Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I want to start the new year . . .

UPDATE: 8 bags of housewares and clothes for Goodwill. There were 4 cars ahead of me @ the drop off center. I guess other people had the same idea as me. 

Well, in my Dad's eyes, with a clean house. Growing up, I always tried to get out of the house the week after christmas so I didn't have massive cleaning chores to do, especially cleaning the windows. Glass louvers, whoever came up with that idea, never had to clean them. Ugh!

But it's cold outside at my house, so no window cleaning for me. But isn't it funny that I have picked up my dad's tradition and I'm trying to scrub my house as clean as I can get it before the new year. So far I've stripped all the beds and washed the sheets and pillow cases. The towels are done. And tomorrow will be the last loads of dirty clothes.

I've been also going through my closets to find items to bring to Goodwill. And found a bunch of old pictures. I decided to get rid pictures that wasn't any good or could recognize the place or person(s). In my purge, I found several great ones that I thought I'd share.

from my first year in NYC
This is Oct 5 1983. I'm with M, my roommate @ Pratt. We are on the Lower East side, shopping for supplies for school. I think this the day I first meet WG.

from Grandpa's 80th
@ Grandpa's 80th
Ahhh! To be so young and cute again. I'm not in this picture. It was probably when I was in NYC.

Grandpa with his girls
Everyone always said how my mom and her sister look so much a like. This picture pretty much affirms that comment. They all kind of look like each other. The youngest is missing. She probably couldn't make from CA.

T & C
T & C in Boston
From our trip to Boston. I've always loved this picture of them, they look so cute. 

kids and dinosaur
The kids @ dinosaurs

This is a new one. My sister and her family are visiting my nephew and girlfriend in NYC. And I met up with them and my cousin at the Natural History Museum. Thank goodness they are still young and goofy enough to pose for a silly picture for their auntie.

Well, that's all got for today. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh well, it figures

It took me so long to get a etsy shop up and now I find out the name I picked is taken. So what would have been aprilMADE, now will be yurieMADE. Now I have to get some pictures of my goods--2 hats, 2 pouches and cowl. Here's what remade logo. 

I thought I had the will to get this up and running before the Christmas shopping season. But I over reached and just haven't had the energy with restaurant stuff, jamming, cookie and cake baking and all the other stuff in my life. So not to beat myself up for my shop up, I set a more realistic goal of January 2015 to launch and maybe I'll have more items put up. Stay tune. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Holiday Cookies

I had a long weekend, using up my vacation time before the end of the year. Decided to make good use of it and getting a head start on my holiday baking. But sometimes dreams are just dreams. Instead I ended up doing a lot for the restaurant but that's another post. 

I wanted to give out homemade marshmallows with hot cocoa mix. But I should a have started on Sunday instead of Monday. They needed time to set. With my copy of Baking from my home to yours in front of me, I thumbed through the pages looking for some baking inspiration. I usually don't like to baking holiday cookies. It gets overwhelming and can quickly spiral into madness with trays of cookies cooling and waiting to be packed. And the whole packaging/label craziness. And yes, it needs to be design-y. I am a designer. See what I mean . . .

But I decide to bite the bullet and made all my cookies from Baking from my home to yours.

Very dark chocolate-y
Been wanting to make Chocolate Crackle cookies and lots of the recipes call for oil instead of butter. [If I'm going waste my calories on cookies, then it better have butter in it] I figured Dorie Greenspan may have version of these cookies. Hello! Midnight Crackle. Where have you been all my life. But actually, it should be all my adult life, because it is more of an adult taste. More bitter than sweet. I love the all the spices in it, they round out the bittersweet chocolate flavor. I used Waialua Estate Extra Dark chocolate [what I had left in my stash] and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.

dusted with powder sugar
Filled with my blackberry jam
I love thumbprint cookies and the first half of the weekend I spent jamming. I decided to make the thumbprints using my last jar of blackberry jam, lilikoi curd and some peach butter [I made those as distractions for WG so he wouldn't eat the others]. Used ground almonds instead of walnuts. These are delicate and light--no eggs in it. I think they would goes perfectly with cup of earl grey. 

WG cookie sampler--he's the official taste tester
Last in the line-up, Chocolate Almond Meringue-top right in the picture. I had egg whites to use, thought I'd just make meringue kisses but found this recipe in the book. It has ground almonds in it. I really like using ground almond in my recipes lately. It lightens up the recipe. They turned out really nice, not too sweet, a light chocolate-y flavor with little bits of bittersweet chocolate bits. 

In between the cookies, I made a batch of apple butter cake as a holiday gift for a family friend. When remembered after they were done, they were allergic to apples. I guess the folks at my office will be happy about this.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Been dreaming of . . .

of a delicious layered cake. But I haven't time to make it. I've too busy doing too many things. See my post previous post. 
One of my finish projects for the restaurant--Gift Certificates
Most of my tasks as of recent have been for the restaurant. Though I've trying to fit in stuff for the house, making up holiday gift [trying to be on time this year as I'm seeing so many people over the holidays] and exercising. 
Got my quince jam all done
Did I mention that I ran a mile without stopping the other day. That's big in my book. My back was aching and running seems to loosen up the tightness. I should be running a marathon with all the tightness I have. Got to love my gym. 
Got a tracker for my 15 yr anniversary from work 
But I'm getting off track and my dreams of my layered cake await. It all started with having an abundance of egg whites from the cheesecake and coconut and lime pie I make for the restaurant. I hate tossing it out. 

I know, I know, freeze it but my freezer has no space and I most definitely will forget it is in there. 

Anyway, looking for something to make with the egg whites I remembered seeing meringue like disk that is layered into a cake. I knew it's started with a "da" and had a "q" in. You got to love google. 

Dacquoise are like meringue with almond flour, kind of like a meringue cake. Can be flavored. I'm going to use try this Toasted Almond Dacquoise recipe from Zoe Bakes.

So the cake I've been dreaming of is a layered Chai tea cake, cardamon dacquoise, lilikoi curd and vanilla bean swiss buttercream. Hopefully I will have time this weekend to make it. I want to try out a recipe for marshmallow. I know what a tease, thought you were going to see pictures of the finished cake. Trust me I'm waiting for that also. Here's a picture of the last layered cake I made. 
Mom's Birthday Cake this past May--German chocolate with marshmallow frosting 

I guess I burnt myself out

Because the last time I posted was in mid-October. Lots has been going on since the review in the NYT and the readers choice awards. Restaurant business has been picking up, seeing a lot of new faces. And we are busy creating new dishes, trying to promote the restaurant with new gift certificates and photos of our dishes for our front windows. 

Then on top of all that, I decided I wanted to open my etsy shop [still trying to get it open--soon!!!]. OYE!!

Didn't realize what I needed to do to open up. I created a logo but still need labels.I have to figure out what to do about shipping and pricing. And I have to finish up couple of pieces. I hope I can get it all done this weekend. I don't miss the holiday shopping season. 

I think I may have dug a very deep hole for myself.

But I think I have to stop complaining and get going. Here's a picture of the leaves from the neighborhood before they all came down I took on my way into the NYC. 
Looks quiet and peaceful, exactly what I need right now!
Stay tune for news on my etsy shop.