August 20, 2010

Dulce de Leche Cheescake Bars

We are taking the kiddos on a quick little Road Trip to the high desert this weekend.


I’m packing our shorts, tee shirts, sweatshirts and books, figuring out what roadside attractions we should stop at to take classic dorky family snapshots at, and tonight I’m baking Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars to nibble on in the car on the way over.

The sweet/salty goodness is wonderful, and they wrap up easily in a little parchment paper.   They are super easy to make and addictive.  Double the recipe if you like, and keep a batch in the freezer to pack in lunches when school starts up again.

The kids will love them.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars:


Crust:

• Nonstick vegetable oil spray

• 2 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers (about 17 whole graham crackers)

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

• 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

• 1 cup sugar

• 3 large eggs

• 1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche* (found in the Latin food section at most grocery stores)

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze:

• 2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche

• 3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream

• Fleur de sel

For crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; and stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

For filling:

Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, for about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

For glaze:

Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in a bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly.
Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.

Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.


Have a fabulous weekend Kittens.


{recipe and Dulce de Leche Bar photo from Epicurious.com}

August 19, 2010

Summertime Bubbly


Hana Awaka sparkling Sake is an irreverent but glamorous nod to Pink Champagne... not quite as lovely as The Good Stuff, but not as low brow as Mountain Dew spiked with generic vodka either.

And it's the absolutely perfect refreshment on a warm weekday summer evening.

My friend Kelly and I discovered this sincerely sweet sparkling pink Sake on a road trip last year in Seattle.  We played the appropriate road trip soundtrack, (Annie Lenox, Ingrid Michaelson, Feist and Cat Power) and we stopped in at the Asian Market, Uwajimaya in downtown Seattle to shop for fruits and foods we'd never seen before and didn't recognize.  What we accidently discovered was this little treat:

Hana Awaka is lightly and bubbly, a sweet pink Sake that's in a very pretty bottle.  Cava and Prosecco are perfect light sparkling wines that I love to splurge on every now and again, and I usually keep a small supply on hand in the fridge to celebrate lifes everyday surprises. Now this Japanese version is added to my list of favorites.  The flyer at the market declared that it would "bring your taste buds alive with bursting bubbles," and it actually did. The flavor was light and sweeter than most sakes, which I enjoyed immensely. 

In Portland, we have precious few hot summer nights to enjoy sparkling wines, but you can find this particular beverage on the shelves of the downtown Burnside Fred Meyer store and at the Beaverton Uwajimaya.

It's super girly.
Best served with a bedable pink straw.
Pink of course.

August 17, 2010

Joe + Sue = A Wedding


I've been busy working on photos during the past couple of weeks... I always want to perfectly capture the momentous day, and show not only what happened, how it looked, and what the couple is like, but how it felt.

When I take wedding photos, for strangers, or, in the case of Joe and Sue last weekend, close friends, it is a pleasure for me in every aspect.  I adore making emotionally powerful images that reflect who the bride, the groom, their family and friends are. 


 I blend into the wedding like a stealth photographer-ninja and I capture the one of a kind day as it unfolds with my camera. 


I am moved by every wedding I have the honor of recording.  I think I get emotional every time, because my own marriage and wedding, to my subtly amazing husband, is so meaningful to me.  I cannot help but feel overwhelmed and honored to be given the responsibility to record that special of a day for years to come.



Love is a magical thing.



Happy Wedding, Happy Life Joe and Sue

August 5, 2010

August Snow


Jake Davis Test Shots: Tanya Romero from Jake Davis on Vimeo.

I've been preoccupied with editing and post processing lately. Joe and Sue's wedding was a smash hit last weekend and I have the photographs to prove it.  (watch out for the dance-off stills, they will rock your world)  I'll have some eye candy ready to post early next week, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite little films, done by a terrific up-and-coming film/video artist, Jake Davis

It's really stunning, and makes me think that someday, I need to visit New York in winter.

Ciao for now Lovelies~

August 2, 2010

Otter Pops for Grownups


During the hot days of summer, sometimes nothing tastes better than an icy cold frozen neon colored Popsicle confection.  

Whether you go for the classic suburban standby Otter Pops, or the naturally flavored, healthier versions found at Whole Foods and New Seasons, try this handy little tip to make a special treat for Moms and Dads:

Freeze the pops in their plastic sleeves for about 1 hour.  Stand a few up, in a tall glass, then carefully clip open the top and squeeze out about an inch or two of frozen pop.  Let it melt slightly, until it is about the consistency of a Slurpee.  Using a funnel, top off with a bit of white rum or tequila and re-freeze.

PS~ Be sure to label the adult version of pops in the freezer!