Year: 2018

On the quest for the perfect pie

I am always on the quest for the perfect pie – the holy grail of baking. We have three blueberry bushes that were loaded with berries, perfectly ripe, so it was time to give it another try.  I used 4 inch quiche pans to make tarts for the experiments – making several small pies. Cook’s Illustrated has an incredible recipe for the pie dough that they call “Foolproof Pie Dough for a Single-Crust Pie.  It uses vodka, which makes the dough easier to roll out.  But as good as the recipe is, I can’t resist tinkering a bit, and that’s where the problems start.  I insist on making it with only butter – no lard or shortening.  What can I say – butter just tastes better.  In the past, I have been able to make the change with a few other adjustments and make a perfect free form tart – a tart that I would put up against any. This time, I wanted to make a perfect pie, complete with decorations.  But butter spreads, making decorations …

And the answer is… glass jars

We started several projects this week.  After reading a simple method for sprouting in the “Bar Tartine, techniques and recipes” cookbook, we decided to sprout some lentils. We needed a clean, non reactive container that we could put cheese cloth over in order to quickly rinse the sprouts.  The answer was a glass jar. Later, I was organizing the pantry, and decided I wanted all the containers to be uniform, not expensive, easy to move around, easy to clean, easy to find for sale in bulk, and clear, so I could tell what was in it.  Again, it ended up that the answer was a common glass jar.  I tried several other containers – cute ceramic jars, plastic flour containers.  But, who knew, it was the common canning jar that would work best?  Oh, I guess my Grandmother knew, since she always used them, but other than her, who would have guessed?  The 32 oz size was really useful for all the different grains we have, and the 32 oz wide mouth for the various …

A better Thai basil fried rice

We set about to make the best Thai basil fried rice.  Knowing that a dish is only as good as the individual ingredients, we wanted to used the best Asian sauces and the freshest ingredients.  We have tried a lot of Asian sauces, and there is definitely a difference between the brands – and these are some of our favorites. Jasmine rice, fried on a wok using a Big Kahuna outdoor burner.  The outdoor burner has a much higher temperature and allows the rice to get that authentic wok fried flavor.  The rice was dried overnight and then fried using peanut oil with a sauce made of Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce, Kwong Hung Seng thin soy sauce, Three crabs fish sauce, Panthai chili paste with soya bean oil (Nam Prik Pao), and organic sugar. Then yellow onion, red bell pepper, thai basil, carrots, green onion, jalapeno, was fried separately and mixed with the rice. The Chicken was dry brined with Tom Douglas’s chicken “rub-with-love”, then cooked indirectly on the Weber grill and smoked …

Celebration of Spring – crostini with fresh peas

Crostini with fresh pea puree then topped with pea tendrils and flowers from the garden. Drizzle with a really great olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel and you have the perfect spring time appetizer.  The puree was made by sauteing garlic in olive oil and then adding frozen petite peas – no need to defrost.  After a minute or two of cooking they were tossed into the food processor.  The frozen peas were just as good as the fresh, and a whole lot quicker.

The Secret is out … How we can provide luxury style coverage for only $1,000

The secret … we have found, through years of experience, that most of the day’s important events occur within a four hour period. Realizing this gave us the opportunity to offer luxury wedding coverage at a very reasonable rate. Luxury wedding coverage usually includes candid photos of the wedding party getting ready, the “first look”, family portraits, the ceremony, editorial style photos of the reception decorations, the details, the invitation suite and the cake, candid photos of the wedding party arriving at the reception, the first dance and the toasts. With some very thoughtful planning, we are able to thoroughly cover these events.   Timing is everythng…We time our arrival for when the wedding party is almost finished getting ready. We usually work separately to photograph the bride and groom getting ready, and this may be at different locations. One of us arrives at the bride’s location after she has her makeup done, but is still having finishing touches done on her hair, before she puts on her dress. The other arrives at the groom’s location …

Chosen by Shutterfly

Shutterfly just chose us for their list of photographers in the San Francisco Bay area.  We are thrilled!  It is especially appropriate, since our clients often design their own Save-the-Date cards, Thank-you cards, and wedding albums using the high resolution photos we provide, and many of them have used Shutterfly.  See the list at: Talented Photographers