Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Keren Brown's Book Launch Party: a very sweet success!

Even though the sun was not shining brightly last night, local foodies, tweeples, bloggers, and facebook friends gathered to cheer on Keren Brown's book launch party. Her first book, "Food Lovers Guide to Seattle" is dedicated to local restuarants, pubs, bars, bakeries, and hottest eats. Plus, it includes recipes from Seattle's top chefs.

Who is Keren Brown? She first made her mark as "frantic foodie" with her fun and exciting blog, gathered friends on twitter (@franticfoodie and @foodloversea), and started Food Blogger events in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Foodportunity, a networking event business to help people network within the food industry. Keren also writes for the Seattle PI and Mynorthwest.com. Whew! What a busy mother and wife!

The party was held in Shilshole Bay Beach Club in Ballard. The event was filled with local restaurants, vendors, and bakeries sharing treats for Keren's event. I loved fonte's coffee bar, Google's fun red pens, and blackboard bistro's pork sliders. Plus theo chocolate's newest chocolate bar flavors were out for sample! What a fun food filled event. I even ran into some foodies I first met at cakespy's "cake versus pie" event!

Being a big food lover and appreciater, I can't wait to try MORE new places found in Keren's book. Buy and use it a resource to try new fun, tasty food!

Happy Baking

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Secrets to TASTY baked goods!

People always ask me: what are tips to make sure my cookie/pie/cake/other baked good TASTE amazing? I love helping people and sharing tips and tricks that I always use. Read more to find out my top 5 favorite ingredients to add to baked goods.

Remember, good, quality baked goods with come from good ingredients! Do not be afraid to add new ingredients when baking or cooking.


1) REAL Vanilla bean: Yes, true vanilla beans are pricey but worth it. Vanilla is a mild, suttle flavor that adds a true, and pure flavor. If you cannot afford real vanilla beans, buy real vanilla extract versus imitation vanilla.

2) ZEST from lemon/lime/orange: I love using a microplane (hand-held fancy "shredder" or "zester") when zesting citrus fruits. The zest (the outside part of the citrus fruit) has a TON flavor and adds a bold taste. I love zesting lemons and oranges for my mixed berry delightful pie and adding some zested limes to a chicken marinade.

3) NUT: Toasting nuts and adding them as a garnish on my cupcakes add flavor, textures, and crunch! Putting some walnuts in my chocolate fudge brownies gives it a salty-sweet flavors. ALL Nuts add GOOD fat and flavor to your next baked good. My favorite are almonds and walnuts.

4) REAL BUTTER: No, not margarine or "I can't believe it's not butter!" REAL, all-fat butter adds creaminess and "melt-in-your-mouth" qualities to your next pastry. Trust me, there is a difference between a cookie made with real butter and one made with magarine. The cost difference is little and it is better for your body to consume realy fat versus a fake fat.

5) CHOCOLATE: Yes, I am bias, but I love adding rich, dark chocolate to almost ANYTHING I bake. It could be added to my Chocolate cloud cupcakes, turtle brownies, almond shortbread, or peanut butter bars! Dark chocolate (look for "70% caoco" or higher) adds a rich, almost bitter taste to your baked treats.

Step out of the box and add more flavor to your next sweet treats. Please let me know what you're baking and cooking!

Happy baking,

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

KNOW WHERE TO SPEND YOUR DOUGH: My interview series continues with Khalid Kaskou!

KNOW WHERE TO SPEND YOUR DOUGH!Do you want a fun, exciting, and thriving community? Want your town to be a place you are proud of? Do you desire a great place to show off to friends and family? HELP out your community by spending your money at local businesses. Local businesses help make your community REAL, warm, and rich.
I will be interviewing local business owners to help out the community and keep you updated on what is up and coming.

I recently met Khalid Kaskou on twitter! (Yes, twitter!) Khalid is planning on opening “Le Rendez-Vous” Bakery this fall in Redmond. I always love try new bakeries. Check out my interview below:

1) Tell me about your bakery. What items does it sell?
“Le Rendez-Vous” will be serving French pastries, breads, croissants and sandwiches. The aim is to offer a friendly and European style place in Redmond. Our commitment is to provide a unique meeting place for your friendly or professional needs. You will find in our menu, daily fresh organic breads and pastries, also, fruits tarts, sandwiches, Croque monsieur, quiches, soups with a delightful organic coffee and juices…everything you need for your healthy breakfast and lunch...and brunch!

2) What made you want to start a bakery, here in Redmond?

Actually, While I was learning more and more about the Eastside, I got more and more confident in the fact that Redmond deserves something different that another Starbucks or Tully’s. People in Redmond are coming from different areas all around the country…and the world. They are definitely open minded and willing to try and taste different type of food. I really want to give them an opportunity to have a piece of France close by them!

3) What advice would you give to someone who wants to open their own bakery.
My father was a baker, I learnt everything from him, especially how difficult a baker/manager’s life is. If you want to start your own bakery be aware of that! I am not the guy who woke up one morning telling to himself:”hey! Let’s do some cooking for living!!”
It’s always exiting to be your own boss and doing something you love to , but still, it’s a lot of pressure and responsibilities! If you feel ready for that, then just find the best location you can, good partners are also a great addition to your business. But the most important thing to me, is to make sure that you know precisely what kind of experience you want give to your customers. Then you will be able to figure out your menu, surroundings and any other details which are going to make your place special!

4) What is your favorite baked sweet treat?
That’s a tricky question !! I’ll say “chocolate ├ęclair”! I know, it’s not the healthiest one but we all have to deal with our weakness point, right?

5) When does it open???
Not fast enough to me J. Actually, the target is next October. Everyone will be able to follow us on Twitter: @RendezVousBake and Facebook: www.facebook.com/BakeryLeRendezVous in our journey to day one! Hope to see you soon @Bella Bottega (close by Yummy Pho) !

Thanks Khalid! Best of luck to you!
Happy Baking!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Local well-known author to host her book launch!

Seattle-based foodie author Keren Brown is hosting a party for her new book, "Food Lover's Guide to Seattle." The party will benefit Farestart, which helps disadvantage men, women, and families achieve life skills in the food industry.

Who is Keren Brown? She is a well-known Seattle writer (for the PI and mynorthwest.com), "Frantic foodie" blogger, founder of Seattle Blogger events, mother, and owner of "Keren Brown Media," which educates and connects people within the Pacific's northwest's food world! Overall, she is an inspiration in my career and a very successful person and woman.

The book launch will be held on Monday July 25th at Shilshole Bay Beach Club. (6413 Seaview Avenue Northwest) Copies of the book will be ready for purchase for $14.95. Inside the book will be great reviews of restaurants, recipes, top Seattle food events, and much, much more!

Tickets are $5 and buy them through: Brown Paper tickets (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/182227).

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
Happy Baking!