Showing posts with label tangent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tangent. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bread Bowls: A Sad, Sad Fate for Unlucky Beautiful Loaves of Bread

I never thought I could be heartbroken from the mistreatment of a loaf of bread, but this (overly dramatic, hilarious, but ultimately sad) video does it to me! In the case of Bread Bowl vs. Bread Intact, I vote for Bread Intact. I've come to the conclusion that anyone who eats a bread bowl does not fully grasp the beauty of a perfect loaf of crusty, artisan bread. Where's the respect?! I would never want a bread bowl to be the fate of something I painstakingly handcrafted in the kitchen, something that strives to have the perfect crumb, so moist and delicate, for all to appreciate via slices. Imagine spending hours, or even days, executing your craft, only to have the top of the loaf carved off like the top of a pumpkin for Halloween and the bread filling in the center savagely ripped out. Ouch!

And to make things worse, are bread bowl criminals users, in order to make room for the soup or dip that goes inside the loaf, tossing the bready filling in the trash? What a tragedy! A crime! A shonda!

Watch the video above and then tell me, has this changed your perception of the classic bread bowl?

via Clickhole

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Time I Met One of My Baking Heroes, Marlene Sorosky, and Tried Not to Creep Her Out Too Much

Marlene and me

How does one possibly prepare for the moment when she comes face-to-face with her hero? That was the challenge I faced a little over a week ago when I attended a cooking class taught by one of my baking heroes, Marlene Sorosky. I booked the class weeks in advance. I knew the day was coming. I had time to mentally prepare, to brace myself. But no amount of time would be enough. The anticipation was killing me. Here are the main thoughts that ran through my head for the weeks, and especially the days, leading up to that all-important meet and greet:
  • What should I wear?
  • How do I not freak her out, since I'll undoubtedly be unable to contain my excitement?
  • Do I tell her about my blog? 
  • Do I tell her that I've been chanting her name for years? And when I make something from one of her cookbooks, I simply say, "This is a Marlene Sorosky."
  • What do I say to her? 
  • Do I bring my cookbooks to class to have signed? I have ALL of them. All 8 of them! In fact, I have two different editions of the same cookbook, plus an extra copy of one because I forgot I already owned it when I spotted it again at a store, bringing the total to 10 books. Hmm, maybe that would be a bit much?
  • Do I ask her to lunch?
  • Do I ask to take a picture with her?
My collection of Marlene Sorosky cookbooks. They are all autographed now!

Well, the day of the class finally arrived, and after agonizing over all these tough decisions for so long, I had to come up with a plan. Time was a'ticking. Here's what I ended up doing:
  • I wore a cute red cardigan and dark wash jeans. I looked polished but approachable.
  • Honestly, I probably did freak her out a little bit. I had a grin that took over my face. It was so large it was bumping into walls as I made my way into the classroom.
  • I told her about my blog, and how I've mentioned her in past posts. I told her that I've made countless recipes from her books, and my husband practically knows her by way of the food I've served him and referring to each item as "a Marlene Sorosky."
  • I brought all 10 cookbooks to be signed. I have no shame! I knew I would regret not having brought all of them later, and who needs unnecessary regrets!? The amazing thing was, she happily signed all 10 cookbooks! And she wrote a unique, different message in each one. She is so wonderful! I chatted with her for awhile, told her which of her books were my very favorite and named specific recipes that have become some of my go-tos. Her Kosher-for-Passover Spinach Matzah Quiche has even turned me into a hero to my relatives for 8 days every year.
  • I did not ask her to lunch. That's where I drew the line.
  • I did ask to take a picture with her. She cheerfully obliged! 
  • Oh, and during the class, she asked for volunteers to come up to the front of the room and demonstrate peeling an apple with the apple corer/peeler appliance. I did that, too. Why? So I could later say I've cooked with Marlene Sorosky. There's video to prove it.

So there you have it. My dream encounter with my baking hero, a chef and cookbook author whose recipes are sheer perfection, whose demeanor and personality are unstuffy, fun, and witty, and who has the cookbook sales (more than a million books sold to date!), internationally renowned honors (i.e. James Beard Award Winner, beating out Martha Stewart among others), and famous friends (the late, great Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and more) to validate my otherwise seemingly unwarranted obsession with her. To some, meeting a Kardashian, or a hunky movie star, or a famous rock star, would be the ultimate encounter. To me, there are a handful of cookbook authors who might as well be rock stars. Marlene Sorosky is my rock star. I'm just waiting for the paparazzi to realize that.

Marlene is signing every single one of my cookbooks!

Marlene signed a different message in each of my cookbooks!

One of the oldest cookbooks in my Sorosky collection

Visit Marlene Sorosky's website here:

Follow Marlene Sorosky on Facebook here:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yes, I'm Alive, and Will Be Back to Recipe Blogging Soon!

Hi everyone! Happy almost-Halloween! So, as some of you may have noticed, my last blog post was in late May. That's a whopping 5 months ago. Sigh. I've been acutely aware of this for awhile, and was hoping (surely, in denial), that no one had noticed. But then I got an email yesterday from a lovely reader in Michigan who essentially wanted to know if I was still alive, and OK, and what's going to happen to the blog. All great questions. And that email solidified my worst fear that my blog neglect hadn't gone unnoticed.

So, I'm here to tell you...yes, I'm alive, I'm fine, I'm still baking, I'm still breathing, I'm still happy, I just got really busy and am trying to figure out how to adjust my schedule to fit in this food blogging/baking passion of mine and still get sleep at night! :)

Just a few days after my last post (way back in May), a life changing event happened to me...a really great one...and it's been a whirlwind ever since!

I got engaged!

And then shortly after that, I moved!

But enough with the excuses. Blogging will return. I'm prepping a post this week. Talk to you then!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hanukkah is Happier with Sufganiyot from Bibi's Bakery & Cafe!

It wouldn't be Hanukkah without jelly donuts, known also by their Hebrew name Sufganiyot. And I couldn't be more thrilled to find out that one of my favorite spots in LA is serving them up all Hanukkah-long.

Bibi's Bakery & Cafe in the kosher Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles is a GREAT place for a tuna melt, a Greek salad, a pita toastee, shakshukah, babka, challah, and now sufganiyot! When Bibi's switched ownership and Dan Messinger became the new captain of the ship, everything improved, from the menu, to the signage, ambiance, customer service, and even the marketing...they're now on Facebook offering up plenty of food porn pics and social media discounts! Basically, Dan is really Dan the Man.

While I already consider myself a regular customer there, I hope that soon enough I can get around to ordering a bunch of the aforementioned savory items all at once, take some pics, and share all that with you on this blog (especially because Bibi's tuna melt is in my top 3 favorite tuna melts of all time), but for now, go get yourself some sufganiyot! In addition to the traditional jelly-filled donuts, Bibi's is offering custard-filled and chocolate-filled! Price is $1.50 per donut, and they are a hefty, honkin' good size.

Happy Hanukkah!

Bibi's Bakery & Cafe
8928 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 246-1788
Strictly kosher dairy/pareve
Official Website:
Facebook Page:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Ultra Fun Voice-Activated Popinator: Shooting Popcorn Right Into Your Mouth One Kernel at a Time

If ever there was a time to use the made up word "funnest," it's in reference to this Popinator contraption from Popcorn Indiana. They have invented, hands down, the funnest way to eat popcorn. Sit or stand up to 15 feet away from the Popinator machine and say the word "POP" and it will launch a kernel of popcorn into your mouth. It uses some sort of audio science to identify where you're located based on hearing you say "POP."

Sure, no two popcorn kernels are exactly the same size, weight, shape, etc... and so when the machine spits one out, you may have to angle your body or dip, duck, or jump slightly to catch the unique piece flying through the air, but from what I can tell in the video, it does an amazing job of getting pretty darn close to your mouth.

I suppose there's a slight risk of it being a choking hazard if you care about safety and such. :)

But I want one! Watch the video and you'll want one, too!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Casting in LA: How Would You Keep Mrs. Fields' Cookies From Crumbling?

A casting director contacted me about a new show for Oprah Winfrey's network OWN and TLC. The show's topic? How to revive Mrs. Fields in this difficult economy. The show is looking for customers of the cookie company in the Los Angeles area who have ideas and opinions on what Mrs. Fields should do to increase sales and get the company going strong again. If they choose you for the show, there's monetary compensation. There's even the chance that you could be hired to work for Mrs. Fields. Plus, come on, you can't argue with that good feeling you get from saving cookies from destruction. Be the hero and apply for this show!

Here's how to apply:
Email and include the following info:
  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Current contact info
  • Which brand you'd like to help out (Mrs. Fields)
  • What changes you would make if you were the boss

More details, direct from the casting guy:
This episode focuses on Mrs. Fields Cookies, which has been struggling in the current economy. They’re looking to reach out to the Los Angeles area and its neighboring communities for help. In each episode loyal customers will be given the chance of a lifetime to help a brand that they love re-establish itself. The show is extremely positive and allows the average everyday customer a chance to work with and help reconfigure one of their favorite companies in addition to aiding the current economy by saving some jobs in the area.

We are currently looking for outgoing, opinionated and creative consumers who might be interested in being a part of the show. Participants must be 18 years of age and over. We are open to customers from all walks of life as long as they are passionate about the company and creative enough to come up with ways to improve the brand.

And more from Happy Go Marni:
Good luck cookie-saving!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meeting Alice Medrich, the First Lady of Chocolate

Several weeks ago I flew up to San Francisco to hear a talk at Omnivore Books in Noe Valley with my mom. Omnivore Books is a charming cookbook shop with little square footage and yet a surprisingly, deceptively huge cookbook collection. The shop owners regularly invite cookbook authors to host talks in their shop, allowing these authors an opportunity to introduce the crowd to their most recently published cookbook.

This is not the first time I've booked a flight from LA for the sole purpose of hearing a cookbook author speak. It's such a fun afternoon in the City, and a great excuse to visit my parents and see family and friends in the Bay Area. I can't do it all the time, but I must say, this particular weekend was a no-brainer. Alice Medrich, the First Lady of Chocolate, was scheduled to speak about her latest book Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. I own most of Medrich's cookbooks. So adding her latest to my collection was something I was very interested in doing. And in the process, I got to meet her, chat with her, have her sign my book, and take this photo! Note the garb. My mom and I dressed in our most baking-obsessed clothing for the afternoon. We are baking dorks to the max!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Making Of: A Happy Go Marni Plate!

Soooooooo, I decided to make a Happy Go Marni heart-shaped plate. I love me some hearts! And a serving plate for my baked goods is always a good idea (you can never have too many). Plus, how cool is it to be able to tell your guests you made this awesome dish?

To make this plate, I went to Color Me Mine in Beverly Hills, a ceramics shop where you select a piece to paint and then they glaze and fire it for you. It's ready for pick-up 3 days later.

To get the Happy Go Marni logo onto the plate, I used the computer in the shop and pulled up my logo, resized it to fit the surface of the plate, and printed it out. I then placed the image over special carbon paper and used a pen to outline the design, pressing hard enough for the lines to appear on the plate. That created the perfect stencil for me to paint on! And the carbon lines disappear when the pottery is fired in the kiln.

Keeping the paint within such an intricate design was not the easiest thing in the world since I couldn't find any paint brushes with a fine enough point. It took a combination of patience, concentration, and letting go of my perfectionism to get the job done. But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! It was so exciting to return to the shop 3 days after the painting day to see the results of my hard work. I now have a one-of-a-kind piece of art with my name on it. I can't wait to serve blondies on this plate! But as far as making a matching mug? No way, Jose. :)

The Making of the Plate: In Photos
Placing the logo over the carbon paper, and centering it over the plate...

Tracing the design with a pen...

Lots of concentration required! :)

And the painting is done! This is what it looks like pre-fired...

3 days later and here it is glazed, fired, and ready for serving!

Friday, March 23, 2012

My New Favorite Trader Joe's Item: Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

I am in love with this new dip. I bought it on a whim a few days ago, because for the past few months of Trader Joe's visits, I've been eying their traditional spinach dip, even picking it up to admire it, but then always placing it back on the shelf. It's not exactly healthfood (though the green vegetable in it sure makes it deceiving!).

So on my most recent visit to Trader Joe's, I was beside myself and jumping out of my skin when I saw a new product right next to the spinach dip. It even looked like spinach dip. Heck, it is a dip and it does have spinach in it. It's Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip! And right on the front of the package label, it says it's 50% of the fat of regular spinach dip. SOLD! 16 ounces of deliciousness for $3.99. My middle-of-the-night need-a-snack prayers have been answered.

After multiple instances of eating this dip, I must say, it tastes so much like the spinach dip we're all used to - the one you often see in sourdough bread bowls at parties - that I may never need to go back to the original.

I just thought you all should know.

Oh, and I've been crazy busy lately, but I'll go back to blogging baked goods soon. I have a lot to share with you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Unicorn Poop Cookies, the Most Magical Cookies in All the Land

I simply cannot take credit for such an amazing cookie. The Unicorn Poop Cookie is the brainchild of a genius named kristylynn84 (at least, that's her username on Instructables). Try it at home! She provides the recipe and step-by-step instructions here. And she even made a cheesy-good video set to classical music that beholds such a beauty.

I always knew baking was magical, but this takes it to a whole new level.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Tool to Help You Make My Award-Winning Lucky Charms Ice Cream

Remember that Award-Winning Lucky Charms Ice Cream I blogged about back in April? One of the steps for making the ice cream required separating the toasted oat grain cereal from the marshmallows. And as a dedicated ice cream maker, I handpicked those marshmallows out, one by one, because what else was I going to do? It was a labor of love.

But I just read in a blog that someone invented a sifter that almost perfectly separates the marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal! I know you are celebrating quietly in your seat.

The only minor challenge is that you need to own a 3D printer (or become friends with an owner of one) because that's how you create your sifter. The sifter shape reminds me of a paper tea cup with holes in the bottom. So, go invest in a 3D printer and then make delicious Lucky Charms Ice Cream! How much do 3D printers cost? Small price to pay!

Step-by-step instructions for making your own sifter here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Want a Wonder Woman KitchenAid Stand Mixer and I'm Ready to Fly to Brazil to Get It

Looks like KitchenAid's Brazilian division is offering a Wonder Woman edition of the KitchenAid stand mixer. And a peace and flower edition! And a bugs edition! And a skull and cross bones edition! Gahhhhh! View the Brazil KitchenAid stand mixer Facebook photo album here. Maybe they'll add more designs soon!

This news came to me while I was staring depressingly at my plain white uber-boring white mixer. I've already vented on this blog in the past about my white mixer, wishing I had a fun color like turquoise or hot pink. Now that I see these special edition patterned ones, forget the solid bright colors! (Though honestly, anything is more fun than white!)

Do I have to fly to Brazil to get one or do they ship internationally? I'm ready to book my flight.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Award for Coolest Eating Utensils Goes to...Bitten Silverware

A guy named Mark Reigelman, an artist, created this genius silverware. I'm not sure what it would feel like to hold these in your hands while eating - perhaps a bit (pun intended) sharp or uncomfortable? But worth it, right? Way to go, Mark. I am awarding you with the Happy Go Marni Award for Coolest Eating Utensils.

And now it's time to meet the man. This is Mark(s) Reigelman. In the Info section of his site, he dedicates a page to his Team. When you get there, this is what you see. A bunch of Marks. Ha!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Girl Scout Pie, er, Cookie Chart

Photo Credit: Celine Grouard

Just read this in Wired Magazine. According to Girl Scout Cookie sales data, here's how the cookie crumbles. Most popular cookie is Thin Mint, followed by Samoas. BUT! If you combine the Peanut Butter Sandwich and Peanut Butter Patties, peanut butter cookies are very well represented, in fact inching out Samoas. Go PB! I hope I've gotten you in the mood; it's almost Girl Scout Cookie Season. This concludes today's cookie report.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Have a Half Birthday Cake

Today is my half birthday. The 6 month mark. That is worth celebrating, right? I was thinking of baking myself a half birthday cake. But what exactly does that look like? Does it mean I bake a whole cake and toss out half or give away half? Or do I only bake half the recipe? But in a round cake pan so it looks like a whole cake? Or do I bake a cake in a cake pan that looks like half a round cake? DING DING DING!

My friend Jan sent me a link to this half-round cake pan. It's perfect for celebrating half birthdays! Let me know if you have a different interpretation of how to bake a half birthday cake. I'm very interested. Particularly because I love finding excuses to bake. Not that I need excuses...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Would Do The Same Thing

Click image to view larger

My mom just sent me this comic strip. It was published in today's San Jose Mercury News.

Lucy and I are clearly related. I would do the same thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brace Yourselves! These Kids Know How to Bake a Cake

Nothing like a good music video by children to teach you proper cake-baking technique! Ok, technique? Well, not exactly. But they do encourage you to follow the recipe in the cookbook carefully. And I can't argue with that.

So watch the video and pay attention! Quiz later. And don't forget to sing along. Lyrics below the video.

Lyrics to "Cooking by the Book"
by LazyTown

I'll pile on the candy,
It's such a pretty sight
It makes the food taste dandy
But my tummy hurts all night

I'll put in some ingredients
But keep the rest for me
I'm not just disobedient
I'm careful, can't you see?

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake
If the way is hazy,
You gotta do the cooking by the book
You know you can't be lazy
Never use a messy recipe,
The cake will end up crazy
If you do the cooking by the book,
Then you'll have a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a cake

Making food is just like science,
With tools that blend and baste
And every fun appliance
Gives the food a different taste

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake
If the way is hazy,
You gotta do the cooking by the book
You know you can't be lazy
Never use a messy recipe,
The cake will end up crazy
If you do the cooking by the book,
Then you'll have a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a -
'You gotta do the cooking by the book!'

Monday, April 18, 2011

Video Cake Tour: Beth's Birthday Cake

Presenting my first ever Happy Go Marni Cake Tour! Because for some of you, it may be the closest you come to being inside my kitchen. Now if only we had smell-o-vision.

Read the full post about this cake here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mastering Wilton Cake Decorating by Practicing on My Sister's Birthday Cake

The cake I made for my sister's birthday,
using skills I just learned in the Wilton workshop!

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Wilton cake decorating workshop. Wilton is the brand of cake decorating supplies and resources I grew up with. Every birthday cake of my childhood (and that of my sister and brother) was a cake my mom made, guided by the Wilton yearbook of decorating ideas. I used to watch my mom stay up really late the night before my birthday party, creating amazing, beautiful, glorious, creative cakes. It's one of my happiest memories.

Practicing my piping skills in the workshop

So getting the invite to this Wilton workshop was pretty thrilling. Of course I said yes. And I spent 6 hours learning from the absolute masters of the art. Sandy Folsom is the Director of The Wilton School and watching her pipe buttercream out of a pastry bag onto a practice board to demonstrate proper technique, upside down no less (!!!), was one of the most amazing things to witness. She made piping look effortless.

Director of the Wilton School Sandy Folsom
demonstrating piping skills upside down!

Let me tell you right now, it is not effortless! It's a lot of work, a steady hand, knowing which angle to hold the bag relative to the cake surface, how much pressure to squeeze around the pastry bag, consistency, and the list goes on. There are so many instructions. In piping a rosette, you start at the 9 o'clock mark and squeeze clock-wise until the 6 o'clock mark, then gradually release so it fades to nothing by the time you return to 9 o'clock. Whew! So much to think about!

I even learned how to make fondant flowers

Six hours is hardly enough time to master a skill. But getting an overview of the basic skills required to decorate a cake was a blast, and extremely helpful. Nancy Siler, the VP of Consumer Affairs, was there to introduce us to all the new Wilton products and work the room, helping attendees with proper hand position and technique.

I met really interesting people in the workshop, mostly food stylists, a few bloggers, and even journalists. Shout-out to Hilary of Nosh With Me, a blog I've been following for years. How thrilling to meet the person behind the blog you read. Bloggers have offline lives, too, ya know! Hong of Ravenous Couple sat in front of me and I was constantly impressed with his handiwork. Food stylist Alice Hart sat behind me and kept tweezers/pincers in her pocket, because as a food stylist, you never know when you're going to need to adjust something without using your fingers. Right? So fascinating! Chef Jamie Gwen, who hosts a radio show on KFWB News Talk 980, was also in the class, and I worked with her (and Alice Hart) on a group decorating project.

Some of the group cake decorating projects during the workshop
(my team was the yellow cake in the center)

One of the neatest effects I learned at this workshop was the basketweave, a technique that makes your cake look like a basket. It's very impressive-looking, but the way you create it is not all that difficult, just tedious. I was very excited to try this at home, and with my sister's birthday coming up just days later, I decided to go for it!

I made my grandmother's chocolate birthday cake and frosted it with homemade buttercream. I then covered the entire perimeter with my first ever on-my-own, no-hand-holding-from-master-Wilton-cake-decorators basketweave! I piped roses and other flowers on the top and hanging off the edge onto the basket, and wrote a birthday message to my sister in the center.

The cake took two days. I baked the layers on a Monday, froze them so they'd be easier to frost, and then spent all of that Wednesday evening making buttercream frosting from scratch and decorating the cake. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I'm proud of my first effort doing basketweave. And most rewarding of all, my sister loved it.

Presenting the cake to my sister (who's 5 months pregnant!)

Thanks to Wilton for giving me happy memories as a kid and still today. The workshop was incredible. I think I'd make a great postergirl for Wilton. Heck, between my mom and me, we own so many Wilton products we could open up a shop! As for my skills, I have a lot of practice to do before I reach mastery level. Maybe this will be the Year of the Cake. More roses, rosettes, and basketweaves until I drop! I'll name my autobiography From Basketweave to Basketcase. Ha! Could be a bestseller.

More Photos of the Birthday Cake I Made For My Sister

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Paula Deen Riding Things?

Too funny! Someone decided to create a website dedicated to helping you photoshop cut outs of Paula Deen onto other photos. All of them result in Paula Deen riding things. Things like corn on the cob, and a bear, and Charlie Sheen's shoulder, and the Happy Go Marni logo (see below!). Thus, a very well thought out blog title: Paula Deen Riding Things. I dare you to make one!

So, should this be my blog's new header artwork?

Thank you, Iselle, for sharing this with me! I'll be checking the site frequently to see the latest and greatest submissions. There are still a lot of objects left for Paula to ride. Should be interesting. Come along for the ride (sorry, had to).
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