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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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Rented a house with a bunch o’ pals on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe for NYE… wood-burning stoves, 2 feet of fluffy white snow, hot tubbing & being drunk for 24 hours.

God, I love the holidays.

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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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And now for the main course of our Easter brunch… I decided to go all out and try this Swiss Rösti, which is basically a really fancy, giant hashbrown or latke. It wasn’t especially difficult, but does have a whole bunch of steps, which can be a little daunting! Without further ado, I’m just gonna jump right in…

The main ingredient is obvs, potatoes…

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Valentine’s has never been a favorite holiday of mine. I would go so far as to say I used to hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I still don’t like it, but it’s a lot easier to like when you’ve got someone to buy you pressies and bring you flowers and whatnot.

So as a “Happy Valentine’s, sucka” to my fella, I decided to put my relatively newfound culinary skills to good use and cook us up a feast.  I’m a slow chopper and a perfectionist, so we didn’t eat until 9, but I think we were both pretty satisfied (as was Nina… it’s not everyday that a puppy gets fillet mignon bits!).

I aimed high with the following menu:

Starter (yes… starter!):
Wild mushroom & leek soup w/ parsley dumplings (everything, including the vegetable stock, from scratch)

Main:
Pan fried, peppercorn-crusted fillet mignon
Green bean salad with marinated red onions in a homemade vinaigrette

Dessert:
Ghiradhelli loveliness from Spencer

First I started out with about $10 worth of assorted veggies for the stock…

Wanna see how it turned out?

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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.

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mmhmm[at]lauriebot[dot]com

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