the cake (and hello there!)

I know myself well enough that I’m not at all surprised to find that I’ve been away from this space for almost a year and a half and felt suddenly compelled to return all on account of…a cake. Or, should I say, the cake.

First though, happy 2015! It feels really right to be back here, with the keys of my ancient MacBook clicking away under my fingers (and the entire computer threatening to spontaneously freeze and need to be restarted at any second) while a comforting late winter rain with falls heavily and satisfyingly outside. Here we are, just over a full month into this new year…

Okay, back to this cake.


You guys. I first stumbled upon Molly Yeh’s gorgeous, eponymous blog WAY late in the game. As in, oh, 5 + years after she started it. Everything about it appeals to me, from her photography to her writing style to (most importantly) the unbelievable recipes she creates and posts. IMG_8780Which is how I suddenly found myself inspired to spend an entire Saturday running around to buy the right sized cake pans, new cookie cutters, marzipan and practical things like cocoa powder and flour that most people just have around (I didn’t) and get to work in the kitchen on a cake I literally had not been able to stop thinking about since the day it was posted. I think it would be very fair to say that I developed a fat crush on this cake immediately, which tells you a lot about me.


Fast forward to me in the kitchen, covered in all those ingredients I just mentioned, swearing a lot. By the end of the first day, all I’d managed to do was dirty every surface within a 10 foot radius of the kitchen and bake off the four layers. I celebrated completing the first half of operation cake by joining some friends at our favorite, dive-y karaoke spot for severely strong gin & tonics and some expertly choreographed Backstreet Boys throwback tunes. As one does.

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The next day, feeling rejuvenated and ready embark on the home stretch, I resumed the effort with my sights set on finishing and transporting said four layers of cake glory across the city to the Superbowl party I was attending. You see where this is headed right?

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I learned how not to roll out marzipan (which I now know you should definitely dust with almond flour beforehand), stacked four rich chocolate cakes with a hefty smear of cocoa cream frosting, circle of flattened marzipan and dollop of raspberry jam spread between each layer and then figured out a good box to put the fully assembled cake into. I called a Lyft and struck gold with my driver who dramatically rolled up to stoplights with the lightest touch of his foot to the brake and accelerated on green with the speed of a tortoise to try to keep my precious cargo safe.

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As you may have guessed, I peeked into the box with one eye squinted shut in preemptive dread upon arrival to discover that the entire top of the cake had managed to make an epic departure from the bottom half and now lay slumped against one wall of the box. The marzipan “12s” on either side had decapitated themselves and to be honest, the whole thing looked (as my brother so eloquently put it) like a “big pile of elephant poop.” I had to laugh. Very hard. It was by far the most lofty baking project I’ve ever taken on and I had so much fun making it but the sight of it in that box was absolutely hilarious. Glad to see that my sense of the absurd is still intact.

Oh, and: it was out-of-this-world good. Of course I used a spatula to recover it to the best of my ability and then we all dug in. I can’t say enough about this recipe (make it! Probably much more elegantly than I did!) and highly encourage you to check out Molly’s lovely blog for inspiration of your own.

This way to the original Marzipan Moose Mousse Cake from My Name is Yeh!

eggs kurosawa

There’s nothing like a Thanksgiving on Vashon. The second we drive off the ferry and look back at the lights of Seattle twinkling in the distance, the pace of life slows and truly doesn’t speed up again until we return to the mainland again. We wind our way up the hill from the dock, along the main road until the familiar moss-covered mailbox comes into view on the left side of the main highway. Up the potholed driveway and past the surprised deer feasting on apples in the orchard, frozen at the sight of the car. After being barked at by the dog until he realizes who we are and happily writhes around, whining his greeting, we unload the car. Then, finally, I find myself tucked onto the window seat or leaning leisurely against the counter of my parents’ warm kitchen with a glass of wine in hand and I prepare to be fed. Incredibly well.


We kicked the day off with a version of Eggs Kurosawa from the fantastic Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook. Rebar is a bright little restaurant in Victoria B.C. where we usually end up eating the vast majority of our meals every time we visit the city. They serve an entirely vegetarian and incredibly fresh menu.

A bed of warm brown rice topped with some farm-fresh scrambled eggs, toasted sesame seeds…

a few strips of nori seaweed…

and the best soy chili sauce you’ve ever tasted. Enjoy.

Eggs Kurosawa (from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterburg & Wanda Urbanowicz)

Serves 2

2 cups cooked short grain brown rice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ block firm tofu, cut into 1/2” cubes (our version left out tofu)

¼ cup soy-chile sauce  (recipe below)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (our version did not include scallions)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp oil or butter

¼ sheet nori seaweed, thinly sliced

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add tofu cubes and sauté until lightly browned. Add soy-chile sauce and simmer the tofu in the sauce for two minutes.  Add the scallions and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl. Heat oil or butter in a small skillet and scramble the eggs until light and fluffy.
  3. To serve, divide hot rice among two shallow bowls. Top each with scrambled eggs, tofu and sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nori slivers. Serve with chopsticks.

Soy Chile Sauce

Yields 2 ¼ cups

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp red chile flakes

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

¾ cup soy sauce

¾ cup vegetable stock or water

¼ cup honey

2 tsp cornstarch, whisked with ½ cup water

  • Rebar notes that you can replace honey with brown sugar for a vegan sauce.
  1. Gently heat the oils in a small pot until a piece of garlic sizzles. Add the garclic and chile flakes and sauté until the garlic starts to turn golden. Whisk in the soy sauce and stock or water and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  2. Stir in the honey and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch/water slurry. Simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and glossy. Cool and refrigerate for up to one week.

continuing education

This fall, I have been reminded of the importance of continuing education. Asking myself to take new steps toward honing things I’ve grown to love both professionally and personally is something I felt ready for at summer’s end. The results have been exhilarating, thrilling and demanding. I’m currently working toward my Certificate in Public Relations through the University of Washington. This was spurred on by my realized enthusiasm for the field and by the willingness of my employers to let me take on a role in a realm in which I have no formal training and believing I could do it. I am so looking forward to emerging from the program with a new wealth of knowledge.

To temper my weekly dose of press releases, backgrounders and public service announcements, I decided to take on something else that I am both fascinated and intimidated by. I spent five hours on an overcast Sunday at The Pantry at Delancey with Ashley and Gabe Rodriguez learning the makings of a beautiful food photograph. Something about Ashley’s gorgeous blog (Not Without Salt) and Gabe’s acclaimed wedding photography told me they’d be excellent teachers…and they were. I have a long way to go and a lot of practicing to do but I left feeling so very excited and inspired. Huge thanks to Ashley, Gabe & Brian Canlis for loaning me an amazing camera to shoot with.

let’s get cozy

The shift from long summer days to the short, crisp days of fall is complete. A steady, persistent rain hits the windows as I write this at my kitchen table and that cozy, warm feeling that autumn inspires has completely taken over.


I returned from three weeks away from Seattle on September 26th and have slowly but surely been settling into my new Queen Anne digs. After a lot of nesting, it is finally starting to feel like home. Old hardwood floors, a washing machine that shakes the whole house when it’s on spin cycle and a ton of character are just some of the things that have us head over heels for this place. One my favorite purchases during my travels was a gorgeous Icelandic wool blanket that now graces the end of my bed in the colder weather and reminds me of the beautiful countryside I visited.


I love wandering around the house in these while deliriously carrying out my morning routine before I’ve actually fully woken up. I bought mine years ago at Nordstrom, but Lands’ End and L.L. Bean both have a great, very reasonably priced selection.


I found this phenomenal recipe for Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal on Eat Boutique last week. I made it for an early morning breakfast date with a friend and we loved it. Talk about comfort food! If you try it, I recommend halving the brown sugar to 1/4 cup and toasting the pecans so they’re crunchier after the last half hour of baking. Enjoy!


I also highly recommend eating it in bed if you’re feeling decadent.



There is nothing like settling in for a multi-hour brunch/newspaper reading/coffee drinking marathon on a Sunday morning. We generally post up at Macrina and stay until we start getting dirty looks.


Cold weather also means that it’s time to bust out the festive, warm, boozy drinks. Like Hot Toddies. Here’s an delicious and very simple recipe for this wintertime treat.


This city is flush with incredible new restaurants and there is no better time to try them than right now when you need to focus on bulking up to keep yourself warm this winter. Please tell me I’m not the only one who justifies eating things like thick slices of light, buttery brioche toast and marmalade with this logic. That’s what I had this morning at The Whale Wins and it blew my mind with its delicious simplicity. I recommend Seattle Met’s great coverage of the Seattle restaurant scene to stay up on openings etc.

Wishing you coziness until next time…


jam with julia

There are some friends that enter your life and then, thankfully, never leave despite distance, time or the ebb and flow of your interests as individuals. Julia is one of those friends. We met our first year of college and have seen each other with increasing irregularity after those four years were completed and we walked off into the unknown with our diplomas. There have been chance and wonderful overlaps over the last four years: summer nights around the campfire on Orcas Island when we both happened to be there at the same time, dinner in Seattle between her return from and preparation to jet off on her next (incredible) international adventures. I couldn’t have been happier when, a few months ago, she has chose Seattle as a semi-permanent spot to nest for a while.

As soon as she was settled (and flush with rhubarb from her mother’s garden) she invited me over to her beautifully decorated home and kitchen to do some canning.

We used Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Vanilla-Rhubarb Jam from her blog Food in Jars and also spent plenty of time thumbing through Liana Krissoff’s Canning for a New Generation for future inspiration.

Of course their were cocktails. She had concocted the most wonderful minty, clementine-infused vodka which she combined with lime soda water, garnished with mint and handed to me to sip on while we boiled the jars, simmered the rhubarb and scraped vanilla pods.

And there were snacks: fresh chevre, fat olives, cracked wheat crackers and and an amazing garbanzo bean dip.

I left with three warm little jars of jam nestled between folds of newspaper inside a cardboard box to keep them from moving too much while they set as I drove home. It was the nicest evening and I am looking forward to so many more like it. Such a treat to have you home Miss Julia!

lately (the food & drink edition)

In honor of my incredible Dad (who responded “oh, that’s today?” when I called to wish him a happy father’s day), I bring you the best of something that we have a very shared love for. The one thing neither of us ever turns down at the end of dinner even when everyone else at the table has thrown in the towel. Dessert. Here are a few delicious things I’ve tried recently to start us off:

Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery’s molten chocolate cake in a mason jar…

and look at this beauty of a space in which you can have your cake and eat it too.

Gigantic s’mores from Josh Henderson’s Guest Chef Night at Farestart. I can’t believe I hadn’t yet been to one of these fantastic dinners until last month.

Apricot upside down cake at Restaurant Zoe.

Now, for something a little more practical: these overnight, no-cook refrigerator oatmeal recipes are so easy and the perfect breakfast. I’ve been eating them without fail almost every morning for the past few weeks.

When you get tired of your forays into the world of chilled oatmeal, go to Restaurant Bea in Madrona for brunch and try the Biscuits and Gravy. Tom & Kate are doing good work with their beautiful little space and fantastic food.

This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few great things to sip on as your summer gets started. This is the tasting lineup at Schooner Exact in SODO. Their beer can be found all over Seattle but it’s not a bad option to stop in and stay a while while you’re running errands in the south part of town.

For a quick refresher on a hot afternoon add a splash of soda water, bitters, cranberry juice & a squeeze of lime to ice. For the workday (pictured above on my desk) version that’s all you need. For the after hours version, just add gin.

Anything at Rob Roy. Especially during happy hour (4-7). Plus, if you need any further nudging, they were just named one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire.

Happy Summer!

a weekend on the water

We spent Memorial Day weekend this year looking out at this view of Lummi Bay:

It was so beautiful.

Our amazing friends Ben & Chris were our hosts for the weekend. This is Ben buying 5 huge crabs straight from the bay for dinner. (Thanks to Ben K. for letting me use this photo!)

Waiting in salt water.

Being devoured. For a perfect tutorial on how to clean and cook Dungeness crab use this fantastic video from Chef Becky Selengut.

We lit these on the beach after dark. I especially love the instructions on the box reminding you to hold the sparkler away from your body.

On Saturday morning we participated in Ski to Sea, a relay race beginning on the slopes of Mt. Baker and ending in Bellingham Bay. D and I paddled a canoe 18 miles down the Nooksack river against a fierce headwind. While I won’t deny the incredibly taxing nature of those three hours, I cannot wait to do it again next year.

That night, our whole team celebrated with numerous bottles of icy beer, juicy burgers grilled on the deck and a shockingly early bedtime. Perfect weekend.