I was notorious for setting off the fire alarm (actually, I still do that) and for making a spectacular disaster of perfectly innocent ingredients.

Besides equipping this absent-minded baker with a really loud kitchen timer, there are a few simple tips that helped make baking seem a lot less intimidating when I finally decided to give the whole butter/sugar/flour thing a real chance.

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Latest favorite finds

Here’s a little list of my latest favorite finds.  Happy Thursday!

(Above) Gateau Lorrain via LUNCH STUDIO.  Doesn’t it look so homey and delicious?

Email signatures have been getting a little out of control for a while now (via NYT).  Do you have one? What do you think should be included in a signature?

True to form, Joan Didion’s packing list is trim, and its accompanying description is wry.  I might just keep it bookmarked for future reference. (keep it chic via 101 cookbooks)

If you use FourSquare, Wander Mapper will create an illustrated map of your neighborhood.

How to rock Adele’s glamorous hairdo (via The Beauty Department).

2012 Make-up Trends: Keep it natural and minimalist (via NYT).

(Below) I love this collage by Tom Moglu (via Brydie Brown).

Perfect Chocolate Bundt Cake
Hi.  We need to talk.  It’s about a cake.
Turns out there are 17 days left in this semester.  There are several papers and exams between me and my end-of-term victory dance.  That’s why this cake is so important.
The cake you see before you is quite possibly the most perfect chocolate cake I have ever laid eyes on.  It also happens to be a bundt cake, which resembles a giant donut.  Major plus.
Nevermind the sloppy mess of frosting on top.  It is delicious nonetheless.
This humble bundt cake is insanely moist, soft, chocolatey, and decadent.  It is basically a pillow of happiness, and it is very good for your soul and your sanity.
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get to work on it right away.  Or you’ll come over and help me eat this one.
For the cake (adapted from Joy the Baker):
 1 1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. brewed coffee
 3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
 2 1/4 C. sugar
 1 1/4 tsps. kosher salt
 2 1/2 tsps. baking soda
 2 whole eggs
 1 egg yolk
 1 1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. whole milk
 1 C. olive oil
 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
 2 1/2 C. plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
Bring brewed coffee and cocoa powder to boil in a small saucepan, whisking frequently.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs, and egg yolk for 1 minute (by hand or in a stand mixer).
Add milk, oil, and vanilla, and continue mixing for another minute.
Gradually add flour and continue mixing until combined. 
Add cooled cocoa mixture and continue mixing until completely combined.
Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Let cool completely and then invert onto a plate or cooling rack.
For the frosting (adapted from One Perfect Bite)
 1 C. powdered sugar
 2 Tbsp. brewed coffee
 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
 Pinch of salt
 1 Tbsp. olive oil
 1 to 2 Tbsp. water
Combine powdered sugar and coffee in saucepan and whisk until smooth.
Mix cocoa and salt in a small bowl.
Add cocoa mixture and olive oil into sugar mixture and stir until combined.  
Place saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until warm.
Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water to thin mixture to desired consistency.
Spread or drizzle over top of cake.
Enjoy!
(by lisasanchez)

Perfect Chocolate Bundt Cake

Hi.  We need to talk.  It’s about a cake.

Turns out there are 17 days left in this semester.  There are several papers and exams between me and my end-of-term victory dance.  That’s why this cake is so important.

The cake you see before you is quite possibly the most perfect chocolate cake I have ever laid eyes on.  It also happens to be a bundt cake, which resembles a giant donut.  Major plus.

Nevermind the sloppy mess of frosting on top.  It is delicious nonetheless.

This humble bundt cake is insanely moist, soft, chocolatey, and decadent.  It is basically a pillow of happiness, and it is very good for your soul and your sanity.

If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get to work on it right away.  Or you’ll come over and help me eat this one.

For the cake (adapted from Joy the Baker):

1 1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. brewed coffee

3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/4 C. sugar

1 1/4 tsps. kosher salt

2 1/2 tsps. baking soda

2 whole eggs

1 egg yolk

1 1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. whole milk

1 C. olive oil

1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract

2 1/2 C. plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
  3. Bring brewed coffee and cocoa powder to boil in a small saucepan, whisking frequently.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs, and egg yolk for 1 minute (by hand or in a stand mixer).
  5. Add milk, oil, and vanilla, and continue mixing for another minute.
  6. Gradually add flour and continue mixing until combined. 
  7. Add cooled cocoa mixture and continue mixing until completely combined.
  8. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  9. Let cool completely and then invert onto a plate or cooling rack.

For the frosting (adapted from One Perfect Bite)

1 C. powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. brewed coffee

1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 to 2 Tbsp. water

  1. Combine powdered sugar and coffee in saucepan and whisk until smooth.
  2. Mix cocoa and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Add cocoa mixture and olive oil into sugar mixture and stir until combined.  
  4. Place saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until warm.
  5. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water to thin mixture to desired consistency.
  6. Spread or drizzle over top of cake.

Enjoy!

(by lisasanchez)