Monday, December 6, 2010

Bread! Get Your Bread Here! Freshly-Baked Breads are Here!

No, I'm not going to break out into a musical number reminiscent of the "I Love Egg" song. But seriously, there are few things more enticing than the aroma of freshly baked bread, right out of the oven. And when it comes to fresh bread, there is one place that will satisfy and exceed: Bread & Cie. Situated on University Avenue in Hillcrest, this lovely little bakery fails to escape the attention of people passing by with the lingering scent of fresh bread.

Inside, the first thing one will notice are the loaves of various breads lined up on bread racks. Their selection of bread is quite impressive, and they also feature a "Bread of the Day." Displays full of desserts and pastries, both sweet and savory, are seen upon closer inspection of the shop. And then overhead, behind the counters, hangs the menu written across several blackboards. While you stand there gazing between the bread, the desserts, and the menu, the smell of baked goods continues to make its way around the room. At this point, this is Bakery Paradise.

With so many appetizing selections, it could take a while before making a choice here. Choosing just one? Equally as hard. Fortunately, most of their sandwich items feature one of their delicious breads, so ordering on their lunch menu could help with the decision...

...or make it even harder to choose. But look at the bright side. At least you can take your time trying out the different varieties, because with the quality of Bread & Cie, it will most definitely be around for a long time.

Bread & Cie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hi hi, Miss Sweet Potato Pie

Pie. We all know it. And it comes in many different kinds, like strawberry, blueberry, apple, and pumpkin. But every once in a while, you've got to go for something a little less common. I'm talking about sweet potato pie. So similar to pumpkin pie, yet it has a sweetness and richness that only it can have. Below are the recipes for the pie crust and filling.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water


2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preparing the crust

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and incorporate with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture in tablespoon increments, stirring continuously with a fork. Form the dough into a ball and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preparing the filling

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them in a baking pan in the middle of the oven, preheated to 350 degrees until very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven.

Raise the oven temperature to 400°F, and place a baking pan on the bottom rack.

Scoop the flesh from the potatoes into a bowl and discard the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork until it is smooth. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter mixture to the sweet potatoes with the milk and eggs, beating with a whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. The filling should be in a liquid consistency.

Making the pie filling

Assembling the pie

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4 inch thick. Very lightly flour the top of the dough and fold it into quarters. Carefully place the dough in a pie pan. Press the dough firmly in place and trim the edges.

Forming the crust

Pour the filling into the pie crust. Place the pie on the bottom rack and bake until the filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Tranfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Souping Up

'Tis the season for work gatherings, gatherings with friends, family gatherings and...cold nights ahoy! So what better way to start off that large dinner party or a quiet dinnner on a cold night than a nice bowl of steaming hot soup, fresh from the stove? Here is a recipe for Potato Leek Soup. It's sure to please your party guests.


6 to 8 russet potatoes
2 leeks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fennel seed
7 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Baguette slices, toasted
Cream, for garnish
Fresh mint and basil or lightly dressed greens, optional

Wash and peel the potatoes. Quarter each potato, first half cross-wise, then lengthwise. Place the potatoes in water and set aside. Slice the leeks half inch thick and rinse them thoroughly until there is no dirt left. Set aside.

Slicing the leeks

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook until lightly translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the fennel seed and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Sauteing the leeks

Add the potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to heat.

Pureeing the soup

To serve, ladel the soup into small bowls. Lightly drizzle the cream on the surface of the soup. Lay a slice of toasted baguette over the top of the bowl, and top the baguette with a few mint and basil leaves or a small mound of dressed greens. Enjoy!

Potato Leek Soup

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Going Analog

I was never much of a bar person. Sure, I'd always preferred the excitement of Downtown San Diego over the quietness of North County. Even though I did go bar-hopping at times, few caught my interest. Until about two months ago, that is, when I walked through the doors of Analog Bar. My reaction? Jackpot! A large tv with Mortal Kombat on the screen was to my left and countless vinyl albums lined the wall to my right. And the music playing was classic. I knew I was going to like this place. And I hadn't even sat down yet!

Anyway, after I was done being awestruck, I took a seat at the bar. The bartenders were very friendly and helpful. After admitting that I didn't know much about beer, one of them recommended to me the Shiner Bock. Two months later, this is still my drink of choice whenever I go there. Which is often.

By this point, I was already impressed. What impressed me next? The food, of course. Now, the food menu at the Analog might seem like it has your average bar fare at first glance. Bar fare? Yes. Average? Far from it. It took me awhile to decide on a dish. Being the foodie that I am, I wanted to try everything. I finally decided on the Portabello Mushroom Lil' Burger.

Personally, I love mushrooms, but even if you're not a big mushroom person, give this a try. I'll spare you all my chef-talk about how the good it was, but this is one of the tastiest things out there. Really juicy and full of taste. And surprisingly filling too, considering there was no meat in it. Oh, yes, I was going to be a returning customer for sure.

And return, I did.

Each time with a different menu item on my plate.

Whether it's the TreeHugger Lover, the Stuffed 'Shrooms, the Lil' Burgers, the Totchos, the Dirty Sanchez, or the Truffle Grilled Cheese, the food does not disappoint at all. What makes it taste so great? What makes it truly worth it? The people. Both the ones that work there for being so cool and the ones who go to have a good time. Yes, it's a bar. But it doesn't feel like one. It's more like a party at your best friend's house or a gathering among friends, playing video games, singing karaoke, drinking and eating. Pure fun. And the Analog delivers.

Analog Music & Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot Chocolate, anyone?

It's raining here in good ol' San Diego, which meant my plans to go out and about were temporarily put on hold. As much as I love rainy weather, it does get boring staying indoors. So what did I do to ease said boredom? I made hot chocolate. No, not with Hershey's chocolate syrup, Nestle, or Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix, but with some extra baking chocolate I had. Now, I admit it does sound a little strange, but it makes for a richer hot chocolate and warms you right up. Give it a try!

Hot Chocolate Ingredients-

Milk (1 cup)
Semi-sweet Baking chocolate (1 oz.)
Nutmeg (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)

Heat up milk in a small saucepan on medium-high heat over stove. While milk is heating, place the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. When milk begins to froth, remove from the heat and pour into the bowl over the chocolate. Immediately whisk the milk and the chocolate together until the chocolate has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Serve in a mug or demitasse cup and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon if desired.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And So It Begins, or Obligatory Intro Post

I could start by telling you my name, where I'm from, etc. But that would be boring, wouldn't it? Besides, you can find out most of that info on my profile. Anyway...

I am a lover of all things culinary. My mission? To create dishes and further hone my skills and refine my palate while sharing favorite recipes and restaurants. Food is a joy that everyone should deserve, right? So stay tuned; this is only the beginning.