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These soft and fluffy Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze are surprisingly easy to make with no kneading required! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

“So why did you use rosemary in the cinnamon rolls?” asked my friend Rita as I shared with her what I was working on, a blog post about my pistachio rosemary cinnamon rolls with brown sugar cream cheese glaze. It’s the sort of ridiculously over-the-top baked good that I have lately been drawn to making. I had made the recipe back in April but hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it. Rita was curious as to both why I hadn’t posted about it and also HOW I came up with recipe.

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Folks occasionally ask me how I come up with a recipe and to be honest, when they do I don’t really know how to answer it. I can tell folks that I found inspiration from other recipes, from cookbooks, from my surroundings, but somehow it never seems to satisfy them. They want me to tell them some sort of secret to making recipes up as if there was a magic wand that I wave in the kitchen that conjures up delicious baked goods. If I lived in a Harry Potter world, maybe that would be the case, but sadly I am muggle without those powers. I’m influenced by nearly everything around me, including things that aren’t even food related and it’s just a lot of hard work and experimentation in the kitchen that leads to the recipes.

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

The pistachio rosemary cinnamon rolls are a perfect example of how I took my surroundings as inspiration. Thanks to our generous friends Peter and Grant who own a second home up in Sonoma on the coast, we were able to spend a weekend away at their place for a last-minute trip in April. It’s a gorgeous house nestled in the woods, with floor to ceiling windows, surrounded by giant redwoods, and two wraparound decks. It’s the sort of home that make me never want to leave.

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Waking up to the bright sunlight, surrounded by trees, slightly disconnected from the world in our friend’s house, was exactly what I needed to help sort of out some of the anxiety I was having of late. And it was the green leaves in the majestic redwoods trees that towered right outside the window that made me think of rosemary as a perfect addition to the cinnamon rolls. It might have also inspired me to add pistachios as well, though AJ really adores pistachios, so he’s probably a huge influence as well.

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

In the end, as I took another large bite of my cinnamon rolls in the house in the woods, I realize that I am exceedingly lucky. I have friends who are amazing and let us stay in their beautiful home in wine country. I have friends who are take an interest in my life so much that they want to know the minutiae of how I work and how I make up recipe. And I have AJ in my life, someone who I couldn’t do what I do without his support and love. And though my life is far from perfect, from what folks often see online via social media, it’s not as far off as it might seem. I mean, it led me to make these cinnamon rolls right? It can’t be all bad.

Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.


These fluffy and soft Rosemary Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Glaze are surprisingly easy to make and require no kneading!
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The second of two photo essays for the San Francisco Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2017.

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Though we could completely fill up by eating our weight in appetizers from the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala, we know from past experience to save room for more. The evening is far from over with the seated three-course meal and then the deserts afterwards. During the dinner, AJ and I always sneak off to the back to do some behind-the-scenes photography and to marvel at all the chefs seamlessly moving about, in an orchestrated ballet of plating. While everyone else is bidding on the silent auction for incredible items (home prepared meals by some of the best chefs in the world to a collection of wine that is nearly impossible to purchase) AJ and I watching the chefs grill and plate the food, hoping each dish is the one we’re going to eat. And after all that comes the desserts. In the end, we find ourselves stuffed beyond belief and so happy to have supported an important cause like Meals on Wheels.

See part 1 of this photo essay.

Special thanks to Meals on Wheels for providing tickets to the Star Chefs and Vintners’ gala. I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 2). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

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The first of two photo essays for the San Francisco Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2017.

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1)

Every year the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala is a stellar affair. AJ and I have been supporting the event for as long as we can remember, and it’s the single event that we know we can’t miss. This year was no exception, as Meals on Wheels’ funding has potentially been threatened. Thankfully, the San Francisco community came out to support the vital work that they do. The San Francisco chapter of Meals on Wheels alone delivers over 1.7 million meals a year to homebound seniors. This year, the 30th anniversary of the Gala, raised an astonishing $3.2 million dollars, which is enough to prepare and deliver 640,000 meals! Of course, not only is the Meals on Wheels Gala important to raising much needed funds, but it’s a celebration of the amazing culinary skills of the San Francisco Bay Area. Chaired by Nancy Oakes and Jan Birnbaum, the event is broken down into three sections, the appetizer section, with wine tastings and cocktails, the three-course meal with wine pairings, and the dessert section. Here are some selections from the first section. Look for the second part of this photo essay next week.

Special thanks to Meals on Wheels for providing tickets to the Star Chefs and Vintners’ gala. I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love

Meals on Wheels: Star Chef and Vintners Gala 2017 (part 1). Photo by Irvin Lin and Alec Bates of Eat the Love [click to continue…]

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This twice-cooked eggplant and olive dish is super easy to make but looks and tastes incredibly sophisticated. The secret is California ripe olives! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Twice Cooked Eggplant and Olives. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

This post was sponsored by the California Olive Committee. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own and not endorsed by the California Olive Committee. To learn more about California ripe olives, follow along with the hashtag #CalRipeOlives

Is it possible to be both simultaneously lazy AND an overachiever? If so, I fit that mold exactly. Take for instance the collaborative cooking challenge I did with a few of my fellow food bloggers up in Napa at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for the California Olive Committee event. We were given 90 minutes and free range (< -pun intended) of their commercial kitchen along with what seemed like every single available produce in season to play with in the kitchen. And lots of olives. Lots and lots of California ripe olives. And while other teams decided to make one or two dishes and end a little earlier to photograph and hang out, we ended up making three dishes: a potato and olive au gratin, a salad with olive and orange vinaigrette and a twice-cooked eggplant and olive warm salad. Over-achiever much? But here’s the thing, the twice-cooked eggplant and olive dish that I decided to make on a whim (without even consulting my teammates on) was one of the easiest dishes to make prepare – which is why I picked it to make. See: lazy AND overachieving all in one. Potato and Olive Au Gratin

Salad with Olive Vinaigrette

Twice Cooked Eggplant with Olives.

I was up in Napa hanging out with a great group of food bloggers at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). The California Olive Committee had brought us up to learn about California ripe olives as well as play with them in the kitchen facilities of CIA. One thing I love about California ripe olives (other than the fact that the farms and packaging companies are family owned and they taste so great) is their versatility. Adding California ripe olives pretty much improves anything you are making.

California Ripe Olive event.

California Ripe Olive event.

California Ripe Olive event. [click to continue…]

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This bacon, mushroom and peas spaghetti is super quick and easy to make but packed full of creamy rich flavor! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Bacon, Mushroom, and Peas Pasta. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

This post was sponsored by Safeway. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own.

Working from home also means that I keep random strange hours. At 10pm, I’m writing a blog post, or editing a recipe. At 3pm I’m making a meal or baking so I can make sure to photograph it in existing daylight. And at midnight I’m running to the local Safeway grocery store to pick up ingredients that I need to test a recipe for the second or third time. Thankfully Safeway’s Signature line has more than 4,000 products like coffee, juice, soup, cereal, and fresh produce, all with a 100% money back guarantee. Their Signature products are exclusive to Safeway and carried by all 18 of the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including my local Safeway stores. Of course, their Signature products are quality products with an awesome value. Safeway is one of those grocery stores that stocks everything I want and need, especially for those emergency meals when I am trying to hit a deadline but don’t want take out!

Bacon, Mushroom, and Peas Pasta. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Of course my favorite emergency meals are the ones I can whip up super fast. The perfect example is this quick pasta with bacon, mushrooms and peas and just a few extra ingredients from the cupboard. This is the sort of meal that I used to get at the local Italian-American restaurant back in St. Louis when I lived there (you know the type, with their red checkerboard vinyl tablecloths). Easy-to-make, but so comforting to eat, this is what I reach for when I don’t want to think too much about prepping food.

Bacon, Mushroom, and Peas Pasta. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Bacon, Mushroom, and Peas Pasta. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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Rhubarb & Blueberry Oatmeal Bars with Cacao Nibs & Rose Petals

May 22, 2017

These rhubarb and blueberry oatmeal bars are absolutely magical with the addition of cacao nibs and dried rose petals, yet they are really easy to make! (Jump directly to the recipe.) “This flavor combination is magical!” said my friend Alanna after she took a bite of my rhubarb blueberry oatmeal bar with cacao nibs and […]

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Meyer Lemon and Matcha Green Tea Bundt Cake and Macy’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! [Sponsored Post]

May 15, 2017

This easy-to-make marbled Meyer lemon matcha cake is a blend of fragrant Meyer lemons and Matcha green tea and would be perfect with coffee or tea. (Jump directly to the recipe for Meyer Lemon and Matcha Green Tea Bundt Cake.) This post was sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however all thoughts and […]

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Lemongrass and Rhubarb Cheesecake (Kosher for Passover optional)

May 1, 2017

This unique lemongrass and rhubarb cheesecake is beautifully fragrant with infused grassy citrus lemongrass and a stunning red rhubarb streak inside. (Jump directly to the recipe.) About 15 years ago my brother called me up asking for a favor. He had moved from Missouri to do a fellowship at UC Davis in forensic psychology. It […]

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Ham and Parmesan Waffles with a Fried Egg [Sponsored Post]

April 24, 2017

These easy-to-make ham and Parmesan waffles are a great special occasion (or really any day) breakfast or brunch on the regular sweet waffles. (Jump directly to the savory waffle recipe.) This post was sponsored by Bisquick. I’m teaming up with Bisquick to bring you fun and innovative recipes using Bisquick. I was compensated for this […]

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Meyer Lemon Shaker Tart with Strawberries and Rhubarb

April 17, 2017

This super easy to make Meyer Lemon Shaker Tart is a simple adaptation of the classic lemon shaker tart with the addition of strawberries and rhubarb. (Jump directly to the recipe.) I hadn’t seen my friend Angela in forever. Or at least for a couple of years, which is insane because we only live a […]

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Savory Sweet Potato Waffles [Sponsored Post]

April 7, 2017

These Savory Sweet Potato Waffles with Garlic Crème Fraîche make an incredible breakfast or brunch item for Easter or anytime of the year! (Jump directly to the recipe.) This post was sponsored by the California Sweetpotato Council. I’m teaming up with the California Sweetpotato Council to create an awesome sweet potato recipe. I was compensated […]

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Mushroom Braised Chicken

April 3, 2017

These wild mushroom braised chicken thighs are incredibly flavorful but are also incredibly easy to make. The secret is the long roasting time in the oven. (Jump directly to the recipe.) “Are you having a party?” asked the woman who waiting in line after me to check out at the big warehouse store. I looked […]

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Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

March 27, 2017

These chocolate hot cross buns are stuffed with dried cherries and chopped dark chocolate – a fun chocolate twist on the classic treat eaten on Good Friday! (Jump directly to the recipe.) I’ve been tinkering with a hot cross bun recipe for some time now. It’s a strange little baking project for me, a Taiwanese-American […]

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Bacon and Cheddar Biscuits and Gravy Recipe [Sponsored Post]

March 20, 2017

This easy biscuits and gravy recipe uses bacon and cheese in the biscuits along with sage and thyme in the sausage gravy, making it a great brunch dish! (Jump directly to the recipe.) This post was sponsored by Bisquick. I’m teaming up with Bisquick to bring you fun and innovative recipes using Bisquick. I was […]

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Carrot Honey Cheesecake with Almond Cinnamon Crust

March 13, 2017

This Carrot Honey Cheesecake inverts the classic carrot cake and cream cheese frosting into a creamy honey cheesecake with beautiful carrot spiced swirls. (Jump directly to the Carrot Honey Cheesecake recipe.) “So are you off of grains completely?” I asked my friend Tina. She had just celebrated a milestone birthday and my friend Peter was […]

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Salted Caramel Bars with Bourbon Ganache [Sponsored Post]

February 27, 2017

These salted caramel bar have an adult twist with a kick of smoky Kentucky bourbon in the dark chocolate ganache! “CONGRATULATIONS!!!” said the text from my friend Shauna. I hadn’t a clue what she was congratulating me on but anything that merits three exclamation points must be exciting. This was not the first time that […]

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Lemon Lime Bars with Pistachio Crust [Sponsored Post]

February 20, 2017

These easy-to-make sweet and tart lemon lime bars have crushed pistachios in the crust and will give you a huge smile when you bite into them This post was sponsored by Bisquick. I’m teaming up with Bisquick to bring you fun and innovative recipes using Bisquick. I was compensated for this post and for developing […]

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