Years ago, I had a conversation with Damiano about his vision of bringing his family to the United States to build an Italian pastry business in California. Even then, as we spoke I knew that I would see his idea come to full fruition. Damiano is one of the hardest working and most driven persons that I’ve ever met. His passion for flair bartending, all things Italian, his family, and his business is exemplary. When I first met him, he was a bartender, but he’s put that passion on hold to build a family Italian pastry business called Carrara Pastries located in Moorpark, CA. With the help of his brother, Massimiliano Carrara, who is the Pastry Chef, the success of their business has lent to the expansion of a second location in Agoura, CA.
On 05.05.13, Carrara Pastries opened its doors to the Agoura community at their location on Roadside, just off the Kanan exit of the 101 freeway. Both new and old customers flocked to the beautiful and elegant modern storefront in Agoura to enjoy friendly company and beautiful Italian pastries and espresso. Large glass cases of freshly-made delicious pastries line the back of the store. Beautiful photographs and mirrored walls offer a modern, but warm atmosphere. Not only do they have mouthwatering desserts, everything is prepared fresh with the finest imported Italian ingredients and to accompany your sweets, you can choose from a variety of Italian refreshments and espresso drinks. As the community welcomed Carrara Pastries with open arms, I’m delighted that such hard work can and has developed into this beautiful reality for the Carrara family. As they cut the ribbon and served the deliciously large and gorgeous white cake with fresh fruit and white chocolate, everyone lined up for a slice.
While Brandon and I were there, we couldn’t help but pick up some delicious profiteroles with light pastry cream, a delicious cheesecake and a beautiful hazelnut chocolate cake. Carrara Pastries has something for everyone: large cakes for special occasions, small bites for an after-dinner sweet tooth and everything in between. Massimiliano and Damiano were born and raised in Lucca, Italy. There, Massimiliano studied with top pastry chefs in Italy and trained in the exquisite art of fine Italian pastries. As you take a look at the various pastries, you’ll see things you’ve never seen before and others that you’re very familiar with; this is all part of the charm of this lovely new bakery. The Carrara family is a model for the American dream and with lots of sacrifice, time and effort, they’ve manifested their dreams into reality. Please visit the Carraras at either of their lovely locations and explore the sweetness they’ve created.
476 West Los Angeles Ave, Unit A-13
Moorpark CA, 93021
28914 Roadside drive, Ste #107
Agoura Hills CA, 91301
Sin City has its alluring qualities and flashy devilish charms, but hidden amongst the countless yards of alcohol and not so flattering clothing choices, are the sweet and deliciously decadent, which my boyfriend and I found on our trip around the strip. Brandon is the first person I went to Vegas with after I turned 21. We were freshly friends on a mission to seek out some delicious inspiration and new restaurant ideas for growing chefs in a new place. Since then, almost five years ago, one of my favorite pastimes in Vegas is restaurant menu searching and eating.
Our adventure to Vegas was filled with fun trips to different casinos to see menus with seasonal inspiration. On our way around, we decided to stop at a really amazing sweet shop at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace called Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Every time we go here, there’s always some new and interesting combination of flavors that I need to try and also, some that I always go back to. We looked around for a while, and finally decided on a box of truffles, white chocolate lavender hot coco mix, and chocolate toffee. The truffles were fantastic, the toffee was eaten before I had any and I could pass on the lavender white chocolate because I’m not a fan of lavender, but it was still pretty delicious.
Later on in the evening, we met up with some of my friends (Thomas and Joanna) for a couple of drinks and another walk along the strip. We walked from Excalibur down to the Cosmopolitan, where we had drinks at Bond . The Cosmopolitan is one of my favorite hotels in Vegas. If you’re lucky enough to go there, I’d say it’s something to behold— interesting, chic, modern, and beautiful—and this bar was all those things and more. Bond has an interesting combination of stylish modern cocktails or a standard stiff drink. As we sipped wonderfully well-made drinks with good company, I couldn’t help but think how awesome my friends are. I had a Berry Long Island and Brandon had a Lemongrass Ginger Kamikaze; both drinks were strong, but still light and flavorful, with fresh juices and high quality liquors.
The trip was one of the best I’ve ever had and I’m sure we’ll have more great adventures in Las Vegas to come.
I guess I never really understood all the hoopla about Valentine’s Day. Maybe the romantic memo missed me somewhere along the lines. My childhood memories of Valentine’s Day involved receiving some kind of yummy red cupcake from my mom and a card with a box of candies, along with a big hug and kiss, from my dad; that’s all I’ve ever needed. As I grew up and became a chef, the prospect of Valentine’s Day grew dimmer and dimmer. You develop a hatred of heart-shaped anything and the dining aspect is one of the busiest and biggest days of the year, which, of course, leads to many terrible problems and mishaps, all of which usually include someone just not getting it. But overall, a feeling of later drunken accomplishment sets in after a couple glasses of champagne. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that this year.
This year, like every year, I celebrate the people who I care about the most. And most of all this year, I feel a sense of caring and understanding that I hope everyone can feel for their loved ones all year around. I see Valentine’s Day as a reminder of the love that everyone can possess and the honesty that we can all share with one another over an indulgent piece of chocolate, some pretty flowers, a nice meal or a loving whisper of thanks. I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
My day was filled with sweet smells and the savory satisfaction of cooking a big meal for some very special people.
Valentine’s Day Menu
Pan Seared Chilean Seabass with Roasted Garlic, Chardonnay and Thyme Beurre Blanc
Braised Sake, Mirin and Rosso Wine Short Ribs with Broccoli Stems, Green Peppers and Roasted Oyster Mushrooms
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Pepperoncinis
Roasted Candy Cane Beets with Shaved Easter Radishes, Arugula, Goat Cheese, Squaw Croutons and Creamy Avocado Black Truffle Vinaigrette
Dark Chocolate Strawberries
One of my favorite menus. So fun and delicious!
Love yourself Everyday! Happy Valentines…
I don’t really stand on the same side of the street when it comes to Valentines day but my best wish is to show people that you don’t just need one day to show people you love them. You need every day.
So on this valentines day use it as a reminder of how much love is in your life and be happy. Don’t let the small things get in the way of all the love your capable of and let that love translate to yourself as well. Love yourself and accept yourself with a strong heart! work on your flaws but don’t let them cripple you. Sometimes I need to see these words myself.
I had some plans that went a little under but i’m happy watching tv, drinking champagne, and making dinner for myself.
Oregano champagne Pollo “Saltimbocca”, smashed potatoes, roasted asparagus
be happy and free today
with infinite love and compassion
here are some valentines cupcakes I made for my sister
Mexican Chocolate cupcakes with cherry cream cheese frosting
Just pictures today
I’ll get back to blogging very soon
You know when you have Chinese food? And they serve you those almond cookies that are really flat kinda shinny on top and have a sliced almond on them? yeah those? Well i had a craving and i thought to myself why the hell not. Bake a little…
I was making these little devils for my cooking class but they turned out to be flat and chewy instead of the drier harder cookies that i was used to because i forgot my recipes at home like an idiot and couldn’t remember the flour ratio and baking you can’t make up in your head no matter how much you really want to…. its gonna taste alrite but looks well 13- 17 year old boys can over look anything and they asked if there were more
I think for the most part sometimes I should stick to my savory cooking. But fuck it why not if you don’t practice you’ll never get better.
Everyone has a bad day so i figured redeemed myself with these little monsters and they came out pretty bitchen. Their not exactly like those cookies that come in a wrapper but i think are a nice alternative to regular chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.
I’d say they are a bit puffier because i didn’t smash them as much… mine didn’t crack because i didn’t want to cook them too long cause i was scared they were gonna get super dry. These are dry but not dried out. So id say these are kinda like almond sandies/chinese almond cookie hybrid? who knows. I liked the way they tasted. I also would of like to add chopped almonds to the cookie too.
Check out the pictures and see what you think. I also added some other stuff to them too which was mini chocolate chips and coconut cause i wanted an almond joy and i figured i could get a little of that action with this cookie too.
My savory cooking thought process is a mess when it comes to baking. Definitely two different things…
Easy cheap cookie that’s fun for those little extras or something different
Salted Almond Cookies
1 cup butter two sticks, softened
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted whole almonds or as many as you need to top the cookies
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon water
1tablespoon of brown sugar
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy .
Beat in egg and extract.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in the other bowl
then slowly add to creamed butteryness. till its all mixed up and looks like this the texture is kinda milly but it comes together well it shouldn’t be too wet or crumble
I made 1/2 regular almond cookies and 1/2 almond joy cookies
For the almond joy cookies add about 1/2 cup of coconut flakes to batter and 1/4 cup of mini or regular chocolate chips mixed it together
and cooked em the same way. Crushed some of the almonds on top and put a bit of choc chips
Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with palm of hand . Press almond in center or if you’d like coarsely chop almonds and roll press into tops.
then with both the cookies
In a small bowl, beat egg white, brown sugar, and water .
Brush over cookies to make that little shine on those babies
Bake at 325 degrees F for 15-16 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned.
Out of oven
Cool and eat
I always like cookies hot
These are no exception to the rule. I mean really why bake cookies if you can’t eat them hot?
Mini glass of chocolate silk soy milk and these I’m a happy camper
anyway there’s my cookie for the week
thanks for taking a peek
I hope every one is sharing these awesome days of happiness with the people you love and the friendships you cherish. I’m so grateful for you all and I hope you have an amazing end of the year and beginning of a new one!
I’ve been a super busy girl lately. Holiday food galore
I just finished cleaning a storm in my kitchen and I’m still cooking its 1.21 in the morning. Ah so worth it.
We had a beautiful Christmas eve dinner held at my brothers condo with his in laws and my family beautiful. I didn’t take pictures but I made stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, roasted red pepper hummus, fruit salad, and scampi. We also had Prime rib, ham, and Vietnamese spring rolls. Delicious. I threw together most of the things i made in about an hour and a 1/2 cause i was in south gate with my mom sister Bachan to visit my moms mom my grandma Ruth and my great grandma tony who just celebrated her 96th birthday today, saw cousins and aunts and uncles i haven’t seen in a long time. It was awesome. And then we brought over the food to my brothers and all ate so much and sang a little karaoke on wii Such a wonderful day!
Tomorrow we’ll head to my mom and dads which may be one of the last Christmas mornings there because the family is sadly outgrowing my childhood home but I made it clear nothing was stopping us this year. So i have to be up early and get some stuff together for more family fun for the day.
I made Pozole and Tamales this year about 150 tamales actually and a gigantic amount of Pozole but its almost gone which is great. they both came out amazing and I do have recipes but those will probably be written in about a week but here’s a little preview.
Also I’ve been Baking more…
And tomorrow I’m doing sushi, croquettes, and wontons
Again Merry Christmas Guys <3
I have to say this Pozole is one of the best things I’ve made… and making it takes about 5-6 hours but the end result is something out of this world
Chocolate Peanut butter Marshmallow crunch
Double Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies
But I bake on Occasion…
I’d sell a bulldozer of sugar for salt any day of the week…
But of course with the season were in I can’t get myself away from it. I’m tired of dry boring cookies out of the package or even homemade so I wanted to make some that I’d actually enjoy eating not like i really need to be eating cookies but who gives a fuck. I’m gonna post the recipes cause I’ve been writing them myself. But i need to actually sit down and figure them all out so this is the visual entry and we’ll get to the recipe as soon as i can sit down without cookies burning.
I love the science in baking. Manipulating the fat content with sugar and leavening is fascinating to me. I’ve produced some pretty rad cookies.
I hope every ones enjoying the holidays. Its pretty rainy here in So Cal
White Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
Peanut butter Butterstochies half dipped in dark chocolate
Zesty Lemon finger prints with Apricot and Raspberry preserves
Soft Clove Sprinkled Molasses Gingerbread