P is for…Powdered Sugar Poundcakes with Peaches

Powdered Sugar Pound Cakes

Move over strawberry shortcake — there’s a new sheriff in town!

I can’t recall how or when I first stumbled upon the blog Ngan Made It. It could have been in March when Ngan traveled to Portland, because I am a sucker for posts about the food scene here. Or is could have been because of the alphabet food challenge (U for Udon, anyone?) that she partakes in with a few other fellow bloggers. While that mystery will have to remain unsolved, the reasons I enjoy her blog are easy to figure out.

Ngan can be counted on for not only having fantastic sounding recipes but also drool-worthy food photos. Her latest post on Jeremies (how have I not known about these?!) will make you seriously consider licking your screen.

But beyond food, she posts about everything from her travels to good books to Moscow mules, which I appreciate because sometimes I really need some variety in my life in my WP reader. I devoured her posts on a recent trip to Tahoe because I got to see the gorgeous mountains, lakes and greenery. (I love a vicarious vacation!)

And, finally, anyone who has a coffee mug emblazoned with “you are not perky. you are obnoxious” is bound to be someone I like!

So when it came time for me to make a recipe from a blog I follow, I knew exactly whose I would turn to. And I knew exactly what recipe to try out: Ngan’s Powdered Sugar Pound Cake.

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From a carrot to a (double chocolate brownie) cookie…

Have a cookie?

Have a cookie?

The blogging world is a funny place. You start writing and then you begin to discover other people’s blogs. You start to follow those blogs and slowly you develop relationships with those bloggers. And through those friendships, you discover new bloggers, and start to follow their blogs and so on and so forth.

It’s a beautiful thing. And, in my case, it often leads to delicious recipes, as evidenced by these double chocolate brownie cookies, which I found on a post by Shanna Ward from Curls & Carrots.

I first stumbled upon Shanna’s blog because of my fellow blogger, Liz of deLizious. Liz had mentioned one of Shanna’s posts on her Facebook page and so I wandered over to have a look. The post itself was rather sad but I’m still happy Shanna wrote it because that was the first glimpse I had into the world of Curls & Carrots.

If you read C&C you’ll know it’s chock full of great recipes, for everything from vanilla & cardamom challah to udon salad, and pictures of Shanna’s adorable kids. And each post often contains multiple recipes so it’s like hitting a culinary jackpot.

Not too long ago she posted a recipe for double chocolate brownie cookies and I knew I had to make them. I also knew who I had to make them for — my mother, an admitted and dedicated chocoholic.

I finally got the perfect opportunity this weekend, when it was time for our annual family reunion. Having just returned from vacation, and freshly recovered from a post-vacation cold, I was fairly exhausted and unmotivated. I couldn’t think of what to bring for my contribution but then it hit me — who doesn’t love a cookie?

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If you can’t stand the heat…

Pork Blanquette with Spring Vegetables

Pork Blanquette with Spring Vegetables

If someone had told me two weeks ago that I’d be braising pork on a sunny 75-degree day, I’d tell them they were crazy. I don’t stick to strictly seasonal meals but heating up my kitchen to slow cook something doesn’t make any sense when it’s already hot enough out there.

Nonetheless, I was so captivated by a recent recipe from Gourmandistan that I couldn’t help myself from doing just that. The recipe in question was a blanquette of pork, or braised pork shoulder in a happy broth of stock, cream and lemon. While the pork and the cooking liquid sounded lovely on their own, it was the pretty and colorful spring vegetables that called out to me. Just look at Michelle and Steve’s version of this Pork & Sons recipe and tell me it doesn’t look mouth-wateringly delicious.

And so, eager and excited, I thawed out a little two-pound pork butt that was nestled in my freezer and got to work. While I was clearly easy to convince, here are a few words of encouragement in case you need some enticement  to turn on your stove and make this:

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Street art with a side of street food in Austin, Texas

"Never give up" -- seen while kayaking on the Colorado River, Austin, TX

“Never give up” — seen while kayaking on the Colorado River, Austin, TX

As soon as I spotted this Pac-Man on the side of a bridge in Austin, I had a wave of inspiration.

I’ve been trying to cook a recipe from a favorite blog of mine each month as a kind of homage, but with this vacation and the crazy weeks leading up to it, I didn’t have time to get my culinary act together. But when I took this photo, I knew immediately what blog I wanted to mention this month — Waterfalls and Caribous.

Waterfalls and Caribous is a blog that I happen to come across long ago — I honestly can’t when I discovered it — but I was hooked immediately. While they post frequently about food, the main focus is their adventures while traveling, and seriously, they travel. I have followed them through India, Korea and into China. Their adventures can be as simple (and hilarious) as trying to find a great cup of coffee in Xi’an or as crazy as visiting the Haesindang (penis) Park in South Korea.

But I also really love that they love street art.

I’ve always enjoyed graffiti — when it’s done well — perhaps because I can’t draw at all. It’s really impressive what talented people can do with the side of a building (or bridge!) as their canvas.

So here’s some of the fun art I saw while wandering around in Austin last week:

Who doesn't love beer?

Who doesn’t love beer?

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Nothing says spring like lemons & asparagus

Creamy spring pasta with lemon, parsley and asparagus

Creamy spring pasta with lemon, parsley and asparagus

I love lemon pasta — in fact, it’s even made it onto this blog before in the way of a baked lemon pasta. And while it was delicious, it hasn’t stopped me from exploring other renditions of lemony carb-filled goodness.

Which is why I felt the overwhelming need to try out a recipe for Spaghettini with Creamy Lemon Sauce from Liz of My Favourite Pastime. Liz makes all sorts of fabulous looking food but I just couldn’t get this particular pasta dish out of my mind. Maybe it was because she mentioned making it once with coconut milk instead of cream, which really piqued my interest.

Ad while I am still very curious about using coconut milk in this, I thought for my initial attempt I should go straight for the cream. After all, cream plus cheese plus butter must equal delicious. That combination has never steered me wrong before!

I did, however, stray just enough to add in some blanched asparagus. I splurged on a gorgeous organic bunch from the market and their flavor, pumped up by the lemon in the pasta, was divine. This meal, eaten on a surprisingly sunny spring day, was the perfect dinner to make my Monday less painful.

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