Wednesday, February 29, 2012

some things change and others stay the same

a recent cappuccino at Sideboard ... it was true love.

If I was a month, I’d be early September. 
If I was a day of the week, I’d be Wednesday.
If I was a time of day, I’d be a sunrise.
If I was a planet, I’d be Earth.

If I was a sea animal, I’d be a sweet little clown fish. 

If I was a direction, I’d be North.
If I was a piece of furniture, I'd be an old rocking chair.
If I was a liquid, I’d be fresh spring water.
If I was a gemstone, I’d be a ruby. 
If I was a tree, I’d be an old oak tree. 

If I was a tool, I’d be a hammer.
If I was a flower, I’d be a dandelion.
If I was a type of weather, I’d be a cool spring day.

If I was a musical instrument, I’d be the fiddle.
If I was a color, I’d be rust.

If I was an emotion, I’d be contentment.
If I was a fruit, I’d be passion fruit.
If I was a sound, I’d be a sweet and soft breeze.

If I was an element, I’d be fire.
If I was a car, I’d be an old vw bug ... light blue.

If I was a food ... I would be a baguette smothered in chevre and drizzled with honey.
If I was a place, I’d be a farm in France.

If I was a material, I'd be a soft piece of cotton.
If I was a taste, I'd be bitter yet sweet.
If I was a scent, I’d be fresh basil.

It's nice to know some things change while others do stay the same. I did this list almost two years ago (see here). I love these questions (Anne inspired me) ... so creative and I always appreciate a little time to relax and reflect. I would love for all of you to try this list too. If you have a blog and answer these questions, send me your link. And if you don't have a blog ... email me your answers if you feel inclined. Wishing all of you a lovely rest of the week. Bisous.

Monday, February 27, 2012

when food is good

my kind of sandwich ... smoked trout

my kind of blt

a cappuccino from Temple

The next time you are in the Sacramento area you must go to Magpie. Magpie is a sweet little cafe located in downtown. I am a lover of a good sandwich so I was awe struck when I found a smoked trout sandwich on their menu. Smoked trout on a crusty baguette served with cream cheese, capers, and thin slices of lemon ... sandwich heaven if you ask me. We stopped at Magpie on a recent trip visiting my mom. One of our favorite things to do is grab sandwiches and picnic. This picnic we stocked up on sandwiches at Magpie ... I ordered the smoked trout sandwich, my mom ordered a chicken salad, and Marc ordered a blt with thick pieces of bacon, dried romas, aioli, and watercress ... all of our choices were incredible. Afterwards we split a carrot cookie sandwich that was perfectly moist, sweet, and all together satisfying. Let me tell you ... going on a picnic in my family is hard work!! Later that afternoon we grabbed cappuccinos at Temple coffee where we still managed to talk about our picnic lunch which to me ... is a sign of a good meal.  Are you a sandwich person and what is your favorite sandwich?? Happy Monday! Bisous.

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.

If you have a free moment head on over to Cake today where I am sharing my tips on how to prepare a picnic brunch. Bisous.

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!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

some sweet things

Sweet Things in February

Sweet things in February (in no particular order)
1. pre-Valentine's dinner with friends
2. surprising them with salted caramels packaged ever so cutely
3. banana's foster
4. bubbly that we used to wash down dessert
5. whiskey sours
6. cupcake bites from a sweet friend
7. my heart pin that I have worn almost all month
8. meals at home
9. salmon ... slowly poached and made to perfection
10. friends

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

too good for words ...

too good for words ... breakfast at Outerlands

Blood orange marmalade with crusty sourdough bread. Spiced ginger apple cider. A rich open faced sandwich. Dutch Pancake with caramelized apples and sweet maple syrup. 

There are some things that are too good for words. And my friends, my breakfast at Outerlands this past weekend was just that ... too good for words and complete sentences. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

oh my ... sweet pie

oh my ...

sweet strawberry 


Will you try ... 

a slice of strawberry pie

you can't go wrong with

pecans and whiskey


I spent this past weekend surrounded by lattes, knee deep in pie dough, and went to one of my favorite brunch spots ... Outerlands. And, to top off my weekend, Marc surprised me with new glasses ... yes I am quite the nerd ... but I need my glasses as I can't see anything without them ... and my heart skips a beat for a cute pair of frames.

A rant: While I love baking cupcakes, scones, you name it ... there is something special about baking a pie. First off, a good crust is key. My go to is a Pate Brisee crust ... so simple and so good. Now onto your filling ... I love that the possibilities are endless when it comes to pie filling. My pie of choice has to be bourbon pecan pie ... served warm with whipped cream. I serve mine with a dollop of maple whipped cream and like to wash it down with strong black coffee.

And coming in a close second is my strawberry pie ... simple, sweet, and incredible. I found a great recipe from Saveur that is flawless. Now, why did I make pies this past weekend? Well, a coworker celebrated his birthday and of course the only way to celebrate is with pies!!! So a good friend of mine went all out and baked an assortment of pies: bourbon pecan pie, banana cream, Dutch apple, mud pie, and a sweet strawberry pie. Honestly, you simply can't go wrong with pies. Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow. Bisous.

This and That
For a great Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe use this one
For a sweet Strawberry Pie use this recipe but use a Pate Brisee pie crust
weekend highlight: being around coffee all Saturday night at a mock barista competition
had the best: blood orange marmalade at Outerlands ... not too bitter and not too sweet
drink of choice right now: Whiskey Sours
feeling: thankful

Thursday, February 9, 2012

ingredients for a perfect afternoon

Ingredients for a perfect afternoon:
your favorite mug
your choice of tea ... I love Paris Tea
warm milk
a homemade maple date walnut scone
and a spoonful of honey
your favorite book

Directions ... these steps can be repeated as much as one would like
1. Slowly steep your favorite tea in a glass of warm milk
2. Swirl around a spoonful of honey while your tea slowly steeps
3. Bake a single homemade scone (I like freezing a bunch so I can in fact make and eat just one scone)
4. Grab your favorite book and get comfortable
5. Once your scone is ready and your tea is done steeping ... enjoy a leisurely afternoon doing the simplest of things ... drinking tea, reading, and eating your favorite scone.

Tips for perfect scones:
the less you handle a scone the better they turn out, over mixing and over handling create dense scones
use chilled butter
use heavy cream rather than buttermilk or milk
right before the oven ... coat your scones with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar 
a perfect scone should be slightly crispy on the outside but oh so flaky and soft on the inside
make a bunch of scone dough and freeze some for a later day 
enjoy your scones with jam, butter, or simply ... on their own


Monday, February 6, 2012

more exciting than chocolate cake ...

Chocolate Cake and Coeur de La Photography

 What could be more exciting than chocolate cake?? Well, after much anticipation ...  Coeur de La Photography is official ... (website official)!! Hop on over and do take a look. Over the past couple of months I've had the privilege to photograph the cutest couples, weddings, maternity shots that made my heart swoon, and have been booked for two weddings this summer ... life is moving in the right direction. And, I am so thankful. Thanks to all of you for always being so encouraging when it comes to my photography. I cherish your comments, words of encouragement and the motivation you have all given me. I seriously have the best readers around. Happy Monday and Bisous.

Coeur de La Photography
the website:
I love to photograph: weddings, engagements, family shots, lifestyle, maternity shots, food, etc
will travel: we love traveling for photography
Coeur de La readers: you get 10% off any portrait session ... cheers to that!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

the sweet smell of strawberry butter

strawberry butter

Strawberry Butter. Have you heard of it? Have you had it? And, have you made it? Now, I love apple butter but never once thought of making strawberry butter.  Until ... last night ... when I wanted to make something other than jam. Well, I had some left over strawberries from my latest farmers' market jaunt, found a recipe for strawberry butter, and rolled up my sleeves and hopped to it. The recipe I used as a template was from Canning for a New Generation ... seriously one of my favorite resources for delicious jams and pickles.

The recap: I brought my strawberries to a simmer and then cooked them for 5 minutes. Next, I put them through a sieve and used the pulp for my strawberry butter base. A pinch of clove, cinnamon, and ginger, two tablespoons of lemon and about 25 minutes later ... I had strawberry butter.  The strawberry butter was rich, thick, and oh so sweet smelling.  Who needs to light a candle when you have strawberry butter cooking on the stove? I love how a small batch of left over strawberries yields a jar filled to the brim with goodness.

this and that:
strawberries: yes there are some first of the season strawberries at my local farmers' market
cafe fun: getting my hands dirty at work and making red velvet cupcakes
this weekend: photographing a sweet family on Saturday and running a race Sunday
quote of the week: and my checks have small farm animals on them (insert *#$%) Jess from New Girl
weekly blemish: I let my blood oranges go bad ...
words for the weekend: get those hands dirty by baking, creating, and making