Only in San Francisco…

…can you end up spending the evening in a pub with two Irishmen and a homeless guy you just met. But more about that in just a moment. I’ll tell you how I ended up there in a bit.

In case you are one of the unaware, I was in San Francisco for the Blogher Food 2009 Conference. I was lucky enough to have Nasoya sponsor me for the trip. I totally appreciated it!  Because of Nasoya I was able to enjoy San Francisco and the Bay Area and have a great time meeting people and learning new photography tips.

Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

When I registered for the conference, I decided I wanted to drive up the coast of California and use the time to reflect and think. I stopped along the way in Santa Barbara for wonderful freshly made ice cream and in San Luis Obispo for a 1/2 sandwich and salad. I also drove by my childhood home and neighborhood in San Jose and my college campus in Santa Clara.sand

All said and done, it took me 12 hours to get to San Francisco.  Near the hotel there was a pub full of people so I went in and ordered a Guinness and some food.  I’ve recently discovered that you can’t be a woman alone at a bar without a man coming up to you no matter how uninterested you look. And I’ve tried to look uninterested, usually by being deeply engrossed in a book.

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After being seranaded  by a guy who wouldn’t leave me alone {that’s another story for another day}, an Irish guy came up to the bar and ordered 3 Guinness {Guinnesses? Guinni? What’s the plural?} and 3 whiskeys. He saw I was alone, said something about me being cute, and invited me to sit with his friend and a homeless guy he found on the street. It sounded fun, so I did. I’m all about new experiences…anyway it turned out to be a fun evening with a great conversation. It was definitely a cool start to a fantastic weekend.

I need to detox from all the good food and drink I consumed over the weekend.  Instead of just Vegan Tuesday, I’m eating vegan all week. Well, all week until Friday night when I’m back in Las Vegas. :P I used Nasoya Organic Extra-Firm Tofu to make Mark Bittman’s Braised Tofu and Peas in Curried Coconut Milk from his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. It was an easy weeknight dinner and reheated well for my work lunch. I ate it over brown basmati rice. YUM!

You can find the recipe HERE.

{twd} Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart + Giveaway

I’m still recovering from my whirlwind weekend in San Francisco for Blogher Food 2009. Every time I visit the City and the Bay Area, I get a little sad because I don’t live there anymore and I have to remind myself to visit more often.

Lunch at the conference was sponsored by a frozen pasta meal company that shall not be named. It was awful and that is putting it mildly. Rocco DiSpirito (who is gorgeous in real-life) was there promoting the products and trying to convince all us food bloggers that frozen meals are great and that he has a freezer full of them. We were encouraged to Tweet the frozen pasta meal company and Rocco during the meal to ask questions about the product. The Tweets were projected on a big screen. If your question was picked, you won some prizes.

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Fueled by the wine served at lunch and encouraged by the women sitting at my table, I tweeted Rocco and asked him: “Hey, I’m newly single. Want to go out?“. It was fun and carefree, but Rocco never responded. :'(.
Prior to asking him out, one of my questions about the frozen pasta meal company was picked and I won some prizes which I will now share with you.


I have a copy of Rocco DiSpirito’s Rocco Gets Real: Cook at Home Everyday. If you would like it, let me know what you think. Should Rocco have responded? Did he miss a great opportunity? :P Please leave a comment and let me know your opinion by 11:59pm on 10/5. Winner will be randomly selected.

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Thank you to Carla of Chocolate Moosey for selecting this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I made the full recipe and served it a dinner party. It was very delicious and people enjoyed it. I loved the crunch the nuts added. Oh, and I used honey-roasted cashews because I couldn’t find honey-roasted peanuts and sprinkled the tart with cocoa powder. If  you would like the recipe, please visit Carla’s blog or buy the book.

No Sweet Melissa Sundays or Daring Bakers today

Even though I bought all the ingredients for the Caramelized Onion, Cheddar, and Sage Muffins (this week’s SMS pick) and bought the cookbook–Baking with Julia–for the puff pastry recipe for Daring Bakers, I ran out of time before my trip to Blogher Food. I’m on way back from San Francisco today. After I rest, I’ll get back to baking!

Dinner Party!

I hosted my first dinner party last week. It was small, just me and three guests. I worried about the menu because one of the guests is a picky eater. I only cook vegetarian and he doesn’t like/won’t eat vegetables. I also wanted to make something that would go with French Bread so I could get the next bread on my list from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge done–nixing pizza or cheese enchiladas (as suggested by picky eater).

The Menu:

Edamame

Rosemary Roasted Almonds (From September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Olives (From Whole Foods olive bar)

French Bread (From The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, made into 2 oz rolls)

Toasted Goat Cheese Ravioli with Red Pepper Dip (from September/October 2009 issue of Clean Eating magazine)

Creamy Rigatoni with Gruyère and Brie (from September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Slow-roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Ground Coriander (from Orangette)

Dessert was the Chocolate Caramel Crunch Tart for next week’s Tuesdays with Dorie…more on that on Tuesday. As for wine, I threw myself on the mercy of the wine guy at the 3rd/Fairfax Whole Foods in Los Angeles. He asked me questions on my menu and walked me around the entire wine section. For a starter wine, he suggested the 2008 Marquis de Goulaine Rosé d’Anjou.  For dinner he suggested the 2007 Protos Verdejo, a Spanish white wine. The wine choices were excellent and reasonably priced. I’m definitely going back to him.

The dinner was a big success and loved every minute of it. I prepped most of the day, but was relaxed and carefree for the party. The guests enjoyed everything and we’re all looking forward to doing it again.

Vegan Müesli with Fresh Figs and Whole Wheat Couscous

It’s still hot here. It was 102º F on Tuesday.  Instead of hot cereal, I made  müesli with some cooked whole wheat couscous I had on hand.  I also threw in some uncooked rolled oats, sliced almonds, pistachios, and chopped fresh figs (I heart fresh figs, too bad season is so short). I used soy yogurt instead of the traditional yogurt or cream. I spiced the cereal with Chinese 5-spice and sweetened it a bit  with maple syrup. Müesli, like granola, can be made in infinite variations depending on your mood and what you have on hand. This was my Vegan Tuesday version.

Vegan Müesli with Fresh Figs & Whole Wheat Couscous

Makes one serving

  • 1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
  • 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 5 figs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon raw pistachios
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight. Enjoy!