Saturday, December 17, 2011

Panettone Bread Pudding

The holiday season is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year. There are so many recipes that have been part of family traditions, year after year, and they never seise to impress. A classic dessert, during any time of the year, is a well-crafted bread pudding. Now, add in the spirit of the holidays, and this bread pudding quickly becomes a panettone bread pudding. Panettone is a very flavorful, aromatic, Italian sweet bread that is sold more frequently during the Christmas season because of its festive nature. I have chosen to use this bread in my bread pudding because including this special ingredient is enough to flavor the entire portion of the dessert, and it is not masked by any other ingredients. The flavor shows through. The recipe I used, by Ina Garten, was very simple to follow and showed great results.

Toasted Panettone Cubes:

Bread Pudding Assembled, Before Baking:

Final Product:

Bon Appétit!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Carolina & Co.

Carolina & Co. is my favorite boutique in Santa Rosa, CA. The items that Carolina & Co. offers are unique  and visually beautiful. Some items, such as aprons, notebooks, and napkins, can be personalized with monogrammed letters using the shop's own embroidering machine. Here are some photographs of the boutique: the sophistication is evident.

The wall of beautiful ribbons:

Adorable little knick-knacks:

An edgy tray, for small object like these:

Colorful, unscented candlesticks:

Friday, July 15, 2011

French Birthday Dinner

Last Wednesday was my mother's 42nd birthday! I gave her the option of being treated to a dinner out at a waterfront restaurant or having a homemade meal: she chose the homemade option. At that point, I began to brainstorm a well rounded menu for the night. These are the items I decided to prepare:
Starter: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad w/ Cider Vinaigrette 
Main Course: Scallops Provencal, Wild Mushroom Risotto
Side Dish: French Green Beans with Shallots
Dessert: Orange and Raspberry Cake

The dinner went off without a hitch. The food tasted fantastic and was prepared at restaurant quality. To establish a rather French mood, I also put much thought into the table decor for the night. 
My color scheme was French-countryside green and lavender purple. The photographs below illustrate how I incorporated these colors. Originally, I wanted to display light purple hydrangea flowers. However, I could not fine the right shade, so I switched to this light blue. I found it to be a great choice because the color of the flower brought in the color of the sky and made it a bright table display. 

Candles add an intimate touch and made the mood of the evening feel warm and inviting. It is important to place the candles a certain distance away from the flowers petals so that the heat of the flame does not crisp one side of the bundle. 

I enjoyed the process of creating this wonderful evening for a mom who works so hard everyday to make my life as comfortable as possible. Enjoy!

Table Decor:

A few sprigs of lavender placed in the ribbon:

Scallops, risotto, and green beans:

Later on in the evening:

The ribbon matched a friend's blouse, coincidentally:

Persian Chai Tea to digest the main course:

Orange and Raspberry Cake on a pink-polka dot cake stand: 

Floral coasters for the white candles, a nice colorful touch: