I’ve had a lot on my plate lately and the only time I’m really at my desk is when I’m editing client work, or responding to business e-mails. Construction of our new home is already two months behind due to shoddy work by our contractor, thus leaving Matt and I to pick up the pieces. I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel though… just a tiny, tiny crack of light.

Long workdays and constantly being on the move means that I need sugar and caffeine to keep me going! As cliché as this may seem, donuts + coffee are the perfect pick-me-up.

Adapted from The Breakfast Book. Yields 30 donut holes.

2 Tbsp + 2 tsp milk, warmed
1/2 package dry yeast
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Pour the warm milk in a mixing bowl and add yeast; stir and let dissolve for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the shortening and 1/4 cup sugar, stir until they have dissolved before removing from heat. When the water mixture has cooled to warm, add to the yeast mixture. Stir in the eggs and 1 cup flour. Beat well. Add the salt and only enough more flour to make a manageable dough; it should be very soft. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise until it doubles in size.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out. Pick off handfuls of dough and roll them into balls. Spread the dough balls out on a piece of waxed paper, about 1 inch apart, and let rise for about 1 hour.

Bring the oil to 365°F in a pot deep enough so the oil comes up two inches of the way. Fry only about 3 – 4 donut holes at a time, until golden all around. Remove and pat free of excess oil. Roll in cinnamon sugar while still hot.

Enjoy with a BIG cup of coffee! Happy Friday!

During our trip to the Bay area, one of our most memorable experiences was picnicking at Hog Island Oyster Co. with some friends.

First timers should know that you need to reserve a table in advance. Freshly shucked oysters are available for purchase at a premium; however, gloves and shucking knives are provided if you want to shuck them on your own and save a few pennies. Also, be sure to order the Kumamoto oysters – they’re sweeter, smaller and easier to shuck. What’s great about this place is that it also has grills set up for patrons to BBQ their own food. We kept it fairly simple and just brought some sausages, shrimp, cheese, guac and chips, but there were definitely groups who had the works with them. So the next time you plan a trip to the West coast, don’t forget to add this to your itinerary!

I’m back from the West coast and suffering the consequences of eating whatever I wanted during the trip. To start the week off on a healthier note, I made a batch of homemade honey granola, which is great with yogurt or just for snacking on its own.

Adapted from The Breakfast Book. Yields 5 cups.

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
salt to taste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine the oats, almonds, dark brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the honey into the oil and blend well. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and toss until they are well coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture in a single layer. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden, turning the cereal every 10 minutes with a spatula to avoid burnt edges. The granola will seem a little sticky when done; however, it will crisp as it cools. Store leftover granola in an airtight container and consume within a month.

Yields 4 servings.

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 peaches, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup agave syrup

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add peach slices and cook until soft. Lastly, mix in the agave syrup and allow peaches to bubble. They should reach a deep amber color when ready. Allow them to cool down before serving over plain yogurt.

Easy, yummy and healthy! Head over to RachelEmilyClaudieNatasha and Aimée‘s blogs to see what they cooked from The Breakfast Book today.

Today’s indulgence is Thomas Keller’s buttermilk fried chicken complemented with Marion Cunningham‘s cream biscuits and my favorite recipe for homemade honey apple butter. To me, this is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. If you’ve never deep fried anything before, don’t be intimidated! Choose an oil with a high smoke point, like canola oil, and make sure you heat it in a pot that has not been in contact with water because that’s when things start to get scary. Don’t overheat the oil beyond the desired temperature or else you’ll burn the chicken. As for the biscuits, they are extremely easy to make and SO soft and buttery that you’ll fall in love with them.

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home. I scaled down the recipe for 6 chicken legs.

4 cups water
1 Tbsp pink Himalayan salt
1 Tbsp honey
3 bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic, cut horizontally
1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
1/4 of a bunch of thyme sprigs
1/4 of a bunch of flat leafed parsley sprigs
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Canola oil for deep-frying

For the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool completely before using.

Once you’ve rinsed the chicken pieces, place them in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry and pick off any herbs or spices that are sticking to the skin. Let the chicken come to room temperature outside of the fridge, one and a half hours to two hours.

Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl, transfer half to a second bowl and set up a dipping station: chicken, coating, buttermilk, second bowl of coating, tray.

Bring the oil to 320˚F in a pot deep enough so the oil comes up two inches of the way.

Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a tray.

When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of chicken into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pot, about 2 – 3 pieces at a time. Fry for about 12 – 15 minutes until it is a deep golden brown. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels. Let cool before serving.

Adapted from The Breakfast Book. Yields 6 – 8 biscuits.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them with a fork to blend. Slowly add 1 cup of the cream to the mixture, stirring constantly. Gather the dough together; when it holds together and feels tender, it is ready to knead. If the dough seems shaggy and pieces are dry and falling away, then slowly add enough additional cream to make the dough hold together.

Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute. Pat the dough into a large ball and tear off small handfuls of dough. Dip each piece into the melted butter so all sides are coated. Place the biscuits 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned.

Recipe found here. Yields about 1 – 2 cups.

2 lbs Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch kosher pink Himalayan salt

Combine the apples and cider in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have mostly broken down, about 30 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to force the mixture through a medium sieve into a bowl. Rinse out the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan.

Whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat and adjust the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook until the mixture reduces and thickens to a spreadable consistency, about 75 minutes. As the mixture cooks, stir occasionally at first and then more frequently as it thickens. Scrape the apple butter into a storage container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Once completely cool, you can remove the plastic, cover with a lid, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Enjoy with an ice cold beer! : ) Also, be sure to check out what RachelEmilyClaudieNatasha and Aimée cooked from Chapter 3 of The Breakfast Book.