Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fun in SF with friends

Auntie DD

On the way to Sausalito

Eating at Mamacita

I love my girl!

We are having a wonderful time with our friends. Yesterday we took a ferry to Sausalito for lunch. Today, we are off to Redwood City for two days and then back to my house. It seemed to take so long for this trip to finally arrive, and now it is just speeding by. Last night we went to Umami, a Japanese restaurant nearby, and had a great time. The girls are doing well together also. Everyone is holding up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paris oh my!

I am going to Paris in a little over three weeks.
I think I should be brimming with excitement.
I mean, I am excited. Very. But there are things a person like me becomes anxious about. Like swine flu, and stomach flu. Like french food poisoning. Like picking a bad restaurant.
Like worrying about all these things.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Salad

I picked up our vegetable share today. In our box there are always recipe suggestions, and today was a recipe for a cabbage salad. I changed it a bit, and here is my version. We ate it with skirt steak tacos, but I would eat this with grilled chicken or by itself. I love that all the ingredients are coming out of the garden right now!
On another note, my very dear friend and her family are coming for a visit in a couple of days from Chicago. I love when they get out of the city and come way, way, way far out to my house. I have been planning our meals together for over a week now. This salad tonight will definitely be on the list. My friend and I have known each other since I was 16. We worked together at the store Limited Express, and after I met her I decided I wanted to be her friend. I pretty much forced her to reciprocate. She reminds me now that I used to say the words "like" and "oh my god" a lot back then. When I found out where she went to college, (she is 4 years older than me) I proceeded to invite myself to visit her there. Even writing this I am embarrassed for myself back then. I did end up going to college there, and we ended up living together for 5 years in Chicago while in our 20's until I moved here. But thinking about all of that now, she might say I still say "like" and "oh my god" a lot. At least she likes me now and I don't talk like a Valley Girl. Mostly.

Summer Salad

1/2 Napa Cabbage thinly sliced
4 large green onions sliced thinly
1 cup cilantro chopped
6 radishes chopped coarsely
4 medium sized carrots grated
2 Tbls fresh lime juice
1 1/2 Tbls olive oil
1 1/2 Tlbs vinegar (rice or apple cider)
pinch salt
Mix wet ingredients in a bowl with a fork and pour over salad. Mix and serve.
Now, you could use lemon juice or toasted sesame seed oil too which would make it taste great as well.

Lance Armstrong in our small town

It might be because we live in such a small town that exciting things are more of a big deal. Yesterday was an example of this. Lance Armstrong was racing in our small town bicycle race. The whole town was blocked off with hay bales and barriers. The race course was in town, covering a bit over a mile of downtown roads. Apparently because it is the second oldest bike race in the US which makes it a fun race to participate in. Lance pulled ahead during the last 7 laps, and won the race by a pretty large margin. A fun Father's Day for sure! In the photos above, he is in photo wearing a black and yellow jersey.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scallops in Vanilla Butter Sauce

Sea Diver Scallops are sustainably harvested and tend to be a bit less gritty than commercially harvested scallops. The usual method for harvesting scallops involve trawlers which scrape the bottom of the ocean floor damaging flora and sea life. But, sea diver scallops require a person diving to gather them, which naturally preserves the underwater ecology. Scallops have been over harvested in recent years, and because of that, we rarely eat them. Our local co-op carries fresh diver scallops, and at $22 a pound, they are a special treat.
Yesterday I bought some to make as appetizers. I pat them dry, and sear them in a hot cast iron skillet. A bit of butter, salt and vanilla extract.

6 fresh diver scallops
2 tbls butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

I use this much butter because when they are cooking I tip the pan, scoop up the butter and spoon over the scallops. It takes about 4 minutes on each side to sear them, depending on their size. Very indulgent, rich tasting dish that I find deeply satisfying. Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Roasted Pineapple Coleslaw

Tacos. There are infinite possibilities. Of course that makes me very very happy. I am a lover of the possibilities and the balance of flavors. Tonight's tacos were grilled chicken, baby arugula, sour cream mixed with cholula hot sauce and pineapple coleslaw.
This coleslaw is very easy (only 5 ingredients!) and it makes weeknight tacos extra special.
Here goes:

1/4 head of cabbage (about 3 cups)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
juice of one lime
3/4 of a whole pineapple
salt to taste

Thinly chop the cabbage and mix with cumin, ginger and lime juice.

Trim pineapple, removing core, skin, top and bottom. Slice into 1 inch slices.
Using a cast iron skillet that has been lightly greased, grill eat side of pineapple until dark. Cool until you can handle with your hands to cut into 1 inch pieces and add to coleslaw. Mix thoroughly and serve!


My sister is here for the weekend! We are going to the farmers market, cherry picking and searching out some good yard sales. It is finally hot here, so we are loving the warm dinner nights. Tonight I am making roasted pineapple coleslaw tacos. I will post the recipe soon. This morning I am eating breakfast while typing, which is strawberries, walnuts and pecorino romano cheese crumbles. The walnuts are low allergy and the fat is very satiating. I get tired of yogurt and am allergic to eggs so I try to look for new ways to keep breakfast interesting. The pecorino is a good balance with the sweet strawberries. These might be the last strawberries I buy, as the season is ending.
What are you eating this weekend? Tell me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Young Entrepreneurs!

M. and her best buddy M. decided to sell art they created this morning. We picked a spot right in the middle of town and they got to work. I know I embarrassed them with all the photos I took, but I was so proud of them. They talked to almost everyone who passed by asking them if they would like to buy their art. The going price: 25 cents. Each of them made $5.75 due to the lady who gave them $5 for one picture. They sold almost all of their pictures! I was very impressed at their tenacity. Rock on little ones!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lime Cumin Greens with Apricots

Lunch today:

1 large bag of greens (they filled up the salad spinner) torn into 3 inch pieces (chard, kale, spinach etc)
1 heaping cup of fresh apricots roughly cut
1 onion roughly cut
1 tbls honey
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbls butter
1/2 cup walnuts crumbled
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 scant tsp. cumin seeds
juice of one lime

Wash and spin the greens. Set aside
In a pot, a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add onions, apricots and spices. Sautee for 5 minutes and then add the white wine and lime juice. Sautee on med. high heat for another 3 minutes and then add the butter and honey. When the apricots have started to fall apart and the juices are reduced, add the greens and sautee for another 8 minutes, or until their released juices have thickened and the greens are wilted. Add walnuts and combine.
I love the sweet, lime and cumin together. The tart of the apricots lends very well to the lime flavor and the cumin. It took me less than 15 min. to prepare.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Raspberry Picking

Don't those two kids look happy? We had a blast today picking raspberries. Well, until the end when they started wrestling each other to the ground with those wooden berry holders on. They looked like mini sumo wrestlers.
We drove down the hill (about an hour from my house) and stocked up on the first raspberries of the season. It was $36 a flat which was about 6 pounds. The farm is not certified organic, but they do not spray, which is fine with me. It is family owned and I absolutely love supporting farm families. I picked up a flat of already picked Olallieberries too. They have a wonderful musky flavor that is wonderful to mix with the tart raspberries in a pie.
To prepare berries, I freeze them on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to ziploc freezer bags. This prevents them from clumping together into a big block of berries! It was a perfect 75 degrees here today and a bit overcast. A perfect weather day for me and berry picking.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Date Night Dessert

There is a restaurant in SF called Beretta. Very super yum.
The best part is the Vanilla Panna Cotta with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt.
It is like digging into a foreign country you are no so sure about, but intrigued by. And then you want more. Lots more. The taste is just so familiar and unfamiliar at the same time it makes you dizzy. Then you just get over it, and keep going.
You could do it with vanilla ice cream too. I am going to make that in the very near future. Oh, hell yes.

End of Preschool

Preschool Graduation happened last thursday. It was very low-key. I will miss that time in our lives. The photo on the top is with her teacher.
Tonight, the husband and I are getting a very rare, very coveted date in sf. I am looking forward to our culinary adventure together.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bar Tartine

Five year old taking a photo of our weird faces.....

Our angry faces.......

Trying to look normal......

Our friend Brooke!!!

Can you feel the love??

The best auntie in the world!

One of my most favorite restaurants...ever...

The best five year old photographer I have ever met!! Bravo little thing. She was in heaven being in the swing of things I tell ya.

Oh, my ultimate playground; San Francisco.
M. and I got here this afternoon and we proceeded to eat dinner at my favorite restaurant in here called Bar Tartine.
Monteray Sardines with fiddle head ferns, grapefruit and rhubarb soda
NY steak with oyster mushrooms. kimchee onions and sauteed asparagus
Home made vanilla malt ice cream
A couple of glasses of wine thrown in;
Divine friday night.
We took some funny photos!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turnips with Chicken in Walnut Sauce

There were turnips in our CSA box this week. I find it very satisfying to figure out new ways to eat them. Here is what I came up with tonight:

6 or 7 small turnips trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
Greens from turnips washed, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil (for walnut sauce)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 heaping teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or another herb you like)
4 large chicken thighs, no bones, no skin

In a bowl, mix bread crumbs olive oil and milk. Set aside

Sautee turnips with evoo until tender and slightly browned; about 15 to 20 minutes. Right before you turn off the heat, after the turnips are cooked, add the turnip greens and cover with lid. This will steam and cook the greens. Leave the lid on for at least 5 minutes.

Grill the chicken thighs and coarsely chop. Add chicken to the turnip mixture and gently stir to combine.

In a blender, add the bread crumb/milk/olive oil mixture, herbs and walnuts. Have a bit of extra milk handy in case you need to add more. Add a big pinch of salt and 5 or 6 grinds of pepper and turn blender on low. Blend for about 15 to 20 seconds. Taste for salt and consistency. This should have bits of walnuts but be mostly blended. Like the consistency of buttermilk. Add more milk if it is too thick, blending for only a couple of pulses.
Pour into a bowl and then ladle out 4 heaping tablespoons into the turnip mixture.

PS. I have added a feature on my sidebar with direct links to recipes, so you don't have to scroll through pages to find them!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bali fun

annoyed I was trying to get a good shot!

The clown costume was carefully picked out for the night. Very good choice I thought.

Last weekend, the children were up waaaaay too late, but we all had a fantastic time. We are extremely fortunate to have a live event venue just a short drive from our house. This weekend was a Balinese orchestra. My photos are slightly out of focus. It was just a bad photo night for me.
And, a new party cocktail for friend brought over all the ingredients to our dinner party, and it is my new favorite summer drink.

Plum Wine Cocktail
In a low ball glass, fill with ice
Fill 3/4 of the way with dry sake
Fill the rest of the way with plum wine
Squeeze a wedge of lemon

Disclaimer here: I do not like plum wine. I find it overly sweet. But, in this drink it just works. I prefer my drinks heavy on lemon and not very sweet, but you can adjust this to your liking.
It was very very good.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When Ghosts Steal Cookies

Tonight, right before bedtime my delightful daughter had to poop. And, because she was eating a cookie when she figured out she needed a bathroom break, she asked if she could finish eating the cookie while doing her business. I figured she would eat the cookie on the way to the bathroom, but I give her a bowl to minimize the cookie crumb situation just in case. I send her on her way to the bathroom, and go check emails. Sometimes I have lots of time to check my emails while she is in the bathroom.
15 minutes later, I hear her yell "Done Mommy!" like she always does, and I go check on her.
I check the bathroom floor and start wiping up the crumbs. I guess she forgot she had a bowl? Anyway, then she launches in.

"Mommy, something terrible has happened. Someone stole my cookie and I am really mad. I ate a little bit of it, and left a big round piece in the bowl and it disappeared. I was concentrating on my poop, and suddenly when I looked back, it was gone. It was just gone mama. I think a ghost ate it mama. A ghost stole my cookie!"

"Ummm.......Ok, well, wow! What a story".

"Yes mama. And now I need another cookie Mama, cause a ghost stole mine"

I almost gave her a second cookie because I was so impressed with her acting abilities. Instead I got out the "Ghost Spray" guaranteed to eliminate ghosts in any room. Boy, that mint oil and water spray really does the trick.

Mommy President

I am a little tired after our jam-packed weekend.
Sunday night M. announced to me while singing songs before bed the following:

"Mama, did you know you are my president?"

"What does that mean to be your president?"

"Oh mommy, you know what a president is! There are presidents like of this world, but you are the president of me, and I love you mommy."

We cuddled extra long that night!


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