Friday, August 29, 2014

support your local shops

Fourbarrel Coffee just celebrated their 6th birthday this week with free coffee drinks for everyone all day. The coffee cups are made by the incredibly talented East Bay duo Atelier Dion. I recently discovered a new fancy treat at the neighborhood specialty store, Little Vine. They're opening a wine bar on Russian Hill soon. It's so nice to see local small businesses do well and support each other. 

up and over SF hills

Monday, August 25, 2014

stillness in the city

It's that time of year when part of the city leaves for Burning Man. For those of us that stay there's a small respite from the crowds. Shorter lines and a sense of calm even at the farmers market where you'd normally need to show up before 10 to avoid the crowds now you can sleep in and run errands before strolling into the market at noon with no lines. Busses feel spacious, there's no line at the post office or grocery store, and an overall sense of relief with the general ease. When the "burners" as they're often called return from their week+ at Burning Man they'll be just as refreshed as those of us that stayed and the symbiotic relationship with San Francisco continues. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

like a strong cup of coffee

I came across the top photos above of gorgeous doors in the old part of Stockholm Sweden called Gamla Stan. I wanted to share these and then as I walked around SF running errands downtown I stopped in at Cask to peruse their extensive selection of artisanal and hand-crafted wines, spirits, and cocktail provisions. I passed this quaint shop that's by appointment only that appears to sell fine coffee equipment. I was lucky enough to catch the owner as he opened the door for a patron and he shared a little bit about this tile mosaic outside his store entrance. Now that I'm looking at it again.... it looks a lot like the first cappuccino steamer at Tosca that was the first steamer on the west coast. Either way it's a charming piece. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SF, the city so many fall in love with

No-bake chocolatey quinoa cookies are a contest finalist! Yay!

I entered a pie contest about a year ago and while everyone kept going back to eat more of it... more than the winning pies, I didn't get a ribbon. The judges said there was a tie of sorts and a lot of back and forth during judging. I assumed this is why my pie placed in 4th place, ha! My friends and I ate the last lone slice of pie later that day, on a park bench outside a coffee shop with little compostable forks. I learned that I'm still super competitive. Thank goodness I didn't give up. When I saw that Alter Eco was having a quinoa recipe contest I was super eager to give it a try. Here's the recipe and a link to their site where they'll post more recipes. I'm excited to eat cooked quinoa for breakfast fixed up like oatmeal, and fresh veggie salads with quinoa. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

a full but slow paced weekend

 Spent a lot of time with lady friends this weekend with a NY friend visiting and all of our mutual friends getting together for her brief visit. We lingered at the farmers market and then ambled around Hayes Valley. I managed to to keep this little canelĂ© from Boulettes Larder intact in my bag until breakfast the next day. Sunday was the perfect day to stop by Ocean beach to see the last of the Velella Velella jelly fish-like critters before seeing Sergio Mendes perform at Stern Grove among the eucalyptus trees.

love each other

I came across this photo I took when I was in Berlin, Germany. I often think of this poster and other variations posted around the city and wonder if they're still there.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

new website preview

 I'm so excited to share a peak at my new website. This is still in the works, but it should be ready this coming week. I've been putting a lot of time, energy, and love into this. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

purple darkness

Gorgeous purple garlic and deep hued Concord grapes at the market that I had to bring home along with a cookie or two from Boulettes Larder before making my own super healthy treats. Energy levels have been shifting as the Super Moon made it's voyage and finally came to visit last night. 

tomatillos and heirloom toms in abundance

quinoa no bake cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 cups cooked and cooled cooked quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked quinoa)
*optional chocolate chips for decorating

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and clear a space for it in your refrigerator or freezer.
2. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to combine. Let boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Stir in sunflower butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mix in quinoa.
3. Drop batter in small scoops (I use a mini ice cream scoop) onto the parchment paper lined tray. *Optional, add a chocolate chip to the top of each cookie for decoration.
4. Place tray in the refrigerator or freezer to set (approximately one hour). The cookies are ready when they are firm. For best results keep them stored in the refrigerator.
5. Eat, share, and enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

curbside poppies

infusion / ratafia with apricot kernels

I love making infusions, they're a way to experiment with new flavor combinations while easily preserving something that would normally go to waste. Sometimes I just infuse with herbs and spices, but over the past few years I've used citrus zest with vodka, or the last basket of summer strawberries in a pint jar of brandy and today it was adding apricot kernels. Apricots are in abundance now and after hearing about almond extract being made with stone fruit pits I started to squirrel away my apricot, cherry, and peach pits. I have a few infusions started that I hope to enter in a competition in a month or so and saved a pint jar of brandy for the stone fruits. I cracked open 10 apricot pits and added the kernels to the pint jar of brandy, 10 cherry pits, and two peach pits. The measurements are largely based on what I had and after tasting in a few weeks I may adjust for the next batch. *I tried to crack the apricot pits with a hammer at first and then used a pair of kitchen scissors instead with a little more ease. After scouring the internet for almond extract recipes I found this informative post and recipe from the 4th edition of Picayune's Creole Cook Book (1910) 

Peach Kernel Ratafia
Ratafia aux Noyau de Peches ou d’Abricots
¼ pound each of peach or apricot kernels
4 pints of brandy 
2 ½ pounds of sugar

2 pints of water 

Pound the peach or apricot kernels – some also pound peach stones – steep them for one whole month in four pints of brandy in an earthen jar, and at the end of that time add a syrup made of two and a half pounds of sugar and 2 pints of water. Mix all well together, and then filter as directed above
 [sic: below], and bottle and seal, and keep in a cool, shady place. 

Ratafia aux Noyau is one of the standing Creole drinks, that is most agreeable, the taste being of a delicate vanilla and almonds combined.

Further research pulled up this NY Times article on Bottling the Bounty of the Season which I love. 
"A good ratafia exploits the seasons and transcends them. It captures the taste of produce when it’s in high supply so you can still enjoy it when it’s gone. Jams and jellies do the same thing, but they are cooked, which changes the character of the fruit. In a ratafia, alcohol and acidity do the work of preserving the fresh ingredients. But they won’t preserve it forever; the fruit starts to oxidize, changing in color and in flavor. Ratafias are not shelf stable, which is why they are not usually found in wine shops. The only way to get them is to go to a restaurant like T’afia or bottle your own, which is not hard at all."

*reposted from last year for those of you looking for more information via my IG post

Saturday, August 2, 2014

morning walk to the market

So many goodies at the Ferry Building Farmers' Market  including these cute little French prunes, no bigger than my thumb. So many flowers right now and I'm still thrilled padron peppers are in season and concord grapes are already showing up a little early. 

San Francisco bike party

just a Friday night with a few hundred people biking up and down hills for fun with a little music

Friday, August 1, 2014

Darwin Cafe

I caught up with a friend over a delicious lunch at Darwin Cafe. We shared this gorgeous salad with arugula, peaches, watermelon radishes, fromage blanc, toasted almonds and red wine vinaigrette. The pastrami sandwich was loaded with coleslaw, thick cut pickles, sweet onions, BBQ sauce, swiss, and aioli. This little cafe is a new favorite.