Lemon Shortbread with Edible Flowers

Lemon Shortbread with Edible Flowers

Baking with edible flowers is not something I had ever tried before so when Betany from Chloris Floral reached out to me, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate.

As we were both unfamiliar with this type of baking/floral preparation, it was a fun experience to try something new together. Betany is a floral designer from Sonoma County who uses seasonal, organic, local and sustainably grown flowers in her gorgeous bouquets and floral arrangements. She is also a Julliard-trained professional opera singer, and music is a great inspiration for many of her arrangements. I love music and flowers as well so it was enjoyable to spend time with someone who also shares these interests. Betany supplied the edible flowers while I figured out a tasty shortbread to accompany them.

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Earl Grey Macarons with Lemon Curd

Earl Grey Macarons with Lemon Curd

It’s almost mid-October and I haven’t made anything with pumpkin yet.

I already have made two apple pies (one was a test, the other a burnt mishap) but pumpkin has yet to grace my kitchen this fall. Maybe it’s because with weather in the 80s it still feels like summer, but I’m not quite ready to dive into pumpkin just yet.

So here we are with some non-fall-flavored macarons instead. These cookies are the result of merging two recipes on this blog—Earl Grey Macarons with Chocolate Ganache + Poppy Seed Linzer Cookies.

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Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

When it comes to food trends, fads and things that are "breaking the Internet", I tend to raise my eyebrows and, keep an eye out but not participate until I'm really ready to.

Often times, this is after the hype is over. I didn't try kale until years after it started being a big thing. 

In general, I am not a quick decision maker. I mull, I overthink and convince myself in the opposite direction in as many ways as I can before coming to a final, final, final decision. It took me a while to decide to try these cookies and even longer to write about them.

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Peach Cake with Caramel Frosting

Peach Cake with Caramel Frosting

Like fruits, vegetables, holidays and clothing, I think baked goods also have seasons. 

Bread-baking is definitely a winter and fall season activity. Kneading becomes a way to warm up rather than a vigorous, sweaty exercise, and the temperature is cool enough that the dough won't rise too rapidly, or turn sour and ferment (unless on purpose!). One of the most wonderful things during the colder months is turning on the oven knowing that you’ll soon have a fresh, piping hot loaf of bread. Pair it with a soup or stew and it's the perfect winter's night meal. 

Whereas I will rarely turn on my oven to bake bread in the summer, I will for pies. As you may have noticed around here, summer is for pies and all of the things in the pie family—galettes, cobblers, crisps, pandowdies etc... This does seem counterintuitive because you are turning on your oven and crusts and toppings are in danger of melting during preparation, but this is the season when summer produce is at its peak. What better way to use it up than in a baked full-to-the-brim with the best fruit. I will, of course, bake pies all year round, but tend to make them more in the summer. 

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Dumpling Class with Lisa Lin

Dumpling Class with Lisa Lin

At the end of August, one of my friends invited me to join her at a Dumpling Party with none other than the Queen of Dumplings, Lisa Lin

Lisa has some of the most mesmerizing and beautiful food videos and photos on how to make and fold all sorts of wontons and dumplings. Over the years I've always made wontons the way Popo taught me, and that method is completely different from the methods that Lisa taught.

In person, Lisa is exceptionally patient at explaining the in's and out's of folding dumplings. We started with several simpler ways to fold wontons and then moved on to the standard potsticker fold and the ever more complicated braided pleat. I actually thought the braided pleat was more straightforward than the standard potsticker fold. Somehow learning how to fold potstickers is not something that has been incorporated into my very American Chinese family. Growing up, my parents always bought a bag of Ling Ling Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers from Costco. With it’s slightly spongy texture and onion-y flavor, this was one of the most nostalgic tastes of my childhood. 

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Classic Peach Pie

Classic Peach Pie

The last few weeks of August are here but even with the beautiful weather in the 80s we're having this week, I know summer will most likely be around until October for the Sacramento Valley.

Even though I love peaches, I've surprisingly found both white and yellow nectarines to be the tastier stone fruit this summer. They have been the perfect balance of tart and sweet with a juicy, smooth texture rather than hard or mealy. This has made them exceptionally good for everyday snacking and sometimes even simply just as dessert (shocking, I know). The peaches on the other hand, I have reserved for baking purposes rather than eating them raw. Even when their texture is not fantastic for regular eating, they have been amazing in galettes, scones, a pandowdy and this pie. 

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Roasted Tomato Sauce with Mini Meatballs

Roasted Tomato Sauce with Mini Meatballs

Every few months I crave the favorite classic—spaghetti and meatballs.

Sometimes I'll make the sauce from scratch depending on what kind of jarred sauce is on sale. If I do make it myself, I will usually opt for for using canned San Marzano tomatoes but since we are in the middle of tomato season, I was hankering for something fresh and truly from scratch. 

The last time I made tomato sauce from raw tomatoes was almost exactly two (!) years ago. That was a delicious sauce but for some reason this one was even tastier. I used almost the exact same recipe, but with a few changes.

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