Asian Plum Sauce

IMG_5840My brother has been on a canning kick lately and he inspired me to go crazy with the fresh fruits. After taking a trip to the local ‘pick your own’ farm, we made two types of blueberry jam, pickled eggplant, and I went on to make peach chutney and this delicious asian plum sauce. The recipe makes about 3.5 cups so if you are looking for just a taste you should definitely cut it in half. I find that it is very good with fish and chicken or as a dipping sauce and can easily substitute for the canned plum sauce called for in recipes.
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Champagne and Strawberry Poptails

poptails1“Poptails” I love it! I have been playing around all summer with different popsicle recipes. Well failing all summer. My first attempt was with margarita popsicles but I made the rookie mistake of too much alcohol so I really just had a slushy tequila mess-which I guess is just a frozen margarita. My second attempt was with a low fat coconut bar which came out okay but not good enough to post. I also had the issue of all of the coconut floating to the top. I then decided on champagne and strawberry popsicles because I went to a bridal shower recently and was feeling inspired.

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haman1sender: my brother


e-mail content: “I figured I’d make some for purim in a couple weeks; do you have any tips? I was planning on somewhat following the king arthur recipe.”

While I have not tried the King Arthur recipe, I have tried and enjoyed the recipe from the 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook, a classic for the New York Jew. Purim this year came at a very busy time of year. At the shop we are fulfilling a huge order of chocolate figures that requires most of my free time. This past weekend however I was able to spare a few minutes to make some hamantaschen for my coworkers and friends. I decided to go with nostalgia this year and make poppyseed and apricot filling. The 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook hamantaschen recipe is dairy free and the dough lasts a few days if you don’t want to make it all at once.

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Happy Fall and a chocolate cake


What? How can it be November already!? I feel like I was just making bagels yesterday and hoping for an early day to take a bike ride. Now I would have to leave work at three just to catch the sunset! Fall in the Napa Valley brings the wine harvest and with wine, comes food of course! I was invited to my first beefsteak this week and let me tell you, it was an experience. Beefsteaks are native to New York and were popular many years ago but became too expensive for most people to continue. The rules: no forks, no napkins, just meaty greasy food. Upon arrival all guests were provided aprons and drinks. Our courses came in “waves’ starting with ground beef patties and fried onions. From there we moved on to some small bites of chicharrones, rillettes, rendered beef tallow, and home made potato chips (they had four mini fryers going). The first wave came out and was a delicious brisket with a vinegar based sauce that nobody could seem to get enough of. From here I should backtrack and say that the hosts, along with my boyfriend, built a smoker and had started smoking the meat the day before. The second wave was smoked pork butt. We moved on through the biggest rib eye I’ve ever seen served on sourdough toasts and covered with gravy-that was a fun one to eat with no forks- then onto pork ribs, and we finished with a rack of lamb. For those that had survived the clogged arteries I of course brought chocolate cake.

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Bagels bagels bagels!

IMG_1977When I started this blog my first post was going to be about bagels. A few years later I went to culinary school and lived in New York, and have written about anything but bagels. Now I have moved to the west coast and I am finally going to talk about them…and how much I miss New York. Perhaps it the homesickness but for the past few weeks I have been craving bagels and on the west coast they really are not as good. Is it the water? Maybe…but since I did not use this same recipe in New York and I did not bring water from New York (regretting this) I have no good answer as to why there is a difference.

As far as recipes go, I have tried quite a few and have found so far that my favorite actually comes from The Joy of Cooking. These bagels are chewier and denser–qualities I look for in a bagel. I stuck with plain and sesame for this round but you can easily add any topping of your choice.

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Atole “Champurrado”


I love mexican food! I have been to Mexico three times now but it was not until about a year ago that I first had Atole. Atole is a popular corn based drink that is commonly seen around Christmas time. I was in a restaurant in New York with some friends from Oaxaca and Mexico City and they ordered atole. One sip and I was hooked. Since then I have been wracking my brain trying to remember the name when I came across it on an article this morning. I knew I had to make it. Having researched a few recipes I decided upon combining a few and came up with this one. I opted to add spicy chocolate to my drink making it Champurrado. A nice alternative to coffee or tea in the morning or a less caffeinated way to enjoy a hot drink before bedtime.  Continue reading

Muscles and mussels

I am entering the phase of a new adventure-traveling across the country with my partner who is off to study wines. We decided to make a few stops to visit loved ones and eat food. Our first stop: the lovely city of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh has become more popular in recent years, having been named one of the most livable cities in the US. I lived there after college for a few years and have always had a soft spot for my first self created home. It has such a community feel to it. Small businesses support each other while trying to make the city an even more creative space and it is so cheap!

Every trip to Pittsburgh requires a stop at Point Brugge, a restaurant in the Point Breeze area of the city. Point Brugge has hands down the BEST mussels I have EVER had. I was curious ,having not been there in a few years, if the mussels would be as good as I remembered them since expanding my palate. I was happy that they were and that my partner who is very critical of all foods devoured them as well. Of course as he says “anything that is one part flavor and two parts cream is bound to be delicious.” We ate them so fast that I forgot to take a picture to share.

Riding in the car for 10 to 15 hours a day is surprisingly hard on the body. I decided to try to keep myself healthy by enlisting on the couch to 5k program. I have never been a runner but was inspired when a friend of me told me she started running marathons after following the 9 week regiment. I am only on week two and very skeptical as I am usually out of breath by the end of a minute and a half but stick it out until he end anyway. I have to run off that two thirds cream after all.

Food for tonight: Southern fried chicken in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Next stop: somewhere between here and Colorado.