Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Things

Originally, I was planning to save these cute pictures to post later in the week, but my dear, sweet neighbor is moving out today and it just felt fitting to post them today. He has only been our neighbor for a full year (to the day), but I've realized during the past week of his move out process that he is one of the best neighbors that I've ever had.

Growing up we did have some good neighbors but this man has been such a wonderful and enriching part of our lives for the last year, in a way that I don't remember any neighbor ever being before. From the moment our neighbor moved in he has consistently shown his kindness and thoughtfulness in little ways, always remembering my love of all things little, and finding the time to set aside a small version of something for me, such as apples or avocados, anything he comes across.

I have enjoyed so much of the delicious foods that he buys and shares with us, such as dried cherries and figs, or his favorite chocolate cake and coconut macaroons. He loves juicing and shares the new flavor concoctions he makes because he knows they are tasty and good for us. So often, he says, "get a plate" "get a bowl" "hold out your hand; I have something to share with you" and he proceeds to share a portion of whatever he has, no matter if he only has very little of it in the first place.

His enthusiasm for our interests and our well-being really made an impression on me, and last night as we were sipping our farewell brandy with him(just one more example of how he loves sharing with others) I felt at a bit of a loss, knowing that I'd miss his generosity and thoughtfulness in our lives.

It was a very strange and funny parting gift, but it was all I had, two tiny deviled eggs. He loved them and thought they were tiny and cute.

They look like normal sized eggs without any reference. The green plate is actually the saucer for an espresso cup.

This photo gives you a better idea of how small the eggs are, unless my hand is exceptionally large!

A very small easter basket: Maybe this is the sort of eggs the easter bunny should deliver?

Don't ask what got into my crazy head! I really wanted the contrast between the pale yellow and the blue. Sadly, this looks more like merry-go-round the citrus juicer rather than a cool interesting photograph, but I guess it made me chuckle.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Treats at Opera Cafe

Anybody who reads my blog has probably picked up the fact that I really like treats. After all, my two main reasons for going to Japan were eating Cake and buying cute clothes. So, I'm clearly a fan of going out of my way for delicious nibbles. Thus, after hearing/reading several recommendations for The Opera Cafe in Mira Mesa, I finally realized that this was a situation where I needed to make a little effort to go out of my way for some seriously nummy treats.

Last Friday Matthew and I finally had a totally open day together, so naturally I forced him cakeward to The Opera Cafe. I think even he agreed that it was worth the 20 minute drive; everything we ate was truly amazing and expertly made. In all honestly, the fact that it's a little out of our way will be an advantage in the end and it should keep me out of too much cake-induced trouble.

A little warning: the picture quality of these photos is deplorable and I apologize for them.
Some of the photos are so blurry that they may hurt your eyes. I really should have taken a camera with me but instead I just had to use my dinky little phone camera.

Duck Confit salad with dried apricots and candied walnuts. This half order was huge!

Matthew ordered the Croque Monsieur (crunchy mister) and love, love, loved it. He said that, although he hasn't ordered a lot of them in his lifetime, he felt this was the best one he's ever had. The fries were very good as well, and so adorably presented.

The pistachio, strawberry, pomegranate cake with lovely little decorations. The tiny balls on the top of the cake seemed to be candied pistachio praline balls.

The layers were so pretty. This cake was incredibly light in texture and taste with all the flavors perfectly balanced.

Teeny french pastries. We weren't exactly clear on the flavors of the two round pastries but the eclairish creatures were coffee and chocolate.

Naturally I adored this little peach colored flower pastry but it was so mildly flavored that I'm still not sure if or how it was flavored. Possibly apricot?

This was a darling and elegant cafe and a perfect place to go for a little afternoon outing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

teeny pink piggy tissues

So, I know that everybody can find these cute boxes of tissues at Target and in all likelihood I'm the last person in the world to find out about them, but I just love them and had to post a couple photos of the adorable pink piggy. I find that using cute tissue boxes makes the misery of colds and allergies significantly lessened. How much happier is it to reach for a tissue and through one's blurred vision see a tiny smiling face or pretty bright flowers?

Front and back- of course, you can't see the tiny piggy's backside but it's probably very cute.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

mini "canned" apple crisp

Remember last spring when I posted the sad story of the limequat curd? And the cute little jars that never got to fulfill their duties as vessels for limequat curd? Well, at last their day has come!

Several days ago, my friend Jessica mentioned a crazy, adorable fad that is sweepin' cross the nation: baked goods in canning jars. People are baking up all sorts of treats in these jars, such as baby pies and teeny cakes. Now, thanks to her brilliant thinking and suggestion there exists mini canned apple crisp. I just couldn't resist such an adorable project.

Want to make your own mini "canned" crisps?

Step One:

Pack freshly cut apples(or other yummy fruits) into adorable jars. I mixed the apples with a sprinkle of sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Step Two:

Top apples with a crumble topping. I just smooshed together a knob of butter, a sprinkle of flour, some oats, a splash of vanilla and a little more nutmeg.

Step Three:

Bake the crisps in a moderate oven for 30 min, or so.

Step Four:

Serve in a very elegant setting with a wee little fork so as to savor the crisp for a long as possible.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green, Green: Kitchen Sink Salad and a Grasshopper

My healthy cooking magazine continually says to eat more greens and, particularly to include a variety of greens in the diet. Tonight, I took their excellent advice and along with my salad had several grasshopper cocktails. They are delicious and so very pretty.

Grasshopper Cocktail: 1 part creme de menthe, 1 part creme de cacao, 1 part cream. I always make it with 1/2 part cream and it's much more minty which I prefer.

Look at the lovely new martini glass. I think it looks very vintage.

A silly salad with more toppings than lettuce. That's the way to make a salad!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Little Tokyo Pals

I've realized fairly recently that I never posted photos of the little souvenirs that Matthew and I brought back from our trip to Japan. I know that I have had about 6 months to do a series of cute little souvenir posts like I did after our trip to England but I guess it just hadn't occurred to me until now. We didn't really bring back as many fun, cutie tchotchkes from Japan; it sounds crazy considering that Japan is the land of cute plastic toys(Hello Kitty, San-x, lucky cats) but we can find so much of that for sale in the US as well.

Here are a few photos of my favorite little pals that hitched a ride in our suitcases.

This little octo is from the Tokyo Sealife park. He is very cute and not so useful. But very sweet to look at and soft to squeeze.

Hello! he says. Please don't eat me!

This little turtle is functional as well as cute. See the little hole in the middle of his shell? a stick of incense fits in there perfectly. I use him to hold the wonderful coffee scented incense that a friend sent to me for my birthday. It makes the whole apartment smell like roasting coffee.

I think this turtle wants to go on a little walk. This is the first time I've let him outside to go exploring.

Walkin' along, walkin' along. tum dee dum, dee dum...

Don't hurt your self little turtle, that mossy spot looks slippery and remember that it rained today!

Oh little turtle! you made it safely past the mossy bit only to get stuck in a potted cactus, oh dear! I think I'd better carry you the rest of the way.

Where do you want to go?

A ha! on top of the post, to catch the last rays of sun before it sets. What a nice way to end the day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

simple, cheerful kabobs

Due to having bought a giant, two and a half pound beef tenderloin for a recipe, I had a few funny bits of beef turning grey in the fridge. These were the pieces from the end and the "oopsie" cuts from trimming(hacking, really) away the silver skin (any butcher would have cried to see my incompetence). The tenderloin is such a tender and highly prized cut that I didn't want to keep it around until it finally went bad and then throw it away, as I do with so much of the food that I buy. But, for the same reason, it's hard to just use it in any old recipe like stir fry or stew because it's so very tender and doesn't need to have the life cooked out of it like most of the beef I buy. So, I made Kabobs!

In my little heart of hearts, I adore really tender kabobs and it's something that I never seem able to make with the extra cheap stew meat that I usually buy.

Once I'd decided to make beef kabobs I needed to find some vegetables to string on the skewers with the beef. I desperately needed to use up the little cherry tomatoes that were wrinkling up like raisins in the fridge and, honestly, once refrigerated, tomatoes should always be cooked. I added a few canned artichoke hearts for color and flavor, and thought the little kabobs looked ridiculously cheerful. Cheerful enough for a picture.