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The first of two photo essays for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2016.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

As usual, AJ and I were stuffed before we even got halfway through the room. We were at the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintner’s Gala event and we were trying our best to pace ourselves. But when you have the best of the best restaurants of the San Francisco Bay Area trying to impress, it’s hard not to indulge. We nibbled, we noshed and we tried to hold back so we could sample everything. It’s a tough job but someone had to do it. Even more important than all the food that I was able to eat was the money that Meals on Wheels raised. Over $3.3 million! So amazing! If you followed me on Snapchat or Instagram you probably saw some of the amazing dishes we encountered. If not, here’s a recap of the appetizer portion of the event. I’ll be putting up the rest of the event (which includes, behind the scenes, the three course meal we had, and desserts) in a later post!

Special thanks to Meals on Wheels San Francisco for providing tickets to the the Star Chefs and Vintner’s Gala. I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions above are my own.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love.

Meals on Wheels San Francisco Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016. Photo by A.J. Bates for Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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This super easy crispy chocolate chip cookies recipe is the perfect cookie for those who love their treats snappy and crisp!

The Secret to Super Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Butter and sugar was flying left and right and groups of people were crouching down on the floor working as hard as they can with the hand mixers that had just arrived the day before. The three tables that we had set up carefully with ingredients and giant metal mixing bowls were in shambles but everyone was laughing and shouting and having a great time. All I could do was marvel at the chaos that was happening in the middle of workshop I was leading at the Pinterest employee conference called KnitCon. I reached for a Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie sample that I had made to nibble on and walked over to one of the Pinterest employees who seemed to be struggling with the rock hard cold butter that I had forgotten to pull out early enough to warm to room temperature. I showed her how to soften butter by taking a chunk of it out of the bowl and smashing it between two pieces of butter wrapper paper with the palm of her hands. She immediately brightened up and went to work. This was exactly the sort of madness that I love to be involved in. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Pinterest-Knitcon-4

Teaching a workshop on making the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

A month or two ago my friend Enid over at Pinterest had invited me to lead a workshop on how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Well actually, she had asked me to lead a workshop of my choice and that’s the one I pitched to her, which she was super enthusiastic about. Because who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? And when she told me in preparing for the workshop that I should have enough supplies for 15 people, I was dubious but took her word for it. I baked up 5 batches of different cookies for folks to see and taste, including a typical “homemade” cookie made  from the back of the chocolate chip bag recipe. I also brought enough baking supplies for 15 students to make cookie dough in the hands on class so they could take it home after the conference. 15 minutes before my session was scheduled to start, 45 peopled crammed into the room before they finally closed the door. I told folks they were going to have to do the hands-on part of the making of the dough in groups. They were all game. Let the chaos begin!

Bakery Style Cookies vs Homemade Style Cookies. [click to continue…]

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This not-too-sweet rhubarb coffee cake has blackberries and a big crumb topping for a perfect spring breakfast treat!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Blackberries and Crumb Topping. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

“Do you ever get burned out of baking?” asked a friend of mine at brunch. We were huddling together in the patio deck, trying to keep dry as it was raining outside. The overhead awning was huge but condensation kept on dripping down the side of one of the fences onto his back as he shifted slightly uncomfortable. I kind of chuckled and said “That would be a YES.” but then qualified it with a “I’m kind of tired of it now, but I know I will always circle back round to it. It never lasts long.” Which is a good thing because I was heading back home to bake up this rhubarb coffee cake with blackberries and a big crumb topping. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Blackberries and Crumb Topping. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Spring has sprung here in San Francisco and though this year hasn’t been the insane El Niño that everyone predicted, we have been getting a bit of rain for the past week or so. I guess Spring showers are a thing, though I’ve grown so used to California drought that I used to warm and sunny weather year round. For me, seasons are marked by what sort of produce is available at the store and farmer’s market. Not the weather.

Rhubarb Cake with Blackberries and Crumb Topping. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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This special April 1st post features a recipe for Butterscotch Raspberry Pie and a not safe for work story about a giant cartoon penis. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Butterscotch Raspberry Pie aka the Bye Bye Raspberry Pie. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

I peered through the black mesh screen in my costume and felt slightly warm and vaguely claustrophobic. The giant felt and plaster form that enclosed my body wasn’t uncomfortable, just awkward. I had plenty of space to wiggle around inside but the costume designers had forgotten to put in shoulder straps. For me to walk or move, I had to lift the entire form up using the arm holes with my shoulder.

The director yelled “ACTION!” and I shook one of my giant fuzzy hand glove (not unlike a Mickey Mouse hand, but medium beige in color) at the giant penis costume standing right in front of me. It was a mirror of my own penis costume, except a darker shade of brown. I said out loud “You are one amazing penis!” knowing it would be muffled because of the costume, but that’s OK. They’d dub the lines in post-production anyway. The other penis replied back a soft, muffled “Thanks! Let’s do it again sometimes!” Then I turned around, hunching my shoulders up so my giant penis costume wouldn’t drag on the ground and ambled away from the other penis. The director yelled “Cut!” and I went back to the same spot I was at before. It was time to do another take. In the meanwhile, I just thought to myself “I have the best job ever.” [click to continue…]

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Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt

by Irvin on March 14, 2016 · 5 comments

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These Rye Brownies have caramel and sea salt sprinkled on top, giving them a salty crunchy bite. Easy to make and seriously addictive!

Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

“Here it is…” said my friend Felisa as she gave everyone else around her suspicious looks and slyly pulled out a foil wrapper hidden from who knows where. She handed it to my friend Rita and they both giggled. We were into our second night at Lake Tahoe for our annual weekend ski reunion with friends (8 couples and 13 kids) and it had all been a bit of organized chaos throughout the trip. I gave her a curious glance, wondering what sort of contraband substance she had in her hand. Did she sneak some sort of special treat in for just for her and Rita? Was it a “medicinal” edible (highly unlikely but they both did spend some time living in San Francisco so who knows)? Was this sort of an inside joke? No to all that! It was my Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt that she set aside from the previous day. Felisa and Rita were both scared that they would be all gone by the next day and so they made a pact to store a couple away. Just. In. Case. I guess they were that good! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt. So good they're worth hiding from other folks! Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Our annual Tahoe happens, well, annually. It’s been ongoing for years now. Several friends make the trek up all the way from Los Angeles, and the rest of the folks come from San Francisco or Davis in Northern California. Even as the years have passed and the couples have had kids, it just meant renting two homes instead of one to make room. We do big communal dinners that have people either bringing up food that they made at home (like bread or my homecured bacon and various brownies and blondies) as well as making massive quantities of food at the house. The madness of herding 13 kids and 18 adults to do anything together is pretty maddening but that’s sort of the fun right?

The Tahoe Gang

The Tahoe House [click to continue…]

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Panisse aka Chickpea Fries

February 29, 2016

Panisse are chickpea fries made from chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. They’re incredibly easy to make and a super tasty alternative to regular fries! “Wait, the hashtag is #LovePulses? That sounds kind of…dirty.” Said my friend Annie as she took a bite of my panisse fries that I had just brought over to her house. Then […]

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Brookies (Brownies + Cookies) Caramel Bars

February 22, 2016

This upscale version of the brookies bar recipe sandwiches pistachio brownies and chocolate chip cookie bars with a layer of chewy caramel! There’s something slightly disingenuous about writing about food. You probably don’t notice it as a reader. But if you think about it, it’s tough to constantly be creating food for events and holidays […]

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Brookie Recipe with Salty Sweet Snack Treats

February 8, 2016

This made-from-scratch brookie recipe (a layered brownie and cookie bar) has potato chips, pretzels and two types of chocolate chips that my friends loved. “Well, if you can bring a bar or cookie or something, that would be great. You know, anything you might have around the house or in the freezer.” said my friend […]

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50 Chicken Wings Recipes (A Roundup!)

February 1, 2016

Looking for a chicken wings recipe? Here’s a roundup of 50 chicken wings recipes from around the web! I’m going to be dead honest. I have little to no interest in football. Which makes living in San Francisco right now a bit crazy. Because the 50th Super Bowl is happening here in San Francisco! Well, […]

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie <- The Best Recipe Ever! (plus a live baking demo at Macy's in San Francisco!)

January 25, 2016

This oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe is one of the absolute best ever because of a few special tips and tricks! Seriously. The best ever. AJ is always telling me that his favorite cookie is the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. But surprisingly I almost never make them. It’s funny because I went looking through my […]

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Teriyaki Chicken Wings

January 22, 2016

This addictive and easy to make teriyaki chicken wings recipe is perfect as an appetizer for a party, picnic or just at home for an easy snack! It’s been five days of chicken wings here at Eat the Love and today, the last day of chicken wings week, had me trying to figure out what […]

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BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe

January 21, 2016

This tangy, sweet and spicy BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe is super easy to make in the oven, even if the BBQ sauce itself is made from scratch! “Aren’t you sick of wings yet?” I asked AJ. He looked at me as if I were crazy and said “Of course not!” I was on day four […]

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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Wings

January 20, 2016

These sticky sweet, salty savory Vietnamese Caramel Chicken Wings are easier to make than you think! Every year AJ and I go to the big Meals on Wheels fundraiser gala where we get dressed up in black tie and sample food from some of the best restaurants in the city. But there was one time […]

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Peruvian Chicken Wings with Peruvian Green Sauce

January 19, 2016

These easy to make Peruvian Chicken Wings are served with a spicy and herbaceous creamy green sauce that is just fantastic and have you craving “just one more…” I’ve been slightly obsessed with Peruvian roasted chicken for years, ever since I tasted it at a local restaurant here in San Francisco called Limon Rotisserie. But […]

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General Tso’s Chicken Wings

January 18, 2016

These sticky sweet and spicy General Tso’s chicken wings are inspired by the classic Chinese-American General Tso’s Chicken. Seriously addictive! Years ago I read a book called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles which explores Chinese-American cuisine. I was fascinated by the stories about how Chinese-American cuisine that you get at a restaurant isn’t really Chinese food. […]

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Potato Rolls

January 11, 2016

These yeast-risen potato rolls are easy to make and don’t require any kneading at all! The addition of orange zest really brings them to the next level. “Please tell me this recipe is on your blog!” said my sister as she took a bite of my potato roll. I laughed in that sort of exhausted […]

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Sponsored Post: Champagne Cake with Gin Buttercream Frosting

December 28, 2015

This gorgeous celebratory cake is made with sparkling wine and gin in the buttercream frosting, making it perfect for a New Year’s Party! New Year’s eve has always been closely linked to bubbly and champagne so nothing scream a New Year’s celebratory dessert like a champagne cake! Though I don’t drink very often, I love […]

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