Apple Pickin'

While we were in Boston we thought the proper fall activity would be to pick ourselves some apples.

Not exactly as pictured in the movies with ladders and woven baskets and such but it was still a good time.

The apples were delicious and the apple cider and apple cider donuts we bought were even better.

Next time I do this I want to press my own apple cider..that would be amazing..and tasty.

(all of my Boston images were shot on my new contax 645 w/ portra 800 film. I am loving that camera hard.)

Summer 2011

Two of my most favorite things; summertime and eating outside. Today is the official start to the best season so I thought I would share a few iphone photos from our Father's Day dinner. Ever since the Kelly's came to visit we have been pretty obsessed with this strawberry custard dessert. My favorite vanilla custard recipe here and my go to crust recipe as of late, here.

We also recently bought a Traeger Grill and have already gotten our moneys worth. We've smoked a whole chicken, grilled steaks, cooked a prosciutto and sage wrapped pork tenderloin...and on Sunday Grant requested pulled pork. We slow cooked a pork shoulder for 8hrs and ate that baby with coleslaw and buns.

For two folks who aren't very into meat we sure have been carnivores lately.

..and I am starting to realize all of my food shots are on my iphone. I should start using a big girl camera to photograph something I love so dearly..FOOD!

Published in Olive Magazine

I interrupt baby mania to actually talk business. Imagine that!

Olive Magazine/Philippines contacted me about wanting to use some of the images I shot of French Laundry for their February Issue. I was thrilled. Not only did I get to relive all of the delicious moments while going through the shots but one of my favorite subjects was given due attention..FOOD.

I haven't really talked about this..but I have a 2nd website that is waiting patiently to go live featuring more of my commercial and editorial work. This will be a nice addition to the site. Stay tuned for the launch.

A huge foodie thank you to Olive Magazine for featuring my work.

The Daily Grapefruit

I have a cousin who married someone really amazing. She loves all things french, all things food and especially all things family. They are raising 4 scrumptious kids...which I hope my turn out like...exactly. Her blog is an inspiration. She talks about NORMAL stuff and when you read it it sounds like magic. Her love of food and of being a Mother constantly inspires me to stretch my creativity and to GIVE more.

Almost a year ago, she wanted to help me celebrate my new website launching and custom made me a menu. Finally a year later after passing through all sorts of weird pregnant food aversions, I made the meal. There was some substitutions based on what I had and how long I could stand in the kitchen before needing to de-swell my feet. But her menu helped us celebrate a dinner at home with "just the two of us" and Grant's birthday this week.

Bruschetta with fig/balsamic jam, green apple slices and melted gruyere

Fresh mixed green salad from this weeks CSA box from The Growing Experience

Roasted thyme and lemon chicken (made in our new Le Creuset french oven that we just treated ourselves with)

Sauteed corn with lemon and thyme (recipe on Grapefruit's blog. YUM)

Mashed potatoes with carrots

I'm always cooking at night and photo was taken on my iphone and I didn't truss the chicken AND...blah...blah...blah... You know what? It tasted good.

I ran out of steam last night but tonight for husbands dinner dessert I am making him pavlova with kiwi.

Thanks Grapefruit for your fantastic recipes and nourishing blog.

I am off to count the hours. xo.

Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake

(photo taken by Darren, brother-in-law)

Grant and I were pleased as punch with ourselves for hosting, not one, but three dinner parties at our home last week. We may have not taken the time to properly decorate for the holidays this year but what's more merry than eating?

I found this great recipe off Smitten Kitchen...and I hope all of you home cooks out there follow her blog. I have yet to make a recipe off it that I didn't like.

I made it for a family dinner and substituted apples for pears and added more ginger and cinnamon. I like spicy gingerbread.

One of the best things about this cake is that it stayed moist for days.

Best if eaten by the fire or off a plate perched on top of a very round belly.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake Adapted from Karen Bates at the Philo Apple Farm via the New York Times

Serves 12

Topping 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan 1/2 cup dark brown sugar Pinch of salt 4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

Batter 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup sugar 1 large egg 1/3 cup dark molasses 1/3 cup honey 1 cup buttermilk 2 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Very softly whipped cream

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining slices and place them in the gaps.

Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes (thanks to commenter klp for reminding me this took a bit longer) or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter (one that will catch spills, unlike what you see in the pictures above).

Serve warm or cool with very softly whipped cream.

Some Things Worth Mentioning

1. We had a small tapas party at our place last night. Olive oil anyone?

2. It's all kind of a blur, but there was some post dinner pool plunging...what I can remember clearly is our pool thermometer read 55 degrees! I watched  while sitting by the fire thank you very much.

3. I thought about buying a porta-a-potty for my office this week. At least we know I'm drinking enough water.

4. Since it's the holidays I am treating myself to expensive milk that you buy in glass jars. It just feels fancy.

5. I cried myself to sleep the other night because I felt some mom guilt over baby girl being "sunny side up" right now and felt guilt for every time I've slouched. NOT EVEN a big deal.  Can someone turn these hormones down?

6. We finally bought a Professional 600 series Kitchen Aid and I am a little bit in love. I don't even want to use it because I don't want to ruin it.

7. I can't stop thinking about our elderly neighbor who answered the door pantsless when we brought over some cookies. He's 80+ and harmless...I'm just worried about him now.

8. I made the first cut for the NGO $15,000 photo grant I applied for. I am so proud I made it this far! I had never applied for one before and had no idea what to expect.

9. I think I spied my first ever stretch mark. I feel like a real woman now. (I guess the cellulite wasn't enough.)

10. Sometimes when I am stressed or feeling a little discouraged baby girl will give me a small poke like she's saying "It's OK Mom. You are really going to like me and everything is going to be fine. Plus I choose you!" And then I answer her out loud, "I know. Thanks for reminding me. I'm so happy I'm not alone".

11. Grant burned his bicep on the oven and he has the coolest burn he got into a knife fight. It kind of turns me on.

12. I made pasta carbonara and homemade mac and cheese this week. Homemade cheese sauce is seriously the best and SO easy.

13. This weather and month and sunset time generally just makes me want to watch movies and drink warm liquid out of mugs.

14. I am 32wks pregnant and think my body is a walking miracle. I've never appreciated it more.

15. I am so excited for a weekend at home with Grant. He is my #1 thing always worth mentioning.

Island Modus Operandi

We snuck off to Kauai...and I didn't even mention it on my blog. For shame.

After the last month, I barely had time to think about it and after a day here am still trying to get into island mode. Constant to do lists swirl in my brain.

The weather has been perfect and we've already eaten at Ohana Diner & Ono Burgers....not to mention the above breakfast 2 days in a row. 2 eggs this morning cause grant said I needed more protein.

I feel thankful..

especially after sleeping 10+hrs last night.

20 weeks, 5 days + Liege Waffles

Since April when we took our trip to Europe we have have pretty much one thing on our minds....Liege waffles.

If you've had one you understand the one track mind.

Most authentic recipe I could find was on epicurious that led me to this converted recipe that I ended up using. I bought the pearl sugar at Surfas but am thinking of making my own next time from sugar cubes to be more enviro friendly. Using sugar imported from Belgium seems a bit extreme.

It was pretty time consuming but mostly from all the waiting. The result was VERY similar to the ones we ate from street vendors in Brussels and Bruges. We both took our first bites and looked at each other with wide glazed over eyes. I'm already looking in to buying a Liege waffle iron.

Oh! and we are on 2nd half of baby building. She must be like her Mum because she loved the waffles. Yes, we found out yesterday we are having a girl. A little bitty female. How amazing is that!? 20 weeks 5 days, Liege waffles and finding out we are getting our very own girl.

Yesterday was a very good day.

Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza

We have made this twice this week..well.. because it's just that good.

I know the title leaves this ingredient out but the caramelized onions are really the best part. You can tell by my photo that I didn't exactly have the patience to caramelize for this pizza. Trust me. It's worth the wait.

A friend has been teaching FREE bread making classes and this tomorrow we learn how to make pizza dough. Maybe next time I will ditch buying my dough at Trader Joe's and go homemade. But, lets face it. Sometimes shortcuts are nice.

PS. I think this would make a great, impressive, last minute, guests for dinner meal. Serve with light green salad and happy people all around.

Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza

Adpated from this recipe...Rachelfied.

  • Plain pizza dough from Trader Joe's (let rest 30mins before rolling out)
  • 8 -10 figs (I used black mission figs from trader time I want to try fresh)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (I didn't have this...but I'm sure it's delicious)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions; cook and stir until they are wilted and soft. Reduce heat to low, and season with salt. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are a dark brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme, fennel seed and figs, and remove from the heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Punch down the pizza dough, and stretch into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a lightly greased pizza pan or baking sheet (or pizza stone is even better!!) Brush the surface lightly with remaining olive oil. Spread the onion and fig mixture over the crust. It will be sparse, but there is plenty of flavor. Dot with pieces of goat cheese.
  3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust has turned golden brown at the edges.

The French Laundry

While eating this meal the afternoon of our 1st anniversary, we both wondered aloud whether this was better than our actual wedding day....

I won't bore you with every detail of our experience at French Laundry (since I already bombarded you with image overload).....but know this....we had no regrets. It lived up to all the hype.

The service was amazing and we pretty much ate in a private room, next to a huge window overlooking their gardens and vineyards for most of our meal.

They do drink pairings with every course and we requested non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks so they just whipped up some amazing juices on the spot for us:

- Juniper Lime Juice - Green Apple, Ginger & Lime Juice - Orange, Vanilla Bean w Cream Juice - Homemade Ice cream Root Beer Float

These drinks were so good...they might have been our favorite part.

We were served about 13 courses and ate for a mere 4 hours. (You can right click on the menu to read every course.)

I can't stop smiling when I think about it. I was in foodie heaven.

Bouchon Bakery or Bread Heaven

(THE Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, CA)

One more confession before I turn you free to the weekend:

Bread. I love it.

I said it! You heard it! I mean it!

Here's to flaky buttery morsels of heaven...and to the weekend (being sick makes you think the week will never end).

I'm shooting a beautiful wedding in Newport Beach tomorrow. Wedding season has begun. AHHHHH!!!

Ad Hoc

We started off our anniversary weekend in Napa by eating our first night at Ad Hoc. It turned out to be one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten (I'm 31. I've eaten a lot of meals). Everything was perfectly seasoned, the meal was so well balanced with sweet, salty, sour...the textures, the smells...a different drink pairing with every entree. We just keep looking at each other wondering how French Laundry the next night would ever live up to this....expectations were high. We were full and happy. A little too happy. When you eat at Ad Hoc, you are proud to be a pig.

The ONLY thing about it..was the fact that we hadn't eaten really any animal products for a couple months...We aren't against eating meat, just all the issues meat eating causes. So we did feel a little conflicted. We aren't perfect so we decided to shove our guilt around to make room for pork cooked 3 ways. Once home we were back to our meatless ways. My conscious makes me confess things I'm sure none of you really care to hear...but my blog, my mindless ramblings, so my confessional.

The menu for March 6, 2010 (they serve one 4 course meal an evening):

Endive & Arugula Salad- maldon flatbread, easter egg, icicle, watermelon radish, smoked trout w/roe, black pepper goat cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin- grilled scallions, savoy cabbage, burnt orange, buttered barley, crisp belly, slow cooked shoulder, steamed broccolini and white kohlrabi Achandinha Dairy Co.'s Capricious- pink lady apples, medjool dates, toasted pine nuts, marshall's farm honey Pineapple Tart- spiced caramel and cinnamon chantilly

It was as good as it sounds.

I wish I was there right now.

JR Organics

Grant and I picked up our first box of food after joining a CSA farming program finally. We have been waiting to join for years now and are kicking ourselves for waiting so long. These items taste amazingly good. This photo doesn't even show everything we got in one box.

I'm sure I will be talking more about this in the future because I have formed fairly strong opinions about factory farms vs. family farms over the past few years.

We decided it was time for us to make a consicious change in how we eat and what we support...and I am here to tell you, it feels SO good.

(photo shoot of my fruit and veggies inspired by this design sponge post. Thanks design sponge, LOVE YOU.)

C Restaurant

I beautiful sustainable restaurant I ate at while in Vancouver.

It was waterside and every plate was a peice of art.

C Restaurant also had really delicious sourdough bread served with creamed butter and sprinkled with sea salt.

It was pretty much heaven.

Sticky Rice

For 14 years my Thurston Grandparents lived in La Jolla California. I loved as a young girl flying to stay with them, playing on the beach, shopping at the NEX and watching Elvis movies. One of my favorite memories was my Grandma making sticky rice for us to take on our flight home. She would soak the rice and pull out her sticky rice basket and the finished product would be wrapped in tinfoil for us to nibble on while traveling.

I have wanted to buy myself the setup for awhile now and every time I ate mango with sweet sticky rice was reminded of that fact.

As one of Grant's birthday presents, I bought "him" the magic maker:

I bought the kit from Import Foods...complete with a cheesecloth and a bag of Thai sweet rice.

Here is the recipe I pulled from the site:

Method: Rinse rice 2-3 times, until water runs clear.Place rinsed rice in a bowl and fill with cool water so the water is approximately 2-3 inches above the rice (see Step 1). Let the rice stand in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the rice, place it in a cheesecloth, wrap it up and put the cheesecloth inside bamboo steamer. Put 6-8 cups of water in sticky rice steamer. Then place bamboo steamer inside sticky rice steamer (see step 2). Be sure the bottom of the bamboo steamer does not touch the boiling water. Place a standard 8 inch lid loosely over the top of the bamboo steamer (see Step 3). Now turn on the heat (Med/High) and steam the rice for 45 minutes (or until tender). Enjoy!

It works and it's delicious. I might just have to plan a mango and sticky rice night and invite everyone over.