May 18, 2018

British-Inspired Afternoon Tea with an American Touch

If you're looking for a way to celebrate the Royal Wedding this Saturday, try hosting an elegant afternoon tea party. I suggest serving cupcakes, an all-American favorite, in honor of the princess-to-be*. According to "All About Cupcakes" the cupcake is a bona fide American creation. Cupcake recipes originated in the 19th century; most were known as 1-2-3-4 cakes, an easy way to remember the ingredients required: 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. 

March 21, 2018

Foray into Wild Mushroom Foraging

{Recipe for Chanterelle, Leek and Gruyère Tart}

Trailhead at Salt Point State Park in Jenner

I recently stepped outside of my comfort zone into a new level of outdoorsiness ... foraging for wild mushrooms on the Sonoma Coast. The weekend excursion began about 90 miles north of San Francisco with a jaw-dropping journey along Highway One. This dramatic route is punctuated by frightening hairpin bends along a sheer promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While holding my breath around each cliff-clinging curve, I admired the breathtaking views. 

December 22, 2017

Bûche de Noël {Recipe for Mocha Layer Cake}

Bûche de Noël featuring chocolate "hedgehog" truffles

Every December in Paris, something magical occurs. On the elegant boulevards and quaint cobblestone streets, the daintiest of pâtisserie shops transform their boutique windows into marvelous showcases of "bûches de Noël" (Yuletide logs). Considered the essential dessert to celebrate Christmas, these exquisite oblong-shaped cakes come in a variety of flavors such as chocolate, chestnut, coffee or vanilla. But the decor always features a forest theme, with details ranging from marzipan leaves to meringue mushrooms.