All posts by jonimichiko

That Saturday Baking Bullshit


OH SATURDAY MORNINGS. A glorious time of sweatpants, sinking into the couch, and long sips of coffee. Bless your damned soul, Saturday morning. Stay forever – will ya?

In my more aggressive early twenties, I would jump out of bed (no hangover!), squeeze into spandex (what love handles?), and speed over to a yoga class at Equinox (disposable income!) without even a thought about slowing down to embrace the laze. But – alas –  a lot has changed since then, and I have now come to appreciate (and love) a slower weekend morning.

My favorite way to start off the weekend is whipping up a batch of somethin’ somethin’ in my PJs using whatever I have on hand in the cupboard. There is something special about starting off the weekend treating yourself with a pastry. A batch of muffins instantly makes the house smell like a bakery and makes you feel like a domestic goddess! (You could totally win the Great British Bakeoff! You are savvy and great in the kitchen! Any man would be damned lucky to wake up to a home-baked breakfast pastry!) Oh sorry, I digress…


Last Saturday I started the weekend with these (vegan!) persimmon coffee cake muffins, which sound like a lot of bougie bullshit, but was all I could churn out without a grocery run. I had no butter or eggs (had to be vegán – sry haters) and three overly ripe, almost-rotting Hachiya persimmons on the counter that I had to put out of their misery. Anywhoo – these were bomb and that’s why I’m writing about them on this blog!


Recipe here

Mother effn scones, ya’ll


Mondays are hard. Aint nobody waking up on a Monday like, “Imma gonna SLAY today” – not even Yoncé. So I’ve been doing this thing to ease into the week. Every Monday morning, I rest from the workout schedule, close my computer, and turn up the tunes. I take a news detox – no NPR, no NYTimes, no nada. On Mondays, I make a strong ass cuppa coffee and I fucking BAKE (breakfast, you stoners) and it’s fucking THERAPY.

On Mondays mornings, my house smells amazing. I end up giving away a few muffins, half a loaf, a few scones. I make other people’s Mondays a little lighter (heavier in calories, but who’s counting – it’s almost the holidays) AND I have a delicious breakfast for the rest of the workweek! I can grab a muffin as I run out the door on Wednesday to my workout class. EASY AS FUCK.

Last Monday, I made these Maple Oat Scones. The people loved them, so I thought I’d share. Try out the Monday morning bake – it might be your new favorite thing, too.



Maple Oat Scones

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting surface
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup dried coconut
1 very heaped tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Scant 3/4 cup (160 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
butter for brushing
Turbinado sugar for dusting
Honey for drizzle

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter parchment paper on a baking tray.

Whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, coconut, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. With your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a small dish, combine the milk and syrup, then add these liquid ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. By hand or with a rubber spatula, bring everything together to form a softish dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more milk but not enough that the dough is sticky. The dough should not be sticky at all.

On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray so that they almost touch. Glaze the tops with butter, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the scones are lightly golden.

She’s baaack! (so let’s eat pie)


2016-07-16 19.22.03

One small excuse for not sharing our culinary adventures in some time: half of our esteemed enterprise, Joni, decided to pull a full Eat Pray Love on us and travel the globe for 5 months. She left us with another delightful blog during this time, which provided some comfort, but I still found myself with an empty hole/crippling inability to post anything. But all’s well that ends well y’all – SHE’S BACK. And within a week she was in San Francisco visiting me, and within about an hour of that, we were baking.

Being reunited with your best bud of 25+ years is an extremely chill experience that only decades of “we cool” can cultivate. Joni showed up in my city, brought me chocolate, I ate it, said I was tired, and she sent me to my room for a nap. When I got up though, I was really stoked and we ate pie. Chocolate bourbon pecan pie, to be more specific.

This pie was originally just another vehicle on which to put whipped cream, because I’m on a serious home-made whipped cream kick these days (more on that later). But this ended up being a lot more than that because chocolate, bourbon, buttery dough…you get the picture.

2016-07-16 13.08.25
Whipped cream on erry’thang

As many of you know, I have struggled over the years with a serious case of culinary F.O.D. (fear of dough), but I’m working through it with the help of good friends, a pastry blender, and a bottle that I use as a rolling pin (Hey, I may be visiting the world of baking, but I haven’t moved in). But you know what? I’ve realized that even when you make the seemingly unspeakable mistakes they warn you about in all the Super Uptight Baking Recipes, what you get is still pretty damn good. All this “careful not to let the butter melt or your crust won’t be flaky!” – I mean, it is true, but not-as-flakey-as-it-could-be pie dough is still pie dough, knowwhatImsayin?

This recipe is a bit time consuming, but overall straightforward if you go by the book. I paired it with maple whipped cream, but you could easily do vanilla ice cream, cool whip, silly string…hey, I don’t judge. Just add best friend and serve.

Chocolate bourbon pecan pie
Adapted from Food&Wine


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water


  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chip

Whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


  1. In a food processor or by hand with a pastry blender, blend the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp to decorate. Refrigerate until firm (maybe 20 minutes).
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, until just toasted, and coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  4. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil if the edge is browning too quickly (it didn’t for me). Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool before serving.
  5. To make whipped cream: combine cream and maple syrup and beat until firm peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. It’s easier with a small amount of cream, a big bowl, and a healthy level of confidence.



Let’s get poppin’


It’s been so fucking hot in LA, so to cope I’ve jumped on the popsicle bandwagon HARD. Like, my freezer is rollin’ DEEP with pops. It’s fucking fantastic.


You guys, this shit is a total crowd pleaser. And SO easy. I mean, talk about ultimate lazy-mom snack! Minimal work, HUGE payoff. Good serving size, too. I brought a few to a bachelorette party in Palm Springs last weekend, and they were a total hit. What can I say, BETCHES LOVE POPS!

It literally it couldn’t be easier. Here’s the basic play-by-play:

  1. Create sweet liquid aphrodisiac concoction
  2. Pour in molds
  3. Shank with a stick
  4. Put that shit on ice

Cue slow clap, you’re just 6 hours away from paleta nirvana. (Patience, grasshopper.)


Of course, there are bougie options abound: perhaps a dash of homemade mint simple syrup, dollop o’ espresso, booze of any kind, or ginger-basil-prosecco-rosé-peach-sangria-white-privilege. Go forth and paleta as you see fit.


It’s time dust off those Pinterest boards y’all because these are the pins you’ll actually succeed in creating.

Stay cool my friends and get poppin’!

Popsicle Recipe Starter Pack:

Honeydew Cucumber Margarita

Coconut Blueberry

Espresso + Brownie

Watermelon Mint Mojito

Good people

beakfast sando

You know how some people say that the best way to test for a good chef is to have them make you an omelette? Well, I think the best way to test for a good person is to talk to them about breakfast sandwiches. I fundamentally do not trust anyone who isn’t at least a little bit passionate about a good breakfast sandwich.

A breakfast sandwich is just one of those things where when it’s good, it’s good, so part of being even a little excited about breakfast sandwiches means you are probably on The Quest For the Best One. I’m not so egotistical as to say I’ve found The Best One and that it’s in fact my own creation, but I am here to tell you that on this quest, a major milestone has been achieved.

I recently bought a smoker and have spent a fair amount of time testing it out with a friend – and if you know anything about cooking meat at 200 degrees, you know it takes a long time. It involves eight solid hours at home, divided into 30 minute increments where you check in to dote on your smoker, check the temperature of your fire, and add charcoal as needed. It’s kind of like having a baby – probably.

Having this much downtime with a fellow food enthusiast has inevitably yielded extra cooking projects (“Hey, let’s make french toast and then make a PB&J out of it.”) And typically, after first getting the meat into the smoker around 8am, making a kickass breakfast sandwich. That’s how this beauty came to be.

There are no big surprises that make this sandwich awesome: english muffins. bacon. avocados. sriracha…wait for it…mayo. But there is one thing that moved this to the next level, and that is the patented technology we call SFP (Same F***ing Pan). That is when you cook your bacon, pour out the oil, assemble your sandwich, and ultimately return your sandwich to grill for a few delightful moments in, you guessed it, the same f***ing pan. You end up with a gorgeously crusted outside with a still soft inside. Like many famous inventions, this happened by necessity when the toaster was broken. Hey, the path to breakfast nirvana is winding. Good people of the world, rejoice.

                                                                    Guts and glory

The Best Friggin’ Breakfast Sandwich
english muffins (I actually used whole wheat)
avocado, sliced
cheddar cheese, sliced

Cook bacon in a skillet. Pour out the oil and wipe the pan to remove most of it. Add some butter, melt it, and fry up an egg. Transfer the egg out. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and sriracha, until light pink (or however spicy you like it). Take lightly toasted english muffins and assemble your sandwich with mayo, bacon, eggs, sliced avocado, and cheddar. Butter both sides of the sandwich, then return your sandwich to the SFP for a final grill, until the cheese is melted and the bread is nicely browned on the outside. Cut the sandwich in half, but be decisive and show no fear – that’s how you keep it from falling apart.

Muffin Man


I am obsessed with this recipe. My food-neurosis typically associates muffins with guilt, the necessity to run 40 miles and eat solely kale for the next 4 weeks (that’s normal, right??), but no more! These guys are so yummy: made with whole-grain flour, have a healthy dose of flax, and aren’t super sweet since they’re sweetened up with just maple syrup and a banana. They are basically a blueberry pancake in muffin form. Not to mention the recipe is SUPER easy and CRAZY quick. Naturally, they have become my Sunday morning go-to and subsequent grab-and-go breakfast throughout the week. I may or may not fantasize about feeding them to my future children as the granola / tiger mom hybrid that inevitably awaits me in my life arc. Let’s just say I have big plans.

I mean, come on – isn’t this how you’d like to start your mornings:

2015-03-10 09.22.25
Hellooooo mister! (Am I getting too creepy with this muffin? Don’t answer that.) Anyways, this is the kind of breakfast that I guarantee you are going look forward to. Also, I highly recommend consuming with a healthy dose of almond butter!
Vegan Whole-Grain Banana Berry Muffins
(adapted from here, great healthy recipes FYI)
 Makes 1 doz muffins
1 c non-dairy milk
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c grapeseed oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1 ripe mashed banana
1/2 tsp vanilla ext
1/2 tsp almond ext
1 1/2 c frozen berries (blueberries, rasberries, or blackberries)
  1. Preheat to 375F and line muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flax, flour, soda, cinnamon, salt).
  4. In another medium-sized bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (oil, syrup, banana, extracts, milk/vinegar mixture).
  5. Add wet to dry and stir until just combined.
  6. Mix in berries and spoon into paper liners.
  7. Bake for 15 – 20 mins, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a bit and then devour!

Off the deep end


Ok, we admit it. When it comes to cooking and baking, we can both get a little carried away. So when duty called to throw a dinner party for our best friends on New Year’s Eve (ok, maybe it was our idea), we knew things would get just a little out of hand. Actually, really out of hand. This event was the perfect storm of neurotic culinary adventures – a special occasion, a group of 12, a theme, hosted by us. The result was inevitable.

It started innocently enough, with a casual text message chain the whole week tossing around ideas like “should we make gnocchi?… I think I have a ravioli stamp…wait, what about flatbread?” Then came The Pitcher – a giant mason jar with a spout that came into Joni’s possession through divine intervention (thank you, dear cousin). Over the course of the week it whispered ever so softly (in that way pitchers do) “Sangria, Sangria, Sangria.” And that’s where the idea came from: Spanish food.

And so began the culinary spiral. Obviously, a Spanish theme necessitated paella – a hearty filler was going to be necessary for a night like New Year’s eve.  We went with chicken, chorizo, and shrimp, but the best way to tailor your paella is by the best proteins you can get your hands on. This was our first paella-making experience, but we knew where to go. Anytime there’s a precise or dicey new recipe to tackle, one must turn to Mark Bittman, and he didn’t let us down. His master Paella recipe is a great starter. Then came the albondigas, spanish meatballs that make for a killer tapa. We used a traditional gravy-like recipe with blended sauteed leeks and broth, and added in a tomato and red pepper sauce to give it a some more color.


We tacked on a tried and true Spanish tortilla recipe I used to live off of, but spiffed it up with some slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions.


We threw in a kale salad and grilled veggies for some much-needed presence of greenery.


Things got a little out of hand with the appetizers. Joni went on a spree the day before and felt the need to make multi-seeded crackers with dried figs and nuts in them. From there, some jamon and good cheese were in order. Then we threw in a slow-roasted nut recipe that makes for a great table appetizer, with a Spanish kick of red pepper and herbs.


No event menu would be complete without an explosion of Jo&Jo’s beautiful flowers and baked goodness, which is how we ended up with some seriously gorgeous centerpiees, a pear custard tart, caramelized apple tart, alfrajores (Argentine, we know but roll with us here) and some brownies tacked on for good measure. Yeah, 4 desserts for 12 people. That’s not overkill, is it?



As with any overblown cooking adventure, it was a an emotional roller coaster. I woke up at 8:15am on New Year’s to Joni’s minor meltdown of “We don’t have enough chairs, and I’m way behind on baking…but I went crazy and made these crackers and haven’t left the house in a while. We need to get to the farmer’s market, I’m picking you up now.” But I have to say, starting bright and early and pacing out the dishes made for a really smooth cooking process. The meatballs can be made a head of time, and the tortilla can easily get reheated in the oven. Paella doesn’t take long and can be made an hour before everyone shows up. And that’s how you pull off a Food is Bomb New Year’s.

In reflection, was this a lesson in scaling back and keeping it simple? Probably not.

Until next time,
Sam & Joni

Spanish Tapas Extravaganza
Base recipes are below – but the fun part is to customize the add-ins

Mark Bittman’s master Paella recipe
Basic Spanish Tortilla recipe
Spanish albondigas
Rosemary nuts
Kale salad
Pear Custard Tart

From Baking Overdose to Sweet Salvation


An orange and a coconut walk into a bar….

Hahaha, apologies for the bad dad joke. I just couldn’t resist. My humor isn’t as sharp as usual – I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks and it’s left me a little delusional. The cause for my baking overdose? Well, a good friend and I just launched Jo&Jo – an LA-based florist/bakery partnership. Like any new project, it’s a ton of fun but there’s a lot of growing pains so we’re learning a lot along the way. Between catering a baptism for a very popular baby and getting all of our Mother’s Day packages out, I’ve been a brownie/cookie/muffin machine and consequential social hermit. Let’s just say that my oven and I are getting pretty intimate, which isn’t really how I pictured my mid-twenties.

Furthermore, baking the same recipes over and over again is putting a definite damper in my baking swag. My tried and trues are definitely that, but I miss the experimentation and the well-deserved / much anticipated bliss earned from the first bite of a new recipe. And then I made these glorious guys:

photo (13)

Suddenly, my baking mojo was back! Using no recipes, no cookbooks – just me, my appliances and what was left in the fridge. Hey, it was more romantic than it’s sounds. And h-o-l-y lord strike me down if these golden squares of creamy heaven on earth aren’t the most delicious take on the cheesecake an orange could ask for. They’re even making me religious!

Enjoy my friends!

Orange Coconut Cheesecake Bars

1.25 cup flour
.25 cup white sugar
.25 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
.25 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

2 packs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 egg
1.5 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
.5 tsp cardamom
1 cup coconut
.25 tsp salt

Grease an 8×8 pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Make the crust. Combine coconut oil, butter, egg and sugars and beat on high until soft and creamy. Mix in flour and salt until combined. Add vanilla. Pat down mixture into pan and bake for 10-15 mins or until slightly golden brown.

Make the filling. Mix cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, orange zest/juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add coconut and salt and mix until just combined. Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 55-60 mins or until a toothpick comes out (relatively) clean. Cool completely and then chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Then, devour.

Ode to a Power Couple


Ah, yes – Cinnamon and Raisins, the beloved power duo of the breakfast world. I really do wish that every meal could hinge on the presence of the perfect pair, but alas, one cannot maintain sustenance on bran muffins, cinnamon buns and oatmeal alone. Believe me, I’ve tried. Eating disorders aside, in all honesty it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to make the perfect cinnamon raisin bread (I know, I dream big). So, this weekend between biking across Los Angeles, refinishing some old chairs and a much anticipated Dodger game, I managed to cross that milestone off my bucket list! (Cue the applause) This recipe is actually quite easy, as time consuming it seems. You can let the dough rise for basically as long as you need while you run around crossing those other less-pressing items off your weekend to-do list. And then, magically when you bike back from Dodger Stadium past your bedtime, all that’s standing between you and cinnamon-y goodness are 25 minutes and 375 degrees. The perfect reward for a perfect weekend!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread - Loaf

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Recipe adapted from here

2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup almond milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2/3 cup raisins (or any dried fruit – I added dried peaches and dates since I was low on raisins)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1. Make the dough.
Measure out 1 1/4 cups very warm water and check the temperature; it should be 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F. Combine both flours, the dry milk, egg, canola oil, honey, salt, yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix 3 minutes on the lowest setting, then increase to the next highest setting and mix 5 more minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.

2. Let it rise.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly coated with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

3. Soak the raisins.
Dry raisins will rob moisture from the bread, so soak them first in boiling water until plump, about 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

4. Fold the dough.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Picture it as a loose square. Lift up one side of the dough and fold about one-third of it across; press down on the dough with spread fingers to remove any air bubbles. Repeat with the remaining 3 sides of the dough.

5. Add the filling.
Mist two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough in half; roll out each half into an 8-inch square. Brush each square with canola oil, then sprinkle with the cinnamon (it’s high in antioxidants!), brown sugar and raisins.

6. Form the loaves.
Roll up each square of dough into a tight cylinder; place seam-side down in the prepared pans. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough fills the pans and springs back when touched, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

7. Bake the bread.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the loaves with canola oil and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Back in the saddle


Ok, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I haven’t posted to this blog in…a while. It started off innocently enough – I was still cooking, but just didn’t have time to post and also had a brief lapse without a Photoshop license. Then that thing happened that always happens to me – where it’s so hard to come to terms with being behind that I ignore the issue and get way, way more behind. And then there’s no point in coming back from being way, way behind if you’re not going to have some perfectly epic comeback, right? Well, that doesn’t exist, so more time passes. This phenomenon is how I managed to not pay for a physical therapy appointment for a year and also part of my tortured relationship with guitar playing. Anyway, another confession I’ve avoided is that I get 3 meals a day at work. So, yeah. I’m not one of the people anymore. I’m a weekend cook. There, I said it.

Anyway, coming to terms with all this, I’m back. And I have lots of cooking to write about. Here’s one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I actually made it while feeding a recently wisdom tooth-less boyfriend. It’s healthy, and filling, and yes, easy to chew if you’ve recently been through a dental procedure, but grownup enough for someone who hasn’t. If you live in San Francisco, soup is still a perfectly appropriate thing to crave in late March. No shaved asparagus salad yet! This one is actually very springy, with wilted spinach, bright green peas, a squeeze of lime, and fresh cilantro. It’s got a little curry to keep things interesting, but it stays squarely in the background and lets the veggies take center stage.

Friends, I challenge you to face that thing that you’ve been meaning to do. Here’s to being back in action!

Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup peas (frozen is fine – is anyone not going to do frozen? no.)
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (2 cups)
  • 2-4 cups veggie broth
  • a pinch of brown sugar
  • squeeze of one juicy lime
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • salt
  • handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish

– In a large pot, heat coconut oil. Add onion and some salt salt. Cook, stirring, until onions become soft, about 5 minutes
– Add curry powder and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds while stirring.
– Add a squeeze of lime, coconut milk, veggie broth, chopped sweet potatoes, brown sugar and a little more salt. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes).
– At the end, stir in the peas and spinach and cook for another minute or two.
– Top with cilantro and serve.