June 13, 2011

Big Girls, Small Kitchen Lotus Blondies & Giveaway! {Naptime Special}

Lotus Blondies

Phoebe and Cara’s website, Big Girls, Small Kitchen, was one of the first blogs I ever read. We started blogging around the same time and I remember being immediately taken in by their cool concept of quarter-life cooking. To be honest, I felt a little bit like I was reading a flashback to my own twenties in New York. For five years I lived in a one room studio with a kitchen that had been converted out a closet. Those were the days when the cutting board was always spread over my sink and the two mixing bowls I had were in constant rotation. I even had to hang the dish rack over my sink to drain after I hand washed it dish. Good times.

Apparently I am not the only one who was reading Phoebe and Cara’s blog — I am not surprised by this — and fast forward to today when they are officially published authors. Hooray! I was so excited when I got their book, In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from our Year of Cooking in the Real World in the mail I could hardly contain myself. Despite the fact that I am, ah-hem, not in my twenties anymore, their style of recipes appeal to me and I love their just hangin’ out with friends style.

The first thing that I found so interesting about this volume is the organization. Unlike a traditional cookbook, this one is arranged by occasion and introduced by a personal essay. What are the foods that Cara and Phoebe make when they are alone make up one chapter, another is based on good foods to take to work for lunch. All of these situations are typical of the twenty-something city dweller, traipsing to work in flats, changing into heals, back into flats to swing by the market on the way home. They even are kind enough to address the important questions faced during those years: Is it weird that I get up early to make breakfast before going to work? Do I live on my own or with roommates? What is the best kind of wine to bring for dinner? How do I host a dinner party at my coffee table? Is it worth splurging on the guy I just met?

While the primary audience for this blog is quarter-lifers I am writing about it today because I think a lot of you — over the quarter-lifers — would enjoy it. The writing is witty and fun, the dishes are accessible and interesting. And, frankly, there are a few things that could quite easily fall into a dinner rotation. The shrimp risotto comes to mind, as well as the baked chicken.

Today I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from the book, Lotus Blondies. These salty sweet bars were developed by Cara to give to her sister after a silly squabble over a lotus necklace. They came together quickly and easily for me during naptime and were devoured by my family in no time. Trust me, if these peak your interest then you’ve just begun to get a taste for what’s in store in this book.

For Your Chance to Win a Copy of In the Small Kitchen:

1. Leave a comment sharing a favorite meal or dish you made in your early twenties!

2. Sign up for The Naptime Chef newsletter (upper left corner)

3. Like The Naptime Chef on Facebook.

4. Contest runs from June 13th at 7:00am through June 20th at 11:59pm.


Lotus Blondies

from In the Small Kitchen


2 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips





1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the sugar, stirring well until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour it to a heatproof mixing bowl and place it in the fridge until it is cooled to room temperature. About 20 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the fridge and stir in the eggs, and vanilla. Then add the flour, salt, nuts and chips, stirring everything until just combined and the flour is no longer showing.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is puffed up and crusty. Let the pan cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.



Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These would make an excellent sundae topped with ice cream. They are also transportable and would do well on a beach picnic!


Naptime Stopwatch

30 minutes prep time (includes cooling time), 25 minutes baking time

Naptime Reviews

Ooey, gooey, salty and sweet. Delicious!