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Archive for June, 2010

Tartine is arguably the most famous San Francisco bakery I never heard of prior to going to college, and I have heard many of the local institutions growing up due to the fact that Mom’s family is from the City.  Mama’s.  Mitchell’s Ice Cream.  Golden Gate Bakery.  It took me a friend who raved about it, and then the hordes of food bloggers documenting their every visit to finally visit this San Francisco institution.  Of course, now I regret all of that stalling.  Tartine has become the place for me to go to while in the Mission.  No questions asked.  Tartine has become my source and inspiration for many baking projects.

One of my closest friends has seen this obsession with Tartine manifest into rambles about Tartine every time I mention San Francisco and bakery in the same sentence, I might as well have a hard copy of the book instead of combing through these loose leaf copies I have of the cookbook.  Thanks again, Julia!

Because Julia is traveling abroad for the next two weeks, I decided to mark that event by making something from the Tartine cookbook that is also quirky in honor of getting the hard copy.  Yes, I always celebrate with food!

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I have been trying to write the past few days, but I am out of words.  Perhaps, the humility of taking on such an endeavor has stolen my words.  Although my baking plans were certainly doable since I used quite a number of recipes that could be prepped in advance, I have never churned out seven very different items in a two-day span before.

Coupled with the fact that I had several last minute-changes in venue and a broken-down car, I was left frustrated and stressed over the fact I had little control over the party itself or even the completion of the entire menu.  (Some ingredients were too exotic to find, and others were not practical to make within the allotted time.)  Fortunately, my friends were kind enough to give a helping hand whether that be helping me set-up, provide a location, etc.  That’s one thing I definitely learned about bake sales: I need help even if it’s not the baking aspect!

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It’s funny how there was a time I wanted the internship to begin.  For weeks, I was bored out of my skull trying to figure out new ways to entertain myself.  There are only so many baking projects and cleaning projects one can do before the caged feeling starts sinking in.  You know, the kind where one alternates between flailing her arms in frustration and sleeping intermittently throughout the day?

I started to countdown the days till the internship begins.  I sectioned off my closet for business casual.  I refreshed my email constantly for the firm’s emails.  In short, I was doing everything that would spell out the internship would start soon.

Now that my friends are free and I am constantly out, I am having a hard time accepting work starts in a week!  Oh man, oh man, where does time fly?!

I am now over-stuffing my last few days of freedom.  Roaming around town by day, baking like mad at night!  Yes, I consider milling about town part of the jam-packing ;)  Unfortunately, my fridge is starting to resemble these last few days of madness–that is, overstuffed with summer berries.  What to do with all of those perfectly ripe berries?

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I suppose you can call me the case of the late bloomer.  I was (and still am) the quintessential dork, nerding my way through the books.  I still get the unfortunate case of the case of the giggles over the dorkiest jokes.

Somehow between the all-nighters and overdoses of caffeine in college, I shifted from the rolled-out-of-bed look to fitted shirts with curious neckline names (boatneck, v-neck, necklines without official names) look.  While the feeling is relatively new, it does feel liberating.   I mean, I do not have to fit the mold of the nerd because that’s how everyone designated me.  I can be feminine too!

It’s funny though that it has taken me the summer before college graduation to accept myself–femininity and all.  You know, the kind complete with the sleepy talks with your friend at the park with the car windows rolled down; muffled giggles about boys at coffee boutiques with a latte in hand; and free-for-all cleaning of the ice cream maker bowl of homemade strawberry sorbet.  Okay, that’s for another story ;)

In any case, I challenge my identity more now than I ever had straight out of high school.  That includes my eating and cooking habits.  It was only a few years ago that I was poking my fork through my first rubbery gnocchi dish.  Now, I am fishing through Zuni Cafe recipes and making my own gnocchi?  Weird!

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I forget sometimes how empowering it is to be attuned to myself.  I tend to speed-walk through life.  Seriously.  Ask my friend who tries to follow me through a dense SF crowd by the black ribbons on my coat fluttering through the wind.  I like to think of myself as a blip–maybe you see me, maybe you don’t!

Lately, I think to myself, Maybe that’s because I don’t want people to notice me.  Of course, that’s silly.  How is someone to ignore a girl whose sweatshirt (in bubblegum pink, I might add) demands, “Gimme sugar.”  That’s just begging me to be teased.  I might as well stop trying to disappear and be content with myself–physical presence and all.

That realization brought me to the yoga studio for the first time in six months.  Long time, no see, Anusara Yoga.  Hamstrings tight?  Check.  Unbendy hip flexors?  Check.  Twig arms?  Check!  After over an hour of practice, I can barely lift my arms above my head, but I feel like twirling around on the hardwood floor in pseudo-ballerina style.  This is the purest happiness I have felt in a while.  Who knew being physically present and grounded can make someone so happy?

That brings me to these A16 almond cookies.  Made of almond paste and ground almonds and sweetly dusted with confectioners’ sugar, these are the almond purist’s kind of cookie–that is, my kind of cookie :)

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Shakshuka

In business, people recommend not to eat anything with tomato sauces.  Common sense, right?  It splatters, and it stains.  Nothing looks more professional than having a perfectly ironed white blouse with a lovely dash of marinara across it.

Unfortunately for me, I am an aspiring business person yet adore tomato sauces.  I enjoy alfredo and other cream sauces every once in a while, but they tend to make me feel heavy and lethargic.  You know, the I-don’t-want-to-do-anything kind of feeling.  Haha, that doesn’t bode well for business if I want to curl up into a ball even in a fitted blouse and pencil skirt, does it?

I guess that means I am going to have to hide my affection for tomato sauces at work.  A tad painful if I’m at an Italian restaurant, but I shall brave up!  Until the internship starts, I am going to squeeze in as much tomato as possible starting with this spicy Israeli breakfast, shakshuka.

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Lately, I have been trying to make more savory dishes to carve my way out of the sweets.  Don’t get me wrong–I still <3 my sweets dearly, but I need to be able to cook and feed myself once I start living out on my own.

This has me thinking about pastas more often.  Before, I would overlook pasta dishes because they are anti-glamorous.  I mean, they were created to stretch leftovers for another meal!  That doesn’t sound as amazing as saying, “I bought this steak to make this dish!”  Okay, I haven’t said that yet, but I do say that a lot with desserts.  “I bought this block of chocolate to make this cake n_n”

Nowadays, I am giving pasta a second look with the intention of making easy yet satisfying meals.  I must put some dishes under my belt before I work full-time and experience the glory they call busy season.  For a girl who adores her artichokes, this pasta sounded like a perfect Friday dinner :)

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