A Superhero 4th Birthday!

PB&J and Earl Grey Macarons (photograph courtesy of design3rd)

design3rd was planning a Superhero themed 4th Birthday party for her son.  She ordered 3 dozen macarons from me in superhero red and blue.  She used it as part of the Dessert Table that she painstakingly created with numerous DIY activities.  Doesn't it look amazing?

Dessert Table and photograph by design3rd

Superhero Macs - resting, baked, sandwiching and all packed up

 Hopefully everyone enjoyed the macarons...especially the birthday boy!

Creme Fraiche Parfait


Creme Fraiche Parfait
Blueberry Confit // Basil Sorbet
Blueberry Paper // Basil Syrup 
Shortbread Crumble // Micro Basil

I'll be offering this on the menu soon...just after I return from my much needed vacation! :)


Savory Madeleines

Parmesan, Garlic & Chive Madeleines, Chive Blossom

I've definitely been venturing into the savory side a little more than usual during the past few weeks.  Although these madeleines are baked goods, they aren't the conventional little sweets you would expect.  I've altered my go-to madeleine recipe by omitting half the sugar, infusing garlic and adding parmesan and chives.  Like all madeleines, they are best served warm, however, the crisp edges hold up fairly well for a day.

Parmesan, Garlic & Chive Madeleines

5 oz           Butter
3 cloves    Garlic, smashed

3                Eggs
2.5 oz        Sugar
5 oz           AP
2 t              Baking Powder
1 1/2 t        Salt
6 oz           Grated Parmesan

1/2 bunch  Chives, chopped

Melt butter with garlic, steep for 10 minutes
Strain, reserve butter and discard garlic
In a mixer, whip eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
Add dry ingredients, mix only until combined
Add melted butter in a steady stream while mixing
Add chives, mix until distributed among batter
Store batter in a piping bag
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours 
Pipe into greased molds 
Bake at 375 F for 4-10 minutes depending on the size of your molds
Serve warm


Mother's Day Brunch

Last Sunday, I hosted a Mother's Day Brunch for a few of the special moms in my life.  I enlisted the help of BFF Annie from DarlingYouBoutique.  The only sweet I made for this special day were Chocolate Chip Cookies and I purchased the other - a Mille Crepe Cake from Lady M.  It's always fun to take a break from the baking and prepare some actual food.  I definitely feel like I'm picking up some cooking skills along the way in my "sweet" career path.  Unlike the other holidays I've hosted, I decided to do a spread of canapes or small individual servings.  It was definitely more work and time consuming, but I love the detail that can be incorporated when doing a party like this. 

Top Left (clockwise): Ham & Cheddar Puff Pastry, Blueberry & Yogurt Parfait, Spinach & Gruyere Quiche, Savory Madeleines, Banana Walnut Pancakes, Caprese Skewers

Although I was happy with how everything turned out and thankful for Annie's help, I wish I had a little more time to prepare...to get those details just right.  Usually I start prepping for a party 2-3 days in advance.  However, I only managed to do the cookie and madeleine batters ahead of time - it was a busy week!

Here's a glance at the final product:


Trials and Tribulations of Ice Cream Cake

Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream Cake

I made this cake at the request of one of my friends.  The base is two layers of devil's food cake sandwiched by a thin layer of chocolate caramel.  That served as a platform for sliced almonds and homemade fudged folded into coffee ice cream.  The cake was then coated in a chocolate frosting and finished with a white chocolate birthday plaque and chocolate cigarettes. 

Now for the trials and tribulations...I've made ice cream cakes before, but it didn't dawn on me until I started making this one that I didn't frost any of those (they were all glazed) and that they were all served at home (meaning that they didn't have to be transported).  Frosting the cake was definitely a challenge.  I don't make very many cakes, so it takes me a while to "crumb coat" a cake, but I had to work fast because I was dealing with ice cream.  Also, since it is so cold, the frosting gets difficult to work with because it hardens up quickly.  After crumb coating, I put the cake back into the freezer for about an hour before frosting the cake with a design I saw on Pinterest.  It seemed like an ideal design - quick (for the time-sensitive project) and unique!  As for transportation, I lucked out.  Although it was one of the hottest weeks that San Francisco had seen in quite a while, I had just received a package in a styrofoam crate that I was able to put the cake in.  It gave me some piece of mind on the 20 minute drive to my friend's house.  Luckily it made it in tact, all worked out well and Jason had a sweet little ending to his birthday dinner. 



About a week ago I returned home from a quick trip to NYC and Chicago.  "Quick?"  Yes, as impossible as that sounds, it was.  I was in NYC for 50 hours to join my Chef in preparing canapés, pasta and dessert, only a small part of the 6-course meal we were serving at a featured dinner at the James Beard House.  After, I joined some friends in Chicago for another 50 hours, but this time for some eating and fun.  I will post later on Chicago, but here are some photos from my first James Beard experience!

(Top Left, clockwise)
Foie Gras Torchon, Duck Fat Sable & Pickled Radish
Ahi Tuna & Trout Roe on Puffed Rice
Egg Custard, Dungeness Crab, Crispy Buckwheat & Shellfish Jus
Spring Vegetable & Ricotta on Brioche Toast

Lamb Sweetbread Tortellini

Rhubarb Parfait
Cardamom Sponge
Salad of Sousvide Rhubarb, Compressed Strawberries & Anise Hyssop
Strawberry Paper // Strawberry Espuma
Caramelized Pistachio // Pistachio Soil

Although the James Beard event required a lot of planning, hours of preparation, a lack of sleep and a vast amount of caffeine, it was well worth it.  After the canapés and 6 courses went out, there was a great sense of accomplishment - all our hard work had paid off and the diners raved about their meals.  Truly an amazing experience!