Wednesday, May 27, 2009

bedroom window

bedroom blinds
Sometimes I like reading in bed with the kitties on a sunny afternoon, and when I look toward the window, this is what I'd see. I think it's pretty.

Monday, May 25, 2009

the metal matters

I had been baking the caneles with the aluminum molds and the results had not been satisfactory... so I finally got some copper canele molds. They are a bit pricey... $24 (large) a piece at William-Sonoma, but the fact it, they are worth the price.

I tested the molds with the same canele batch.

The caneles being baked in the convection oven. You can see how the batter "rises" more evenly in the copper molds, and there's already some color on the top as well.

Fresh out the oven. The batter "shrinkage" is more even in the copper molds.

good and bad caneles
Wow! See the differences?

I say the copper molds are totally worth it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This is possibly one of the cutest game I've seen. I first saw the video on CuteOverload a few days ago, and then it's everywhere!

No animals are harmed in this video!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


My happy little friend Maggie has a little (but a bit older) brother named Gilligan, and he comes to see me sometimes, too.

Gilligan is a little camera-shy.

He's a senior dog who's been through a lot. From what I know, he was abused and forced to be surrendered by his previous owner. Time went by and he remained shy and timid, until he met his mom, my friend Elizabeth! Now Gilligan enjoys people and other animals around him more and more... all because of the love of Elizabeth and his canine and feline brother and sister!

Gilligan coming to visit with Mom.

Gilligan is a brave and amazing little guy. I *heart* Gilligan!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a large(r) loaf

So there were some dough left in the batch. It was way larger than a regular rounded loaf, but too small for two... I was wondering how it would be if I just "cloak" the dough and let it rise and bake the whole thing...

By the time it was done rising, the bottom of the dough was already larger than the bottom of my clay pot, but I "squeezed" the dough (that still had a parchment paper underneath it) into the clay pot and baked it anyhow.

artisan loaf
It turned out OK!

Apparently the dough "grew" upwards, since there was no room for it to grow sideways. I've got myself a tall loaf of bread. Awesome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

bread in a clay pot

I had read about baking in a clay pot, but never tried it until now.

I let the artisan bread dough rise for a few hours to ensure the better texture inside the bread. About 15 minutes before baking, I placed a Japanese clay pot (nabe... it was all I have in hand) inside the oven, and preheat it to about 450 F.

When the oven and clay pot were heated, I floured and placed the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, and carefully removed the lid of the pot (with an oven mitt, of course), drop the parchment paper and dough into the pot, and re-placed the lid. I baked the bread on convection for about 15 minutes, and then removed the lid of the pot and continue baking for another 5 minutes or so.

**The clay pot was super hot. Oven mitts must be present the whole time when handling the heated pot.**

bread in clay pot
My first clay-pot baked artisan bread.

artisan loaf
Since I let the dough rise for hours, it almost had some sourdough characteristics.

Interesting enough, Ginger wanted some.

"Gimme da bread."

The crust was light and delicious, and the inside of the bread (the crumb) was soft and slightly chewy. I liked it. I'm going to bake another loaf in the clay pot soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

oven setup

Usually I bake at home, but once in a while I'd want to bake at the caffe, especially when it's slow. We've had this convection oven for a while, but haven't got a lot of use of it... John and I decided to remove the microwave from the caffe (we almost never use it!) and replace it with the convection oven.

oven setup
The "oven dual": a toaster oven and a convection oven.

And I'm going to bake all sorts of goodies at the caffe from now on. Yay!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

baguette pan in use

I'm still trying to make yummy baguettes.

Bought a baguette pan. Love it.

The pan allows the whole baguette to get evenly baked, plus there are little "dots" (as seen on a loaf of French bread) on the bottom of the bread when it's done.

Note to myself: allow the dough to rise longer... more than 2-3 hours is ideal.

The inside is still a bit too dense... but the crust was delicious.

Oh, and I used a pair of kitchen shears to slit the top of the bread. Artsy, yeah?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I was craving macarons, and decided to make some on my own.

I checked out different recipes, and knew I needed to use some finely ground almonds, or almond meal, but all I had were whole almonds my friend Joyce gave me (brought back from her uncle's farm in California.) I chopped the almond in the food processor and of course it didn't turn out as good as almond meal or almond flour... I guess I must invest in some almond meal or flour soon if I'm going to make more macarons in the future.

Anyhow, my first attempt failed. I think the "batter" was too stiff. This was based off a pastry chef's recipe.

failed first attempt macarons
Hmm... yummy almond candy crisps, but not macarons at all.

My second attempt I used a modified recipe from chef Gordon Ramnsay.

Better, but there's still much improvement that needs to be made.

I made little macarons with chocolate filling:

I like it.

And on with my happy and very casual baking journey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

all the way from Japan

Our friend Nobu's parents came to the States for Nobu's graduation. They spent a week here in Salt Lake City, and down in Vegas.

They came to see John and I at the caffe and brought a present for us! They were so nice and kind.

nobu's parents from Japan
They managed to bring this beautiful vase all the way from Japan!

Arigatogozaimasu! They were too kind. John and I prepared two little jars of tea (Oolong Jing Cha and Earl Green) and two mugs for them. I hope they liked them. They also asked John and I to go and visit them when we go to Osaka next. We certainly will!

Friday, May 08, 2009

three big red tulips

Spring is here, and we've been finding little flowers here and there all around the house.

big red tulips
There were three really big and red tulips off the side by the front door.

yama sniffing the tulips
And Yama really likes to sniff them whenever he walks by them!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

disappointing caneles

Someone told me there's a bakery in town where I can find caneles. I was so excited! I went and bought a few to try.

disappointing caneles

The only caneles I had were the ones I made (and I know I'm no where very good making them yet), but I had read about its apppearance, textures, and flavors... and I don't think these ones I got from the bakery were good enough. It's a commercial bakery for crying out loud.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

ribeye steaks

We don't make steaks at home often, but when we do, we make them in the rotisseri with some fresh ground black pepper. When they're cooked, sprinkle with a little bit of salt.


With some homemade artisan bread and stir-fried spinach with garlic(!) or seasoned carrots, it's a lovely, lovely meal.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

artisan bread

I baked my first "artisan" bread. I had to quote the artisan part because I was not quite good at it at all.

artisan bread
I made a small loaf and a small baguette for John to make a sandwich with tomorrow.

artisan bread
I think the small loaf looks cute... it just didn't turn out as round as I shaped it to be.

The center of the bread was still pretty dense. I think I'll let the dough rise a bit longer before I bake it next time.

Friday, May 01, 2009

cup of pearls

cup of pearls
Sometimes it's fun to just chew on a cup of pearls.