froobs

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Laura and I met back in 2012. I had my first teeny tiny storefront on 22nd Street. The space was 110 square feet and I got, like, zero foot traffic until one day a young lady named Kate approached me about doing a series of events. We held free workshops in my shop, organized by Kate as part of her Skill Exchange program she developed while at CCA. In that small ass space, we hosted an urban gardening class, a coffee brewing class, cocktail making, and others I’m forgetting. Each workshop saw about 12 people willingly cram themselves into what was basically a closet, standing room only, to learn tips on some real hipster stuff. It was amazing.

Once I moved the shop to the larger space on Guerrero (it was like 300+ square feet!) that had a built-in kitchenette, we expanded the class offering. Kate went freaking nuts on the scheduling. There was knife sharpening, beer brewing, cheese tasting, a class on spices, pasta making, sausage making, and tea brewing. And then there was a class on raw vegan food taught by Laura. That’s how we met.

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We bonded quickly. We were both crazy broke at the time, with big aspirations but a lot of fear and nervousness about what the future held (some things never change). Fast forward to 2016 and it’s fun and amazing and trippy to see how far we’ve come since those days. Laura’s got a successful YouTube channel, a ginormous Instagram following, and a new cookbook coming out next month. It’s all happened so fast and it’s so exciting. Life!

One of the things I love about this woman—and there is a lot to love—is that throughout all the ups and downs and the ups and ups, Laura’s never lost sight of why she’s doing what she’s doing. She wants to promote better eating in order to promote healthier living, in order to promote more positive body image and general happiness. I love that she’s a real human being (she’s got a whole chapter in her book dedicated to eating your feelings, for crying out loud) and simply wants people to feel better about themselves. And she never forgets that.

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So sometime last year when Laura decided she wanted to sell some tshirts and asked if I’d do the illustrations for them, the answer was duh, yes. And when she told me that she wanted 100% of the proceeds to go to Movemeant Foundation programs that promote positive body image in young women through movement, I actually cried. Here’s a woman who’s dedicated herself to helping others make a positive change in their lives, and I get to have a part in it. My heart was, and is, full.

Now, here they are. The illustrations are based on Laura’s signature #froobs photos, which are goofy and cute but have a serious underlying message (just like Laura!). No matter the shape, size, or flavor (wait, what?), #AllFroobsAreBeautiful. Laura’s got a great post on her blog about the tees that’s worth giving a read.

I’m so proud of this project! So go buy one. Or actually, I hear they’re practically all sold out already, so go get on the waitlist for them when they’re back in stock. 😀 😀 😀

-Donna

schmalentine’s day

roasted strawberry miso ice cream david lebovitz

We’re not big Valentine’s day people, Isaac and I. It’s not that we’re deliberately anti, but February 14 just kind of comes and goes like any other regular day. No special dinner reservations, no flowers, no gifts, no fun. (Just kidding about that last one. We’re lots of fun, all the time.)

Yesterday, however, was different. After meeting up with some of my best friends and their kids for a late lunch, we made our way over to another friend’s house for dinner and movies. The intention for these gatherings wasn’t necessarily to celebrate anything, but just to hang out, catch up, and eat good food. It was a full day of being surrounded by loved ones doing one of the things I love most—eating—together. So we accidentally celebrated Valentine’s Day, and what started out as a normal day ended as a really great one.

david lebovitz roasted strawberry miso ice cream

To top it off, I made David Lebovitz’s roasted strawberry-miso ice cream and it is crazy good. I’m not quite sure what led me to give it a try—I think the concept of dessert miso just sounded too weird to resist—but the result is a complicated butterscotch flavor in the base, punctuated with jammy bits of tart strawberries. It gets everyone scratching their heads and it’s great.

And then I made meringue cookies with the leftover egg whites. 😀 Happy Valentine’s Day!

boob meringue cookies chocolate chip

squidgy

Continuing my thread on British baking:

My husband just got back from a business trip to the UK and brought me back a boatload of interesting finds from the local grocery store, as he is wont to do whenever he travels anywhere without me. It’s a fun tradition we have — in lieu of a shitty souvenir, I get to try a bunch of new-to-me foods you can’t find in SF.

One of the items he brought back was a Soreen Malt Loaf, which has the tag line, “Deliciously Squidgy Energy.” Without ever seeing the word “squidgy” before, I knew exactly what it meant the second I tried the loaf. An elastic squishiness. Sweet and dense, the texture reminds me a little of butter mochi, the flavor full of raisin-y goodness. I dig it.

Squidgy. What a great word.

giant crumpets

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Going down a Great British Bake Off rabbit hole the other day, I came across a recipe for giant crumpets buried deep in the blog of Hodder & Stoughton, the publisher of many a GBBO cookbook. I’d never had crumpets before so I’m not sure how these compare to the real thing, but these were really well received by my brunch guests. Who doesn’t like a giant version of anything? Tasty and fun to share, it’s worth giving a whirl for sure.

From Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course 2012

HOME-MADE CRUMPET
SERVES 2–4

Dripping with butter and jam, crumpets were the sort of teatime treat we all grew up with and loved. Making individual crumpets can be a hassle, so it’s much more fun to make a giant one to share. Topped with a quick home-made strawberry jam and a dollop of crème fraîche, the crumpet truly is worth rediscovering.

175g strong white flour
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of caster sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp dried yeast
125ml warm milk
Oil, for frying
Butter
Crème fraîche, to serve
Strawberry jam, to serve

Sift the flour, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Make a well in the middle, add the yeast, and slowly pour in the warm milk mixed with 150ml warm water. Draw the flour into the centre, mixing thoroughly, and beat to a thick batter. (You may need to add up to another 100ml warm water if the mixture is very thick.) Whisk for a couple of minutes until smooth. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has almost doubled in size and has a spongy consistency.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil. Stir the batter and pour into the pan. Cook for 10–15 minutes on a low heat to prevent burning until the batter is dry and the surface is set with little holes. Dot a few little pieces of butter around the outside edge of the crumpet, and when this has melted, flip the crumpet over and cook on the other side for 1–2 minutes.

Serve the crumpet with strawberry jam and crème fraîche.

 

rice krispie “curry”

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I like to fancy myself an arbiter of good taste, but all bets are off when it comes to desserts or, more specifically, theme-party desserts. Whether it’s a cake shaped like a turkey for a Thanksgiving party or a dessert shaped like a hamburger for a burger cook-off or, most recently, a bowl of rice krispie treat “curry” (above) for the curry cook-off we hosted last weekend, I love being the tacky punchline at the end of a good meal.

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The best part of it is that everyone expects something so goofy to taste like crap, so the bar’s set really low. And then *BAM* you hit them with a surprisingly tasty dessert that’s delicious AND fun. Everybody wins.

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The rice krispie thing, for example, was made with the good stuff from Whole Foods like Guittard chocolate and all natural marshmallows, because I’m a grown up. Anyway, it was a fun party. As cook-offs go, I highly recommend making curry—everyone can cook it ahead of time, and all you gotta do is heat it up and serve. We’ve done a dumplings contest, and before that hamburgers, and all the prep and on-site cooking just takes forever and gets real messy. Consider me a cook-off savant.

making things

bunny ceramics pie bird

My first real ceramics class has come to an end, and, after 9 sessions, these are the few decent pieces I produced. Ceramics is tricky. You think you made something pretty cute til you glaze it and then it all goes south. After weeding out the turds, I’m left with a few vessels I’ll use to hang some air plants, a catchall dish, and a prince-shaped pie bird (my favorite).

 

got milk?

milk farm restaurant

Pulled off the highway thinking I could grab a bite here. Alas, all that remains is one heck of a sign.

Intrigued, I looked it up to find out more about what once was. All-you-can-drink milk contests for $0.10! Free pony rides for kids! Reasonably priced chicken dinners!

O Milk Farm, how I wish I knew ye.

yes and no

Finally read this article that’s been making the rounds. At a quick glance, I’m anti-a lot of what this guy schills for, but it’s an interesting read with a few good nuggets here and there.

Wansink definitely sounds like an oddball. I’m curious about his Taiwanese-American wife, too. Who marries someone that won’t eat their culture’s food? Dealbreaker.