Before we get to this week’s interview I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who shared my Trix Krispies on Pinterest. I am overwhelmed by the response to them and very thankful to all of you who have been sharing them. If you have not had a chance to see the post about them stop by Trix Krispies and check them out. Super fun to make and eat! Plus they are just cute as a button.
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH JACKIE FROM DOMESTIC FITS/THE BEERONESS:
This week I have a double treat for you. I’d like to introduce you to Jackie. She blogs at Domestic Fits which is a wonderfully diverse blog. She cooks and bakes while entertaining you with her sharp wit. Jackie also started another blog called The Beeroness which is all about how to cook and bake with craft beer. It’s a remarkable place for those of you who love craft beer, or quite honestly just love flavorful cooking and baking. She can help you chose the right brew for the right dish you want to prepare. It’s quite an art form to choose the right one. It needs to compliment and enhance the food so there’s definitely some serious talent and magic happening over at The Beeroness. She makes things like Beer and Brown Sugar Pancakes, Chocolate, Bacon and Porter Muffins, Beer Brined Turkey, and Saison Caramelized Pineapple Beer Shortcakes. You will be sure to impress your friends and family with any recipe you find on The Beeroness. On Domestic Fits you can find things like Homemade Buffalo Wing Sauce, Bruleed Blood Orange and Ricotta Mini Cheesecakes, Miniature Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake, and Puff Pastry Pizza. One of my absolute fave things Jackie has done is her Bourbon Soaked Cherry Cordials. They are spectacular and if I had bourbon in the house it’s what I would have made. It is on the list of future recipes to try though. I love chocolate covered cherries almost as much as pistachios. And you all know how I feel about pistachios. I also feel that way about Jackie. She’s sweet, talented, wickedly funny and the fact that she finds me mildly amusing thrills me to no end. One day soon I plan to meet this girl and go on a prop shopping expedition for pointy, stabby things. Until then I introduce you to the one and only Jackie and hope you enjoy getting to know her better.
Rapidfire Q & A with Jackie from Domestic Fits/The Beeroness:
1. What inspired you to begin blogging?
It was after I had Tater. Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, either way it can feel really isolating. I felt like every part of my life was about meeting someone else’s needs, even at work where I’m the supervisor for a social work program and have social work clients of my own. I just needed an outlet, something that was mine that I could use to express myself. It was also a way to connect with other people, something that I was missing in my new Mom Life.
2. You recently started a second blog, how did that come about?
It actually started with a conversation with my friend Tori from the blog The Shiksa in The Kitchen. We were good friends as kids, but met up again as adults through blogging and I am so impressed with her blog, her talent and her ethics about it all. I really hold her advice in high regard, and the idea for The Beeroness came out of a conversation we had over lunch about 6 months ago.
3. Is it difficult to maintain two blogs?
Yes, It is. I’ve recently had to allow myself to cut back a bit and take some time off if I need it. I want to update each blog as often as I can, but not at the expense of my sanity!
4. What is the best part about blogging for you?
The people! My life is so much better because of the people I’ve met. Los Angeles is a particular great place to be a blogger, we have monthly Food Bloggers of Los Angeles meet ups and I’ve been able to get to know some really fabulous bloggers in real life and they have been so inspiring and helpful to me as a blogger, a cook and as a person.
5. Are there any downsides to it?
Of course, there are downsides to everything. I always take things really personally and tend to get my feelings hurt if I get a nasty comment. It doesn’t happen too often, and I’ve taken to the “Don’t Feed The Trolls” mentality about it all, but it stings.
6. What blogs do you read in your free time? And why?
Mostly the ones from my friends. I was never much of a blog reader before starting one, but now I get to go see what my blog friends are up to and that’s really great, the relationships you form with the people who let you into their kitchens every week. I’ve also started reading beer blogs to learn a few things and that has been a lot of fun also.
7. Tell us about your love affair with beer and baking with it? Is it hard to pair the right brew with the right food?
It can be tricky to pick the right beer, but I try to help people out with tips to finding the right one. Not any beer will do with any recipe, and there are people who don’t seem to realize that no matter how often I say it! I like to think of beer as an extract, if a recipe calls for almond extract and all you have is mint, you can’t just substitute with what you have and hope for the same results. The flavors of craft beer are really amazing and can do amazing things when introduced to your food. Aside from that, beer is also a meat tenderizer, a leavening agent and a mild preservative so there are practical applications as well. I really love cooking with beer and the challenge of inventing a recipe that uses the beers I love, and response to my recipes has been really positive. I’m so incredibly grateful for that.
8. You take stunning photos, I see you use the Nikon D300. Do you have any tips for those of us finding our photography footing?
Thanks, so nice of you to say! My best tip is just to give yourself a break and just keep trying. It’s hard, really, really hard. At least it is for me! Just decide to work on one thing at a time and don’t try to be Helene Dujadin overnight. Speaking of her, reading her book Plate to Pixel helped me so much. No mater what camera you have, the principals of composition and lighting are the same. So that’s an essential place to start. Even if you have the best DSLR on the market, you can’t take great photos until you understand those things. Just look at my friend Greg over at Sippity Sup, all of the photos on his blog where taken with a point and shoot camera and they are fantastic. And, Kim, just look at those roast chicken pictures you took with your point and shoot, they are so amazing. I can tell you took some time to set up the shot, consider the lighting, and the composition is perfect. Those fundamentals are the best place to start, even if you are taking photos with your camera phone.
9. Do you have a favourite post you’ve done?
I wrote a post on Domestic Fits about a boy I went to elementary school with who had AIDS. It wasn’t a recipe post so it was largely ignored, but it was something that I had wanted to write about for a while, so I was proud that I had the courage to do it! On The Beeroness, I really love the Chocolate Bacon Porter Muffins post because people make those muffins all the time and love them. I love getting tweets and emails from people who made a recipe of mine and love it and that post has given me so much of that. It makes my day!
10. Any horrible kitchen disaster stories to share with us?
Ummm, yeah. All the time! I can’t make any type of stir-fry to save my life. Seriously, I suck at all things Asian. Also, the first time I made crème brulee, I had just finished bruleeing the sugar and thought, “I wonder if the sugar has hardened yet?” so I touched it, and it was still molten-billion-degree-liquid and I got the worst mother Effing burn of my life. I spent 17 hours in labor with Tater, a no medication, all natural labor, and that stupid burn was more painful. I swear. It obviously didn’t last as long as childbirth, but minute for minute, it hurt way worse.
11. What’s your go to meal when you have company coming for dinner?
I like to make stuffed beef tenderloin with a Hoisin glaze. It was one of my first posts for Domestic Fits, so the pictures aren’t that great but I love it. I also like to make roast chicken. It’s SO easy and takes so little active time that you have a lot of time to work on side dishes. And it’s cheap, so I end up roasting a chicken at least once a month.
12. Your daughter is totally adorable. How do you balance mommyhood and blogging? Any tips for other busy moms out there?
Awww, thanks. She is pretty cute! Again, give yourself a break. Being a mom is so hard, it’s impossible to be a good mom and not feel like you are failing at some point, it’s just part of the job to worry and feel guilty. But part of being a mom, especially the mom of a girl, is to model for her how to be woman. I want to be the best mom I can to her, but I also want her to grow up and know that it is important for you to take care of yourself without feeling guilty about it. Taking care of yourself and your marriage is a vital part of being the woman of the family. I have to work on giving myself a break, it was my New Years Resolution. I’m so hard on myself about everything, I just realized one day that I would hate for Tater to have these same feelings about herself, so why am I teaching her how to feel that way through my own actions? What if she picks that up from me and treats herself the way I treat myself? Just give yourself a break and try to focus on the great things about yourself, your life and the situation you are in.
13. Sweet or savoury?
Savory. But I LOVE a mix of the two. Chocolate covered bacon?? YES!
14. Butter or margarine?
Butter. For sure.
15. Chicken or beef?
I eat chicken so much more. But I love a good steak.
16. Pepsi or Coke?
Neither. I don’t really drink soda, but before I got pregnant with Tater and gave up soda, I was very excited about Diet Coke.
17. Nutella or peanut butter?
My confession of the day is that I’ve never had Nutella. Never ever. Weird, right? But I have peanut butter on toast 5 days a week for breakfast.
18. You can choose one person in the world to have dinner with, who would it be and what would you have?
My Dad. He died when I was a kid and whenever this question comes up, that’s what I think of first. I would want to cook for him, and just chat about normal day-to-day things. Even stupid, trivial things like how he likes his eggs or which of the 3 Stooges was his favorite.
19. Apron or no apron?
No apron. I have a bunch, but I always forget to use them and my clothes get super dirty.
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the equation for you?
I hope so, but it’s hard to say. Blogging has given me so much I can’t really imagine my life without it, but I also know how life can be and 5 years ago I never would have imagined myself as a blogger so who knows what my life with be like in 5 years! Either way, I know I’ll still be reading blogs and visiting my friends who let me into their kitchens.
Show us your grocery haul!
If you’re like me you’ve blown the picture up to read all the labels. No…just me then. I love Jackie’s don’t sweat the small stuff attitude. Plus she’s gorgeous right. I swear I need to take a photo of her to my hairdresser and say “make me look like that”. To which my hairdresser will laugh and roll around on the floor busting a gut. Apparently they aren’t “miracle workers” and can shave 20 years off with a haircut. I mean seriously, why not? I pay you for a miracle and I expect a miracle. Seems simple enough.
I chose to make Jackie’s Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts. I actually wanted to make her Deep Dish Lemon Pie with Animal Cracker Crust but my food processor is broken and apparently service departments also don’t work miracles. I guess you actually have to get off your lazy hump and bring it in to them to get it fixed. I mean seriously, what is with people these days. Do I have to do EVERYTHING. Geez! Anyhow I digress, I was also too lazy to crush animal crackers by hand so I chose lemon tarts. So today’s theme seems to be Kim is a lazy girl. It’s okay I can live with it. I’ve been called worse.
So below is Jackie’s photo of her tarts. She takes such beautiful photos. I always love her pictures as much as her recipes. She has great talent for photography and staging a photo.
Below is my version of the tarts. I need some work on my photography and staging. It’s a work in progress.
I did not really change much about them. I used vanilla sugar in place of regular sugar. Vanilla salt in place of regular salt. I opted to leave out the butter extract simply as I did not have any. Never even seen it before to be honest. I also used meyer lemons instead of regular lemons. So apparently today’s theme is also Kim does not do regular. Um…shocker. Aren’t you shocked? What a revelation. I do tend to like my vanilla stuff. So any chance I get to add it into something I tend to jump on it. The chance, not the vanilla. Cuz that’s just wrong. Okay so on to the recipe.
- For the shortbread cookie crust:
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla salt
- 1 cup butter, plus 6 tablespoons
- ¼ cup vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the lemon curd:
- 2 tablespoons meyer lemon zest
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup vanilla sugar
- ¾ cup fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup vanilla sugar
- For the shortbread cookie crust:
- Whisk flour, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer cream your butter until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and the extract, and beat until well combined.
- Add the flour mixture ¼ cup at a time, mixing as little as possible between each addition.
- You can finish by mixing with your hands if you like.
- Spray muffin tins with butter flavoured non stick spray.
- Press the cookie mixture into the pans so you leave a little well in the middle of each. Make sure to press it up the sides so the curd can fit inside later.
- Pop the tins in your fridge for about 2 hours.
- Remove and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let cool in pan for a few minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- For the lemon curd:
- Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and yolks to a bowl and whisk.
- Now transfer that to a pan or pot and cook over medium to low heat, adding your butter right away.
- Whisk until it thickens which takes about 8 or so minutes.
- Spoon the curd into the tart shells.
- For the meringue:
- Add egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt to a stand mixer.
- Beat on high until stiff peaks form.
- While mixer is still on high, slowly add your sugar and continue to mix until combined and stiff peaks form.
- Spoon onto tarts over the curd.
- Take a mini torch and give it a good flame if you like. You don’t have to but seriously any reason to pull out the mini torch is just good fun.
- Serve with a Meyer Lemon smile!
I think these ruined my healthy eating plan for today. I must have eaten 3 or 4 while shooting the photos. Luckily I don’t like meringue so those ones are for hubs. Also luckily I only did 4 or 5 without meringue or I’d be in a meyer lemon coma right about now. These are so frigging good. I mean wow, knock you on your ass good. I could see myself curled up on the couch eating these during a movie instead of popcorn. They are THAT good. I blame Jackie completely if the Hawaii trip just had an extra week added to it. It was out of my control. Who could resist these little bursts of sunshine? So the bikini waits another day. I’ll wear a yellow one in the tarts honour. From one tart to another…*she wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini*!
Thanks to Jackie for being a great subject to interview. I enjoyed getting to know this gal better. I like anyone with a little sass as you know, and Jackie is sassy and stunningly talented. So it was oodles and bunches of fun to interview her. Plus I adore anyone who loves Tori from The Shiksa in the Kitchen as much as I do. So make sure you check Jackie out. I’d like you all to visit both of her blogs. You can find her at Domestic Fits, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find her at The Beeroness, Facebook, and Twitter. She is worth following everywhere. Trust me. You will not be sorry.
Hope you all have a lovely week. I plan on getting some more recipes put into the print recipe feature for you all this week. I also fully intend to get outside and start getting the yard ready for spring. I quite likely won’t plant anything until the long weekend in May. Our Canuck weather can be unpredictable so it’s always best to wait until the danger of frost is over. I have tons of landscaping around the house that could use some tidying up though so I have lots to do.
Also wanted to let you all know you will be seeing some new stuff here on the blog over the summer. With hubs working again I can start doing some projects I’ve had simmering on the back-burner for quite some time now. I love redoing furniture so I have dozens of projects I want to do. I shall share a few of the good ones here for you to check out. So look forward to some fun new series for summer.
Toodles and smoochies! xx