Friday, December 31, 2010

Beach Adventure

I love visiting the beach during the winter months...
There is so much to see during low tide...
I can't image a better way than to spend the last day of 2010 along the coast.




















Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cocoa Sables




Sables are French shortbread cookies. They are simple, delicious and super easy to make.
The variations are limitless. I'm making Cocoa Sable. Dorie Greenspan's recipe from her new cookbook Around my French Table is one
of the best recipe out there.


Cocoa Sablés
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 ounces unsalted butter (2 ½ sticks), at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)
Whisk the flour, cocoa and salt together.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter and sugar until it just comes together.  Do not cream.  Add the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture until just combined, scraping 1-2 times.
Divide the dough into two portions and make them into logs about 1 ¾ inches in diameter.  I found the dough to be a little dry, so you may need to work with it a little to get it into a solid log.  I like to form them into logs, wrap them in parchment and then chill the logs for about 15 minutes.  To make them perfectly round, remove them from the fridge and roll the logs back and forth on the counter to round out any bumps.  Then chill them again until firm.  Cookies are generally best if they have some time to rest, so chill the logs at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Remove the logs from the refrigerator and slice them into ½ inch rounds.  (You can slice them thinner for a more delicate look.)  Bake them as is, or roll the edges in raw or granulated sugar.  Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 10-14 minutes.  

Check out Dories wedsite.


Happy Baking!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Marshmallows


Photo courtesy of Food 52

Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Marshmallows

Another fantastic recipe from Food 52 which I have ever intention to make for
the New Year!!! Click on the tile above for the recipe.
Anything Marshmallow is one of my all time favorites things to eat.
I'll post photos later this week of the marshmallows I made.
Happy Monday!!! Another long weekend this week.!!!! Can't wait!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies


One of my favorite website/blogs to visit is Food 52. I discover an amazing recipe for Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies that sounded to good to be true. So I had to try them out asap. Plus I had an extra bar of Valrohna Chocolate and a jar of Noisella from La Pain de Quotidien hanging around the house and they both  needed to be put to good use. 
Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think.
Click on the link below and the recipe will pop up!!! Well let's hope it does.....















  








Happy Baking!!!!

Life is too short!!!










My favorite....the kissing slowly!!!



Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas



Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!




Happy Christmas!!!



Monday, December 20, 2010

What's new at VU Design Studio

It's all about bright colored crystal at the moment....be on the look out
for additional colors and styles in 2011.




Happy Shopping!!!

Pluot Almond Galette

A made a quick stop to the Farmer's Market on Sunday. I arrived so late that most of the vendors were packing up all their produce. I make my rounds and these blushing beauties caught my eyes. Pluots. Pluots are a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. I've come to discover that there are several variates on plutos. Some have golden yellow textures while other have ruby red interiors. 
I got a new cookbook called Rustic Fruit Dessert and came up with my own concoction. I making a Pluot Almond Galette.



The pluots I'm using have a golden yellow interior.

You can make your own pastry dough or use a store bought one. I needed
something quick and easy..... plus I has one on hand that I did not want to go to waste.
Ready for the oven.

Pluot Almond Gallete Recipe

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
For the filling:
In a food processor combine:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 flour

Cut and pit about 4 pluots into 1/8 pieces and toss them into the mixture.
Roll out your dough onto a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange the plutos on the rolled out dough leaving about a 1 to 2 inch boarder.
Fold up the edges onto the pluots and partically cover the plouts.
Brush the edges of the dough with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
It's important to cool the galette for a least 30 minutes so the juices can thicken.

Right out of the oven!!!

Cut....Serve....Perfection!!!

Happy Baking!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beach Foam


It's cold, raining and I decided to go and check out the beach during low tide only
to discover the entire beach cover in blobs of foam. It was unbelievable!!!






Happy Sunday!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beach Day in December

The perfect Beach Day in Winter.





Happy Tuesday!!!

Oatmeal Cookies

thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies
Photo by Smitten Kitchen. 



I recently had the best oatmeal cookie in my entire life. Now that might sound ridiculous but seriously it might of been the best cookie I ever had to date.  I never thought I would find myself getting excited about oatmeal cookies but here I am writing about them.  

Oatmeal cookies are so basic and you can almost add any of your favorite ingredients to the batter and create your own favortie combinations.
Here are a few ideas:
Chocolate Chips
White Chocolate Chips
Toffee Chips
Peanut Butter Chips
Raisins
Currents
Golden Raisins
Walnuts
Pecans
Almonds
Dried Fruits like Cherries, Cranberries or Apricots etc...
The list of possibilities are endless...but think of some of your favorite flavors combinations and
create your own creations.

Martha Stewart recently  published a great Recipe call Anytime Oatmeal Cookies. Give it a try and
let me know what you think and don't forget to add in some of your favorite goodies in the batter. Be creative.

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 4 dozen
  • 1 cup cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1 unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla, then flour mixture. Mix in oats, then raisins.
  2. Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop (or 1 tablespoon), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each scoop about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Here are a couple photos of my cookies that I made today. My favorite combinations???? Golden Raisins, Pecans and Shredded Coconut.

Getting ready for the oven!!!

Mini Ice Cream Scoopers helps with making the perfect scoop each time.

Fresh out of the oven!!! Have you tried baking on Silpat???? It's wonderful.

Ta-da....really amazing, the perfect cookie for the kind of weather were having today. These
will keep me cozy!!!

Happy Baking!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Party

This year we had an amazing event at work to kick off our new Accessories and Apothecary line.
To celebrate we invited clients after hours to come and check out it out.

Here we are.  Denise, Josh, Assia, Peter, Vicky and Julia!!!

Marcus, Claudia and A.J.

Client's shopping!!!!

A.J. gift wrapping holiday goodies for clients....

Gayle hunting for the perfect box for her client's gifts....

Julia and Eric welcoming all the client's!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Santa Monica Antique Fair

I couldn't wait to visit the Antique Fair in Santa Monica. Today was just a day of looking and not buying. Trust me, it was really hard. I just adore these vintage mother of pearl jam spoons.
Take a look at the workman ship and the attention to detail. The vendor wanted 85.00 for the pair.
I really love these....but I'm going to be good...they will find a good home.



These Russian tea glass holders are were made in Warsaw in the 19th century. The vendor wanted 120.00 for the pair which was a screaming deal. To date these holders have been the most beautiful I've ever seen.


A sweet brass heart necklace which I thought was pretty. Something I would have worn in the 80's.

I met a lovely jewelry designer, Jane, who specializes in Victorian antiques, linens, and of course vintage jewelry.
Her pieces are original and well priced. I should have take more photo's but I was overwhelmed with what she had at her booth.....really beautiful.

Mother of pearl opera glass from the 1800's....you know these have my
name on them...but I was good today....just looking and dreaming....

Vintage Buttons

Vintage Bakelite Buttons

I love these vintage amber medicine bottles....

Happy Treasure Hunting!!!