we just got the great new cookbook Baked by these guys and this is the first recipe we've tried. so far so good and just in time for halloween! the recipe makes two loaves so you can keep one and give one to a friend.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf
(from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
15 oz canned pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz dark chocolate chips
preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans. whisk flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. in another bowl, stir together pumpkin and oil. then add sugar and combine. stir in eggs one at a time and add vanilla. add 3/4 cup room temperature water and then stir in chocolate chips. fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture and combine but do not over mix. divide between two loaf pans and bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.


on the road

we are up in napa valley on a job for the week. these images are from our third stop at bouchon bakery in 24 hours - iced coffee and pastries upon arrival, ham & cheese croissant and a cappuccino for breakfast and then a late afternoon cookie break. nice to get out of southern california to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and to shoot some great sustainable wineries, eco hotels and local restaurants. more pics from our trip to come soon!


single malt

an obsession of mine for some time now is collecting and learning as much about scotch as much as i can.  the collecting part is well on its way, and the learning part is still with its training wheels.  every trip to hi time wine cellars in orange county when i am visiting back home brings me back with a new bottle or two.  a few days ago i came back with the japanese scotch yamazaki, which was well worth the purchase.  and recently, good friends gave me the other two bottles pictured above for a recent birthday, a cask strength macallan and a 25 year talisker, both absolutely amazing in completely different ways.  the other pic is from the morning after a big night out in san fran, the evidence on our hotel window sill.  last night we had a small scotch tasting at our house, tasting about 12 different scotch's which was a blast.  i believe the only way to truly enjoy a prized scotch is to enjoy it with friends.  and although i can't tell you all i've learned quite yet, i can tell you this is the only way to learn...taste, taste, taste...


taleggio & kabocha

we love pizza and there is nothing better than making it at home. this dough recipe comes from vogue magazine, random i know, and is one of my favorite doughs to make if i have the time for homemade crust. the toppings are inspired by a pizza giada de laurentiis made on everyday italian when i worked as the food stylist on the last season. changed the cheeses, different squash and added pancetta because everything tastes better with pancetta!

Taleggio & Kabocha Pizza
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
3 cups flour
combine wine, water and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. add honey, salt and olive oil. mix thoroughly and add 1 cup of flour to make a wet paste. Add remaining flour and knead lightly on lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise 45 minutes.

1/2 kobocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 slices pancetta
5 oz taleggio cheese, sliced
1 oz goat cheese
1 cup arugula
preheat oven to 375 degrees F. on a sheet pan, toss squash with maple syrup and red pepper and roast for 25 minutes. crisp pancetta in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F and cool. increase oven to 450 degrees F. roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick on lightly floured surface and evenly distribute slices of taleggio. bake 8-10 minutes until crust begins to brown and cheese is bubbly. sprinkle pizza with crumbled goat cheese, pancetta and roasted squash. return to oven to 3-5 minutes until goat cheese is softened and crust is golden. top with arugula and give it a drizzle of good olive oil and some fresh cracked black pepper.


feelin saucy

here are a couple of shots for your monday from a shoot i did for a client who is using the images for wall art. each image will be approximately 5 foot square.  they should be pretty fun.  all of the shots are food related and here we have the much under used in the states, hp sauce, along with some sardines packed in a bbq sauce.  both images were shot with a ring flash which can be oh so addicting to use... 


deep purple

i've never been a huge fan of grape flavored anything - popsicles, gum, cough syrup, jelly. it's not my thing. but when i saw this grape jam tart recipe in the october issue of martha stewart living something made me want to try it. the jam almost didn't make it into the tart because it was so good on it's own that i wanted to slather it all over buttered toast or just eat it with a spoon. i don't have a non-fluted tart pan so i made it in a vintage pie tin and it still turned out great. serve a slice at room temperature with a dollop of creme fraiche or plain yogurt and enjoy!

Concord Grape Jam Tart
(from martha stewart living october 2008)

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water
in a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt. add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. with the machine running, slowly add water until mixture begins to form a ball. remove and shape into 2 disks. wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.

1 1/2 lbs concord grapes, stems removed
3 tbs lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup coarse sugar for sprinkling, like turbinado
combine grapes and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over high heat. cook, stirring frequently, until grapes release their juices, about 7 minutes. strain through a fine sieve. return juice to saucepan over high heat, stir in sugar and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer until temperature reaches 220 degrees. transfer to a bowl and cool.

on a lightly floured surface, roll out each disk of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. transfer one round into tart pan or pie tin and trim edges flush with pan. place other round on a sheet pan lined with parchment and freeze both for 15 minutes. 
preheat oven to 375 degrees. spread about 1 cup of grape jam in bottom of pan. brush top edge of dough with 1 beaten egg. slide the remaining dough round on top and press edges to seal. trim excess dough and crimp with a fork. brush top with egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. refrigerate for 30 minutes. bake tart for 15 minutes, then gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles and return to oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown. cool on a wire rack.


one year

happy first anniversary to us! can't believe how quickly a year has flown by already but it's been a nice one. these are two polaroids we took on our honeymoon in kauai - oh to be lounging in the pool with a mai tai in hand.


in season

i adore the taste of figs and goat cheese together. here's a really simple but delicious appetizer or snack to fix while fresh figs are available. you could use any kind of bread, cheese and jam you have on hand but this was an exceptionally tasty combination and i'm loving the balsamic sweet onion jam we just picked up at williams-sonoma! enjoy.

Fig & Goat Cheese Crostini

1 loaf walnut & currant bread
4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1 jar balsamic sweet onion jam
1 basket fresh figs, washed and quartered

Toast 1/4-inch thick slices of bread until golden and cut into small squares or circles. Spread with about 1 tbs goat cheese and top with 1 tsp jam and a piece of fig.


chambord and ginger ale

our new drink is a tasty one.  even though the weather in most parts of the country is nearing winter, out west, its still hot as can be.  so here is a cool you down cocktail that can be enjoyed any time of year.  we made this with vodka, but if your a gin person, it will work as well.

glass with ice
2 oz vodka 
1 oz chambord
juice from 1/2 lime
top with ginger ale (about 4oz, but more if you please)
garnish with a lime

using top shelf vodka is always a must.  and this drink really tastes better if you can get your hands on a nice bottled ginger ale.  we used boylans, and its make such a difference. 



bowling green

lawn bowling is a sport all its own.  here are a few shots from a story i did for santa barbara magazine.  the classy men and women that play in santa barbara a few days a week make a sport that is surprisingly hard (in case you didn't know, the balls aren't round), look way too easy. this vintage vibe shows how wearing all white may be the coolest thing around.  if you have never played, take a trip to your local lawn bowling club and take a lesson from the pros!


farewell to summer

i have subjected my friends to different versions of corn salad all summer and i apologize that it took me so long to come up with this version - it is by far my favorite! although corn has almost disappeared from farmer's market, the tomatoes are looking more beautiful than ever and i still have many ripening on my patio. we actually have rain in the forecast for tomorrow so i consider this my farewell to summer salad. Enjoy!

Creamy Corn Salad

2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
2 ears corn, blanched and cut off the cob
1 cup garbanzo beans
juice of 1/2 lime
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Stir well to combine and to distribute the avocado and goat cheese into a creamy coating for the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at room temperature.


scarlet begonias

today feels just a little bit too much like summer is still around.  its hot and sticky and we really want the fall to make itself official.  these begonias were shot for santa barbara magazine for a future article and these were a couple polaroids from the shoot.  i just remember the shoot day as a cool, cloudy, nice fall feeling day in the middle of the summer.  and i can't help but think of some lyrics when i shot the is what was in my head...

...she had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes
and i knew without asking she was into the blues
she wore scarlet begonias, tucked into her curls
i knew right away she was not like other girls
-grateful dead