Friday, February 26, 2010


I forgot to tell you - so excited, I just got the book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning ( ) a classic which includes salting, sugaring, oiling, fermenting of course, and many other traditional methods. I'm ready to get down to business! I've had it with disappointingly moldy jars of painstakingly prepared tomatoes. I should have been preserving the oldschool way all along.  That's why I've had mixed results with canning- it's just not my style.
Oh- reminds me I need to check the kombucha.. The last batch with citron oolong keeps getting rave reviews. I guess I'll have to do it again..

February 26

What We Ate (while you were gone)

 Your Pad Austin sounds scrumptious !!!!
I can't wait! 
Oh- but I read the ingredients on your fish sauce accidentally: hydrolyzed vegetable protein.. Can we make do with a different brand?? Sorry!!  And -  Yes, I have made mozzarella before, but you and I need to Perfect it together! I'm ready!!!

I have had such fun telling you about our food adventures.  
I'm still attempting to bring more variety to the breakfast table. With Sealion's work schedule, it is our main family meal quite a few days a month; might as well be interesting!  Yesterday I made sweet potato latkes, fried in lard and coconut oil. We ate them with yogurt but didnt need the customary applesauce because of the sweetness already in the latkes. Those are definitely going on the fantasy B&B menu for later.  Yum.  But not good reheated. The recipe called for way too many grated potatoes, so I had a bunch leftover. This morning I used them to make a scramble, with onion, chopped kale, and parsley. We added Parmesan. Yum. 
Sealion's meatloaf the other night was deelicious- with your home-fermented cock-n-tail sauce on top! Anjali and I had leftovers of it, and more grated sweet potato, tonight. I think the meatloaf will become a regular menu item. :-) I have also brought the sourdough starter out of the fridge to wake it up and give it a go. I don't like to have bread around for every meal these days, but I like the idea of making it once a week for a meal, and I looove the ritual of kneading and baking. So I'd like to make it a regular thing. Maybe: pizza a couple times a month, homemade pasta every once in a while, and some good dinner rolls or breakfast rolls now and again...
The whole time you've been gone my main focus has been to develop more structure to my daily life with Anjali, do some weekly planning, and spend my time more intentionally.  Keeping track in my planner, writing everything down, etc. And loose menu planning is a part of that. Just so we are not eating hotdogs n greens three nights a week, you know?
Ok, well, Anjali is officially in dreamland so I'll call this a letter and send it! 
This ritual of writing you as she falls asleep has been so pleasant for me. Thanks so much for your audience.  :-)
Woohooooo !

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 23, aka Sardines for Breakfast!!

Saul's got it right this time!! : broiled sardines with harissa ( ), and fried eggs.  Delicious!! The harissa was the perfect tangy accompaniment to the sardines.  My only complaint: I could've eaten twice as many as they served me.  ;-)

I took this photo just for you. (kinda dark but you get the idea.)


February 22

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Hi, Austin!
Having Teresa here was such rejuvenation for me.  ! She left yesterday morning.  We had sooo much girly fun, food fun, and just old-friend fun. I love her.  I was inspired to make new recipes and create new dishes several times while she was here, and we ate out many times and had some killer food.  The last day we got into the city and spent the bulk of he afternoon in Dolores Park - the weather smiled on us so that we even had some sun. We found several yummy-looking restaurants in the Mission that we want to go back to! Yippee! 

A recap of good food: 
For Valentine's Day I made flourless almond waffles with decadent dark n spicy chocolate sauce, then for dinner - Valentine Soup- roasted b-nut squash and beets pureed in a soup with greens. One day I made butternut squash pancakes that were stellar and delectable.  That day we went to sonoma wine country and had a picnic at a vineyard. A gorgeous day! Friday night we had a progressive meal starting at Cesar for cocktails and appetizers- the highlight being the butternut-sage-stuffed cannelloni drenched in bechamel sauce!! Jesus!!! And an early dinner at Corso. We had a fresh mozzarella salad with The Most Delicious housemade mozzarella I've Ever Eaten!!! Cream was folded into it. I could've eaten the whole ball myself, but not much more because it was so rich.  We really did it up right.  Saturday we went to an authentic crepe place called Ti Couz in the Mission.  I'd love to take you there.  Then for dinner we ate at a place called Luna Park Cafe, where they served housemade corndogs (!) stuffed with three different sausages! It inspired me to try to perfect my own corndog concoction because I Loved corndogs when I was a kid! So get ready.  ;-)
For our last home breakfast I created what I called Teresa Breakfast Salad -  fried eggs atop a salad of bitter and spicy  greens, (cold) sliced roasted beets, and toasted walnuts with a tangy creme fraiche dressing.  Um... Yum!!!  A weeklong feast! And now I can begin counting the days till you return to our kitchen.  :-)
Cheers! Or as Anjali would say, "tziizz!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 15

What We Ate (while you were gone)
Dear Austin -
I'm having such a fabulous time with Teresa.  So far lots of giggling, and food event after food event! The wine bottles are stacking up in the bin.  Today we had the now-usual second-Monday breakfast at Venus.  We all ordered the Winter Scramble - it had butternut squash in it.
We girls went for a picnic today - the weather was Gorgeous! We took take- out from Imperial Tea Court (delicious take out) -- pork -and -pumpkin- stuffed dumplings, yellow curry chicken, and handpulled noodles -- to Live Oak Park, and held down the root of a tree while Anjali showed us just how quickly she can run out of our sight - over and over again! It was amazing! One minute within an easy few steps and a grab, the next minute I'm literally running to catch up with her before she dips her toes in the creek clear across the park! Wow.!
I have not thrown my food principles totally to the wind, but have been dangling them casually out the window as we eat not 100%whole grain sourdough, chocolate (chocolate chocolate), and even let Anjali have more than one taste of Teresa's gelato today! She bacame an instant addict, as you could imagine.  
For Valentine's Day Troy was working, but I tweaked the (flourless) almond -egg muffin recipe to become a waffle recipe - so it had almonds, eggs, sweet potato, butter and about half a pint of cream! Then the real kicker was a chocolate sauce  of cream milk butter and very dark chocolate with more than a little kick of cayenne. I named it Decadent Dark and Hot Chocolate Sauce.  Austin, we ate enough waffles with enough of that sauce to make our hearts beat techno! The chocolate was so intense! Then for dinner I made a soup I have named Valentine Soup: roasted butternut squash with roasted beets pureed with broth onions and garlic to a thick creamy blend the color of ... A valentine. With greens added. Sourdough walnut bread with mounds of butter. Delicioso if I do say so myself.  
Tonight T and I watched Julie and Julia on the projector screen . We agree that we could do without the Julie character and have a full-length film just of Julia.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, and Meryl Streep does a superb job in the role! Ok! Downstairs to finish dinner. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 12

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin--

We have been enjoying some hearty winter fare lately.  We can't eat enough roasted squash! Butternut mainly, but the other night I think we had the best roasted acorn squash I've ever eaten.  Speaking of roasted, youll love the new toaster oven! It is posh.  We are adding some variety into our breakfasts - yesterday morning I made a miso soup (with lots of add-ins, so you'd like it - greens of course, carrots onions and garlic) and we poached some eggs in it.  A nice break from delectable melt in your mouth bacon and gorgeous yellow scrambled eggs with greens! Ha ha!
I also made another variety of "pancake" - this time with grated apples. The recipe (another from moosewood) called for cottage cheese, but I used yogurt and tried to make do, but I honestly think next time I'll get cottage cheese; they were a little fragile... With the lovely egg whites shown below(whisked by hand!!), yolks, a liiittle bit of sprouted spelt flour, cinnamon and a couple tsps of sucanat sugar, they were delicious. And made excellent cold snacks.
I've been feeling the need for huge mugs of (unsweetened) hot cocoa lately - that's my way of babying myself at home.  It helps.  
: ) 
Tonight I bought Julie and Julia and snuggled up by myself and watched it.  That helps too.  ; )

Perfect egg whites!!

I love you, dear friend!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

February 6

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin,
Hard to believe another week has already gone by. I bet not for you - that each day has been jam-packed, but for us living the day-to-day life back at home, it was time to go to Saturday farmers' market today. And - didn't we just go? It was a day of intermittent downpour with astonishingly bright blue swaths of sky and intense sunshine. The vendors were thankful for the sun for several reasons, I'm sure.  Papi and Anjali played in the puddles at the playground as I made the rounds in a very business-like fashion.  The basket got happily loaded down with winter cellar-type items:  onion and garlic, acorn squash, apples, radishes, sweet potatoes, a huge bag of carrots (for my own fermenting), and then of course the now-requisite big bag-o-greens. I went straight for County Line's braising mix this time. It is a beautiful rainbow. Lamb shoulder from Highland Hills. I hit up Massa for a bag of raw almonds to make some more of that addictive soaked and roasted almond butter, but they had sold out! I will fill you in, however: he gave me a sample of their almond butter, and (ours is better....!) only made me wish all the more that I was toting a pound home to make my own.
We tag-teamed dinner tonight so I could go for a run.  Braised the lamb shoulder with red wine and beef bone broth (which is still simmering away quietly on the back burner now!), onion, fennel bulb, carrots and sweet potato (and a bay leaf - ya never know! Why not?!)  Oh, Austin, this was a winner. The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the broth was heavenly. Anjali drank cup after cup of it and kept fishing more carrots out of my bowl.  :-) Sealion served me up a heaping bowlful and I did everything but lick it clean.  I even sucked the marrow out of the bone - a carnal delicacy that has seemed too carnivorous for me until now. It was satisfying.
In front of the fire - the epitome of a winter feast!


Thursday, February 04, 2010

February 4

What We Ate (while you were gone)
Had my required weekly date with my artist self tonight- went to Cafe Gratitude ( if you're not looking to get full, they have some nice teas, salads, etc. And I personally like the atmosphere.  It might be cheesy but so am I.) where I had a huge bowl of tea, a tasty salad and a cacao almond butter ball with cayenne (i love those!).  And I took my paper, pencils and markers and drew and colored a picture the whole time. Got totally absorbed the way a kid does and just went with it.  It was nice.  :-) very .... Soothing . 

Tonight for dinner:  the last of the goose broth. !  Roasted butternut squash pureed with sauteed onions in the broth, butter and coconut oil, Indian spices again (we wanted a replay of the soup I made for the baby mama!), then chunks of roasted beet, and beet greens.  No coconut milk which is what really made the other so creamy but oh well.  I think it's still stellar (because of the broth. ;-). Feels good to be humming away in the kitchen with a fire in the hearth as more wind and rain rage outside.

Soak up that sun - ozone hole or no.  Bring it back as kisses on your smiling cheeks.

Lying beside the sleepy-suckling babe as the simmering soup awaits my tongue and tummy downstairs.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

February 3

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin,

It was a "what can we make with what's on hand" kinda night tonight.
My favorite. I chopped a large onion, sliced and cut into quarter
pieces a turnip, and chopped small a HuGe bag of mixed greens -
several different colors of chard, different kales, bok choy,
collards. We had a large, grilled burger patty leftover from the
other night. And three eggs from the lovely backyard ladies. Sauteed
the onion till soft in butter with some bacon grease to flavor.
Tossed in the turnip, then piled and folded in the greens. So many
that I had to do it in stages. Covered and let them steam and cook
till perfect, stirring thoroughly. Seasalt, red pepper flakes and
ground black pepper. Then chopped up the burger into little pieces
and mixed it in. Made three little holes in the greens and cracked
open an egg in each. Covered and steam till the yolks were barely firm.
Scooped into bowls so that the egg stays atop a thick bed of veggies.
Ate by the fire.
Sooo good!!!

We miss you, Austin.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

January 30 - February 2

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Farmers' Market Saturday:

We remembered to bring our own containers and utensils and got two orders of curry chicken at the Thai booth (yummy!!). Ate them and spectated as Jali played in the play area. She would graze by occasionally for a chunk of kabocha squash or spoonful of brown rice before she was off to socialize again. I think she could spend all day on the swing, only slowing down for booby-pitstops.
Butternut squash and stir fry greens from Happy Boy,
Baby mustard greens and dandelion greens from County Line - I'm really liking their greens best these days. I wanna remember to go there first next time. Apples for Sealion, tangerines for Anjali, onion and garlic. ( was that all??)
With the butternut I made the soup for new mom Tatiana, we ate mustard greens on the burgers last night, sauteed stir fry greens to go with our eggs this morning. Yum. A big mess of them done up right.  And the bacon that I bought from Highland Hills a week or so ago - I cooked it nice and slow and it looked like it would be chewy with a lot of meat, but bite into it and it breaks off meltingly like I love. I gave it a thumbs up; Sealion is hooked on Niman Ranch bacon.
Tonight with me and the pup : leftover burger from last night and leftover potatoes from yesterday Venus breakfast.
This afternoon for our backyard time I took snacks of raw Gruyere ( my favorite right now!) and cold baked sweet potato. We sat on the bench out in the yard, munched our snack, and watched and listened to a little gang of tiny birds (including one hummingbird) flutter (and buzz) into the yard to browse our trees. Anjali was able to connect the noise I make for her lavender toy bird with these real live creatures in the open air. It felt good.   

Re: February 1

 Yesterday I experimented again with the veggie pancake idea. This time essentially making potato cakes with butternut squash. Um, yum! Shredded goatcheese that oozed like pizza goodness, cinnamon, and sesame seeds for a nice little crunch. Deelish! With our hen eggs and the color of the squash, they were a gorgeous turmeric color that actually colored the oil they were fried in. Pretty. 
With the bulk of the butternut I made a soup for our friends Tatiana and Seth, who just had a baby.  I flavored it with Indian spices- lots that are helpful for lactation like fenugreek and fennel seed, coconut milk (also good for mama's milk) and loads of butter (she's vegetarian so I left out the broth).  Kombu for nutrients.  It was such creamy dreamy goodness I had to pull myself away from the spatula as I poured it into a jar. Soooo good!
Tonight Sealion kicked ASS on burgers n fries! Lamb-bison patties that were killer! We put TSH mayo (do you not know about my *thing* for real homemade mayo?? I eat it by the spoonful...), mustard, and mustard greens on them. Then thick- cut potatoes and sweet potatoes fried in lard that were Perfect with a capital P! Soft n creamy on the inside, crisp on the outside. Oh. My god.

Sending lovin from the home kitchen.