City by the Bay

The 4 day long weekend was a great one. It was a perfect balance of relaxation and activity. I took naps and finished the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy and am on the second, Catching Fire. One day was spent in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.

We went to Union Square to catch the tree lighting and then ventured to the Hayes Valley neighborhood where we ate at Patxi’s Chicago Pizza. I love deep dish pizza and was happy to find a place in the Bay Area that comes close to the amazing pizza you get in Chicago.

The next stop was Smitten Ice Cream. This small ice cream shop features only a few flavors a day but they make their ice cream right in front of you. Using only fresh, local ingredients the ice cream is made in 60 seconds with the help of liquid nitrogen-run ice cream maker. The ice cream was full of flavor and creamy.

I had the TCHO chocolate (made in San Francisco) ice cream with cocoa bits.

Also, their cash register is an iPad and if you pay by credit card you have the option to have your receipt texted or emailed to you. Pretty cool! I can’t wait to go back when it’s warmer.

It was so fun to play visitor to a city where I’ve lived my whole life, exploring new neighborhoods and places to eat.

Technology and the Cookbook

Just the other day I was browsing through my mom’s recipe book trying to find a recipe for alfredo sauce. I flipped through all the recipes multiple times until I finally found it. I wondered why I was spending so much time when I could have easily found the recipe online in a matter of seconds.

This article, featured today on Huffington Post, discusses how technology is affecting the cookbook, and helping create satisfying meals. Certainly cookbooks as we know it are a thing of the past. There are countless websites that give you recipes based on the ingredients you have and your dietary restrictions. You can even splice together different recipes you find interesting.

There is also an added video aspect to recipes nowadays. Many cooks post YouTube tutorials of how to make items, which certainly helps those that learn visually. Or if you’re a beginner cook like me and lack any estimating skills about exactly how much masala to put in your paneer tikka masala.

How do you find new recipes? Do you still use cookbooks or have you shifted to recipe websites?

The Best Sandwich Ever

I thought of this sandwich creation a few months ago, when I was starving and looking for something to eat for lunch. It just so happened that all my favorite ingredients were in the fridge, so I experimented by mixing them all together.

I am a vegetarian, but this sandwich is so fulling and flavorful that meat eaters won’t even realize what’s missing.

Here are the steps to making the Best Sandwich Ever (I’m still trying to think of a better name):

The vegetables: tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, and avocado.

The spread: spicy hummus, pesto, pepperjack cheese, bread, Sriracha, and Sambal paste.

The assembly: spread the hummus and pesto, add the cheese and vegetables, and top with some Sriracha.

Serve with some kettle cooked jalapeno chips and you’re good to go!

Friday Favorites

This week has flown by pretty fast. While I’m excited that most of my shows are back on the air, it makes me wonder where exactly summer went. Even more, I can’t believe we’re already halfway through September!

Here are some picture highlights of the week:

I saw this while I was driving through town and had to take a picture.

Enjoying a white chocolate mocha and a warm chocolate chip cookie at Tart by Tart bakery in San Francisco.

A look at one of the sari blouses I’m wearing during my brother’s wedding events.

The menu for a dessert truck at a local food truck gathering. I took home red velvet, salted caramel, and chocolate coconut cupcakes.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Fall is Approaching

The days are getting shorter, the air feels cool and brisk, and the leaves are changing colors. (True confession time: I’m a member of the “I will go out of my way to step on a crunchy leaf” group on Facebook.)

The onset of Autumn is best welcomed with a warm, cozy home-cooked meal. The Indian meal of chole fits that exact description.

It’s one of the easiest Indian vegetables to make; all that is needed is garbanzo beans and a simple to make gravy. Here is a recipe.

The tandoori naan is courtesy of Trader Joe’s, and I love having a side raita (yogurt) and onions.

Also, I have to share my new favorite soda (also thanks to Trader’s Joe): Organic Blood Orange Soda. It’s similar to orange soda, yet tastes fresher and an added bonus: it has less preservatives.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you make in the fall?

Friday Favorites

Why do weeks before a long and fun weekend always seem to drag? Whatever the reason, this has been a good week: I’ve posted in my blog every day! It feels great to be writing again, especially about things that interest me as well as having my own little space to be creative in any way I wish.

Labor Day always signals the end of summer for me, despite being done with school. I’m headed out of town tomorrow and I’m excited for one last summer hurrah.

And now to borrow from one of my favorite bloggers, Cupcakes and Cashmere on this Friday, I will be sharing pictures about things that have made me happy this week.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

My first Essie nail polishes: on the left is Turquoise and Caicos and the right is Cute as a Button.

Sweet potato fries baking in the oven. Recipe to follow next week.

My Pikake Lei candle makes my room smell wonderful and transports me back to Hawaii.

My trinity bracelets that I picked up in New York earlier this year. They taught me that  a little contrast is always good.

There is no better afternoon pick-me-up than a cup of ginger chai and banana nut bread.

To be vegan or not?

This weekend was spent in Seattle and Vancouver, visiting family. The weather was surprisingly great (it only rained at night) and a majority of the trip was spent eating, sleeping, and talking..pretty much the best kind of vacation!

One of the meals was spent at Araya’s Place. Araya’s is a vegan Thai place in downtown Seattle. We opted for the buffet instead of ordering off the menu..and let me tell you, the food was amazing! Thai is one of my favorite cuisines and if I lived in Seattle there’s no doubt that I would be at Araya’s every week. For those that eat meat, you won’t even feel like you are missing anything.

Thai iced coffee, pad thai, fried rice, and green curry.

Araya’s had a lot of pamphlets about the vegan lifestyle, which got me thinking: could I be a vegan? I am already a vegetarian, so it would just mean cutting all dairy products of out my diet. To be honest, I don’t really care much for eggs..I never really crave them. Since I’ve picked up Ener-G Egg Replacer (a boxed, non perishable powder that you can find at Whole Foods or ordered online) I don’t even use eggs when I bake. So really all that I would be giving up is cheese, which I love. Oh, and milk. That would be a big one.

I think I will make an effort to become vegan (or at least eat less dairy products) because the paraphernalia I read indicated that even cage free, free-range, and organic egg farms still engage in inhuman activities to the hens.

Have you gone (or thought about going) vegan? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In case you are interested, here are some egg replacements for baking:

Energ E Egg Replacer  – My personal favorite choice for egg replacer. It works well with everything, except brownies.

Potato Starch = 2 Teaspoons + 1 Teaspoon water for 1 egg

Corn Starch = 2 teaspoons + I teaspoon water for egg

Soy Powder = 1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons water for 1 egg

Ground Flax Seed = 1 Teaspoon + 3 teaspoon water for 1 egg

Banana = 1/2 banana for 1 egg

Applesauce = 1/4 cup applesauce for 1 egg