Merry Christmas to all!!!! My insanely talented friend, Michelle Branch, was sweet enough to take the afternoon off to show us her skills in the kitchen! She is a fabulous baker (and mom, and wife, and chicken farmer, and singer/songwriter, and guitar player, and on and on). Click here for this delicious ginger souffle cake recipe. How great is her apron below?! Michelle and I are playing at Blackberry Farm on July 8th if any of you feel like having a fantabulous few days in East Tennessee. That’s really far off, so for now let’s keep stuffing our faces and read below…
What is your ideal afternoon off?
My ideal afternoon off would probably revolve around food. A nice long leisurely lunch with girlfriends, maybe some shopping and a jaunt to a museum.
I pretty much have my uniform. Black Acne jeans, my favorite Fauzian Jeunesse black boots that fold over, a skinny black tank and a blazer. Right now it’s either an Isabel Marant blazer or my Rick Owens leather jacket I got at your store. Maybe a hat.
Lana Del Ray-Video Games
The Kills-Future Starts Slow
Tame Impala-Half Full Glass of Wine
Vince Guaraldi Trio-Christmastime is Here (with vocal)
I’m really into small roasted game birds these days. Quail, partridge, pheasant etc. They are so delicious! Everyone teases me because I used to be vegan. Not anymore!
Worst kitchen bomb?
When I first started dating my now husband Teddy, I made a few disastrous meals back to back. One of his first mornings after staying over I made him an omelette but I had been on tour and the cheese in my fridge had gone bad. He took a bite and was trying to be polite but it was completely rank. Blue cheese omelets! Ha!
What are your Kitchen essentials?
My Emile Henry casserole and pie dishes I can not live without. I roast a lot of vegetables so I use my casserole dishes quite often. The other is my Le Crueset dutch oven. I make everything in that pan, even bread!
Where did your love for baking come from?
My mom is an amazing cook so we were always exposed to food and helping out in the kitchen but the baking started when I was maybe 7 years old. My mom was out doing errands and my older brother was supposed to be watching me. I saw a recipe for a mint chocolate cake on the side of the Bisquick box in our pantry. I wanted to surprise my parents by baking it for them. They were surprised but also very mad because I made a huge mess and had the hot oven going, but the cake was delicious!
Does Owen share your passion for food?
She does!! I think assuming children want “kid food” is a huge disservice. When you include them in the kitchen and meal planning it leaves a big impression. I think it’s important for our next generation to understand where our food comes from. There’s a huge disconnect these days. Owen just got invited to get behind the line and cook dinner for Teddy and I with Michael Mina in his namesake restaurant in San Francisco. She’s so excited. I’m jealous!
Do you miss cooking when you’re on the road? Or is it a nice balance?
It’s probably the thing I miss most. Eating out every single night sounds glamorous, but it leaves something to be desired. My favorite meals are of the simple home cooked variety. My last bus had a stove top and a convection microwave in it, so I did do some cooking but it’s so hard! I started a tradition with my band/crew where I surprised them with “midnight waffles” That was a big hit!
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
My favorite tradition is eating tamales on Christmas eve. We do it west coast style. We have an open house and make margaritas. I can’t imagine Christmas without it.
Your essential LA restaurants?
That’s tough, Locanda Portofino in Santa Monica on Montana and 11th. I’ve been going there for over 10 years. They made pasta for my wedding. Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica canyon is a must. Gjelina in Venice has my favorite pizza, heirloom spinach salad and butterscotch pot de creme. Sushi Park on Sunset is hands down my favorite sushi. Yuca’s taco stand on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. They won a James Beard award. How many taco stands do you know that have that claim to fame? They have the best carne asada. We stop by the liquor store next door, grab a Modelo Especial and eat in the parking lot…