Zucchini Waffles with Lemon and Poppy Seed

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Zucchini Waffles with Lemon and Poppy Seed - 10th Kitchen

Fast forward a month or two, when I’m posting recipes for waffles (and everything else, honestly) that call for a full pound of the sumptuous beast that is melted butter, and you’ll know you can blame THAT waffle right there, the “hero” waffle, the one in the middle. 

Turns out that if you’re having a less-than-stellar photography day and can’t … quite … get it (not that I ever really do), and you have to keep melting a pat of butter over the same waffle a handful of times, that waffle will become the gold standard of all waffles in your life, no matter how good (or not) it was to begin with. 

Zucchini Waffles with Lemon and Poppy Seed - 10th Kitchen

Thing is. These were awesome to begin with–I know, because I kept shoving them into my mouth during this whole photo shoot. In addition to being a  one-handed food (fortunately and unfortunately, in this case), they’re fluffy, bright, and lemony, with just a bit of gentle zucchini flavor and lovely green specks.

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Moto Valera Cocktail

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Recipe for the Moto Valera Cocktail, with Lapsang Souchong-infused gin, Amaro Montenegro, and Cocchi Americano | 10th Kitchen

This is a brain-baby I had cooking for Negroni Week, left unbirthed until now. At the time, the Negronez won (it brought brass knuckles to the fight, I reckon… Seems like the type), BUT am I going to wait until next year’s festivities to bring you this idea? No. Friends don’t withhold. Also, this was too delicious to keep to myself, so there’s that.

Recipe for the Moto Valera Cocktail, with Lapsang Souchong-infused gin, Amaro Montenegro, and Cocchi Americano | 10th Kitchen

The big idea here is to infuse a bold, woodsy gin with Lapsang Souchong tea. This tea has a smoky flavor–and it’s potent, much more so than I would expect from a tea. Needless to say, it’s bunches and bunches of fun to play with.

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Peach Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Miso and Black Sesame Butter

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Peach Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Miso and Black Sesame Butter  | 10th Kitchen

Between two bread slices lies a solution for everything, you guys. And by “everything” I mean “mostly hunger,” but, sshhh. We’ll get to the rest in due time (as in, I have a cocktail post for later this week). Life is mostly chaos and weird feelings and hot beverages flying straight onto your pants on a Tuesday morning, but sometimes… Sometimes, you get to eat a sandwich, so let’s keep hustling, #makeitwork, and always buy black pants.

Peach Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Miso and Black Sesame Butter  | 10th Kitchen

…And black sesame to match. Right? Let me tell you about this grilled cheese sandwich.

I imagined this flavor combination every which way that is humanly (or robotically, I guess) possible. Obviously, I settled on the easiest and simplest route to enjoy peaches, miso, and black sesame simultaneously, because: (1) it increases the odds that somebody will actually make this, and (2) miso and black sesame compound butter = OMB. (Oh My Beyonce, obviously.)

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Sriracha-Glazed Chicken and Peach Skewers

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Sriracha-Glazed Chicken and Peach Skewers | 10th Kitchen

I’m probably not your go-to gal for meat on a stick, cooked over an open flame. It’s okay. I’m actually spectacularly bad at this type of thing and am sporting a sweet burn on my arm to prove it.

BUT, we all have our primitive moments. Like eating uncooked oatmeal and milk like it’s cereal. (Except we call it raw oat porridge and pretend we’re Gwyneth, right? Ugh. Everybody needs a hobby, lovelies.)

Sriracha-Glazed Chicken and Peach Skewers | 10th Kitchen

Should you be wondering–it’s actually not bad.

Of course, spicy, sweet, char-marked chicken and juicy peaches, served piping hot with lime/cilantro freshness on top and a cold beer for your sweaty I’ve-been-grilling forehead? That’s better. Much better. 

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Bay Leaf and Roasted Plum Ice Cream

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Bay Leaf and Roasted Plum Ice Cream - 10th Kitchen

Like anybody else with good intentions to occasionally unplug from online media and all that, I have a stack of leather-bound books on my nightstand of rich mahogany

Most of them are there to be read, and stay there longer than I’ll ever admit. One, however, is a most special little snowflake that I need within arm’s reach when my mind wanders the most: when I’m supposed to be sleeping, of course. I have indeed sprung out of bed and gone searching for the Flavor Bible often enough to necessitate keeping it close by. It’s an encyclopedia of flavor pairings, essentially, that inspires me with recipe ideas and helps me out when I almost have an idea cookin’ but need an extra shot of good-idea juice.

It’s great for those times I’m basically Lou Pearlman assembling the next hot boy band and I’ve already got the Cute One, the Bad Boy, and the Shy One. The Flavor Bible sometimes brings me the wild card (i.e. The One With Dreadlocks).

Bay Leaf and Roasted Plum Ice Cream - 10th Kitchen

Sometimes, though, it stuns me with something entirely fresh–something I’d never think of. When I was recently scanning it for ideas on what to do with plums, I saw a suggestion to combine them with bay leaf. What/huh/yes. I’m so into it. 

I’m starting to think that that kind of bedtime reading is way too electrifying. I might have to switch to those Game of Thrones books.

Naturally, I ran with this plums-and-bay-leaves idea and made us ice cream.

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White Cake with Cherry and Maraschino Mousse Filling

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White Cake with Cherry and Maraschino Mousse Filling - 10th Kitchen

I know I always say I don’t “do” cutesy. It’s partly a reflection of my personality/style, and partly because I’m too lazy/imperfection-loving (is imperfectionist a word?) to worry about things being just so. If you ever see me use tweezers on anything that isn’t a splinter or my eyebrows, please know that I am Not Myself, take them away, and buy me a Groupon for some alternative method of facial grooming. It’s just that I trust you–and that comes with certain duties.

So, this 6″ mini-cake isn’t cutesy. It’s practical. A perfectly-sized little fella of a cake, for a perfectly small and relaxing birthday celebration for your smartest, kindest, prettiest tax accountant rockstar friend. (Hey girl!)

White Cake with Cherry and Maraschino Mousse Filling - 10th Kitchen

What we have here is fluffy white cake, brushed with Maraschino liqueur syrup, filled with generous heaps of fresh-cherry-and-Maraschino mousse, and frosted with–get this–a buttercream that DIDN’T make me want to set my kitchen on fire and drive off into the sunset with “Everybody Hurts” blaring, a la Dwight Schrute.

More on each of those things below. (Except REM; I don’t think I have to explain myself there.)

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