Sweet Scoop: Behind the Scenes of Demi Pêche Calendar 2012

February's Persian Love Cake with Rosewater Buttercream

The Droolworthy 2011 Calendar

My friends Joe and Madelene collaborated on a gorgeous dessert calendar for Demi Pêche last year filled with original recipes from Joe and beautiful styling and photography by Madelene. The first venture was such a success that they decided to do another calendar for 2012 with new recipes that Joe had been developing all year.

They invited me to the photo shoot and I was happy to take some behind the scenes pictures and help them figure out what to do with all those delectable desserts once the shoot was done.  It was the first time I had ever watched a food photo session come together from plating to scene styling. The process was detailed and meticulous yet the outcome seemed so effortless.  Every berry, every orange segment, every sprinkle of nut was carefully placed and tweaked for maximum effect and the results were drool worthy.

If you’re wondering whether the desserts tasted as good as they looked, I can definitely vouch for their deliciousness, particularly February.  Be sure to grab a copy of the 2012 calendar when it comes out to try these recipes out in your own kitchen! You can subscribe to Demi Pêche’s news feed here.  For more pictures from the shoot, visit my flickr page.

The Best Laid Plans of Raccoons and Ben Go Happily Awry

Ring from Paper Sparrow, Flowers from Poppy Red Flowers

My good friends Ben and The Dr. got engaged a couple of weekends ago. He had it all planned out. The proposal was to be a private event with just the two of them and afterwards, a celebratory party with friends at their favorite restaurant with food and drink aplenty.

They both have an shared “history” with raccoons so in honor of it, everything was raccoon themed.  We got a cool Brat & Suzie raccoon shirt from ModCloth as a gift for her and commissioned a raccoon cake from our friend Joe of Demi-Pêche. The restaurant also fit the bill. Homeroom Racing Cafe is a Thai joint that serves up a side of whimsical kitsch to go with their kickass stir frys and curries. Walk in the door and you get hit with vivid reminders of a child’s wishlist from Christmases past. My Little Pony and Nemo hang from the ceiling and GI Joe scales down the wall over by the door. Here and there, randomly placed ceramic raccoons peer out from along the doors and windows. Perfect.

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Feeling Crabby? Just Plate it!

I just renewed my Flickr account and was going through some photos to upload to a Paris set I’m working on and came across this cute little guy. It was part of a window display at a tableware shop I passed by somewhere near Rue de Sèvres. Crabby sits atop these gorgeous plates with coral(color and noun!) accents. I wish I could have brought them home but the owner was out having lunch…

Modern Vintage: Design and Function with your Morning Coffee

I stopped in at the Art Institute of Chicago last month to check out their new modern wing and fell for this little gem of a coffee service set which was part of the museum’s Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life exhibit running through Oct 9, 2011.

Would you have guessed this design is dated from the turn of the 20th century when ornate Victorian was still in vogue?  This coffee service was designed circa 1901/1902 by Austrian artist Jutta Sika who was part of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) artist community.  I love the minimalist blue and white color palette and the geometrical themes that run throughout the pieces!

Easy Summer Peach Crumble

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I’ve been starved for time lately with the new job and all. But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to starve my sweet tooth.

This easy dessert took just 25 minutes to prep and cook!

All I did was to slice up one ripe peach, add a teaspoon of small tapioca pearls, and throw on a crumb topping I had made last week and kept in the freezer for days like this.  This sweet little thing sat in a 350 degree oven (pre-heated) for 20 min and now will make its way to my happy belly!

P.S. The tapioca pearl addition is a trick my friend Beth taught me. It helps to stabilize the juices without the muddled taste of cornstarch.

Trial Thanksgiving 2010

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is over already and I barely had time to curl up on the sofa and savor the proverbial crumbs from Trial Thanksgiving the week before as it was truly epic. Within a matter of moments, everyone’s careful menu planning and diligent cooking was laid to waste by a hungry horde and all that was left was a decimated turkey carcass and a pile of dishes in the sink. My job has hogged most of my brain cells so all I can offer is a visual account so you can fill in the blanks.

Rye Pecan Pie made by the Doctor

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Panda Enforcer — What every Mom Needs

Everytime I visit home, my mom never fails to ply me with plates and plates of food that she slavishly prepared just for me and me alone (dad gets last night’s leftovers). And whenever I politely decline as my eyeballs start to drown in soy sauce, mom always gets this look of surprise and hurt that I would say no to her cooking.  It’s as if I’ve committed a grave offense against her honor.  Ditto for when I visit my aunts, who are cut from the same cloth as my mom.

Until now, moms and aunties have only been able to cajole their children to eat by presenting us with giant ricebowls filled with guilt-trips but now, it seems that they can hire an enforcer.

By way of Cupcake— Never Say No to Panda…or else!!!!

An East Coast Lunch

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The Slumlord brought back some corned beef tongue from Zabars after returning from a quick trip to NYC.  I was initially skeptical but the tender slices of meat quickly won me over.

For lunch today, I made a corned beef tongue sandwich on Jewish rye bread from the farmers market with some slices of Armenian cucumber that I had quickly pickled in vinegar, sugar, salt, and dill.  Dessert was a slice of cheesecake from Juniors.

I miss New York.