Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baking 1

I started taking a new cooking series: BAKING. These were week one's accomplishments: Blueberry Streusel Muffins and Orange Currant Cream Scones. Plus the teacher demonstrated how to make and rustic-ly dressed carrot cake, which was delicious. I like the open sides (the rustic part), and will have to try it this way on the family recipe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First time for scones

I have been a fan of the Orangette blog for years, and really enjoyed reading her book A Homemade Life. It was a lovely memoir, where food and family and memories intersect. The stories were endearing, and many of the recipes are included. One for Scottish scones had been on my to do list for months. I finally gave it a try and they were wonderful.
By the way those chunks of butter were brought home from Cheese-making Class. Fresh butter is so delicious!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cheese class

I took a cheese making class! It ran kind of late on a weeknight, and when it was all made and portioned out, I bolted home and forgot to take any pictures. Though here is one during the prep phase. I made mozzarella, but left with recipes for ricotta, queso fresco, and even mascarpone. I will need to make some fresh mozzarella again at home when tomatoes start to look really good, and put it altogether in a caprese salad. Still a couple of months away..

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Healthy Eats

Over the weekend, I was in the mood for healthy and delicious (as if that's news). Naturally- I turned to Greek/Mediterranean food! I had a flourless cake recipe I wanted to try, from my cooking school. It would use a lot of lemon zest, so I knew I would have lots of lemon juice to put to use afterward. I used some in the marinade for chicken kabobs, some in tabbouleh, and I will use some more as a splash of acid in salad dressing tonight.

I love that lemon was the driving force in my cooking choices this weekend. Everything I made turned out so well and it all went well together! This light and lemony menu made me really crave summer - warm weather, barbeques, picnics, and general lingering about out of doors.

Chicken kabobs, marinated in yogurt, lemon and oil

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake
The cake was delicious and extremely moist. I had never made a flourless cake before, but because I love almond, lemon and ricotta I figured it was good excuse. This definitely satisfied the sweet tooth, and although there was a decent amount of sugar, it was a healthier alternative. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pinche's Tacos


I had not eaten at Pinche's Tacos in so long! But last night we were up in LA, taking care of some business, and attending an art show that my husband had some work in, so we went. It was great! I love the atmosphere. And now I want to redo my breakfast nook into a Pinche's Junior, complete with paintings of Lotería cards on the walls, statues, skeletons and skulls (check), oilcloth and pink! I really enjoyed the gringo tacos as well as an old favorite, the street corn.
There is a Pinche's located right across the street from a 10-week Baking class I'm taking. Weekly lunches here will give me the opportunity to branch out and actually try some new things! Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Saffron scented Potatoes au Gratin with Asparagus

This au gratin dish is from a vegan cooking class at Spork Foods I took with a vegan-friend several years ago. I have made it many times, and usually stick to the recipe because I typically have soy milk and fake-butter on hand. This time, I just felt like making it full-fat, full animal version. And I was inspired because my coworker just gave me some Saffron that she recently brought back from a trip to Dubai. My husband has also been pretty fired up lately about Steak Friday, and of course, potatoes and steak are such a great pair!

 

They turned out great, but I was wondering what they would taste like if I had used a waxy potato instead of a russet (which is what the recipe called for). A quick google search shows that most recipes call for russets, but there are a few for red potatoes, or unspecified ones. No complaints from the husband or our company about the final product. In fact, our friend commented that he would not change a thing because they were perfect. So for next time, I guess I can use whatever looks best at the market and make my decision then.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Guisados



Guisados is in a sketchy area right by Dodger's Stadium. But it is no secret as I've been here a couple of times and it's always packed!

They only serve tacos (brilliant!) and the menu is on the board at the cash register. It shows you all of your taco filling options. Under each heading, like Pork for example, they list the many pork options. Even the Vegetarian section had 5 options! I also really liked the list, written on the wall in Sharpie, of all the ingredients that they use at the restaurant. I found it refreshing so that anyone with food sensitivities wouldn't have to ask. Plus it makes you aware of how delicious food can be with regular ingredients that you stock at home! Photos of this awesome-ness - next time.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spinach Salad with beets, quinoa and goat cheese


I have been trying to figure out ways to incorporate quinoa into my diet in delicious ways. Lucky for me, a coworker shared this salad recipe with me. It's a goody and a great meal by itself! I added some Trader Joe's ready-to-use lentils for a little added protein.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

San Francisco!

I hadn't been to San Francisco just for fun in over 15 years! Wow- that's a real city, and that is too too long! We visited friends, and went to several new-to-me places. Of course we ate WELLLL.

First up - Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. I had read about this place, and we were hungry and curious, so we started the journey there. Delish! We had some ACME Bread Company sour dough, with a beer and cheese pairing at Cowgirl Creamery. I had some lovely seafood gumbo from San Francisco Fish Company. And to wash it all down, Humphry Slocombe super-creamy ice cream. Damn I love that caramel/salt combo that's sweeping the nation! Not a bad start.

One thrill for me was to go to Rancho Gordo's shop at Ferry Plaza. I love their heirloom beans, hominy, recipes, newsletter, and overall personality. I took few pictures this weekend, but here's a funny one from their shop.
You know you want to

Another notable meal was at Facebook headquarters. My friend works there, and invited us to see the campus. It was amazing. It felt like a cross between a college campus, Main Street Disneyland, a mall, and a movie set. So many food options, it was ridiculous. We opted for organic salad bar, topped with meat from the barbecue joint, and two kinds of freshly pressed juice. If only we had had time to hit up the ice cream place, or candy shop! I tried two different meats from the barbecue joint, both so tender, and perfectly cooked. It made me want to officially go to cooking school, specialize in slow-cooked meats, and apply for an apprenticeship at Facebook!

Moving on, NOPA!! It was fantastic. Very crowded, but merely one block down from the venue we were going to that night. Great service, cocktails and food! The flatbread appetizer with pesto was melt-in-your-mouth delicious (my mouth just watered thinking about it), my black cod entreé was dense with flavor, the vegetarian toasts topped with avocado were so simple, clean, fresh and brimming with flavor, they were remarkable. Everything at NOPA was phenomenal.

The next night we went to Pizzaiolo in Oakland. This is the kind of place I love. The atmosphere was happening, but still pleasant. We were able to linger without feeling guilty for not releasing the table. You could enjoy your company without the waiter being overly enthusiastic (with needless interruptions to your party). The atmosphere actually reminded me of the kind of place you'd find in New Orleans. Our waitress was knowledgable, and helped guide us to the right drinks, the right combination of flavors, the right order of things. I love it when servers are actually helpful and enhance your experience. We shared everything - a couple of pizzas, meatballs, English pea ravioli, salads, cocktails! What is better than Italian (or any Mediterranean) food with great friends?

Every place we dined made it onto the must-return-next-time list. It's a very good thing that there is so much walking to do in the City, to help balance things out while eating delicious meals at every turn.