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...