- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: November 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For Our Next Trick

Thanksgiving was lovely, we finally digested. We are back to the grind, and looking forward to the weekend. It is true we always look forward to the weekend, but this weekend is really something to look forward to.
 Nick and I are participating in our friends Meredith and Olivia's second Shop Party.
Shop Party if a craft bazaar, there will be over twenty vendors, from local business to crafty people who make incredible stuff. Two bands will be playing, there will even be cocktails! We will be there with our now much requested banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich)

We will also be scooping up some cà phê sữa đá ice cream (Vietnamese coffee ice cream).
To take home with you we will have a variety of preserves for you to try and purchase.

Apple Rosemary Jelly, Pear Fennel Butter, Sweet Roasted Beet Relish, and the amazing Tomato Jam

We are busy, busy, busy until then and really hope you come on down. You can get all your holiday purchasing done in one fell swoop, and have lunch, and hear local music, AND support local business and the local arts and crafts community. It seems like money well spent to me!
See you Sunday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's not hard to be thankful, even when we are so spoiled. Nick and I are blessed, our lives are charmed, our home is warm, our bellies are usually (too) full, our chickens are happy and healthy... We are happy and healthy. Our dog and cats are playing as I type in bed.  We live in such an amazing, abundant, and beautiful place.

I am tempted to go over the top and describe the sun shining in through the window and the crisp morning garden, but I will not.

I will only say Nick is up making coffee, and soon I will pick some spinach from the garden, eggs from the coop, and make an omelet.

But this is our everyday routine.  As much as we try, we sometimes forget how much we have to be thankful for.
Spinach, cheese, and turtle bean omelet
Nick and I do remind ourselves all the time how lucky we are.  We take deep breaths, we admire our skyline, we ride our bikes, we sit down to eat, we eat.  Like I said, we are blessed, and we are not alone.  We have the support and love of our friends, family, and community, and they have our support and love in return.

My family always gets together in Marin for Thanksgiving, I look forward to it every year.  All of us, over twenty people usually, gather around to catch up with each other and eat the hors d'oeuvres everyone has contributed (we are going to bring some kind of cured meat, soft cheese, homemade jam concoction).  I have the good fortune of coming from a family of talented cooks and amazing palates, so everything on the table is so good that by the time dinner is ready I am already full.  I am not even going to try to pace myself this year, I am going to be thankful for everything I eat, and wear a full skirt, and maybe even take a nap.
I hope everyone is mindful of their abundance today.  Feel deeply, feel grateful, eat good food with good people, remember that we are all good people.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When You Do Feel Like Cooking

Now that we are rested, I wanted to cook. I was also craving ravioli. I have made ravioli from scratch before with various levels of success, but each time I seem to get better.
Making the pasta is easy enough, it is 2 cups flour, mixed with 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks.
For this pasta I added some finely chopped (pulverized) dried sage.
The filling was easy too, my favorite, butternut squash!
I roasted a beautiful squash with olive oil and some salt and pepper, when it was ready I mashed it, and mixed it with ricotta cheese.
I rolled out the dough in golf ball size proportions, and that is easy too because I use my handy dandy pasta rolling attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. The difficult part for me, is cutting and stuffing. There is nothing uniform about this process for me. Part of me loves the beautiful inconsistency, even messy look of (my) fresh pasta. There is another part of me the worries about the inconsistency of my pasta for cooking and presentation.  Perhaps someday I will have a ravioli stamp, or maybe higher counter tops to streamline this process, as for now, it's a little (delicious)  mess.
It is fastest, and easiest for me is to make ravioli pockets, that is cut a rectangle of rolled pasta, place the filling on one side, dampen the edges and fold over, press to seal. I only do it this way because I then don't have to cut identical pieces of pasta. :)
Once I made all of my little pockets I dropped them into a large pot of boiling water. Like all fresh pasta cooking these ravioli only takes a few minuets.
I dressed the ravioli with fresh basil pesto, tomato jam (I may be a little obsessed, I am incorporating this into every meal) and fresh goat cheese.
The garlic in the basil, the sweetness of the squash and tomato, with the tangy-ness of the tomato and goat cheese was a winning combination.
Our sage and butternut squash ravioli with pesto, tomato jam, and goat cheese dinner was a delicious success.

When You Don't Feel Like Cooking

Over the weekend we went up to Sea View to celebrate Nick's birthday.  We had a wonderful, relaxing, adventurous time.  The weather was unbelievable, warm and clear.  I promised Nick I would make him anything he wanted for his birthday dinner... I think he has moved entirely into adulthood, as he requested sauerkraut soup and roasted Brussels sprouts for his special meal.  The soup was really wonderful and hearty, I forgot the Brussels though.  We ate the soup with crusty cheesy bread and salad.  A friend of ours arrived before dinner with a roast chicken and so I roasted some potatoes and we really feasted.
When we got home the next morning we were all exhausted.  Back to work we went, and for dinner we didn't feel like cooking.  Our solution was simple, snacks! We love bread, cheese, smoked fish, smoked meat, jam, mustard, anything you can pile on or glop together in a convenient and wonderfully satisfying bite sized taste.

We dined, or snacked, or picked at a sourdough baguette, a lovely soft cheese, pickled anchovies, smoked oysters, smoked sprats, and some (mind-blowing, if you don't mind me tooting my own horn) tomato jam I made awhile back. To round the meal up we made a simple salad of greens and herbs.

Dinner was amazing, and we didn't have to lift a finger, other than to pop a piece of fish in our mouth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Great Collapsible Paving Stone

This is Birthday week times two.
November 6th was my mom's birthday, and the 9th was Nick's birthday. Truth be told between eating out and eating leftovers we have not been cooking very much. On Monday however we had my mom and Gary over for a birthday dinner. We grilled a bunch of pizzas, had a simple pear salad, and drank plenty of wine.
As for a birthday cake I decided to make a flour-less cake because this particular flour-less cake is amazing, and because we nearly used all the flour we had making double batches of pizza dough.
As far as we know, we have no allergy to gluten. In fact we eat a lot of gluten rich foods. I have often said I could live on bread and cheese. So the motivation behind baking gluten-free is a delicious product, not necessarily for any health benefit. If you do have an allergy to gluten, bake this cake! Even if you don't! Just please, please be patient!

The cake is a Chocolate Pave, pave is the french word for paving stone, and call so because this is a rich often dense cake. This particular recipe is rich, and seemingly dense, but light as air at the same time. The texture is amazing!

Chocolate Pave
Preheat the oven to 350
In a double boiler heat until melted and smooth
7 1/2 oz. GOOD dark chocolate and 15 T unsalted butter [ :) ]
Set aside to cool
separate 6 eggs,

Whist the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar, whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture ribbons, 10 minuets or so (my right forearm is still sore, maybe use the kitchen-aid mixer) fold the yoke into the chocolate.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites, gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and a pitch of salt. Whisk until the whites look shiny and hold shape.

In three parts fold the whites into the chocolate, just until combined. Pour the mixture into a cake pan that has been buttered and flowered (I used cocoa powder)
Bake for 35 to 40 minuets, The top will crack and it is done when the sides our set up and the center is still slightly soft.
This is where the patience  comes into play. It is important to let the cake cool completely before you remove it from the cake pan. This particular morning I was a little over eager and this beautiful cake kind of collapsed.
Before my mom came over for dinner I lightly dusted the cake with powdered sugar in attempts to disguise my "ambition", not that it mattered, we all devoured large sections before giving the cake much of a second glance.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

We get so excited for trick-or-treaters; we dress up, arm ourselves with full size candy bars, light our jack-o-lanterns, and wait. Unfortunately we only get about ten kids, maybe, so there is some down time and we wrap up early. While we wait it is important to have some spooky music on and something warm and spicy to eat and to drink.  This time of year I rarely put away my crock pot, it is full and steaming with apple cider.  To eat, of course something pumpkin...
Spiced Pumpkin Filbert Bread (adapted from The New California Cook)
Preheat the oven to 350, spread 1/2 cup chopped filberts (hazelnuts) on a baking sheet and roast for 5ish minuets, until lightly browned. Set aside.
Beat 4 T soft unsalted butter with1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 granulated sugar until well blended. Add 2 eggs, 1 ts orange zest, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1 cup pumpkin puree. Blend well.
In another bowl mix 2 cups flour, 1/4 ts salt, 2 ts baking powder, 1/2 ts baking soda, 1/2 ts cinnamon, 1/2 nutmeg, 1/2 ginger, 1/2 allspice. Add the dry ingredients and to the pumpkin mix, mix until just blended. Add the filberts and 1/2 cup golden raisins. Mix just enough to combine.

Butter two 4x8 loaf pans, and divide the batter evenly between the two. Bake for 45 minuets, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cook for 15 minuets before turning out and cooling completely (or however long you and reasonably wait).

We hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!