Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Cookie Recipe

It makes me sad that the holiday has become so commercialized and is geared so much toward children. I wish to highly recommend a tradition that was alive for many years in my own family until she moved away. My older sister bakes cookies every year and was one of the inspirations for my foray into culinary school.

So, yearly I was allowed to help bake and decorate stockings, Santa’s, present and other cookie cut outs, which I remember fondly (oh, yeah and I always got to lick the beaters!) as we played with colored frosting and sugar. So you can imagine my delight when she actually agreed to part with her recipe! I nearly died. Then she said I could share with you! So here it is:

Carrie’s Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 F

2/3 c butter
¾ c sugar
1 egg
4 tsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp grated orange peel
2 c flour
1½ tsp baking powder

Thoroughly cream butter, sugar, orange peel & vanilla. Add egg; beat fluffy. Stir in milk. Sift dry ingredients; stir in.
Chill at least one hour, though two is best.
On a floured surface roll ½ the dough to 1/8” thickness, cutout with cookie cutters. Chill remaining dough until ready to use. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, making sure they are not touching. Bake 6-8 minutes until light brown.

Frost as desired.

You have to promise that you will make these with your kids, your favorite niece or nephew, maybe just your not so little younger siblings. The memories you create will be the best treasures of the holiday.

On That note, happy Christmas, Solistice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Yule Holiday!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Loft Liqueurs-Organic and Sustainable!

I recently had the enjoyable experience of meeting Lisa Averbuch, the brain behind Loft Liqueurs. These are organic, sustainable and kosher creations that enchant the tongue.

The three signature flavors are Lavender Cello, which is lovely, delicate and highly enjoyable.

The Lemongrass Cello is light with a golden colour and a very pleasant taste.

My own favorite was the Ginger Cello, a snappy bouquet & spicy, with a not overdone on the palate tingle.

The current seasonal flavor is Tangerine Cello, which brought to mind my Grandfather’s Tangerine tree which grew in the backyard during my childhood. The pop of the fruit was just like it was when I was a kid.

I was also lucky enough to try some of Loft’s future seasonal flavors, the Blueberry, which would by far be better mixed with Vodka than drinking blueberry vodka, and the Raspberry, which was sweet and tart, much the way a real berry is!

I highly encourage you to try these Liqueurs if you have a chance. And I suggest you check them out online. This is a product worth supporting. I want to drink the best of what there is on offer, and I hope you do too!

For more on Loft, make sure you check out my show (link)

To order:

A votre sante!

A Great Discovery for the body!

Wandering through the Crocker Galleria Farmer's Market last month I came across a small booth that had bath & body products. I stopped and talked to the nice lady that was there and I am so glad I did! Naturally Delicious Skin rocks!

So you know, this small operation is literally mom, pop and kids! Jay is the mother, who sold me on the bath fizzies! I bought some and turned one over to my boss, whose girlfriend absolutely loved it.

I tried them and to be honest, I love them. I am allergic to everything, but I am happy to report that products smell wonderful and they don't make you break out. They use only the best of all natural ingrediants and everything is made in small batches by the family, which is one of the reasons I am happy to support them.

Yesterday I bought more fizzies and a bath bar scented with Neroli. It was very hard to choose as everything smelled yummy. I settled on Neroli and said it smelled sexy and Ed told me they actually have a scent called Sexy, so I think I might have to get that one next!

Please check out their website and so go visit at the Farmer's Market. They have some great holiday sets and lost of great stuff for teens, so buy local and support a nice hard working family!

Even nicer, here is their wonderful thank you!:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

The past three years I have lost some pretty precuious people. Three years ago my soul mother, two years ago my adopted nana and this year my brother. Loss is never easy. Yet this year instead of dwelling on that, I want to say this:

I am so lucky and so blessed. So many people have been loving and supoortive. Good things have happened to me. Life isn't perfect, but what fun would that be? So this year, while eating, drinking and enjoying your dinner, take the time to enjoy your loved ones as well.

With so much change and turbulence in the world today there is no telling what might happen next. So give love. Give thanks. Take hold of your dreams. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beaujolais Nouveau

Every year people wait with unbridled anticipation for the release of one of the most famous beverages ever created. The third Thursday of November, is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. For devotees of the Gamay grape that is aged from 6-8 weeks before its release, this is one of the most exciting times of the year.

This is not to be confused with the other Beaujolais produced from that same region, which actually produces more wine than just about any other. Due to a surplus that went on until a few years ago that was created by the nouveau craze, we are now seeing more aged wines coming out of the area.

Intended for the instant gratification of its purchasers, this light and barely tannic wine is not meant to languish on a shelf to age. As with many other styles of wine, to bear the name of Beaujolais, it must be grown and bottled in that region.

The wine has humble beginnings, starting as a local custom to celebrate the end of the harvest. In ’51 the date was set as November 15th, christened with its name and a new tradition was born. Of course, now the date is the third Thursday of November.

Wine enthusiasts both love and hate this one. While they want more from a wine as far as the flavor profile, they cannot resist the pull of the celebration that accompanies this yearly release.

For those in the know it is an indicator of how the coming wine season will be, based on the smaller producers, rather than the largest purveyors. It is a way for the wineries to cash flow easily and quickly, even if not perfectly.

This is a wine that most would classify as fruity, and certainly light. Easily drinkable,
with a light body it has been known to win over even the snobbiest of wine connoisseurs.

The question might be, why?

It gives even the most discerning palate pause, because we all need a moment in which we can celebrate. This is a wine you can buy and take to a holiday dinner to be enjoyed. Not everything needs to be savored right? I know that in my family, a couple of bottles of the Beaujolais Nouveau would not go amiss.

So today is the day for you to go to wherever you like, to find a bottle of Nouveau, maybe grab a slice of pizza or enjoy some mussels in broth with some crispy bread. If you get thirsty you can always enjoy two! There are plenty of options in the Bay Area:

Left Bank
Mr. Smith’s 34 7th St., San Francisco,
Peche Mignon 147 Clement Str, San Francisco

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Napper Tandy

Napper Tandy on Urbanspoon

The Napper Tandy is the last place in San Francisco one might look for an Irish Pub. At 24th and South Van Ness, here it sits...

Enter and there is a small bar which allows for infinite intimacy with the bartender and the person next to you. Or if you are sitting on the opposite side of the small room, it means you may know more about the annoying guy at the bar than you really wanted to.

This is our first stop on our hunt for the best fish and chips in the Bay Area, and we have stopped by on the recommendation of one of the bartenders.

After a warm greeting we sit at a table, order a black & tan and a mimosa. The food takes a while after we order so we sit and chat with the nice man at the next table, a delight character named Harmon.

When the food comes the fish is beautiful. Four crispy battered fish lay atop a bed of fries. It comes with a little tub filled with tarter sauce, and cole slaw.

Thew fish is nice, real chunks of flaky fish in a crunchy batter. sadly it doesn't hold any flavor and to get it to hold salt you need a good dose of vinegar.
The tarter sauce is tasty, but the fries...oh the fries....

The fries are neither hot, nor crispy. To be the side of such lovely fish, i longed for hot, crunchy, salty fries!

The Napper Tandy is all in all a good bar. The atmosphere is fun, the people are nice service (read: bartenders) are great and it is worth stopping by and staying for a while.

3 cupcakes (out of 5)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Seeking spirits that are Sustainable

In a world were resources are changing, as is our attitude towards them, I was intrigued to find that there are more alcohols being created from sustainable sources. I wanted to share that, so here we go! is an Acai based spirit and $1 from the sale of each bottle goes to help the rainforest are distilled, premium American grains, flavored with Florida Oranges creates small batches of vodka made organic white corn

Bison Brewery, a Berkeley company, makes organic beer. Check it out! though the site is not up yet, keep your eye out for these organic brewers, also out of California

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vibrational Healing Elixirs

Vibrational Healing Elixirs

Attending the Oakland Museum Hosted Best of the East Bay by the East Bay Express, we saw some good art, some bad art and some wild people.

The coolest part of the event for me though was the vibrational healing elixirs by The Elixir Café. I was feeling tired before we got to the booth, and energized after we got to try some of the fantastic flavors they had on offer.

The Elixirs are made from the essence of gemstone, flowers and herbs. We were able to try the Oral Sublingual Botanicals and the Potent Potable Cordials. We sampled The Bridge which is to help with grounding and is good for both men and women to balance excess yang.

Next up was Miriam’s Heart Elixir, a delicate lightly floral tincture meant to help with love, forgiveness and the courage to follow your heart, and the flavors danced on my tongue with delight.

Lavender Fields Forever helps boost the bliss and restores inner peace. Subtle, floral and again delightful on the palate, and worth exploring further. The tincture was fairly light with the cordial presenting a much stronger and open flavor.

My favorite of the bunch was the tantalizing Star Fire Cordial. With each one we tried the tinctures first, and with this one the tincture didn’t wow me. Once I tried the Cordial however, I was convinced that there was indeed magic afoot. My brother said it exploded in his mouth and he could taste it long after we had walked away, and it was his favorite as well.

Star Fire is enchanting. The flavor is bright and sort of pops in the mouth as it rolls across the tongue. Meant to heighten awareness, increase stamina and boost the body’s immune system, I could actually feel it working as we stood there.

If you have the opportunity to try these elixirs, I recommend it. They are worth it just for the sheer interest factor of trying something so delicious created from herbs and gem essence.

The Elixir Café