Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spice up the Season!

Harvest Tea Time!

Pumpkin pie spices, sweet cinnamon, spicy ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg...

combine them all together with fine black tea and you've got Pumpkin Ginger Tea

Pumpkin Ginger Tea is the perfect tea for fall!

Spices of Fall Tea

One of my favorite fall beverages is a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I had never tried pumpkin flavored tea, so a few weeks ago I went searching for a pumpkin tea blend to try.  The Republic of Tea's Pumpkin Ginger Tea won out for my selection.

I am enjoying this tea for my afternoon fall "cuppa".  I like it sweetened with a little sugar.  I have been enjoying drinking it both with and with out milk. 

I would like to try to make a Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte with this tea.  Here's what I'm thinking:  a cup of tea, steamed milk and a dash of pumpkin pie spice ought to do it.  The temperatures are finally dropping here in sunny California so perhaps I'll "whip-up" one pretty soon. 

Pumpkin Ginger Tea

The Pumpkin Ginger Tea is a seasonal, limited-edition tea for fall.  Here in Northern California it is sold exclusively at Cost Plus World Market.  The tea comes in natural, unbleached round tea bags in a pretty canister.  When you open up the canister, the tea smells just like the spices of fall!

According to the Republic of Tea canister..."this tea will take the edge off the chilly autumn air.  Indulge in this limited edition tea with traditional fall desserts."

Thanks for stopping by for Tea Time Tuesday.

Will you spice up the season with this delightful tea?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baking: From My House to Yours

 Tea Time

It's Tea Time Tuesday and do I have a treat for you...

Apple Toffee Bars! 

 Apple Toffee Bars

I recently enjoyed looking through my friend's copy of Dorie Greenspan's new book Around My French Table.  A few days later, I cracked open one of my Dorie Greenspan books Baking:  From My House to Yours. 

Since fall is still slow to arrive in Northern California, I thought if I baked an apple recipe with cinnamon and spice, fall would be sure to follow.  It actually kind of worked.  Temperatures have dropped, we had a bit of rain and I have a "keeper" fall recipe!

Dorie's Applesauce Spice Bars are a delicious taste of fall.  I followed Dorie's recipe and achieved excellent results.  I sometimes like to tweak a recipe a bit.   For these bars, I omitted the raisins, used two Red Rome apples instead of one and increased the allspice to 1 t. 

 At my house, I'm calling the recipe Apple Toffee Bars. They are so moist with their delicious toffee glaze they remind me of an apple twist on Sticky Toffee Pudding.

From My House to Yours

Dorie's bars are a perfect fall treat with your favorite cup of tea.

Just click here and you can have the recipe,too! 

(In the photos:  Spode Blue & White China and my Grandmother's Blue Farm Mixing Bowl.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Lunch at Chez Panisse

 Chez Panisse

It's every "foodie's" dream to dine at Chez Panisse. 

It's hard to believe that I'm an East Bay native and had never dined at Chez Panisse.  Turns out, I'm glad I waited.  Last week I had the pleasure of lunching with special friends at Chez Panisse . 

My friend Catherine has been anxious for me to meet her daughter who lives in Paris.  I finally had the chance to meet her.  My friend's daughter just happens to be... Meg Zimbeck.

Meg is a food/travel writer and food critic living in Paris.  You can imagine how excited I was to finally meet Meg.  I love Paris, I love food and I love to travel.  Meg filled me in on all three over lunch with her Mom at Chez Panisse. 

 Farm to Table

I love the Chez Panisse story. 

Proprietor/chef/author Alice Waters visited France in 1964 and fell in love with the French way of life.  In 1971, she started a food revolution when she opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. 

Waters is credited with pioneering the California Cuisine movement.  Her philosophy:  fresh seasonal foods produced locally. 

I love the farm to table approach to food.  Upon our arrival, just before the lunch hour, we saw a produce van delivering farm fresh produce and the Acme Bread truck driving away. We enjoyed both with our lunch!

 Baked Goat Cheese with Garden Salad

I tore out the recipe for the Chez Panisse Baked Goat Cheese Garden Salad in the September 2010 Wine Spectator magazine.  So you can imagine my delight when I found it on the menu at Chez Panisse. 

Fortunately for you, Alice Waters recipe is now on Epicurious.  Just click here for the recipe.

My review:   my salad had the tenderest salad greens I have ever tasted.  I loved the subtle surprise taste of  the fleur de sel (sea salt) seasoning as I enjoyed my salad.  Hint, hint...that's not in the recipe so be sure to add a bit of finishing fleur de sel on your salad greens just before serving. 

The Main Event

We unanimously agreed that Meg's entree was the best.  She took the waiter's advice and had the Soul Food Chicken Leg Confit with Creamy Corn and Wild Rocket.   Catherine had the Tomales Bay Clams & Spicy Pork Sausage entree and I enjoyed the Casarecce Pasta with Pesto and Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes. 

Over lunch Meg introduced us to Francois Chidaine, a lovely French wine from the Loire Valley. 

I really enjoyed my lunch and can now say that I have dined at world-renowned Chez Panisse.  The best part though was lunching with my good friend Catherine and her adorable daughter Meg.  Meg's conversation about Paris just makes me want to go back to Paris even sooner. 

I asked Meg what seemed like a million questions about  Paris and she generously answered them all for me. 

If you love Paris, food and wine like me...be sure to read Meg's personal blog and  Paris By Mouth (she's the editor).  For foodies, Meg has a Ceviche recipe in Dorie Greenspan's new cook book Around My French Table.   

You can also spot Meg in Paris, with her cheese knife, giving French food tours.  Contact Meg for tour information.  I can't wait to take one!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mulberry for Target!

 Had to Have It!

I adore British High Street fashion! 

I just found out a few days ago that there is another British fashion invasion at Target.  This time it's Mulberry

I am normally "in the know" and one of the first shoppers to hit Target when a British Design collaboration launches at Target.  Somehow the Mulberry brand snuck by me. 

Luckily I saw a Mulberry for Target handbag in a magazine the other night and hit my local Target the very next day.

 Nearly Sold Out!

I was so disappointed when I arrived at Target just a few days after the official Mulberry launch only to find the shelves just about empty. 

Being the determined shopper that I am...I hit a few more Target stores.  My mission... to snag a Mulberry Pink Leopard Bag.

Mine, Mine, Mine!

Mission accomplished!  Luckily for me...
I finally found the bag I wanted after visiting four Target stores.

For those in the know...leopard is the "hot" print this fashion season.  I normally don't go for pink but I just know this bag will be a real head-turner! 

A real High Street Mulberry bag like their Bayswater model  (made in leather) would sell for around $1,200.00  to $2,600.00 depending on the print.   Knowing this, I am now a fan of pink leopard and love my High Street knock off bag for Target! 

 So if you want to be carrying some British Mulberry style this fashion season,

I suggest running not walking to your nearest Target store. 

You just might get lucky, too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let Them Eat Macarons!

"Let them eat macarons!"

Thinking of having a little tete-a-tete or a French tea party? 

Well then, perhaps you're searching for that perfect plate to serve your French macarons?

Well, look no further...

The perfect macaron plate! 

My latest find at Anthropologie is this Ladies-in-Waiting plate by Parisian artist Florence Balducci.  

Is it my imagination or does this French noble lady look a bit like Marie Antoinette?  I love the plate and love that the pretty French lady is holding a cup of tea!

It's a dinner plate but I think it's simply perfect for serving macarons! 

Paulette Macaron  

I'm all set now for having a little French themed tete-a-tete and I didn't even have to fly to Paris!

Luckily for me, I can get Parisian style macarons and French  Mariage Freres tea now just a few hours away at Paulette Macaron in San Francisco. 


Paulette Macarons is now Chantal Guillon with even more macarons and more Bay Area locations!  I still shop at the Hayes Street location:  

Chantal Guillon 
437 A Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 864-2400

(In the photos:  Ladies-in-Waiting Plate from Anthopologie, Rose, Violette Cassis & The' Earl Grey macarons from Paulette Macaron.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Taste of Autumn

Autumn Tea Time

Thank you for stopping by for Tea Time Tuesday.
Today we are celebrating the arrival of autumn with one of my favorite autumn recipes...
my Grandmother's Pumpkin Bread.

Autumn Tea Bread

There's nothing like a tasty tea bread to enjoy with a cup of tea in the afternoon!
For a taste of autumn, my Grandmother's Pumpkin Bread is wonderful paired with an apple, cinnamon spice blend, Constant Comment or pumpkin ginger flavored tea.
I do hope you'll try it with your favorite autumn tea blend!
Here's my Grandmother's recipe:

Emma's Pumpkin Bread

Cream together:
1- 1/2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Canola Oil
2 eggs

Stir In:
1/3 C. Water
1 C. Canned Pumpkin

Sift & Stir:
1/2 t. Salt
1 t. Nutmeg Ground
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Cloves Ground
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1- 2/3 C. Flour

1 C. Chopped Pecans or Walnuts

In a pre-heated 350 degree oven, bake in a greased loaf pan for 75 to 90 minutes. You can check for doneness with a toothpick test in the center of the bread. When the toothpick comes out clean it is ready. Do not over bake.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful tea bread with your favorite "cuppa"!

My Mother loves to serve it with cream cheese and chutney.

(In the photos: Antique Wedgwood Creamware Cup & Saucer, Antique Wedgwood Golden Ivy Bread & Butter Plate & Pumpkin Linens from Home Goods. )