Friday, August 31, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of August 27th

Peek at the Week - Week of August 27th 

My oh my, it's been a busy week and as I look at this Labor Day weekend, it's even more jam-packed. I'm planning on giving the summer of 2012 the best send off I can this weekend.  It really has been a fabulous one, but I of course am thrilled for my favorite season soon to come, fall. 

The Taste, which is the L.A. Times food and wine festival is underway this weekend. For a die hard KCRW listener, the event on Saturday with Johnathan Gold and Evan Kleiman is thrilling! 

At the bottom of my stair workout in my neighborhood, the Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe directly sits. This is proof that the diet gods are very, very malicious but we all knew that. Heywood just opened back in June, I need to make it in on a cheat day to try their classic and gourmet style grilled cheese sandwiches. I've been eyeballing their menu that includes a vegan grilled cheese and the Muy Caliente - pepper jack, jalapenos, fresh cream cheese and tortilla strips on sourdough- oh so enticing. They are also now open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. I'll report back as soon as these grilled cheese desires of mine have been fulfilled. 


I'm not exaggerating when I say that every weekend in L.A. offers something great for music lovers. This weekend is FYF Fest that is sure to be awesome with such a great line up. 

This past Sunday, I really felt like a true grown up. Todd and I had a marvelous dinner at the home of our dear friends (the cutest recent newlyweds)  Phil and Nicole. Phil had a lovely bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label that he so generously shared with us while we all laughed late into the night. I love scotch but after my palate has been so spoiled with Blue Label, its so hard to think of drinking any other blend. 
Sigh, thus is life.  

One of my weeknight meals this week was Aloo Gobi, an Indian cauliflower and potato dish. It called for a long list of spices, which I admit, I have a very extensive spice collection but this recipe called for black mustard seeds which I did not have. Off to the Spice Station I went. This spice market is literally right down the street from me, located on Sunset Boulevard and tucked away behind a beautiful little courtyard. When you enter the store, it is a real delight, hundreds of spices, stored in beautiful jars displayed on shelved walls. An excellent source for your spice needs! 

Have an excellent and safe Labor Day weekend everyone! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Buon Giorno, Baci Cake!

Years ago, while in college my sister studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. During this magical time of her life, she had the opportunity to travel all over Europe, in between her studies of course. This is where I speculate that her love of the Italian chocolate candy, Baci derived. My sister has adored these morsels for as long as I can remember, justifiably so, they are truly delicious. Hazelnut with a creamy nutty chocolate center covered in chocolate, these little sweets (which the word Baci means "kiss" in Italian) are certainly something that titillates the lips. For her birthday I wanted to make something very special, just for her, so why not make a Baci cake? I'll admit, its not the most beautiful cake I've ever seen but that's ok with me as long as it tastes great. For the cake I used Ina Garten's Beatty's cake recipe, which is a tried and true chocolate cake go-to recipe for me but I added Baci and hazelnut flavors, which the result was a success! Baci flavored cake... I think that's a slice of heaven for you.

Baci Cake - adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella 
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

  • 6 ounces of Baci bars (I got mine at World Market)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts

  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pansSift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla. almond and nutella. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In a large bowl beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the almond and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Stir in the hazelnuts. 

My awesome new cake holder! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Light Coconut Mango Curried Pork

One of the most masochistic things I have ever done to myself was to start a diet in the midst of having an active food blog. It poses many, many obvious hurdles, but as much as it taunts me, at the end of the day, it is a very good thing. I cook a lot of my dishes for other people, I get the joy of preparing the meal, a taste to make sure its a delicious-blog worthy recipe, then whisk out the door and away it goes a loved one's home. I love providing food for people and concocting dishes especially for someone based their favorite flavors so this system is quite fulfilling. I have learned balance, moderation, sharing and some added self discipline. I have also brushed up on my low fat cooking skills because let's be real, I can't give away all of my food, I need to eat too! This dish, was one for myself. Diet friendly, very quick, very easy, it served as the perfect weeknight dinner that I also could pack for lunch the next day. I love Thai food, but on a diet ordering Thai in or going out is pretty off limits, so to make my own at home is very satisfying. I really enjoyed the flavor of the curry in this recipe. It can be made in a million different combinations: chicken, tofu, shrimp, you name it, different veggies, mix it up and enjoy!

Light Coconut Mango Curried Pork 

Adapted from Cooking Light
(1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmedPam 2 teaspoons red curry powder, divided (or to taste)
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or to taste)
1 fresh mango, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
lime wedges 

Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Grease a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (I used Pam to cut calories and fat but oil would work of course). Sprinkle pork evenly with 1 teaspoon curry powder. Add pork and sugar snap peas to pan; stir-fry 3 minutes.Combine coconut milk, fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon curry powder, stirring well. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Stir in mango and 1/4 cup onions; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. I served this over 1 cup of brown rice, with 1 1/4 cups pork the mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of remaining 1/4 cup onions. Serve with lime wedges.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Writer: Erica Sardarian - Portlandia!

Happy Monday, my dears! Today I have an extra special treat for everyone, a fabulous piece written by the outstanding Erica Sardarian on her summer adventures in Portland and Seattle. Enjoy!


The box next to “Travel to Portland (Oregon, not Maine)” on my places to go, people to see list has never been checked off…until now that is. My best friend, my travel confidant if you will, and I were excited to take a long awaited trip to the City of Roses. Everyone I spoke to immediately lit up as soon as the word Portland popped up. “Try Voodoo Doughnut,” a visceral reaction from all my foodie friends. And then there was, with excitement, “Portland has the highest strip clubs per capita than any other state in the U.S.,” mentioned by a male friend of mine of course. Unlike most trips, I opted not to strategically map out our day hour by hour. Instead, I chose to go with the flow. Not an easy task for a self-proclaimed planner like myself.

We arrived at PDX and immediately headed to our home for the next four days, the Ace Hotel ( It was perfect. A hipster hide out with character and most importantly a delicious coffee shop conveniently located downstairs. We dropped off our bags and decided to explore the city. The first day, we pretended to be locals, sans tattoos, drank locally brewed beer and listened to a local live band perform in the Pearl District. The next morning we woke up and, like tourists, decided to take the trolley around town where we really got to see the sights of the city. The trolley company, called Big Pink Sightseeing Company (, was owned by a husband and wife team who donate part of the proceeds to cancer research. The owner was sweet as pie. Our first stop was the Japanese Garden. It was breathtaking. Oregon is known for its greenery but this was just amazing. We hopped back on, sporting our colorful sunglasses and headed toward NW 23rd street where we stopped off at Public House, nestled in a small street in the area filled with cute coffee shops and little boutiques. We sat outside with a glass of rose’ and enjoyed some cajun hummus. For dessert we opted to go to the ever so popular Salt and Straw (, highly recommended by my good friend, Kendall in addition to her long list of favorites. The line was out the door but moved rather quickly. I tried the almond brittle with salted ganache. Heavenly.

After our trolley tour, we headed back to Pioneer Square in the center of the city referred to as the “living room” of Portland, where we grabbed sandwiches and watched E.T. under the stars. “Phone home…” It was perfect. After the film, we decided to grab a quick drink at Clyde and Common in our hotel. Our mixologist handed us the eclectic menu and I chose to taste test second base- a mix of vodka, grapefruit, lime juice, combier pamplemousse, peychaud’s bitters. The second taste test was the Kingston club- a mix of drambuie, pineapple, lime, fernet, angostura, and orange peel (pictured below). We also ordered from the late night menu- popcorn with pimenton. The drinks were delicious and the popcorn was to die for!

The next morning we had breakfast in the “breakfast room” of the hotel. A tiny, quaint little space serving boiled eggs, muffins, cheese, prosciutto, and salami- very European.  We rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, which was again breathtaking and beautiful. Instead of staying in Portland another night as planned, we decided to take a trip to Seattle. Why not? It was only a three-hour drive. We hopped in the car and arrived at our destination in less than our estimated time. We had a lovely sushi dinner at Japonessa and a fun-filled night out in Downtown, Seattle where we hung out with locals and I indulged in a late night Seattle dog- hot dog, mustard, and cream cheese for $5! (yes, cream cheese-no onions). We visited the original Starbucks, went to Pike’s market, and had the best bloody mary brunch at Toulouse in Queen Anne. Salmon scrambled eggs and beignets for breakfast? Sure, why not.

This was an amazing trip and yet another place to cross off on my list. Highly recommend the Ace Hotel! Sad I didn’t try Voodoo Doughnut, the line was out the door and around the corner, every time we made an attempt. There’s always next time. Seattle was my absolute favorite. Great town with an east coast feel.

Fun Facts-Portland!
-No sales tax! -Portland has more microbreweries inside their city limits than any other city in the world.
-Portland is the 23rd largest city in this country. 3rd largest on the west coast.
-Portland was almost called Boston, Oregon
ortland is home to Voodoo Doughnut, a 24-hour doughnut shop that offers — in addition to a crazy selection of doughnuts — legal wedding ceremonies.
-The Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air crafts market in the United States.
-Powell's City of Books, occupying an entire city block, is the world's largest independent bookstore.
-Oregon is the only state (in addition to New Jersey) where you can’t pump your own gas

1. Seattle dog- mustard, cream cheese $5! (no onions like the original)
2. The original Starbucks (Seattle) 
3. Salmon scrambled eggs with potatoes (Seattle)
4. Beignets from Toulouse 
5. Bloody Mary from Toulouse

Friday, August 24, 2012

Peek at the Week - August 20th

Peek at the Week - The Week of August 20th

Happy weekend my lovelies!

Sunday is L.A.'s first ever Fried Chicken Fest, I curse my diet! 

I swapped out my regular coffee for this Espresso Blend at Trader Joe's, mixed with Almond Milk and Stevia, I am quite in love. 

I've been keeping my eye on the new Charm City Cakes on Melrose Avenue for quite a while now and this morning, it was bustling. Opened about six weeks ago, the Baltimore bakery by chef Duff Goldman, opened shop on the west coast making the same outrageous cakes that one sees on the Food Network's Ace of Cakes but also, something new. Something very exciting, something that I can't wait to plan a girl's night out for: Cakemix, the Color Me Mine of cakes. Decorate your own cake with choices of a 6-inch or 9-inch round cake ($36- $52), in flavors of red velvet, marbled chocolate with vanilla, chocolate, vanilla, carrot or a special of the week filled with frosting flavors of vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, or the special of the week. Then decorate! 

pop-up dinner!

 Pop-Up Dinner L.A., is throwing L.A.'s inaugural mass picnic at a secret location in Los Angeles on Saturday night, 5-11.  The location will be revealed through e-mail hours before the event. All white attire is required and guests have the choice to bring along their own tableware, food and beverages, or have a catered meal from a local chef. 
Tickets are:  $28 for the meal $78

Dating back for 50 years, the Manhattan Beach Pro Volleyball Series is this weekend. This event is primo for sports lovers, pro people watchers and partiers alike.  The event will be all weekend, Sunday will be the Semi-finals and finals located just south of the Manhattan Beach Pier and tickets are FREE.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon

Confession: I feel a little crazy putting this up on my blog. With the exception of myself, I'd bet that there are not very many foodies/bloggers/anyone that saw the movie Julia and Julia, that hasn't had their go at Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. Last week, was Julia Child's 100th birthday, I put a little post up on my blog about it and really didn't plan on much more. Yet, the week continued and oddly, I just couldn't get Julia off of my mind, her memory is such an inspiration. Due to this "Julia-mania,"  I decided to dedicate a long Saturday to cook up Julia Child's hearty Boeuf Bourguignon for Todd. What you most likely have heard about this recipe is true: it is really phenomenal but it does, literally take all day to complete. I didn't think much about what I was signing up for when I first started browning my beef, even reading through the recipe it seemed no more labor intensive than other dished I've tackled in my lifetime, but don't be fooled. If one attempts this recipe, have a good 4-6 hours to dedicate to the kitchen. I even thought I'd be able to watch a horribly predictable Lifetime movie while cooking this, but the divide of my attention, my brain was spared and my focus was only on my dutch oven. Was it all worth it? In the words of Mr. Big, ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY. This is a recipe that I would love to know by heart and whip up on rainy days. Todd said it was his new favorite thing I have ever made and no, he really doesn't say that with everything I cook, this is only the second time he has been so moved. I served it over very simple mashed potatoes. I cant wait until the fall and winter to make this again (I know, I was totally seasonally inappropriate) for Todd or for lucky company-  this is the perfect dish to share and is even better on day two.

** Note that the recipe only calls for 3 cups of wine, you will have one left over for yourself, I think its mandatory to drink wine while cooking a Julia recipe. 

Boeuf Bourguignon 

This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)


One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Burgundy but I used a Bordeaux)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 sprigs of thyme
1 pound mushrooms, sliced


Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat oil in casserole dish until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
In the same dish, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle of the oven for 4 minutes.
Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible.
Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herbs.
Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herbs and set onions aside.
Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
 Brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Crafted: Located in Warehouse No 10 in San Pedro

My heart swoons for you, Crafted. A couple of weekends ago, Todd and I went down to check out  the newly opened (June 29th of this year) Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. Crafted is a permanent handcrafted marketplace located in San Pedro. I had been hearing so much buzz about it I was dying to check it out. I'm a die hard Etsy fan and order most of my items from the site, but often I am too excited or inpatient for what I order, the wait can be a little taxing. Fear not my friends Crafted is here to save the day: if Etsy existed in a physical sense, this would be it. With countless vendors with original artwork, jewelry, goods for children, artisan food and crafts there is something for everyone. I am counting down the days until I go back for a second visit to start my Christmas shopping, I seriously saw something for everyone on my list, and buying from Crafted, one has the confidence that the item is as original as it gets. Every vendor we met was so kind; it was so amazing to admire an item and chit chat with the artist, then to be able to purchase it and have the item in your home? Quite spectacular. Todd and I shopped light, as we were just scoping it out, leaving with a piece of art that we are both so in love with and a box of amazing macarons from Soft Peaks, which we devoured before we got back on the freeway.  I could have bought something from each and every vendor to be honest. Crafted far exceeded my expectations, in my mind I thought we would come across some tacky items or goods that just weren't well made, as would be expected from any craft market, but no, every item I saw had beauty, taste, and oozed with artistic nature and creativity. I highly recommend the trip to Crafted. Go.Check it out, you wont regret it. 

  • Food is sold outside by local food trucks, I think everyday is different but we LOVED our lunch from Auntie's Fry Bread and Let's Roll It
  • There are a lot of events at Crafted, I suggest following them on Facebook to stay informed. Wine tastings, beer tastings, Etsy events... there seems to always be something happening
  • Parking is easy, it was free for us but I've heard $5 is usual, in the lot right past Crafted, its a two minute walk from the car
  • Even better, I failed to mention, Crafted itself is FREE 
  • Todd and I got amazing postcards from some of the vendors that were having giveaways that day, don't be shy to strike up a conversation, you never know what give aways and special offers might be happening the time you are there. 
  • On our way out a DJ was setting up, I think this is quite common at Crafted. 
  • Don't forget your sunscreen if you plan on eating outside at the food trucks! 
  • Very family friendly
  • Hours: Fridays 12pm to 8pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 7pm


Handmade children's toys, clothes, succulent wall art, amazing all natural macarons from Soft Peaks, and handmade candles. 

Hepp's Salt, rated a top 10 of Los Angeles Artisan Food 

Craft Area

The food offerings are from local food trucks, the Bulgogi Quesadilla from Let's Roll It and The Original and The Hunter from Auntie's Fry Bread- WE LOVED all of them! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holy Macaron!


In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Bill Cosby

Exactly, Mr. Cosby. The french macaron, something I have loved for a very, very long time though have been all too fearful to attempt in the kitchen. One bite of these poufs of perfection and I am channeled to Champs-Elysées, the cool air of Paris, the scents of the streets and sounds of the city fill my soul. By far, the most coveted item for my sister and I from any trip to Paris is a box a Laduree macarons. In L.A. when I need a quick macaron fix or thee perfect hostess gift, its off to Bottega Louie I go for their colorful macarons.  Last weekend, I abandoned my fears and dove right in to the macaron baking. I was taking them to my dear friend Kristy's engagement party, so naturally I wanted them to be quite perfect and to be honest, in my delusional mind, I imagined mounds of gorgeous macarons, too ambitious of me. I decided to make a flavor out of my imagination, modeled after my favorite Persian ice cream, I thought there was something especially "bridal" of the idea of pistachio with delicate rose. I read everything I could click my mouse on, online and found a plethora of tips and suggestions, too many in fact. Just to note, if one has the notion to become a master of macarons, the information is definitely out there to send you half way, the other half would have to come from practice. One area in which I failed was that my macarons turned out 'footless,' the 'foot' is the commonly seen layer of foamy texture at the base of the macaron. The day I made the macarons, I was very disappointed by the way they turned out, though I may have been overreacting. The weather certainly was not macaron weather, it was hot and humid in L.A. with my oven on and my air conditioning blasting a cool breeze, my expectations were too high for my result of these temperamental delights, especially for my first attempt.  The recipe was easy to follow, the flavors turned out very well, just as I wished in fact, balanced, and delicate. It was just the aesthetics and the low amount of survivors that had saddened me. Many of my macarons crumbled and I only ended up with a small plate in the end, which is very common. Clearly, this experience has taught me that macarons require mastery and these are something that I am going to have to practice time and time again to perfect. My goal is to be able to whip up beautiful macarons with a proper 'foot,' by this holiday season. For now, I will share my first, kind of satisfactory attempt with you and the life lesson to set fears aside. 

French Macarons- Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart 

For the Macarons

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon of Pistachio or Almond extract
3 drops of green food coloring


  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
  3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
  4. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
  5. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.
*** Cook's Note - This was very helpful!
Piping the perfect macaroon takes a little practice. Treat it as you would a rosette, bringing the pastry tip to the side of the circle, rather than forming a peak, to finish.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream - Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart 
6 large egg whites 
1 1/2 cups sugar1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rose water 
2 drops of red food coloring
1 1/4 pounds (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

    1. Place whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and whisk on high speed until mixture is cool and stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Leave meringue in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, on low speed, mixing after each addition. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of August 13th

Peek at the Week of August 13th

Today is my lovely sister's birthday. She is going to loathe that I put a picture of her on my blog, but she looks gorgeous here with her hubby, she's fabulous and I am so excited to celebrate her. Happy Birthday amazing Kirsten, I love you! 

This weekend is going to be a wild one in L.A. (aren't they all?) for it is the 3rd Annual Craft Beer Crawl AND just a couple of miles away, the Sunset Strip Music Festival. 

This week seemed like the epitome of summer, literally the middle of August. For me, that means long, late, wine filled nights chit chatting with dear friends and in this week's case: amazing pizza to boot. This is 800 degrees, which has to be my new favorite pizza go-to. 

Silly story for y'all: this week I went shopping at Target, threw my bags in my car and ran off to a dinner. Hours later, I return to my car and start driving home, when all of the sudden I start hearing a conversation, loud and clear. A million thoughts flash through my mind: weird feedback from the car or my cell? Someone put some kind of device in my car? Even to aliens (I watch way too much Ancient Aliens) or someone is spying on me to perhaps this is it: I've officially started going crazy. Could this be the onset of schizophrenia? It doesn't run in my family and does it really start in full force? Yeah... crazy thoughts of aliens, spies and schizophrenia haunted my whole drive home. I get to my apartment and start unpacking my shopping bags only to find the above walkie talkie at the bottom of my shopping bags. Sigh of relief, I might not be suffering from mental illness or being spied on or scoped out by aliens but this is evidence I am quick to jump to the most illogical conclusions when a mystery is at hand. 

        I have this picture to share, I snapped it on my iphone while stopped at a stop sign in my car. I think it captures the heat in L.A. quite well. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

L.A. Food and Wine Festival - Asian Night Market

Fluff Ice

Today is day two of sharing my second L.A. Food and Wine Festival experience. Last Friday night, I again, was so very lucky to attend the event as the guest of my dear friend Erica. Not only was day two completely different from day one in terms of cuisine, it was a comprehensive 180 from the previous night. The crowd was much younger and much more casual with a very laid back vibe. The DJ spun dance beats while the crowd mingled, some danced.  I felt much more comfortable to chit chat with complete strangers and had a blast doing so. There definitely were some festival goers that had a glass or so over their vino limit for the evening which was an unseen sight the previous night, but hey, I'm the last one to rain on the tipsy parade. There were a lot of camera crews following people around, probably filming reality T.V. shows, I spotted Patty the Millionaire Matchmaker and Ming Tsai who was not very nice, much to my surprise. The food: it was a night for chefs to give their interpretations of Asian Cuisine which led to quite inventive dishes. My favorite was  Robert Magsalin of Fuku Burger's take on chicken and waffles with an Asian spin, a fluffy delicious sugar donut with sweet glazed Asian chicken and maple glaze, it was very delicious and so creative, I really enjoyed it! The Singapore Sling from David Myers was out of this world! I was pleasantly delighted by the Fluff Ice, (which I wont be surprised if I start seeing this everywhere) the curry from Starry Kitchen and the shredded pork from Yamashiro. All in all, the night was a total blast, the food was again, amazing, every single chef I talked to was kind and friendly (except for Ming Tsai) and the people I met were a complete delight (except for Ming Tsai). 

Jorge Mijangos of Nobu 

David Myers

David Myers Singapore Sling 

Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's 

A terrible picture of Ming Tsai but that's what happens when you aren't nice! 

Ming Tsai 

Gorgeous Fluff Ice 

Thi Tran Starry Kitchen 

Robert Magsalin of Fuku Burger 

Eddie Wong of Mr. Chow

Brock Kleweno of Yamashiro 

Jet Tila of The Charleston 

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