Oh JoyOh Joy

{oh joy eats dessert with} i heart pies...


Who  Emily and Nicholas Confrancesco, owners of I Heart Pies, a local seasonal pie delivery company in LA

Where  Los Angeles, California

Time 6pm

What's a typical dessert for you? Ice cream or mochi! Today it's a caramel brownie and caramel mousse topped with a toasted marshmallow. It's a combination of leftover desserts made for clients and a new caramel mousse pie filling from our test kitchen. If you don't feel like making everything from scratch like we do, you can recreate the caramel brownies by using your favorite brownie mix or recipe. Before baking it, spready a layer of caramel on top of the brownies. Use a knife to run it through the brownies to incorporate the caramel just a bit. You don't want to mix them together, just enough to have a good caramel swirl. Bake until the brownies are done - a toothpick comes out clean. You can recreate the caramel mousse by taking your favorite caramel sauce and folding in whipped cream or buying a really great caramel ice cream. Top the dessert with marshmallows and, if possible, toast with a blowtorch! 

What's your dream/ideal dessert? Reese's Pieces sundae from Friendly's {in that giant fish bowl!}.

How often do you treat yourself to dessert? As a pie company, we treat ourselves to dessert...Way. Too. Often. :)

Thanks Emily and Nicholas!

— Joanna

{photos by Nicholas}

{oh joy eats dessert with} elaine ho...


Who  Elaine Ho, founder of Chopstick Diner

Where Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Time Being a traditional person at heart, I only have dessert after a meal!

What's a typical dessert for you? I typically have Asian desserts because they're normally not as rich and sweet as American desserts, making them the perfect palette cleanser. I always have Tau Fu Fa if it's available when I'm out, or I make it myself when I crave it. Today I am having a dessert called Bubur Cha Cha comprising of cooked sweet potatoes, yam/taro, and sago, all simmered in a rich base made from coconut milk and rock sugar. 

What's your dream/ideal dessert? I scream for ice cream! I love a good green tea ice cream which is best out of a tub with my two feet up in front of the telly after a day of hard work.

How often do you treat yourself to dessert?  At least twice a week. I do not like to overindulge myself with sweets, so it needs to feel like a treat.

Thanks Elaine!
— Joanna

{photos by Elaine}

{oh joy eats lunch with} jenny park...


Who  Jenny Park, food stylist and blogger

Where  Los Angeles, California

Time 1 pm

What's a typical lunch for you? There really is no "typical" when it comes to being a food stylist that also writes and tests recipes. When I'm on a shoot, we usually grab something quick and easy like salads, pizza, sandwiches, Thai food, etc. But when I'm at home testing recipes, my meals turn into single bites taken throughout the entire day from things like caramel apple cupcakes to uni spaghetti to deep friend ravioli. I eat whatever I test! On a good day, I get to enjoy a banh mi sandwich, one of my favorite sandwiches ever (this one is from Number Nine in Long Beach). I just love the combination of pickled root vegetables, paired with creamy pate, spicy jalapenos, rich, flavorful meats, and fragrant cilantro and stuffed between a light, crispy French baguette. Such a simple, yet unique mixture of ingredients...it's so good! 

What's your dream/ideal lunch? Fresh grilled seafood on the beach with some sort of tropical cocktail served in a hollowed-out pineapple. And my feet must in the sand.

Dessert with lunch?  Nah, I don't care too much for sweets... but a small after-lunch cheese plate I could do! 

Thanks Jenny!
— Joanna

{photos by Teri Lyn Fisher}

{oh joy eats lunch with} tara maxey...


Who  Tara Maxey—pastry chef, photographer, blogger & co-owner of Heirloom LA

Where  Los Angeles, California

Time 12pm

What's a typical lunch for you? I'm a lucky person. I work every day in a busy kitchen that gets in lush, beautiful, local produce and sources out small farmers who are raising their livestock humanly and without any junk. We use the whole animal, every part, so sometimes our Family Meal {lunch for our staff} includes house made sausages or pig heart pastrami Reubens. We've got a talented kitchen doing lots of exciting things, and I get to taste everything. Today we were testing out pizzas and calzones for our Food Truck, so this became our lunch and let me tell you something...they were carbs well spent! 

What's your dream/ideal lunch? Anything made with care and love.

Dessert with lunch?  Dessert all through the day because that's when I make it.

Thanks Tara!

— Joanna

{photo of lunch by Tara, photo of Tara by George Simian}

{oh joy eats lunch with} maria alexandra vettese...


Who  Maria Alexandra Vettese, a freelance Art Director

Where  Portland, Maine

Time 2pm

What's a typical lunch for you? I make all our studio lunches. It's part of my job, and I love it! Today, it's a lettuce mix, some basil, radishes, avocado, and feta. Everything here—with the exception of the avocado—is from the farmer's market right up the street. This is a wonderful time of year for salad!

What's your dream/ideal lunch? I make what I like to call, a "Snack Plate." I just look around at whatever I've got out and about, and I gently slap it all onto a platter. Add some lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper {and usually a good chunk of crusty brown bread}. Perhaps, finish it off with a little white wine or rosé followed by a really good espresso.

Dessert with lunch?  In my real world: No, I save dessert for dinnertime. But in my dream world: Most certainly! I'd likely opt for a small cookie fresh out of the oven or an ice cream come {preferably gelato}.

Thanks Maria!
— Joanna

{photos by Maria}

{oh joy eats lunch with} jennifer causey...


Who  Jennifer Causey, food and lifestyle Photographer

Where  Brooklyn, New York

Time 12:30 pm

What's a typical lunch for you? When I am working on a photo shoot, we usually order food, so it can sometimes be a bit heavy. When I am working from home, I usually make something with whatever I have in the kitchen—I love to cook! I like to get inspired by what is in season at the farmer's market and create some sort of salad with protein, grains, and beans. Today, it's a homemade grilled shrimp salad with butter beans tossed in olive oil and garlic over watercress.

What's your dream/ideal lunch? A picnic lunch outside in early fall with small bites like olives, meats, and cheeses with bread, and maybe some wine...shared with friends.

Dessert with lunch?  I do have a sweet tooth, so I usually have a cookie or a piece {or two!} of dark chocolate.

Thanks Jennifer!
— Joanna

{photos by Jennifer}

{oh joy eats lunch with} teri lyn fisher...


Who  Teri Lyn Fisher, Photographer and Blogger 

Where  Los Angeles, California

Time 2 pm

What's a typical lunch for you? It depends. Being a food shooter, I come home with food a lot so I try to use those fresh ingredients pretty quickly. I have to admit though when I'm working I do not like to fuss around with making stuff because it messes up my mojo. So I usually just eat things like sliced tomatoes, cut up figs, handfuls of fruit, and things like that. Sometimes it's a Trader Joe's salad, and sometimes—when it's an awesome day—it's a cheeseburger. Cactus Mexican Food is one of those restaurants I frequent a lot. Especially when I am working from home touching up photos. I love their tacos, and I almost always get fresh squeezed orange and carrot juice. If I'm feeling extra hungry, I go for a side of rice. 

What's your dream/ideal lunch? Definitely cheeseburgers with a side of sweet potato fries or tater tots, on a patio in the shade listening to good music. Oh, and a cocktail!

Dessert with lunch?  Not usually, but if I'm on a shoot and we have cookies, or say, a large bucket of red vines, I can't resist!

Thanks Teri!
— Joanna

{photos by Teri Lyn Fisher}

{oh joy eats lunch with} gabrielle arnold...


Who  Gabrielle Arnold, partner of La Empanada food truck and publisher of Honest Fare 

Where  Winter Park, Florida

Time 12pm today, but it all depends on what time I had for breakfast and what's going on that day! 

What's a typical lunch for you? If I'm cooking for work or the blog, I'll just have some of whatever I'm already making, and it's often not a proper lunch at all! Yesterday, it was a giant bowl of potato salad and some asparagus. And now that we have the empanada food truck, I find myself eating the fillings we're cooking for the empanadas that day. On my own time though, I'll have a salad with some whole grains or an egg. Today, I'm having lunch on my front porch. A couple of hearty slices of pumpernickel bread layered with avocado, a little lemon juice, thinly sliced golden delicious apples, cucumbers, and radishes, all topped with goat cheese and a nice drizzle of olive oil, grey sea salt and cracked black pepper. 

What's your dream/ideal lunch? My dream lunch is a little spread of veggies, cheeses, smoked or pickled fish, olives, bread and some good mustard. As long as I'm anywhere outside, I'm happy.

Dessert with lunch?  Not usually, but a piece of black licorice is always nice! 

Thanks Gabrielle!
— Joanna

{photos by Gabrielle}

{oh joy eats lunch with} kelsey nixon...


Who  Kelsey Nixon, host of Kelsey's Essentials on Cooking Channel 

Where  Upper East Side, New York

Time 2 pm - I always seem to get to lunch later than I'd like, but it usually tastes even better when I'm really hungry. 

What's a typical lunch for you? It seems like these days I'm constantly in recipe development mode to keep up with demand for original recipes on my cooking show. That means if I'm making it, I'm writing the recipe down and trying to photograph it at the same time. Usually my lunch consists of whatever I happen to be testing that day! I test all original recipes in my apartment kitchen first before trying them out in the Food Network/Cooking Channel kitchens. Today I'm working on recipes for an episode called "Weeknight Date Night" and made this delicious Tortellini with Lemon & Dill pasta dish for a quick and easy dinner option at home that still feels impressive for that "special someone" in your life. Some days I'm testing recipes for dessert shows, so on those days I get to eat cake for lunch! 

What's your dream/ideal lunch? A picnic in Central Park with friends—complete with watermelon, summer corn salad, sandwiches and ice cold soda pop! 

Dessert with lunch?  Always! Whether it's a piece of chocolate or half of the cupcake that I baked up yesterday, I finish most meals off with something sweet...and refuse to feel guilty about it. 

Thanks Kelsey!
— Joanna

{lunch photo by Kelsey, photo of Kelsey by her husband Robby}

{oh joy eats lunch with} alex palermo...


Who  Alexander Palermo, food entrepreneur & owner of Cube Cafe and Divine Pasta Company

Where  Los Angeles, California

Time 2 pm

What's a typical lunch for you? Maltagliati with fresh basil pesto, haricot vert, fingerlings, and heirloom tomatoes with grilled colossal shrimp from Divine Pasta corporate offices. My typical lunch varies from day to day, but I always try to incorporate organic vegetables picked from our rooftop garden, and fresh pasta.

What's your dream/ideal lunch? My dream lunch inspired what I cooked today - trofie al pesto and scampi e batti from Ristorante Da u Batti in Portofino.

Dessert with lunch?  Typically no, unless I have a piece of fresh fruit. I do cheat on Mondays, when my pastry chef is working downtown at our test kitchen.

Thanks Alex!
— Joanna

{photos by Amy Sheridan}