I'm Dreaming of San Francisco

>> Sunday, May 23, 2010

I had a foodie's dream weekend! :) Of course I will be paying for it in workouts all this week, but you know, sometimes you have to live it up!

Friday night, we were up in the city (San Francisco) for one of our great friend's graduation, and on the way home, a few of us decided to go to Bi-Rite creamery. My friend Carissa came to visit family out here last summer, and we got to see her and her family. She mentioned this amazing place to me while she was here, and I knew it was a must on the list of places to try! We tried to go when my mom was in town and we were in the city, but the line was down the block and around the corner for quite a ways!!! It was a definite try on another day. :) Well, let's just say that the wait was worth it! Amazing!

Let's just talk about the flavors of this ice cream for just a second. Salted Caramel, Brown Butter Pecan, Balsamic Strawberry, Honey Lavendar, Earl Grey Tea... the list goes on! I tried a sample of the honey lavender, and next time - that's my choice... soo good. But I had to try the Salted Caramel and Brown Butter Pecan. Together, they paired well, but the salted caramel was definitely the show stopper.
This is me happy because it was so good!!!

Saturday we headed to a big fancy gala for my work up in the city as well. It was at a Hilton. Every year Safeway holds a fundraiser for Easter Seals, charges a WHOLE lotta money for everyone to go, and then the employees get to go for free as a thank you, get to meet all the people, etc. It's AMAZING. Definitely the fanciest parties I've ever been to. We got to go last year too, and it is really fun. They have a full evening of events including a silent auction, families sharing stories about how Easter Seals has helped them, a show with several previous American Idol contestants performing, and then the evening end with a live band and dancing. The best part is that it's a formal event, so you get to get all dressed up and fancy!

Me and the hubs all dressed up and fancy

My lovely friend Aimee let me borrow the whole outfit! Didn't have to spend a dime. Thanks Aimee - you're a life saver!!

At the event they gave us a fabulous meal, but the dessert was really killer! I got some sort of banana caramel cake mousse thing with white chocolate on top.

and Archie got a raspberry vanilla custard with chocolate.
Each of the desserts had a chocolate stamp of the Easter Seals logo - yep! That's chocolate!!! Seriously. Amazing.

This is me being really excited to eat dessert.. especially dessert with a cool chocolate stamp!

What did you do this weekend? What yummy food can you tell me about?!

If you go to San Francisco - you must try Bi-Rite Creamery! THANKS Carissa!!!


Changes... Changes...

>> Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So, if you haven't already noticed, I'm undergoing a few changes here on the blog... Please be patient.

It's late... and I'm tired.... and I can't figure out stupid HTML...

So, if anyone has any tips and tricks up their sleeves, or if you want to hack in and edit my blog while I'm sleeping! ;)

No really.....

Okay, don't hack into my blog!


Kale Chips

I have to apologize for my complete absence from the blogosphere! I haven't disappeared completely! Just haven't had time to update.

The husband and I are going to this amazing event this weekend for my work. Every year the company I work for (it's a non-profit) has this giant gala sponsored by Safeway as a fundraiser. It's normally $1100 a PLATE!! But all of our employees get to go for free! It's black tie, so we get to get all dressed up and fancy, wear a formal gown, and act like real grown ups for the night. It's a super fun event, and I can't wait to go on Saturday.

Of course that means I have to fit into that fancy gown! Which means a little diet friendly foods were in order! :) No baked goods and pies, cakes, or yummy sweets. But it doesn't mean I haven't been eating good food. Just good for you food!

That's where the kale chips come in. Saw this idea in an email newsletter I get from self.com, but it didn't include a recipe, so I just experimented a little, and they came out sooo yummy. I'm sure there are probably a million other ways to make this, so if you have ever done it, or have some suggestions, let me know.

These taste like crispy little potato chips - or maybe kind of like those veggie chips you can get from whole foods, but you made it yourself, for a whole lot cheaper! Best way to describe them: Really crunchy, a little bit of a tangy taste to them, yummy! :)

What's your go-to food when you are watching what you eat? With summer right around the corner, I need some ideas! :)

Kale Chips (By: Me)

1 bunch kale - freshly washed and dried
olive oil
sea salt (I used my coveted, only use for special occasions because it's $13 a bottle fleur-de-sel sea salt!)

1. Peel kale away from hard inner vein into chip sized pieces.

2. Lay dried pieces on baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.

3. Drizzle with olive oil.

4. Bake chips in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 12-25 minutes, (I know this is a very wide range of time, but every oven will cook differently, chips should be crisp like potato chips) turning over gently with tongs in the middle of cooking.

5. Salt chips to desired taste with sea salt.


Dulce De Leche Buttercream

>> Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When my mom was here, she required that one night I had to bake her something. So I told her that she had to pick. I gave her a few options, but of course she chose chocolate! Who could blame a girl? So, the night before I left, we hopped in the kitchen together and made some can cakes. We had to go hiking first in order to burn off all the calories that we would eat!

Doesn't this cake look scrumptious, especially in the middle!?

Half Moon Bay is AMAZING, and has the most gorgeous views! It's a little windy, as you can see in this photo! :) Isn't my momma gorgeous - I hope I take the aging genes from her - cause she doesn't have any!

We had such a great time, now if I could just convince my family to live in California! The weather's pretty much perfect here.

Back to chocolate! I made these cakes once before, but used a chocolate buttercream frosting. Then I found THIS!!!!! MMMMM. Oh Joy the Baker - You are a genius! Not much this frosting can't cure! Ha. Just joking.

I've been experimenting more with ganache, and still can't seem to get the trick completely, but it sure does taste good to experiment with the tests!

For complete instructions on the can cakes, see the link above, below for the dulce de leche buttercream and ganache.

Can Cakes with Dulce De Leche Buttercream and Ganache (From Joy the Baker and Martha Stewart)

Frosting - This makes a large amount of frosting, I halved it and still had extra for the can cakes
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cups prepared dulce de leche (found in the hispanic section at grocery store)

Ganache -
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Directions -
Prepare cakes as directed in previous post and allow to cool. Cut as desired into 2 or 3 layers.

For Frosting:
1. Combine butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Cream together on low speed until combined and creamy.
2. Add vanilla and cream and mix on medium speed until smooth with no lumps.
3. Add the prepared dulce de leche and mix to combine.

Here's a picture of the dulce de leche I bought - I'm sure you can get all kinds, this is just the one I found in case you needed a visual! :)

4. Frost the cakes, and each layer, with the frosting.
Ganache -
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces so it will melt evenly - otherwise the outside will melt and inside will not, and you'll end up with a goopy mess with lumps. YUCK.

I chopped mine roughly with a knife, then threw into the food processor to get smaller pieces.

2. Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring cream just to a boil over medium high heat. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 10 min.

4. Stir very gently, making sure not to overwork the cream until smooth. Mixture should become glossy.
Decorating -
1. Place frosted cakes on top of cooling rack over top of a cookie sheet.

2. Pour ganache over top of cakes, making thicker pool in middle and using frosting spatula to spread if needed. You may need to allow the first layer to harden and pour another layer on if first is too thin. That's where the tray underneath comes in handy, because you can collect it all and repour!