Wednesday, December 5, 2012

salted caramel hot chocolate ... oh my


It is that time of year when the weather gets colder, the drinks get warmer, and all I seem to crave are holiday beverages. Green smoothies do not seem as satisfying as they once did in summer. When the last couple of leaves have fallen I always find it a telltale sign to start making my homemade salted caramels. I love how the sweet aromas of butter, cream, and sugar take over my kitchen and it does not really matter what the weather is like outside because in my kitchen it is … heaven. Now there are two things that I think should go hand in hand, and that is salted caramel and chocolate. This little duo is sure to put a smile on just about anyone’s face. Take your hot chocolate one step further and make salted caramel hot chocolates topped with homemade whipped cream. Believe me when I say this, your little holiday beverage will have you singing Christmas Carols and dreaming of cold winter nights. I am a big believer in doing little things that go a long way and I always make homemade whipped cream. For me, it is the way homemade whipped cream melts softly, tastes sweet but is not too overpowering, and transforms just about any ole hot chocolate that affirms why I make it.


I encourage you to set some time aside, grab a blanket and your favorite mug, and get to making your very own, straight from your kitchen, salted caramel hot chocolate. For the recipe check out the latest issue of Delighted Magazine. I was honored to contribute photos and share one of my favorite seasonal beverage recipes. I hope everyone is having a great week!! Bisous.

Monday, October 15, 2012

baking ... chocolate vanilla bean donuts


For those of you that frequent Coeur de La often you know how much I enjoy baking. And ... family and friends know how much I like to spoil others with baked goods. Well, two weeks ago the weather was crisp, the first rain fell, and I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to try ... a chocolate baked donut recipe I had found on the blog Heather Christo Cooks.  I loved how straightforward the recipe was and approachable. So, being the impatient baker that I am the very next day I picked up a donut pan, picked up my ingredients, and got to it.  The crisp weather had me craving a vanilla bean glaze and all I could think about was dark chocolate donuts dipped in a silky smooth vanilla bean glaze. Heaven. Lucky for me, I had two extra vanilla beans, some left over cream, and a heaping amount of powdered sugar and my decision was made for me. Upon first glance I could not believe the donut perfection that came from my oven ... moist, perfectly made chocolate donuts. Donuts that reminded me of afternoon grocery shopping trips with my mom where my siblings and I would on occasion get a bag of warm, right out of the oven donut holes. I can still remember the tang of the buttermilk much like these donuts.


Dipping each donut into the sweet vanilla glaze with my kitchen window open the smell of chocolate donuts, fresh air, and rain engulfed my senses. Baked donuts my friends are a perfect rainy day dessert and paired with a simple cup of coffee ... I am pretty sure there is nothing quite like it. So, get your whisks ready and get on it .... start baking.


Also, if you feel inclined my short essay on Morning Baking was recently published in Volume 5 of Kinfolk Magazine and I am honored I could share my story, love, and thoughts on baking with others. The list of authors, writers, and photographers that contributed absolutely inspire and amaze me ... and I am sure Coeur de La readers you will love Volume 5. You can order the Volume here ... enjoy your week and bisous.

PS I just got back from a trip to Oregon that was filled with good coffee and lots of it, delicious food, and a road trip that left me entirely smitten and ready to pack my suitcases and move to Oregon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

sweet summer plum sorbet

Nothing screams summer like a couple scoops of sorbet. For the longest time I was completely intimidated to make my own sorbet ... and I am really not sure why. Maybe the name intimidated me more than anything, so I brushed aside sorbet recipes. However, that changed this past weekend. What sent me over the edge and into sorbet making abandon was a bunch of fresh plums that I received in my weekly CSA bag. I love the last few weeks of July as stone fruit can be found in abundance, at least here in California. I grew up having one of the prettiest views (at least to my liking) from my bedroom window ... a glorious plum tree that was the home to several families of sweet song birds. I remember the day my dad had to cut it down and my view was never quite the same. Thus, my love affair with plums started at a young age and has carried on into adulthood.

So, it was over this past weekend that I found a recipe for Plum Sorbet that I knew I had to try and surprisingly, it was one of the most approachable and simplistic recipes I have ever used. I brought out my ice cream maker (which also makes sorbet) quartered and pureed my plums, pushed the puree through a sieve, added a 1/4 cup of sugar to my pureed plums, a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a 1/4 cup of water, stirred, and then poured my sorbet mixture into my ice cream maker for thirty minutes. Afterwards, I scooped the sorbet into a large bowl that I covered and placed in the freezer for two hours. During dinner I could hardly wait to scoop sweet summer plum sorbet that was entirely homemade ... by me. And with every spoonful, I promised myself to never let a recipe intimidate me again as one may never know the outcome. Happy Monday everyone ... bisous.

Monday, April 30, 2012

more than brunch ... Kinfolk San Francisco

I am still feeling giddy after the SF Kinfolk dinner. Actually, it was a brunch that was beautiful in every single way. Goods from local San Francisco vendors were set up so each guest could take something home. Fresh flowers were wrapped so each person could take home a bouquet and the Heirloom Cafe was transformed into a small farmers' market. The people I had the chance to talk to, eat brunch with, and toast with completely inspired me. Heirloom Cafe was bustling with creative energy and positivity. I am honored that I was apart of such an intimate and heartfelt event. All week I worked on jam for the event and I was so touched that Nathan and Julie asked me to bring some of my preserves for everyone. I wrapped each of my jams in a burlap like fabric that I found at my favorite fabric store and tied each one with twine. Underneath the fabric, I created a label with one of my favorite John Muir quotes ... that hopefully inspired each person in some way.
gatherings and meals.
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
-M. F. K. Fisher

Monday, March 26, 2012

the weekend and hummingbird cupcakes

My weekend was filled with:
a trip to a classic donut shop where they set the standard for glazed donuts (more on this later)
a late night baking session where I baked hummingbird cupcakes for my grandma
a meet up with the cutest couple where we chatted about their wedding that I'll be shooting in July
a 75th surprise party for my grandma ... she was beyond surprised and so happy

The cupcake details:the hummingbird cupcakes were a hit. They literally remind me of Hawaii ... think a pineapple, banana, and coconut cupcake garnished with a dried pineapple flower and a sweet cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are perfect for Spring and best served with tea or a glass of refreshing lemonade. You can find the recipe here and I have to give thanks to Martha as this cupcake recipe was flawless. *Note I sliced my pineapple flowers thicker than suggested*

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a mini strawberry pie ... for breakfast

a mini strawberry pie

all filled up

so cute with a little lattice crust

sweet pie

my first bite ... breakfast

Do you ever crave pie ... and not a whole pie ... but a mini pie?? Lucky for me I had some extra pie dough in the freezer from two weeks back (I made a bunch of pies for a coworker's birthday) and whipped together a mini pie as I was hit with a mini pie craving.

I had some fresh strawberries and decided to go with a strawberry pie ... sweet and simple.
While I was going to college in Santa Cruz I would frequent a cafe that would serve the best pie.  It did not matter that it was only eight in the morning as pie to me ... is good at any time of the day. Back to mini pies: So there I was in my kitchen,  making a mini pie for breakfast ... cutting my crust, mixing my strawberries, and drinking my favorite tea. My first bite was one of perfection ... sweet but not too sweet, filling but not too filling, and just the right amount of pie. There is nothing quite like a sweet strawberry pie ... especially when you have the pie all to yourself.

A Sweet Strawberry Mini Pie

6-8 large strawberries
1-2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
a pate brisee pie dough
(you can make several mini pies from one disk of pate brisee dough)

1. Chop your strawberries to your liking ... I like them not too small but not too large
2. Mix your strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon in a small bowl .. you can also add grated orange zest and cinnamon ... however ... do keep it simple
3. Line one small tiny pie dish with pie dough ... push down the sides and make sure to cover all the way up the sides (there really is no messing up on this part)
4. Pour in your strawberry filling all the way to the top of the pie dough
5. With a pie cutter cut strips for your lattice crust with the left over pie dough ... place on your pie and weave over under over under.
6. I was in a hurry and skipped my usual egg wash ... but you can brush an egg wash over your pie if you would like and sprinkle with sugar .... for the egg wash : one egg and 1/4 cup of water, mix, and brush
7. Bake your mini pie at 375 for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown
8. Enjoy for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee!