Monday, May 27, 2013

Bakery is open. I'm still confused.

Someone said a few weeks ago. "Anne knows a lot about baking. She has a blog." 

Let's clarify. I know how to make a mean cake/ cupcakes/ pies/ cookies. Savory flavor combos translated into sweets could be my signature. Still, I don't know nearly enough about baking and clearly, what I don't know anything about is life. This is why I have a blog... to try to figure out where I belong, what I do wrong and how I can be better.

Over the past few months, I have worked very hard. Worked hard on me and pursuing my baking passion. My kitchen is "certified" now which is maybe just a little exciting.  To celebrate today, I made a cake. Layered flavors are the best. I chose... chiles, chocolate, espresso. Can some say mole sauce?

Here is what I got...

For the cake... 
2 cups cake flour
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup boiling water

For the ganache... 
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
2 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Butter and flour 3, 8-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Mix together first 5 ingredients. 

3. Add eggs, one at a time. Add milk, oil, vanilla, chili powder and water. Beat for 2 minutes. Divide between the cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

4. For ganache, steam cream in a sauce pan. Add to chopped chocolate, vanilla and espresso. Stir until smooth.  Pour over cake. 

So - the life part. While I was working on this cake... well, really for the last few weeks... I have been struggling with why people are mean. Like bring you down onto your knees mean on your birthday mean. I don't get it. Especially, why are the people who you love/ have loved are mean? If anything, if someone has taken the time to love you in their short, short life...  even if you are not together now or will never be together with them in the future... you should be kind, still love and respect that person. That seems like a run-on sentence. It probably is. I dont claim to do everything right. Also seems like I'm on a little bit of a soapbox, which I don't intend it to be. Because I haven't done everything right, I made two cakes. I took one to a father asking money for his kids on Mercer.  It probably doesn't make up for anything. Maybe... karma will be better to me. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012


My favorite food in the world is steamed clams. My Grandma and I used to get them at the Pike Place Market during her yearly visit from the east coast. We also used to do a cracked crab feast. These are some of my favorite memories of summers growing up. Oh, and horse camp. My first kiss was with "Tom from Boston" after the barn dance. Well, that is not really relevant to my story. Oh, well. 

These days my favorite food is Pad Thai with Tofu, 3 stars. I'm a little boring to take out to dinner to Thai restaurants. I pretty much order the same thing every time. I also love the veggie burger. My new
Attic staple. 

Today, I started to think about what if I combined the two? Below find my creation for a Pad Thai Veggie Burger. Truly delicious! 

* Ingredients * 
2 cups cooke jasmine rice
1/4 block extra firm tofu
1 egg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped peanuts 
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 tablespoons chili flakes 
Juice of 1 Lime 
Olive or Peanut Oil 
Shredded Carrot 
Shredded Cabbage 
Lime wedge 
Peanut Sauce

* Instructions * 
1. Combine first 9 ingredients in food processor.Pulse until well combined. 
2. Form mixture into 9 small patties. 
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil into a frying pan. Brown each patty at approximately 3 minutes a side. 
4. Serve with carrot, cabbage, lime and spicy peanut sauce. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Girls Love Pink, Hearts and Sparkles.

Happy (almost) Hearts Day! My valentine this year is a little black dog name Zeuggie. I'm pretty sure he is going to get me something small and sparkly tomorrow. Rule for all boys, men and doggies out there - you can never go wrong with small and sparkly for your valentine.  Wait I take that back, I'd rather have a new flash for my camera or a new pair of ski boots.
Since most girls love pink, hearts, sparkles and bubbles, I hosted group yesterday for a little crafting and champagne. Ribbons, stamps, fun papers and glitter provided the activity and was an outlet for everyone to express there one "Tarte and Parcel-esque" creativity.

The menu was equally whimsical. Based on the theme: "Love is sweet and a little savory" snacks included:

* My Heart "Beets" for You Hummus
* Shot of Love Shrimp
* Apple of My Eye Ravioli 
* Be(ef) Tender to my Loins Bruchetta
* Making Whoopie Pies
* Cupid Cakes 

My favorite of the bunch was the"Shot of Love Shrimp" inspired from a Bloody Mary. Here are the instructions! 

Shot of Love Shrimp

* Ingredients * 
1 lb cooked prawns
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes 
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce 
1 cup Absolut Pepper Vodka 
3 tablespoons Tabasco 
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Coronichons (I love mini pickles!) 

* Instructions *  
1. Marinate shrimp and cherry tomatoes in next 5 ingredients overnight. 
2. Alternate shrimp and tomatoes on skewers with celery, pepperoncinis and coronichons.

As an aside, the marathon is at long last finally a commitment. I am running the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in June. To help with the training I have joined, Team in In Training and raising money for cancer research. If you have a need for dessert or apps for your next shower, luncheon, dinner or party I would be happy to exchange any culinary skills  for a donation. Fight cancer and eat well... I'd say it's a double win. :) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let it snow!

There is a dusting of snow outside. Call Jim Foreman. It's sno-pocalypse! I do love looking outside and seeing the white stuff. Snow makes the long days of winter all worth it. My other favorite things about winter - Fur and Soup.

For a long time, I have been urged to put outfit combos on my blog. I'm still trying to figure out why. Yes, I have a closet room. Yes, I love dresses. But still, I feel insecure about what I wear. When I was in school, I wore uniforms. Our only self-expression was in our shoes. Otherwise, it was red-plaid jumpers, knee socks and green cardigans. When I was out of the uniform, I was a fashion challenged.  I did find my own style eventually - little bit rocker, little bit French, little bit hippie, little bit what's easy. I still love my mother for taking me to The Cramp on Broadway to buy me my first (and second pair) of Doc Martens. And yes, I wore those shoes all through out sorority life. And yes, I still have both pair.

So, here is me breaking out of my shell and posting my outfit for next Saturday. All of this is product of AllSaints. One of my favorite stores, its European fashion with the rock and roll edge. Plus, they have great draping. Rami from Project Runway would love it. I paired the Mures Sheepskin Jacket with the Elsbeth Dress in Grey. Combine will some chunky jewelry, tights and over-the-knee boots and you have "Anne-style."(Note: Z is running around in the background. He was excited about the outfit! Schnauzers are an optional accessory.)

On the cooking side, I am much more confident. First rule of the kitchen - cook books should be thrown away. I really hate recipes. I just like experimenting. Here is my "experimentation" for my newest soup. 

"Pan-Asian" Soup

* Ingredients * 
2 bundles mai fin noodles 
2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth
1 13.5 ounce can of light coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced 
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, tails removed 
Sliced green onions 
Crushed peanuts
Pickled Ginger

* Instructions * 
1. Cook noodles by bringing water to a boil. Remove from heat and soak for 15 minutes. Set aside. 
2. Bring broth and coconut milk to boil. Add in onion and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
3. Add in peanut butter and red pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
4. Add in mushrooms and shrimp. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
5. Stir in noodles. 
6. Garnish with onions, peanuts and ginger. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Haute Dogs... Finger Food Style

My biggest accomplishment for the week is that I taught Zeuggie how to walk on a treadmill. Not the easiest thing for someone who has no patience. All it took was a week,  a package of hot dogs and a cup of peanut butter. For me, all I would need is a cornichon.  What the world needs more of is mini pickles. Well, I guess I am just a sucker for anything mini.

Examples... Sliders. The mini hamburger. Why hasn't the mini hot dog caught on? These are the questions girls ask when they are watching a semi-boring football game and the people-watching at the bar is well... more boring than the game.

So while I had mini and hot dogs on my mind, I decided to do a little experimentation in kitchen. Playoffs and the Super Bowl are coming up and really I think the mini hot dog could l take center stage at any party.  

Cream cheese and jalenpeno, chilli dogs with cheese and onion and spicy corn dogs. 
Homemade dogs, homemade buns, corn dogs and Skyline Chili style  - a tribute to my Grandma Jane. Mustard dipping sauce on the side! Try these options for your next event!