Wednesday, December 29, 2010

revisiting...mon anniversaire!

it's long come and gone, but it was indeed a quiet, sunny and pleasant birthday. on december 16th i woke up and took a bike ride to berkeley where i went into guerilla cafe and had a light yet tasty birthday breakfast and coffee. continued riding through the berkeley hills, grabbed a red velvet cupcake at a nearby cupcake shop, then off to a manicure and pedicure session. arrived home to take my dog tuula for a nice long walk. finally got all gussied up in a warm sweater dress, tights and boots and went out to dinner with el esposo and brother-in-law. our final destination for the night was chez panisse, for the most decadent and beautiful birthday dinner. appetizers, main courses, wines, and desserts later we had very little energy to continue onward with the night. so we skipped the plans we had in mind beforehand and headed straight home. for once there were no crazy loud anything, no dancing, no bar hopping or night caps. tucked ourselves in and called it a night. nonetheless, a very delicious way to end the day.

relaxation. a mandatory Rx

Doctor's orders. Relax. Well, not necessarily a doctor more like a dermatologist. But either way it's what I'm supposed to be doing, just relaxing. Forget about anxiety, tension, nervousness, anything that causes you to become overwhelmingly uneasy and stressed. Not an easy task when you are about to move and have a billion life things looming over your head. But it's a strange thing when you give up all control and even under tense situations, know that you must and should let go and ease up. Never really gave it much thought until now, but indeed I am a nervous, tense, freaky worry ward. It basically comes down to chill the heck out or...have your 'certain' problem become worse or not get any better. Major gripe or is it? Perhaps this is one of those cliche "everything happens for a reason" moments, maybe just maybe something so easy as relaxing could turn into a life changing situation. Perhaps years later I will be recounting state of events in my life and the turning point will kick in right about now, right where I learn how to relax and take life with a grain of salt. So help me Zen, I'm searching for you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

my christmas list

on my third birthday. yes, santa was sort of there.

i'm getting quite tired of being such a good girl year after year and never reaping the benefits of such outstanding niceness. kinda feel like being naughty from now on. let's just say that santa is quite a bastard to me. always has been. but i do still believe in him. maybe just maybe i'll get what i want this time. if not, perhaps i will get these for myself, i suppose.

anyhow, these are the things i want...crossing my fingers and sending good thoughts to the north pole.

1. a Public bike
9. tap dancing lessons and shoes

just listing 10. the first 3 would make me really happy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

crappy day.

my little helper, miss Purl.
the first ever smallbatch freezer, it was tiny. inside a gorgeous little pet boutique called Hazel & Gertie's.

i really have no other words to describe today. no eloquent, no witty, or otherwise. just crappy. the weather was a nightmare, just truly despicable. grey, wet and ominous. our house is and will be a bit upside down for the rest of the month as we are moving and have boxes, and craigslisters coming in and out. our move in day is january 1st, what a pain. but once done and finished i'm hoping that we don't move for a while and rather stay and nest in our new but rather old 1940's granny house up the hill.

not only are we moving our living residence but also our business where we process and store all things smallbatch is moving also. moving to a bigger, more efficient facility. yes, smallbatch is a big bitch (this is an ongoing inside joke at home) as it takes up so much of our energy and pretty much has consumed our every day lives for the past 7 years. nonetheless, it's growing and moving in ways we never dreamed it would. i remember the bowl, and i remember the client list(it was tiny) and i remember the struggles of starting this little business we call smallbatch which now is growing in staff as well. the early days were challenging but also so very exciting, everytime we had a new customer, positive feedback, picking up materials, even the pain. but with growth and success comes something that i won't dare explain, because it might come out in ways that might make me seem ungrateful or disenchanted. anyhow, back to the early days of this small business, el esposo and i knew that we couldn't stop dreaming and couldn't stop providing for our customers but we weren't sure why. just a natural inclination drove us to where we are today. from curating our first logo at home to working hard for our second logo ( i walked the graphic designers dog for a year in exchange!) to delivering pet goods on foot, train, and bike. all of these were only a handful of milestones in this journey. the journey of working for oneself...around the clock. in time i'm sure our responsibilities will lessen, but in the meantime i still don't get to see el esposo who's constantly away micro managing and making sure our little company functions and provides as it should. back to packing more boxes, wish us luck world. and perhaps a little more stability.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


song list for this gloom stricken day...
naked if i want to
sweet jane
there is an end

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

influx of things.

today has been a mash-up of thoughts, images, opinions and feelings that provoke a random stream of consciousness. a constant flow just filtering right into my mind.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I've said it once, I'll say it again: I love my cat. His name is Blue and he is the apple of my eye. A bit of a health scare has me vowing to do all in my power to keep him happy, healthy and safe forever and ever. I might add that he is the sweetest, best feline boy ever. The vet told me so, however I already knew that. Looooove that boy of mine.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

arcade fire blues

arcade fire is playing at the greek and i need two tickets for this sunday, part of a birthday gift. i'm kicking myself for not committing and buying them right away, now i'm on craigslist searching aimlessly for a pair. SOLD OUT. hopefully, the cosmos will align and help me out of this one. if i end up finding tickets, this will be my 4th time seeing these kids perform, and i must say every time has been special. come on craigslisters, email or phone me back! argh. anyhow, this band brings back a ton of memories and emotions. many nights involving their music...a bittersweet new year's eve, a raucous fun night, a serene night after stormy months. this would/will be a birthday memory. i hope it happens.

Friday, August 27, 2010

home ec revisited.

my sewing machine and station

yes, i joined a home ec class but this one is an online one. it's been way too many years since my last school home ec class and this time i'm hoping actually learn some useful crafty things. i have been meaning to use my sewing machine purchased in january and currently collecting dust for some time now(about 7 months to be exact). every time i turn the thing on and attempt to do something i'm instantly distracted, unmotivated and well just so lame. i say this because it's how i feel about quitting on the sewing dream i have, a dream consisting of everyday projects that will turn my world into a handy, crafty heaven! instead i collect all these "projects" i'd like to make one day that are collecting on top of my sewing machine , that i avoid looking at. well, that is hopefully all in the past because home ec has 25 projects for me to learn at my own pace with live chats and friendly support from three crafty ladies and a whole bunch of other home ec dropouts like myself that are attempting to redeem themselves or simply trying to learn new projects. so, here i go...dusting the machine taking a photo of it to post on the home ec flickr group and take off! wish me luck and cross your fingers people, maybe an actual push might help. thanks. let the sewing dream begin...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

otsu recipe

for dinner
for lunch...with some rooster sauce!

in japanese otsu means something strange, quaint, stylish, chic,,spicy, witty, tasty, romantic...delicious! the word otsu reminds me of the awesome store and publishing company called little otsu in san francisco. anyhow, i made this recipe yesterday and posted a photo of it on my facebook(i know, pretty lame) and a couple friends commented on how tasty it looked...and it was. another friend asked to share the recipe, so i have. right here! these noodles are slurp-tastic and perfect on a warm day.

this recipe came from 101 cookbooks which i'm really obsessed with:) i made some changes, added extra, omitted, or simply skipped.

otsu recipe (soba noddle salad)

the grated zest of 1 lemon

fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated(i usually will freeze any leftover ginger to use later)

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce) or plain soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced (i used red onion, because that's what i had)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced (or you can cut it into thicker pieces it worked for me)
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish (i added extra cilantro because i really like cilantro!)
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish(oooops this time, i forgot to toast the seeds, but it worked just fine as well)

in a food processor (or use a blender) process these ingredients until smooth. combine the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, salt then add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu(soy sauce), drizzle in the oils and pulse to combine.

cook the soba noodles in lots of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water to stop them from cooking.

while the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles about the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side( i drizzled some olive oil on my pan). toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. yum!

in a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about cup of the dressing( i added all the dressing this time because i really loooove this dressing). then you toss until well combined. you add the tofu and toss again gently. you then serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted(or untoasted) sesame seeds.

this dish serves a lot of people! it's great to bring to a party, picnic, or as leftovers for lunch the next day. i added some sriracha sauce, because i like things to have a kick no matter what i eat...i'm mexican.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

88 was a good year: Big!

1988 was indeed a good year for me. I was about 6 years old, my mom, older sister and I had just moved to california, my niece Karina was born (which meant i sort of got a younger sibling) and the movie Big with Tom Hanks was out. I was absorbing american pop culture and adjusting to all the new turns our little family was taking along with being shoved every movie I had missed while living in Baja right in my round little face. Mary Poppins, Airplane, E.T., Poltergeist, Raiders of the Lost Ark and such turned my sad little doe eyes bright with delight! Anyhow, enter the movie Big with Tom Hanks, introduced to me by my cousin Belinda who just knew that I would really like it being a much more mature little kid. She was right, even at that tender little age, I acknowledged the great acting skills, the magic, the story...the big apartment, no homework, pizza at all hours of the day, the trampoline! It instantly became one of my all time favorites. When finding a VHS copy for a buck recently, I was instantly smitten all over again with one of my all time favorite childhood movies. Back then 30 seemed so old but with 30 being just a few years away, it's safe to say that I'm permanently Big.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

the baking machine.

I stole these photos from the SF Food Wars page.

A month of planning, testing, eating, mixing, freezing, baking and competing have finally ended. I am left with oven burn marks on my hands and forearms, sleep deprived(have since recovered) and with plenty of flour, some left over butter, and everything else to bake a pie or two. The SF Food Wars' Pie or Die competition came and went and somehow I made it through. Team gypsycab(#13) fed 200 and some pie eaters, some of which came back for seconds and a few asked me to share my crust recipe. Bourbon? Oh I like bourbon! Was the ongoing reply to my bourbon and peach hand pies, although a few stayed away completely because of the bourbon content...and the bourbon and peach reduction squirted on top of each little pie piece! Anyhow, we(el esposo and I) found a friendly face among the crowd a good friend of ours miss Jeannine Giordan came by to support us and Jeannie Choe who is the founder/creater of sf food wars, and to eat pie of course. People really got creative with their pie creations, I only sampled a few but it was a nice array of sweetness. So, 20 pies later the winners were announced, one team won (twice) and poof! all done. We packed our gypsycab sign and leftover pie bones and headed to Kiji for some superb sushi intake. Did I mention it was windy as heck? Yet very sunny with rolling clouds, a perfect san francisco day I must say.

Monday, July 19, 2010

search for: gypsy cab

This morning right before I flew out the door to run errands, I had a moment to brainstorm and gather ideas for some decorations. The SF Food Wars Pie or Die competition is this sunday and well, it feels like I'm going to die. While not literally, it sure feels like a heap of trouble. In addition to baking small hand pies for 230+ people I have to decorate the area where I'll be competing from. Yikes! Team gypsycab(my team name for this competition) sure needs some help right about now. So, back to this morning's brainstorming session...I searched for images of gypsy cabs in hopes of obtaining some inspiration to create a name banner but didn't find a whole lot, and then suddenly came across the two photos above. About a year ago I posted some items on my Etsy shop(gypsycab vintage) and sold several perfectly wonderful vintage goodies, among them was a darling white purse. It turns out that the gal who purchased this purse shared her purchase on her blog along with other pre-loved items that completed a very fashionable outfit. I'm glad that "the white purse" found a very glam home and lives on in full fabulousness, as it was saved from a sad life in a dark closet! No, I have not began or finished my banner or have any decorating ideas, perhaps the search for all things gypsy cab has just begun.

p.s. Dear world....If I ever attempt to compete at anything ever again, I sure hope that someone would please hold me back and tie me down. I. will. go. die. now. thanks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

one tired girl

With the bustle and hustle of everyday life, we often find ourselves revving up on stimulants of sorts to get through our days. Coffee is an absolute must for me every morning and even though I've tried to ditch it, somehow I keep having my hot cup of joe come morning time. Besides that I pretty much don't rev up on any other energy boosters, well, perhaps the occasional sugary snack. Which takes me to a place in search for alternatives for my much needed energy. It goes like this....My body is searching for: the adequate strength and vitality needed to sustain my physical and mental daily activities, HELP! So with a little self talk I grabbed a bottle of daily vitamins, and supplements, a ginkgo tea(for memory, clarity and alertness), healthy meals, and lots of water. How about a long hot bath, some mindless t.v. and even a really good book at the end of the day? Throw in some exercise with my dog and plenty of rest, I should be good. But did I mention I picked up another part-time job and entered myself into a pie contest? This should be interesting!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

a hymn for eva

This beautiful hymn was written for baby Evangeline Simone. Amongst discussions regarding business, conflicts, and frustrations, she always grounds everyone around her. Specifically taming her father and uncle.

at least we have her
to bring us back to earth.
and vacate our minds from unearthly things like business and lawyers.
at least we have her to love the sky and trees
and remind us all we were once too, sweet little peas.
and much later, at last when we finally have the chance
we will thank her and praise her for that gracious reminder
she, without knowledge or expectation, bestows on us each day.
when we have forgotten everything and have nothing good to say
and we fight with our brothers and our wives and ourselves.
and we will sing evangeline thank you for being born
eva eva evangeline, thank you for that day.

written by a very proud uncle, David Vogel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

apron sweetness

Yesterday I came home to a very sweet package in my mail. It was from Anna and Jake, who have been on a mission to raise funds for Jake's surgery and treatment(poor little Jake has mass cell cancer). I purchased the apron right away when I came across their
blog a couple months ago and was touched...who am I kidding I was beyond touched, I cried my eyes out and frantically posted their blog info. everywhere and hugged my dog tightly. The apron is beautiful it has a real retro feel to it and it came with a really sweet note from both Anna and Jake. The Apron Campaign is still up and running, posting updates on Jake's treatment and recovery and still offers darling aprons for sale. By the way Jake is a sweet rescued cocker spaniel with a face that melts you to pieces. Time to bake and smooch on my dog like crazy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

two meals. one love.

Yesterday, felt like a sunday instead of a monday. Perhaps it was the aftermath of 4th of july weekend and no work that made it feel that way. So David(el esposo) and I decided to use this time to catch up on things we never have time to do as a pair. Cleaning, organizing, backyard work, painting, shopping, building, making and cooking:) We stopped to grab some ingredients early in the day for lunch and dinner. I made tasty, juicy lamb burgers with an interesting avocado yogurt spread and my better half prepared a scrumptious and hearty savory bread pudding for dinner. Behold, both recipes....try them!

Lamb Burgers with Avocado & Yogurt spread

1 1/4 lbs. of ground lamb
2 cups of thinly sliced red onion soaked in ice cold water for 30 minutes(for crunch)
2 1/2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado
2/3 greek yogurt
thick slices of tomatoes and/or lettuce pieces
whole wheat burger buns or ciabatta rolls

mix the lamb, 2 tbsp mint, 1 tbsp garlic, salt and pepper and form about 6 patties (forming bigger patties will make about 4 smaller ones will form about 6)

grill em' or fry em' on a pan, i did about 2 minutes each side on high heat. toast your buns and make your spread. mash your ripe avocado into the 2/3 cups of yogurt, mix in the mint and garlic (1/2 tbsp of each)salt and pepper to taste, spread it on top of the patty and add your other fixin's (red onion slices, tomato, lettuce)Super easy, mega tasty!

Asparagus with Manchego Cheese Bread Pudding

1/2 loaf french bread , cut in small cubes (we used hearty acme bread)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion , diced
1 pint (2 cups) halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
1 bunch asparagus , cut in 1/2-inch pieces on the bias (3 1/2 cups)
8 eggs (we used clark summit farm eggs...delicious and organic)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded manchego cheese (oh, delicious spanish goodness!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
then place the french bread cubes in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish.
Place the extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
add the tomatoes and asparagus. Cook another 2 minutes, and then pour over the bread cubes in the casserole dish.
whip the eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper. Pour on top of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the Manchego cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

pie dreams

Easy as pie. Sweet as pie. Piece of the pie. Pie in the sky. All darling phrases that involve the ever comforting and scrumptious, pie. I am on pie time 24/7 since my recent competitor entry to the SF Food Wars "Pie or die" coming up on July 25th. Yes, I love eating pies mostly of the sweet variety but I do loooove baking pies! However, making itty bitty portions for pie-a-holic tasters and judges is a whole other thing. Enter my pie "mad scientist" state of affairs, I talk pie, read pie and have turned my kitchen into pie central. Practicing and preparing myself for pie mayhem. SO, from this point onward (at least until the competition ends) it's a pie or die kind of month for me. 

p.s. prepare thyself for some peachy, flaky goodies a la mode...

Friday, June 25, 2010

she's so lovely: Florence + the machine

It's been a couple of weeks of having a song so resonant and alive in my head, that I find myself singing it when I find the need to bust out some energy. The name of such a song is "Dog days are over" by Florence + the machine. The song is a power house of instruments from viola, violin, drums, piano, hand-clapping, back-up vocals and of course singing from Florence herself. Her voice reminds me of Kate Bush, gospel-like and big with heavy rock and soul undertones. Simply lovely and climactic it makes you wanna get up and shake your world upside down. Go ahead, take a peek. Play it loud.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SF summers = chilly toes.

brrrr! my chilly SF view...

thank goodness for hot spiked drinks!

Ah yes, as Mark Twain once said "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in san francisco" that statement is nothing but true. My first year of cold summer weather was a real bummer as I really missed my usual L.A. summer heat. I love hot sunny summers full of picnics, bike rides, barbecues, sun dresses, and sandals but living in northern california one must succumb and conform to the chill. Today's 53 degree reality has sunk in and made me realize that after all we do have indian summer to look forward to. Time to bust out the hot apple cider, mexican hot chocolate or perhaps a hot toddy. Whatever warm beverage I chose to prepare I know the most warmth comes from my furry companions. Off I go...Under the covers to snuggle with my brigade of pets is where I'll be. Warmth, how I crave you.

spiked apple cider

makes 2 cocktails

1 cup apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
4 oz bourbon
1 Tablespoon cinnamon sugar

1. Warm the cider on the stovetop with the cinnamon sticks until it’s reduced to about half a cup. This should take about 15 minutes over low heat.
2.Pour the cinnamon sugar on a plate. Just barely dip the rim of your glasses in the cider, then dip it in the sugar.
3. Add the 2 oz bourbon to each glass and top with the cider.

4. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!