The first tomatoes of the year

11 07 2012

It’s veggie CSA day and we got our first tomatoes! Cherry tomatoes, some romas, strawberries, basil, parsley, lettuce, plums, zucchini, cabbage, spring onions, potatoes, and eggs. I swapped some cucumbers for more onions because they were too huge, and also because I’ve been pickling and just can’t handle cucumbers in the fridge right now (the hubby was not a big fan of this decision).

And not only have I been pickling, I’ve been making jam, mustard, ginger beer (haven’t tasted it yet) and my own mayo. Out of control? I might have busted the blender…

Those carrots are from our backyard! Best harvest we’ve had. Last year was an arugula year; this one was a carrot year. We enjoyed a few at a time from the garden for a month or two and then one decided to flower so I pulled ’em!

One was gi-NORM-us!

It’s not exactly State Fair worthy, but pretty darn good for a humble back yard garden, if I do say so myself.

Here they are all washed up and ready for pickling. Oh, how I love pickled carrots with hummus. Or plain. Or in a bloody mary.

Today is special for another reason – it’s my friend Alison’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Alison! I blogged just for you.

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Laaaaaaaaaaaaa! La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la la La LA laaaaaaaa…

9 07 2012

Sometimes it’s best to admit you have a problem. So here goes…I am obsessed with pitchers. Large ones, small ones, round ones, glass ones, ceramic ones, ones that play ball.

So when I fell in love with a ridiculously hip and pricey pitcher at a shop in the neighborhood, I refused to pick it up. I walked by it in the window for months. I would NOT buy that pitcher. I wouldn’t touch it. I could resist. Really. But then the hubby wanted to go in that store. And when I told him about the pitcher he said “do you want to get it?” And when I said it was too expensive, he picked it up (!), looked at the bottom, and said it was still ok.

Lo:

Why do I love him so? I can hear him sing every time I look at him. Plus – I love all big gray wrinkly animals, especially whales.

And most especially, Willy:

 





Summer breakfast

2 06 2012

So…we joined a fish CSA!  You’re surprised, right? And today’s SirenSeaSA pick up was 2 varieties of oysters from Pt. Reyes Oyster Company: Miyagi’s and Atlantics. The hubby went to go get our treasure from the sea, and texted me immediately “get your shucker ready!”

I was already prepping breakfast (mmmm…fruit…) but happily switched gears and put the eggs and leftover taco fixin’s away and started shucking:

Any time I shuck oysters I think of my dear friend over at …and whatnot who taught me how to shuck oysters. And the best part? I also think of her any time I play Herb Alpert and that was already on the player.

18 delicious oysters with nothing but a squeeze of lemon for breakfast? (Shared with the hubby, of course.) YES PLEASE!





A sticky project

13 12 2011

One of the things I have discovered in the last couple years is the Italian fruit cake called panforte. It is delicious. So good. Especially with chevre. Mmmmmm… And it’s f’in expensive! So last year I took a try at making it myself and it turned out lovely:

So I made it again! It’s baking in the oven as I type.

The recipe is not complicated (there are a ton of them on the web) but it is something you have to plan for because there is 1 part where you really have to be on the ball and work quickly. Here is my version:

Panforte

  • 3 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (or other dried fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried dates (or other dried fruit of choice)
  • peel of 1 lemon, pith removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cups blanched and toasted almonds
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (which I didn’t have today so I skipped it – no biggie)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey

1st, be sure that your spices are relatively fresh. This is a spiced cake and if they are at all stale it will be unexciting.

Start by melting the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan with water or in the microwave. I melted mine in the microwave today and forgot to stir between 30 second intervals and it got burned. Then I had the bright idea to scoop out the burning chocolate with my finger. Idiot. See the blister forming at the base of my first knuckle?

Anyway, so melt your chocolate and set it aside. Butter the bottom of a tart pan with removable sides (or a cheesecake pan) and layer with rice paper or parchment paper.

Mix your fruits, nuts, spices, flour, and cocoa in a big bowl.

Stir the honey and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil; without stirring wait until it gets to 240 degrees. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Now! Quickly mix the chocolate into the nut mixture, and then even more quickly mix the sugar and honey in. Rush to put it in your prepared pan and spread it all around using a spatula or your hands (but don’t burn yourself). Bake at 300 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edge starts to get little air bubbles that stay, just like pancakes. Let cool for a bit, remove ring of tart pan and dust with powdered sugar. Allow to cool all the way, slice into wedges, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and keep in a cool dark place for up to 3 months. This mails very well.

Some people eat it as a cake, but I prefer thinly sliced slivers with goat cheese. It’s super sticky and thick, so I don’t really get the cake thing…

Btw – at the store, this stuff sells for about $14 a wedge? At home, it’s not much cheaper at about $8 per wedge if you source the ingredients locally, which is what I do because I’m a nerd like that.





Tastes in Art

27 11 2011

I am a huge modern art fan. I don’t agree that writing your name on a urinal makes it art, per se, but I am totally on board with pieces like Richter’s Gray Paintings, an opinion that I think still mystifies my mother. We went to the SF Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the photographer Francesca Woodman’s work (great exhibit), and I wanted to share with you a couple of my low quality shots of my favorites of the day from the main collection:

Vija Celmins:

Clifford Still:

Josef Albers:





Buttons!

9 06 2011

I love buttons. I have a strange addiction to collecting them (just like jars) because I am drawn to them aesthetically and because they “might be useful someday”. Closet hoarder behavior…but that’s a topic for another day. Today I have a fun video for you, highlighted by the crew over at Craft, a place I’d love to work for (hire me, please!), even though the commute to Sebastopol would be a pain in the butt. Enjoy!





Tuesday is for toothpicks

26 04 2011