Tuesday, July 30, 2013

YES! This Is Happening!

 I walked down to the Ferry Building farmers market, added a few more plants to the sidewalk succulent garden and then found my contributors copy of This Is Happening in the mailbox! I'm thrilled. A few months back I was told that I was selected to be a part of this book and as much as I wanted to share the news.... I just didn't think I could share until the book was on Chronicle's website and I had a solid copy in my hand. Today's the day. :) I have two photos on the cover (2nd row above the N and 3rd row under PE) and then seven photos inside! This Is Happening will be released November 12 (my birthday) or you can pre-order here


After making donuts and picking up a few new treasures at Heath ceramics I headed up north where I came across this small sunflower field. I took a few pictures and then walked around a bit and did a little window shopping/gathering inspiration before taking a few more photos as the sun shifted. It was time to head over to the Berkeley for more exploring before movie night. 

that SF bridge

with donuts in tow I headed over the bridge to Marin for some sunshine and shopping... first stop Heath. 

time to make the donuts

Saturday morning sunshine streaming in through the lingering fog blanket and I was ready to make a batch of donuts. I absolutely love Donna Hay's recipes and went so far as to take along two of her cookbooks with me to New Zealand (where I lived and studied for 6 months) before the days of laptops and internet. Back to this recipe.... I started the dough Friday afternoon so I could knead it and let it rise without having to wake up super early and feel like the Dunkin' Donut guy that I quoted a few times while making these. This was my first time making yeasted donuts so there was a little trial and error/experimenting. I ended up making slightly smaller donuts than the recipe called for just because I thought they were cute, but next time I'll stick with the suggested size as they're easier to fill. Here's the recipe. You may have noticed that these are filled with jelly and I went with cherry preserves after discovering that the grocery store I was in no longer carried boxed pudding mix. These were made for movie night put together by Shantre, a kind and talented friend who made a vegetable curry and croquets for us to warm our bellies and heart before watching one of her childhood favorites and then laughing in the kitchen with SNL videos. Great food and company is the best. 

treasures in the mail

My second cousin Kathleen lives in Texas where she use to raise Nigerian dwarf goats and still makes art. It was during a visit with her that at 21, after choosing to not eat meat for 10 years that I started to eat meat again..... oh, Texas. When I was a kid I remember getting the best surprise gifts in the mail from a stamp set with a rainbow ink pad and a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine. I thought she was the coolest ever and still think of those thoughtful gifts. Well, she recently uncovered some treasures from her parents trip to the Golden Gate International Exposition and offered to send them my way. The coin above was inside and I think it's my favorite, partly because it seems to be worn smooth a bit in the center which has me thinking of someone rubbing it with their thumb or carrying it around in their pocket with the rest of their loose change. There was a scarf, a guide to the city with prices and suggestions for proper clothing and other charming bits of SF history.

homemade vanilla ice cream with espresso and caramel

 It all started with buying milk for clam chowder and then I had some leftover so I decided to make a light ice cream, naturally. I used this recipe with a splash of heavy cream and then milk instead of heavy cream so it was 4 cups of milk total. I made a cup of instant espresso to add in as my "flavor" and then cooked up a half batch of carmel at the the soft ball stage to drizzle in. The caramel had to be kept warm to still pour, but it quickly turned to toffee when it hit the cold ice cream so I'll cool it on a tray and then chop it before adding it in the next time, still delicious. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

foraged flowers

I've been watching the lone antique rose change over the past few days as the petals darken and fall. Inspired by the Gardenista request for photo submissions of handpicked bouquets I picked a few flowers on the way home from a bike ride to the Golden Gate bridge and back. We passed a hillside dotted with sweet peas in bloom and then a few hydrangeas were nearly hidden by an abandoned building. 

the seas imagination

 a last minute trip to the Tuesday Ferry Building farmers market for the first Concord grapes of the season. I walked back along the water to take in some new art on and beside the sidewalk. 

chowing on chowder

Most think of clam chowder served up in a sourdough bread bowl or Cioppino made famous in SF. I opted to forgo a bread bowl for a french cafe au lait bowl and served it with an Anchor Steam in place of a bread roll or crackers (must keep more crackers on hand). I used this recipe with milk instead of half-and-half with just a splash of cream and it turned out great. The thyme and bay leaf were from the Cuesa herb bouquet made earlier at the market.


as much as I look down at my feet here in SF I'm always looking up too. The fog is often cruising by so fast that it's like a little silent film and then the clouds are always shifting and changing with the ocean breeze. With a foggy haze that lingered most of the day the blue sky and fluffy clouds above pulled many of us out to explore and the streets filled up a little more. The sun wasn't far from setting, but the light was so bright that it felt almost like the sun was rising from the other side. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

summer lunch

after running downtown errands I met a friend at Super Duper for an organic Strauss soft serve vanilla chocolate swirl chocolate dip cone. I love that the cone reads "E A T - I T -A L L" not that we needed an extra incentive. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


 Catching up with Mikayla over a cafe au late bowl of spicy chai before her big two week road trip loop  up North to Canada and back to SF. I met the cutest little dog at the park before heading home. His name is Noodle and he's the cutest and sweetest furry friend I've met in a long time and it was a challenge to pry myself away. 

Sunday picnic

Perfect afternoon relaxing on the lawn and taking in the bay views with a picnic at OTG in the Presidio. This event had been on my list for a few weeks and trying Del Popolo even longer. Del Popolo is a mobile pizzeria, complete with a kitchen and Italian wood-fired oven, housed in a converted shipping container. They source ingredients from small generational producers and there seems to be great care in all they do. 
 Along with the impressive mobile pizzeria, there are other prepared food trucks, a metal red wagon with drink provisions for mixed to order bloody mary, mimosa, or a beer served in a bucket with ice. One of my favorite bits of this event would have to be seeing a few farms selling produce including Blue House Farm with their gorgeous produce below. 

inspiration everywhere

The air was crisp and I didn't want to sit inside on a Saturday evening while the rest of the city was buzzing with energy so a friend and I decided go for a long walk through the city. Our walk up and over the hills of SF brought us to the Top of the Mark where I insisted on taking in the city view and we watched the fog slide along the skyline with twinkling lights below that was reminiscent of the starry sky above. Ready to set off on our adventure we passed Grace Cathedral and so many ornate Victorian entryways that have a different beauty at night. Coming up and over one of the steepest streets in the city I noticed little note above. I says "almost there" and it's placed on the second to last step that's about halfway up the hillside just before you cross the road to continue the last set of stairs to the top. We paused and took in the view of the city stretched out below and cable car bell ringing in the distance. Just as I was snapping this picture (sorry about the night phone camera flash) a woman walked by with her dog and said that it was just written a few days ago and that it's "good graffiti"that's almost like a motivational note. I told her about the sidewalk chalk notes I came across for a garage sale a few weeks back that had a similar effect. So much inspiration and often where you'd least expect to find it. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

"P" is for pretty and proud of San Francisco

I submitted the photo above to 7X7 magazine to show what makes me proud of San Francisco. This fanciful spray painted letter "P" in the Mission and captured part of what I love about this city. I'm honored to be one of their chosen favorites. Here's a link to my photo and their other chosen favorites. 

another lovely day at the farmers market

One of my favorite Saturday rituals is a trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building to walk through the farmers market stalls and see the colors of the season and say hello to the heroes that grow our food with love. I was just looking at photos of edible bouquet arrangements (with blueberries on the vine) and really wanted to experiment with this and then the next day I was thrilled to see Cuesa with a long table of herbs ready to help people make their own small bouquet. After carefully tying up my small bouquet I was off to pick up a few treasures.... hello, padrone peppers. I couldn't resist a raspberry bombolini (Italian filled donut) from a vendor inside the market. Sunflowers seemed to be the flower of the week and shined like little rays of sun. 

Anchor Steam beer tour

 I love tours, especially when it involves learning a bit about a craft or a little eating or drinking. We made a reservation for an Anchor Steam Brewery Tour over a month ago as they fill up quickly. Anchor Steam is America's first craft brewery and a San Francisco original since 1896. How they managed to survive prohibition is a secret. Starting out as Anchor Brewery with an anchor logo as part of the thriving port business of San Francisco the "steam" was added to their name after people noticed steam rising from the Anchor Brewery rooftop in the evening as the fermenting beer was cooled by the foggy evening air, creating steam. While they don't cool the brew on the rooftop anymore it's still handmade in their traditional copper brewhouse. The tour was pretty brief with us covering all three levels in about 30 minutes and then spending over an hour in the tasting room trying all seven brews on tap and I was the only one taking notes on my favorites. My top favorites out of the seven tasted were Anchor Steam Beer, Anchor Porter, and Brekle's Brown. If you get a chance to take a tour here or anywhere, I highly recommend it. I'd love to take the tour again and bring some cheese and crackers along. Nostalgia brought memories of childhood school field trips to an apple orchard and a potato chip factory. Watching the beer bottles roll by reminded me of the beloved Mister Rogers' Neighborhood trip to the crayon factory.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

stroll through Chinatown

Summer colors popping up in seasonal produce and a fresh coat of paint on a little poultry store. The mural above is in Jack Kerouac alley and it's one of my favorites. I just recently noticed the added wheat paste elephant and figure standing atop with an umbrella. 

the road home

I love coming back over the Bay Bridge with the  city stretched out

Friday, July 19, 2013

cool SF summer

warmed up at Off the Grid with laksa, a spicy Malaysian soup with hand pulled noodles, poached egg, and heaps of herbs, spices, and crunchy goodies from Azalina's. I found a new favorite sidewalk drawing of the Golden Gate Bridge nestled between the headlands and trees with a little sailboat cruising by.  

tiny oasis

there's a tropical forest among the eucalyptus trees that I seek out sometimes. another hidden gem in sf

Thursday, July 18, 2013

shrub recipe testing

Here are a few more recipes tested for the Season's Eating seasonal recipe app. It's been awesome to  experiment with new flavor combinations and use my "real camera" alongside my iPhone camera. Above is a rainier cherry shrub with a squeeze of lemon and rose geranium leaves from the porch garden. Below is the strawberry and tarragon shrub with lime. The recipes are still being tested and not mine to share, but they'll be available online soon. I topped these gems off with bubbly water and a little vodka. They're in canning jars as a nod to the colonial roots and they double as adorable to-go cups ready for the park. Here's a recipe for a blackberry-rum shrub that sounds delicious.