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After our loved-up dinner of Cioppino, I was compelled to further spoil my fella with the following super indulgent (and super Valentine’s Day appropriate) dessert! A raspberry & dark chocolate tart…

Started out by making a lil’ chocolate cookie crust. Couldn’t find these surprisingly elusive “chocolate wafer cookies”, so I resorted to using the sexiest of children’s cookies – Teddy Grahams. Crushed them up in my (stupid) mini food processor, mixed the cookie crumbs with a bit o’ melted butter and then firmly pressed the buttery crumbs into my fluted, removable-bottom tart pan. Baked it in a 350F preheated oven for about 15 minutes and then let it cool.

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As part of my Valentine’s pressie to S, I decided to make a big ol’ romantic stew.

Now, stew may not necessarily conjure images of  lovey-dovey couples and island vacations, but I sincerely believe that when that stew involves lobster tails and fresh Dungeness crab and slow-simmered tomatoes, you’re definitely getting in the ballpark. So that’s what I made – a little Cioppino for my fella on this Valentine’s day…

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Not a lot of talk on this one – Just a super simple, super delicious recipe for giant sugary popovers! These came out kind of like elephant ears (no complaints ovah here) and made an awesome breakfast snack for weekend visitors… Prepare yourself for David Leibovitz’s sugar-crusted popovers…

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It’s freezing.

I realize that’s a relative term, considering I’m in California and California cold is in no way comparable to, say, New York cold (which I don’t miss at all – I’m looking at you frostbitten toes and $400 heating bills). But nevertheless, San Francisco temps can definitely dip down onto the less attractive side of 55F and when this unfortunate event occurs, all mama wants is soup.

Such is my current situation. I want soup! And not just any soup… A hearty, soul-warming, brothy soup with earthy flavors and heavenly aromatics. Thanks to Ms. Smitten Kitchen (genius strikes yet again), I found just the soup in the following recipe! A delightfully simple concoction with surprisingly complex flavors… a mushroom barley soup to end all mushroom barley soups…

Started out by rehydrating a few dried porcinis (just threw them in a bowl and covered with about 1 cup of boiling water). Set those bad boys aside I tended to the rest. Heated up a bit of olive oil in my LeCreuset and sautéed a roughly chopped carrot and a roughly chopped onion for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

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If there’s one thing I love about cold weather (apart from sweaters, indoor fires and booze-spiked morning beverages), it’s warm desserts. And what better way to enjoy a warm dessert than with a hearty crop of cold weather produce! I had the Granny Smiths, and given my near-obsession with the French, this next dessert was a no-brainer…

Apple Tarte Tatin!

I’ve had my share of this warm, caramelly pastry and the results have been as varied as one could expect; sometimes tart, sometimes super caramelly, sometimes mushy, sometimes firm. I’ve made it a few times (and had the pleasure of devouring it at a fab French restaurant near my house) and have determined that I prefer the apples to be firm, the pastry super buttery, and the caramel flavor pronounced. I believe I’ve achieved just that with the following recipe!

Started out with 6 firm, Granny Smiths…

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This year, my mom and my sister came out to San Francisco to spend Christmas at my house and it was glorious! We went to see the Nutcracker. We walked all over the city. My little sister and I went vintage shopping. And, for the first time ever, I hosted Christmas dinner!

I knew that there were going to be a few guidelines in preparing a holiday dinner for my mom and sis. My mom likes hearty, warm, sustaining things… comfort food. My sister hates fish and mushrooms. But we all like pork, so it was easily decided that I’d make a Mustard-Crusted Pork Roast with Shallots and Wine Sauce. For all the fancy that this name suggests, this was totally one of the easiest pork situations I’ve encountered!

Started out with a gorgeous 4.5 pound pork rib roast, lovingly Frenched by the nice man at Whole Foods…

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This year, I decided that I would not make a turkey. Flat out – no turkey. It was just going to be the two of us and I actually am one of the few people on this planet who has no affinity for leftover turkey sandwiches. So I went a different route… Cornish Game Hens and a whole mess of sides!

So settle in for Thanksgiving 2010… Cornbread -Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Corn Maque Choux, Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Butternut Squash Mash and Cranberry Sauce.

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It wouldn’t be Halloween without the following two words…

Caramel Apples.

Got myself a bushel of assorted unwaxed, organic apples – couldn’t tell you what varieties, but they were all smaller-than-the-palm-of-my-hand tiny.

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Halloween 2008 was one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had (barring those magical pre-teen Halloween evenings in late 80s Virginia, spent gorging myself on candy corn and fun-size candy bars).

S, our roomie K and I threw the most epic, till-7-in-the-morning party at our Brooklyn apartment and I feel that such an event will not likely ever be topped. Everyone showed up in costume and laden with bottles. The music was bumpin, creepy decorations hung and Freaks was on a silent loop in the background.There were Hitchcockian references, chubby Asian superheros, Little Mermaid sushi and Zack & Lisa during that one beautiful summer. Yes, that was a magical evening.

So far, my SF Halloweens have been decidedly lower-key, but still super fun! This year, I thought I’d bring a little hint of NYC to my SF Halloween shindig by attempting to make the holy grail of NY sweet treats…

The Black & White cookie.

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It’s become a given that whenever there’s a holiday worth drinking over, S and I will throw a little party. Halloween, of course, is no exception! This year we kept it small, just a handful of be-costumed San Franciscans, a little Misfits/Bauhaus mix, S’s signature Samhain cocktail (Hot Dickens Cider… sigh) and a whole mess of treats.

I have a natural tendency to load up on the sweets when it comes to party snacks, so this time I made a conscious effort to have one good salty treat. Had a look around my pantry – saw a little cayenne, a little chili powder and a giant bag of pumpkin seeds leftover from my granola craze of late summer 2010. Spicy pumpkin seeds had my name all over it…

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!


I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

Write me at:
mmhmm[at]lauriebot[dot]com

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