March 21, 2018

Foray into Wild Mushroom Foraging

{Recipe for Chanterelle, Leek and Gruyère Tart}

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. 

November 21, 2017

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie {Martha Stewart Recipe}

Old-fashioned pumpkin pie made the traditional way (from fresh pumpkin) is quite time-consuming to prepare so you won't find it at a bakery or grocery store, but it's definitely worth the effort. Once you get past the pesky task of cutting up, steaming and puréeing the fresh pumpkin, it's really not that difficult to bake pumpkin pie from scratch.