Wednesday, February 20, 2013

san fran 01.2013

Last month I took a quick trip to San Francisco for work.  
We had a few moments to take in some of the sights.  
As seen through my i-phone....

sea lions at the Fisherman's Warf

San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of Asia!

sweet window display at Swiss chocolate shop Teuscher

Capitol Building lit up in the 49ers colors - I was there right before the Superbowl


May I suggest you take a ride on the World Famous Cable Car!

San Francisco was experiencing an "arctic freeze" when I was visiting....boy was it chilly!

Delicious eats & festive decor at The Stinking Rose...a garlic lovers dream!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a taste of king cake

King Cake 2013 - not bad for my first time!

Happy Mardi Gras!  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and is very well celebrated in the US in New Orleans with festive parades, rich foods, lively music and of course, colorful beads (they even have a mobile app!).  Mardi Gras does however have a rich, Christian cultural meaning, referring to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.  A tradition of Mardi Gras is the King Cake, a cinnamon-roll style cake, with various fillings, with a sweet or cream cheese style icing in purple, green and gold.  When I was working at Martha Stewart TV I remember sampling my fair share of King Cakes each year as Mardi Gras rolled around.  King Cake season officially starts on Twelfth Night (January 6th) and ends on Mardi Gras day.  That's a lot of King Cake!  Different bakeries would send their cakes over to the studio for sampling and we even had New Orleans native Lenora Costa on the show to share her recipe.  The video is great because Lenora talks a bit about the Carnival Season and how it is indeed celebrated all around the world.  There is also the tradition of placing a "baby", or some other bean, toy or trinket, inside the King Cake.  Whoever gets the baby or trinket in their slice of cake will then have various privileges or obligations.  Perhaps that person will have to bake the next King Cake or throw the next King Cake party!  The icing colors on the cake each have a meaning as well.  Purple = Justice, Green = Faith, Gold = Power. You can read the history of King Cakes in many places on the Internet...but why not make your own!  Now, I did not try Lenora's yeast recipe.  I decided to go for what I call the "cheaters" version.  During the holidays I made monkey bread with a similar "cheaters" recipe and it was delicious!  Now if you have the time and ambition....go for the yeast.  If not, try this "cheaters" recipe and let me know what you think!  I used purple, green and gold sanding sugar so I didn't have to mix 3 different colors of icing...but I think it would have looked just as sweet with tinted icings!  Now....who will find get the lucky piece?

fresh out of the oven...let cool before you ice!

ooey, gooey, goodness!  approved!

"cheaters" monkey bread made over the holidays!