Cheese-making for Kids at 18 Reasons

MM Cheese for Kids

It sure is good to be a kid these days.  Amazing summer camps, parents shuttling you from one fun activity to another and now this super-fun cheese-making session with San Francisco’s very own milkmaid – Louella Hill.  We recently met Louella at a potluck party and she showed up with some gorgeous cheeses to share, all that she made by herself!  They were spectacular and we are in awe of her cheese-making skills.  She is offering, what I am sure will be very informative and fun class home cheese-making class, on February 8th at our favorite foodie venue in San Francisco, 18 Reasons.  Unfortunately our kiddos cannot make it, but if you are around and available, you must sign your kids up!

In two fun-filled hours, you’ll learn about chemistry and food history as you magically turn milk into curds and whey. While that recipe drains, you’ll have a ball making braids and lassos out of just-stretched mozzarella. Plus you head home with your very own cheese project to complete. Continue reading

Cacio e Pepe, A Taste of Rome

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe collage

Learning how to cook an Italian classic.


This is one of those recipes that is so easy it hardly even needs a recipe. It has a list of 3 ingredients (maybe four, but more on that later) and is just only slightly more complicated than boiling pasta. But despite it’s basic-ness Cacio e Pepe one of the most delicious and satisfying pasta dishes ever dreamed up. In fact, when my husband and I were in Rome this last summer we of course made it a point to eat as much great food as possible (no surprise there). Despite the many absolutely amazing meals we had, the one we returned to on our last night (and we were both in total agreement) was a bowl of Cacio e Pepe, a slow-roasted porchetta sandwich, a simple salad and a glass of wine from a little stand down by the Tevere which was set up as part of a summer festival along the river. Last meal in Rome? No contest. Okay maybe dining al fresco by the light of a full moon, bathed in the special magic of one of our favorite cities had something to do with it, but the food really was perfect.  Continue reading

Healthy Start to the Year: Tandoori Shrimp


Resolutions be damned.  Everyone is at the gym.  It is highly annoying and making me grumpy.  I am in need of a lifestyle change and the New Year really doesn’t have anything to do with it. :)  I just want everyone else to leave the gym, so I can work out in peace and quiet and actually get hold of a machine I want to use.  So until the gym clears out, I am going to try and eat healthier meals.  And when I can go back to the gym without getting trampled, I will resume my regular diet because I am working out again.  Basically other people’s resolutions are messing with my life.  But fortunately, resolutions are made to be broken (I have mastered the art), and the gym will soon clear out.  I give everyone about 6 weeks.

This tandoori shrimp, is a good recipe whether you are on a “New Year resolution diet” or not.  We published it a few months back in the San Jose Mercury and then I forgot all about it.  I see it making be big comeback.  The family loves it, it is easy to make, plus it is healthy – what else can one ask for?  Okay, it is sort of healthy, it is extra delicious with some of my spiced creamed spinach.  If you must, you can omit the cream in the spinach, but it does take some of the fun out of life. Served with a side of basmati rice pilaf, it is just what the New Year ordered.  Good, wholesome, flavorful, real food! Continue reading

After School Snacking: Little Bee Baking


As I am sitting here writing about a wonderful spot to hit for after school snacking – thinking we will go there tomorrow after the school pick-up, I find out that school is out tomorrow!  Stacie who is a San Francisco native, said she only remembers schools in the Bay Area being closed for earthquakes, never weather.  Apparently there is an epic storm coming and I am a little concerned.  More so because I had a big day of work planned, and having the little monkey at home throws a bit of a wrench in my plans to get a lot of work done….

Back to Little Bee Baking on Cortland Avenue in Bernal Hill, and how much we love it for an after-school snack.  The owner was a pastry chef at Chez Panisse (instant street cred in the Bay Area) and her goodies prove that she can bake.  We LOVE their brownies – almost as good as my friend Vivian makes (even the day-old brownies are amazing).  It’s a cozy, warm and welcoming little spot and almost gives you a hug as you walk in.  They serve ice cream treats, fruit tarts, cookies, and cakes and also offer take-home and bake cookie and tart doughs, special occasion cakes, cupcakes, candies and tarts. We always end up eating some goodies right there and bringing a batch home for another day.  It’s a great stop off before you hit the amazing kids section at the Bernal branch of the San Francisco Public Library.  Little Bee Baking + Bernal Library = perfect after-school outing! Continue reading

Holiday Baking: Ina Garten’s Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Upon the kiddo’s insistence we did some cookie baking a few days ago.  These might be the only cookies I have baked all year.  We picked an Ina Garten recipe because they usually turn out great (I have all her cookbooks :) ).  We pulled out my-hardly-used stand mixer and quite easily whipped these up.  They made quite a large batch, so we saved some balls of dough for another day.  According to Ina Garten, you can place them in sealed containers and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.  Defrost and then bake – and you have yummy cookies with no mess.  Baked cookies can be stored in plastic bags and reheated for 5 minutes at 35o degrees.

We are a house divided – the hubby loves oatmeal raisin cookies and everyone else is a chocolate chunk/chip cookie fan.  This is a combo of both, and the tart cranberries and sprinkle of salt at the end make them quite divine.  Love that we have some in the freezer for when the cookie craving hits…

Since many people have holiday baking on the mind these days, below are links to some of the cookies we have baked in the past – hopefully you will try some or all of them as part of your holiday baking.

Chocolate Sables – we love, love, love these.  Stacie freezes the logs and always seems to have them on hand. :)

Breakfast Cookies – brilliant idea!

Layered Neopolitan Butter Cookies – great for the holidays and a cookie swap

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies – the chile actually works in this recipe – even though I was skeptical

Easiest Chocolate Chip Cookies – for the “baking impaired”, these are a must try

Compost Cookies – if you still have Halloween candy lying around, make these!

Bizcochitos – these New Mexican state cookies are perfect for the holidays

Pineapple Tarts – for a Malaysian twist to your cookie tin

Alfajores – we adore these cookies from Argentina

Biscotti – it never hurts to have some biscotti lying around for your cup of tea
Continue reading

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Asian Rice Bowls

Thanksgiving Rice Bowl


Here we are with Lisa Yokota on KTVU's  "Bay Area People" turning Thanksgiving leftovers into a yummy Asian-inspired rice bowl. Click the photo to see the segment.

Here we are on KTVU’s
Bay Area People” turning Thanksgiving leftovers into a yummy Asian-inspired rice bowl.

Right now, everyone has Thanksgiving on the mind and we are already thinking about how to transform the main Thanksgiving meal into something entirely different.  We love cooking large quantities of food anyway and changing them up into a new dish the next day (or over the next few days).  Naturally, Thanksgiving is the perfect vehicle for that.  For us, I think, the holiday meal is really more about the “leftover challenge” versus the main day’s feast.  Plus, we love taking traditional leftover Thanksgiving goodies to a different part of the world and turning them into “an around the world adventure.”  Check out two of our blog posts from the years past – the first on “Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Goes Global” and the second which was about hosting a “Global Thankgiving” with dishes inspired by different cuisines from around the world.  This year, we have vegetarian family members in town and are hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving potluck.  I can’t wait to see what we end up with on Thanksgiving day and beyond.

Our kids love rice bowls and they also love the idea of designing their own rice bowl.  The possibilities with Thanksgiving and turning what’s left of your Thanksgiving meal into a rice bowl are endless – you can stir-fry combinations of leftovers, make spiced potato patties with leftover mashed potatoes, dress leftover salad with an Asian vinaigrette and so on.  For these rice bowls, pull out all your Asian condiments, sauces and seasonings and let your imagination run wild!  Below is just some inspiration to get you started.


  • Teriyaki-glazed turkey (recipe below)
  • Flash-fried brussels Sprouts with Oyster Sauce Glaze (recipe below)
  • Oi Sobagi / Korean quick cucumber pickle (recipe below)
  • Bean sprouts, blanched and drizzled with sesame oil
  • Diced Avocado
  • Crispy Shallots
  • Chopped Peanuts
  • Chopped Herbs (mint, cilantro)
  • Poached, fried or soft Boiled Egg

We recently taped this recipe for the show “Bay Area People”, here’s a link to the video segment on KTVU:

Continue reading

Kitchen Playdate: Banoffee Pie


Banoffee Pie Collage_A Little Yumminess

It’s hard to go wrong with a concoction that includes sliced bananas, dulce de leche, pie crust, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  We are a little obsessed with this British treat and made it recently after school with a friend as part of a super fun kitchen play date.

The whole pie making process can me made easier and less daunting if you use store bought pie dough. (Making your own is easy enough, but in a pinch, store bought works just fine!) The kiddos had a blast whipping the cream, cutting the bananas, baking the store bought pie dough, shaving the chocolate (fun and messy!) and spreading the dulce de leche.  It is basically an assembly project, but the end result is ridiculously yummy. Continue reading