Sunday, January 1, 2012

Oeufs en cocotte

I recently made my first (sans-recipe) attempt at oeufs en cocotte, a french dish otherwise known as coddled eggs.  For me, this was a last minute, makeshift breakfast comprised of eggs, leeks, aged cheddar, bacon, rosemary and pine nuts - all thrown into a ramekin and baked in the oven.  It wasn't until I accidentally overcooked the egg to the point that the yolk was completely solid, that I realized placing the eggs on top of all other ingredients might have been the way to go.  Ideally, my egg yolk would have been just runny with the whites cooked fully through.  Nonetheless, this simple and quick brunch was incredibly delicious.  Now that I know what not to do when making this dish again, I'll be sure to include a yummy recipe with great results next time!

Here's a New Year's bonus for all of you wonderful readers:  My simple recipe for apple & rosemary glazed bacon!

1 package of thick smoked bacon
1 cup apple juice (I used Martinelli's)
3-4 sprigs rosemary
splash of soy sauce
dash chili powder and/or crushed black pepper if desired

1)Cook bacon in skillet or microwave until nearly crisp
2)Set bacon aside on paper towels to remove excess grease
3)Combine apple juice and rosemary in skillet and let simmer
4)Add bacon, chili powder, black pepper and soy sauce
5)Let liquid reduce, stirring occasionally
6)Remove bacon from heat when fully glazed and no liquid remains

Soon to come: a peek into the delicious street food fare of San Francisco's Off the Grid and my favorite BLT!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sorry I've been away for so long!

Keep a lookout for many more posts and recipes coming in January... Plus a look into where I've been hiding for the past couple of months.

Thanks for reading, and don't hesitate to ask questions/ leave comments for me!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Francisco street food and farmers' markets

By now, you probably know that I've always had a soft spot for farmers' markets that boast fresh, delicious and organic produce, as well as simple and vibrant dishes that celebrate ingredients themselves.  Well now, I've developed an additional obsession - street food.  

Across the country, the concept of street food has been rapidly evolving and expanding so it does not just refer to late-night taco trucks anymore.  In an eclectic and fast-paced city such as San Francisco, the street food craze has taken off.  Before I get into that any more, however, I wanted to share a couple photos of the vibrant produce I recently encountered at the Noe valley farmers' market.

And now, back to my newfound love of street food...

Over the past several months, I've spent countless hours researching food carts across the country in preparation for the San Francisco Street Food Festival that took place earlier this month; however, I waited until then to experience food truck fare for myself.  Here are two delicacies that I enjoyed the most out of a wide array of new cuisines and foods that I sampled.  

-courtesy of Pinx-

-courtesy of The Creme Brulee Cart-

After that eye-opening first encounter, my interest in street food skyrocketed. Thankfully, San Francisco is home to  off the grid, a "mobile food extravaganza" that showcases street food vendors on a daily basis.  I've had the privilege of attending this roaming collection of "gourmet" food trucks twice thus far, and plan on returning many more times.  More info and pictures coming soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake

There are several foods I simply can't live without... and one of those foods is cheesecake.  Time and time again I have searched for the perfect creamy, sweet and tangy cheesecake, but have often found myself disappointed with restaurant fare.  So, instead, I've tried several recipes myself, some being more successful than others.  And here is the first that's going in my digital archives - chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Artist spotlight: the fleeting art of Jim Denevan

{and dinner series Outstanding in the Field}

After one of my last posts where I praised the beautiful industrial photography of Mitch Epstein’s series “American Power”, I’ve decided to shed light on yet another artist (and chef) whose body of work is awe-inspiring. Read more after the jump!

Jim Denevan is known for creating installation art directly from the world around him.  Altering materials such as sand, ice and earth, Denevan has formed numerous shapes and patterns that, in time, fade away at the hands of eroding winds and tides. 

I find Denevan’s extreme scale and method of creating art to be very unique.  Most of all, however, I view his repetition of forms and abstract, geometric, linear shapes to be beautiful in their similarity with and contrast to the natural forms surrounding them.  

Another amazing aspect of Denevan's life and career is his contribution to the ever-increasing interest in the farm-to-table culinary experience.  Having founded the dinner series Outstanding in the Field, he has paved a way for diners to truly appreciate local and delicious foods, often at their very source – the farm.

These events, in keeping with Denevan’s artwork, celebrate food culture in a large scale and beautiful form.  As a tour that allows participants to feast their senses on an array of tantalizing tastes created by talented and notable chefs, this is definitely a must see!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sioux City Kid {album release concert}

Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Sioux City Kid album release concert at the Great American Music Hall here in San Francisco.  Not only that, but I also designed the concert poster for the event!  You can see my previous post with three initial image ideas here, and below is the final design that was chosen.  

Attending this concert was a great experience.  Three bands were showcased, all of which had their own unique sounds, and it was so wonderful to finally have my art recognized.  Please check out the band's website here and listen to some of their music.  Below are just a few of the photos I took of the crowd and lead singer of Sioux City Kid.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Industrial photography

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE photography.  Often, I find myself mesmerized, staring at my computer screen as I study various photographs and design images, paying close attention to composition, color, and whatever elements initially draw me in.

In my photos, I rarely focus on sending a message first and foremost as many other artists choose to do.  Rather, I photograph what is beautiful, at least in my eyes.  This approach has led me to photograph many objects most individuals rarely  notice on a day-to-day basis.  I suppose this is fitting as many graphic designers (along with myself) strive to transform the ordinary or unnoticed into the extraordinary.  

One photo series of mine that I love the most focused on the beauty and fragility of industrial materials and structures.  With much of my artwork, I try to allow the subject matter itself to inspire me, rather than look to artists, whose voices are similar to mine, for inspiration.  This way, I can truly consider my work to be original I may strengthen my relationship with  special world I recreate and explore through photographs.  I like to think that when I look through a camera lens, I am discovering living, existing art that no one has seen before (or at least, not the way I view it). 

I'm thrilled when I discover other artists who share my love for the beauty of the industrial world.  One of these individuals is Mitch Epstein, whose photo series "American Power", effortlessly displays machines and urban structures within  natural environments, creating an eerie feeling of isolation in our increasingly modern world.  

I haven't quite been able to pinpoint what I love so much about photography and environments like this,  but when I frame cranes, windows, or commercial pallet boards, I like to make my subject matter come alive, as if they are characters.  I love highlighting the fragility and beauty of structures we often characterize as powerful and steadfast, and hint at a fleeting moment in time, a moment of uncertain and vulnerable movement, even when these objects stand immobile. Maybe I simply love this imagery because there appears to be no more room for the human race, as if we are out of place in the world we ourselves have created.  Who knows, that might just be what happens sooner or later.  Only time will tell.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fresh raspberries (and what to do with them)

Sorry I have been MIA for a while.  Exploring new foods, spending time with family and becoming woefully sick for over a week this summer are a couple of obstacles that have prevented me from editing photos in photoshop and keeping you up-to-date with my oh so exciting life.  I have to admit, other times, I find myself so busy that inspiration is hard to come across... but not right now, thankfully.  

After venturing out into the wild, otherwise know as my weed-infested back yard which has only recently become hospitable to the human race (thanks to my diligent mother whose visit to San Francisco involved ripping 5 and 6 foot weeds up from their homes), I suddenly realized that some of our raspberries were ripe.  
Working with the ingredients I had at home, I decided to make myself a little treat.  I had just about a large handful of plump and juicy raspberries, one ripe Meyer Lemon from our backyard tree, heavy cream, powdered sugar and a couple of semi-sweet chocolate squares.  
Whipping the heavy cream with an electric mixer until fluffy, I began adding powdered sugar until lightly sweet, along with some lemon zest and a pinch of juice for an added citrus tang.  Meanwhile, I melted a one ounce square of chocolate with whipping cream until smooth.  Pouring both of these mixtures on top of the cool and juicy raspberries, I had a quick, delicious and convenient little dessert.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011


My morning began with a quick trip downtown to Tom Colicchio's sandwich spot, aptly named 'wichcraft.  I often like to try new sandwich varieties here, as the flavor and quality of each is superb; but my favorite (which has retained the top spot for years) is their "heritage smoked ham and cheddar" sandwich.  I also tried the fried egg sandwich which was pretty darn good too!  Thanks to Tom Colicchio's ingenious idea, both of these sandwiches are also featured in the 'wichcraft cookbook.  Here are the recipes in case you don't get a chance to go to one of their sandwich shops.  
Fried egg sandwich:
8 thick slices bacon
4 ciabatta rolls
4 tbsp gorgonzola
2 cups frisée
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
8 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
(makes 4 sandwiches)

1) cook bacon in skillet until crisp over medium-high heat and
   transfer to paper towel to drain
2) slice ciabatta rolls in half, spread 1 tbsp of gorgonzola
   bottoms slice and toast in oven
3) toss frisée in oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper
4) melt butter and fry eggs over medium-high, flipping halfway
   through so yolks are nearly cooked through, and season with
   and pepper
5) remove bread from oven once toasted and cheese has melted
6) place eggs, bacon and frisée on top of the gorgonzola and top
   with bread
7) serve and enjoy

Although the fried egg sandwich was very tasty, nothing tops 'wichcraft's delectable combination of cheese, ham and pear in this grilled cheese sandwich.  I can't wait to make it for myself one of these days! 
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 piece star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 bartlett pears (cut into 1/8 inch slices)
8 slices sharp vermont cheddar cheese
8 slices cranberry pecan bread
8 slices smoked ham
2 tsp dijon mustard 
(makes 4 sandwiches)

1) combine first seven ingredients with 2/3 cup water in saucepan
   and bring to a boil
2) reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
3) add pears, making sure liquid is still simmering, and cook 2-3
   minutes until tender
4) remove mixture from heat and let cool
5) place 1 slice of cheddar, 1 slice of ham and 4-6 pear slices on 4
   pieces of bread each
6) top with remaining cheese and 4 remaining slices of bread after
   spreading them with mustard
7) place in (preheated) sandwich press, close lid and apply light
8) cook 5-8 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even
   cooking, until cheese is melted and bread becomes golden brown
9) remove when fully cooked, cut in half, and devour

A sandwich is never just a couple ingredients wedged between two pieces of bread.  Sometimes I find these bundles of flavor more delicious than traditional meals, and often, for a much lower price!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

S'mores cookies

One of my favorite things about summer, and the occasional (and slightly dreaded) camping trip, is the chance to make S'mores.  The only problem with this gooey, melted, delicious treat is getting the perfect combination of graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate... and I love my chocolate!  Then you have to worry about getting the marshmallow just right: not too gooey that it droops and falls into the dirt, not too burnt that it tastes like charcoal, and not too under-heated that it retains its fluffy shape when smooshed between chocolate pieces and graham cracker.  

So, rather than trying to make a goopy, sticky mess in my kitchen, I opted for S'mores cookies, adapting the recipe from here.  They turned out amazing!  No overly crispy cookies for me, they were perfectly chewy and chocolatey.  I can almost smell the campfire, can't you?

   *Oops! Just realized I incorrectly wrote this recipe the first
    time around.  As of 7/11/11 it's correct!

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 king size hershey bars (roughly chopped)

1) combine butter and sugars in standing mixer until fluffy
2) then mix in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined
3) add flour, graham crackers, baking soda and salt and continue
   to mix
4) fold in chocolate chips
5) refrigerate dough for 1 hour
6) roll dough into balls (about the size of 1 tbsp) and place on
   lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart
7) bake at 375F for about 8 minutes
8) remove from oven and push 3-5 marshmallows and several Hershey
   chunks into each cookie
9) return to oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes until
   marshmallows have melted and browned