Sprouted Kitchen Food Photography Workshop

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Hi, friends! Sorry for the absence. Life outside of this space has been a little hectic. I feel like the week leading up to vacation is always a crazy whirlwind of tying up loose ends, getting as much work done as you can so your team isn't left floundering after you leave, clearing the fridge so it's not a science experiment when you get back, and throwing a Riverdale season finale watch party. Yes, I made cheeseburgers, french fries, and sprinkle milkshakes for a bunch of ladies and it was excellent. Once I found out the fate of the poor citizens of Riverdale, I was ready to fly off to New York to watch my best friend get hitched! I spent the last few days running around New York City, eating things, drinking things, dancing on a boat, and catching up with some of my best friends. Weddings are so great for obvious reasons... you know the whole mushy love thing. But they are also such wonderful reunions. Jeff, Katie, Hali, and Ben - I miss you all so much already! Still going through some friendship withdrawal. Why don't we all live in the same city again?!

Vacation is not over though! Reuben and I are spending a few days in New Jersey with his parents before heading to Philadelphia for the weekend. I really do enjoy New Jersey, at least where Reuben is from. It's green, rural, and peaceful. Everything that I crave while living in San Francisco. Plus it's filled with the best carbs in all the land! When we are not eating, we're watching The Great British Baking Show and planning out how to make sure my audition video isn't super embarrassing. If I haven't told you already, I'm going to audition for the Great American Baking Show, so wish me luck and send me all your tips if you're a GBBS super fan.

Part of the application is submitting a few photos of my best bakes. So while I was going through the gajillion photos hogging up space on my laptop, I realized I never shared with you my weekend of taking pictures of pretty food at the Sprouted Kitchen Photography Workshop a few weeks back! It was a literal dream. Sara Forte and Hugh Forte of Sprouted Kitchen taught the class. It was held at Aran Goyoaga's extra dreamy studio kitchen. It was filled with so many beautiful ceramics, linen napkins in every color, and stacks of stone slabs and backgrounds. A DREAM. I might say dreamy a little too much in the remainder of the post. 8 other ladies and I all few in from other parts of North America to spend the weekend together in Seattle arranging microgreens and playing around with our cameras. Hugh, Sara, and Aran were so sweet and were so knowledgable. I was fan-girling a little hard on the first day. It's just so crazy to actually meet these people that you've been following on Instagram for years and they are making breakfast for you! Like, what?! 

Without getting into too many painful details, the weekend workshop was spent shooting and styling the beautiful food Aran made for us, soaking in all the techy knowledge Hugh shared, and becoming Lightroom wizards. It was so fun! A little intimidating in the beginning because everyone's cameras were like triple my size... but size doesn't really matter, right?? As much as I loved playing with my food, I would have to say that my favorite part of the whole class was reflecting on why we do this. Why do we take the pictures we take? If there was no Instagram involved (no one would see it), why are we doing this? I think for most of the other people in the class, they had photography in mind. But for me I was reflecting on cooking. Why do I cook? Why do I want to make it beautiful? Why do I want to share it here or on Instagram? Big questions. I took the questions back home with me after the first workshop day. I had dinner with my friends in Seattle, but kept the question in the back of my head. That night I went to a friend's house for a birthday BBQ and I some how commandeered the grill and made some top notch  hot dogs for the group : ) . I think while I was grilling up basic Oscar Meyer hotdogs, I remembered that I love making food for people because I just love taking care of people. I want to make them happy. I want to share with them the joy I get from good food. I want to share with them something surprising and unique, but may be a pretty normal thing for me and my family. I want to share with people a little bits of me. I'm hoping that if you've been reading this for a while that you feel like you know me. Or if you actually do know me IRL, that I sound like myself!! The internet is such a big crazy space, but my hope is that my little corner of it feels cozy and like we're sharing a virtual slice of cake and coffee together : )))

Okay, my v heavy pasta dinner is starting to put me to sleep. Gotta sleep and semi watch the Cavs game. Bye, I'll let you know if Philadelphia is fun! 

Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

GUYS. I got the craziest email the other day. I had a pretty hectic day and didn't check my personal email until right before heading to bed. As I was scrolling through I saw the subject line: Great American Baking Show. OMG. What?!!!!! I read the email and it was a casting person saying that they found me through Instagram and wanted to speak to me about possibly auditioning for the show. OMGOMGOMGOMG WHAT IS HAPPENING? At first I thought it was fake. Like it has to be fake. But after getting many second opinions I'm convinced that it is legit. I spent the next 30 minutes dancing around my apartment and annoying the crap out of Reuben before bed. I'm easily excitable. I went straight to imagining baking in the tent and Mary Berry telling me that she finds my biscuits delightful! What a dream! 

But then reality set in and I realized that I'm not really a baker. lol. Well I would never claim to be a baker. I love cake. And I love playing with butter and sugar. But technical and precise are not words that describe me. I would feel much more comfortable being on Chopped. I've watched The Great British Bake Off (mainly while at the gym) and those people are so talented! I can't handle it. How do they just know how to do everything??! Is there another side of the show where the contestants practice a single recipe over and over again in between filming? Do they have the recipes printed out somewhere? Or have they memorized everything? These questions give me anxiety. I also realized that I am the least competitive person EVER. I was that kid in dodge ball that tried to get out early so I didn't have to play or god forbid be the last person standing and have to face off against someone like Reuben, who lives for competitive sports. Ugh, that scenario also gives me anxiety. I asked him about this once and he said he wouldn't even think twice about striking me hard with a dodgeball. That's true love, folks. 

I told my Mom about the email and she just laughed for a solid minute. It's really not THAT hilarious mom.... : )

99% of me is telling me that this is a horrible idea. I'm extremely under-qualified. I don't know how to make meraingue, which I feel like is critical. I mean, I haven't even called the woman back. And it's not like they're straight up asking me to compete. And they probably emailed like a million people... did you get this email too?? Despite all of that, one teeny tiny part of me really wants to just commit to getting on this show. Like, maybe I can fake it until I make it? Or something... who knows! I'll keep you update if this progresses any further than this email.

If there was a crepe cake challenge, I feel pretty confident I would at least survive that week! If you're looking to make a 20 layer cake, this is definitely the way to go. Then if you make it a mini cake, it's really not as intimidating. On Sunday afternoon, I put on the "French Bistro" spotify playlist, pretended I was in Ratatouille, and flipped a bunch of mini crepes. Then I layered the crepes with sweet fluffly whipped cream and tangy rhubarb compote. Rhubarb should be allowed to be the leading actor in more recipes. It really doesn't need strawberries to make a dessert sing. The rhubarb compote is also insanely easy to make. I highly recommend that you double the recipe and save some for fancy yogurt bowls or toast! This Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake is probably the most springy thing I've ever made! It's so cute!


Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

makes one 6" crepe cake

crepes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water
butter or oil for cooking

rhubarb compote:
1/2 pound of rhubarb (about 5 stalks)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of orange liqueur (optional)

whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp of beet powdered for color (optional)

steps:

Prepare your batter first. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together eggs, milk, oil and water in another bowl. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps. Let the batter rest in the fridge for an hour while you prepare your fillings.

Trim and cut your rhubarb into 1/2" pieces. Toss chopped rhubarb with sugar in a small bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted add in chopped rhubarb and sugar. Allow to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, then give it a stir and cook for another 10 minutes until soft and jammy. Take a potato masher and gently mash the rhubarb compote until semi smooth. Remove from heat and place compote in a heat proof container and allow to full cool.

Pour cream, sugar, and beet powder into a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare your crepes. Beet powder was just for color. If you don't have beet powder, you food coloring or not color at all.

Heat an 6"-8" nonstick frying pan, lightly greased with butter or oil, over medium heat. Pour in a little less than 1/4 cup of batter and swirl to cover the whole pan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, until the edge get slightly brown and crisp. flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get around 23-25 crepes. You'll need about 20 layers so there's wiggly room for a few crepe flops or snacks.

Allow all the crepes to completely cool before assembling. Place one crepe on a platter. Layer on 2 tbsp of whipped cream. Place on another crepe and layer on a tablespoon of compote. Repeat crepe layers with alternating fillings of whipped cream and compote. Top the cake with one last layer of whipped cream and some peels of raw rhubarb if you have extra.

Serve and enjoy! I recommend placing the cake in the fridge or the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to cut!

 

Joshua Tree

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It's May and I'm finally back in my natural habitat: wrapped up in my blanket, on the couch, snacking on chocolate, and watching Jersey Shore Family Vacation. This feels great. The last month flew by in a blur because I was traveling every single weekend. I met up with my best friends in the desert, made a quick stop in Chicago and Cleveland, and spent a weekend taking pictures of beautiful food in Seattle. It was wonderful and exhausting. As much as I truly enjoyed the experiences of this past month and the lovely faces I was fortunate to see, I'm really looking forward to staying put in San Francisco for a few weeks. I missed Reuben, cooking in my kitchen, making my own matcha lattes, and sleeping in my own bed! I'll be staying put in San Francisco for about 3 more weeks until Reuben and I fly across the country for a little East Coast vacation.

We will be celebrating the marriage of one of my best friends, Jeff, in NYC!!! I love weddings so much! This wedding is going to be extra special too, because I'm in the wedding party with my other best friend, Katie! Gosh, its going to be a great time : ) This brings me back to our little trip to desert. I'm trying incredibly hard to not type dessert throughout this whole blog post btw. For Jeff's bachelor party we all met up for a weekend in Palm Springs/Joshua Tree! The weekend we were there was also the first weekend of Coachella. Hi, Cardi B! Hi, Beyonce! I was a little nervous that Coachella would throw a wrench in our weekend, but it actually really work out for us! Other than the time we were trying to get dinner and Jonny Depp was there with a million other people so we couldn't get in. But otherwise, Coachella caused Palm Springs to be pretty chill. I would go as far as to say that the best time to go to Palm Springs in during Coachella! Less crowded and everyone really likes you when you say you're not in town for Coachella!

We technically stayed in Joshua Tree, in a crazy house with an airstream and a pink fur cladded pool. I thought it was hilarious. The pool was real cold. We were able to last in the pool for a few hours on our pineapple and pretzel floaties until we had to make the journey into Palm Springs to take a dip in the Ace Hotel pool. There were pina colades so it was fine! When we weren't in the pool we were climbing the giant rocks in our backyard, climbing more rocks in Joshua Tree, avoiding a cactus induced injury (my shoe was not lucky), and people watching the colorful and mysterious characters of Palm Springs. What would you imagine a man who looks like Tarzan, in a white linen shirt (unbuttoned obviously), linen pants, UGG boots, and surrounded by other fashionably but oddly dressed men would do for a living? Do you think he enjoys watching the Jersey Shore? I had many questions...

One morning I made us a whole breakfast spread sponsored by Walmart. Just kidding. I wish! I feel like I always have these romanticized dreams of preparing a lovely breakfast in a cute Airbnb, but when you actually try to do that you realize that the knives are dull AF, the dishes are a little weird and mostly made out of plastic, and the pantry is full of questionable things. There was no bread knife!!! I felt like I was on Chopped or Cut Throat Kitchen. Despite the kitchen challenges, I was still able to pull off some pretty decent platter of french toast, bacon, and berries! Not bad if I say so myself!

I'll be spending the next few weekends working on some new recipes for you guys! And a post about the photography workshop I went to in Seattle! So stay tuned!


some of the things we did and saw in Joshua Tree + Palms Springs

our Airbnb with the fur
joshua tree national park
cholla cactus garden
ace hotel & swim club
workshop kitchen + bar
bootleggers tiki

tried to go to pappy + harriet's but Jonny Depp was there...