February 6th, 2010

When I found out that Juan and I would be spending a few days in San Francisco, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to go there after hearing so many good things about the food and the art… I was not disappointed in either realm… In preparation for our trip, I started asking my fellow foodie friends for advice… after hearing one name in particular… over and over again… I put it first on the list…

On a cool November day… Juan and Ginny arrived at Tartine! They were greeted with a long line snaking out of the cafe… Ginny had a bad case of the hungergrumps, but she waited as patiently as possible for their turn. After pouring over the delicious baked goods, Ginny decided upon the frangipane croissant with a cup of coffee and, impulsively, a brownie for dessert. Juan chose the croque monseiur. Settling down at one of the tables, Ginny impatiently waited while pictures were taken before she took a bite… Oh, my, it was everything she ever wanted in a croissant, reminding her of days spent in Switzerland as a child. Eagerly she looked at Juan’s plate, wondering if she could just stab a piece, but she asked politely (this time) and was given a delicious bite of bread, butter, cheese and ham… How could you go wrong?  The pickled carrot she could do without but Juan seemed to like it.  Stuffed, Ginny saved the brownie for later.  They left holding hands in the November sun… happy… content…

Can you tell that I’ve been studying all day and my brain needs a break? In all honesty, I loved Tartine. I’m very picky when it comes to restaurants and, although I trust all my foodie sources, I’m still one to be critical. So, if you are in San Francisco, you must go. If you aren’t, they do have a really nice cookbook, which appeared on my Christmas list after our November trip. I tried my hand at making brownies tonight. This was my second try. The first time, I did not quite follow the recipe and did not like them. The second time, they were delicious, although I do have beaters to clean now. You can find the recipe (and better photos!) here. I halved the recipe using my cool new dry ingredient scale (Thank you Santa!).

Disclaimer: I was not paid to review this restaurant or cookbook. The cookbook was a present from my sister and we paid for our own brunch.

Making me happy…

January 23rd, 2010

Ever since school started, I have continued baking and cooking (I know it has only been two weeks but trust me…it’s already crazy!)… I remembered over break how much it relaxes and calms me… So, my goal this semester is to not let school get in the way of some culinary adventures… of course, as I spent 2 hours stirring cajeta on the stove last night… I may have slightly regretted this goal… but more on that to come…

In keeping with my brownie obsession… I recently made Black Bean Brownies… Juan teased me about these for awhile but I had to give them a try… I was really hoping to prove him wrong… the initial taste is really good but the texture of the black beans just didn’t do it for me… I halved the recipe and baked in my new 8X8 pan (Thank you Grandparents!)… I did not use the walnuts and used about a tablespoon of coffee instead of the instant coffee.  I won’t make them again but I’m glad I gave them a chance!

Happy Second Blog Birthday!

January 21st, 2010

Happy Birthday to my blog!  Can you imagine?  Two years ago, I came home, made brownies and began this blog.  Thank you for continuing to read it!  This is the brownie recipe from my mother’s family.  They are cakeier and great with a chocolate buttercream.  Delicious!

(My Mom’s Family Recipe)
1 stick butter
3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Melt butter and cocoa in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
2. Mix in sugar and eggs.
3. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder.
4. Stir in vanilla.
5. Pour into a greased and flour 8 in. square pan for 25 to 30 minutes at 350.