Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner @ Lazy Bear

Lazy Bear is an underground restaurant. They do dinners every so often at an undisclosed location. Seats are limited so we were thrilled when we landed Christmas Eve reservations. We found out about Lazy Bear from another underground foodie event we attended in October, called 25SF. Dinner this evening was held at Chez Poulet in the Mission, which was an old warehouse (location is revealed after you confirm your reservations by making your online payment for dinner). I loved the setting - it was basically a large loft, like ours :)  Chef David Barzaley did a great job explaining each dish and the preferred method to eat it. (Sorry the photos are dark - they were taken with my phone)

I forget to bring my bottle of wine, so we ended up grabbing a bottle from the liquor store around the corner. Fat Cat at Lazy Bear, hehee.

Smoked Beets - we licked our plates (literally).

Swordfish Belly

Dungeness Crab

Steelhead Roe


Goose Confit

 Potato Puree

Goose Breast




...which included Spiced Rum

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Gifts

I didn't have time to make holiday cookies like I did last year. So, I decided to make and send drink mixes in mason jars to my friends and family. I ended up making at least 15 jars of Mexican Cocoa, Peppermint Stick Cocoa, Mocha Hot Cocoa and Orange Creamsicle.

I also made Peppermint Marshmallow Sticks:

You would be AMAZED at how simple and easy these were to make. Just melt chocolate chips in the microwave (for 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir - until completely melted). Then dip marshmallows in melted chocolate and then in crushed peppermints.

This isn't food related, but I'm really proud of myself because I MADE ALL THIS for all the babies born in 2011/late 2010. Thanks to Chez Beeper Bebe for the tutorials! What's extra cool about the bunnies is that they were re-purposed from old t-shirts (except the polka-dot bunny - I used leftover fabric from E's dress). Cool, right?

for babies M, E, E, and A.

A First: Cake Pops (+ J's Bday Dinner)

Party for two!

It was J's birthday a couple weeks ago and I wanted to do something special. I made a steak dinner and  those cake pops/cupcakes for dessert! It was my first time making cake pops, and you know how ambitious I am...I decided to go all out and borrowed Bakerella's Cake Pops book from my friend Robin With An I.

Here's a closer look at the cake pops:

They turned out well, for my first attempt. I have to say, it was pretty frustrating to get the technique down. I did lose five cake pops due to my FAILS:

Overall, I was happy with the seven I was able to make. (I planned to make a dozen). The lions were my favorite and way easier to do than the pandas. Birthday boy was super impressed with my work. He didn't want to eat them (but he did). So, that was dessert!

Here's what I made for dinner: Rosemary Rubbed Filet Mignon served with roasted brussel sprouts & bacon and garlic primavera risotto

My little jar of minced garlic always comes in handy. I do this to save time and it really does save a lot of time! I basically mince 2 heads of garlic and combine with oil. Store this jar in the fridge and use it for almost anything. One of the best tips I picked up from TV.

 Brussel sprouts! Before and after:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Menu 2011

Thanksgiving Menu 2011


12-hour brined Organic Free-Range Turkey (me)

HAM (my cousin)


(SIL #3)

CASSEROLES Green Bean, Potato Cheese & Sweet Potato (SIL #1)


CORNBREAD with Whipped Honey Butter
7-CHEESE MAC & CHEESE featuring Sharp Yellow Cheddar, Extra-Sharp White Cheddar, Mozzarella, Asiago, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Muenster


PUMPKIN CAKE (my cousin)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ancho-Marinated Skirt Steak With Warm Black Bean Salad

I made this delicious dish from Sunset's October 2011 issue. And enjoyed it with the rest of the bottle of Syrah used in the marinade. It was really, really, yummy! You can find the recipe from Sunset here. But I've also included it here (in case).


  • 1/2 cup Syrah or other dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, divided
  • About 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried ancho chiles or chili powder
  • skirt steak (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • fresh poblano chiles (sometimes labeled pasilla)
  • large sweet onion, chopped
  • cans black beans (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed
  • large red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-in. chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • About 3 green onions, sliced (including green tops)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1. Combine wine, 1/4 cup each vinegar and oil, 1 tbsp. each garlic and pepper, 1 tsp. each salt and cumin, the oregano, and ground chiles in a large, plastic food bag. If steak is in 1 long piece, cut in half crosswise; rinse, add to bag, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  • 2. Preheat broiler. Halve, stem, and seed the poblanos. Lay skin side up on a baking sheet and broil 4 inches from heat until well charred, 6 to 7 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel and coarsely chop.
  • 3. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion and remaining 1 tbsp. garlic in 2 tbsp. oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and remaining 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tsp. each pepper, salt, and cumin; turn heat to low.
  • 4. Oil cooking grate well. Lift steak from marinade (discard marinade) and grill, turning once, until browned on both sides but still pink in the center (cut to test), 7 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a board and let rest at least 5 minutes.
  • 5. Meanwhile, add poblanos, red pepper, tomatoes, 3 green onions, and cilantro to bean mixture, and stir occasionally until warm. Slice steak on the diagonal across the grain and serve on warm bean salad. Garnish with more green onions if you like.

Bean Salad (I used golden cherry tomatoes instead of red ones. I like the colors)

And here's dinner for two:

I thought the flavors in the dish were really good and actually had a lot of the bean salad left over, which I loved. I added the bean salad the next day for breakfast in an omelet and as a salad for lunch. Success!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream

Who knew Tuesday would be such a culinary delight-ful day!

Again, this recipe is from the October 2011 Sunset issue. You can find the recipe here.

Do you see those little speckles? They are speckles of goodness (gingersnap cookies).

1 pt. whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup Homemade Pumpkin Purée
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely crushed gingersnaps
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)

1. Whisk all ingredients except gingersnaps and bourbon in a bowl to blend. Strain into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. (I actually skipped this part...oops. Hey, working from home and cooking at the same time can be distracting...but luckily it wasn't too much of an error. I'll be sure to strain it next time I make this, and I *will* make this again)
2. Scrape ice cream into a bowl and stir in gingersnaps and bourbon. Freeze, covered, until scoopable, 2 1/2 hours and up to 1 week (gingersnaps soften somewhat after 1 day).

Added to the milk & cream:

All blended together:

The ice cream maker does it's magic, and into the freezer for a couple hours:

And then, this goodness can be enjoyed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Dates w/ Balsamic Reduction

Last weekend, J & I attended an underground foodie event called 25SF. It was a lot of fun and one of the items served was bacon wrapped dates. It was good, and so I decided to make some tonight. I used turkey bacon because 1. it's what I have 2. it's healthier. I try to be as healthy as I can regularly, so I can splurge when I'm out and not feel bad about it when I do.

Pitted dates
Turkey bacon, or bacon bacon (cut into thirds)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

Make the Balsamic Reduction
1. Boil the balsamic vinegar. Simmer until reduced to half.
2. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Continue stirring until sticky and thick.
3. Let cool.

Cook the Bacon Wrapped Dates
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Wrap the dates in the bacon and seal with a toothpick (edges on the bottom)
3. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes (until crisp and edges are brown)
5. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve

Plate the dates and drizzle the balsamic reduction over to taste. Enjoy!

This is a great appetizer and I'll be making this for my bestie's baby shower in January!