Thursday, December 20, 2012


Today is my parents 25th wedding anniversary.

I made them paella and a chestnut, beet, and goat salad for dinner to celebrate.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Homemade pho is the best lunch for a sick girl and her sicker guy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

De Veres

Today my boyfriend and I went to De Veres Irish Pub (in Davis) to have some grub.

It was delish.

I had the pastrami sandwich and salad.

He had the chipotle chicken breast club.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheesecake Brownies

When I worked at Cafe Novo is when I learnt to bake.  At least once a week we would make a half pan of cheesecake brownies--usually more often than that.  These bad boys flew out of the kitchen so quickly you'd think they were addictive... and well, maybe they are.

Since leaving I've managed to find myself a boyfriend who could live off brownies, steak, and salad (I like men who like their veggies).  I've had a lot of brownie baking practice.  So much, in fact, that penning a recipe for Sierra Trading Post's holiday recipe contest was a little difficult--it was like writing down how to put on jeans in the morning.

 Well, luckily I eventually managed to put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard..) and wrote up my recipe.  Being the genius I am, I forgot to mention I use a teaspoon of baking powder (not that forgetting it will ruin the brownies).

It turned out though, it didn't matter.  I won the vote for best dessert! (Very luckily, since I actually didn't even know there was a voting period or I definitely would have coerced some friends to vote for me... I am not above that.)  As a price I received a $250 gift certificate to sierra trading post (just in time for cyber monday) and a feature in their Holiday Recipe Book.

So here it is friends, my cheesecake brownies recipe:

Cheesecake Batter: 
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar 1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Brownie Batter: 
3-5 oz good quality (60% to 90%) dark chocolate
1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 350*F.  Grease or line an 8 or 9 inch square pan.

Cheesecake Batter: 

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg together. Put aside.

Brownie Batter: 

In a pan over low heat or in a double boiler (preferred) melt the butter. Melt the chocolate into the butter, stirring. Remove from heat the moment (or just before) the chocolate is fully melted.

 Add the sugar and stir until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

 Add the cocoa powder and salt, mix in until batter is smooth (works best if you sift in the cocoa powder). Mix in the flour until well incorporated.

Pour your brownie batter into your pan. Dollop cheesecake batter in. With a knife, drag back and forth through the batter to create a marbling effect. (Tight zigzags work best).

 Pop in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The cheesecake should be just golden and the edges should pull slightly from the side of the pan.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Bruchetta is wonderfully easy and absolutely delicious.  This thanksgiving my boyfriend Mark and I went to Seattle to visit his parents.  Mark made us some delicious bruchetta as an appetizer and I decided to "help" by taking photos.

Mark cut up some cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, fresh basil, and cilantro and then drizzled EVOO and balsamic vinegar overtop.

He mixed it together  and let it refrigerate for a few hours so the flavours could meld.  

Right before serving he chopped up some avocado and tossed once more, and then served with some sourdough crostini.  Absolutely delicious.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spanish Figs

What do you do when you've got a lot of figs?  I mean a lot of figs...

Step 1: Stuff your face.  There's not much more for it, just go to town and try to get rid of as many as possible quickly.

Step 2: Stare blankly at the remaining 800000 figs.

Step 3: Make something.

I decided to make a spread to eat with fresh cheese--mató we call it; a smooth rich ricotta-like cheese that we often eat with honey, quince paste (membrillo) or, in my case now, fig spread.  (Walnuts optional, but a really great idea.)

Turns out it also goes really well with most white cheeses; including some rather strong sheeps cheese I have around as well.

Fig Spread
5 cups or so of very ripe figs
1/4-1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
2-3 large peels of orange zest (use fruit peeler to get easily removable pieces of zest)

Take your figs (use the ripest you've got) and quarter them into a large pot.

Add a few fingers of white wine so that the figs can break down and start releasing their own juices without burning.  Add some sugar and orange zest.

Let it boil for 2 hours or so, or until the desired consistency, stirring occasionally to help break down the figs.  Remove the orange zest and let the spread cool before putting in tupperware or jars, and storing in the fridge and freezing what you don't think you can consume in 1-2 weeks.

I wasn't really into the idea of using 1:1 sugar to figs (which is usually what is needed to make a preservable jam).. I didn't want something overpoweringly sweet to go with my cheese, just a hint of sweetness to complement the salty richness.

I could have kept going--it wasn't super thick by the end, but I like the chunks of fig, and the honey-like consistency of the liquid which spreads beautifully on fresh cheese.  It made about 3 cups worth--one of which I gave away and the other two; well we went through the first cup in about a day, so I doubt it'll be a problem.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

What happens when you're about to leave town for a few weeks, and when you get back you'll be literally moving the next day to your new apartment?

You use up whatever you've got in the freezer/fridge.

So what happens if what you've got is some coconut butter, a bit of nutella, some frozen cherries, a few very ripe frozen bananas (always great to have on hand when you're hunkering for some banana bread) and some pantry staples?

Uh.  This.

I'm a madwoman.

In the end they made some sweet banana-chocolate bars... they were ok the first day but seal them up in tupperware once they've cooled down and the next day they were moist, perfectly sweet and wonderfully buttery.  Next time I'll add walnuts rather than cherries.