Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the neglected tarte noire

Few know that I lived in France for a while in college. While there, I gained weight. I'm just kiddin'--I should have, though, with all the deliciousness I ate.

Today, in my attempt to create an ode to France, I made a Tarte Noire. It's simple, elegant and refined in a very good way.
Who's eaten this delightful delectable, you ask?

Not. One. Customer.


This thing is so, freakin' good! It's like eating a truffle at room temperature.'s so smoothe on your tongue you forget you have one! It melts in your whole head.

But, alas...

I'll make this one again because someone, somewhere, will appreciate my Ode to Lyon, France.

A bientot, mes amis


Saturday, May 16, 2009

They're delicious!

A close-up of our Saturday special, the Shenandoah: Mixed Mushroom and Red Bell Pepper Panini with house-made basil-spinach pesto. We're thinking of making this one a regular feature.

And a picture of the Asparagus-Brie Panini bite for the catering gig on Friday. Held in my hands...which are looking more and more like my mother's (again, a whole 'notha post).

grace & peace,


What a week...

Disasters happen...especially in the kitchen.
Friday afternoon when I returned from yet another grocery store run, I was greeted by the ugliest cake I've ever seen in my whole, entire life. E-vah, e-vah seen. This was not good. It was 1:15 and this poor cake had more frosting than cake (always a bad sign). Somehow, this diaster happened to Mr. Glenn (a fellow baker here at the shop). You would have thought Mr. Glenn sold my recipes to another bakeshop--the way the pissed-off-ness began seeping out of every pore on my body. Diasters happen, but at 1:15 to start another triple layer chocolate cake to be baked, cooled and decorated by 5p.m.?!?!?--sizable miracle.

Then what happened, you ask?

Well, I had to leave the kitchen immediately after viewing world's ugliest cake in order to be interviewed by Chris Boyce of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Chris is the business reporter. He's been coming into the shop since the beginning without my knowing that he writes for the Post. I'm secretly trying to marry him off, but that's a whole 'notha post.

So I sat with Chris for an hour internally aching over this disaster cake. But Lisa, the only other fellow baker, (I like to call her Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam or Lisa Ling--it all depends on the morning we're having) baked another chocolate cake while I interviewed. Thank God for Lisa!!

So then what happened?

I rushed into the kitchen because I needed to do some things (one was making asparagus and brie panini bites--so good!) for a catering job that we got at the last minute (and when I say the last minute, I mean that morning)! It was a miscommunication of sorts, but it all got done.

At 4:57p.m. I finished the cake. Pick-up was scheduled for 5:00p.m. Mr. Glenn left at 2:15p.m. Lisa stayed until 4:00p.m. I stayed until 7:00p.m. Staying until 7:00p.m. on a Friday when I know I'll be up by 4:00a.m. Saturday morning is-not-fun-.

To be honest, I was still in a stank mood Saturday morning over that pile of chocolate cake. It's no one's fault, and I'm glad it happened because now I will insure it never, ever, ever, e-vah does again. Growing into a fine business woman requires some disasters from time to time. Maintaining the calm and being a patient teacher and student is the miracle.

I always expect miracles.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Foodies can get full of themselves. It's true. Take for example Sally Jo (totally fictional name I just made up. .. if you are a real Sally Jo, this is not about you--truly): Sally Jo is known for her guacamole. No party she attends can be without her guacamole. Everyone harasses Sally for her terrific guacamole recipe. It's so freaking fantastic that people have nicknamed Sally Avocado!!

One day Sally cascades into the party of the year with a heaping bowl of magic mole, and she is feelin' herself. But something unusual happens: magic mole ain't so magic. It sits there. all. night. long. Not one swipe from a stale corn chip. Not one person seen reaching for the magic. It's as if everyone is allergic to avocados.

Friends, today I am Sally Jo. Not that I am ever a full-of-myself foodie--no, not me...but I've heard good things about our quiche. Great things! We were in Sauce for goodness' sake where our quiche was labeled the "Eat This!" People love our quiche!!(note the exclamations marks), but this morning that poor thing sat there as if it were made of styrofoam and for display only. So Cbabi says, "Blog about it. I'll go take a picture of it and you can write about it. Don't just write about the good stuff."

So here I am, a bloggin' Sally Jo...
And what was today's quiche, you ask? It was a veggie sausage, roasted tomato, and cheddar spectacular creation. Delicious as always, I assume.

p.s. as Cbabi took the quiche to take pictures, people swarmed the quiche requesting slices for magic.

grace & peace,


Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dennis!

This was a 60th birthday piece commissioned by Morgan for her husband Dennis. Happy birthday, Dennis!



If you know me, you know I have a thing for all things tart and pie. I made this hoping a piece would be left for me--it wasn't--which is good because it means it sold. This is my ode to Lyon, where I lived for a time in college. I always wondered how the bakers made such beautiful creations. Now I know, and I can't believe I can create these deliciousnesses (I know it's not a word).

grace & peace,


Mother's Day

Here's the thing about mother's day: all mothers would really like that day off from mothering, but that never, ever, ever, E-VAH!! happens. True, some mothers are just so in love with being mothers that they actually want to be around their children...they just love being with them all the time, la-lala-la-lala... This was true for me when my children didn't talk, whine, complain, fight, etc. But really, really, we just want that day off from our beautiful little children, from cooking, from cleaning...and it usually never happens.

This mother's day, my bunch offered to make me breakfast in bed. What a treat, you say. I'll admit it: I first thought, "The kitchen is going to be a hot mess and then I'll have to clean it and then..." But I resisted the immediate ungrateful-ness that swoops in and grabs hold of my words and shakes them out of my mouth. I just said, "How sweet!" Fortunately, the mother's day goddesses were working on my side because breakfast came from a local cafe instead of our kitchen. My crew bought me the best gift too: culinary magazines and Carol's Daughter Almond Souffle Body Butter! And, my husband, who knows I have a thing for Hugh Jackman and is quite comfortable with it (partly because he knows that I don't know Hugh, will probably never know him and--therefore--is no threat whatsoever to our beautiful union) took me to see Wolverine. It is a Man-Movie...a delicious, pulsating, sight-to-behold man movie...and I enjoyed every muscular second of it : )

To my surprise, I didn't receive any macaroni necklaces (sigh) or cards made from school (big sigh). And, for the record, just what are they teaching our children these days? Pasta necklaces are a mother's day staple. My beautiful babies did say, "happy Mother's Day," 1, 523 times. A.J. read a book to me (he's in kindergarten and is a reading superstar!) B gave me one of his toys, and J was the mastermind behind the culinary magazine (smart girl)! They also fought, whined, complained, etc., throughout the day as well, but one day they won't. One day they won't get their jumbo chalk out to decorate the sidewalk with "Roses are Red" poems for me, which they did (sigh). One day they'll pat me on the head (they will all be taller than I), and say, "Happy's Mother's Day" and forget the jumbo chalk odes and the "I can read" moments (sigh).

So eventhough I, and most of my girlfriends, wanted to be in a spa far, far away from it all, we truly are blessed to be loved my our babies...even if they show it by whining, complaining and fighting. One day, they will sit with their friends and say, "If it's not one thing, it's your mother," and laugh as I do when I say the same thing about my mother (Mom, if you're reading this, I mean it in the best way possible.) They will always appreciate me, but they will show it in different ways as they grow, but I'll always know that loving me is like loving them: not always effortless but definitely automatic.

And I have to report that the love of my life, my husband (not Hugh:) , gave me a card that made me cry. Cry. We've had the pleasure of being together for 12 years and it feels brand new most of the time. Across the world, there isn't another man I would have rather created children with. Cbabi makes mothering more automatic and effortless because he is a fantastic father.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and to all the women who "mother" as only we can.

grace & peace,


Friday, May 8, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

I was going to name this post: "Okay, It's been waaayyy too long", but I saw the last post kindda had that same flavor, so...forgive the delay. But I will be blogging atleast three times a week and posting photos too, cause really, what's a post without a photo?

Just some updates before I get to the fun stuff: Our lunch menu is FINALLY online! We will also feature one random specialty sandwich or salad every Saturday under the name: Shenandoah. And just a heads up, I'm feeling pesto-y for tomorrow's Shenandoah.

Now on to Food, Glorious Food!! We have new eggs and they glow! They are organic from a farm in Hazelwood, MO, (I know, I was thinking the same thing!) and the shells are beautiful--some are purple/blue/green/brown...just spectacular! At my next pick-up I'll take a picture of the chicks roaming free (as they should) eating their organic feed. It's a sight to see.

If you haven't heard, we re-vamped our Royal Red Velvet Cupcake. It's now called Red Hot Red Velvet, and the cake is soooo tender it should be illegal! It came to me in a dream. Yes, I dream about this deliciousness, so you know this cake is special. I wasn't happy with the old red velvet even though people seemed to enjoy it; I didn't, and I knew I could do better. So be good to yourself and give this cupcake a try.

Now, onto another sweet treat. We have this bar called "The Best Ever Pecan Bar!" (yes, that is what we call it : ) cause that's what it is. Big ups to Matthew Rice over at Niche/Veruca Bakeshop for telling me the source of his pecan bars. I took that source, embellished it a tad and now have, once again, The Best Ever Pecan Bar! Take a look.
We have a new cookie too--sorry, no photo yet, but you really don't want to look at a picture of this cookie. It's ridiculously scrumptous. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the Brookie! Part brownie part cookie (get it, Brookie?) It's Kryptonite to dieters...cannot be resisted. DO yourself a favor and come get one. And for all my VEGAN buddies, we will have Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies and VEGAN Chocolate Cupcakes Saturday May 9th. Also, does anyone know any good recipes for RAW desserts? I'm getting curious about RAW cookies (dates & pecans??) or RAW cupcakes (carrot??) Email me if you have any you love.
Last, but never least, my baby boy B. Some of you see him in the shop as though he owns the place. B will be 4 this month. I refer to him as my third baby and Cbabi refers to him as our LAST baby. Either way, he is sweeter than tender chocolate cake covered in ganache. They grow so fast...first they're soothing new budding teeth with teething biscuits, and the next thing you know they're covered in buttercream. Kiss your babies, everybody! Kiss 'em everyday until they just can't stand it...then kiss 'em some more!

grace & peace,