Saturday, January 18, 2014

I Have Moved!

I am now posting to my new blog, Alana Sterling. The new blog still has lots of fun recipes, but now I also talk about my travels. I leave for Argentina in 2 days, and will be filling Alana Sterling with lots of the local cuisine and culture, and, of course, photography. Come check it out!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Turkey Legs at the Renaissance Fair

The Renaissance fair is a magical place where people go to let their imagination shine. There is everything from belly dancing to jousting, and petty zoos to taverns. We have romanticized the Renaissance era (and added a little Tolken) to celebrate humanity. 

Yes, people are surprised, and sometimes a little weirded out, when I tell them I have a closet full of Renaissance costumes. But my many trips to the fair growing up, decked out in full costume, instilled one of a kind memories only a child could create. My memories are full of mythical creatures, magic, and friendship. A child's mind is limitless, and at the Renaissance fair, the imagination is let loose. My memories take me out of this world, and into one of beauty and friendship, much like the journey one receives from reading a good book. 

This was the first time I entered the fair with an adult point of view. It was sad to see the magic and mythical creatures fade away, and reality push its way in. I was nervous I would no longer enjoy the fair. Thankfully, this was not the case. 

This time around, my trip to the fair was full of a different kind of magic. The magic of alcohol! Nah, I am joking, I only had one beer. The center of my fair experience was still focused on friendship, but I also found some great food. The art of food trucks, has found its way to the Renaissance fair. Despite the increased variety and ethnicity of the food, I still craved the traditional Turkey leg. 

I thought I could finish a whole turkey leg, but I was underestimating the power of corsets. After a Guinness, a couple of bites of the turkey leg and Gillie's falafel, I was already full. However, I still had room for a chocolate covered frozen cheesecake on a stick, of course. When I finally took the corset off after the fair, I was immediately hungry again.  

I am a strong believer of people congregating over food. Happiness always follows. 

But sometimes, being under 21 at the Renaissance fair can be rather upsetting, as you eat your turkey leg, and watch everyone else drink their Guinness or mead. My poor little sister.

To redeem myself from showing the world her hilarious frowny face, I have, of course, provided a glamour shot. I don't think I have ever gone to the Renaissance fair without my sister, Tess. I have half a mind to be sentimental about our childhood once again, but I have just remembered that she still hasn't given me back the earrings she borrowed for the fair. Typical little sister move.

I am very lucky to have such caring and imaginative friends. Growing up doesn't seem all that bad, as long as my relationships grow as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Muir Beach and the Pelican Inn


THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

I was first introduced to this poem in elementary school. It eloquently describes my home, Sausalito. I have spent countless summers staring out a window, watching the fog swallow my hillside and blanket San Francisco. The poem also described my childhood. I was always moving, never letting my feet grow roots beneath me. My heart always seemed cloudy while I was away, but back in the fog I felt loved.

The Pelican Inn embodies the magic of the Bay Area. Sausalito is as close to Europe as the west coast will ever get. Enjoying the day in an 100 year old, tucked under the fog on the edge of the Pacific coast doesn't seem all that bad.

If you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, please stop by Muir beach, and eat lunch at the Pelican. I had bangers and mash (2 sausages, mashed potatoes, english peas, and spicy mustard), with Guinness on tap. Muir is a foggy beach full of happy dogs and makeshift bbq pits. I suggest hiking boots and a windbreaker, and if you are interested in surfing, a wet suit is unavoidable.

Pelican Classics

  • Bangers & Mash $12
  • Shepherd’s Pie $12
  • Fish & Chips $16
  • Ham Sandwich $11
  • Guinness Beef Stew $9
  • Ploughman’s Lunch $12

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple Cake with Ginger

It is 70 degrees and windy in Turlock today. It feels like just yesterday the weather was breaking 100. I don't know when fall decided to start in California's central valley, but apparently it has arrived. I have been waiting for this day since I started working for Gallo in July. 

Making wine has shown me what sweating really feels like. I kid you not, every part of your body has the ability to sweat. At first I hated it. As a freckled person, I had to reapply sunscreen every two hours before I would sweat it off. Wearing a respirator may make you feel badass preparing for the apocalypse or making meth for Breaking Bad, but the reality is a face full of sweat and pimples. Even Bob Gallo mentioned how pink I get from a combination of sweat and sunburn. I may look like I am going to pass out, but in reality I simply always look like this doing manual labor in 100+ weather.

Working, on average, ten hours a day outside in the heat makes time disappear. I have been so stressed everyday, trying to be the best I can be, and keep up with the wine professionals around me, that I wasn't aware of how much I was learning, or the life that I was living. My life has changed. I have been striving for something, but never stopped to realize that I all ready had it. I make wine. I make wine everyday. When I mess up at work or have a bad day, I take a deep breath, and remind myself that everything here is new to me. I am still learning, but more importantly I am making wine. Everything worth doing has a learning curve. I would much rather be making mistakes making wine than sitting in a lab or doing paper work. 

Apple Cake
Prep time: 20 min.
Total time: 50-60 minutes
  • 5 medium apples
  • 2/3 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • powdered sugar
Cut up apples into small wedges. Caramelize apples in butter, but save 1-2 apples for decorating the top of the cake. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add carmelized apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. After cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar
Adapted From

Feel what I am feeling and listen to:

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