The Artistry of Sweet!

Photo: Starting to think about those holiday gifts? Place your order with Kollar Chocolates today and we will get your items delivered just before Christmas for the freshest and tastiest chocolates!

One of my favorite choices for beautiful edible treats. I have long followed Kollar chocolates, not only are their creations artistically designed but they taste as wonderful as they look. From Bark to Truffles their chocolates are available in gift boxes and bags for shipping anywhere. Perfect hostess gifts and stocking stuffers!

Here’s the link to their store:

The Art of Cooking!

Those who love to cook….love their pots….not only for the functionality and conductivity of them but from a visual esthetic point of view as well. I suppose it’s similar to showing up in the ring with your boots polished every day. All aspects of one’s passion, in order to produce divine satisfaction, factor into the mix of the eventual product. So for cooking, the beauty of a line of Cobalt blue patina pans crafted by an artisan and blacksmith were right up my alley!

Seattle based Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett,  the husband and wife team behind this beautiful line of Ironware, found they shared a similar aesthetic in designing and creating objects that were both beautiful and useful.

In their own words, “There was something so satisfying and wonderful about cooking dinner in a lovely pan you’d just made by hand – not to mention delicious! ”

So after some tasty testing and research into the making of steel pans (which are 99% iron), they started Blu Skillet Ironware, hand forged blue steel pans and ironware objects for the home.


In addition to their beautiful design these blue steel pans are great for searing and caramelizing – and they make fantastic over-easy eggs! Iron pans that are forged rather than cast, make the pans lighter and easier to handle, as well as less porous and quicker to season. Able to take high temperatures, they can go from stove top, to oven, to table – where the artistry of the pan compliments the evenings meal and conversation!

The blue color is a product of heat treatment, which forms a protective layer of blue iron oxide on polished steel. It is a natural rust deterrent, and combined with organic virgin coconut oil, provides an excellent pre-seasoned surface rendering the pans nonstick and ready to use. They are iron pans and therefore reactive, so they won’t stay blue – they’ll darken and patina as you cook and season them which to me just adds to their aged timeless beauty.



Local Farmers’ Market – Winter Hours

Winter Hours have begun at our local Farmers’ Markets with Winter fruits a plenty! Smit Farms has several wonderful apple varieties for eating, baking and sauces. Citrus fruits have arrived from Sunrise Farms featuring Satsuma Mandarins, sweet Pomelos and Persimmons. The Fuyu which is wonderful in salads and the Chocolate Persimmon perfect for baking.

Portola Valley Farmers Market Hours – Thursdays 2- 5.

Woodside Farmers Market Hours- Sundays 10 – 2. 

Menlo Park Farmers Market – Sundays 9 -1.

Palo Alto Farmers Market – Saturday 8 – 12.


Here is a great, quick, go to recipe for my Apple Galette. The Galette pictured here does not have the topping on it. I recommend finishing it with either the crumb or crisp topping. Not only does it taste so much more wonderful but it looks festive and ideal for a Holiday Party!

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

3 apples (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved, cored, halves cut into 6 1/2-inch wedges

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon flour

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped pecans

One 8-ounce frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

All-purpose flour, for sprinkling

1 large egg, beaten



For the galette: Position a rack in the center and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sprinkle with the salt. Saute, tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk the sugar, spices and flour in a small bowl until no lumps remain. Sprinkle the spiced sugar, cranberries, pecans and lemon juice over the apples in skillet, and toss to blend. Cool to lukewarm.


Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the parchment and sprinkle both sides lightly with flour. Roll out the pastry to 12-inch square, lifting, turning and sprinkling with more flour to keep from sticking. Cut off the corners (with a rounded cut), making a 12-inch-diameter pastry round.


Brush the pastry all over with some beaten egg. Starting 2 inches in from the edge (to leave wide border), arrange the apple wedge mixture close together in a circle on the pastry. Sprinkle half of the topping on the apple mixture then fold the pastry border partially over the filling, pleating the pastry in loose folds. Brush the folded-up pastry border with some beaten egg. Sprinkle with the remaining topping.

Slide the galette with the parchment onto a heavy baking sheet. Scrape the juices from the skillet over the apples. Bake galette until pastry edge is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.


Sometimes I like a crisp topping and sometimes a crumbly one. I’ve included both so you can choose!


Crumb topping:

2 ½ c flour

1 c brown sugar (I like to use Muscovado but any good brown sugar will do)

2 sticks of butter (melted)

1 ½ t cinnamon


Crisp topping:

1 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced



Blood Orange painting by Georgia Reid, Woodside.


Hardware as Art!

SA Baxter designs and manufactures beautifully crafted architectural hardware for residential and commercial projects. Cast in brass, bronze and white bronze base metals they offer a variety of finish palettes. SA Baxter collaborates with some of the industry’s most renowned artisans, designers and architects in their desire to produce hardware suites in a range of styles from traditional to contemporary and from old world to modern. Handmade in their New York foundry, they utilize an ancient process of wax casting to order to produce some of the most handsomely designed hardware available today. This process allows for almost limitless design capabilities which allows them to create custom pieces as well. Did I mention they are our green company of the week? In an effort to” minimize their carbon footprint, no lead is used, no waste water is produced, almost no emissions are released into the atmosphere and many of the materials used are recycled.”


Q32014 Real Estate Report


Home prices reached yearly peaks at some point in the third quarter in five of Pacific Union’s Bay Area regions. As has been the case all this year, buyers continued to pay more than original prices for homes in the East Bay, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.

Although almost all of our real estate markets still favor sellers, many saw modest increases in inventory from August to September, a hopeful sign for buyers who have been shut out of the action and are giving it another try this fall.

Pacific Union’s third-quarter 2014 report is packed with data and regional summaries that offer a complete look at real estate activity in the Bay Area and the Tahoe/Truckee region.

Our Q3 Report also includes a comprehensive chart tracking 10 years of home sales throughout the Bay Area and Tahoe/Truckee — 76 cities, towns, and neighborhoods in nine regions. A smaller version of that chart, showing regional totals, appears below. Click the link to view the chart which includes a 10 year comparison in volume and dollars.


Real estate activity zigzagged during the third quarter in Pacific Union’s Silicon Valley region, slowing to a crawl in July and August, then going gangbusters in early September before decelerating again. High-end markets such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Hillsborough, however, remained busy throughout the quarter.SilValQ314

The region has some of the most expensive homes in the nation, and in Menlo Park, no homes on the market were priced at less than $1 million. Across Silicon Valley, any property priced under $4 million sold briskly.

Home prices continued rising throughout the quarter, although not at the pace seen a year earlier. Multiple offers remained standard, though bidders weren’t as frantic as they were last year. Similarly, off-market sales, while still common, were not as rampant as in 2013. While a balanced market for both buyers and sellers remains a long way off in Silicon Valley, the region is slowly moving in that direction.

Looking Forward: Moderate activity is expected during the fourth quarter before sales slow during the year-end holiday season. Early indications suggest an increased supply of homes will hit the market during October, helping to drive sales in the months ahead.