Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feeling Sated

Sunday after I got homei went into a bit of a cooking/baking frenzy.

This came on top of making soup, bread and potato tacos over the holiday, so I was still in the mode for it I guess.

So I made a leek & apple tart and cupcakes.

Yesterday, I brought my friends at work each a chocolate cupcake with rosewater frosting.

For myself, my lunch consisted of a few pieces of crunchy bacon and a slice of leek tart with a few beets on the side.

My revelation was that I eat everyday at work, yet am never sated.

After I ate, I felt pleased. I made such a lovely crust, the leeks were so flavorful and the apple was still a bit crisp.

This then is what has been missing.

I just finished MFK Fisher's 'Gastromical Me' and I think that is part of it: the feelings produced by good, honest food.

In the wrong company, wonderful food can taste like sawdust.

The act of creating your own food is worthwhile and may be what finally leaves you feeling relaxed, happy & sated.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Delightful Aperitif



The Europeans have it right. How so? Ah the aperitif: an alcoholic drink enjoyed before a meal. Then there is the Digestif, such as brandy, which comes after the meal.

Before you invite some friends over, here are some of the choices:

Ah well, sparkling wine, for one. Sherry and other fortified wines, such as Vin Maison. Pastis.

In France you can join friends in a local café to enjoy a drink before you go off on your separate ways to take pleasure in a meal, or perhaps eat one together.

When invited to someone’s home, you enjoy your aperitif for a half hour to an hour, enjoy some small tasty tidbits & conversation, then amble your way to your meal, leaving your hosts to theirs.

I love the idea of an aperitif, of taking the time to enjoy a nice drink, a little snack and a pleasing conversation. These are the things I would like to see more of: the time taken to relax and treasure these moments. Even nicer is the fact that there are also plenty of non-alcoholic options so anyone can enjoy!

Need some ideas for appropriate edibles? Olives, nuts, mini savory tarts and puff pastries. Even some easy fresh vegetables, cheese or baguettes with a yummy spread. Really, the possibilities are endless…

So grab yourself some lovely glasses, so great conversationalists and your favorite aperitif & nibble. Life is mean to savored and now is the time to begin!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What You Should Be Buying Organically

Organic is a big buzzword these days and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. However, there are some foods that are more important that others when it comes to eating clean.

Some foods, such as bananas, melons and avocados have thick enough skins that the low amounts of pesticides used on them usually don’t make much difference between conventional and organic.

Here are some of the top foods that you should be eating organically to avoid pesticides, heavy metals and general contamination:


Beets

Green Beans

Bell Peppers

Carrots

Almonds, Peanuts and Pecans

Strawberries

Celery

Apples & Pears

Raspberries

Citrus

Potatoes

Stone Fruits

Dairy and Eggs

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Foodbloggers go wild!

what happens when a bunch of food bloggers get together and start eating drinking and tweeting?

well, we might not remember if there hadn't been pictures!...and video....

Mustache party

Heather rocks the stache in new ways!

Lipstick. No really. Just watch it!

Biggie and her stache drink some water....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving Beyond your comfort zone

Why is it that if you are African American and a chef, you are expected to always cook ‘soul food’?

Don’t get me wrong, I love good soul food. But give me a well cooked French, Italian or Mexican meal and I am more than happy to dine with gusto.

Moving beyond the comfort food zone has never been easier. Everything from vegetables & fruit to beer are seasonal. Even meat & cheese are seasonal, so you can always be eating the freshest food available.

Much of the food that is considered classic soul food today, was created by slaves who were forced to eat scraps left by their masters. Cooks were adept at creating something from nothing. What would they say though, if they could grow their own food for themselves and had access to the freshest food obtainable?

As winter looms, the seasonal choices are vast: apples, basil, figs, sprouts, squash, avocados, pears, sweet potatoes, persimmons, and pomegranates. With such a bounty, the old ways of soul food can be reborn.

I have only recently become a sweet potato fan, as I hate them with marshmallows…. Here is how I like them:

Sweet Potato mash

Take one sweet potato, peel and chop it.

Boil that darling root until soft, add a bit of butter, salt & pepper as you mash it, and I promise that it will be the best most delicious food you have ever eaten.
Simple, pure, and best of all, inexpensive.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Almond Muffins with Stephanie Stiavetti

I really know very little about baking Gluten Free, and since so many of my friends are gluten free I thought I better get a handle on the situation. I called upon my friend Stephanie the force behind Wasabimon.

She delightfully agreed to come on the show and teach us how to make these wonderful Almond Muffins with blueberries and peaches. She also throws in a fast easy lesson for you on how to make vanilla extract!

So, here are the recipe and the photos, courtesy of Ms. Wasabimon herself. Enjoy the show... and the muffins!




Blueberry Peach Almond Flour Muffins (grain, dairy, and gluten free!)

This recipe was adapted from The Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet, by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass. If you're interested in working more with almond flour, I highly recommend this book!

Makes 12 muffins.

2 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill, available in most grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup frozen peaches, defrosted and diced
1/2 cup frozen blueberry, defrosted and diced

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

In a mixing bowl, mix almond flour, baking soda and salt. Add vanilla and eggs, mixing until well incorporated. Add honey and fruit, stirring well.

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffins cups - you should fill them about 2/3 full. Bake about 30 minutes, or until muffins are slightly browned on top and an inserted knife comes out clean.




*we enjoyed them with real butter, but they would be fantastic with some really good jam!

Vanilla Extract

You can listen to the show here

For more on Stephanie, click here! Stephanie Stiavetti

Want more Luna? well great, go ahead and see what's up! podcast

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December



This month has all ready been jam packed with greatness for me! I have met up with my food blogger friends from Twitter/Foodbuzz, been to a molecular mixology class, a beef tasting, and underground dinner AND signed up for a meat CSA. whew, and that is all just since the 4th!

So i need to catch up and write about some more food buzz stuff and write about all of the above. Watch this space kids, its gonna get filled with gooey goodness!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cocktails, what is your favorite?

What is the definition of a cocktail? A drink of often dissimilar ingredients. Hmmmm….

I love a good, simple cocktail. For the last four years I have leaned toward the Maker’s Mark and Ginger ale (easy rocks), a drink I was turned onto by my fellow chef sister Jennifer.

It is amazing the amount of combinations that can be created and the amount of new liquors that are born every day. Even better is the amount of spirits are coming out that are organic and sustainable.

A few years ago you couldn’t walk into a bar and order a Harvey Wallbanger, Tom Collins, or Sidecar without getting some odd looks from your bartender. After all many a bartender we encountered didn’t know how to make them!

I had the worst Old Fashioned of my life in one of my favorite bars and vowed to never order another one from that particular person, no matter how nice she is.

Today though we meet more bartenders and mixologists that can make the most obscure cocktail, such as the Blood & Sand which I tried at Foodbuzz fest.

Whether you enjoy your vodka, scotch, whiskey or bourbon on the rocks, straight or with tonic/water, there are plenty of brands to try.

What’s your favorite cocktail? What is your favorite brand of any of the above? I would love to hear feedback on this one to see what others are imbibing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Classic Cocktails

Classic cocktails are enjoying a resurgence. I think that with all that is going on in the economy and the world, it is nice to have something safe and familiar to always turn to here. I grew to love them after I started reading the Phryne Fisher mysteries, as that classic lady's magnificent Mr. Butler keeps her thirst well at bay!

Here a few that you might give a try:

White Lady Cocktail

2 oz gin
2 oz Cointreau
1 oz lemon juice

Mix all ingredients, shake over cracked ice and pour into a cocktail glass. I am a fan of the White Lady. I will say however, to make a great classic drink, you need to magical touch of a talented mixologist or bartender!

Tom Collins

4 oz gin
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp fine sugar
6 oz club soda

Combine first three ingrediants in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Add club soda and stir.

Whiskey Sour

4 oz whiskey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp sugar

Mix and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Stinger
Try it straight up or on the rocks.

4 oz brandy
1 1/3 oz white crème de menthe

Stir well and pour into glass.

Looking for someone to come to you and make you something wonderful to tickle your palate? here in San Francisco please check out the delightful Rye SF!

have a favorite cocktail? Let's have a drink! lunaraven.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some Notes On Italian Wine

Wine Grape Varieties

Over the years I have had the chance to learn quite a bit about wine, especially Italian. I have had wines that are amazing, and wines that are just not that good. Here is some of what I have gleaned:

Chardonnay – Chardonnay can range in styles from crisp and structured, through full and rich, all the way to syrupy and fat. Flavors roam from citrus to tropical fruits, to smoke and butter, and even herbs and red raspberry. The origins and best examples of Chardonnay come from the Burgundy region of France. It is also a crucial component of Champagne and most other sparkling wines. Chardonnay grows with some success in every wine producing country on earth, with Portugal seemingly the only exception.

Grechetto – Hearty varietal, full bodied white. Commonly with aromas of wildflower and lime. Also used to create Vin Santo. Central and Southern Italy

Italian Riesling – E Europe/N Italy, sweet with low acidity, also known as Walschriesling

Malvasia – Rich brown or soft white wines that is one of the styles of Madeira, and used in Vin Santo & Negromaro. Known as Malvoisie in France

Pinot Gris – heavy, fill bodied whites. Common characteristics: lemon, pear, apple, vanilla, almond. Pinot Grigio in Italy

Trebbiano – Aroma and flavors of citrus fruits and almonds very common. Natural acidity. Central Italy

Verdicchio – Verdicchio can range from zingy and citrusy to plush and elegant to almondy and bitter on the finish. Central Eastern Italy

Vernaccia –Versions of Vernaccia include the light frizzante red wines of Vernaccia di Serrapetrona found in The Marches on the Adriatic coast and Vernaccia di Cagliari which is a fortified wine similar to sherry that can be found on the island of Sardinia. The most famous of these is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, the great white wine of Tuscany.

Vermentino – An Italian varietal that can be found extensively throughout the regions of Sardinia, Corsica, and especially the Cinque Terre D.O.C. on the Italian Riviera (Liguria). Vermentino is a very aromatic varietal combining notes of citrus, fresh grass, herbs, and almonds with a crisp and acidic framework. On the island of Corsica it is known as Malvoisie de Corse.

Aglianico – Aromas and flavors of black fruits, smoke, dark chocolate and even iron are common. Aglianico is southern Italy's greatest grape, with the best expressions coming from the D.O.Cs Taurasi in Campania and Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata, where it grows in the volcanic ash on the slopes of Mount Vulture. It can also be found in the warm climates of Riverland (South Australia) and Nemea (Eastern Greece). It is a good match for roasts and game.

Barbera – Dark, fruity, sharp. One of the most important Italian grapes, the Barbera produces half of all the red wine found in northern Italy. Can range from light and tart to hearty and robust, factors which are determined by the age of the vines and the amount of oak ageing. Flavors and aromas of cherries, plums, red currants and raspberries are common. Piedmont produces the highest quality. 5th most widely planted grape in California.

Brunello – First cultivated in the 19th century by Ferrucio Biondi Santi, today Brunello di Montalcinos are the greatest expressions of Tuscan Sangiovese. Brunellos are big, intense, complex and expensive. The DOCG of Montalcino also has specific standards regarding yield, harvest dates, ageing and quality.

Cannonau – Grenache grown in the gorgeous island of Sardegna, also called Alicante.

Dolcetto – Soft, seductive dry red from Piedmont. “Dolcetto” means ‘Little Sweet One.’ Dolcetto wines have a very full pigment as well as aromas and flavors of cherries, plums, almonds and anise. They have low acidity levels and are delicious young though they may age gracefully for up to ten years.

Grignolino – Table wine, Piedmont. The wines are very fresh with aromas of fresh herbs and light red fruits. Fruity aromas, floral notes and spice are common. Good with high content foods.

Lambrusco – The Lambrusco is distinct for its fizzy red foam and perfumed aromas. Lighter in body, Lambrusco can be a touch sweet and makes for a very refreshing summertime red. Look for lots of light red fruits, and drink it young. Also grown to a lesser extent in Argentina.

Montepulciano – Wines from the Montepulciano are rich with red and black fruits. A vigorous varietal widely grown in central Italy.

Nebbiolo – Nebbiolo grows almost exclusively in the northwestern reaches of the peninsula, most notably Piedmont, where it thrives in the DOCGs Barolo and Barbaresco. Fine Nebbiolo can also be found in Gattinara, Ghemme and Carema under the synonyms of Spanna, Chiavannasca and Picutener. Considered a high end varietal, it pairs well with rich, strong flavored meats and stews, as well as dry, strong, aged cheeses.

Sangiovese – Sangiovese has an affinity for limestone soils, but it can also be found as the base of many an Italian wine such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Rosso Piceno and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. When blended with international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Sangiovese has created a niche as part of the wines called "Supertuscans."

Vin Santo – see Malvasia & Grechetto

Have a favorite Italian wine you'd like to share? Please let me know!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Me, over the top? Nah...not much.



Waaaaay back in October my friend Heather nominated me for an Over The Top award. I accepted....yet I somehow never actually put it on my blog....so, here you go!

This is one of those meme things, so here’s a little about me…

1. Where is your cell phone? The Dog may have eaten it. He's small but feisty.

2. Your hair? Dark brown with auburn highlights. Once it goes all white, it will lavender.

3. Your mother? Click here: Momster

4. Your father? He got a tribute on Father's day.

5. Your favorite food? Bacon, duck, cacao, and strawberries!

6. Your dream last night? dunno. my dreams are usually wacky tho.

7. Your favorite drink? wine, Champagne or really good whiskey.

8. Your dream/goal? To have my own clothing line. To have a non profit that teaches girls to cook. To be a master tea blender/have a tea shop. To do a food/travel show.

9. What room are you in? ze library

10. Your hobby? Cooking, beading, painting, singing, being crafty – pick one!!

11. Your fear? being like the momster.

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? someplace with more space and a bigger kitchen

13. Where were you last night? at work :)p

14. Something that you aren’t? happy with my job or apt

15. Muffins? I’m more of a scone kind of gal, have you had my scones? Then you’ll know why. (That was Heather's answer. This a gauntlet. Lavender scones or cherry chocoate, lady? Bring it!)

16. Wish list item? Digital camera and a portable digital recorder.

17. Where did you grow up? I’m a California grrl

18. Last thing you did? what the hell does that even mean?!

19. What are you wearing? Black, purple and cream

20. Your TV? Dollhouse

21. Your pets? Monkey!

22. Friends? A few really close, loving BFF’s, I’m so lucky

23. Your life? Rebuilding rapidly

24. Your mood? Oh you know!

25. Missing someone? My nephew Chris, who is headed to Afghanastan

26. Vehicle? Zipcar, baby

27. Something you’re not wearing? my cincher

28. Your favorite store? Sur la Table!

29. Your favorite color? Purple!!

30. When was the last time you laughed? earlier when I saw that kitten playing!

31. Last time you cried? Thanksgiving. I was stressed.

32. Your best friend? currently in transition. But I am very close to my brother.

33. One place that I go to over and over? No longer avail. Sadly, my Rabbit Hole belongs to someone else.

34. One person who emails me regularly? we text alot around here

35. Favorite place to eat? Home. Or one of 10 favorite places.

Thank you, Heather!!

I’m passing this on this award to a few folks with no obligation or expectations or anticipation they will try it. I Just a fun, silly, rainy day thing to do! And I would love to know their answers.

Stephanie, who is incredibly fun

The Duo Dishes, two times the fun!

Jay D, a tried and true gent from Baton Rouge!

Mollena, whose answer will be worth it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Green Tea Liqueur Zabglione Shots



One of the things that happened while I was at the street food portion of Foodbuzz fest was that I fell into conversation with Caitlin from Skyy spirits. One of the things I love to do is find a way to make spirits more than just cocktails. She offered to send me a product that I am still working with and something else. I chose the Zen Green Tea Liqueur.



After some deliberation, I decided that I would make a dessert and use the liqueur to make a sauce. Zabaglione is one of my favorite desserts ever in the whole world, and is also fairly easy to make into a sauce.

6 yolks
1 c Zen Green Tea Liqueur
1/3 c sugar

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl to blend. In a double boiler (a metal bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling!!) water). Whisk for about 5 min. I actually did 3 1/2-4 minutes so it would be more saucy.

Be attentive or your eggs will curdle and you'll have to start over! Once it is tripled in volume, remove from heat and place into a bowl of waiting ice. If you need to, you can strain it. Once cool, let chill.



The cake didn't come out quite the way I hoped, but the kiwi and Zen were a great combination, the slightly bitter tea matching with the sweetness of the kiwi in a way that made me quite happy.



Oddly enough, all four of my testers ate the cake quickly and downed the leftover (in the little plastic shot glass). Each said that for dessert, they wanted the zabaglione to be sweeter, but loved the bitterness of the tea as a refreshing and tasty shot. Who knew?

Give it a try and let me know what you think: dessert or drink shot? Maybe you'll see this on my next menu!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving of the thanks

This year Thanksgiving is going to be on the fly. We got games hens, which we will be doing for the first time.

I'm going to make stuffing from Simply Recipes. a pumpkin mousse tart (pie) from Ina Garten & just wing the rest.

This may sound scary, but one of my friends pointed out I love that kind of stuff. Stand me in the center of a chaotic kitchen & I don't panic, I rock it.

Due to the fact that I am starting tonight, there will be some shortcuts, so I will post about how that works out.

In the meantime, many are the blessings to be thankful for, so don't forget its not (all) about the eating.

Blessings to you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Foodbuzz Fest: Street Food

Cocktails and street food were for meeting, greeting and creating. We had a central spot close to the oysters which was perfect. One could wander off, get some yums and come back to find new faces wandering about.

First of all, I just really appreciate Elise from Simply Recipes who is a real pleasure to talk to and about more than just food. Second, she is a great resource. I love a person who likes to share knowledge, kindness and is adorable to boot.

RyeSF was pouring cocktails using Skyy, and Roli Roti had the most kick ass porchetta ever!

The Pie Truck had a gruyere & steak pocket pie that made you smile. I love talking to the creators of good food, as you will usually find that people who make good food, are good themselves. No really! test this theory out, if you meet someone who isn't very nice, their food, well...



The Coconut Almond Cupcakes were insane they were so good. Trust me, I am a coconut snob. I know the real deal.



Midi provided the apps while we were at Hotel Vitale. The puffs were filled with bacon cream and were incredible.



At Hog Island, our friendly shucker is Ian the Executive Chef of Hog Island in the Ferry Building. This is also where I met Amir, one half of the Duo who Dishes! This is sort of funny because someone was trying to get him to try the oysters even as he protested. He gently kept saying he didn't like them even as the flavor got to him. We convinced him oysters are love. I also met the funny and cute Jess, so check out her site!



I also discovered that I really love crispy pork skin. Thank you 4505! Seriously, my dad would be your biggest fan!

Street food was crazy The meeting and creating of relationships with so many people of like mind. The really great part is that I met others who I relate to about more than just food. This is certainly the best one I have attended this year!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Foodbuzz Fest, Cocktails, baby!

Cocktails at Hotel Vitale was fantastic because you cannot believe the view. We could across the Bay, looking out at the Bay Bridge and the Clock above the Ferry Bldg. It was night, and it was a unbelievable!

Kristi introduced me to Ryan Adams (@nosetotailathome) who I will raave more about later! He went to drop his swag in his car and we worked our way up to the top of the hotel.

We walked onto the patio and just started chatting with people. A woman stuck out her hand and said "Hi, I'm Elise" and in typical Luna style, I went fan girl on her.

Me: "Oh my god!"

Elise: "Who are you?"

Me: "That totally doesn't matter, you're like, totally famous!!"

Lucky for me, she laughed and grabbed my badge. She then told me she'd be chilling with me for the evening. Wow.

Elise is amazingly open and down to earth. I don't mean because she is Simply Recipes. I mean because frankly, many people I meet are the opposite of open and cool. One of the most wonderful things about Elise is that if she likes you, she introduces you to everybody.

I met so many incredible people! In no particular order:

Patricia @brownies4dinner
Jay D @biteandbooze
Arnold @inuyaki
Diana @DianasaurDishes
Amir and Chrystal @theDuoDishes
Biggie @Biggie
Kristen @passion4eating
Gudrun @kitchengirl
Samantha @alphaprep
Jeff and Zoe @Artisanbreadin5

If I forgot you, please remind me, cause it ain't personal, I promise!

At the end of the night I finally met the one person I had actually been hunting high and low for. I am so happy to have finally met Stephanie Stiavetti with whom I have had plenty of crazy of convos with on Twitter. lest you think I am never gonna talk about the food, stay tuned, cause that is next!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foodbuzz Fest: the good, part 1

Where do I start? Well the day: I went to go meet Kristi (@austinfarm2table) for an ice cream adventure when went smashingly. We tried Bi Rite’s much exalted sea salt caramel and it most certainly lives up to its rep. Wonderfully creamy, a perfect balance of salt & caramel. Strangely perfect for rainy weather.



Next we wandered to Humphry Slocombe. If you haven’t done this, the walk holds some serious surprises, such as the completely magical front garden at the corner of 21st and Gurerro, which one of my friends assures me is indeed a residence.



I think I tried literally every flavor. Thai Chili Lime, the totally awesome fudgesicle, the ever popular secret breakfast, balsamic caramel, a lager (I don’t recall which one. I mean really, that’s a lot of ice cream!)



I love the kitsch factor at Slocombe as well as the really friendly service. I settled on (but didn’t finish) the Hot Mess, vanilla ice cream with marshmallow, butterscotch and bananas. I am sorry to say I wasn’t wild about the ice cream, which had a funky, sticky consistency.

I also got to try Kristi’s Foie Gras ice cream sandwich. The Foie Gras ice cream is odd tasting, but sandwiched between two ginger cookies, it’s a snappy, yummy little kick.



My favorite thing of all? The Boccalone lard caramel. Hell yeah, that is what I said! Lard caramels. Soft, creamy, with a slight spicy kick at the end. Oh. Wow.

Oh yeah, and the writing is certainly on the wall...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls



I really wanted to do cinnamon rolls, and I didn’t want to work too hard for them. So I decided that tackling Paula Deen’s recipe would be perfect. I love Chef Paula and I feel her recipes are straightforward and easy to use whether a chef or a home cook.


For the dough:
1 tbsp yeast
½ c warm water (my trick, if it’s too warm for your finger, it’s too hot!)
¼ c coconut milk + ¼ c regular milk, scalded (Paula uses regular milk only)
¼ c sugar
1/3 c butter
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 ½-4 c flour (I used half AP flour and ½ Whole Grain pastry flour)
And I added ¼ tsp Nutmeg for an extra spice layer.

Heat oven to 350 F. Dissolve yeast in a bowl with water. In a large bowl combine milk, sugar, butter, salt & egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix smooth. Add yeast. Mix in remaining dough and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in well greased bowl and cover to let rise.



For the filling:
½ c melted butter
¾ c sugar + 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (or more if you really love cinnamon ;)P )
¾ raisins, walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)

Once doubled in size, punch down and roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9 inch rectangle. Spread ½ c melted butter onto the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixed together over dough. Sprinkle with fruit or nuts that you desire. Roll up dough and pinch together at edge to seal. Cut into 12-15 slices.
Coat the bottom of your pan with butter & then sprinkle with sugar. Place rolls close together and let rise (half hour to 45 min.) Bake about 30 minutes. My oven runs hot so it was about 24 minutes.

While baking, combine:
4 tbsp butter
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3-6 tbsp hot water



Once your cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, combine all the ingredients for your glaze, minus the water. Add the hot water 1 tbsp at a time, until the glaze reaches your preferred consistency. We like it kind of thick and gooey, so I didn’t use a lot of water.

Allow your rolls to cool slightly, spread on frosting and enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chop Bar Brunch!



Chop Bar  on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Chop Bar is a fun and delicious experience. I went for the ham & cheese frittata...its huge and comes with potatoes fruit and mini toast. The ham is very flavorful and was the perfect pairing with my Michilada, a drink my soul mother would appreciate with gusto!




Althea was a huge bloody mary fan and would usually end up drinking mine to, as I would order one to see if I liked it and well, I usually never did. I really dig the Michilada which Jesse, one of the owners, made for me himself.
Jesse told me that this is a Mexican classic, and I can certainly see why. Bohemia Beer, fresh lime, spicy tomato juice, ice and salt. This drink will bring me back for brunch, you can be sure!

Chop Bar has a relaxed, cool atmosphere, though be warned, on the weekends they only serve brunch and dinner. They have a small, lovely little kitchen, but trying to turn over three menus in one day would be an amazing feat!



Frankly, I love Chop Bar, and the crew is awesome. If you want friendly, fun and easy going, make sure you visit!




Chop Bar
247 4th St #111, Oakland Ca
www.chopbar510.com

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Wine there is truth, or so says James King....

Looking to learn more about wine? Host a wine tasting for your friends or want to shake up your latest corporate shindig?

Then you need to listen to this fun and interesting interview with James King of King Group Events! Not only did I interview him, but I signed up for is news letter and so should you. Informative and fun!

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs Sat & Sun 7 pm EST, 4 pm PST: www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/

lunaraven.com/

Private Wine Tastings

*Wine education
*Winemaker dinners
*In-home wine tastings

Contact James King

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Aphrodisiacs

When one wants to talk aphrodisiacs, one goes to someone who knows a lot about them.

With the holidays coming, from Halloween to Valentines, I thought I would sit down with my friend Chef Kami and get some great tips that will help keep you healthy and invigorate your love life at the same time.

For more from Chef Kami on Facebook

The show airs Sat & Sun 7 pm EST, 4 pm PST: http://www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/

http://www.lunaraven.com/

Friday, October 9, 2009

This is my confession...

The last few weeks have been tough for me. For one, the loss of my laptop sucked, but the fact that the hardrive died was an unexpected blow. With its death, I lost a lot of research.

On top of that, I have been crazy busy and uninspired.

The last week or so though, people have been talking about things on twitter that have grabbed my interest. So, the bad news is the last two weeks of the show have been non existant.

The good news is that there are some cool new ideas coming up & some great things on the horizon. thanks for bearing with me and being so great!

Chef Luna

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Welcome neighborhood addition: Chop Bar

I walked past when they were working on it, and once after they opened for lunch. When Chop Bar announced they would be hosting a party, we decided to check it out.

I brought cookies to welcome them, them being Jesse, August and Lief (sp?). There was a whole pig, rice, beans, JC Cellars red wine and Linden St dark beer were flowing & the place was packed.

The SO & I claimed seats in the center of the bar & there we remained until the end. We got to chat with August & Jesse as they handed out drinks.

We actually started ordering for other people & handing out drinks to expidite, since it was a madhouse.

It was a great party & we are excited to try the regular menu. My only complaint is about some of the patrons: dude, when you are getting free stuff, be nice. Complain less, tip more.

If the service & food remain as consistantly good as at the party, the neighborhood has got a real winner.

A review of the dinner menu will be forthcoming. Go check it out!

Chop Bar
4 th & Jackson, Oakland
@chopbar on Twitter

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Carnivore Speaks

This past week, Becky @ChefReinvented, wrote a reflective piece on the ducks she served at a dinner. Our intrepid Chef Becky chose to participate in the butchering of the ducks from start to finish. Her post made me think, and I was a bit shocked by my own reaction.

When Becky spoke of the actual moment the final cut is made, my initial reaction was something like “augh!” followed by a swear word. My secondary reaction was the same swear word, utter less aggressively.

I am not really big on butchery. Having worked the grill, I have had to portion out meats, make sausage patties & hamburger patties and it’s not what I call fun. Yet in my mind I always thought I didn’t care for it because I would never want to kill something.

Chef Becky made me realize I just don’t like to get dirty.

I have known many a female chef who can butcher with no problems, yet I have worked with male chefs who hated it. What I wonder is, if we did have to hunt and kill our own food, who would survive? Who would be the best at hunting? It seems to me that it could be just as instinctual for women as men if not more so.

Add to that the fact that my dad grew up on a farm during the depression, I guess that though I am squeamish, perhaps not as much as I originally thought.

I was a vegetarian for a few years, once as a child and once in my late teens/early twenties. Trust me when I say it wasn’t a fad. A vegetarian in my hometown is like a vegetarian at a barbecue: out of place. Bryant Terry asked me what made me give it up the second time and I was honest: the burgers my family ate finally wore me down.

I think that you have do what is best for you in the end, whatever you are comfortable with. I try to eat at least one vegetarian meal a day and sometimes get in two. I eat meat, though we now favor organic meats with no hormones.

I guess the lesson here is, we really don’t know how certain actions make us feel until we try them. Tanks to Chef Becky for offering an honest and heartfelt post on such a personal life moment.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barefoot Contessa Family Style review

I won’t lie. I am more than a little in love with Ina Garten. After reading her story in the “Parties” book, I am became even more enamored. She made the most of an incredible opportunity and has become a great influence on women in the food industry such as myself.

“Family Style” is in my humble opinion, fantastic. Gorgeous pictures and simple recipes abound, beginning with the basics such as setting the table, cooking together and traditions. One of my favorite aspects of her books is that she talks about making a time table, and what to do in case disaster strikes.

Ina Garten shares recipes for many occasions & people: East Hampton Clam Chowder, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Tuna Tartare, Curried Chicken Salad, Fish & Chips, stuffed tomatoes and Frozen Key Lime Pie.

I love the coconut macaroons, and the sour cream pancakes (I used yogurt). I have made the chive biscuits many times, and they are always flaky, plus you can change out the chives for almost any herb.

There is a wonderful section on entertaining kids that even the most discerning kid would enjoy, while any initiate in the kitchen could make the recipes happen. There is also a recipe for marshmallows, which making with your kids would not only be fun, but would impress them to no end!

This is a cookbook I will still be using many years from now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So Cola, so yummy!


The Sisters of So Cola

What happens when two sisters come together to make chocolate? Tradtion + youth = delectable delights. Wendy & Susan Lieu are very different, yet compliment each other so well that you can see easily how this team is a success.

Making truffles since high school, Wendy is the pastry chef and Susan is her cheerleader. Or so it seems at first. The charm of these two sisters is their passion for making the most delicious chocolates, using the best ingredients & creating new flavor profiles.

Flavors? Oh, they are where the new & old world meet: Vietnamese Ca Phe Sira is a wonderful Vietnamese Espresso with organic condensed milk. Topped with French Chicory grounds, this is a lovely coffee treat.

Give it to Me Guava, I love because the only thing better than Pate de Fruit is chocolate covered Pate de Fruit!

I adore the Burnt Baby Burnt, an awesome burnt caramel with red Hawaiian sea salt that cretaes the perfect balance in a truffle.

The Guiness Truffle is a must try! Perfect for the Guiness lover, creamy & covered in gold dust!

The Notorious H.O.G.- Black Hawaiian sea salt & Applwood smoked bacon. Truthfully, I was was wary as the last bacon chocolate I had left me wanting. So Cola has it just right. Balanced, funky and oh so cool...

Also avail @ Foodoro.com

Listen to the interview with Susan and don't forget to go their site!

Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST: www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whole Wheat Star Shaped Biscuits

What is the perfect bread to go with a roast & potatoes? Biscuits!

I decided to pull out my copper star shaped cutters for a cute treat.


The most important thing to remember is not overknead them and to make sure your butter cut is throughly.

2 c whole wheat flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 tbsp butter (cut into small cubes)

3/4 c 1/2 & 1/2

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

Place flour, baking powder and salt in bowl, cut in butter.

Mix in 1/2 & 1/2 (I use a fork) until you get a cohesive dough. Fling flour on clean counter and knead to make sure it is not to wet or dry.

Preheat overn to 425.F

Roll out (sprinkle more flour if you need to) and cut out with cookie or biscuit cutters. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. You can also brush with egg white before baking or melted butter after, if you like a shiny biscuit.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Epicurious.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I learned in my Beer pairing class

If you have a chance to take a beer pairing class, or attend a beer pairing dinner, I highly recommend it. The class was taught by Bruce Paton, aka the Beer Chef and Craig Wathen of City Beer Store.


So what did I learn?


Tasting beer:

*Involve the senses
*start with a 2 oz pour, hold to light, swirl to open and smell
*roll over the tongue
*what is the after taste?

Pairing:

*Taste
*think about the flavor, what would go best with it?
*compliment, contrast & cut (when the taste buds are assaulted)

I learned about barrel aging, craft brewing, smoked beer and session beer

I am excited to learn more about beer pairing and cooking with beer. Be on the lookout for more on beer as I discover new and fabulous brews!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beer Pairing Class: Craig & Bruce



The beer pairing class I took has to be one of the most interesting classes I have ever had the chance to attend. I learned a lot, such s beer has essential vitamins in the yeast, the difference between session beer, Belgian style and barrel aging and all of the marvelous things you can make with beer.

Chef Bruce Paton and Craig Wathen of City Beer Store in SF were our guides through the world of beer. I am still a novice, so you can only imagine…I took two pages of notes! Since then, I had had the chance to try a few more really fantastic brews and I heartily recommend if you are in the Bay Area, you pop over to the Lake Chalet for the Regatta Red, the best red ale I have ever had the pleasure of trying.

Bruce Paton, aka the Beer Chef, has been serving up beer pairing dinners at the Cathedral Hill Restaurant since 1995. I personally cannot wait to attend one. He provided some nibbles to go with our beers.

The blonde Temptation ale, from the Russian River, was paired with gorgeous prawns & ginger scallion sauce. The ale itself was a crisp, lightly foamed sparkly delight with an unusual bouquet. I am planning in using this in a savory beer cheesecake. Yeah, you heard right!



For the Pliny the Elder, hoppy with a fruit bouquet, we had a deviled egg with scallion aioli & some Hawaiian sea salt. I could taste some spice in the beer, though I couldn’t quite decipher it. Clean and sharp, this is a good double IPA.



The Rogue Mocha Porter is pretty good, but since I first tried Rogue’s Chocolate Stout straight from a fresh keg, I am ruined forever! The Coffee bouquet goes well with the light chocolaty caramel flavor. This was paired with TCHO chocolate.




I highly recommend that you stop by City Beer Store and visit the Beer Chef for a tasting!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kettle Classics review

I was lucky enough to get asked to review Kettle Classic's multiple flavors and did so with gusto!

The Honey Dijon Mustard chips paired with an everything bagel, pepper brie and herbed salami. These are lovely, light flavor that are actually hard to stop eating. They are just the right balance of Dijon & honey that wakes up the tongue.

As a rule, I don’t care for sun dried tomatoes. However, the Sun Dried Tomato Basil chips are actually nice. I had some with San Pietro, an Italian cheese that is nutty & wrapped in beeswax. The texture hard, slightly sweet cheese went very well with the lovely tomato flavor.

The Spicy Jalapeno certainly tastes of Jalapeno, though I didn’t find them especially spicy. They are a pleasing side to a turkey with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a hint of mustard. They add a hint of spice which was just right. Paprika adds an extra kick of flavor, which I found just right.

If you want flavorful treats, these are a sure bet!

I haven't had the chance to try the Wasabi Ranch or African Red Devil Pepper, but will be sure to let you know when I do!

Kettle Classic

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cuisine Noir

Cuisine Noir Mag is leading the charge for a change in the way African-Americans eat. Now is the time for change, and that is just what publisher V. Sheree Williams is bringing to the table.

Armed with chefs such as Robert Dorsey III and articles on everything from travel to etiquette, V. Sheree's plan is to satisfy and otherwise untapped market. Good, healthy food is not just for the wealthy elite and she aims to prove it.

Listen to show and then head over to the website, to see the newest player in the food magazine world!


Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST: www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/


Stellkaya Winery

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Intoxicated Zodiac: astrology for your cocktail

Intoxicated Zodiac is such a fascinating concept. Gwen Sutherland Kaiser–mixologist, blogger and artist, amazing woman.

First of all, I could have talked to her for a long time, and I can't wait to talk to her again! I could ramble on about the marvelousness of Gwen all day, but I really think you should listen to the interview so you can hear what she has to say about herself.

Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST: www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/


Gwen's Tips:

*Use green liquours
*squeeze your own juice
*Talk to your bartender, how do you like your drinks?

Be sure to check out the website!

Baroscopes

Celestial Cocktail candles

Bar Ware

Friday, August 28, 2009

Luna's Pick of the Week: Redux: Coco Zen



I bought a chocolate lip balm and it was alright. Then I got my hands on a Coco Zen lip balm and discovered what I had been missing!

In so many fabulous flavors, Chocolate Chai, Chocolate Coconut, Chococlate Cappucino, Chcoolate Mint, Chocolate Orange Blossom and Chocolate Strawberry, my lips were feeling pretty good. Then I tried it: the ultimate lip scrub…cause its edible!! Oh yeah, I kid you not! And my lips have never been softer, sweeter or tastier

The best thing to do is order this: A lovely Lip Duo as it will allow you to get a great deal on the scrub and your favorite balm. Here is something else really cool: it is safe for your kids, too!

How good is this stuff really? My friend Chris was complaining about having dry lips. I, being the always prepared Aunt type, whipped my Chai Lip Balm from my pocket and presented it to him. He rubbed some on his finger, sniffed & rubbed it on his lips. This was followed by a happy smile.

So there you have it, loved by a woman who didn’t know she was craving edible lip scrub and enjoyed by a young man. A true crossover product. Even funnier? Thus far, my favorite lip balm is the Cappucino! Wonders never cease! Oh yeah and Joyce & Co are committed to using Fair Trade and Organic products, as well as being local to the San Francisco Bay Area.

So go to the website: Coco-Zen and don’t forget to follow Joyce, the one and only Coco Zen Mama on Twitter!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moving Beyond Pastry

I love pastry and being a pastry chef. The opportunities it affords for creativity are actually endless.

Lately I find myself turning to the Dark Side, as it were, reading Julia Child and Amanda Hesser just as I have always read Emily Luchetti and David Lebovitz.

Here's the thing: the more good food you eat, the more you want to. And because you want to eat good food, you need to know about good food. So you have to expand your reading.

*sigh*

Each good meal I have makes me crave the next: the first time we had duck, that perfect burger, the first time I tasted Foie Gras, or a piece of really good chocolate.

I admit that sometimes my cooking skills are sort of stretched to the limit but that just means I have room to grow. Each new book, The United States of Argula, The Primal Feast: Food, Sex, Foraging and Love, or In the Devil's Garden is shaping what comes next for me, what I am really to try, taste, learn and love.

I am excited about what lies ahead: next I will be learning more about canning and I have already been experimening with my own flavored liquors. The world of food is an endless wonder, which I am dying to explore!

I can't wait to do some foraging and gardening, learning more about bees and teaching my family about being sustainable.

Moving beyond pastry doesn't mean I am leaving my roots, just expanding and growing them. Thanks to all the people who love food and write about it. You make the world of food more interesting, worthwhile & fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Esculent Desires: Chef Kami cooks!


Chef Kami Redd serves up sensual cooking classes, events and so much more! With a new cookbook and body marinades on the way, this is one chef to keep an eye on! You want to know more?

Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST: www.radiodentata.com/RDplayer/lunaraven/

Esculent Affairs
Personal Service Specialist
Sensualistic Event Planning, Catering, & Erogenous Personal Chefs
"Experience Your Culinary Fantasy"


info@esculentaffairs.com
www.facebook.com/kami.redd
www.twitter.com/esculentdesires
pleasureprinciples.wordpress.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eat Real Fest

As we get closer to Eat Real, I get more and more excited!

I have actually convinced several of my friends to attend, and @EsculentDesires is actually coming in from Vegas for it!

This, my friends, is the power of love for food!

About Eat Real: Oakland has been in need of such a festival for a long time. This is not about the elite getting to eat, this is about community and heart.

Want to see who they are partenering up with? Check it out! Eat Real partners

Do what I did to help! Volunteer

See you there!

Luna's review of POPChips

PopChips

These popped chips are very interesting. They have a texture unlike anything I have every encountered before. I have seen them in the store many times, so it was a fun experience to try them at the Fancy Food Show.

The chips are made with natural ingredients and currently come in five flavors: Original, Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Parmesan and Barbeque.

The Barbeque was hands down my favorite, as having given up flavored chips for the most part due to the additives, I was so happy to have such a tasty and healthy chip! We have really come to love the black pepper and sea salt as snack, too!

It is certainly an interesting concept, no baking, no frying….just popping. Try them for yourself and see!

www.popchips.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Luna's Pick of the week: Pinky Vodka

I have to admit that Pinky Vodka was a bit of a challenge for me. The flavors were not quite what I was used to. I tried it over a scoop of fresh Peach sorbet, which was delicious.



I couldn't think of a what to combine it with, so I decided to call in the big guns. The flavor is unusual, wth roses, violets and other botanicals. I went to the Ruby Room where Sascha came up with a lovely cocktail that I think compliments the vodka nicely!

Ruby Fizz

In a rocks glass over ice:

1 pt Pinky Vodka
1 pt grapefruit
simple syrup to taste
splash lime
splash grenadine
splash soda water

This is a refreshing drink with just the right amount of fizz. A votre sante!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SF Chefs Food & Wine event review

I volunteered on Friday for the SF Chefs Food and Wine event, and what an event it was!

I started my morning by guiding people to a room where we would all get to hear about GeorgeAnne Brennan and Martin Yan's culinary journeys.

I have not yet read 'A Pig in Provence', though I now fully intend to.

It was amazing to be in the same room as Chef Yan, whose cooking show I watched every weekend, with my dad, when I was a kid.



Afterwards I got to hit the big tent, where I tried food from Lake Chalet's chef, Jared. Lake Chalet is opening in Oakland this next week, and I am really excited to taste more of the food! If this losbster deviled egg is any indication of Jared's talents, I am ready!



I loved, loved, loved Parke Ulrich of Waterbar's sweet corn soup with pickled shrimp, which had flavors that really expanded my palate's capacity.

Bi Rite Creamery was serving up Strawberry IC, but I really gotta try the Salted Caramel....

Roland Passot of La Folie was serving up (fantastic) corn mousse with bacon marinated scallops.



Mark Dommen of One Market was having fun with his crabcakes on a spoon.

Erik Hopfinger of Circa, had awesome fish tacos, Chef Eric, please forgive that lousy description, which doesn't do your dish justice!

It was a wonderful and amazing day, and there was so much more that happened, which is why there is more to come!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Wine Whore

Take one man who loves wine, one blog who will work for it and what do you get? The Wine Whore!

Randy is fun and very nice to put up with me!

This is the first of many conversations I hope to have with him and he has plenty to say on wine, stemware, bubbly, and wine pairings.

Take a listen, check out his site and a votre sante!

Luna's Kitchen Magic plays @ 4 pm EST and 7 pm PST Saturdays & Sundays

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wicked Grounds: Would you like some Kink with your coffee?


I actually looked Rose to see if she could create for me a nifty chef's jacket, something cool, funky and more me. As it turns out, she is capable of that and so much more!

She and her husband are opening San Francisco's first coffee house & kink boutique, right in the Folsom neighborhood! The spot is adorable and perfect for serving Ritual Coffee, Red Blossom Tea, delightful baked goods....and ropes?

Yep! I am actually not going to tell you all about the exciting kink surprises they have in store for you, since I really want you to go and support them! I will however give you one hint: Steampunk Kink, anyone?

Lovely people offering a lovely, much needed service is Wicked Grounds. So enjoy the interview and make sure you stop by and visit my favorite resident:

Wicked Grounds
@Wicked Grounds (Twitter)

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs Saturday & Sunday @ 7 p.m. EST

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rayun Syrah '08 Chile



The bottle says notes of cherry & blackberry w/vanilla & mocha. I spent $8 @ the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

My take: It has a light, floral bouquet, a flavor that compliments spicy lentils and a gently jammy mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a sexy purple color & light tannins. A great bargain! This is one I will certainly pick up again.

Eat Real Fest '09

I for one am very excited about the Eat Real Fest, coming to a place near me (yeah!!) in August. The 28-30th to be exact.

According to the site, there will be a canning exchange, a butchery contest andf some foraging going down. Homebrewers, cupcakes and street food will be playing starring roles.

Oakland really needs this type of event. It will help showcase all the elements that make eating fresh food pleasurable. As I have been learning more about food justice and also forbidden foods, my view of food is taking new turns.

Eat Real and its compatriets are challenging food sterotypes, introducing a whole new crop of people to the fresh, the new, real food. This is an amazing opportunity for Oakland to join together & learn something beneficial for the entire community!


Eat Real Fest

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foodzie - Taste Something Different

Meet Foodzie, the San Francisco purveyors of Artisan products that would not otherwise have wide distribution.

I had the chance to sit down with Emily Olsen to find out more about the company and its offerings.

You can see my review of Aequare and check out DAS Foods Lollipops who's Ginger Lollipop was a Luna's pick of the day on April 24th.

Foodize is doing a wonderful thing by helping artisans to reach the people who would love to enjoy their products! Check them out and all the wonderful artisans they work with: Foodzie

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Panna Cotta w/Cherries



A few weeks ago I had the overwhelming urge for Panna Cotta. Who better to turn to than the pastry prince himself, David Lebovitz

This recipe is perfect, and the only thing I could think of to change it in anyway wa to add fresh cherry bits, which was insanely delicious! Thanks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Luna's Pick of the Day: Ravenswood '05 Zinfindel

Juicy mouthfeel, not too fruity, well balanced.

We enjoyed this wine w/bbq chicken sandwhiches and the combo was perfection!

The berry adds a light sweetness that is pleasant. This is one wine I will certainly enjoy again!

Ravenswood Winery

Strawberry Cupcakes!

I was one of the lucky people to asked to participate in the Cupcake Crawl hosted by @TheGourmetGirl! This was a real honor for me, so I went all out. You may laugh, but as a pastry chef, I a cupcake novice, so I have really just gotten started the last few months on creating some.

My choice for the Crawl:

Strawberry Cupcakes w/Strawberry Liqueur Frosting!

The strawberry liqueur was a tester given to me by Lisa over at Loft Liqueurs, which I have been saving for a worthy cupcake.



For the Cupcakes, you will need:

1/2 c soft butter
3/4 c vanilla sugar
3 large eggs
1 c pastry flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c cream
1/2 c chopped or crushed fresh strawberries mixed with 1 tbsp sugar (just to coat)
2 tsp Strawberry Liqueur



Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.

Cream Butter and sugar until light, add eggs, cream and liqueur. It will look a bit curdled, but its not. Sift your dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in your berries and make sure there is not flour left on the side of the bowl.

DO NOT OVERMIX! This is the danger, flat cupcakes. It takes a light hand and like muffins, its okay if the batter is not totally smooth.

I put one scoop of batter into each liner, if you have left over, you can make more cupcakes! Bake about 12 minutes. Wait patiently while the smell floats across your kitchen and makes you salivate. Pop out of oven and cool, while you make your frosting!



I love my mom's frosting. I have never been much of a cake eater as I am really anti-frosting. My mom's is the most basic and simple recipe and I know that there are a million other mom's out there who make the same one, having like minded children.

Strawberry Liqueur Frosting:
1 stick soft butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tbsp Loft Organic Strawberry Liqueur

Whisk until you get the desired constistancy. I love it its a bit runny. Spread on your cupcakes, top with a fresh strawberry and enjoy!



Check out Gourmet Girl Magazine!

Gourmetgirlmagazine.com's Official Blog: Kitchen Rap

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ah, the Picnic

The picnic is a highly underrated way in which to enjoy tasty food and delightful company. Indoors or outdoors, in the park or at the beach, there are a variety of amazing ways to celebrate eating and each other!

From champagne to cheese, this weeks show celebrates the picnic. And in a few weeks I will celebrate by planning an end of summer picnic and posting about here, so you can recreate or emulate it!

Luna's Picnic essentials:

*a good, comfy blanket

*a nice hamper (picnic basket)

*fruit, seasonal that won't go bad

*I love Ravenswood Wine right now, & their reds are great!

*cheese, such as Petite Basque for a hard cheese or Robiola Bosina for a soft

*really good crackers

This is such a perfect way to have a date, whether it be your first or your hundredth!

Luna's Kitchen Magic airs @ 7 p.m. EST, 4 p.m. PST. see you there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Luna's Pick of the day: Julie & Julia

Julie and Julia

I knew from the first chapter that I was going to love the book. It turns out that Julie & I have quite a few things in common: PCOS, a love of vintage clothes and a man who loves us (and is loved by us) beyond all reason.

Setting out to cook 524 recipes in 365 days is no easy feat. Such a challenge is issued to someone who is clearly mad. Or just really in need of a change.

Julie Powell is funny, charming, a little crazy and always interesting. She may not have intended for their to be a morale to her story, yet there is one: sometimes you have to move past your comfort zone to achieve what you really want.

There are moments when she wants to quit, moments when it all seems to much. Yet there is so much love in this book, as her friends and family rally around Julie’s ‘insane’ project, even when they don’t quite understand it.

From her copious use of the ‘f’ word, to the gimlets, page 1 starts off well and keeps you interested to the very end.

I loved every minute of this book, and if you happen to read this, Julie, you made me actually crave liver for the first time in my life!

I highly recommend this memoir to anyone who loves food, and be sure to catch the movie!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Evolution of a food lover



How does a very fussy eater as a child evolve into a chef and food lover? I know that I cannot be the only picker eater in the world who really loves delicious food. The conversation started like this:

“You know, you are really picky for a chef.”
“Really, cause most of the chef’s I know are picky!”

As a kid I mostly ate fresh fruit and veg to the shock & horror of my mother. As a teen I ate ramen, which by the way, does no good for a teenage girl’s metabolism. Middle teens, cereal. A lot of carrots and cereal.

My friend Lori, is the one introduced me to brie, stuffed mushrooms and decent wine. K taught me how to make the easiest dessert in my repertoire (which caused one of my adopted older brothers to become a dessert convert) and Steve is the reason I tried rabbit and alligator.




As your palate opens, you long to try new things. Now that I have tried them, I cannot imagine never again having really good champagne, truffles or excellent cheese. So essentially, you cannot go forward without leaving a few things behind.

Evolution, in my opinion, is important in food. You can’t just say, ‘oh I love dark chocolate’ with snobbery aimed at anyone who likes white chocolate or milk chocolate. Why? Because each of those types of sweet have something to offer if made well.

And because you like what you like. No, I don’t eat certain brands of chocolate any more, as I find the quality no longer suits my palate. I’m hardly going to make fun of someone who does. So you can call me a picky eater all you want, I’ll wear the title with pride.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Luna's Pick of the day: Aequare 70% Ecuadorian Chocolate



Aequare 70% Ecuadorian Chocolate

I got this as a gift from Emily over at Foodzie, and this chocolate is truly a gift. 8 squares of high quality dark chocolate, holds a bit of fruitiness, a hint of coffee, very subtle vanilla flavor. I like the fact that unlike many 70% chocolate, it melts slowly in the mouth to release the flavors.