Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tea Rooms (not) Inspired by Tea Rooms


My coworkers and I went to Crown and Crumpet tearoom on Monday in Ghirardelli Square. Crown and Crumpet is very pink and lets play tea partyish kind of place. I did not order the traditional for fear of being extreamly let down, but most everyone else did. We did share everything, so we could all have a little taste. The sandwiches on the traditional were crusty like they had been sitting out for a long time, and the smoked salmon was disgustingly fishy, I had to spit it out. Cucumber tasted fine, dill something, cucumber. It's hard to mess up a cucumber sandwich. The large pots of tea we had were all good


The crumpets and scones were good. They did not serve Devon or Clotted cream, but butter, jam and lemon curd. The bottom tray of sweets, a tartlet shell filled with blue something, and had sprinkles. It was supposed to be passion fruit flavor, but tasted like whipped cream. There was a little nickel sized short bread cookie which was good. Then two different mini chocolate cups with cheese cake filling, very fluffy and creamy, like a light sour flavor folded into whipped cream.

I ordered the jacket potato, which came with mixed greens. A potato came on a plate, which had been cut in half with lunch meat like ham stuffed inside, and cheddar cheese on top. The potato had an obvious been cooked in a microwave taste, and once the ham and cheese were gone, was just a potato. I have no complaints about the greens. A few ordered the soup of the day, and I some how ended up with a cup of it. Vegetable sausage soup. In the cup was broth, with some onion bits, and three little sausage rounds. Greasy, and tasteless. Two people ordred the crumpet sandwiches, and they seemed to be happy with it, except for, the ROCK hard avocado that couldn't be cut.

Long story short, go there for the experience,tea, scones and crumpets. But if you are hungry go some where else.


Kara's Cupcakes was some what of a let down. They have 6 locations around the bay area. The girls who worked there didn't seem very happy to be there, they wren't very friendly. I ordred a peanutbutter cup cake, raspberry cup cake with a raspberry curd like filling (which was really good), java cup cake, and an orange creamsicle cup cake. All of them had chocolate cake bottoms, and the cake was wonderful! The peanutbutter one was my favorite, and Adam enjoied the orange creamsicle.
The Java and raspberry were not so good. The frosting on both of them tasted like whipped butter with a little bit of flavoring. Not sweet in the slightest. It grossed me out! Imagine biting into a spoon full of whipped, unsalted butter with a coffee flavor or barely raspberry flavor. I probably won't be getting cup cakes from them in the future.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm not a real chef, I just play one on TV.

I miss old school cooking shows, before the whole food thing got popular. When I was like 6, I would get up super early on Saturday and Sunday morning to watch TV. Not cartoons, but cooking shows. Jacques Torres was one of my favorites! He would make these chocolate cups with blown up water balloons. I always dreamed of the day my mom would let me make them, but of course it didn't happen till my advanced baking and pastry class at culinary school.
Even though I had never made them in real life, I considered myself a pro at it. How many times had I seen that episode? Far to many to count. Tempering the chocolate is always touchy, blow up the balloon, dip deep in one side, then the other sides to create a flower like pattern, shake and let it drizzle off so when you set it down on parchment it doesn't create a large foot at the bottom. When fully set up and hard, pop the balloon and hope for the best.

I have been working 6 days a week since 2011 hit, and It has really opened my eyes to how many people are in the food industry that just should not be in it. Why would you open a restaurant and then complain the few days you do come in about having to make food for it? And then thinking it's acceptable to serve something you messed up on because you "didn't feel like" making another batch correctly? If I did that, I would be fired. I try not to complain about working so much, when i'm tired because I had a hard night sleeping, just want a second day off, or not being able to go out late with friends. I try to just be thankful I have a job at all.

With all of this, super popular bad food tv, and people not giving a care about what's being served in their restaurants has renewed a fire in me, to want to make sure I can put out the best food I can possibly put out. To just grit and bare it, do it right from the start or do it over again until it's the best I can possibly do.

In my next post I will be talking about my trip to Ghirardeli Square, Crown and Crumpet Tea Room and Kara's Cup Cakes. Which fuels my fire even more, such a let down everything was!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving? We sure did! Aside from a little frozen turkey (which Stilton was very interested in) it went smooth! Adam made these amazing twice baked sweet potatoes with a parmesan bacon topping. The sweet potato skins were to soft for us to scoop out the inners and use them for severing so we just put it in a casserole dish. I am so stuffed again just thinking about the left overs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin, a little on the savory side.

There's so many things you can do with pumpkins, amazing pumpkin carvings, and even more amazing pumpkin dishes. There's tons and tons of sweet pumpkin recipes, pumpkin pie, cake, cookies, gelato, I could go on forever. But what about savory pumpkin dishes? There's just as many, if not more! In my search for savory pumpkin recipes, I found this savory muffin, with pumpkin and feta cheese. The amazing pictures make my tummy grumble, I can't wait to try the recipe. Some more savory pumpkin recipes I came across.
At Martha Stewart.com I found savory pumpkin puffs, puff pastry with a pumpkin mixture in the middle. Also a Pork with mashed pumpkin.
At Food & Wine.com I found Pumpkin soup with sage and ham, a nice hearty winter soup for cold days. Pumpkin Lasagna, sounds yummy, fast and easy, it calls for no boil noodles so don't worry about having to slave over the pot of boiling water, and broken sheets of noodles! Winter Squash and Gruyère Gratin , what's better than melty crunchy cheese?
At Eat Drink Better.com I found Beyond Pie: 10 Great Savory Pumpkin Recipes. There are some great sounding recipes, pumpkin pretzels, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin hummus, and fresh pumpkin pasta just to name a few.

I personally do not care for pumpkin, but I do love other squash. So if you feel the same way, you can substitute another winter squash in for the pumpkin. Don't know much about other winter squash? Read up about winter squash on the Wikipedia page.

Do you have any favorite savory pumpkin/squash recipes of your own? Please share them with me!

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, are you ready?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Healthy "fried" Chicken

Do you like crispy fried chicken but don't eat it that often because of all that oil. A friend of mine told me about a Healthy "Fried" Chicken recipe she used to use while on weight watchers. It's fast, healthy, and really good!

Here's what you are going to need:
boneless skinless chicken breasts
corn flakes
pam cooking spray
cookie sheet
and a preheated oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit

-I use one chicken breasts per person. Cut chicken into strips, or chunks.
-Put cut up chicken in a bowl and coat it with mustard
-Cover the cookie sheet with foil and spray with pam
-Crush up corn flakes and coat the mustardy chicken and place on cookie sheet (my cat loved watching me breading the chicken)
-When all the chicken is done spray some more pam over the top of the chicken
-Place in oven and cook until done, if they are bigger pieces you can turn them half way through cooking.

I know some people don't like mustard, and that's not a problem. You can use any type of mustard, bbq sauce, ranch dressing, or any other sort of saucy like condiment. I use honey mustard, it tastes so good you don't even really need to dip it anything else.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Merry Chri..... Wait! Don't Forget Thanksgiving!


Who else is excited about Thanksgiving??
I am doing my first Thanksgiving dinner, and my first full turkey this year. I think I already have my menu ready. Nothing super fancy, just good eats for 3 people.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, green chili corn casserole, tangerine cherry cranberry sauce, baked yams, pumpkin pie, cranberry sorbet, and pumpkin gelato. Wow! Sounds like a lot now that it's all in a list.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving day dishes?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Taste Of Summer

Raspberry Sorbet, the last taste of summer.
I had the privileged of borrowing a gelato maker, no ice, no salt, no air. Plug it in and go. It was fantastic, Thanks Maryellen!

Raspberry Sorbet

48 oz fresh raspberries, cleaned (I suppose it would work with frozen raspberries too)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 lemon

Zest and juice the lemon into a sauce pan, add sugar and water mix and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
Strain and cool until completely chilled.
Puree the raspberries and strain into a container. Cool in the fridge until chilled through.
Mix the chilled raspberry puree and the sugar mix, strain one more time.
From here just add into your ice cream machine and follow the machine instructions.

Yes, it's a lot of straining and arm power but it's so worth it. A nice creamy soft sorbet. You can also use lime instead of lemon, just use two. And if you really want to get fancy add some mini chocolate chips when you remove it from the machine and hard freeze in the freezer.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Food Photography - Oatmeal Thumb Printing

Bees love cookies too! Specially when they are filled with Blood-Orange Jam. These cookies are delicate, buttery and great for any time because you can fill them with whatever flavor jam you'd like. You can find a similar recipe to which we use here at Epicurious.com. Remember, just because they are labeled oatmeal 'raspberry' thumb-print cookies you can use whatever flavor jam you want!
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves

  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Hail Caesar

    I know it's been entirely to long.... I've been a little busy, and a little lazy. Not to mention uninspired, and peeved at the food world. Sure, I've come up with a "menu changing" idea at work, but, I just really haven't been into cooking at all lately.
    Adam has inspired me to remind everyone how great and easy a classic Caesar salad is.
    Keep reading after the recipe for the back story on my new/old love for a classic.

    Classic Caesar Salad
    Items you will need:
    Crisp romaine hearts
    Croutons, home made or store bought will do just fine
    Fresh shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano, or Asiago cheese
    2 Egg yolks
    2-3 anchovy fillets, more or less depending on your taste
    1 lemon juiced
    Worcestershire sauce
    1-2 cloves of garlic
    salt and pepper
    olive oil

    In a food possessor, or blender add the anchovies, yolks, garlic, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, half of the lemon juice, and blend to combine. Slowly drizzle the oil till smooth and creamy, salt and pepper to taste. If it's too thick, add a splash of warm water, and the rest of the lemon juice. If you break it, meaning it's separated and yucky looking, you probably added too much oil. Put one egg yolk in a metal bowl and break out your whisk. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of water to the yolk, then slowly start whisking in the broken mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
    Toss with your crisp romaine, add your cheese and croutons, and enjoy!

    What lead up to new/old Caesar inspiration?
    I called Adam from work today with the question "what's for dinner?"
    Chicken Caesar Salad he says, even though we have no Caesar dressing, which is completely fine as long as I don't have to cook or do anything with it when I get home. So the rest of the day at work I dream about the ranch dressing in the fridge, and the sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. A mixture of the two is a "southwestern chicken salad" in my book. It's all I think about food wise for the rest of the day. So when I finally get home from work, Adam says he's going to start grilling the chicken, oh and by the way "I made some Caesar dressing, without the anchovies because we didn't have them"
    My thoughts start racing, "Great! Now I can't have my "southwestern" salad",
    "Where did he get the recipe?",
    "I know we didn't have anchovies, but how good/flavorful is it going to be??",
    "What!? He really made Caesar dressing from scratch!?".

    He mentioned about how much EXTRA oil he had to add, and I knew right then it was 'broken'

    Oh how the thought, just the thought of a broken Caesar brought me back to culinary school, and Waterbarge days. Making Caesar dressing at least, AT LEAST once a week, if not more, and fixing "the new kids" broken mess.

    One egg yolk, a splash of warm water, a splash of lemon juice, a broken 'sauce', a metal bowl, and a whisk. Houston, we have a Caesar.

    It is absolutely bizarre to me to how one can break a Caesar in/using a machine.AND I will never understand the usage of already made mayonnaise in Caesar dressing, via the food network. Really??? Can you kill my trust in the food network any more these days!!??

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Meyer Lemon Sorbet

    When life gives you lemons.............Make lemonade SORBET.
    Often used as a palate cleanser between courses, this light sweet citrus sorbet is also great for snackin'.

    Tips & Tricks

    * Add the lemon zest to the water and sugar right away to get the full flavor potential of the zest

    * If you don't like bits and pieces in your sorbet (I know I don't) still add your zest into the water and sugar, but strain it out before you mix in the lemon juice.

    *If you do like all those bits and pieces in your sorbet don't strain the lemon juice, just make sure to get out all the seeds.

    *You don't need to bring the sugar and water to a boil like normal simple syrup. When it turns clear it is ready.

    *If you are squeezing lemons by hand, use a fork! Stick it right in the middle of the cut end for some leverage.

    * When life gives you lemons, and you make sorbet, but are still wanting lemonade, dissolve a spoon full or two in a cup of water and enjoy!

    *Don't throw away those juiced lemon ends just yet! Clean them out more, take a little slice off the bottom so they stand up right, and freeze them for a cute little 'lemon cup'. Make sure there is no holes for when it starts to melt. *You can also use a whole lemon if you take the top off, hallow it out, and freeze them, then you can use the top as a little lid. Who wouldn't like that super cute presentation!

    Meyer Lemon Sorbet

    recipe from SimplyRecipes.com

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1 cup freshly squeezed juice from meyer lemons (about 3-4 lemons)
    2 teaspoons fine lemon zest

    1 In a small saucepan on medium high heat, make a simple syrup by heating sugar and water until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Chill, either in the refrigerator, or by placing in a metal bowl over an ice bath.

    2 Once the mixture has thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can pour the mixture into a shallow pan and freeze in your freezer until semi-solid. Then take a fork and fluff it up, returning it the the freezer to freeze firm. Then put in a food-processor or blender to process until smooth.

    Place sorbet in an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

    3 Scoop out preferably with a melon-baller. Garnish with mint. Makes 2 1/2 cups.