Baking · celebration

Unpopular Thanksgiving Opinions

Get ready to be outraged:  I don’t like Thanksgiving.  Turkey is fine and all, but it’s definitely not one of my favorite types of poultry.  When people decide that duck is appropriate to eat at Thanksgiving, you can call me.  But on Thanksgiving, it’s inevitable that someone has dried out the bird, and the only thing worse than dry turkey is…well, nothing.

Stuffing is okay too, and sometimes it’s absolutely delicious, but a big mound of stale breadcrumbs is not enough to make a meal.  In the Vella family, it’s all about the food, so if you want to see what a real holiday is like, come see us on Christmas eve where we serve course after course of bomb ass food.  Thanksgiving, however, is not where the Vella’s shine, mostly because Thanksgiving food is boring.  Yeah, I said it.  And I’m not sorry.

But it’s not even the entree that I have the biggest problem.  It’s the desserts.  Pumpkin and Apple pie.  Here are some very clear reasons for my hatred:

  1. I’m just not all that into pie crust.  I’m know there are some better than others.  But whoever has made my apple pies the past 30 years certainly doesn’t have the ratios down.  Typically I find pie crust to be dry over flaky.  No thank you.
  2. I don’t like warm fruit.  I just don’t, I can’t explain it.
  3. I hate hate hate nutmeg.  Anything pumpkin flavored is basically just a bunch of clove and nutmeg and I think it’s way overused.  

So it’s all a matter of preference, but mine happens to be an unpopular one.  So what do I typically do on Thanksgiving?  I load my plate up with mash potatoes and Brussel sprouts and I skip dessert.  But I’m not doing that this year.  No way.  Skipping dessert is bullshit,  I live for dessert.  This year I’m taking matters into my own hands.  I’m making something for myself…sure, other people can have some too.  I’m not going to eat an entire cake by myself.  But this is about me, and my dessert is going to include chocolate, because dammit, dessert means chocolate.  There, I said it.  I feel so much better.

Ginger Choc cake 1

Here’s what I baked, a chocolate ginger bundt cake.  The recipe didn’t include ginger, but because I’m not a total scrooge, I decided to be a little festive.

I am so thankful for my readers.  Thanksgiving, in spite of the crappy food, is special to me.  I am so grateful for the many wonderful faces around my dinner table.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Baking · Uncategorized

Happy 4th of July!

This year the Fourth of July has been particularly pleasant because it felt like one long, glorious weekend.  Even though I literally just got back from a week long vacation, I dove back into work head first with little time to rest.  Because of that, I took the opportunity to fully enjoy the long, holiday weekend and focus on the type of things that make me really really happy.  I floated around the pool, I went for a long, leisurely hike, I entertained for the fireworks with watermelon cosmos and some yummy snacks, and I baked.  Oh man, did I bake.

watermelon cosmo snacks

I started the weekend off right by making an American bakery classic: Angel Food Cake.  This cake is lighter than air, fluffy and delicious.  I used Mary Berry’s recipe, even though she’s a British bird, but just like that first independence day, I broke off from the english recipe and did things in my own style.  I frosted the cake with a classic, homemade whipped cream, and a berry curd.  As you know, I’m an absolute sucker for curds, and I’ve been messing around with different kinds lately.  Here is my recipe for the perfect berry curd.


  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • In a small saucepan over medium low heat, cook down the strawberries and blueberries in water, and a pinch of sugar, about 10-12 minutes.  Let berries come to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • When the berries have reached a nice consistency, whisk in the remaining ingredients quickly.  Since the berries are already warm, you want to whisk aggressively so as not to scramble your egg yolks.  
  • Remove from heat and strain the curd, removing any large chunks of fruit from the curd.
  • Cool at room temperature, and drizzle on cake.
  • Top the cake with additional berries for decor, and enjoy!

The angel food cake calls for 10 egg whites, so when you are separating the eggs, simply set two of the yolks aside for the curd.  

angel food cakeI hope you all had a very happy and relaxing Fourth of July!  Cheers and Ciao!

Baking · cocktails · Food · Uncategorized

Much Ado About Rhubarb

The start of summertime means that my Instagram feed is filled with cakes, pies, and fruity desserts.  There is one constant ingredient that I’ve noticed more and more of every year:  rhubarb.  You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant or bakery out there without rhubarb popping up somewhere on their menu.  Maybe it’s gaining popularity, or maybe I’ve just begun to notice more, but either way, it’s hard to miss and I realized I knew close to nothing about it.

So what is rhubarb exactly?  It’s a stalking vegetable, think of celery with a bad sunburn.  Rhubarb grows large leaves that are actually poisonous, but the stalk which is edible, produces a beautiful tart flavor.  Even though rhubarb is indeed a vegetable, it is often treated like a fruit in baked recipes.  With just a little sugar added, rhubarb makes for a delicious dessert.

I’ve consumed many a rhubarb concoction, but I have never attempted to make anything with it myself, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I’m not into pie, but I’m a sucker for a good curd, so I whipped up some Rhubarb Bars which are not only delicious, but fun to say.


I worked off of a recipe from blogger Broma Bakery.  Sarah, of Broma Bakery, has gorgeous pictures,  inspiring and delicious recipes.  You should definitely give her a follow.  In her recipe she teaches you how to cook the rhubarb down, make a delightful shortbread crust, and the ratios for a perfect curd.  The recipe called for some red food coloring, as the bright red color of the rhubarb fades slightly when cooking.  I opted not to add an additional coloring as I am an au naturale type of gal, but the flavor was top notch.  A great dish to bring to a party.  Recipe included here.

The recipe calls for 3 cups of chopped rhubarb, which cooks down to about 2 cups.  However the recipe for the curd only calls for 1 cup of the rhubarb puree.  What’s a gal to do with an extra cup of tart, delicious, colorful rhubarb puree…?  Make cocktails, of course!  I made two cocktails, one for Tim and one for me.  Just kidding, they were both for me.


The first drink I made was a Bloody Rhubarb Old Fashioned. IMG_7246


  • 2 slices blood orange
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • ½ oz rhubarb puree
  • 2 oz rye whiskey

In your rocks glass, muddle together the blood orange slices, simple syrup, and bitters.  Then add the rhubarb puree, whiskey, give it a good stir.  Top the drink with ice and enjoy!

The drink is boozy, tart, and slightly sweet – some of my favorite things.  It also turns out to be a deep reddish hue.

The next drink I made is what I like to call a Millennial Spritzer.

Ingredients: IMG_7249

  • 1 oz rhubarb puree
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz. rosé
  • 2 oz. Berry La Croix

Combine all ingredients in a wine glass, stir, add ice, enjoy.


Apparently us millennials are drinking all the rosé in the world, and practically overdosing on La Croix.  I chalk it up to the fact that we all have really really good taste.

So, no matter what form Rhubarb takes, it is bound to be delicious: tart, sweet, and satisfying.  Sometimes things like stalking vegetables, pink wine, and carbonated water are worth the hype, after all.