Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I used to make Chicken Pot Pie quite often when Paul and I were living in England, but once Paul started cooking more, I stopped. Well that all changed yesterday, when I spent hours in the kitchen making dough and filling for Chicken Pot Pie...and let me just tell you, I was very pleased with myself ;)

 After 

After 

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PIE CRUST:

·         2 1/2 cups flour

·         1 tbsp sugar

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup cold unsalted butter -  cut into cubes

·         1/2 cup cold whole milk

·         1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash

 

FOR THE FILLING:

·         1/4 cup unsalted butter

·         1/3 cup diced onion

·         1 1/2-2 medium carrots sliced (about 3/4-1 cup)

·         1 bunch of broccolini (about 1 cup) 

·         1 Russet potato chopped

·         1 sweet potato or yam chopped

·         2 cloves garlic minced

·         1/3 cup flour

·         1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

·         1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley

·         2 teaspoons salt

·         1 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth

·         1/2 cup heavy cream

·         2-3 chicken breasts shredded

·         1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt 

·         ½ teaspoon white pepper 

 

1.    First, make the pie crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cubed butter and pulse. Continue pulsing until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture, resembling sand or pea size pieces. Place the flour mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the butter.

2.    While your butter is in the freezer, boil your chicken and potatoes in water for 10 minutes. Your potatoes & chicken shouldn't be completely cooked since they will be cooked further in the oven. Once they are done, strain and let your chicken cool before shredding. Shred your chicken and set aside with the potatoes. 

3.    Remove your flour mixture from freezer and add your milk. Pulse until it comes together. If the mixture is too dry, add water, a tbsp at a time. Divide the dough in two and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge while you make the filling (at least one hour).

4.    To make the filling, heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, broccolini, and garlic and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the flour, salt, garlic salt, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, parsley, chicken broth, and heavy cream. Whisk until there are no flour lumps and then simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Stir in the shredded chicken and potatoes. Remove from heat and set aside while you roll out the pie dough.

5.    Preheat oven to 400°F.

6.    Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit inside your pan or ceramic dish. Tip: your dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to your pie pan. Pat with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Trim the extra overhang of dough with a knife and discard. Fill pie with filling. Roll out the second disk of dough and carefully cover the pie (or make any design your heart desires, like circles). Make sure to use your egg wash to seal the bottom pie crust to the top and around the edges. Trim the extra overhang off the sides if there are any. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers, if necessary. With a sharp knife, slice a few small slits in the center of the top crust. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust and edges with the rest of your egg wash.

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7.    Bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool for 20-30 minutes and then cut into slices and serve. Note: save for leftovers or cool completely and freeze for up to 1 month.

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Enjoy!

-Halee

Violet's Tavern

Guess what? There’s another bar that has opened its doors in the Richmond. Violet’s Tavern, located on 2301 Clement, is serving up some American classics but the focus is seafood and drinks (plus, it's the team behind Fiorella!). 

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The inside décor is stunning, with deep blue marbled wallpaper from the same company who did Fiorella’s famous wallpaper – Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Plants hang from the bar shelves, giving it a very home-y & comfy vibe that makes you want to stay forever. 

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While we were there, the bar was buzzing with folks trying to get their hands on beautiful cocktails. Some of my favorites: Spindrift Cobbler - Riesling, Lime, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Salted Nori Syrup and Lime Bitters, Stolen Tart – Tree Craft Gin, Christian Drouin calvados, rosemary, house-made raspberry cordial, lemon, Bolivar bitters and club soda, and Papi Suave – Plantation 3 Star rum, Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Ancho Verde liqueur, Merlet Apricot liqueur, lime, sage and Angostura bitters. 

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The cocktails had my attention from the moment we walked in, but let’s not forget about the food. The selection of East & West Coast Oysters, Baked Stuffed Clams and House-made chips & Dips (Roasted Onion & Duck liver) were top-notch. I am still dreaming about that Roasted Onion dip. 

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The space isn’t large, and it was hard to maneuver around, but, they are doing well with what they have. They have installed hooks all along the seating area for bags and purses, that way customers aren’t crowding floor space. 

Overall, I am excited for the Richmond and everything that is popping up – gives us an excuse to explore our city more – and The Pearl and Violet’s are amazing places to start. I look forward to visiting Violet’s again and trying their Fried Chicken with cheddar biscuits, macaroni salad and hot honey. HELLO. 

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Until next time, 

Halee

Pearl Restaurant

Pearl Restaurant, owned by and next to Pizzetta 211, has opened its doors in the Richmond District. They are currently serving breakfast (starting 6/4), dinner and brunch. Co-chefs Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway have created a menu that caters to the ingredients and produce in California seasonally. They are making everything in-house from scratch, with the exception of the bread they get from Acme.

I popped in to sample their brunch yesterday with a handful of others and it did not disappoint. Take a look!

 Stunning corner booth.

Stunning corner booth.

 Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

 Coffee station.

Coffee station.

 Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

 Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

 Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

 Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

 Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

 Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

 Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

 Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

 Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

For a peek at their list of menus, including brunch: Menus. 

Honestly, everything we tried was great, but if I had to choose a favorite dish from their brunch menu, it'd have to be the Chicory Caesar or Eggs in Purgatory. I don't really eat salad much but when I come across a salad like this one, it's one that I want to recreate at home and eat every week. SO GOOD. And for the Eggs in Purgatory, there isn't much to say.  Lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta AND house-made pita bread!! Sign me up. To top off brunch, breakfast is rumored to have coffee and fresh baked goods, including wood-fired bagels. Sign me up for that too. And for dinner, well there is fresh hand-made pasta and a Tomahawk Chop (chili-cheese polenta, cipollini onion, asparagus, sauce bernaise - may take up to 45 minutes) to share between 4 people. 

We had such a great time and can't wait to go back for breakfast or dinner (or both). If you're in the Richmond, make sure to check this place out, and grab a slice of Pizzetta after ;)

Cheers, 

Halee

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

 Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

 Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

The French Laundry vs. Saison

I'm going to be completely honest, I don't know if I can say which restaurant I liked better out of TFL & Saison. My husband, Paul, has a definitive answer but I do not. 

Let's start with a breakdown of our evening at TFL, located in Yountville. 

 "Happy Anniversary Halee and Paul"-the attention to detail was impeccable. 

"Happy Anniversary Halee and Paul"-the attention to detail was impeccable. 

 Course 1-Salmon Tartare Cornet

Course 1-Salmon Tartare Cornet

 Course 2-"Oysters and Pearls"

Course 2-"Oysters and Pearls"

 Course 3-Chilled Garden Carrot Soup

Course 3-Chilled Garden Carrot Soup

 Course 4-Slow Cooked Fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout

Course 4-Slow Cooked Fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout

 Course 5-Alaskan King Crab "Poelee"

Course 5-Alaskan King Crab "Poelee"

 Course 6-Bread and Butter

Course 6-Bread and Butter

 Course 7-Thomas Farm Squab "Roti a la Broche"-FAVORITE

Course 7-Thomas Farm Squab "Roti a la Broche"-FAVORITE

 Course 8-Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu

Course 8-Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu

 Course 9-"Chateaubriand" of Marcho Farms Nature Fed Veal

Course 9-"Chateaubriand" of Marcho Farms Nature Fed Veal

 Does all the wine count as a course?!

Does all the wine count as a course?!

 Course 10-Assortment of Desserts

Course 10-Assortment of Desserts

 Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil

Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil

 Assortment of Truffles for us to choose from

Assortment of Truffles for us to choose from

 Handmade Hershey Kisses with another nice touch

Handmade Hershey Kisses with another nice touch

 Checking out the Wine Cellar onsite

Checking out the Wine Cellar onsite

 Kitchen tour pt. 1

Kitchen tour pt. 1

 Kitchen tour pt. 2

Kitchen tour pt. 2

My experience at TFL was one that I will never forget. I definitely enjoyed every minute of it and they really do make you feel special when visiting. From showing us the kitchen and the cellar, to changing our tablecloth when Paul spilt carrot soup on it (while we were away looking at the kitchen). From personalized messages on our menu and in our chocolate kisses to complimentary glasses of champagne to celebrate our anniversary. The big question: would I go back to TFL? Probably not. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that both Paul and I can tick off our bucket list, but I don't think there is any need to go back and experience all of it all over again (and definitely not at that hefty price). 

Next, I will breakdown our evening at Saison, located in San Francisco.

 Look at this handsome man!

Look at this handsome man!

 Dining area

Dining area

 Open kitchen

Open kitchen

 Course 1-Saison Private Batch Caviar

Course 1-Saison Private Batch Caviar

 Course 2-Diamond Turbot with Edible Flowers 

Course 2-Diamond Turbot with Edible Flowers 

 Course 3-Ground Turbot on the bone

Course 3-Ground Turbot on the bone

 Course 4-Box Crab

Course 4-Box Crab

 Course 5-Uni on Sourdough Bread

Course 5-Uni on Sourdough Bread

 Course 6-Artichoke

Course 6-Artichoke

 Course 7-Barbecued Quail

Course 7-Barbecued Quail

 Which knife did I choose??!

Which knife did I choose??!

 Course 8-Pronghorn Antelope (from somewhere in TX!)

Course 8-Pronghorn Antelope (from somewhere in TX!)

 Course 9-A broth made of Grilled Bones

Course 9-A broth made of Grilled Bones

 Course 10-Ice cream & Caramel with all the fixings 

Course 10-Ice cream & Caramel with all the fixings 

 Course 11-Fruit & Tea

Course 11-Fruit & Tea

 1970 Sauternes dessert wine

1970 Sauternes dessert wine

 Whatever the hell Paul ordered 

Whatever the hell Paul ordered 

 Take home Tea!

Take home Tea!

My experience at Saison was extraordinary. From the knowledgable and friendly staff, to the exciting and unique food. We started off with a glass of complimentary champagne. Then, the plates started coming. They had plenty of waiters/waitresses and staff that they would interchange for delivering each meal and explaining it. We then finally got to meet the infamous Mike Hoe, one of the Somms at Saison. Backstory: When we were visiting Mayacamas and met Kassandra, the daughter of McPherson Wines, we mentioned we were going to Saison when we got to SF. She then told us she knew the Somm and Paul said "Mike Hoe?!" and she said yes! She ended up sending him an email letting him know about us and how we were coming in. He was seriously the best, along with all the other staff, and made the evening 10x better. Being able to see the kitchen at Saison is probably the number one thing that sets it apart from the FL for me. I really did enjoy both meals and both experiences, but the kitchen part was set Saison slightly ahead. 

Overall, for me, both win. They both were roughly the same price after all was said and done, they both offered very interesting and appetizing meals, and they both had excellent service. If you are looking for that old school fancy dinner with a reputation to back it up and it takes months to get a reservation, then TFL is the place for you. BUT, if you are looking to eat at one of the best restaurants in the world (currently ranked at 37, whereas TFL is no longer ranked), then that alone should tell you Saison is your place to dine. 

I am glad both Paul and I got to experience both of these wonderful restaurants and I definitely feel privileged to be able to do so. Now it's back to homemade pizzas and spaghetti & meatballs :)

Thanks for reading! See ya soon.

-Halee  

All Things San Francisco

Where do I even start?! San Francisco is full of so many places to eat, drink, visit, and explore. Here is a little guide I've put together from when we visited recently for nearly 5 days. We tried to hit up every spot on our list possible, and even though there were a few places we couldn't make, I think we did a pretty good job. 

1. Golden Gate Bridge

See the Golden Gate Bridge, somehow, some way. Whether you drive over it or see it from the distance, it is worth seeing. 

2. Explore the Different Neighborhoods

There are SO many areas and neighborhoods in SF that are worth exploring. The homes are full of unique characteristics and details, and some are super vibrant and colorful. It was hard NOT to take a picture of every house we walked past. Some areas we walked through that I recommend are, The Castro, The Mission, Hayes Valley, Dolores Heights, Fillmore District, Presidio Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Western Addition, Marina District, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Potrero Hill. Basically all of San Francisco, ha!

3. Clarion Alley

If you're a fan of murals and street art, Clarion Alley is a must see. The alley is maintained by the Clarion Alley Mural Project, who support over 500 artists, receive 200, 000 visitors annually, and have created over 700 murals since 1992. The organization also collaborates with many community neighbors and partners, and work in support of social, economic, and environmental justice. It is located between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.

4. Twin Peaks

If you are looking for a stunning view directly in the center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks is for you. You can hike up or drive/uber. We decided to uber since we were running low on time, but we walked all the way down and back to our airbnb. I recommend walking part of the way so you can walk through Dolores Heights/The Castro (depending on which way you're headed), or Noe Valley, Cole Valley, or Vista Del Monte.

5. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is full of so many things to do and see. We decided not to do everything within the park because we probably would have spent loads of money, but I would advise choosing a few things that sound appealing and doing them. One thing that I had to see (and was free) was the Bison Paddock. You can learn more about the history of this part of the park here. We visited the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in the park. And, we walked the entire park until it ends at the beach. 

6. Conservatory of Flowers

Within Golden Gate Park, the COF is a must see if you are a fan of plants and flowers. TIP: It's also a nice place to warm up if it's cold outside.

7. Go to the beach

You might as well! If you are already in Golden Gate Park and heading towards the Bison Paddock, Ocean beach isn't much further. Once you get to Ocean beach, Sutro Baths is nearby as well. Just get your pen out to mark a ton of things off your list!

8. Sutro Baths

To learn more about Sutro Bath, click here.

9. Mission Dolores Park

All of the yes! Not going to Mission Dolores Park, especially on a sunny day, is basically sacrilege. It is another spot in the city that offers a great view. It's also a wonderful place to have a picnic, play tennis, basketball and/or soccer, play with your dog, relax, or even take a nap under the trees. 

10. Drink all the Coffee & Eat all the Pastries

The Mill

11. Eat a Burrito

There are plenty of burrito joints to go to, especially in the Mission. We ended up going to Pancho Villa and it ended up being the best damn burrito I can ever remember having. I also got watermelon agua frescas which went perfectly with the flavor of the burrito; match made in heaven I tell you!

12. Eat Oysters

Like burritos, there are plenty of places to get oysters. For instance Swan Depot, which has been around for over 100 years, and Hog Island Oyster Co. located in the Ferry Building, are two well known places. But, after doing some research, I knew I had to go to Leo's. It is probably the most beautifully decorated place we went, and the oysters were just as good. I tried hot oysters for the first time; flavors carbonara and hot wings. YAS. It was a little pricey but we did have some bubbles with our oysters (because why not?), and we had to the get the fries which were recommended by my friend Nanette :) 

13. Go to a Museum

San Francisco is a hub for tech, food, and art. There are plenty of museums to go to while visiting. For instance de Young, SFMOMA, California Academy of Sciences, AAMSF, and SO MANY MORE. We decided to go to SFMOMA. I have never been to a MOMA and heard this one was good. It is $25 each to enter, whereas de Young is $30 each. I did really want to go to  de Young but we decided to just pick one and spend more money on food ;) We also missed seeing Matisse by ONE day. Darn.

14. Bi-rite Creamery...

...is a must. There are actually a lot of ice cream shops in SF currently and I was bummed we only made it to one, but Bi-rite didn't disappoint. I got honey lavender and balsamic strawberry and it was seriously perfection. The two flavors went so well together. Some others that I'd like to visit in the future are Smitten, Salt a & Straw, and Humphry Slocombe

15. Eat a Nice Meal

There is SO much good food in San Francisco, including some Michelin star restaurants. If that is something that you're into, you should take advantage of it in SF. We dined at Saison (3 Michelin star, which I will talk about in my next post), Aster (1 Michelin star), and The Progress (1 Michelin star). There are a total of six 3-Michelin restaurants in SF giving them a total of 54 stars. New York has 75, so they aren't too far behind. Another Michelin restaurant (2 star) that we really want to go to is Atelier Crenn , which is Dominique Crenn's restaurant from Chef's Table.

The Progress

Aster

16. Eat Sushi

Find a sushi restaurant, sit at the bar, and order the "chef's choice". You'll thank me later ;) We ate at a place called Ebisu recommended to us by our friends Todd and Craig. We went for lunch and loved it. They do bento box lunch specials and I almost got one but I was feeling soup and sushi :)

17. Day trip to Oakland

We decided to see what all this Oakland fuss was about. The BART near/in the Mission all the way to DT Oakland only took about 20 minutes. We got off DT and grabbed a coffee nearby. We walked towards Uptown, where a couple places we wanted to check out were located. First stop was Homeroom for some mac n' cheese. I was basically in some kind of heaven. Homeroom has about 12 different mac options, but your can create your own mac as well (probably should have done that)! Paul wanted pizza, so we went to Slicer for a slice! Then we walked off the macaroni and pizza and made our way back to the DT area where Sweet Belly was. SB was by far my favorite part of Oakland. The ice cream/donut combo I got was only $5.50, which included ice cream, topping, donut, and drizzle. They also make the donuts on the spot so when you get it its piping hot! SO GOOD.    

18. Palace of Fine Arts

To learn more about the Palace of Fine Arts, click here. 

Lucasfilm is also located near the Palace of Fine Arts, so that was something we had to see (especially Paul). But how could we NOT take a picture of yoda??

If you're in the Marina District, find this house.

19. Pier 39

The one and only one reason you should ever go to Fisherman's Wharf is to see the sea lions (if you're into that sort of thing, like me). 

20. See the Damn Painted Ladies!

You have to, you just HAVE to. There are certain things you have to do and see while visiting SF and I personally think this is one of them, especially if you've never seen them before. 

Here is a video recap of our trip made by Paul!

And that concludes my "guide" to SF, and everything we were able to do in 4-5 days. I kind of feel like I am missing a thing or two but to be honest, it's a bit longer than I was expecting. Be on the lookout for my next post, where I will compare my meal at The French Laundry vs. Saison. Thanks for reading!

-Halee 

News, Photoshoot & Pop-Up

Last week was CRAZY busy and I just wanted to share some images, words, and my gratitude for those who support what I do. 

The beginning of my weeks are usually low key-catching up on trash tv, cleaning, prepping for my weekend of baking, and just taking it semi-easy. Last week's craziness started off with being on Kens5 with Anthony from Lick Ice Creams on Thursday (May 18th). We were invited to be on the news to talk about the pop-up were having that Saturday at Lick. I obviously get super nervous and weird with these types of things, and I end up psyching myself out when there is no need to. It didn't help that we needed to be there almost 2 hours before we actually went on. It ended up being completely fine and I really enjoyed the experience of being on tv again (this was my 3rd time!), especially with Anthony by my side. If you haven't seen the clip, you can watch it here (below). 

Great Day SA segment

The following day (Friday May 19th) I had a lot of orders to get through, including 2 cakes. After my donut orders were picked up, Jessica Giesey came over to shoot some shots and videos of me doing my thang. For the record, I just want to say that she is truly something special. She's not only good at what she does but we totally click and get along-so it makes things really easy when we work together. I couldn't believe the pictures when I saw them. They really are breathtaking. 

And this video ^^^^ 

Saturday May 20th was the day I had been waiting for for so long. It started off suuuuuuper early in the morning (midnight to be exact), with me cutting out donuts and getting them into the freezer as soon as possible so that I could stay on schedule. My mom arrived at 3am ready to help me glaze, package, and clean up once we were done. When we arrived, I was thinking I'd be ready to glaze in 30 minutes, which made me think I was way ahead of schedule. We didn't start glazing until almost 5am and didnt finish until 6:30. We needed to leave no later than 7:15am and I still needed to box up the donuts and clean the kitchen. I definitely wasn't ahead of schedule anymore. After a lot of hustle, we ended up leaving on time. We arrived at Lick at about 7:35 and brought all the boxes inside. I set up and we talked logistics. The media group arrived at 8am and then shortly after people started lining up. It was the weirdest feeling, to see people line up waiting for your donuts (and Lick ice cream). I was trying not to think about it because I knew I'd get nervous or overwhelmed. The doors opened at 8:30 to the public and everyone started coming in. I couldn't help but smile as I talked to people while my insides were filled with butterflies. Loads of people asked for the maximum amount (6 donuts), and before I knew it we were sold out after 35 minutes (there's a debate on how long but I've heard 27, 30, 35, and 40 minutes ha!). I really couldn't believe it. To me, it felt like much longer. I can't thank the people who came out, everyone who helped me, and especially Lick for making this all happen and for wanting to collab with me. Here's some images and a video from the pop-up for your viewing pleasure :)

 The line from the front.

The line from the front.

 The line from somewhere in the back.

The line from somewhere in the back.

Overall, this weekend was such a blast and super rewarding. I feel like I accomplished so much in just a few days, and I got to work alongside some REALLY amazing people. I have a couple days worth of work this week (lots of donuts to be made), and then we are off to California for a week. At the end of every tunnel, there is light. California is my light. Be on the look out for some more blog posts after our vacay-and follow along on IG! (theginger_snap). 

Thanks for reading, see y'all again soon!

-Halee 

 

 

 

Homemade Pasta Recipe

About 4 years ago, when I first moved to the UK to be with Paul, I started baking. That's where it all began. I told myself that in the future I wanted to have my own bakery, plant my own garden, and make my own pasta from scratch. I did try it a few times after learning how when I attended Betty's Cookery School, but since being back in the states I haven't. 

Fast forward 4 years and I can't stop making it, and we eat pasta A LOT. We almost always have carbonara and spaghetti & meatballs for dinner every week, and I always try to make the pasta for the carbonara. 

To be honest, its quite simple-only 2 ingredients (3 if you need to add some water), and you most likely have these ingredients in your cupboard. 

Ingredients (3 servings)

-2 cups of all purpose flour

-3 eggs (I use organic eggs so that I get that yellow tint in the pasta)

-Water if needed 

-Semolina flour (for dusting)

What equipment you'll need (to make things easier)

-Rolling pin (you could get away with not having this if you have a pasta machine)

-Pasta machine (this is crucial for me; it really makes things easier, less time consuming and overall consistent.

-Bench scraper (you could use a knife instead)

-Food processor (again, your can do this by hand but it will take much longer)

 Again, this is 3 servings. If you want just 2 servings, only use 2 eggs and 1 1/3 cup of flour. 

Again, this is 3 servings. If you want just 2 servings, only use 2 eggs and 1 1/3 cup of flour. 

Gather your ingredients. You can use a food processor (like I am doing) to make things easier and quicker, or you can opt to do it the traditional way (on the table). 

Add your flour and eggs together in your food processor. 

Pulse to combine. If you mixture looks like the picture, you may need to add 1 teaspoon of cold water (one at a time), until it comes together (I ended up adding 3 or 4). 

It should end up looking like this. 

Take your dough out of the processor and knead it for about 3-5 minutes (you don't want to do this too long; remember the processor did some of the work.) If you are doing it by hand without the processor, you'd ideally knead for about 10 minutes until there's so much elasticity built up that you won't be able to continue. Next, let it rest for 20-30 minutes in cling film on the table (we need the gluten to now relax, since we just worked it when kneading). 

Make sure your work surface is lightly floured. If you have a bench scraper, use that to cut your dough into 4 (almost) equal sections. 

Take one of your four sections and, using your rolling pin, roll out your dough. Make sure your pasta machine is set on its lowest/widest setting (0 for me). Guide it through multiple times, folding in half like a book or even in thirds if it's too long. I usually fold and guide through at least 8-10 times on the the first go through setting 0. The first couple of times I tried making pasta I didn't do this and the pasta didn't turn out. From my research, putting the dough through several times allows the gluten to stretch and makes for a tastier pasta. After your several times on setting 0 (the widest setting), move on to setting 1, or the next on your machine. You don't necessarily need to run it through as many times as you would on your lowest setting, but I still run it through a few times. I also let it rest a minute or 2 before running through the next setting, so that the gluten can relax. 

Eventually you will have a long sheet of pasta (pictured), which is setting 5. You can make it as thick or thin as you want it. I personally like thicker pasta so I stopped here. I have gone to setting 6 for thinner fettuccine. Also, make sure you aren't letting your pasta get sticky. Constantly have flour handy if needed.  

Next, guide your sheet of pasta through your fettuccine or spaghetti setting, or cut your pasta yourself with a knife! My pasta machine already has those 2 pasta settings so it makes it easy, but I've cut my own pasta before when making tagliatelle and it's definitely fun! 

Repeat these steps another 3 times with the rest of your dough sections. You'll end up with a mound of pasta that you can't wait to stuff your face with. *heart eyes*

SO MUCH PASTA.

Boil pasta for a few minutes (yes, only a few minutes!) and create your favorite dish. We made carbonara and it was divine. Simply divine. Now, it's your turn! 

Thanks for reading guys! Shoot me message if you have any questions. Until next time.

-Halee 

Matcha Shortbread Cookie Recipe

I'm currently obsessed with matcha, among other things, so I am always trying to use/create/tweak/test recipes that include it. I love the Peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread cookies that I make and a friend asked me to do some sort of matcha cookie, so I thought...matcha shortbread cookies! I use Martha Stewart's recipe as a reference and tweak a few bits. What to make with matcha next?!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons green tea powder or matcha powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or granulated sugar will work too
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Raw sugar for rolling
  • Matcha sugar (matcha powder and granulated sugar combined) for rolling

DIRECTIONS

  • Whisk together flour, matcha, and salt in a small bowl. Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer bowl on medium until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low, slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.
  • Transfer your dough to a piece of parchment paper; shape into one big log or you can make multiple logs to make it easier. Scatter raw sugar and matcha sugar on your piece of parchment paper. Roll each log up and down the parchment paper to cover it in sugar. Using plastic wrap, wrap your log (s) up and secure them (I use a paper towel roll cut down the middle; see picture). Freeze for one hour or refrigerate for two.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap frozen/cold logs and slice 1/2 inch thick. Place an inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks. 

French Style Country Bread Recipe

My husband and I love bread! We eat it with pasta, with soup, and we are always eating toast in the morning. Talk about carbs! So, with that being said I thought I should try and make my own at home. This way, I know what is going in it while feeling a sense of pride for accomplishing what some claim to be a tough job (and it definitely is). Here is a recipe I follow from King Arthur Flour.

Starter

  • 1 cup cool to lukewarm water (90°F to 100°F)
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) white whole wheat flour or premium whole wheat flour
  • 1 Mimosa (optional)

Dough

  • all of the starter (above)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (100°F to 115°F)
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups unbleached bread flour 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, to taste

Instructions

  • To make the starter: Stir all of the starter ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 2 hours. For best flavor, let the starter rest longer; overnight (up to 16 hours) is best. How'd that mimosa get there?!?

 

  • To make the dough: Stir down the starter with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, 3 1/4 cups of the flour, and the salt (I add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt for a better taste). The dough will be a loose, messy mass. Let it rest for 12 to 15 minutes, then stir it again; it should become more cohesive and a bit smoother. Dough handles better once it's had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you'll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

 

  • Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes (or 3-5 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook).

 

  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until almost doubled (this could be 1 to 2 hours). If you're going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before shaping; it'll warm up and rise at the same time.

 

  • Deflate the dough gently, but don't knock out all the air; this will create those "holes" so important to French bread. For one large loaf, form the dough into a round ball; for two loaves, divide the dough in half and shape into two balls.

 

  • Place a cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet (I use my dutch oven). Gently place the ball(s) of dough on the baking sheet (or dutch oven), seam-side down.

 

  • Cover the bread gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it's puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 475°F.

 

  • Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour. Spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F and spritz with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking.

 

  • Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it's a rich golden brown, and its interior temperature registers at least 190°F on a digital thermometer. The smaller loaves will bake more quickly, so keep your eye on them.

 

  • Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store bread, loosely wrapped in paper, for a couple of days at room temperature; wrap it in plastic and freeze for longer storage.

 

  • Yield: 1 large or 2 medium loaves.

Enjoy!

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