Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tasty Lady Finger Cookies

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PART OF WHY Halloween is my favorite holiday is that it's the one occasion where dress-up and disguise are socially acceptable, and if I can sound totally scary for a minute, the one day "evil" is allowed to prevail over "good".  In preparation for Halloween parties galore, my friend Zhanna and I spent our Friday night sipping dark chocolate martinis and moonlighting as a finger-making factory.

Check these fancy phalanges out:


Care to feast on some finger foods, ghouls and boys?


LADY FINGER COOKIES
Yields 30 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 30 almond slices
  • Red food coloring
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS
  1. Dispense 10 drops of red food coloring into a shallow bowl. Color your almonds by letting them submerge in the food coloring. Set aside and let dry.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Add one egg and the yolk of another egg, and beat until smooth. Add flour to the mixture and combine on low until dough forms. Wrap this in plastic and chill in the refrigerator until firm (roughly 35 minutes).
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 350°.
  4. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and then form 30 balls with dough. Make each ball into a finger shape, press down on two places to form the knuckles, then score each knuckle with a knife.
  5. Brush egg white onto the fingers and position the almonds on the fingers.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.


This moon phases cocktail plate is wicked cool.

Have a great Halloween, everyone!  Until we eat again...

Sutro Baths

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SAN FRANCISCO is full of gems that I'm still uncovering even though I've lived in the Bay Area nearly all my life.  The Sutro Baths, a privately-owned swimming pool complex built in the late 19th century, is one of my latest discoveries.  The building housing the baths burned down in 1966 and was abandoned, but the ruins are still open to the public. As one tourist describes, they are beautiful on sunny days and "incredibly eerie on gross days. Either way it's a win win."   

At first glance it seems like a place you could easily take in for 5 minutes and be done with, but upon closer inspection it's not just a dilapidated structure by the ocean.  It's close enough to tons of hiking trails which lead to the beach or overlook the Golden Gate Bridge (making it a popular wedding photo shoot destination as well).  People visit just to read, relax, recharge, to dine seaside, to hike, to see the sunset... there is something for everyone, pretty much making it a must-visit if you're ever in the Bay Area.

Wally and I took the photos below which were my favorites from the day.


Margopher peeking out from the relics.



Left: The waves crept up on us and got all our shoes wet.  Right: Barbara enjoying the salt spray inside a cave we explored.



Saif perched himself at the top of a rock and basked in the sun, not unlike a lizard.



Left: I think they're ready for big league modeling (Calvin Klein, maybe?).  Right: Waving to my reflection in murky waters.



A grand view of the baths.  

  
   

We came across a crab skeleton that washed up onto the shore. "Saif has crabs...... legs," I said, with the maturity level of a 15-year-old boy.


    

Mantle-worthy.