Archives for category: Dessert


Valentine's Day Dinner at Hecho

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Hecho

Join me and HECHO Restaurant in the Castro for a special Valentine’s Day Dinner. I will be taking over the kitchen with House of MORE! chef Cory Armenta. We have created a prix fixe menu that revolves around some of my favorite family recipes – including my grandmothers delicious bread pudding. Dinner includes your choice of one of the three entrees – plus appetizer, salad and dessert. The restaurant has booths that accommodate 4-6 people (double & triple dates) and a communal table for singles (please email the restaurant directly to reserve a single seat).

Saturday, February 14, 2015
HECHO Restaurant, 2200 Market Street at Sanchez, SF 94114
Seatings: 5:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM
Cost: $55



Choice of one entree

Juanita’s Chipotle & Tomatillo Salsa with Chips

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette & Queso Fresco

Braised Chicken with Anaheim Chiles

Mulato Chile Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chile Rellenos

Petra’s Capirotada with Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

Be my Valentine.

Be my Valentine.

I haven’t made this tart in years and was so happy that someone asked me for the recipe over the holidays. It was such a treat!

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For the shell:

1 ¼ cups flour
¾ stick, cold butter
2 tablespoon shortening
2-tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine flour, butter and shortening in a medium sized bowl. With a pastry blender, blend the ingredients until they are the size of small peas. Slowly pour in just enough ice water so that the dough comes together. Form into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the cold dough to fit the tart pan.
Bake the tart shell with lined with parchment paper and weights (I like to use beans) until the edges are golden brown, approximately 15 minutes.

For the filling:

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg white
1-teaspoon Cognac
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups pecans
1 ½ cups cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in the egg white, Cognac, vanilla, and salt. Beat until light and creamy. Coarsely chop together the walnuts and cranberries and stir them into the mixture in the bowl. Press the filling into the tart shell and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely and serve with lightly whipped cream.

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Dinners at my place can be decadently planned or slightly off the cuff. This weekend Mr. David and I were planning dinner when my daughter surprised us by inviting herself. I hadn’t planned on dessert – but looked around my kitchen and realized I had most of the ingredients to make this lovely fruit stuffing from Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook. It is the perfect example of the restaurants style of showcasing the best of something – in this case nectarines. She writes that this versatile stuffing can also be used for peaches, apricots, pluots, apples, and pears.


Pistachio-Stuffed Nectarines

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 tablespoons sugar

1 egg yolk

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon orange liqueur

3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts

1/2 cup sponge cake crumbs

6 medium nectarines

1/4 dessert wine (Muscat or Sauternes)

Preheat the oven to 375*F.

To make the filling, cream the butter with 2 tablespoons sugar. Add the egg yolk and the salt and beat until fluffy. Beat in the orange liqueur, the chopped nuts, and the sponge cake crumbs.

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Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Arrange the nectarines in the dish, cut side up. Fill the cavity of each nectarine with stuffing. Drizzle the wine over and around the nectarines. Sprinkle the nectarines with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the fruit is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or creme anglaise.

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I got to cater my brothers wedding on June 17, 2008. It was a beautiful summer day in San Francisco. And, it is again today with the Supreme Court leaving for dead California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8. It is still a time for celebration! I love you Frank & Joe!

Summer Berry Wedding Cake

Frank & Joe's Wedding Cake

Frank & Joe’s Wedding Cake

Santa Rosa Plum Crisp

Santa Rosa Plum Crisp

At this time of year with stone fruit season rapidly approaching I love to make a big batch of crisp topping and keep it in the freezer. You never know when you will come across some perfectly ripe fruit (no pun intended). So it’s nice to have this on hand. It makes enough for 4 regular sized crisps but is extra handy to when making a couple individual ones. Most stone fruit crisps only require a bit of sugar, flour and maybe a little lemon zest.

Crisp Topping

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granola
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pound cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup slivered almonds

Toss the flour, granola, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and almonds together in a large bowl. Add the cubed cold butter and gently work it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it comes together. You can use some immediately or store it in an airtight container in the freezer. It does not need to thaw when you are reusing it.

Thanks to Martha Stewart for this ‘Good Thing’ tip! I think it’s genius if  you don’t already own a pitter. Now is the time to make the Apricot / Cherry Crisp found here on the JuanitaEatsOut blog.


cherry pitter



I just recently came across the artwork of Sharon Core who was inspired by the classic food paintings of  Wayne Thiebaud. She recreated his famous painting “Cakes” from 1963 with real cakes in 2004.

Cakes, 1963 Waybe Thiebaud

Cakes, 1963 Waybe Thiebaud

Cakes, 2004 Sharon Core

Cakes, 2004 Sharon Core

I love stone fruits – especially peaches, nectarines and plums. When I was a little kid we had a peach tree in the backyard and my mother said I would stand under the tree waiting for a peach to drop into my hands. Even now as an adult I am never prepared for the sweet juices that run down my face.

The Italian plum is sometimes called prune or Stanley. They ripen at the end of summer.

This recipe for Italian Plum Cake is from David Tanis’ cookbook “A platter of figs, and other recipes”. It’s pretty simple to make with very few ingredients.

Italian Plum Cake

1 cup unblanched almonds

1/2 cup sugar, plus about 1/4 cup for topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted

2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and sliced thickly

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Butter a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan. Put the almonds and 1/2 cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir in the melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the almond mixture and whisk for a minute or two until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top in a circular pattern. Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. until the top is golden and a paring knife inserted into the center comes clean.

This cake is best served within a few hours of baking.

Max Newman Eats Out

Max Newman

I love Max and I love his family. He is one of a handful of people I know in this transient city that was born and raised here. Though he has spent some time in LA and on the East Coast – I’m glad he’s back here and has settled into an awesome adventure in pastries. He is one of three bakers at Black Jet Baking Co. They have gotten a lot of press for their PoPs – a modern take on the classic toaster favorite Pop tarts.

PoPs - Image by Paige Green

But it’s their pies that have truly gained them the most respect. During the holiday season they take special orders and ship all over the USA. Pretty awesome. They’ve recently set up shop at the Ferry Building and their concoctions can also be found at numerous cafes, roasters and stores throughout the city.

Image by Paige Green

Max Newman answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

My mom’s olallieberry pie. We’ve gone to pick our own berries every summer in Half Moon Bay since I was a kid. But at a restaurant I like any of the stuff Zoe over at Outerlands comes up with. She’s a real whiz, makes the best fudge in the world!

What restaurant would you call your home?

I don’t get to eat out much, but recently I’ve been excited about a Vietnamese place in Oakland’s Chinatown called Cam Huong Deli. Its probably the restaurant I’ve returned to most often over the last six months. It’s a busy little lunch counter with some of the best people watching in the bay. I like to order the Bun Bo Hue, or the Ban Xeo and watch all the ladies that work there hustle in and out of the kitchen…..

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

That’s a tough one… I can’t think of anything too strange that I’ve eaten. At Mission Street Food I once had a dessert that really inspired me. It was a salty oatmeal sandwich cookie with a gooey cream filling served with a glass of chamomile milk. It was so simple, suggestive, and balanced. A perfect end to an intense meal.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

Grape Nuts of course. Still is….

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?

Popcorn. Or Grape Nuts. Or peanut butter by the spoonful. San Francisco needs more places for late night drunk snacks…

Max Newman

Here’s an awesome video about Black Jet Bakery Co.