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Steeped Book

Steeped Book Cooking Class (San Francisco)

Steeped Book Cooking Class

Before we continue with our last few weeks of the Summer Reading Series, I wanted to broadcast a PSA. When I deejayed in college, we would give a PSA on the hour of our radio shows as a way to mark time and get out valuable news. In that same spirit, I want to invite you to join me for my Steeped Cooking with Tea class at 18 Reasons, Tuesday, August 11 from 6 to 9 p.m in San Francisco. I hear there are still a few seats left, so snag your spot before the last openings are gone. Books will be for sale, provided by the great crew at cookbookery outpost, Omnivore Books and I am happy to sign your copy for whomever you like. This cooking class holds a special place for me. I have volunteered through 18 Reasons with Cooking Matters classes in San Francisco and Oakland. 18 Reasons is a community center where people come together over food, and they encourage participation of making the community a better place through cooking and food education. They’re great people and I’m delighted to be teaching a class with them.

Okay, back to the class! I’m excited to teach techniques for cooking with tea. I believe if you master these simple methods, you can easily jazz up your food with a bit of exotic flair. Michelle at 18 Reasons and I landed on these recipes to achieve just that purpose. I love teaching other passionate home cooks and hope you will join in on the evening tea revelry. Now, to discuss the basics. Here’s a preview of the menu with gorgeous photos by the incredibly talented Stephanie Shih. If the cake photo looks a bit different from the bunch, it is freshly baked and freshly shot today by yours truly.

The Menu

Steeped-Book-Hurricane-Popcorn-Stephanie-Shih
Hurricane Popcorn with Green Tea Furikake: For several years, I lived in a house of strong, opinionated women. One of them, Lisa, introduced me to Hurricane-style popcorn that she had grown to love when she lived in Hawaii. I grew to love it after my first fistful. You will learn how to make green tea furikake that jazzes up popcorn and anywhere else you might use the seaweed version.

Steeped-Book-White-Bean-Walnut-Tea-Toasts-Stephanie-Shih

Walnut White Bean Tea Toasts: This little ditty hands-down has been the showstopper at cooking demos, cooking classes and samplings during the spring Steeped book tour. Whether you are making a batch of the ridiculously addictive walnut white bean spread to smear onto toast for afternoon tea, lunch or to serve with crudites, you will learn how to use tea as a spice to whiz up a delightful spread that will make it into your regular rotation.

Steeped-Book-California-Tea-Leaf-Salad_stephanie-shih

California Tea Leaf Salad: This salad found its inspiration at one of two restaurants near our old neighborhood. Instead of making a Burmese version, we are making a California version, where it celebrates that so much of our fruits and vegetables come from the Golden State. You will learn how to make fermented green tea leaves and the salad you love when eating out, at home.

Steeped-Book-Chamomile-Corn-Chowder-Stephanie-Shih

Chamomile Corn Chowder: Before organic corn skirts the farmer’s market and this year’s stalks become next year’s lusting, learn how to fold it into a silky soup with lots of textural appeal. We will be focusing on the idea of building layers of flavor using chamomile.

Steeped-Book-Evelyns-Cake

Evelyn’s English Breakfast Meringue Frosted Chocolate Bar Cake: This cake. It’s a mouthful to say and I’m pretty sure your mouth will stay full of it. This is what it looks like before going into the oven. Come to class to see it in all of its crackly goodness. Learn how to incorporate tea into baking in a bit of a departure from regular techniques of baking with tea.

Sign up for the 18 Reasons Steeped Cooking with Tea Class here.

 

Coming Soon

Leighs-Foodie15postcardIf you missed getting one of the last spots for the class, come get steeped in the South Bay on August 22. I’ll be joining the lovely Cheryl Sternman Rule, Emma Christensen and Sheri Codiana for one doozy of a foodie day at Leigh’s Favorite Books in Sunnyvale from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Fall book tour events are forthcoming. If I’m in your part of the world, I hope to see you at one of the events.

Stay tuned for the next book review in the Summer Reading Series. We’ve still got a small chunk of time before autumn leaps on us and I am working on some devilishly delicious fun things for the fall. So, stick around, and settle in. Things are heating up. I’ll bring the tea. You bring the company.

Categories
Recipes

Homemade Almond Joys

DESSERT RECIPES- Homemade Almond Joys 

Mom likes to remind me that I was a bit of a precocious child.

Sewn into my fabric at a young age I possessed a flair for the dramatic. Just last week, we noticed a young girl with her mother outside of a brunch eatery. She carried a princess book that matched her outfit consisting of layers of pink. Her curly blonde hair was swept into a side ponytail and affixed with a wide pink ribbon and tiny pink Crocs on her feet. She caught our eye though from twirling- in the middle of a somewhat bustling sidewalk, this girl twirled and shimmied without a care about who might watch. At some point, she noticed us and smiled a wide toothy grin. She proceeded to tell us the following:

“Today is my birthday.”

(Her mother smiled and mouthed, “No it’s not; she tells people everyday it’s her birthday.”)

“You can come over to my house and play with me and my dog.”

We walked away from this child with presence beyond her years and Mom said, “that’s exactly how you were as a child” before proceeding into a story of me singing and entertaining the godparents over dinner one night. Ah, childhood. You feel unstoppable.

homemade almond joys recipe

It’s no real surprise given my demeanor at six years of age that a few years later into adolescence I would choose to bake and compete in the Church Bake Sale.

homemade almond joys recipe

homemade almond joys recipe

To set the record straight, this was no ordinary church bake sale. After all, we lived in Texas where purportedly (and accurately) everything is bigger. At this time, the church could be easily called a mega church before the term even existed. Droves of home bakers entered and at 12, I wanted to bake and I wanted to win one of the awards.

homemade almond joys recipe

We scoured through Mom’s recipe box with the painted flowers on it and pulled out the recipe below, which I have since slightly tweaked. Written in Mom’s round and voluptuous cursive script, the recipe for “Barbara Walter’s Chocolate Coconut Cookies” held our attention and made it into the grocery list.

homemade almond joys recipe

Mom participated in baking but mostly, she supportively watched me melt, stir and mix. The house smelled of chocolate and coconut- two ingredients that seem made for each other. We plated them, wrapped them and readied ourselves for competition.

homemade almond joys recipe

Sometimes things happen you can’t exactly explain. A man began announcing into the microphone winners for the different categories: best pie, best cake, best cookie, best candy and so on. Let me tell you- the place was chock full of delectable entries. As they continued working their way through the list and dissemination of ribbons, I listened intently. Best candy came and went without a stuttering of name-calling, thus making me hang my head. And then came the announcement for Grand Prize winner, shortly followed by an all too familiar pause and name butchering. I won! They presented me with a red, blue and gold wrapped ribbon that gleamed of satin and looked like a giant sunflower on three legs. Mom laughed and threw her arms around me, so proud, so happy, so surprised! I basked in the unbelievable, giddy and on cloud nine for days. That bake sale taught me to dream big and go for it. For many years that grand prize ribbon hung on a wall in a place of honor in my room until later it got moved and removed in lieu of Teen Bop posters.

As you get older, sometimes that bit of cheeky shoulder to the world gets thrown back and you lose your swagger. You need the help of a child to set you right. That way of looking at the world- that wonder and creativity- children help us adults remember what it looks like to twirl as if no one else is watching, to bake and enter an adult bake sale because why wouldn’t you, to sing loudly even if off-pitch. And sometimes to pull a faded and crumpled prize ribbon out of a box and remember you can because you have.

I’ve said it before and I’ll invite you again. The cause is that important. The reason is that good. 17 million children last year in the United States lived in food unstable homes. That ability to dream and create and experiment in the kitchen that was so much a part of my childhood food memory building is not at their disposal. Share our Strength is working to ensure “No Kid Hungry” in the United States. And I’m trying to do my part and inviting you to join me and many others.

homemade almond joys recipe

So this weekend if you are in San Francisco, head on over to 18 Reasons on Guerrero and 18th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or to Kiehl’s on Fillmore from noon – 6 p.m. and purchase home baked goods from your local San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale. All baked goods are hand made with time, energy and thoughtfulness baked in. All proceeds of the sale go to Share our Strength. Organized by Gaby Dalkin, the Food Bloggers Bake Sale is taking place on Saturday around the United States, letting food bloggers like Aggie in Central Florida, Laura in Alaska, Maggy in NYC, and Keren in Seattle do what they do best: bake for other people & for a sweet cause. For more local San Francisco food bloggers participating in Saturday’s bake sale, click on the frosty pink cupcake button.

homemade almond joys recipe

 

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Homemade Almond Joys

Adapted from “Barbara Walter’s Chocolate Coconut Cookie” recipe in Global Cookbook

Here’s the thing. Trying these now, they have more of a candy like consistency than cookie. The flavor is reminiscent of a grown up adult version of the popular candy bar. Using dark chocolate makes them rich and cuts down on the sweetness. Also, I think the thicker cut coconut just looks sexier. The fine shred coconut makes the candy resemble more of a bird’s nest.

YIELD: 1 dozen

  • 1 cup sweetened condensed lowfat milk
  • 4 ounces unsweetened dark baking chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, minced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of double broiler, combine lowfat milk, chocolate and salt. Cook over boiling water, stirring frequently, till chocolate melts and thickens.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 min.

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