In case you’re not local and just in case you haven’t heard – we’ve been freezing here in the desert this past week.
It’s not right.
This is the desert!
That land of saguaro cactus and yucca, not ice and snow!
Winter is our prime time! It’s what we live for, perfect weather! Not freezing temps that damage our desert loving plants. (Yes, those are sheets covering plants and trees in my backyard.)
We aren’t supposed to be moaning and groaning about the weather now, that’s what we have 6 months of summer for … 115+ degree days … that’s our moaning and groaning time.
I am not happy! Not happy because it forced me to get out and try to pick as many of my Meyer lemons as I possibly could pick in one day. I wasn’t able to get them all. Close, but not all. The photo above represents about 1/4 of the crop I got off the tree.
My dad took home a full crate plus a full shopping bag.
The tree was the most prolific it has ever been. Here is what it looked like on Thanksgiving day.
So many lemons, that they were laying on the ground, still attached to the tree. The weight of them brought them down that far.
In late November and early December, I picked all the low lemons and took several bags to Les Gourmettes, to share with the teachers and students there.
January 16, 2013 5 Comments
What a lovely sentiment about having a lovely day. Seems like a nice way to begin today’s post.
On to the matters at hand…
Aside from when we’ve been out of town and I haven’t had a kitchen to cook in, I am in the middle of the longest span of time that I have not cooked a meal.
Four of of the last 8 days we were dining out and the other 4 days, we were eating leftovers. Quite honestly, I have not felt like cooking. Yes, it happens to me too.
Boy, did we enjoy some amazing fried chicken! At the time we did not know which chicken was cooked by which chef.
It has since been revealed that the crunchy fried chicken on the far side of the plate with the “hot sides” of tomato gravy served with mashed potatoes, haricots vert, and a honey-butter biscuit, belonged to Noca.
On the near side is FnB’s crispy buttermilk-brined fried chicken with the “cold sides” of a pickled corn on the cob niblet, kale slaw, and a baking powder biscuit ladled with creamy giblet gravy.
Both were exceptional, and next to the fried chicken itself, the best thing on the plate was that honey-butter biscuit!
Here is how Dave, my dad, and I voted.
The three of us preferred the chicken with cold sides (FnB).
Connor, on the other hand, voted for the chicken with hot sides (Noca). The winner was posted on Facebook on Monday and later that day, the event was written about on the Chow Bella blog. Read all about it HERE.
Believe it or not, Noca won by 1 (ONE!) vote.
Curse you Connor, you made the difference in the end result. Solid proof that every vote counts!! This seems like the perfect opportunity to remind you to vote, two weeks from today, on Tuesday, November 6th!!!
OK, let me get back on topic … the drought…
October 23, 2012 1 Comment
The first time I stepped foot into America’s Taco Shop, I was completely sold! It was back in February when Tram and I first dropped in during a full afternoon of shopping on 7th Avenue in the Melrose District. And the most recent time I was lucky enough to eat at America’s was this past weekend, with Kim, and yes… we were shopping again.
In addition to the signature tacos, Kim and I shared an “extra” – America’s Corn (sweet white corn, lite mayo, cotija cheese, chili, and lime).
This is how it was served, which would be perfect for one. But since we were sharing, I began to use a little plastic knife to cut the kernels from the cob so we could eat the corn with chips. A server walked by and said it could be ordered off the cob too, so he took it back to the kitchen and cut the kernels off for us (most likely with a metal knife!) Wow! It is terrific – so terrific in fact – that I made it at home for my guys… who loved it too.
Cotija (pronounced ko-TEE-hah) cheese is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk. Named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It can be hard to find in all grocery stores, so a good substitute is either Parmigiano-Reggiano or feta. I used Parmesan.
The mayo-slathered corn is a common street food you’ll find being sold on corners throughout Mexico.
September 25, 2012 1 Comment
Pure brilliance!!! That is what I think of the idea for making Sriracha Powder from the wildly popular Sriracha sauce. The brilliant idea and recipe are courtesy of Chef Dale Talde of Talde in Brooklyn, New York.
Chef Talde uses the powder to make his signature Sri-rancha, a Sriracha flavored homemade ranch dressing. In my book, turning the sauce into a powder is brilliant for two reasons. First, it intensifies the delicious Sriracha flavor. Secondly, it prevents the sauce from watering down dressings, such as the ever popular Sriracha Mayo. So many wonderful uses come to mind – including sprinkling it atop deviled eggs and potato salad or stirring into soups and stir-fry.
Plus when you run out of Sriracha, which I do more often than I’d like to admit, you can have the powder on hand as a quick substitute until you get to the market again.
August 14, 2012 2 Comments
As promised, I recreated the Pepperoni Arrostiti that we so enjoyed at Trattoria Contadina. The cheese stuffed bell pepper uses three different Italian cheeses; mozzarella, asiago, and bel paese. In case you haven’t heard of bel paese before…
Bel Paese – Literally meaning “beautiful country”. This cheese was invented in 1929 by the Galbani Cheese Company in Lobardy. A wax rind covers the uncooked cheese made of pasteurized cow’s milk. The small discs have a soft texture and are peppered with small holes. Bel Paese appears pale with touches of creamy yellow. This cheese is similar to mozzarella or Fontina in its mild, buttery flavor but is distinct in its body and tang. Bel Paese is versatile and easily melted.
It took two tries to get this recipe just right. The first time, I took pictures. The second time, I forgot to do so. As a result, the pictures won’t reflect the light roasting of the peppers before cutting and filling with cheese. I decided this was needed because the peppers were not soft enough the first time around. After roasting lightly, they were the perfect texture… just as we’d enjoyed at the restaurant. Be certain to serve with a nice crusty Italian bread. Trust me, you’ll want it to sop up the tasty sauce.
August 10, 2012 2 Comments
Mark Tarbell and Tarbell’s are one the many chef friends/restaurants that I follow on Facebook. A great side benefit to following these talents is that they sometimes post what is on special for dinner that night. When it looks tempting, I can hurry up and make reservations… or if we don’t feel like going out… I can try and duplicate the dish for my own knock-off “special of the day”.
This was the case late last week when I saw Tarbell’s post above. It reads:
“A new week, a new Mr. Fish! Nantucket Sea Bass with a stew of sweet corn, summer squash, and Napa cabbage is topped with a cured tomato relish. We’re loving the veggies we’re getting from local Crooked Sky Farms!“
It is a big recipe, but after not posting a recipe for a full week, a big recipe is called for!
I didn’t have sea bass, but I did have halibut. Additionally, I didn’t want to cure tomatoes for the relish, so instead I used sun-dried tomatoes as the base. Following is the delectable result.
August 9, 2012 2 Comments
I know what some of you must be thinking. “Will these San Francisco posts ever end?” Please continue to indulge me… this is the second to last. And the post tomorrow, the last one, has an extra special treat at the end that I am SO excited about! Hang in there baby!
After Connor so graciously endured the day of shopping, spa time, and Jägermeister, Marissa and I decreed Sunday as “Connor Day.” First order of business on “Connor Day” was breakfast. We chowed down at Park Chow, located in the Sunset District. The food was good, but did not come close to what we had the morning before at Outerlands.
Yesterday, I posted photos of Marissa looking annoyed with me. This day, apparently, Connor was – what a look!
Aww… sibling love! After breakfast we took a quick detour from “Connor Day” (“quick” as what a girl would think of as quick… not so much what a boy would think of as quick) in a cute clothing boutique, where I bought Marissa a beautiful teal dress and nude pumps. And we were again on our way.
The 40,000 square foot Museum, located in a historic brick building, once a barracks on the main post of San Francisco’s Presidio, opened on October 1, 2009. Co-founded by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and grandson, Walter E.D. Miller, the Museum is owned and operated by the non-profit Walt Disney Family Foundation.
In the lobby (the only area photos are permitted) you’ll find Walt Disney’s 26 individual Academy Awards, as well as the unique honorary award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which consists of one full-sized Oscar alongside seven miniature ones. It was presented to Disney in 1939 by 10-year old child film star, Shirley Temple.
The rear of the museum features a glass wall offering a panoramic view of the nearby Golden Gate Bridge. If you plan to go, schedule at least 2 to 3 hours, there is a lot to enjoy! Next stop…. Chinatown.
August 7, 2012 2 Comments
This day was all about spoiling my kids. After our world-class breakfast at Outerlands, we drove downtown for a day of shopping and luxurious spa treatments.
Check out Marissa glaring at me in the rear-view mirror. I guess I was irritating her from the back seat. Hmm, a mother irritating a daughter, now that’s new!
Be sure and stick with me through this rather lengthy post. It was a big day so there is a lot to share, but you have to read the end and check out our spa time and our dinner choice… even if you must scroll down and skip the shopping parts. :-
First we ducked into the Apple store because I wanted Connor to see the awesome theater-style classroom. I know, how much Apple can one person do in a long weekend?! Even our newest store in Scottsdale has nothing like this.
As we walked by we noticed they were demonstrating exactly how to use iMovie. We sat in on the class and learned so much that the rest of the weekend I was taking videos so I that I can test my new found knowledge. And guess what? I’m working on it, and there will be an iMovie on this very blog, very soon.
August 6, 2012 6 Comments
Last Saturday started out so very yummily! Only a few blocks from Marissa’s house is what is said to be one of the top 10 best places for brunch in the entire city. I hardily and happily agree! It is Outerlands, located in Outer Sunset at 4001 Judah Street. Although we could not make the brunch on Sunday, we did go there for breakfast on Saturday, and my oh my, if breakfast is this good, I can not image what brunch must be like!
Additionally, it is rustically beautiful inside. You must get there at least 30 minutes before they open and write you name on the list that hangs on a clipboard outside the door. We did, so we were fifth on the list. By the time they opened, the list was three pages long and the outside sidewalk was packed. Marissa says it’s like that all time; morning, noon, and night.
The bread is what really sends this place into the stratosphere. If I could bake bread like this, I would have more friends then I’d know what to do with!
August 4, 2012 3 Comments
For most people, Lombard Street would probably make the #1 spot on their list of “The Top 5 Streets I love in San Francisco.” For me, the top spot goes to the Great Highway. It forms the city’s western edge along the Pacific coast. It was on our way home from our Apple, shopping, and VW repair adventure, just as we were about to get onto the Great Highway, that Connor I decided to stop for lunch at Java Beach Cafe. And it was here that we spotted this San Francisco landmark.
Do you see it? There is the Java Beach Cafe on the far right. And a green roofed building in the center (from here on out referred to as the “Evil Nursery”) and there on the left, above the dark SUV – yeah, that is the landmark. Official Landmark as of 2006, no less, number 254 on THIS LIST.
He stands tall on the median strip, at the corner of Sloat and 45th Avenue. On the opposite side of the street from the Evil Nursery and the Cafe, is the entrance to the San Francisco Zoo.
I’m sure you can easily see what attracted me to him. The toque (chef’s hat). The chef’s coat. And that adorable blue polka dot bow tie! Too darn kitschy and cute!
This final photo is from Flickr and gives you the best view of the handsome fellow. So how on earth did this get to be a beloved landmark? This first quote is from the Flickr photo site.
“The 700-pound, seven foot fiberglass dachshund head at the median strip on Sloat Boulevard at 45th Avenue has reason to smile. Thanks to Diana Scott and Joel Schechter of Ocean Beach Historical Society and other concerned citizens, the Doggie Diner head, nicknamed DD, is back on its pole after going through repairs and a paint job following a hard fall during an April 2001 storm.
Doggie Diner was a local hamburger and hot dog chain that opened in 1949. To the regret of many locals, the chain closed in 1986, but the legend lived on. Nostalgic San Francisco residents visit DD regularly and tell their children about the good old days at the burger joint, which was originally located at Sloat Boulevard at 46th Avenue.
Illustrator Harold Bachman designed the doggie head in the 1960′s and says he is still surprised that people are enamored with DD. He designed it simply because he thought it would help sell hamburgers. Although DD is officially known to be the last doggie standing, rumor has it that doggie siblings are spotted around the Bay Area from time to time.”
…and from [Tim Timberlake, 07/16/2001]
“The Doggie Diner opposite the San Francisco Zoo on Sloat Avenue has been a favorite eating and Dog Head viewing place for years (since the 1960′s). Recently this last remaining Dog Head has been under threat. The nursery next door bought the site and wanted to remove the Dog Head. Dog Head lovers from all over protested and the Dog Head was saved. Mother Nature then took action and toppled the Dog Head on its fiberglass nose during a windstorm.
The City of San Francisco went to work using other salvaged (saved) Dog Heads, owned by a fellow in Emeryville, as patterns. The Sloat Avenue Dog Head has been restored and placed back on his pedestal across from the zoo and next to the evil nursery.”
You can check out THIS, or THIS, or THIS to learn even more. And there you go, more than you ever wanted or needed to know about The Doggie Diner head. Oh, and by the way, the sandwiches at Java Beach Cafe were excellent.
After lunch, we took the Great Highway back to Marissa’s house and I fixed the toilet and did a few other things around the house. Then we hopped back in the car and drove back to San Mateo to pick her up from work.
How cute is she??!!
August 3, 2012 2 Comments