Autumn Qiaochuang

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Holiday Gift Fairs 2012

If you are interested in San Francisco Bay Area made treats and treasures, these three gift fairs should be on your radar for this weekend espresso cups set, December 7 - 9, 2012.

La Cocina Gift Bazaar
This year the La Cocina Gift Bazaar is taking place downtown! It will be at the Crocker Galleria at 50 Post St from Friday, December 7th from 1 pm - 7 pm. There will be live music and plenty of delicious things to eat and give as gifts. Some of my favorites include Kika's Treats, Global Grub, Maite Catering, Love & Hummus and Azalina's. This is a great event, put on by San Francisco's first non-profit incubator kitchen Stainless steel tea infuser. I've gone every year. Don't miss it!

Speakeasy Holiday Indie Mart
Hosted by Indie Mart this Saturday Bordeaux, December 8th, from 12 pm - 6 pm is the Speakeasy Holiday Indie Mart at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1195 Evans Ave, Bayview. Tour the brewery, purchase packaged foods and sweets or find something to eat at one of the food trucks. A shuttle will be available for $3 to get you there, look for details coming soon. Sorry I don't have a listing of vendors Business Education, but I'm sure this will be a worthwhile event.

SFMade Holiday Gift Fair
I'm a big fan of the Fort Mason farmer's market and this weekend there is even more reason to go, the SFMade Holiday Gift Fair will be taking place from 10 am - 6 pm at the Herbst Pavilion. Keep an eye out for local favorites including Bi-Rite high chair, Heath Ceramics, The Chai Cart, Poco Dolce How to Manage DC Motor Speed Control, also NeoCocoa and Clairesquares (both of whom will also be at the La Cocina event on Friday).

Peanut Butter and Honey Granola

titleOne of the things I resolved to do this year is to make more things from scratch...to make more of our basic commodities (as far as food is concerned that is – I haven’t yet reached the exulted heights of making my own detergent or conditioner) and condiments . I love the feeling of smug satisfaction I get from having homemade jams and chutneys in my pantry, stock in my freezer, and jars of pickling vegetables in my fridge designer handbags clearance.com/tubeamp.html">tube amp.

Some may scoff at the Suzy-homemaker-ness of it all and label it as trite or kitsch or old-fashioned. I see you rolling your eyes, brandishing your high-stress jobs like swords, all while trying to keep those multiple balls that you juggle in the air. Well, I only have this to say, I am one of you. I have a full time, high stress job that I absolutely love to wield like some shiny weapon, or more to the point, like a shield…"I’m stressed! Don’t bug me!" My job has nothing to do with writing or food or this blog marie france bodyline. It is a regular job, and like the millions of regular jobs out there – takes up most of my time and can be the cause of some energetic head-against-the-wall banging. I juggle multiple roles and yes, it does get tiring and frustrating hosting service. I don’t always stick my lemons in my San Pellegrino, despite my best efforts. Sometimes I suck on them and grumble and say “oh phooey!”

But, these homey, hearth-y tasks like making stock from scratch, kneading bread, or making your own cereal, actually help relieve the stress of a fast-paced world. Its very clichéd corniness, its almost primitive function, brings me comfort. Slowing down my steps, doing something good for myself, my body, and my family Domestic Helpe...puttering, contemplating, working with my hands. The very antithesis of the harried pace of work and, sometimes, life.

Plus there is the added benefit, lest we forget, of avoiding all the additives and what-nots that you find in the packaged, store-bought stuff.

Peanut Butter and Honey Granola
(adapted from theKitchn)

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup very roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup very roughly chopped almonds
1 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup wheat germ
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
3/4 cup chopped dried dates

- In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a small saucepan, mix the honey and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is melted. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour the honey/peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture. Add the oil, and stir thoroughly until everything is evenly coated. The mixture will be chunky and rough iphone skin.
- Spread the oat mixture evenly on 2 foil-lined (original calls for parchment-lined but I like how foil stays put better) baking sheets and bake in a pre-heated 325F oven for 40 minutes, stirring 2-3 times while baking (I like stirring every 10 minutes).
- When the granola is done transfer to another baking sheet, this one lined with parchment, and spread out. I find this is a good way to let the granola cool down. Once cool, add the dates, and toss to combine.

I haven’t bought granola, or cereal, for a while now (except for the occasional box of raisin bran…for which I have an inexplicable love). I cannot recommend making your own granola enough. It tastes so much better than what you buy in the stores, it is wickedly easy, and you can tailor it to your tastes. I have my basic, go-to recipe for granola here, but this is a wonderful variation. I mean, peanut butter granola…what more needs to be said? I deviated from the original recipe by using walnuts and almonds instead of all peanuts, and forgoing the ground ginger. This makes an absolutely gorgeous granola – redolent with sweet-salty peanutbuttery goodness, and the dates are the perfect dried fruit for it. The recipe makes a nice big batch too, so take out those jars and cute labels and share with family and friends!

Now, don’t think that I’ve gone the full Martha. Although I do dedicate my best efforts to making things from scratch, I won’t get up on a soapbox and say that I never use cube bullion or buy jam. I do, after all, as I said, understand firsthand life’s often frenetic pace and I won’t (and neither should anyone) beat myself up if I can’t make bread this week. Still, do not underestimate the benefits, both in the goodness of the end product and in therapeutic qualities of the process, of doing things the “old-fashioned” way :)

To all the worker bees out there: may our weekend be as luxuriously slow as our week was dizzyingly fast!

And to all the mamas out there, who are always working, 24/7: Have a fabulous Mother’s Day! If I could give all of you peanut butter granola topped kisses I would :)

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

What a week this has been! As I sit here on my desk I can barely manage to keep my eyes open and my shoulders from drooping with fatigue. I won’t go into the gritty details here, because really, who wants to hear about that? Work has just been a wringer with curve balls left and right – throw in intense technological dramas with the hard drive and you have quite the birthday week. That’s not even to mention the strange weather preamp!

It is during times like these that I (and I think we all do) need to turn to something comforting in the kitchen. Something warm and soupy and hearty and familiar. This doesn't take much, after all, when in the throes of what seems to be a purgatorial punishment I am in no shape to go all Master Chef in the kitchen. I take what I have and make the most of it. Which is exactly what we should do with and in all crummy situations life throws us.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

500 grams prepared corned beef brisket
2 small red onions, peeled and halved
1 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 8 wedges
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
A good cracking of black pepper

- Place the corned brisket, onion, carrot, potato, and bay leaf in a heavy bottomed pot. Cover with liquid – you can use stock or water, I used the liquid that came with my corned brisket. Cracked some fresh black pepper over, cover the pot, and place over medium low heat to cook. Check occasionally to make sure nothing is catching on the bottom of the pot.
- When the carrots and potatoes are halfway done, add the cabbage. Cover the pot once more and cook until all the vegetables are done custom clothing labels.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Mine needed no extra seasoning as the flavours of the corned beef and cooking liquid were already intensely aromatic.
- Fish the slab of corned beef out onto a chopping board and slice thickly. Lay the slices on serving bowls and cover with the soup and a portion of vegetables. Enjoy hot.

This soup was put together, thankfully, without much trouble. Which is more than I can say for my poor hard drive. I used a slab of local corned beef brisket which I had in the freezer. Along with that, I scrounged up a carrot, and potato, and a head of cabbage. No matter how frazzled or anxious I am, the act of tucking in a few simple ingredients into a pot with some liquid, then leaving it to slowly but surely, and magically, turn into a fortifying soup, gives me a sense of calm that nothing can quite duplicate. I know that may sound odd, but it works for me, and is much cheaper than the spa, plus you have soup afterwards.

The corned beef I used here is made by Mr. D’s Artisanal using wagyu beef brisket, which is cured for one week then slow cooked for five hours. The famous marbling that wagyu beef is known for makes this a meltingly tender chunk of meat. With potatoes and mounds of cabbage, and a generous dollop of horseradish on the side, this pure comforting sustenance. Any leftovers make awesome sandwiches.

Since my beef was was already pre-cooked it was just a matter of getting the vegetables done and the beef heated through. If you are using fresh corned beef you just have to adjust the cooking time above and slow cook until the beef is tender, this could take 4-5 hours. Add the vegetables during the final hour of cooking.

I am still in the midst of trying to resolve this seemingly insurmountable technical hiccup. And although the task feels absolutely daunting I am determined to take it one step at a time and hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon. Wish me luck Ergonomic furniture!

I don’t want to end this post on a sour gripey computer-related note though. I am happy to share that after hearing about my giveaway The Vanilla Company has decided to donate more vanilla beans to be shared with you! That means instead of one lucky winner, we will have two!! I am also giving you another week to enter! So go ahead and leave a comment on my vanilla bean éclairs post and get a chance to win some really lovely vanilla beans!






春,用和藹的語氣告訴我們:“前途是光明的,但道路是曲折的。”想要找到光明的前途,就得走好曲折的道路。春天正用明眸注視著我們,我們不能讓她失望!勞煩春風替我們捎個信,告訴春天 ,我們是堅強的!






















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