Saturday, February 26, 2011


On my drive home from work, I was meditating on what living in the most beautiful place in the world can do for the psyche and I wanted to share the incredible view with you. The good news is that even on cold and rainy days during a miserable February, Sonoma County is still gorgeous.

The bad news is that when I pulled over to get a picture, I got stuck.

Thank goodness a couple kind souls pulled over to push me out. Feeling too proud to call someone for help, I ended up waiting a while before anyone offered a hand (at which point, I realized I was never going to get out on my own, so it's a great thing they did). You know who gave the random act of kindness? Not big, burly pickups with two by fours in the truck bed, but cyclists. I will never again zip around them on the backroads or curse them for making me lose a second slowing down.

Thanks, kind souls! And the reward for the effort:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Haircut!

Isn't it fabulous? (Minus my goofy expression.) My friend, Brandy, surprised me for my birthday weekend in Brooklyn with a haircut from her talented friend. "I'm not taking no for an answer," she said to me. "I knew you'd need it."

I didn't argue. I haven't had a real haircut in years, so my hair was starting to get a little hippie-ish. There couldn't have been a better present for a gal who forgets to take care of herself from time to time. I plan on enjoying the rest of my weekend as a stylish New Yorker.

After two hours in the hot seat, I think I've earned myself some pizza. I'm signing off to go find some.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Card Making with a Professional Crafter

This is what happened when I suggested making valentines with my neighbor the other day. (And this is just the half of it.) There is actually a machine out there that can turn a piece of paper into a sticker, then emboss it, cover it in glitter, and laminate it. Technology, you never cease to amaze me.

This evening I board a red eye and will wake up in New York to celebrate my 30th birthday with my fabulous friends, who I referred to as my urban family for four years. I've been away for six months and I think it's about time I stop in for a visit. Will keep you posted!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Even if you dislike this holiday or the artificial commercialism it can represent, I wish you a happy one anyway. Whether you are single or in couplehood, it is a great excuse to wear pink and eat extra chocolate for a day. To couples: don't let Hallmark put a price tag on your mate. To singles: don't let Hallmark make you feel lonely.

Wherever you are, be happy. This is a day to love each other, but don't forget to love yourself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cheesecake in Paradise

Last week I had friends over for dinner and was so happy with how my dessert turned out, I had to share it with you. Even though I'm a classically trained pastry chef, it never ceases to amaze me when eggs, sugar, flour and butter mix together and become something else entirely.

I've been making cheesecakes at work that consistently fall short- they crack on the surface, or leak out the pan when baking, or the center is too soft when the top turns out just perfect.

That's why I am delighted with this cheesecake recipe from I scaled down the recipe since I only had a pound and a half of cream cheese. This made the cake much flatter and cooked faster, but it also made a smoother texture than the dense cheesecakes I'm used to. The site also offers lots of tips on how to prevent those common cheesecake pitfalls.

I served it with blood orange sauce- just juice reduced to 50 percent, no sugar added. Here are pics before it was devoured in one sitting.

Added with blood orange sauce. Can I rename it Brooklyn Cheesecake?

Go here for the recipe. This may be the only cheesecake I make from now on.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Another Day at the Office

It's not every day that I will fake kiss a pig carcass, but the kitchen crew is prepping for a pig roast this weekend.

My first pig roast was in college, when a friend of a friend worked for a party rental company and borrowed a tow-behind grill. He scored a half pig, literally cut down the middle from nose to tail. It was a little grisly at first, but that went away as it kept getting injected with more and more beer as it crackled over the coals. I knew at my first bite that pig roasts would be part of my future.

When I lived in the Berkshires, a good friend of mine did a pig roast with her family almost every year, but they always buried it in the ground, which is less maintenance and keeps the meat from drying out. I will have to get the details on how the restaurant pig is getting prepared, but will keep you in the loop when the party rolls around.

Now I'm off to enjoy my "Friday" before having a couple days off! Enjoy your Wednesday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Not Me, It's You

I can't lie to you. I've been unhappy about this for a while. I've tried to give it my all, but try and try as I might, this just isn't working. I thought I was ready for a website, I thought you'd be easy to use, but let's be honest. We're not a match.

It's tough throwing in the towel. I've wanted to overcome some of my techie obstacles, but it's taking too much away from writing and from readers. Leaving comments is too complicated, the site is slow, my photos are grainy and weird, I have to pay for the site every year. And the bottom line- I just don't need all the features of a website at this point when I'm only blogging.

So goodbye, mac website design program, and I'm happy to be back to Blogger! Thanks for your patience, readers. I think things will be better for us from here on out.

Onward and upward!