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    Davis, CA

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  1. This week, as we approach the end-of-year for the academic year, we had many celebrations and thank-you parties for students and volunteers, where—-for a change— we work to thank them for the year of volunteering. I’ll post some of my contributions. 1 Ottolenghi ‘Sweet’ - the pistachio meringue roulade with raspberries for a co-worker’s birthday 2 Ottolenghi ‘Sweet’ - lemon raspberry cupcakes; guiness chocolate cake (Irish Car Bomb - style) cupcakes with espresso buttercream w/ Bailey’s Irish Cream. (sorry, gotten eaten too fast by students before I had time for a snapshot of the full tray— only a few leftovers saved at home survived). 3 Ottolenghi ‘Sweet’ - Persian Love Cakes (GF) 4 for my own students, I hosted a Saturday @home lunch in my backyard garden with a surprisingly light Shrimp Cojita Enchiladas w/green chili sauce (Bon Appetit, a few years back), followed by David Lebovitz’ Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream. Photo of spectacular bloom of Flowering Cereus in our backyard added just for fun. Oh.My.God— only lasts 12 hours (twilight > dawn), but: wow. We’ve never had more than 1-3 blossoms before and are not sure what to make of this. Maybe the deluge of May rains? (it rarely *cough: never* rains in this part of CA this late in the year).
  2. I love Stella’s recipes, so also tried making toasted sugar too, with a bit of a ‘meh’ reaction— a lot of oven time for a disappearingly small impact; however, as time has gone on and I’ve had this big batch already prepped, I now give two-thumbs-up for the taste of Stella’s toasted suger in any simple, elegant custard, pudding, or ‘creameux’. The caramelly tones shine in something simple and wholesome, made with just fresh milk and eggs.
  3. Ha! I hadn’t noticed that! Here is the artist, in case anyone is interested: Keith Hansen of Bolinas, CA. If prints are not your thing, each ‘page of birds’ print comes from his wonderful book on the “Birds of the Sierra Nevada”, available for—well— a song at a bookstore near you: http://keithhansen.com/product/birds-of-the-sierra-32/
  4. @kayb - my husband is the gardener this year; my work keeps me too busy to garden much (at home!) anymore.The good and bad news at work is that they transferred oversight of the whole 5300 acres of campus to our small team “because you are doing such a great job”. Yikes. Maybe a home garden soon, however. I am also thinking of putting in a big flower garden next fall. So: Happy Planning to you! It’s almost the best part, the anticipating and imagining. As we like to joke at work: “Definition: “A perennial” - a plant that—had it lived—would have bloomed year after year after year.” .... You might have to be a gardener to think that is funny.
  5. Yeah, crazy,.... those were the free Sunday boxes. I cook like a madman on Sundays like that, but still often have to give some away. Luckily, I go to the gym at 7 am Monday morning, and there are always staff who will grab anything I bring in. But, just to be clear: many weekends, there is nothing at all there left behind and then I am kinda kicking myself for not picking up anything at the Saturday market. It’s always a gamble to skip the market. Short version: three day weekends are the best for leftovers; people forget to tell Jeff and Annie that they will be gone. And: yes, those are the unforgettable, fragrant, delicate and irresistable Blenheim apricots from Winters and the nearby Capay Valley. Winters gets the earliest crop in the whole country— something about that little pocket of warmth and sunshine in the Inner Coast Ranges. I made ice cream, jam, desserts, and enjoyed fresh of course. Those are one item that NEVER gets away; the season is so so brief.
  6. I’ll thank everyone here who chimed in— thanks all for the warm welcome. I also wanted to say @Okanagancook that I spent a very happy 4 months living at a field station (wildlife biology! marine botany! oh my!) on Vancouver Island, not too far from Qualicum Bay, when I was a college student. Just such a wonderful incredible experience— oh.my.god., the salmon. Plus: I learned to make Nanaimo Bars... which are just *crazy*. You people! oh sure, Canadians seem so lovely and sedate and reasonable and calm, and then you take a bite of that for the first time as a teen. “Who ARE you?”
  7. I’m actually about 1.5 hours away, at UC Davis! we have a 100-acre garden here. But yes yes— San Francisco, Napa County, and much of northern California has a very active, thriving food culture. Closer to home, Davis has a very large Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, just around the corner from where I live— indeed, our front yard is a CSA veggie box drop off spot for close friends who are local farmers, so it’s all I can do to keep up with the fresh produce, when a box or two is left behind. (we get the “leftover” boxes for free if no one has picked them up by Sunday at noon). I’ll post a photo from one particularly crazy week, if I can figure out how... good thing I like cooking, is all I can say!😉
  8. Also, now working on some of the cakes posted by John at Preppy Kitchen. Here's the little cake I made for Easter Sunday: white cake. Although the flecks make the icing look like mint-choc chip, it's just a Swiss Buttercream with flecks of chocolate flicked on with a paintbrush. The "nest" is coconut; the eggs are little candies from the grocery store.
  9. From Ottolenghi "Sweet", The Incomparable Lemon Poppyseed Cake. Oh wait, I put the "incomparable" part in, didn't I?
  10. Hi, new member here-- inspired to post, because of this question. My recent favorite is the Espresso Chocolate Cake (now retired) from Proof Bakery in Los Angeles. I got interested in the recipe after seeing this unlikely BuzzFeed clip online (whoa, what's up with 30+ *million* views!! I wondered): https://ytcropper.com/cropped/n45cd99135de59e and later found the recipe in the LA Times. Takes a few days to make the component parts--- at least, if you work full-time like me--- but otherwise easy. The final photo is from the online recipe-- and made by the bakery, not me! I include it here to inspire you to Extreme Baking Greatness, not yet achieved by me. But: delicious and fun, for a first try!
  11. Hi All-- just a quick hello to let you all know that I've been enjoying reading your posts. I'm an avid baker, as well as cooking for friends and family and enjoying discoveries and new adventures in the many cookbooks on the too many bookshelves of cookbooks. Other than that, I like gadgets of every sort, including pots and pans and whatnot, as well as: hiking and the great (remote wildernesses) and small (backyard gardens) outdoors. I am a botanist by profession and currently staff at a botanical garden. So: the good life, pretty much all around.
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