Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Return of the Blog

Remember that trip to Joshua Tree I mentioned back in the Spring? Well, at long last, here are the photos from that adventure!

Our visit to Moorten Botanical Gardens in Palm Springs was one of the highlights of this trip. Every imaginable variety of cacti can be found on display here! They even have a great selection of plants for purchase- we definitely brought one home with us.

Camping in Joshua Tree will be an adventure we remember forever. We hiked a bit, watched a gorgeous sunset , and camped in the shadow of a rock formation- all against the backdrop of this stunning landscape.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Desert Adventures

{Photo: Gaby J Photography}
The desert is growing on me. Growing up near mountains and rivers, I was always more inspired by those landscapes, but the longer I live in SoCal, the more inspiration I find out in the desert. 

The mister is finishing up another brutal quarter in his Ph.D. program and we are looking forward to next week, when he gets a bit of a break (from classes at least), and we'll head out on an overnight camping adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. Today I look to other photographers to fuel my excitement for this trip.

{Photo: Mark Webster Art}
{Photo: Amelia Durham via National Geographic}
A campfire, star gazing, fresh air- all a reprieve from the noise and light of the city. Even if it's only for one night, it'll be much needed time away for us. 

{Photo: The Weaver House}
On the way home, we'll stop in Palm Springs and pay a visit to the Moorten Botanical Garden. This place has been on my wish list for a year- doesn't it look amazing?! Spring break or bust.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bourbon & Stout Beef Stew

Last week, after finding stew meat on sale at the grocery store, I whipped up some beef stew and it turned out so well I thought I'd share the recipe with you (plus it gave me an excuse to photograph produce, which is one of my favorite subjects lately). While it's not quite a traditional Irish stew, I think it could work quite nicely for Saint Patrick's Day, in case you're thinking of making something festive next Monday.

Bourbon & Stout Beef Stew
(Makes 4 hearty servings)


1 pound beef stew meat (chuck or bottom round roast cut into cubes)
2 T butter
1/2 medium onion
1 T minced garlic
2 T tomato paste
2 c beef broth
Dash Worcestershire sauce
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 c sliced crimini mushrooms
2 T bourbon
1/4 c stout beer
1/4 c minced fresh Italian parsley


Sprinkle stew meat with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, brown the stew meat, working in batches if needed to ensure the meat isn't crowded in the pan. Once nicely browned, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Set meat aside.

Add garlic and onion to pan and stir, scraping all the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more. Add beef stock and Worcestershire, stirring constantly. Add beef back to the pan. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 60 minutes.

After 1 hour, add potatoes, carrots, stout and bourbon, stirring well. Let simmer for 15 minutes, then add mushrooms.  If the sauce seems too thick, add more beef stock as needed. Simmer 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender. Add most of the minced parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or biscuits. Sprinkle with additional parsley just before serving.

Original recipe, styling, and photography by Danae Horst for Gather and Hunt. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Meyer Lemon Iced Cream

A sweet friend recently gifted us with a bag of Meyer lemons from the tree in her yard. In search of something a little different to make with them, I came across this recipe from the Los Angeles Times and thought I'd give it a go. The cardamom really brings out the earthy tartness of the lemons. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter (a rarity for me), so I won't repost it here, but I hope you try it while Meyer lemons are still in season.

Styling and photos by Danae Horst for Gather and Hunt. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Simple Pizzas

Making pizza at home has recently become an obsession of mine, which works out nicely since I crave it at least once a week. Last week, I figured I would work on a goal for the new year- taking more photos of things I'm already doing- and document the super simple recipe I've been using.

You'll need:

-1 ball of pre-made pizza dough (you can make your own of course, but I find I make pizza more often if I don't have to make the dough as well). I like the dough at Trader Joe's or Safeway/Von's/Pavillions. If there's a pizza place you like the crust at, you can also see if they'll sell you the dough- most will.
-El Cento canned crushed tomatoes. I've seen these at both TJ's and Safeway/Von's/Pavillions as well.
-1 log fresh mozzarella, sliced
-Fresh basil
-Crushed garlic

Pre-heat oven as high as it'll go without broiling.

For the sauce, you'll need about 1/2 the can of the crushed tomatoes for two pizzas. Add salt and garlic to taste. Set aside.

Divide the pizza dough into two balls. Roll them out one at a time on a lightly floured counter. For this style of pizza (Napoletana-esque), you'll want to roll the dough out thin. If you're having a hard time getting it thin, gently stretch the dough between your fists.

Once the dough is rolled out, place it on a pizza screen, or, if you're using a pizza stone, a pizza peel.

Sauce the crust, spreading it evenly but leaving a thin ring around the edge sauceless. Add the mozzarella, spacing it evenly, not too close to the edge. Add some of the basil (I like to chiffonade mine, but whole leaves are fine too).

Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the mozzarella is bubbly and begins to brown. Cut immediately, add some more basil if you like, and serve.

I hope this simple recipe will get you making more pizza at home! Make it your own and add topping you enjoy (just try to limit it to 2-3 toppings per pizza or it'll get soggy). If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think. I already can't wait until I recover from this terrible flu- I know what my first meal will be once I can eat again!

Original recipe, styling, and photos by Danae Horst for Gather and Hunt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

I know it's been quiet around here lately, but I wanted to take a moment out of my visit with family in Wyoming to wish all of you a very merry Christmas! May your holidays be filled with joy and love!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Put the Lights on the Tree...

We trimmed our tree last week, partly in celebration of the fact that the mister finished a draft of his big paper for the quarter, but mostly because we love Christmas around here.

When we were first married we decided to find an ornament whenever we went to a new place. Now, as we hang them on the tree we're reminded of those times and places. I love making our own traditions, and this is one of my favorites.

San Francisco, CA
Leavenworth, WA
Pasadena, CA (a house to document our first 'house', aka non-apartment building)

We ended the festivities with some chocolate-peppermint schnapps milkshakes while watching a Christmas movie. A nice little mid-week break before the madness of finals week started.

Are you celebrating already? I'd love to know what you're up to!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Fun

I've never been much of a Halloween person, but I do love fall, and always buy pumpkins to decorate with. I've been wanting to carve some for years, but the mister and I never seem to make it happen- until this year. Since we're not really into Halloween, I wanted to use designs that would last into November and just feel like fun fall decor. Last week my friend Kristin reminded me about the notion of using a drill rather than carving the pumpkins and it seemed simple enough so we went for it.

Seriously- this was the easiest pumpkin carving ever. The drilling can get a little tedious, but it was so quick to make such pretty designs that it was totally worth it.

Here's the rundown on how to do it:

1. Cut the top off the pumpkin as usual, leaving an opening big enough for your hand to reach through. Set top aside.

2. Scoop out the pumpkin 'guts' using a spoon, your hands, a plastic scraper, or whatever else you have on hand that works.

3. Once the inside is all cleaned out, layout your design on the pumpkin with a pencil or pen. Since we were doing holes anyway, we used the tip of a retractable pen with the pen part retracted and just made tiny little indentations where we would later drill. If you're stuck for design ideas, just do an image search for 'drill carved pumpkins' to get some inspiration.

4. Now that your design is plotted out, get to drilling. Try using multiple bit sizes to make your pattern extra interesting. Be sure the bit goes all the way through the shell so that you don't have little bits showing once it's lit. This part can get a bit messy- little pumpkin shavings kind of fly everywhere, so make sure your work surface is covered and don't do it too close to any furniture you don't want to clean pumpkin off of.

5. Clean out any shavings that ended up inside the pumpkin, and you're ready to light it!

See- so easy. If you don't have a pumpkin already- you can easily whip up one of these in less than an hour and use it tonight!

I hope you all have a great Halloween. Since I'm in my hometown for a wedding this week, I get to see my nephews and niece in their costumes today- a special treat since they live so far away!
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