Happenings

This is what my life has looked like in food:

Apple crescent roll

Made this little biddy for a sleepover at Katies… Recipe to come soon!
 

Grilled steak sandwich with caramelized onions

 

Homemade Granoli

 

Pizza, Pizza!

 
I was lucky enough to have Miss Laura Stade in town for a bit. She made some delicious pizza dough and we topped it with figs, goat cheese, and salami. Yumtown. Get into it.
 
Hope everyone is getting ready for a great Thansgiving! Dia de Pavo! I will be sure to update after… we are headed to Yosemite for a family filled food fest. Can’t wait!
 
 
 
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¡Carnitas!

Hola, buenas dias!

This past weekend, Fall officially arrived in the Bay Area. We have been enjoying our Indian summer, but like any east coaster who no longer lives on the east coast: I miss real seasons. So when it was rainy and cold on Saturday, I was sincerely giddy!

You know seasonal depression? Well I have seasonal happiness. Completely backwards, I know.  But I truly thrive in the rainy cold (not too cold, please) gray of winter. It invites you stay inside and read, cuddle, or…. cook! Cooking and baking are especially welcome in the winter as it not only provide delicious food but heat too!  We like heat!

In the fall and winter I like things that take a loonnnng time to cook or bake (more heat.) So when I saw a recipe that called for braising pork shoulder for two hours, I am IN.

Fact: meat is not photogenic

After finding the recipe, I did what any self respecting 25 year old girl would do and dressed up like Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games, anyone?) to go out in the rain to the grocery (and by that, I mean I wore boots, all black, and a braid).

Fixins

I whipped up some onions and peppers for fixins. In a last minute stroke of brilliance, I threw in some frozen corn. Victory.

Whenever I make tacos, I fry up some corn or flour tortillas for B and microwave some whole wheat tortillas for me. I am the semblance of health.

Happy Fall! Happy warming your house with food and love! Happy!

Recipe from here:

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, add everything. Then top it off with enough water to just cover the meat. Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 2 hours. Resist temptations, and don’t touch the meat. At all.

After two hours, crank up the heat to medium high and let cook for 45 more minutes, turning the meat occasionally.  After that time, all of the liquid should be evaporated. If you find that you think your meat is not cooked enough, don’t be afraid to add more water and allow to cook for longer. You want the meat to be ready to fall apart and a little shredded.

When the liquid is gone, let the meat cook and turn it so it browns all over. You’re done! Your house smells great! You are warm! How easy was that?!

Fixins. 

Around the time you crank the heat up for the last 45 minutes, get some fixins together. Here’s roughly what I did:

1 cup onion roughly chopped.

1 green pepper roughly chopped

1 jalepeno diced

1 cup frozen corn

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon paprika

dash of cayenne

salt & pepper to taste.

In a pan, saute the onions and peppers in oil over low-medium heat with some salt and pepper. Let them cook for about 10 minutes to get that almost caramelized, melty vegetable.  Add your spices and jalepenos and turn the heat up to medium/high. Cook for a couple minutes then add frozen corn and cook until thawed and slightly charred.

Throw the carnitas and fixins in a tortilla with avocado, rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese… go crazy! Loca! Deliciosa!

Been a while…

Oh, hello there. Here’s a fun fact about me: sometimes, I am lazy.

Well, maybe I’m just busy and that makes me lazy about blogging. Either way, thanks for your patience. I won’t bore you with mundane details of said “busy” (LSAT. Nuff said.) Instead, I’ll unload some pics from my phone:

Fall run

Fall in California is quite unlike Fall on the East Coast. I am so jealous of you east coasters right now. However, this ain’t nothing to complain about. Last year, our Indian Summer ran right into November. This year, it looks like we just might be settling in for fall. We even had an early rain (RAIN! I haven’t seen you in MONTHS). Otherwise, temperatures in the 70s, sunny, crisp. Perfect running weather!

Last Giants game of the season

We went to our last Giants game of the season. This was still Indian Summer weather and it was the first night I’d been at the park without a jacket. Brett and I agreed that if the weather were like that all the time, everyone would move here and it would be too crowded. It was nice to have our own little treat.

And then B did some magic:

I'm a magician!

As I alluded to earlier, I like to abide by the rules of the seasons. I don’t take this lightly. Which is why there has been pumpkin in just about everything I’ve baked since Sept. 23.

The perfect Fall snack

That up there is a pumpkin oat muffin with peanut butter. Next to it? Apple cider. I have a bossman with an apple orchard. He makes his own cider and brings it in. Gives me hope that as a lawyer I will still have time for hobbies such as this. This man is also brilliant. Just this morning, he used an analogy involving a butterfly to describe the use of the word “disregarded” in a brief.  I didn’t even know it was possible.

Oat pancake fixins

The past two Sundays have started with oat pancakes. Put peanut butter on those bad boys and call it heaven. And coffee out of my favorite mug (yep. that’s Christmas on that mug). Emily Anne knows me so well.

That about sums up my life at the moment. I’ve discovered the Wicked (as in broadway) station on Pandora. Mostly life changing. Also, We’re trying to be adults and decorate our cottage (finally). I have been scavaging etsy for wall decor. I really want this but B said no:

Knitting Narwhals

Narwhals are my favorite animal. They are like unicorns. But real. In whale form. Win. Win. Win.

Big days ahead full of lots of fun events with friends and family. I will be sure to share memories and photos! Also, tomorrow is FRIDAY. That’s all.

Sandra’s Cafe

Hi friends. Sorry I’ve been away. I’ve been in a blogging funk. Or rather, a baking funk. It’s this in-between-seasons thing. The fruits I want to bake with aren’t really in season. And I’m a religious abider of the laws of the seasons so no, you cannot wear white pants/shoes after labor day, and no, you cannot bake apples and pumpkin bread until it is officially fall. Septermber 23rd. Let the countdown begin.

In the meantime, I spent the last hour of my life discussing my dream cafe with a lady at work.  Having worked in the service industry, I have often thought of what kind of restaurant I would have. Answer: bakery/cafe…

It would have this feel. Brick storefront. Warmth. Cozy. Maybe a fireplace? Definitely twinkle lights.

Bread. We would have lots and lots of bread. We’d sell it to local restaurants. There will be eclectic baskets. High ceilings. Those two are my employees.

There would be pour over coffee. And high end espresso drinks. With latte art:

We would be known for our scones. But also have delicious paninis and salads for the lunch crowd. There would be italian sodas.

Seasonally, we’d have ice cream. With flavors like lavender honey and black licorice (and peanut butter!). There would be homemade yogurt with homemade granola. We’d have my mom’s famous cheesecake. And cupcakes and petit fours.

Bites of heaven

I’d call it Sandra’s after my mom because she taught me everything I know about baking. And life. And hang black and white pictures of my family. The coffee mugs would be red. And the plates won’t match.

Gran Bread

Remember that time I made brunch? And I told you I had a quick and easy little bread for an appetizer. Welp. Here it is.

I found it on 101 Cookbooks. So nice and easy for a bread. Only one rise for 30 minutes! And full of whole wheat and oats so it’s nice and hearty. Alone, it’s not as exciting, but proved to be an excellent delivery device for jam or (peanut) butter. It also won my heart because it came from a cookbook she found called Gran’s Kitchen. This little gem is apparently not published in the U.S. but that’s ok because I have a Gran’s Kitchen of my own…

hearty: full of heart.

On my mom’s side of the fam, we call grandmothers “Gran.” I didn’t ever get to meet my Gran but I now get to see Mom as a Gran herself! Sometimes, when you’re three, you need to make this a two-syllable word. Ga-raaaan. Totally acceptable. No judgment here.

hi there.

My mom is a great mom. I would even say the best mom. But she has maybe outdone herself as a Gran. I feel it’s the role she was born to play. Living her best life.

Proofing yeast. Mom taught me that.

Mom taught me how to proof yeast. It can be confusing to figure out if you just read instructions that say heat water on the stove to 115 degrees. What does 115 degrees feel like? Needless to say, I burnt my first proofs. That was some flat and dense bread. Yuck.

Risen!

Alls you got to do is turn the sink water on real hot. Get it so it’s uncomfortable to the touch of that tender skin on the underside of your wrist. While I’m waiting for the water to get hot, I like to warm up whatever measuring device you’ll be using by letting the water run into it. This prevents the water from losing heat so quickly. Have your yeast ready to go because by the time you get that water to the bowl, it’s lost some heat. We don’t want that. This sounds scary, but I promise it’s full proof. (hehe. pun intended).

Now you have no excuses. Make the bread.

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 packet active dry yeast

1 tbs. honey

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats (the old fashioned kind)

1.5 tsp salt

2 tbs butter, melted

Pour your dry yeast into the warm water and stir a little to dissolve. Add the honey and stir. Then let proof for 5-10 minutes until frothy.

Meanwhile, mix your flours, oats, and salt in a separate bowl.

When the yeast is proofed, combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix very well.

Grease your loaf pan with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the pan and cover with a clean damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes. Heidi suggest turning the broiler on for just a touch at the end to get the browned top. Totally optional (but I did it). Keep a close eye if you do…

Turn the bread out of the pan immediately and place on a rack to prevent the bread from steaming in the pan. Serve with generous amounts of jam or butter.

 

 

Homemade Oreos

Weekend highlights:

Granola for dinner. French fries for dessert.

Reading The Help.

Dinner with Cleo Delphine and Vida Jewel (and Seleta and Jesse).

Oversized hat optional.

Cuddles. Flowers. Flours.

Morning runs.

Baseball.

Dinner from the grill (and bleu cheese grits):

Dinner for two

Oh, and homemade oreos. Definite highlight.

What surprised me most about these cookies is how easy they were. Something about homemade oreos seems like it would be complicated. Probably because if you look at the ingredients label of real oreos it’s kind of scary. What exactly is high oleic canola oil? Vanillin? Oh and don’t forget the high fructose corn syrup (because sugar wasn’t enough).

Listen. I love real oreos as much as the next girl. I’m just saying. Do yourself a favor and reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in your diet. Make these instead.

These chocolate cookies alone are gooooood. And the oreos keep surprisingly well! In fact, I think they might even be better after a couple of days. Like wine… a cookie that gets better with age.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Cookies:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room temp butter

1 large egg

Filling:

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cookies:

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Put flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in the bowl of your mixer. Mix on low to fully combine. While on low speed, add your butter then the egg. Mix and mix until dough comes together in a ball.

Place rounded teaspoons of dough on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Now, I don’t usually use a measuring spoon for cookies but for these I did because I wanted them to be small and I usually get a little carried away 🙂 Slightly flatten the tops of the cookies (my friend had a good idea if you have a cool stamp, you could try stamping the tops like an oreo!). Bake for 8-9 minutes, rotating halfway. Let cool for a minute on the tray and then transfer to a rack.

While the cookies are cookin, use a mixer to mix together the butter and shortening. Gradually mix in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for a few minutes to make it light and fluffy.

Use a knife or small spatula to apply about a tablespoon of filling in between two cookies. The filling recipe makes just about the perfect amount of filling for all the cookies.

Get a glass of milk and enjoy!

Dream Weaver Banana Bread

I know everyone has a different story on their dreams. Some people never remember. Some always remember. I go through phases where I remember them a lot and then other times where I don’t remember them at all.

Right now, I’m in one of those places where I remember them. Vividly.

Luckily, there haven’t been any nightmares (unless you count last night’s dream where I was a server at Houstons again as a nightmare).

I had a dream where I met Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean and we were getting our nails did! Sometimes dreams are awesome.

I am mostly just fascinated with dreams when I remember them. All of that was going on inside my head and I didn’t even know!

I planned to make banana bread about a week ago. But here’s the thing about banana bread. You have to wait and wait for those nanas to turn practically black:

I probably could have waited another day. But you know what happened in the time I was waiting? Joy the Baker went and blogged the banana bread she made! Do you think we have a subconscious connection?! (I sure hope so.)

Well it’s not the same recipe but here it is!

Adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2.5 cups banana mash (I used 3 medium sized bananas)

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Preaheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 9×5 loaf pans.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

Beat together sugar, oil, and banana mash for a few minutes on medium high speed.

Crack the eggs in another bowl and whisk together with vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add egg mixture until fully combined.

Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix briefly then add half of the buttermilk. Continue alternating dry and buttermilk until all ingredients, ending with dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Mix in quinoa last. You could also use another grain (brown rice? millet?) just to throw in fiber. Mostly because you can.

Divide the batter into two loaf pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for 25 more minutes. Turn oven down to 325 and bake for 10-15 minutes more until bread is a golden brown with a cracked top and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert!