Archive for March, 2012

March 20, 2012

Spring in Napa


Happy Spring! During the weekend, we spent a day in Napa photographing a sweet couple for their engagement session. It was a bit chilly, but a beautiful day! At this time in Napa Valley, there are fields filled with yellow mustard flowers! Just lovely! This is a sneak peak for our couple, check out more of our recent work on our facebook page: IpomoeaFilms

At the same time, March 20th is Macaron Day! Lucky enough, while we were in Napa, we stopped by Bouchon Bakery in Yountville for some wonderful macarons!

Our favorite, oddly, was the banana flavor. It has a slice of caramelized banana inside the filling. Surprise:)

March 14, 2012

Citrus kind of Pie

There is a pie eating party at work on March 14, 1:59PM meaning π = 3.141592653… It’s Pi Day! This awesome nerdy holiday, a played on numbers, is simply fun and quirky. Co-workers bring their favorite pies to share and I get to sample a delicious slice of everything. Yum! How will you be celebrating Pi Day? Doing math home work? Or watch a movie/tv episode about π/pies? (I recommend a cute tv show called Pushing Daisies, about a pie maker who can bring the dead to life.)

Pies are one of my favorite desserts. However, pies can be quite labor intensive to make, especially on a weekday. If you are determine to make something special, may I suggest this simple pie-like recipe, great with season fruits and yummy enough for celebrating. A crostata is a different kind of pie, actually like a tart. It is an Italian baked dessert with a buttery pastry filled with jam, cream, or fruit. Right now, blood oranges are in season, so I found a beautiful recipe and gave it a go. This dessert has warm red colors and baked citrus flavors with sweet Italian cream cheese in a casual rustic style. Sounds interesting right?

Pinwheel Blood Orange Crostatas
Recipe adapted from theKitchn
(makes 6-8 individual tart)

Crust
1½ cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tb sugar
1 stick butter (chilled & cubed)
2 tb ice water
1 egg (beaten)
Sprinkle of raw sugar

Fruit & Filling
2 blood orange (slice into wheel shape)
1 orange (slice into wheel shape) – I used grapefruit.
8 oz. (1 tube) mascarpone cheese
2 tb sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
________________________________________

Preparing Fruit & Mascarpone Creme Filling:
1. Slice citrus fruit into wheel shapes and separating segments for triangle shapes.
2. With hand mixer, combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, and vanilla.

Making crust:
3. Mix flour, salt, sugar  and combine flour mixture with butter. You may use a food processor.  I mix it with my hands, squeezing and crumbling the dough until the flour and butter are evenly distributed into each other.
4. Add ice water and mix in with dough.
5. Form dough into ball, refrigerate for 20 min.
6. Divide dough into 6-8 balls.
7. Roll dough balls ~ 1/4″ thick and ~4-6″ diameter. Don’t need to worry about perfect edges. Place discs on parchment paper.

Arrangement & Baking:
8. Spread creme filling in middle of dough disc.
9. Arrange fruits, alternating colors to create a pinwheel.
10. Fold dough edges around covering half the fruit arrangement.
11. Refrigerate crostatas for half an hour.
12. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle on raw sugar.
13. Bake 375 degrees about 30 min. or until golden brown. Cool and top with creme.

 

Special message from sweet ipomoea: First time being Freshly Pressed! Thank you all for the likes, comments, and follows! It is so exciting to hear from people from all over the world! Thank you for your kindness! :D

March 7, 2012

Blossoming Almond Trees

During March, the almonds trees come to blossom and they make a lovely scene of soft white petals. California grows so much almonds. You’re able to see rows of blossom trees driving on I-80 around Dixon and Woodland. I am lucky enough to live close to them and eat fresh almonds all year long. They might be my favorite nut! As you may know, I blog a lot about orchards and farms…well I love it out there! Yip and I stopped by one of the orchard and it was a dream come true to run around ’til sunset in such a beautiful sea of flowering trees. Blossoms are sweet like snow flakes, without the cold and wet. Definitely a romantic place to be. Perfect for an engagement session! Just let us know if you like a photo shoot!

Also I just found out this Sunday, March 11 is the Capay Valley Almond Festival. I have never attended and unfortunately I made plans this year too. It’s an event that seem interesting to me, so if you’re there, let me know how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the sight of my kitties and the blossom tree outside my window:)

March 3, 2012

Sweet & Sour Pork

This weekend, we are celebrating National Pig Day. It is my favorite event that my local farmer’s market organizes, where there are many pig theme decors, activities and yep food too! In the spirit, I’ll share this sweet and sour pork recipe, which I learned from my recent trip.

During my trip to Hong Kong, I managed to peek into Yip’s mom’s kitchen to see her secret in master cooking. This recipe was said to be passed from grandma to her and now to me. This is merely based on observation. I had to come up with the measurements as I cooked it myself when I returned home. All the ingredients are the same, but somehow food always taste better when mom cooks. This is not a dish we eat often at home, due to it’s popularity in take out and cumbersome steps. It is sure impressive for guests and colorful too. I feel happy knowing how it is prepared and cooking a tasty dish on my own.

Sweet and Sour Pork
(makes about 4 servings)

1 boneless pork chop (cubed)
1/4 of green and red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 of onion (chopped)
3/4 cup pineapple (cubed)
1 egg
flour
oil for frying

Sauce
3 tb ketchup
2 tb vinegar (white/rice)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tb water
1/2 tb cornstarch

Directions:
1. Chop pork chop into 1/2 inch cubes and marinate for 1 hour or overnight with salt, sugar, and cornstarch.

2. Making the sauce:
Add ketchup, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, sugar, and water in a pot, cooking in medium heat. Stir to mix and adjusting the taste to your liking. (Example: needing more sour, add vinegar.) In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and a little water together. Add to your sweet and sour sauce to thicken it. Put sauce aside.

3. Frying pork:
Coat pork with egg wash and then flour to fry in oil. Take crispy pork out when golden brown and drain on paper towels. Put aside to cool. Refry pork to get it more crispy. Drain on paper towels to soak up oil.

4. In a wok, stir fry bell pepper, onion, pineapple. Don’t over cook. Add pork and sauce.

Hopefully, next time I go back to Hong Kong, I will learn more cooking. I know the bf will like that:)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers