Photo Friday!

After watching the play/musical Sweeny Todd, we decided to make meat pie for dinner! This one included ground lamb, carrots, mushrooms, and fresh corn and a homemade crust. It was good that night, and even better for lunch the next day.

We tasted some Sake at Corkage (in San Francisco). We also ate their fried chicken, duck pate (not shown), oysters, and other yummy stuff. We bought a bottle of our favorite that night, and now we just need a recipe (or two) to eat with it. Anyone have any ideas?

This biscotti recipe was found on David Lebovitz‘s blog recently. I like the texture the cornmeal adds to the biscotti. (More on that later! I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but I really mean sooner rather than later this time!)

And that wraps up another Photo Friday! series. I bought a new camera so I am really looking forward to showing the results in next week’s post!

What I’m Reading Wednesday {Independence Day}

Today’s post is all about the red, white, and blue as we celebrate America’s birthday!

I think by now most have seen the surprise cake with rainbow layers inside. I like this simple, frozen version from Bittersweet. Or, if you like a full flag on the inside of your cake, Cakespy has you covered with this recipe. Or, if you really want simple and traditional, you can go with Smitten Kitchen’s flag cake. I think this dessert is one I would make: boozy red, white, and blueberry shortcakes, made by How Sweet It Is.

I hope you are all enjoying the day! Happy 4th of July!

 

 

Box of Delicious! {Foodie Pen Pal June & Coffee Brownie Recipe}

This month, as a part of the Foodie Pen Pals, I received a box from Heather and sent a box to Dustin.

A few weeks ago, I gave you a peek inside the box I got from Heather. Now it is finally time for the reveal!

Here’s what I got:

In case you can’t read all the labels, it’s Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar-Caramel with Black Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee, Dark Chocolate (filled with) Speculoos Cookie Spread, Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups, Artisana Pecan Butter, Jessica’s Vanilla Maple Granola, Artisana Coconut Butter, and Trader Joe (Jaques) Fleur Del Sel Caramels. (Heather did say she loves Trader Joe’s in her note, which, by the way, is the card with the cherries on it in the background.)

Thanks, Heather for the yumminess and for making me want to visit my local TJ’s! :)

For Dustin, I used some of the coffee from last month’s box to make brownies. I really like the idea of using something from the last box to forward on to the next one. Just a fair warning for the other foodie pen pals reading this right now.

I forgot to include the recipe in Dustin’s box, so I am putting it here:

Adapted from Epicurious: (original recipe)

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 15 tablespoons (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal pan with nonstick spray. Combine sugar, butter, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk until butter melts and ingredients are blended (texture will be grainy). Remove bowl from over water; cool mixture to lukewarm if necessary. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour over and fold in.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in pan.

Note: the original recipe includes pecans in the brownies and a mocha frosting, but I thought the brownies were good as is.

Photo Friday!

Since I missed this past Wednesday’s What I’m Reading, I am going to add that to the end of this week’s Photo Friday! post. I’ll be back on track next week; sorry!

So, I am getting better at remembering to take pictures; however, I am bad at remembering to take my camera with me everywhere, so I had to take all photos with my phone this week. Therefore, you’ll have to bear with my unedited, poor quality pictures this week.

First up, a blurry picture from trivia on Tuesday night. If you live in SF and want to join our team, we are scouting for members, especially those that know sports and pop culture/movie/music trivia. :)

I was going to take more than one picture of that night, but got caught up in the game and drinking (duh!) and forgot!

So, the next few pics are all from last night, at the Underground Market at Public Works. (Should I really be sharing this in a public space?!)

First thing I ate all night: Biscuit Bender’s with their cheddar gravy. YUM!

The picture really does not do it justice. These were mighty biscuits! They also have sweet options and American Eatery (part of Prather Ranch Meat Co.) in the Ferry Building uses their biscuits for breakfast items on their menu.

Next, a photo of the band Izzy Wise, who rocked out last night. The girl was playing the clarinet and the guy, Izzy, was playing a few different (and strange) instruments.

 

Next up, the truffles I bought from Casa De Chocolates in Berkeley. They are dark chocolate with cocoa powder. Sweet and delicious, but a bit messy from the cocoa powder.

The view from above…they are making mac n’ cheese from Homeroom and cheese plates from Mission Cheese. Mmm….cheese!

The next photo is my view of the crowd last night from my spot upstairs. It was totally packed! Lines for food were bending around corners and up stairs! Crazy!

And…that’s all for the photos of this week! Now, for What I’m Reading!

  1. Blog posts about cookies: peanut butter drizzled chewy milk chocolate chunk, & coconut oatmeal chocolate chip, to be exact.
  2. Recipes with blueberries: lemon blueberry poppy-seed muffins and a grain-free blueberry tart.
  3. A poem about Boysenberry and Plum Cobbler
  4. and, to round it all out, because pies are round (worst pun ever!): Chocolate Espresso Ganache Pie

Photo Friday!

This Photo Friday! is brought to you by spring-into-summer recipes ratios. I made these food items not from recipes, but from ratios. I will post the directions on how to make these goodies in the recipe section soon, so look for them there.

First up, I made these scones. A very basic ratio, and similar method to biscuits or pie dough.

I had leftover egg whites after making ice cream, so I made an angel food cake. I think of this as a springtime cake because it is light and airy and is usually served with fresh, seasonal fruit such as berries and citrus.

I just love the way the light in this photo makes the cake look really light. It tasted more meringue-like than cake-y, but I was okay with that.

I roasted some corn and red pepper and put it and other veggies and rice together for a spring-to-summer  “succotash”. (According to the dictionary entry I found, real succotash is made with Lima beans.)

The “succotash” I made with roasted corn, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and rice. NO recipe here. Just roasted the corn (on the cob) with the red pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet in a very hot (as high as it goes) oven until…the smoke detector goes off! Just kidding. Sorta. :) Just until the veggies start to blacken. For easy clean-up, I recommend using foil and oil, just enough to prevent sticking.

What are your favorite spring/summer desserts? What foods remind you the most of spring or summer?

Foodie Pen Pal

This month I became a part of the foodie pen pals. This is, yes, another food (blogger) community that I became a part of; it was started by Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean. It is a group of bloggers (or non-bloggers) who are paired up to receive and give a foodie package and letter. This month, I was paired up with and sent goodies to Erika from MCM Mama; head on over there to see what I sent her! I got paired up with a non-blogger, Mandy, who sent me goodies from Louisiana.

Mandy sent me a little card with the package describing what was included. She sent two mini pumpkin nutella loaves, coffee from Cafe du Monde with chicory and an alligator shaped cookie cutter. She says, “Since I moved here last fall, I’ve been hoping to happen upon a gator (while in my car of course) but it has yet to happen.”  Thanks again, Mandy!

I’ll have to make some cookies soon because I now have an alligator shaped cookie cutter and a camel shaped cookie cutter. What type of cookies do you think I should bake? Maybe these funfetti cookies?

I also now want to make coffee ice cream and try making coffee bacon. Funny, I sent coffee in my package as well, thinking about all of the things you can bake with coffee. Just in case, like me, they don’t drink coffee. Now to find a way to brew coffee without a coffee maker…anyone know how? Or just find recipes that use the coffee beans/grounds. If you have any recipes you’d like to share, post them (or a link to them) in the comments!

Looking forward to using the goodies from this month and receiving new ones next month! Check back to find out what I get in June!

Touring Around {Chocolate and Ice Cream}

I have been lucky enough to have time to do some touring around. For the first time in my life, I have seen the process of cocoa bean to chocolate bar, via the Dandelion Chocolate factory. I also spent a day touring the city with some friends tasting ice cream from 6 major ice cream shops in the city, trying to decide which has the best.

(photo courtesy of Mike)

First up was the tour of the Dandelion Chocolate factory. They showed us the process from bean to bar and everything in-between.

Next up was the ice cream tour. I organized an ice cream walking tour throughout San Francisco. It took us from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, to Humphrey Slocombe, to Mitchell’s, to Xanath, to Bi-rite, and finally to Smitten. It was a great way to see the city and to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

We started the tour in Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. We were feeling ambitious about the ice cream tasting, so we ordered three flavors, which of course, led to ordering three flavors everywhere else, and tasted some other flavors along the way as well. This sounds like a lot of ice cream, but shared between four people and with all of the walking, by the end of the day, it was really an okay amount.

At Humphrey Slocombe, we tried the Seceret Breakfast, which is a bourbon ice cream with corn flakes, the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, and the Tahitian Vanilla.

We tried Mitchell’s Strawberry and Cream, Mexican Chocolate, and Kahlua and Cream. My favorite here was the chocolate, which had just a hint of cinnamon.

Xanath was next, and since they are saffron and vanilla importers, we had to try both the Mexican and Madagascar vanilla and the saffron ice cream. We tried their coffee here, just to be able to compare to the others.

We tried Bi-Rite’s Balsamic Strawberry, Brown Sugar, and Toasted Coconut. All rich and creamy; my favorite here was the Balsamic Strawberry. I was surprised, because I normally do not like balsamic anything, but this just had a hint of it, and really just added acidity to the flavor.

Lastly, was Smitten. Smitten is known for making their ice cream with liquid nitrogen. This leads to a smoother, more dense ice cream with lots of flavor. This also means you can watch them make the ice cream and see fog swirling around. Everyone’s favorite here was the TCHO Chocolate.

The votes are in! My favorite place was Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, because they had great ice cream and homemade treats such as marshmallows and cookies and brittle that looked delicious, too. The runner up for me would be Bi-Rite, because they have good ice cream, a good variety of flavors, and their ice cream is smooth and creamy and really flavorful. Mike also chose Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous and Bi-Rite as the places that stood out to him, but would definitely go back to any of them. Rob chose the chocolate ice cream at Smitten as the best, and said, “Coffee ice cream never seemed appealing enough to get but I liked the ones we tasted.” Michele said that she also liked the chocolate from Smitten, and the Brown Sugar from Bi-Rite. She also said that she likes going to Bi-Rite on a sunny day to sit in [Dolores] park, and Mitchell’s is good for an evening outing (with people from out of town), and definitely has added Mr. and Mrs. to the list as well. Thanks again, to Michele, Rob, and Mike for coming out and spending the day tasting ice cream!