Thursday, November 29, 2012

TGIF: Cookies

I haven't had time to be in the kitchen much lately, but when I have, it's usually to bake cookies. I've been making an awful lot of cookies lately. I think it's because they're short on time commitment but big on the satisfaction factor. After sitting and staring at a computer screen for endless hours of stressful writing and fretting and everything in between (read: work stuff. I love it, but it's emotionally draining sometimes, you know?), some nice nutty butter melted into flour and sugar and baked to a ooey gooey, chewy crisp is just the perfect antidote. I've also been experimenting, tweaking things here and there in the chocolate chip cookie recipe to try and achieve the perfect texture, bite, and flavor. What I've learned so far is that it should be a crime to serve chocolate chip cookies without a nice sprinkling of flaked salt on top. Salt just makes the cookies so, so much better! Another thing I've been playing around with are flour combinations--bread, 00, all-purpose, whole wheat. It's been interesting experimenting, and while I'm close, I'm not quite there yet, so I won't share until it's perfect. :) Speaking of perfection, everything else I've managed to pull out of the kitchen lately is only okay, but not ... perfect. And I really only want to share the really, really good stuff here.

Okay, that was way too stream-of-consciousness ranty. :) I can't believe it's already December! sigh.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fresh Squeezed for Anthology Magazine

For all you who are suffering desserts for breakfast withdrawal, there are THREE! citrus-inspired recipes of mine in the new 2012 Anthology Magazine Gift Guide released today. :D! I'm so thrilled to have contributed to the gift guide, especially since I spend many a long hours drooling through the uber-clean and beautifully designed pages of Anthology whenever it hits the shelves.

The recipes include Meyer Lemon Snow Balls (a lemony spin on one of my favorite holiday cookies that my mom made when I was little), Orange Rosemary Bundt Cakes with Dark Chocolate Glaze (something sophisticated to eat by the fireplace while watching the Christmas lights sparkle on the tree), and a Winter Citrus and White Chocolate Tart (a super easy and gluten-free wow-factor dessert for the holiday table!).

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dogpatch Day, San Francisco

Last week involved a lot of anxious stressfulness, an increasingly frustrating waiting game with other peoples' busy schedules (I hate it when my work is dependent on others, but such is the nature of things, and I recognize that it's a two-way street), trudging through work feeling as though I was wading through quicksand mud pits, and then ultimately feeling as though nothing got done. Sigh, I'm sure we all have these weeks! Thankfully, I have awesome friends who will kidnap me and force me to take a day's vacation doing fun things, like hanging out in the Dogpatch district in San Francisco, eating awesome food, and seeing grand musicals!

The Dogpatch neighborhood is probably one of the places in SF that I go to most commonly. It's a warehouse district, near the water by the Bay, and it houses many of the professional kitchens of the local bakeries as well as prop studios and photography studios within two big blocks of each other. Many of our sated magazine shoots happen there. But, funnily enough, as much time as I've spent in this neighborhood, I've never gotten to take a day and enjoy it as a visitor, so this was a treat. We started the day with brunch at Serpentine, which was so hipstery cool with its industrial-y feel and fancy gin bottles lined up behind the counter that I felt like a total country bumpkin in comparison. But no matter! The food was good--and the fried lemon slices on top of my eggs benedict were a stroke of genius. I've never seen (or thought of) anything like it.

Then we had an hour or so after brunch and before our matinee show to get to, so I took my friends to Flora Grubb Nursery, which is one of my favorite new discoveries in SF. I have no green thumb myself, but I love getting lost in the gardens here, with all of the succulents growing out of every corner, in desks, in old rust-bucket, reclaimed cars, on walls, in wreaths this time of year!, in terrariums. The rose geranium plant that I got here months ago is still alive and kicking, which is impressive given my impressive talent of killing even the most resilient of plants. (also, there was a cute kitty on premises, which is always a plus.)

Then we were off to see the Lion King! in all of its African drumming and Zulu-speaking glory. I'd seen it before many, many years ago, but that was before I'd started studying linguistics, and it was fun to watch it again with new knowledge about African languages in mind.

Finally, we ended the day back in the Dogpatch, living it up with crema catalina ice cream (lime custard + burnt orange caramel) and crispy Valrhona chocolate pearls (and poodles! and sunsets!) at Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous.

I have a recipe idea that's been burning in the back of my brain that I want to share soon, but it's just a matter of finding some time in the kitchen to make it come to life! Sigh. Hopefully this week, so that it's in time to make it onto Thanksgiving tables..

Photos are from both the iPhone using the ShakeIt Photo App and the dSLR.