Category Archives: food

and we rolled with it…

a girlfriend and i found ourselves walking along a street today seriously studded with asian groceries. like three on each side of every block. there must have been something in the air, because were both inspired to choose one and go on a shopping spree for everything that is so over-priced in the mainstream markets (we’re looking at you Whole Foods and corner stores). armed with bags of tea, rice paper candies and obscure sodas, we headed back home with a plan for our next meal (or snack as it ended up being).

spring rolls! very appropriate for the arrival of the new season…also amazingly simple, versatile and portable! these are coming with me for lunch tomorrow.

we scoured the web for a recipe that appealed to us the most, and then decided to create our own using the others as guidance. all of the recipes had the same basic groups of ingredients, which you can vary depending on your preferences:

rice paper wrappers

vermicelli or bean mung noodles (the kind that look almost clear when cooked)

veggies (carrots, napa cabbage, green onion, bean sprouts etc), julienned and tossed in olive oil and salt

herbs (mint, thai basil, cilantro)

shrimp/tofu (optional)

soak the rice paper in warm water for 5-10 seconds until soft and then start piling on your fillings! just make sure you can fully enclose the final product or things get messy.. all of these groups (except the rice paper wraps of course) are optional, and can be disregarded all together to create the rolls of your dreams. with all of the wrappers we have left, i definitely think we’ll be doing some fusion rolls in the future.

we ate our rolls with homemade peanut sauce, but we also tried a vinaigrette of sesame oil and soy sauce. to make your own peanut sauce, mix a couple of tablespoons of chunky peanut butter with a little sugar, two teaspoons soy sauce, half a teaspoon of minced garlic, and hot sauce to taste. slowly mix in a few tablespoons of warm water until the sauce has a smooth texture.

happy snacking!

 


it’s here!

i know, i know, i’m a few days behind. i’ve been too busy enjoying the first signs of spring! i can’t wait for it to fully set in, i have big plans for you this year spring…

light layers

flowers galore

eating alfresco

nature walks

simple recipes

happy spring everyone!


making up for lost time

anyone else really feeling that lost hour? that plus the cold and rain that just hit san francisco with the energy it’s been saving all winter has me feeling like napping here all day:

not a possibility unfortunately… i’ll have to push through with the aid of my new best friend

and thoughts of a sunnier tomorrow. or next week seeing that they’ve predicted rain for a few more days. i may have to resort to more intensive forms of therapy.

coconut and lime rice pudding

or if things get really bad:

homemade nutella

anyone else with me?


welcome to cupcake heaven

miette‘s gingerbread cupcake was reportedly named the best cupcake in america, although i didn’t know this before i bit into one that someone had brought into the office today. i have to say i whole-heartedly agree. it was moist and flavorful, with a wonderful gingerbread-y taste that didn’t overwhelm, properly balanced with an amazing cream cheese frosting.

luckily i found the recipe online, definitely plan on trying it out next time i NEED to bake something comforting and delicious. for those of you wishing to take it a bit further, miette has published a cookbook with all of their delicious recipes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Makes 18-24

11/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stout beer, such as Guinness

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups cream cheese frosting (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the stout and molasses, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the baking soda, whisking constantly as the mixture foams up. Remove from heat immediately and let cool to room temperature.

4. Using an electric mixer with the stand attachment, combine the eggs and sugars and whisk on medium speed until well combined and lightened in color, 3-4 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add stout mixture. Stop and scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Return to low speed and add dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Fold a few more times with the spatula. Strain the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.

5. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full (a 1/4-cup measure works well). Bake until the tops spring back when touched and a tester inserted in the center emerges clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

6. When completely cool, use a piping bag to adorn the cupcakes with a swirl of cream cheese frosting.

— Meg Ray, “Miette” (Chronicle Books, 224 pages, $27.50)

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 3 cups

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sifted, powdered sugar

2 cups (1 pound) cream cheese, room temperature

1. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, beating until smooth and glossy.

2. Add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed. Transfer cold frosting to a stand mixer and beat until smooth before using, 2-3 minutes. Cream cheese frosting lasts 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

— Meg Ray, “Miette” (Chronicle Books, 224 pages, $27.50)

another reason to make these cupcakes: so i can pack them up in jars for easy transport! you should have seen me bringing a cupcake to E today after work, i tore off the top of a tissue box to form a “carrier,” and was walking around town looking like a crazy sick lady. i can imagine this is a much better (and cuter)  option.


birthday girl

this weekend my little baby girl turned one year old (February 25 — good, i see you’re jotting that down). fear not friends who haven’t seen me in more than 9 months, i’m referring to my dear puppy Olive. Olive (affectionately called Olz, Ollie, Peanut, Schnugs, Demon, etc.), was a rescue dog from the pound that happened to be one of the most impulsive decisions i have ever made. she’s majorly needy, sometimes nippy, occasionally a crazy ball of energy and barks, but always my trusty and favorite sidekick. isn’t it funny how some of life’s most impulsive decisions turn out to be the most rewarding and life changing? she may be a rescue dog, but i’m pretty sure she saved me and not the other way around.

anyways, enough sap already. to celebrate Olive’s entrance into the world she is now waging her terror on, i baked her a doggie friendly cake she was able to snack on for days. i used this recipe:

i admittedly didn’t have vegetable oil, honey, or shredded carrots, so i used some greek yogurt, crumbled dog food (which resemebled choc chips after baking), olive oil, and cream to my own discression. i “frosted” the top with peanut butter and created a “1” with her dog food.

i will neither confirm nor deny that happy birthday substituted with “woofs” was sung. happy birthday my sweet girl, may there be many more birthdays to come.


lentil hummus

somehow i was left with a huge amount of cooked lentils the other day, and was at a bit of a loss at what to do with them. i remembered having seen an article for lentil hummus in martha stewart living and decided to replicate it as the perfect dip to keep in the fridge. pretty delicious i would have to say. best part is that it replaces the tahini with nut butter, so you really can make this without an extra trip to the grocery.

ingredients:

cooked lentils – 2 cups
almond butter – 1/4 cup (Or any other nut butter without sugar)
garlic – 2 pods crushed
olive oil – 1 TBSP
lemon juice – 3 TBSP
hot sauce – 1/2 tsp or to taste
salt – to taste

combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. garnish with additional olive oil, chili flakes, or fresh herbs to taste.

don’t be fooled by my attempt at healthful eating here… i’m sure this will end up slathered on bread or eaten by the spoonful. too hard to resist!


irish blue biscuits

as promised, here is the recipe and some documentation of the cooking adventure i had with my mom this weekend. along with all of the goodies we made for my sister’s birthday, we made these amazing blue cheese crackers, recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. if you like blue cheese, these are heaven in a bite. i am going to make them again as soon as i find myself in possession of a large hunk of blue cheese that i haven’t already eaten most of… difficult to come by, these moments. and the best part? you can make them into any shape you want! we went for a mild scalloped diamond as it was our first time making them, but i’m thinking an elephant cookie cutter for next time, or maybe a whole zoo, how cute would that be?

 

Irish Blue Crackers
from How to Be a Domestic Goddess

preheat oven to 400 F.

combine
3/4 c. Cashel Blue (or other blue cheese)
scant 1/2 c salted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk

then work in, forming a soft dough
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c blue cornmeal
 (i used regular old yellow cornmeal, which is why my crackers aren’t as pretty as Nigella’s)
a pinch of salt (depending on how salty your cheese is)

shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

dust a surface with flour and roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter-inch thick. cut into any shape you’d like. brush with an egg glaze, and cook for 10-15 minutes. they’ll be crisp around the edges and soft in the middle when they’re finished. remove to a wire rack to cool.


happy monday!

ok, maybe not so happy monday. i had to wake up extra early this morning, and after an extended dinner last night with a girlfriend it was not the easiest of tasks… but looking back at pictures taken from this weekend, i get a jolt of inspiration from the fact that:

a. spring is (hopefully) actually here!

b. there are only 4.5 days left til next weekend! time to start planning some epic activities so we have something to look forward to throughout the week.

here are some glimpses of my weekend (including my sister’s 19th birthday!), as you can tell, making and eating food ranks pretty high on my list of favorite activities…

last image is of some AMAZING blue cheese crackers, recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.

they’re amazing. recipe and pics to follow.


biscotti

there is no better afternoon pick-me-up than a good cup of coffee and a couple biscotti. it’s the perfect combination of caffeine, sugar, and substance to bring me out of the slump i fall into around 2pm. the slump hit early today, and being far from any cafe, and too lazy really to leave the house, i decided to motivate myself and make some biscotti instead! inspired by the spoonfuls of nutella i was eating earlier, i found this chocolate hazelnut biscotti recipe, and they are delicious. with new found energy, i’m off to do productive things like walk my dogs and… go on pinterest.

happy presidents’ day!


happy weekend!

i started my holiday weekend off with some shopping, and a new purse! everyone, this is eva, and i am very excited for her to join my closet…

cute, no? she has a shape similar to an hermes kelly bag, which i’ve always loved (who doesn’t love hermes??), and seems big enough to hold a fair amount of stuff so i can take her to work, out, even use her as an overnight bag if i pack really well. and she’s brown! yes, E, i am that predictable. i think that she would go quite nicely with the lovely outfit you posted for me.

in other news, i am finally moving on monday (!!) so i will be spending the rest of the weekend packing up all of my earthly belongings. the fun is over.

hope you all take time to revel in the extra day off, maybe make a delicious brunch? these egg boats and lacy pancakes look delicious. work on some projects to jazz up your living space? go somewhere beautiful? make like this dog and recover from your week? you know what’s best.

enjoy it!