Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eating through the Big Apple: Day 2

I do realize it has been almost a month since my last post. Trust me, I think about this every day. Okay maybe every other day, or at the least a couple times a week. I'd like to think its because I'm still digesting from my week of gluttony overload in NYC. I have recovered though. My second day in the Big Apple, my lovely friend and I dined at Public, a Michelin one star restaurant.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eating through the Big Apple: Day 1

In desperate need of a break from the Bay, I thought it would be a good idea to pay a visit to one of my friends from pastry school. Another friend had asked me what I planned to do while in NYC, if there were any particular sights I wanted to take in or shows I wanted to see. My response? I go to NYC to eat. And eat I did!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Creepy cupcakes

Okay, I admit. They're not creepy. In fact they're quite cute. Cute cupcakes doesn't really sound like a fitting blog post for Halloween cupcakes though. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strawberry pastry cream tarts

I usually don't dedicate my posts to anyone. Okay, in fact I've never dedicated a post at all. However, this one time, this teeny exception I'm going to dedicate this one to my ever-relentless-hounding friend who is probably my only reader and biggest critic. Cinnamon, this one is for you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Processing pictures of pastries

I'm sure at least a few of you have been wondering what I've been up to. Your daring displaced person, valiant vagabond, or even tenacious transient has not been quite the busy baker as of late. With a new little person (not mine) in my life, a new camera, and looming deadlines at work, I've been a bit preoccupied. I didn't realize what I had gotten myself into when I ordered Plate to Pixel, nor when I bought my new camera. It wasn't until I installed Photoshop Lightroom did I think, "whoa this is going to be a lot of work!" Taking pictures is easy. Taking well thought out, balanced and appetizing pictures of food is tough. Really tough. In her book, Helene Dujardin stresses that the more effort you take into taking good pictures, the less post processing you'll have to do. Since I don't understand most of Lightroom at the moment, I'll stick to what I've gleaned from the book. Let me know what you think? Here is a relatively decent pictures I took of profiteroles.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

I often forget how lucky I am to live in California. When I lived in Paris and came across people in the workplace, they'd always say how it was their dream to visit California. I always wonder what the stereotype of a typical Californian was; bleach blond surfer a la Baywatch? People do love the Hasselhoff. It isn't always an ethereal land of sunshine, though I can't complain too much about the weather.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Every time I eat a churro, I'm transported back to when I was a kid at an amusement park convincing my parents to buy me a churro from the guy with the rolling cart. There was something so appealing about the long pastry batons, crispy with their cinnamon-sugar coating and yet they always seemed too big for my pint-sized self. Alas, I could always count on my brother to polish any remainders off.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Banana chocolate chip cookies?

Yes. This is how scatterbrained I've been lately, that I can't even remember what I baked. I'm surprised I even know what day it is, to be honest. Surviving a birthday that ended in a 0, in the midst maybe buying a house, moving, family woes, and pending family additions... well folks it's as if I've bitten off more than I can chew! Well, if you think about it.. not really bit off.. but there's a lot being shoved down my throat at the moment in any case! I've eased off on the baking a lot lately too...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Plate to Pixel

So here's some new food for thought. I just picked up Helene Dujardin's Plate to Pixel over the weekend and think, wow, why haven't I looked into taking better pictures of my food before!? Sure, I do alright with a point-and-shoot clickity camera, but it would be nice to be able to take really really good pictures.

She writes just about as well as she takes food photographs and though I could pick up any old photography book, I'm glad this one talks about EVERYTHING including food styling and props! I'll give you all an update as I dig deeper into it. So excited!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hand-dipped chocolates

I know I've been neglecting my blog lately. With temperatures rising, introduction of new social mediums (Google, please integrate blogger to G+), new toys at home (Google, please create a blogger iPad app), and feeling that my proverbial plate is overflowing and thus stressing me out, sometimes culinary therapy just doesn't cut it. I'd like you all to believe that I'm some sort of domestic diva, but sadly I have a life that extends far past the kitchen. Most of the time I'll gladly answer to anyone's "back to the kitchen, woman!" but lately I've preferred crawling back into bed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black bottom cupcake fail

Every now and then I'll dig through my baking books and look for something new to try. One book I brought back from France was David Lebovitz's The Great Book of Chocolate. Funny story about this book, actually. I went to one of David's book signing events out of a 'boite bouquiniste" along the Seine. For those of you who aren't familiar with Paris, these are the little book kiosks along the river where sometimes you can find some out-of-print special edition, and other times just random trinkets and souvenirs. I didn't have enough Euros on me at the moment to pay for the book, so he kindly let me pay the difference in metro tickets.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Too hot to bake

With the highs in the 90's today, it definitely made for a sweltering first day of summer. On a technical note, it isn't quite the first day of summer... but rather mid-summer i.e. summer solstice. I don't mean to get all nit-picky about it, but it just really irks me that people seem to think it's the FIRST day of the summer, rather than the day that we're actually the closest to the sun, which should technically be the middle of summer, no? I guess my collegiate astronomy classes paid off.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Peanut butter cup cookies

The problem with being a transient (well okay technically I'm  not), or rather living out of a suitcase is that you can never find anything. My problem is that I know everything is in storage somewhere, but I just don't know exactly where to go digging.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pretty pastries

The other day someone asked me if I'd rather make pastries that looked good versus pastries that tasted good. I was a bit baffled. Why do you have to choose? I don't think having desserts that taste and look good are mutually exclusive. Can't you have your pretty cakes and eat them too?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cadbury creme egg chocolate cupcakes

Now folks, do not try this at home. I'm serious. Well okay, if you must, you can try it... but don't come running to me when you go into some sort of sugar-induced anaphylactic shock. This is the stuff that your mother warned you about; this is the stuff that diabetes dreams are made of.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Millionaire's shortbread

What do you get when you combine shortbread, caramel, and chocolate? Super yummy goodness. Millionaire's shortbread comes from Scottish origins and is also known as caramel shortcake, caramel slice, millionaires slice, and wellington squares. Quite frankly, I don't care what it's called, but it's damn good. If you're a fan of Twix candies, you should definitely give these a try. But be warned, if you eat too many you'll need a millionaire to pay for your lipo or bypass.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Post bake sale... post

So after all that baking, baking...and more baking, and spending the better part of the day in San Francisco, what were the results of the bake sale? We were able to raise a whopping $2400 for the Share Our Strength charity. Well, that's at least one less kid going hungry for today. And what about childhood obesity and diabetes, you ask? I'll have to save those causes for another day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

SF food blogger bake sale!

Yes party people, the SF Food Blogger's Bake Sale is tomorrow! Yours truly will be there.. hocking my wares of course. I'll be at the Guerrero Street location from 12-1 manning the booth if you want to come and say hello. Plus remember, its for a good reason too! Do something good, and score some tasty bites.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Culinary Therapy & Bake Sale info

Whenever I'm stressed, down, or just feeling out of it, I always turn to my kitchen for solace. Now I'm not talking about foraging in the fridge for leftover Chinese, or trying to Iron-Chef a meal together where the secret ingredient is ice cream. I find therapy in baking, creating, and, of course, feeding other people. By the frequency and nature of my blog posts, you would assume that by now I'd be ready to be committed to the loony bin. Perhaps so, but I also bake on my good days, which pretty much means I'm baking all the time. Right. However, I think it's the accuracy and skill required that distracts me and pulls me out of my reverie of doom, stress, or whatever I might need therapy from. Plus the smiles on the happy faces of the recipients of my treats is sure to brighten anyone's day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


What do you do when life hands you lemons? Make lemonade? Although it is getting warm enough here in the Bay Area for a frosty glass of citrus-y goodness, I'd rather bake mine into something tasty. With a bagful of lemons on hand, I decided to crank out some lemon bars, lemon madeleines and lemon pound cake with a lemon glaze.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Les brownies

I've been baking, baking, and yes... baking some more. I've been baking more than I've been blogging. Luckily for me, I have no problem getting people to try my baked goods; there are always hungry mouths to feed or baking requests to fulfill. Sometimes I need to take a break from throwing six dozen cookies in the oven, and I opt for things that can be baked in a pan. Brownies usually go over well with the masses.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bananas for banana muffins

I thought to title this blog post with an excerpt of Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl lyrics, but thought better of it. When most people think of bananas, they think monkeys. I think of my friend from pastry school who could not for the life of her stand bananas. I think it was something to do with their texture, or how they were a bit slimy. She didn't dislike them; she was disgusted by them. However, if they were baked into something, she'd eat them. People are odd, but I can empathize when it comes to texture. One day, I'll tell you all about my odd relationship with beans. Anyway, I digress.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dulce de leche cheesecake

Though I haven't been blogging as much, I've still managed to get elbow deep in doughs and batters every week. I've been baking for the masses at work, for birthday parties, and for fun. It's been really nice to get back into a kitchen and bake and not feel like you're going to get screamed at if you accidentally burn a batch of cookies. However I do find myself defaulting to American recipes, since it's a lot harder to find French ingredients here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Squirrel stew

Okay. Now before you get all grossed out, I'd like to explain a few things. 1) People DO eat squirrel. 2) I have a long standing vendetta with squirrels. 3) According to the CDC they're not all that bad.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Another 7+ earthquake hit Japan yesterday, just as I was thinking of what to blog about next. I'm so backlogged that it's not even remotely funny. If there are still any of you out there, don't worry. I'm still alive... I'm still baking. Just trying desperately to get back into the swing of things. It's been almost a month since my short lived trip to Tokyo,  and as I mentioned, the only thing I managed to really do was eat. In fact, I think they could probably attribute the food shortages to one hungry Californian.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Food Blogger Bake Sale!

Just a little FYI, yours truly will be participating in the 2011 San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale. When? Saturday, May 14th from 10AM til 6PM. Where? Hosted at 18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco. Why? End childhood hunger in America via Share Our Strength. Still not convinced? Come buy some of my goodies. 'Nuff said.

For more info, visit: http://bakesalesf.wordpress.com/

Monday, March 21, 2011


I should probably be posting pictures of things I ate while briefly visiting Tokyo, but I'm behind on my blogging. Way behind. How far behind? Back to Paris... behind. So I'll make this post short and sweet tasty.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Long weekend in Tokyo

Just a quick update as to what I've been up to. Yeah, that's right party people. Yours truly was in Tokyo... I was mid-flight when the 8.9 earthquake hit. Stranded in Haneda airport. Freaked out because of nuclear fallout. Rode out aftershocks every 20 minutes. Because of scheduling conflicts, we couldn't stick to the original itinerary of spending the 11th and 12th on a beach front resort. Lucky us.. otherwise I would have been pulled out to sea by a tsunami.

Our 10 day vacation was cut down to 3 days, as I flew out on Thursday night and back into California on Monday night, but I'm glad to be back home. My heart and wishes go out to those in Japan dealing with the devastation. One thing I did manage to do in Japan was eat. Food pics and updates soon to follow.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Burnt almond cupcakes

Someone once asked me if I ever get bored of baking the same things. Being back in the concrete jungle that is Silicon Valley, it's a bit hard to bake French pastries, or larger cakes that I'm accustomed to. Here I feed the masses. And as much as I'd like a 9-inch cake sitting on my desk, it creates quite a mess when serving. That's why I default to muffins, cookies, cupcakes, and smaller self-serve tasty treats.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

You'll have to bear with me the next month or so, as I'm a bit disorganized and my blog posts will generally be all over the place spanning from the Bay Area to Paris. Needless to say, I've got some catching up to do and pictures to sort through.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats!

I won't go as far to say that Valentine's day is one of those overrated "not-really-a-holiday" holidays that takes advantage of our consumerist tendencies by appealing to some romanticized notion that hearts, the color red and chocolate represent some half-naked cherub with a bow and arrow. Some people hate it, some people like it, and some just take it as an opportunity to nosh on chocolates and candies. I take it as an opportunity to bake and to feed people.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Larnicol's Kouign Amann

After reading a post by David Lebovitz about a new bakery/confisierie/chocolatier in my neighborhood that specialized in kouign amann, or rather kouignettes, tiny ones, I knew I had to stop by and check it out. Kouign amann is a buttery cake that comes from the Brittany region of France. As we know Brittany and Normandy are known for their awesome salted butter. In fact, in Breton, the word kougin means cake and amann means butter. Yep it's one intense buttery, sugary cake.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paris Je T'aime

The time has come, I guess. In 24 hours, yours truly will be on a plane back to California. Words can hardly express how I feel. Anxious, depressed, and wistfulness for a chapter of my life that feels like it's ending. I really enjoyed the year and a half I had in Paris. It was a life changing experience. It helped me lick my wounds, discover a new language and culture (and cusine!), as well as build life-long friendships that I hope to keep even though now I'll be thousands of miles away.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dungeness Crab Fest

I love crab. Growing up in California, whenever we had crab, it was usually the Dungeness variety. Though I won't turn down their blue, king, and soft-shell cousins, I'm generally used to these guys, which are bountiful on the West coast of North America.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holidays in California

I've been on quite the blogging hiatus. To be honest, I've had good reasons with the crazy holidays, chaotic family emergencies, and dealing with the French Consulate and Campus France (which is the bane of my existence so don't get me started). Originally I intended to be back in California for 3 weeks, and now have postponed my return to Paris by another 3 weeks. My baking has slowed down quite a bit too. In fact I made a fraisier I didn't get to try, and meringues that were forgotten in the oven as I ran off to tend to a family member.