Love and Olive Oil

Q&A w/ L&T: The Answers!

What is your day job?
Good question! It’s easy to believe that we just sit around baking cupcakes all day, but that’s not the case. In fact, we work from home (yes, together, all day, every day). We run two web businesses, Purr Design, web and graphic design, and Pattern & Paw, handmade cat and dog collars (and psst! since we love you all so much, enter coupon code *LAOO* upon checkout and get 15% off your order!) Two very different endeavors, but they keep us very busy!

What IS Taylor’s favorite food?
A little dish he calls pizza-burger-sushi-pho-hotpastramisandwich, with a side of italian sausage and a cold beer.

How did Taylor propose? (I’m a hopeless romantic.)
Only the best proposal, like, ever: I mean really, how could you say NO to a guy who bakes you 12 dozen mini chocolate cupcakes?

Be honest. What is your worst habit? Nail biter, bed wetter, nose picker etc?
Can we answer this about each other? Ok…
Lindsay: Taylor stuffs himself until he can’t move. The boy needs to learn to stop eating when he’s full. I’m working on him though, I’ve learned if I’m the one to portion out his plate, he won’t go back for seconds. Good boy.
Taylor: Lindsay doesn’t clean up after herself… she leaves a trail of destruction everywhere she goes.

Name one pet peeve.
Lindsay: Intolerant people (guess you could say I’m intolerant of them. Does that make me a hypocrite?) Also, oblivious people. Like the ones that tromp down our hallway at 3 in the morning. Yes, we can hear you.
Taylor: Ditto. Noisy neighbors that come home at 3 in the morning are not fun.

I know it’s a food blog, but would you consider posting occasional photos of “The Kitty”?
Sure! I post a lot more on our Pattern & Paw blog (since it’s all about pet collars, pet photos fit right in over there!) But if you guys want kitty pictures here I’m happy to post them. :) Oh, and in case you’re wondering, her REAL name is Kalypso. Though “The Kitty” is what she is called more often than not.

Why are you just now starting on Twitter, Taylor?
Taylor: I’m not even sure if I’ve really started. Lindsay told me to.

What started your fascination with cupcakes, Lindsay?
Maybe the fact that I don’t have to share? hehe. I don’t know, actually. I’ve always been more of a cookie person than a cake person. Until a few years ago. I baked some cupcakes just for kicks (almond ones, these), and never looked back.

What would you (both/either) like to learn to cook that you never have?
Lindsay: Hmmm… I have yet to master caramel. Or any cooked sugar, really. Or English Toffee. I’ve always loved it but have never actually tried to make it myself.
Taylor: A big rack of lamb. Actually being able to make really good pizza, like pizzeria style, would be awesome. I know we don’t quite have the right equipment for that, though.

Can you create a cupcake worthy of calling both breakfast & a yummy dessert?
I’ve made some banana cupcakes and pumpkin cupcakes that you could probably pass off as a muffin. A really decadent muffin.

What food tastes better because you cooked it? What food would you rather eat out in a restaurant?
Most food tastes better when you cook it yourself. There’s nothing worse than dropping $30 for a restaurant meal and knowing you could have done better at home. Maybe that’s the reason we don’t eat out much. Maybe 2-3 times a month, max. And most of that involves pizza, burgers, or hot dogs (case in point – we just got back from one of the nicest restaurants in town. We both ordered pizza. It was darn good pizza, but still).

How do you get such great food photos? What is your setup?
It’s a never-ending learning process. If you go way back into the archives (and I’m NOT going to link you there), you’ll definitely notice a difference. At first I thought it was cool to get as close as humanly possible to my food. You could barely tell what the whole thing was. And for that I apologize! hehe. For those interested, I shoot all my photos with a Canon Rebel XTi digital SLR camera, outfitted with a Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens. I do have a macro lens I use on occasion, but not as often as you’d think. I try to use natural light whenever possible (our huge windows are absolutely wonderful for this), but in the wintertime I’m often stuck using just the track lighting above our dining table. I’m still trying to figure out a better nighttime lighting setup, and will be sure to let you know when I do.

I want to know about your exercise habits. How did you look so thin in your wedding photos after baking all of those cupcakes?
I’m going to apologize in advance, because both of us are very lucky in that we have never had to deal with weight issues. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean we just go and eat anything and everything we want. Weight isn’t the only factor in overall health. We really make an effort to eat well and live healthy lifestyles in general. We work out 4-5 times a week (the program we do is called P90X, if anyone is interested, it is seriously INTENSE, albeit cheesy). We also do our best to make healthy eating choices, something that is much easier to do when you are cooking your own meals rather than eating out. I am and always have been a very light eater (and I’m working on Taylor and his tendency to stuff himself). We are only periodic meat eaters, maybe twice a week at the most, and then it’s usually seafood or poultry. We eat very little dairy or fried foods, and rarely go out to eat (maybe 2-3 times a month). So while yes, I admit I have a very large sweet tooth (or two), we still consider ourselves on the healthy side of things and try to keep it that way.

I would love to see a picture of your kitchen if possible.
Sure. :) We live in a place with a very open layout – our kitchen is basically part of the living room. But that means tons of light, super high ceilings, and… very little storage. Like, practically none. So we had to get creative. The “pantry” you see is an old antique hutch we inherited and refinished. It sits on the wall across from the kitchen and holds all of our dry food in a collection of jars and various containers. We also had to find a shelving piece to hold all of our dishes… this particular one was actually an old store display shelf we found on sale. We’ll replace it with something more sturdy… someday. You can see more photos of our home and kitchen on flickr.

Would you take on a diabetic baking challenge?
Always up for a challenge, though I am completely clueless here. I’d be hesitant only because I wouldn’t want something I made without any in-depth knowledge on the topic to end up doing more harm than good.

How can you make fondant taste good?
Buy it carefully. I’ve never made it from scratch, so I can’t say what that tastes like, but the brand I have been using, Fond-X, tastes more like a marshmallow than anything. Still an odd texture so I peel it off anyway, but a lot better than some of the fondant I’ve tried.

Favorite brand of olive oil?
We usually buy whatever is cheapest (guilty as charged – we’re thrifty). Recently we’ve been buying the Trader Joe’s brand EVOO, which is pretty darn good for the price.

How about other olive oil recipes?
Olive oil is our oil of choice, whether it be for sauteing or marinading or drizzling. We only use canola sparingly in more asian-y recipes or baking. So, to answer the question, just about ALL our recipes use olive oil in one way or another. :)

What do you eat for breakfast?
Lindsay: I usually start the day with a glass of chocolate soy milk, and then eat a bowl of cereal (granola or shredded wheat) a few hours later. Boring, but, whatever. Breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day.
Taylor: Steel cut oats with whole flaxseed, dried fruit, and various nuts (L: aka his “manly breakfast” – he saw it mentioned on Dr. Oz as the best breakfast and has been eating it ever since).

What is your dream vacation?
Taylor: Paris and Rome. London. Basically any big city with lots of history and stuff to explore.
Lindsay: Taylor and I definitely don’t agree on this one (maybe that’s why we have yet to take a honeymoon). I’d much rather go to a relaxing beach resort somewhere, like the Caribbean. Or Club Med. I love Club Med.

Are there any foods that took you a long time to get used to cooking with?
We still battle with meat in general… and cooking it to the perfect doneness. We’re scared to undercook it, but also don’t want to overcook it. In the case of whole roasted chicken or turkey, we end up poking the thing so many times to take it’s temperature before we feel comfortable taking it out of the oven.

What is Taylor’s favorite brand of guitar?
Taylor. Duh.

You’ve made some of my favorite cupcake recipes/flavor combos. How do you come up with them or figure out what to put together?
Flavors usually come out of my random sugar cravings. Other times I see a sweet treat in another form (cake, truffle, candy, drink) and think that it would make a great cupcake. Sometimes it’s just seasonal ingredients, like the recent Blood Orange Chocolate cupcakes.

What got you started blogging?
Lindsay: I’ve always been a bit of a computer nerd, and was involved with various online ‘newsletters’ and ‘journals’ long before blogs even existed. But what got me started with THIS blog was a fancy new camera and macro lens. What better to take really close up detail shots of than food? And since we’re always cooking, I figured, why not!
Taylor: I don’t blog. I do the dishes.

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  1. Your blog has become such an inspiration to me. I really enjoy all the fabulous food ideas. I’d like to know what brand/shade the blue on the hutch is. That is absolutely gorgeous! And, as for another general comment, I’m excited to say that I’m going to make cupcakes for my wedding too! I’m sure it will be a blast, not to mention very sweet.

  2. how do you get all of your turquoise/teal to match?!

  3. Very cute living space, I’m a poor decorator, so I admire yours!

  4. I really enjoyed that and I too love your kitchen. Very stylish and tidy for such a small space.

  5. I love your kitchen. It is adorable. I feel like it came straight out of a cooking magazine!

  6. You guys are so cute! (I love your kitchen!) And re: vacation destinations, my fiance and I are just the same; he would rather lay around a beach all day for weeks on end, but I think I’d go absolutely stir crazy.

  7. Gorgeous kitchen!

  8. Thanks for sharing. Loved reading it. Cute kitchen.
    And Taylor – Thanks for doing the dishes. Else I wouldn’t get my doze of cupcakes.

  9. Thanks for sharing all that information about yourself! Loved reading it all!!

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