Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

After reading through the recipe and then making it, I realized this is what we know here is Sacramento as a fruit basket cake. The only real difference is that the frasier is supposed to be done so that the outside edge of the cake is decorative based on the placing of the fruit. Oh, and it's almost mandatory that it have strawberries.

I have a brown thumb. My horticulturist girlfriend once gave me an arranged plant bowl swearing they were hardy plants that I would barely have to take care of. Still killed it.

That didn't stop me from wanting a vegetable garden. I had this convenient dirt patch in my backyard that was perfect for little ol me. I built up a raised garden using torn up sidewalk concrete, poured in a yard of compost, and bought a soaker hose and timer. After all, if the soaker hose is on a timer, then I won't have to worry about forgetting to water.

This is my third year. Each year it gets a little better. I seem to do well with tomatoes and basil. Last year I had good cucumbers, but not so good on zucchini. This year I have great tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, basil and Thai basil, and a jalapeno plant.

As of last Friday I am no longer associated with SactoMoFo. It's a bit sad because I created the name and it is a pretty cool name, isn't it? 

The three of us had different ideas of what SactoMoFo should be or do after the April event. I am definitely on the trucks' side and have been pretty outspoken in my blog and how I express myself. In order for me to continue to do so and not have my personal feelings confused with SactoMoFo's, we decided that it is best that I break off on my own. I will continue be a food truck advocate because I will always love street food and the idea of the trucks.

I heard from many that you wanted a better way to track the trucks because you don't all use Twitter, etc. So I made a Sac Food Truck Tracker and will try to get the trucks' schedules for each upcoming week. 

I also created a @SacFoodTrucks Twitter account so that I can continue to share news from around the country to show how similar our struggle is. I keep close tabs on what other cities are doing about their own ordinances in the hopes that we can either use a similar one or be an example for other cities.

At this time I don't see a pressing need to create a Facebook page, but that could change.

I hope that the people who enjoyed what I shared and created on the SactoMoFo pages will continue to follow and support me on the other sites and here, as always. Please let your other food truck loving friends know about the new sites as well.

Whenever we post things to the SactoMoFo Facebook page we always get a lot of comments such as "Come to Roseville", "They never come to xxxx", "We want them too!".

I admit that I have an 'in' with the trucks. But when Miniburger first started out they did not come to CalPERS. I kept telling Davin, "You need to come to CalPERS, it's a restaurant desert over there. I know you will have enough business."

There is a current seasonal flavor at Coldstone that you HAVE to try.  They have a strawberry basil ice cream that is fantastic! It is so good that I eat it just the way it is, without any mixins.

I thought about going home and trying to recreate it in my ice cream maker, which I still might do some day. But I also thought that I really don't need to be having all that extra fat and calories in my freezer to tempt me. I still wanted to play with the flavor combination, though, and decided to make some popsicles instead.

Who took the awards home?

I had a beautiful day visiting the Presidio in San Francisco this weekend. I had a ticket to Lamb Jam, a regional cook-off of lamb dishes by a selection of fine restaurants.

I actually got the time wrong and arrived over an hour early. I took the opportunity to do a quick walk around some of the historic buildings at the Parade Grounds of the Presidio. 

For those unfamiliar with San Francisco history, you might only know the Presidio from the movie, The Presidio, starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. Up until it was decommissioned in 1994, the Presidio was a military base that protected the San Francisco bay. Originally the bay was under Spanish protection as of 1776, then Mexican, and then by the United States starting in 1846. The Presidio covers almost 1500 acres of prime San Francisco real estate. Luckily it is preserved under the National Park Service and under the guidance and funding of the Presidio Trust. There are a lot of renovations going on. The old Bachelor Officers' quarters is being turned into an inn for tourists and events. The Officers' Club will be available for weddings and events. One of the old barracks was turned into the Walt Disney Family Museum, which tells the story of Walt Disney the man and how he created his empire.

This is me ziplining in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a fabulous course of 13 lines zig zagging across the jungled canyon above a river. After that experience, the thought of doing single lines did absolutely nothing to even stir an interest in me. Yes, there are single lines nearby, most notably at Heavenly (discontinued) and Moaning Caverns. Why would I want to pay $30-$50 for a single ride down a single zipline? BORING!

Then last winter I received a half off deal for Zip Tahoe at Kirkwood. Turns out that they have 8 lines currently built with more on the way. Another bonus, they are open year round. Personally, I have little interest in ziplining in ski pants and a parka in the cold. That's why I waited for the warm sun, up to the deadline of my coupon running out.

My experience with Kirkwood goes back to my marriage. Kirkwood is my ex's favorite ski resort and he would work as a ski tech in the rental shop in order to get a season pass. I had never skied before. We ended up working the weekends and I became a rental cashier. This got us our season passes and allowed me free rental equipment to learn how to ski.  If you look at your GPS it will tell you that it is about two hours to get from Sacramento to Kirkwood. Luckily I knew a shortcut from my skiing days to avoid some of the highway traffic.

The State agency where I work is one of the best ones to work at. It helps that we are self-funded and so not so effected by the general fund budget. We have a lot of special events, most revolving around charities. One yearly event is an environmental/green day. Last year I won the solar cooker in the raffle. But it was already September and all the really hot weather was already done, so I packed it up to wait for this summer.

Before I could cook anything I had to get the proper cookware first. You need black, granite style cookware. The black helps to absorb the heat. I bought a 3-piece roaster off of Amazon since it seemed the most versatile - casseroles, stews, cakes, etc. It also included a rack and the solar cooker directions said that placing the pot on a rack would mean that heat and light could reflect off the bottom of the cooker as well.

Passion fruit ice cream with lychees
I traveled the world as a child thanks to my father's overseas job and his love of exploring the world. During our travels, my dad would try all sorts of foods, including fruit. He and I both loved passion fruit. Several years ago he planted some passion fruit vines at his home in Salem, Oregon. Not exactly tropical weather that they usually grow in.

Passion fruit flower and some unripe fruit
The flowers of the vine are really beautiful with pretty purple and white tendril-like petals. My father also grew some inside his house, where he has atriums, in the hopes that he would get some fruit. But he never did.

A few years ago he went to visit his sister's family in Australia. He had emigrated to Canada from England and his sister's family chose Australia. Back in the late 50's/early 60's, both Canada and Australia were looking for people to immigrate from the motherland. Australia would actually pay for your move, thus my uncle's choice. Dad had chosen to go to Canada because he knew people there already to help him find a job. Canada wanted new blood, but didn't offer to pay for the moves.

Today, July 5th, was proclaimed Pie Party Day by some creative foodie in cyberworld. The idea was to bake a pie, take a picture, and then post it on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, somehow on the internet. Across the globe, over 1400 people signed up to participate.

Now in the hierarchy of desserts, pie is high on the list. Basically my list goes: cream desserts (creme brulee, panna cotta, cream puffs), pie, cheesecake, brownies, cupcakes, cake, cookies, frozen desserts. Yes, I place pie above cake. And when it comes to the pie hierarchy, I place cream pies first before fruit filled. I prefer berries and dislike apple. This dessert hierarchy is important to me and I used to get upset that my ex-husband didn't know that. I mean, I knew what flavors of ice cream to buy and what foods he liked, so why couldn't he ever get it right when he went to the store to get dessert? After 10 years together you'd think he'd know my preferences.

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled? Hard boiled? I like mine over easy. I also like a lot of salt. I'm a salt-aholic who dips French fries in salt, not ketchup. So when I eat a hard boiled egg, I use a lot of salt.

I've mentioned before that I'm half Filipina and yet know next to nothing of my culinary culture. Filipinos are known for their balut - the embryonic duck eggs they eat. Turns out they also preserve duck eggs in salt. A few Asian cultures do so, each with a different method. The method I'm using here is not really Filipino, but Chinese, I think. But it is an easier method than making a mud slurry to encase the eggs in like the Filipinos do.

I'm going to be making a recipe that uses these salted eggs as a garnish and so I figured I'd make the eggs first, since they take three weeks.  I used chicken eggs this time, but will use duck eggs next time. The duck eggs are supposed to have a richer yolk.