Upcoming is Coming

When the horizon is hazy, remember:

peace He leaves.


The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

I hope you're not tired of San Francisco pictures yet. Last week Jonathan and I met up with a friend in the city to to hang out for the day before going to the Rob Bell Drops Like Stars tour. Although I didn't go to Rob Bell... I had work to do and ended up in a noisy Starbucks in the midst of a bathroom reconstruction. Have you ever tried to write while a toilet, sink and dry wall are being ripped out? Don't even try. It's almost impossible. I would have benefitted going to the Rob Bell thing since he talked about suffering. Then at least I would have been prepared for the Starbucks situation.

Anyway, we got to spend a relaxing day in the city, without a lot of plans, just hanging out and seeing the sites. Normally we take the BART in but decided to drive since we didn't want to be walking to the station at night in the part of town where the ballroom was. And I have to say, the city is really growing on me. I mean, I visited it a few times before moving to Lodi, so I was familiar with the touristy areas, but as I get a feel for all the burroughs I appreciate the diversity and yet unified quaintness of the architecture, people and geography.

It took awhile to park, but once we got ourselves a spot we decided on dim sum for lunch near Chinatown. Rarely do Jonathan and I end up in a good restaurant so quickly, but this time was an exception. The first restaurant we came to had dim sum, and the people in front of us raved about it. We were one of two Caucasion groups in the place, I think. We shared a table with an older asian man and poured ourselves some green tea and watched carts roll by filled with gelatin-like desserts and bamboo steamer bowls and piles of stir fried vegetables and then the pork dumplings... pork dumplings with their melt-in-your-mouth sweetbread. We randomly chose it off a cart and were very pleasantly surprised! The cart-rollers barely spoke English so we tried to decipher the contents of each plate and pointed to what we wanted. Then they set it on the table and stamped our ticket with a number. No idea what everything cost until we were ready to pay. The total price came to $17 for six (rather large) pork dumplings, three beef, three pork, and three shrimp/vegetable dumplings. If you're ever in San Francisco, let us know and we'll pass on the info for this place. A great experience.

The rest of the day was relaxed and as always, we took a few pictures. Sorry I can't share much about Rob Bell--you'll have to ask Jonathan to get the story. I did find out that he's left handed, for what it's worth.


A Lesson in Cupcakes: failure strikes again

I recently heard that Thomas Edison was perturbed that no one asked him about the 1,000 light bulbs that didn't work. I understand what he was saying, at least as far as baking goes. I think I feel more productive with kitchen failures because I learn more from what doesn't work than what does.

About a year ago I posted a picture of my embarrassing cheesecake flop. I learned a valuable lesson from that cheesecake: it's worth the extra trip to the store for the exact ingredients, because baking is all about chemistry, and I didn't do so well in high school chemistry, so I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to substituting fat free cream cheese and/or greek yogurt for regular full fat cream cheese (which I may or may not have done...)

A couple of weeks ago I learned two valuable lessons about Seven-Minute Frosting: one, that it'll be Twenty-Minute Frosting if you don't use an electric mixer and decide to handwhip the egg whites over the simmering water; and two, that Seven Minute Frosting is not the best option for a red velvet two layer cake (note the dam-like effect of the glass cake cover):

Today I learned a valuable lesson about cupcakes. If you don't have enough tins, wait until the first comes out instead of putting paper baking cups on a regular baking sheet and expecting them to come out looking like cupcakes. Instead expect a melty deformed (albeit strangely visually appealing) result:

The good news is that the cupcakes in the tins worked out, which means that Jonathan and I get to enjoy scrumptious yellow buttermilk cupcakes after our Valentine's dinner tonight :) I'll just add some frosting and sprinkles and they'll be ready to go!