Mad Men Picnic

This past Summer I met a friend named Jung Fitzpatrick on Facebook through SF Image Makers. She posted that she was a Photographer and looking for a Food Stylist to collaborate with in hopes that we could both build our portfolios and share a collaborative experience with her Photography and my Food Styling. I was so excited as I too want to broaden my knowledge and experience in the industry as I start out on my new career. We met at Tartine Manufactory for a delicious Brunch and planned and executed our vision. We planned our next meeting and picked a theme we both wanted to work on. Since we both love anything Vintage, we decided to do an elegant Romantic Vintage Picnic for 2 in the Park. Our inspiration was the TV show Mad Men, the 1960’s, romance and an elegant setting.

We scheduled our shoot for the end of August and our location was determined, Golden Gate Park at Golden Hour. Golden Hour is a term relating to the time of day shortly after sunrise and before sunset when the daylight has a red or golden softer hue. It is a beautiful time of day as the day begins to fade into the promise of a beautiful early evening.

We gave ourselves about a month to prep for our Picnic Shoot and to do our research. I had a project which I was so excited about, researching the food that was to be used. I watched Mad Men, looked through old vintage photos, used Pinterest that Jung and I shared in collaboration and I also studied the fashion as I was also going to be the model. I wanted to use China and luckily, the Thrift Stores in my area had beautiful vintage and 60’s period China which was perfect for the shoot and also extremely affordable. I even recollect my Mother having a set of the Plates I found.

The menu to be featured in our shoot was as follows;
Ambrosia Salad
Pimento Cheese & Celery Sticks
Tomato Cheese Sandwiches w/ Iceberg Lettuce & condiments on White Wonder Bread
Devilled Eggs
Ruffles Potato Chips
Fresh Strawberries
Fresh Peach Lattice Pie

I loved doing this research and we even had a test run Picnic as we scouted at our location. I did my own photo shoots at home with the China Plates, Glassware, Props etc. to make sure everything was spot on. To capture the 60’s feel I wrapped the Sandwiches in Brown Baking Paper and tied with string later to be plated on the China I purchased. I tested all the recipes at least twice before Shoot day to get it perfect.

Other props I had and purchased were Vintage Champagne Coupes, a Vintage Picnic Basket, Japanese Vintage Umbrella and a Cart to safely transport our elements for our busy day.

The day of the shoot had arrived and our crew was David my husband my assistant, Peter, the Digitech and Male Model, Keith the Lighting Tech, Jung of course was the Photographer and I did the Food Styling and was the female Model. It was a freezing brisk San Francisco day but we were so excited to share our artistic vision we didn’t let it hinder our ambitions. We took a lunch break in between and I made sandwiches for the crew and also brought a 1960’s cookie bar called Scotcharoos made with Butterscotch, Rice Krispies and Chocolate. We worked tirelessly from about 10:00 am to about 5:00 at which time we were losing the light. We wrapped our shoot and had a toast with bubbly that Jung brought to share to toast to an outstanding and collaborative day!

What I’ve loved the most about this is I’ve met some new friends throughout this process. Friends that are creative and that I’ll keep working with. I am already planning 2 of my next projects. A Cocktail Party Shoot with a few appetizers, and a Christmas Cookie Shoot, I can’t wait to start testing all the food and beverages for these endeavours!!

All bundled up and ready to work.

All bundled up and ready to work.

Deviled Eggs on vintage egg plate.

Deviled Eggs on vintage egg plate.

Testing food shoot at home.

Testing food shoot at home.

A is for all the Apples...

A is for all the Apples and A is for Amagansett. I just returned from an amazing Pie Baking Masterclass and Food Styling Workshop in Amagansett and it was all about Apples. I present to you the Amagansett Apple Cheddar Galette which was inspired by my recent travels to the Hamptons. I took this workshop with Susan Spungen and Yossy Areffi and I was inspired beyond belief... We went Apple picking for our second group activity at The Milk Pail Fresh Market in the Hamptons. It was a rainy Saturday and the weather conditions were cold and damp, however, we didn’t seem to mind with all of the excitement and gorgeous bounty of Apples that we quickly gathered. What makes this an Amagansett Pastry inspiration isn’t just the Apple Picking experience but also a few ingredients that I incorporated. I added finely grated New York Sharp Cheddar to the Crust and also Sea Salt that my husband purchased at the Farmer’s Market near our hotel, the Gansett Green Manor. Also, although I didn’t bring Apples back to San Francisco, I did note the varieties available on the East Coast. I chose Honeycrisp Apples which is a variety available at Milk Pail Fresh Market which inspired my choice. It’s a great Baking Apple and also one that I could readily find in San Francisco. Normally I use Granny Smith Apples but I really wanted this to be different and unique.

I love this Galette! I love it because I incorporated a few tricks that I learned and it’s the first time since being home that I practiced the new techniques. I made the dough by using my Mini Food Processor and trusting that I know it’s mixed properly by the sound of the machine and look & feel of the dough. Susan Spungen touched upon this and it is amazing how you start to trust your instincts day by day. Also, a few things I loved that Yossy did is that she added a little flaked Sea Salt to the Crust with the Turbinado Sugar after the Egg Wash. I loved how it plays against the sweet sugar and the Sharp Cheddar Cheese in the Crust. Also, I didn’t add sugar to the dries which is something I have always done for Pâte Sucre hence the name Sucre...

The most absolutely remarkable and life changing event not only happened during the workshop but prior to our journey home... I met a woman at the airport as we waited for a 2 hour delayed flight. This woman looked forlorn and was sitting alone so I quickly befriended her... She then told me after introductions were made that she lived in Sonoma, California. The second she said that I knew and my suspicions confirmed what she was about to tell me... She lost everything in the California Wild Fires. Her positive attitude was it is what it is... “I can’t change what has happened, I have my health, a pair of jeans to wear and loved ones” she said... That changed my life! Truly Apples of Gold wisdom and I will never forget that moment. Literally, going to Amagansett changed my life and I am so grateful to have had that experience...

Apple shot.JPG

Champagne and Cookies

Ahh, (insert long sigh here) Galettes... Even the sound of the word evokes visions of lovely golden flaky pastry, seasonal fruit and Vanilla Ice Cream. I love baking Galettes because they are rustic, free form and care free... Don't get me wrong, they are also an investment in time to make but well worth it...

Summertime lends its way to some of my favorite fruits, Stone-fruits that is including Peaches, Plums, Pluots, Apricots, Cherries and Nectarines. In this particular Galette, I've paired Nectarines with a few of my favorite Spices, Cardamom and Vanilla. And of course, I also added a little boozy element to this favorite lineup. I added a few splashes of Grand Marnier in the filling and in the glaze and it is a tasty combination.

You can serve this with either Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream or all on it's own. I like to serve my Galettes with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream... Enjoy either way... Roll up your sleeves and get started... Enjoy this recipe, I know we sure did..

Check out the recipe page for this Summertime Favorite. 



Tiny Paws Pug Rescue

I am so excited for the Tiny Paws Pug Rescue Event this Sunday July 9th at the Wine Maker's Studio on Treasure Island. I am making Peanut Butter Oat Dog Biscuits, Vanilla Pug Cakes, Circus Pug Animal Cookies and People Puppy Chow.

Check out more info @tinypawspugrescue and @circus_pugs on Instagram... Surely an amazing cause! I hope to see you there...



April, 2nd 2017

Today I posted my first recipe on this long awaited blog. I posted a recipe for Malted Milk Ball Malt Cookies. I have always loved Malt flavoring! I love the Robin's Eggs I would get in my Easter Basket, Chocolate Malts at the Soda Shop when I was a kid and the Malted Milk Balls I would get at the Movie Theater. At any rate, I found that adding White Chocolate Chips and pulverized Chocolate Malt Balls to this cookie recipe adds a great texture, crunch and Malty goodness! 

Check out the recipe page to get your hands on this delicious recipe tout suite!!



My first blog entry

Today is March, 26th 2017 and without further ado, I am launching this long awaited Blog. I have been wanting to write this for at least 3 years and now, voila! Thinking of what to bake this week I am perusing classic French recipes such as; Macarons, Pate a Choux, Madeleines and many more. I am returning to the classics and also baking my way through Kim Laidlaw's Home Baked Comfort. I am on recipe 63 of 104 and have a lot of work to do.

As I navigate my way through this process, I thank you in advance for your patience as I have little to almost nil computer skills. I want to thank my husband David and friend Becky Sue for helping me create this new chapter of my life... This will be fun! 

Stay tuned,


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