JANE the Bakery

 photo IMG_1615_zpsxdag12e3.jpg

If you’re located in San Francisco and is a pastry junky/coffee connoissuer like I am who is constantly searching for the next bakery + cafe, I’ve got one for ya. If you don’t already know about Jane on Fillmore and Jane on Larkin,you’re missing out. A third location has opened, JANE the Bakery, located on Geary. You’ve really gotta visit. They’ve got coffee, pastries, sandwiches, loaves of bread, and toasts – Pretty much a one stop shop.

I had the privilege of meeting Amanda, the owner of JANE, who was just as sweet as the pastries. I always assumed “Jane” was the name of the owner, but turns out she named the stores after her daughter. Amanda allowed me to step into the kitchen where I got to see everyone in action and gave me a stronger appreciation for all the bakers around the world creating such beautiful edible art.

 photo IMG_1531_zps36jpoes4.jpg

Compared to the other two locations, this location has a long display case of pastries followed by a shelf of deliciously baked bread. These are just a few of the bread options Jane offers.
 photo IMG_1618_zpsoqhu0o2o.jpg
I’m telling you, this is a carb lovers dream come true or maybe a new item to add onto the list of “1000 Ways to Die”: Death by carbs. Anyways, you’re probably more interested in the items Jane has to offer. Here are just a few things I sampled…

CHEDDAR CHIVE BISCUIT: lots of cheese throughout the entire biscuit. Flakey on the inside, crisp on the outside. Enjoy heated with a pad of butter.
 photo IMG_1654_zpse5s30kr2.jpg

PIZZETTE with artichoke, pine nuts, pesto, and roasted red peppers.
 photo IMG_1634_zpsodjpvsa8.jpg

THREE CHEESE & ROSEMARY BREAD WITH A POLENTA CRUST: For all the rosemary fans out there. Ain’t she a beauty?!
 photo IMG_1597_zpsxpmzypve.jpg

TURKEY + BRIE SANDWICH: So simple yet so tasty
 photo IMG_1541_zpsqnguh41z.jpg

AVOCADO MASH: perfectly seasoned smashed avocadoes with pickled jalapenos and red onions all on top of a heftly slab of sourdough. So good.
 photo IMG_1520_zpsseseaaq1.jpg

And last but not least…

CARDAMOM LATTICE BUN: The inside of the bun has this dreamy cardamom pastry cream. I’d take a bath in it. I mean. uhh.. nevermind.
 photo IMG_1564_zpsebvgyfhd.jpg

Advertisements

Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch

 photo IMG_1621_zpse9mgmif8.jpg

I guess it’s lemon season? Good thing because I’ve been getting sick often these days and nothing soothes a sore throat than a piping hot cup of water with a squeeze of lemon. Not only does lemon seem to work miracles on one who’s sick, but it makes amazing baked goods, such as this blueberry muffin recipe I came across from Cook’s Illustrated. What stood out about this recipe was that the actual ingredient of lemon wasn’t included in the batter, but was a part of a sugar crumb sprinkled on top of the muffin at the last second before baking.

These muffins have the perfect amount of sweetness from the blueberry “syrup” and remind me of a summer day from the brightness of the lemon. These are AMAZING right out of the oven while the sugar crunch is still warm and crispy. I’ve thrown all other blueberry muffins into the very back of the archives (sorry, blueberry muffins).

Seriously, look at that crunchy topping.

 photo IMG_1628_zpsn5lm8b6i.jpg

 

Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch
Yield: 12 muffins

Sugar Crunch:

1/3 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest or zest from 1 lemon

Blueberry syrup:
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. fresh blueberries

Muffins:
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 C. canola oil
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. fresh blueberries

1. For the sugar crunch, combine sugar and lemon zest and mix to combine. Set aside and let sit so that the sugar absorbs the lemon flavor.

2. For the blueberry syrup, combine sugar and blueberries in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently. As the blueberries heat up, they’ll start to plump up. Start smashing the blueberries to create a syrup. Turn the heat on low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture reduces to about 1/4 cup. Turn the heat off and set aside.

To make the muffins:

3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine and set aside.
5. In another large bowl, beat sugar and eggs together until the mixture turns pale yellow – about 3 minutes.
6. To the sugar and egg mixture, stir in melted butter and oil. Next, add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
7. Now, add the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
8. Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
9. Divide the muffin batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
10. For each cup, spoon about a teaspoon of the blueberry syrup onto the top and use a toothpick to swirl the syrup in with the muffin batter.
11. Next, evenly divide the lemon sugar mixture onto the top of the muffins.
12. Bake in the oven for 16-19 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees once.
13. Poke a clean toothpick into the middle of a muffin. When the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are fully baked.
14. Remove the muffins from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool. Wait about 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
15. ENJOY!

Wonderful Saturday at CIA Copia

A couple of Saturdays ago, I had the opportunity to go to Napa to visit the newly opened Culinary Institute of America, CIA at Copia. CIA at Copia was previously a culinary museum before closing in 2008, but has now reopened as a center for food, wine, and art offering cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. During the reopening, I got to taste several wines from a variety of places, witnessed the 21 bottle salute for the re-grand opening of Copia, and tried some delicious cheeses. What I was most excited about was taking a cheese class! You better brie-lieve I had a gouda time! Excuse my cheesiness.

 photo IMG_1498_zpsr4kegqos.jpg

 photo IMG_1494_zpssjaq9ist.jpg

The newly opened CIA at Copia offers a number of classes everyday, whether it be a demonstration or a hands-on class. Some demonstrations offered are how to make chocolate eclairs, fresh pasta, and mac n cheese (seriously? Someone sign me up!). Like I mentioned earlier, I took a cheese demonstration class, and let me just say… I’ll never buy my own ricotta or mozzarella again! Classes are really affordable and informative. My friends told me they had taken a cheese class where they also had learned how to make ricotta and mozzarella. They paid $125. The class that day Copia was $30, but you can double check prices on Copia’s website here. THIRTY DOLLARS to never buy those cheeses again from a store and make my own fresh batch at home? Um. Hell yes.

 photo IMG_1511_zpsbmuncdwr.jpg

Aside from classes, the venue is a beautiful place. A grass area in the back looks like a perfect place for a wedding and private rooms are also available to have a gathering. Tables are setup beautifully for any event.

 photo IMG_1502_zpsfunnj7zw.jpg

 photo IMG_1507_zpsfrkywcgz.jpg

Before the day ended, I was able to pair some cheeses with some wines. Here’s another picture of the cheese plate. Ain’t it pretty? The cheeses included were pecorino toscano, cypress grove midnight moon (made with goat’s milk), fiscalini bandage wrapped cheddar, and Cowgirl Creamery red hawk (this was my fave). The almonds were delicious too!

 photo 2017-02-192012.01.09201_zpsaeduujv4.jpg

I’d definitely plan a day trip or maybe even a weekend in Napa and schedule a visit to the new CIA at Copia. Napa is a beautiful place to plan a special weekend with your significant other and I’d be elated if my boyfriend booked a hands-on class to attend together. AHEM!

Oh, on top of all that, CIA at Copia also has a restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to try anything on their menu, but I did get a glance of a really delicious looking burger as it was passing by under my nose…

Honey Matcha Caramels

IMG_1350

Hope everyone enjoyed your holiday weekend and spent quality time with your loved ones! The holidays came and went so quick! I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to keep the “holiday feels” for as long as possible. One way is to keep the kitchen table stocked with candies and other sweets. I’ve recently found my candy thermometer and it’s time to actually put use to it. Do you also have a drawer full of kitchen gadgets that have gotten lost and forgotten?

I’ve made brittles and toffee in the past and wanted to try making caramels. Having Christmas being this past weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to practice on making batches of different caramels without having hundreds of pieces to eat on my own. Out of the different recipes I’ve tried, this one was my favorite so I’d like to share the recipe with you!

IMG_1347

These caramels have a really nice texture and the slightly bitter/earthy flavor from the matcha really balances out the sweetness from the sugar. I highly recommend making these if you’re a fan of soft chewy caramels and what I really like about this recipe is that one batch doesn’t make a ridiculous amount. Again, I used matcha from MotionMatcha and honestly, I think the flavor from MotionMatcha really made the flavor of these caramels better! Often times with other brands, I have to use extra matcha just to really taste the flavor, but the flavors from MotionMatcha is quite concentrated.

Before starting, make sure to have everything prepared as caramels are VERY quick to make and you don’t want the sugar. Also, make sure to keep your eyes on the thermometer. If the temperature goes too high, you’ll end up with brittle or crunchy sugar versus a soft luscious caramel.

 

Honey Matcha Caramels
Adapted from Snixy Kicthen

3/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. matcha powder
5/6 heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Prepare a 8″x4″ pan by lining the inside with parchment paper. I ended up using a Pyrex container.

2. In a small bowl, combine matcha powder and about 1/4 C. heavy whipping cream. Using a whisk or a fork, mix the matcha powder and heaving whipping cream until there are no more lumps of matcha powder. Add this into a small pot and add the rest of the heavy whipping cream to the pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles form on the sides of the pot. Make sure the cream mixture doesn’t burn. Set aside

3. In another small pot, add the sugar and honey and heat over medium high heat and stir continuously until the sugar and honey completely melt.

4. Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pot so that the bottom of the thermometer is completely submerged in the sugar. Heat the sugar honey mixture until the temperature reaches 302 F without stirring at all.

5. Now add the butter and kosher salt and slowly stir in the warm whipping cream. WARNING: The sugar will sizzle as you add the whipping cream so be careful. As the cream is added, the sugar mixture temperature will lower.

6. Continuously stir the mixture until the temperature reaches 248 F. Immediately pour the hot caramel into your prepared pan. Don’t scrape the excess caramel from the sides of the pan otherwise you’ll get hard bits of sugar in your caramels.

7. Let the caramels cool for at least five hours before cutting into it.

8. When the caramels are completely cooled, cut caramels into small pieces with a sharp heavy knife and wrap each piece in a piece of parchment or wax paper.

Matcha and Chocolate Shortbreads Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Tis the season for baking cookies! Not that you’re ever not supposed to bake cookies…

Shortbreads are one of my favorite types of cookies. My hands seem to have a mind of their own when a bin of shortbread cookies are in front of me and within a blink of an eye, half of the container is gone. They’re just so flakey and full of flavor. C’mon, who doesn’t like butter?!

I’ve recently partnered with Motionmatcha for this post and recipe. Motionmatcha is an online store that sells matcha in ready to go packages that can be mixed with water for a quick drink and an instant pick-me-up. In the afternoons, I’ve stopped drinking coffee because drinking coffee after 1:00PM either keeps me up at night or makes me crash like no tomorrow. Instead, I’ve replaced that afternoon cup of coffee with a glass of matcha and I haven’t experienced crashing since. For those who know me well, you know I’m a matcha fanatic and will consume anything matcha at any and every change I get so I definitely had to make something when I received a package of matcha in the mail. Not only have I started drinking Motionmatcha almost daily, I’ve come up with ways to bake with them. Stay tuned for more recipes to come, but for now, enjoy these shortbreads! And if you’d like to try some Motionmatcha products, you can get 15% off here!

Matcha/Chocolate Shortbreads
About 3 dozen cookies

2 C. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. matcha
1 Tbsp. dark cocoa (black cocoa if you have it)
1 C. butter (2 sticks), separated, softened at room temperature
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
2 C. bittersweet chocolate

1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl then set aside.
2. In a standing mixer, cream butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the flour and salt mixture into the creamed butter and beat until just incorporated.
4. Split the dough in half and move one half of the dough into another bowl.
5. To the dough left in the standing mixer, add the matcha and beat until just combined. Remove from the stand mixer and set aside.
6. Now, place the remaining half of the dough and place into the stand mixer. Add the dark cocoa and beat until just combined. Remove from the stand mixer and set aside.
7. On a slightly floured surface, roll each kind of dough into a log, about an inch and a half in diameter. Wrap in seran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F and place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet.

8. When the dough has hardened a bit, remove from the seran wrap and slice the dough into 1/4 inch discs and place onto the baking sheet. These cookies don’t spread very much, so not much room needs to be left inbetween each other.
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until you see the bottom edges just about to turn golden.
10. Let the cookies sit for about two minutes before placing them onto a cooling rack.
11. When your cookies have fully cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments in a small bowl. Mix the chocolate with a spatula after every 30 seconds. When the chocolate is completely melted, dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate, one at a time. Place each dipped cookie onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and let the chocolate harden. The chocolate shouldn’t stick to the parchment paper/silpat when removing the cookie.

Farm To Fork SF

I was invited to attend an event with Farm To Fork this weekend showcasing sustainable beef and carbon ranching. There was also a short film on sustainable agriculture and how cows are raised, which really educated me on where our local high quality beef comes from. In addition to that, there was excellent live music and drinks to accompany the unbelievably delicious beef we had. Let me just show you what we ate!

 photo IMG_1116_zps33bmtocu.jpg
Chef Chris Kiyuna from The Perennial: Beef tartare on a slice of grilled persimmon.

This little bite surprised me! Upon first glance, I thought this was beef tartare on top of a cracker, but to my surprise, the “cracker” was a slice of grilled persimmon. The persimmon had a slight crispness to it and had a slightly sweet flavor which went perfectly with the beef tartare. And I thought I hated persimmons! Isn’t it pretty?

 photo IMG_1117_zpsbyr8p4fp.jpg
Chef Tu David Phu – Feastly/Independent: TomKat Ranch sirloin tartare with chanterelle mushrooms, seeds, shaved daikon, and dill all on a piece of grilled rice paper.

This was probably my favorite dish of night! The beef and mushroom was so flavorful, but light, and the texture of the rice paper just tied everything together. The rice paper was rice paper wrap used to make Vietnamese spring rolls, but instead of wetting it with water, it was torched. Adding heat to the rice paper makes it kind of fluff up giving it the texture of a shrimp chip. Genius!

 photo IMG_1121_zpssp5fptc3.jpg
Chef Tu David Phu: Coastal Hill farm egg with smoked cream, maple, amaretto, sage, and salt

I ended the night with one of these delightful eggs and it was the perfect dessert. I was expecting this to be savory, but it was slightly sweet and had a pleasant creaminess from the cream. Very rich, but not overpowering.

 photo 20161030_154842_zpsg07pshl8.jpg
Chef Wes Rowe from WesBurger ‘N’ More – Stemple Creek Ranch specialty brisket burger

Am I allowed to cuss on here? F*ck. This was probably one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while! It was a burger simply dressed with caramelized onions, mustard, and sliced pickles. That’s it. This burger really proves that good quality beef doesn’t need all the fancy condiments to taste good.

Overall, this event was a good experience of fun and educational and I recommend anyone to come and support any of the Farm To Fork events!

Pumpkin Praline Cake

 photo cb71ded9-d929-4cd1-b23a-3a8a37bada8f_zpsyrmbtz5z.jpg

Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it’s already the last quarter of the year. As much as I look forward to Fall every year, I never realize October is here until I go grocery shopping at Trader Joes and see EVERYTHING pumpkin. Of course I can never go home without a pumpkin product. This time around, I decided on picking up a can of pumpkin puree to actually get a start on some Fall baking.

One weekend, I had the urge to bake something and didn’t want to make the typical pumpkin cupcakes I bake every year. I remembered seeing a praline cake somewhere online – something I’ve never seen before. I searched the web far and wide and found the recipe. Guys, I made this recipe and I’m never turning back. It’s SO easy to make, it doesn’t create a lot of dirty dishes, it’s extremely moist, AND it can be made into so many other forms! Pumpkin layer cake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cake parfait.. ugh, the list goes on. The thing I probably like the most is that no special kitchen equipment is needed to make the frosting or the cake. I ended up making this cake at my boyfriend’s house – A man who doesn’t do ANY baking whatsoever with no baking tools in sight.

I’ve made this cake 3 times in the last month and it’s been a hit with everyone I’ve given it to. Instead of using only walnuts, I used a honey roasted mixture of nuts and instead of purchasing all of the different spices, I bought pumpkin spice. Also, before pouring the frosting over the cake, I took a serrated knife and leveled the top of the cake off so that some parts of the cake wouldn’t have more frosting than other parts. I then took some of the cake that was cut off from the top and crumbled it over the frosting along with the chopped nuts. Make sure you work quickly with the frosting. Sue wasn’t kidding about the frosting setting quickly! Make sure you have your cake already cooled and your spreading utensil in hand before making the frosting.

 photo 4d12ac3b-3dee-4c41-b275-a806d765a8d6_zpsg20ajgyb.jpg

The recipe below is how I made the cake, but the original recipe can be foundhere

Make this!

 photo 0bee1a4c-587f-42ba-9155-a2b9ce3bbc69_zpso0hjmtuz.jpg

Pumpkin Praline Cake
Servings: 12-16

Cake
1 15 oz canned pumpkin
1 C. sugar
1 C. canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda

Frosting
1/2 C. half and half
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
2 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. roasted mixed nuts of your choice, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or butter and flour the pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix canned pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs until combined.

3. Add the pumpkin spice and salt and mix.

4. Now add the flour and baking soda and fold the mixture until everything is just mixed together.

5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared baking pan and use a spatula to evenly spread the cake mixture before putting into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes and test with a toothpick. When after poking a toothpick into the cake comes out clean, it’s ready!

6. Set aside for at least an hour to cool.

7. Chop up the nuts and set aside.

8. When the cake has cooled, put half and half, butter, and brown sugar into a medium sized pot. Heat until melted and starting to boil over medium heat. Let the mixture slow boil for about a minute then take the pot off of the heat.

9. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and stir with a whisk until completely combined.

10. Immediately pour the frosting over the cooled cake.

11. Quickly sprinkle the the chopped nuts over the frosting before the frosting has time to settle and harden.