Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Latest Kitchen Adventure

I was reading NPR’s list of the best cookbooks of 2009, and happened upon this book by Andrea Nguyen, called Asian Dumplings. This past weekend after a fun trip to Surfas, a restaurant supply store, I picked up some bamboo steamers, and on Sunday I was on my way to attempting to make stuffed buns, aka baos.

Overall I was pretty pleased with my results. With the wait time of the dough sitting, and then sitting again after the buns are formed its a bit time consuming, but a good activity for a Sunday.

This book includes different styles of every kind of Asian dumpling you can think of. I think this is going to be lot of fun to work through, and master. :)

There is still knitting happening around here for all of January Ive been slowly moving through a simple cardigan. Pictures to come as son as it's finished!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Macaron Mess

My hair and I have fought a life long battle against humidity. Now I have another reason to hate on humidity.

On Saturday, with everything I learned in my French Macaron class fresh in my head, I decided to tackle a batch on my very own.

* French patisserie macarons *

My egg whites got to the most perfect stage of stiff peak-i-ness. I folded my flour mixture in with my egg white mixture carefully in three batches. I piped my bright pink (my first time using gel paste - great color!) batter onto parchment, and was even starting to get perfect little circles (I'm not a very good piper). I let them sit for about 30 minutes before baking, so they could get the right matte look before being baked. I turned the oven light on and saw the little crinkly "feet" forming at the bottom.

My macarons were going to fabulous. Really destined for greatness.

Then my oven timer went off. I took them out and looked at my gooey mess. Each macaron was sticky on the paper, and ooey gooey. Nothing like in class. Not to be deterred, I just put them back into the oven for a bit.

Unfortunately, this did not solve the problem. While I was able to save some to make into proper macaron sandwiches, most resulted in bits and pieces. Luckily, the crumbs are still delicious dipped in the orange milk chocolate ganache I made.

The teacher from class had given us her contact info, in case we ever came across a baking catastrophe in our own kitchens. I emailed her to describe my dilemma, and heard back within a few hours. She suggested I try cutting back a bit on the egg whites, but really my main problem was most likely the high humidity, and I should try again on another day.

As Monica cried on Friends, "It's the HUMIDITY!"

Ugh. Next time, I'll be checking the weather report.

* photo credit by Flickr user La tartine gourmande *

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have a finished object to share with you all! I actually finished these the week of Christmas, but I just got around to sewing the buttons on this weekend.

These are the Veyla fingerless gloves by Ysolda Teague. I love the way Ysolda writes her patterns. They are always thoroughly written, and her designs are simple, yet include enough detail to be totally satisfying.

The yarn is a mystery - I got it for free when I was at the Black Sheep Knittery sale this fall. I was told it was a cotton yarn from South Africa, but I think it's really a blend of some sort. I love the color, and it fit the pattern perfectly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

French Macaron Class

*French macaron half with candied violets sprinkled on top*

This past weekend I attended a class on how to make French Macarons with my friend Sherry. I've never attended a baking class before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

*action shot of sifting*

I had a delicious time, and learned a lot. While the teacher did a lot of the work, there were plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. French macarons have a lot of little quirks and take some patience to make, so it was fun to learn about those things in the classroom experience before trying them out on my own.

*Sherry piping the macarons*

Our vanilla macarons were filled with either caramel and lemon curd, and we all got to take a box of our handiwork home.

Am I prepared to try these on my own? Well, I'm going to try; and when I do, I'll be sure to report back...perhaps jazzing them up with some color.

Birthday Bazaar

Even though boyfriend's birthday was last weekend, we waited until this weekend so we could get in at Bazaar, his restaurant of choice for his birthday meal.

And what a dining experience it was!

We had fabulous gold dusted and poured over cotton candy cocktails,

watermelon and yellowtail,

caviar cones,

a little birthday chocolate cake,

and many other small dishes. It was a splurge, but a fun dining experience. Happy birthday, Leon!

Monday, January 11, 2010


In honor of starting a new job last week, and because I have to wear my badge everywhere I go, I dug out my beads last night to make a lanyard. I haven't touched my beads in years, but I have quite a few.

It was fun to look through everything and come up with different combinations. I chose fairly neutral beads, as I'll be wearing it with everything.

Now I have a little sparkle for everyday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Over the holidays I knit up the Braided scarf. I've never seen or thought to use an i-cord to make a braid before. This project was fast, and really fun to knit.

I left mine behind with my mom (lucky her!), as it's pretty thick and chunky, and a little too cozy for winter in LA.

Another quick project I whipped up for the holidays, was a crocheted gift bag to hold the cork elves I made. A fun alternative to wrapping paper!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tackling Needle Felting

Boyfriend very cleverly got me a needle felting kit for Christmas. The kit included everything I needed to needle felt two small cupcake ornaments. You can find a similar one from Etsy user FancyTiger.

I have never needle felted before, but thought it was easy to learn, and a lot of fun. I think my first cupcake turned out really sweet.

Santa had a lot of help from the hand-crafters at Etsy this year. Another fun find under our tree was a set of customized mustache tea cups from UrbanAntix. Placed just right, they are the perfect disguise!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Crafting for Mom

For one of the hand made gifts I gave this year, I was inspired by the new "So You Think You're Crafty" blog to make my mom a harvest wreath from fabric.

I picked four different fabrics, and cut them into strips, folded them in half, and ironed them.

Next, I created the leaf shapes, and hot-glued them to muslin in a circle shape.

This will fit into my perfectly with my mom's decor come harvest, fall time. The full tutorial can be found here. While you are there, take a look around - the So You Think You're Crafty blog has some great ideas!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Tasting Menu

Happy new year!

Boyfriend and I fancied ourselves up and went to Bond St at the Thompson Hotel for their six course tasting menu.

We had:
Big-Eye Tuna Tarts
Micro Shiso

Albacore Tataki
Local Greens, Ginger Dressing

Maine Lobster Preserved Meyer Lemon, Leeks, Lobster Jus

Japanese Bouillabaisse
Squid, Ama-Ebi, Uni Rouille

Australian Wagyu
Potato Cubes, Cippolini Onion Puree, Hedgehogs, Soy-Garlic

Vosne Romanee
Traditional Flavors of the Appelation


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