Monday, May 31, 2010

France, you stole a piece of my heart

When I tell people why I miss France I never know what to say. I've thought a little about it and here's what I've come up with...

I miss the people. From what I've experienced, most Americans don't really understand this and so I always have to clarify and say I miss the people I worked with...the guys who fabricated mass amounts of fish everyday and sweat over dishes produced perfect for a screaming French chef.

I miss the sites. The countryside is beautiful and taking the train from Paris to the surrounding towns (in my case, Rennes) is spectacular. Even when it rained I enjoyed it.
The last night I spent in Paris my mom and I trekked across the city to go to our favorite Italian restaurant. On the way back to our rented flat I kept turning around starring at the Eiffel Tower and thinking of how much I would miss it. I wiped tears off my face the whole way.

I miss the metro and walking. It's a weird sort of joy to not have a car.

I miss being the observer. Watching people, most of the time having no understanding of what they spoke, gathering enough from their body language and manner of speaking.

Waking up to emails that were written in the daylight of California but during my most vital sleeping hours. It was like opening a present when I awoke.

Cobblestone roads. Cheap, delicious Champagne. Football games. Boots. My flat.

I think I will have to return.

**the picture above is from

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sushi in Denver

Traditional Japanese Miso soup with tofu, seaweed, green onions, enoki,
shimeji, and shiitake mushrooms

Grilled Japanese shiitakes served on a bed mixed greens, pink grapefruit
and grape tomatoes tossed in a soy-ginger balsamic vinaigrette

My advice is simple: When in Denver, eat at Sushi Den. Supposedly (and I don't doubt it), it's the best sushi in the city.
I went with my friend Matt on a Monday night and it was packed to the brim. Three or four separate dining rooms projected classy, themed lighting and decor with two bars beautifully displaying bottles and a friendly staff. The sushi bar, where you can watch chefs create your sushi to order, could seat at least 15 guests at a time and looked magical. I loved the atmosphere as you can probably tell.
We scored a seat at the window and ordered an array of sushi along with the most delicious salad pictured above. Matt ordered the miso soup and said it was quite delectable with an abundance of whole mushrooms. They own two restaurants on the same block so I'm sure I'll be back to one of them next time I'm in the area!

I also had the pleasure of eating at Domo, another Japanese restaurant that focuses less on sushi and more on traditional dishes. Everything inside is rustic and dark with lanterns made of thin paper covered with Japanese characters and beer served in Turkish cups. (I think I prefer a cold pint glass)

The best part of Domo, aside from their food, is the Japanese garden/patio outside where every table has it's own bright red umbrella and every woman is given a basket to put their purse in so it won't sit on the gravel.

I wasn't able to capture pictures of the dishes since they failed to come out til dark but I did get a few of the gardens. We waited a ridiculous amount of time for our food and they didn't give us any sort of anything for waiting. If you know me you know I was peeved, especially after I insisted on our waiter bringing the manager to my frustration but I had to get over it since I was surrounded with good conversation and company and when the food finally did come, it was dynamic, fresh and full of goodness.

Next time I go I will hit it up for lunch, sit on the patio and make sure I come before the big rush so I'm not caught behind a few big parties. The food was most definitely worth it and I highly suggest experiencing what they have to offer...the Japanese curry was to die for!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Lemon Cake Weekend

This past Friday night, exhausted from the week I decided I had to make a lemon cake on Saturday to ease my mind and completely veg out. But it wasn't going to be just any lemon cake; I like layered cakes with lots of different fillings and character so I decided on a four layer one with lemon curd, deliciously light lemon cake and lemony buttercream frosting. I added blueberries and raspberries as a garnish because it's spring and why not live a little right? Truthfully, cake isn't my favorite thing to eat but for some reason constructing one always sounds like a good idea.

THE FACTS: This cake will not disappoint- Moist, full of lemony goodness and completely balanced, I dare say it may be my "go to" lemon cake...though, how often do you make lemon cakes these days? I found the recipe here, at (I know, I find everything there). The only change I made was doubling the lemon curd to have some leftover and leaving out the xanthan and guar gums (I was too lazy to find them in the store). Beware, the lemon curd will take much longer to thicken up without adding the guar gum (you'll probably have to stir it for a good 10-15 minutes). Oh and as for the rice flour in this recipe, I ended up using it since I was curious but you can easily sub in All Purpose Flour. I ended up loving the flavor of rice flour, by the way.

My easy way to cut parchment paper into a perfect circle. Just cut where you see it creased...

My suggestion of how to use your microplane as to avert a huge mess...I hate messy kitchens. Seriously.

It became a "Lemon Cake Weekend" opposed to a "Lemon Cake Saturday" because on Sunday I used the leftover cake (oh, I didn't tell you...I made double the amount of cake since my first batch I only put 1/3 the amount of baking powder on accident...woops!--it still turned out delicious though...deliciously dense) to make my first ever trifle! I highly recommend these for a party. Not only are they super easy but are beautiful and yummy as can be.

I used the whipped cream mixture ratio from this recipe (subbing mascarpone cream in for cream cheese) but ad-libbed from there using my leftover cake, spreading the leftover lemon curd as one layer and using both blackberries and strawberries in two separate layers. I cut them up, put them in separate bowls and let them macerate for an hour or so with lemon juice and sugar (more sugar for the blackberries). I let my dad use this for a party he had and it was a hit!