Monday, December 12, 2011

Pressing Matters

A few months back I was in the middle of downloading a new app when my hard drive died. After I had everything restored, I was very intent on finishing the book design project I was in the middle of and had completely forgot about it until yesterday. It was like a opening an early Christmas present, my very own letterpress set-up! The app is called LetterMPress ($9.99) and produces prints that have all the charm and transparency of letterpress printing without the messiness of ink. It’s a delight to work the old way, having to visualize in your head the end results while designing plus the sound effects make it even more fun. The app is available for use on the iPad too. Now time to get cracking on a holiday card…

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baking Bloggers Unite

It couldn’t be a more perfect time of year to be baking and there’s nothing better than the smell of rosemary teacakes baking on a cold winter day. This coming Saturday, December 10th marks the fourth installment of Eat My Blog, a charity bake sale for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The vision of Cathy Chaplin, author of internationally recognized food blog, Gastronomy Blog, Eat My Blog unites food bloggers and food enthusiasts who come together to give back to the community. I’ve participated in the last 3 events and if you are in the area this weekend, I highly recommend swinging by and stocking up on treats made by local bloggers and restaurants. The array is mind-boggling and it always turns out a festive crowd. Since the first bake sale, Eat My Blog has raised over $12,000 for the food bank. If you’d like to try these cakes out, my recipe follows below.

Rosemary/Vanilla Bean Olive Oil Teacakes

  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary finally chopped and few springs for decoration.
  • 1 ½ cups granulated bakers sugar (extra fine)
  • 2 cups unbleached wheat flour+ 2 tbsp corn masa flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp powdered vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil (the better the olive oil, the better the cake)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs


Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat the mini loaf paper cases* with olive oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, rub together the rosemary and sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. In a sieve, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Sift over the sugar. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the oil, milk, and eggs, whisk to combine, then pour into the well in the dry ingredients and slowly draw in the flour mixture, whisking until incorporated. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared molds* using ½-cup measuring cup as a ladle. The molds should be three-quarters full. Place the molds on a large baking sheet, half an inch apart. You can add a tiny spring of rosemary as garnish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned and firm to the touch. I like to sprinkle a little organic sugar on top right after I pull them out of them oven to add some extra sparkle and crunch.

* I get my plain brown paper mini loaf pans at Surfas in Culver City. You can find them online at N.Y. Cake and at many other baking outlets.

* Powdered vanilla bean: Split a fresh vanilla bean down the center and lay out on a tray in a cool dry place for a couple of days until completely dried and breaks into pieces easily. Grind to a fine powder (I use a Bodum coffee grinder just for herbs & spices to get the fine grain consistency)

Color Treatment

After a long summer of multiple eye surgeries, an eyepatch, a lot of healing and working in between, my blog was sorely neglected. I am happy to report that thanks to my deft doctor, I now have my vision restored and no longer need to wear contact lenses anymore. Very happy days indeed! On my radar are these Pantone glass ornaments that would make any designer happy to color code their tree this holiday season.