Wednesday, February 07, 2007

La Cocina Launches at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

And I Discover ClaireSquares
(much to the pleasure of my belly and the regret of my waistline)

clairesquares from la cocina san francisco photograph animated gif copyright sam breach
Claire with her Squares: Little Blocks of Heaven

Do you know any of those food-obsessed kind of people who prefer to only buy unprocessed food and to make absolutely everything from scratch if possible. You know - the kind of people who, if they were throwing together an English trifle would, make the Boudoirs themselves, and make up some freshly made custard, using egg yolks and cream without going anywhere near Birds Instant Custard Powder. Yes, I am one of those people. And for the longest time I have been meaning to find out, some day, how to make some of those shortbread and caramel squares topped with chocolate, those Millionaire's Shortbreads that I sometimes miss from the UK.

clairesquares from la cocina san francisco photograph copyright sam breach
Rewind to last Saturday when I was preparing for a little dinner party. Early in the morning, co-chef Amanda and I popped to the market to pick up the remainder of the ingredients we were missing for our feast. And because we needed some energy, some breakfast, we decided to stop at La Cocina on their inaugural day at the market.
La Cocina is a Community Kitchen, a nonprofit, shared use, commercial kitchen and business incubator. La Cocina was founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching or expanding their food businesses. La Cocina assists low-income food entrepreneurs by providing access to a fully approved and equipped commercial kitchen and to the training and technical assistance they need.
And this is where I discovered Claire. And her Squares. Claire grew up in Ireland where, as a child, she started baking these treats and selling them at school. are the most delicious caramel shortbread chocolate squares I have ever tasted. I am not sure about Ireland, but back in Britain I am certain they used to make these with margarine and cheap baking chocolate. But not Claire, she only uses the best preservative-free ingredients - Belgian chocolate, unbleached flour, butter! These squares are quality, they should rightly be called Gazillionaire's Shortbreads. You even have a choice of a milk or plain chocolate topping. That's what I call class, that's what I call luxury. That is also what I call a good enough excuse to let someone else do your baking for you from time to time...

Local Resources
Community Kitchen | La Cocina
Delicious | Clairesquares
Flakiest Pastries, Mmmm | Mystiepies
Cute Jams | CMBsweets

Other Resources & Further Reading
2006 | Mabel's Just For You Cafe - 22nd Street - San Francisco
2005 | Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day

© 2007 Sam Breach at "Becks & Posh", This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact[AT]gmail[DOT]com to report any suspected violations. Thank you.


La Cocina Launches at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market


  • At 7/2/07 09:26, Blogger Gemma said…

    I love love love millionaire's shortbread but have never made it, there is a recipe in How to Be a Domesic Goddess that I may just have to try out this weekend!

  • At 7/2/07 10:16, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Sam another thing for you to have in the pantry when I visit they look soooo yummy

  • At 7/2/07 14:12, Blogger Barbara said…

    These are really popular in NZ. Again another of those things I've never made but should.

  • At 7/2/07 14:51, Blogger Beccy said…

    The children love these, I keep meaning to make them but never have. Claire's sound extra delicious.

  • At 7/2/07 20:24, Blogger Dr. Debs said…

    Don't know whether to scream with happiness or complete dietary panic. I ate WAY too many of these in student days at the Nosebag in Oxford. To know even better ones are in easy reach...too much for me to bear. Thank you. I think.

  • At 7/2/07 23:00, Blogger Oren said…

    Dear Becks and Posh,

    I am in the market for a mortar and pestle, and I found your 2005 entry refering to yours. Where did you get that one? I want one just like it, and I can't quite find one anywhere (theyre all just a little bit worse).

  • At 8/2/07 07:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are so cute when it comes to passion about food. No I am not trying to hit on you :) I just think your blog is great and as an editor for, I come across thousands of simple recipes but then when I read your recipes/blogs/stories it makes me open my eyes to people like you who are totally dedicated to presentation/food/ingredients and so on. The Millionaire's shortbread looks amazing and thank god for Claire!


  • At 8/2/07 07:58, Blogger Sam said…

    Oren - I got the pestle and mortar in the UK about 20 years ago. I am not quite sure where. If anywhere I think it would have been from a shop called Kitchens there are branches in both Bristol and Bath. They don't appear to have a website.

    gemma - let me know how you got on

    mum - if you visit - you will most definitely be coming with me to the market

    dr debs - dietary panic of course - then you can suffer with me!

    linda and sarah - thanks for visiting ladies. I am happy to receive your comments but please don't use MY blog to advertise your websites. I will let it lie this time, but please note that I have a policy that states the following: "People who try and use the comments on Becks & Posh to advertise for free will be deleted without explanation. Just don't do it, this is a non-commercial blog and it's not cool to try and hijack it for your own gain."

    There is no need to leave unrelated-to-the subject of my current post ot tenuously related/fcontrived links to your website in the body of the comments you leave, since you can link to your website in your blogger username anyway, which is far more preferable and totally acceptable.

    Thanks for your understanding on this issue. If you do it again, I will delete you.

  • At 8/2/07 08:38, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    another fabulous reason to live in the Bay Area. Here! Here! For the Irish and all those who love a fabulous baked good!

    These do look amazing, thanks for the head's up.

    La Cocina is a fabulous place to do volunteer work for those who want to make a difference in the food being produced by small entrepeneurs!

  • At 8/2/07 11:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…






  • At 8/2/07 16:14, Blogger Alice Q. Foodie said…

    Those look great, and I love that idea! I wish we had something similar in San Diego. I will have to order some of these and check them out!

  • At 8/2/07 19:13, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Those squares look TOO good!

  • At 8/2/07 23:19, Blogger a said…

    Yet another reason to head west to SF...the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market! I'm getting into the kind of baking you spoke of, using real actual whole ingredients like butter, cream, eggs and freshly ground flour. Yum! I'll have to give these Millionaire's Shortbreads a try.

  • At 9/2/07 08:33, Blogger TasteTV said…

    We're excited to see what happens with La Cocina, it's a great initiative. But I think that the name is going to lead to people asking what may sound like a silly question: "Isn't there already one mexican restaurant in the SF Ferry Buidling?" (from Kevin at

  • At 9/2/07 09:23, Blogger La Cuisine d'Helene said…

    Welcome in the club. I am one of those fanatics that don't buy birthday cake, cookies, brownies etc. But I have to admit that Claire's squares look really good.

  • At 9/2/07 18:29, Blogger Catherine said…

    Those look incredible. Come to Marin, Claire's Squares!

  • At 12/2/07 02:54, Blogger Gemma said…

    As I thought Claire's Squares inspired me and I made the millionaire's shortbread from How To Be A Domestic Goddess - pretty good for a first attempt although I would like the caramel to be more caramelly. Dark dark chocolate on top offsets the sweetness well. A good recipe and most of it has been given away as birthday presents. Thanks for the inspiration Sam!

  • At 13/2/07 11:14, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Sam,

    Sorry if I seemed to try and advertise for my work. Wasn't trying to do that at all. Just wanted you to know that I see thousands of recipes that sound good but then I get on your blog and my mind changes. Sorry about that.


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