A Day and a Half in SF

Some photos from a weekend trip to San Francisco. The city that holds my heart. DSC_0006 DSC_0010 DSC_0012 DSC_0017Tartine is always the first stop. Oh, scone.DSC_0026Lying on the grass at Dolores Park.
DSC_0081 DSC_0099 DSC_0135 DSC_0144DSC_0153 DSC_0146 DSC_0160A breathtaking hike at Lands End.DSC_0171Dinner at B Star. The tea leaf salad and the spicy shrimp, eggplant, and tomato curry with coconut rice are my favorite dishes. By the time I thought of taking a picture of dinner, most of it was already happily consumed. DSC_0194 DSC_0205 DSC_0211photo-58Saturday Farmers’ Market at the Ferry Building. Blue Bottle Coffee and Roli Roti’s porchetta sandwich for breakfast. A precious indigo bud vase from Heath, and the sweetest pluots from Frog Hollow Farm brought home. DSC_0218A walk around Alamo Square.396159_10100983069108446_486878841_nLunch at Zuni Cafe before heading home.

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Favorite Breakfast Dishes + Recipes

dcsdreamy cream scones – I used this scone recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook for my first time baking scones from scratch, and I can honestly say that I never need another scone recipe again. I couldn’t believe I pulled these out of my oven. I may not have baked many scones before, but I’ve definitely eaten many*, and I tell you, this is the scone of your dreams.  It’s at the tippy-top of scone perfection.  It’s moist, but sturdy, but still so soft and light and buttery and wonderful. The perfect scone.

*scone cred? – some of my favorites include Tartine’s buttermilk currant scone, Arizmendi’s blueberry scone/corn cherry scone, Square One’s raspberry scone.

DSC_0173baked oatmeal – I made this not too long ago, and I’ve had it every morning for the past couple months. Yes, every single day. Sometimes I use apples rather than blueberries. The amount of cinnamon in the recipe goes well with the apples, naturally, and I like to use a mix of Fiji and Granny Smith apples. Pears would be a nice alternative. Are you still perplexed by the fact that I eat the same breakfast every day? I find an incredible amount of comfort in breakfast routines, leave me alone.

giltslowly scrambled eggs – 30 minutes for scrambled eggs? Yes. Ruth Reichl says, “…scrambled eggs, cooked with great patience, have a texture like velvet and a taste that reminds you why you want to be alive.” This recipe will require your time and patience, but it’ll give back the most luxurious dish of eggs. The slow process of constant stirring not only creates a luscious texture, but the flavor of egg is phenomenally reduced and concentrated in every bite.

croicroissant + preserves + coffee

My favorite bakeries in LA for a croissant – unless you plan to make them at home – are Proof, Maison Giraud, and Europane.

avoavocado toast – No recipe needed here – simply mash half an avocado onto a well-toasted slice of a nutty, whole-grain bread, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Healthy, hearty, easy, quick, delicious.

2yogurt + agave + chia seeds

When the yogurt is especially good and fresh, I like to keep the toppings to a minimum. This is one of my favorite combinations.

aprilApril Bloomfield’s English Porridge – You’ve probably heard it before – it’s been praised by The Wednesday Chef, The Amateur Gourmet, Food52, among many others. This oatmeal doesn’t need me to say it, but I’ll say it. It’s special.

eggsdippy eggs and soldiers – Buttered strips of toast dipped in rich egg yolk. My favorite meal for those slow, glorious mornings of breakfast in bed, a good book, and the morning sun.

berrybreakfastcobbler3piedessert for breakfast – Be it leftover pie, cobbler, or crumble, I believe that if you put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, it’s breakfast and it’s wholesome.

cerealcold cereal – Cold cereal never, ever gets old. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or late night snack, it’ll do. Kashi in the morning, Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms at night.

cerealk

Pomegranate

DSC_0004Treasure seekers of the world…

Have you looked inside a pomegranate? Squeeze one softly and listen- you may be able to hear the jewels inside glittering in the dark. When you open one up, you’ll discover a cave, encrusted with a million rubies! They’ll sparkle as light cuts through the clear kernels of red glass for the very first time.

These are pretty rubies you can eat! Pluck one off, and in your mouth it will pop with sweet and tart juices for only a moment- then disappear. 

Juice No. 1 – Tango Pink

When I used to work in Venice, on Abbott Kinney, there was a popular deli/juice bar called Local 1205 a few doors down. I would glance at the menu in passing, but didn’t think twice about paying $9.00 for a jar of apple juice.

But then one day, a dear friend stopped by to visit, with a glass jar of that cold-pressed apple juice in hand for me. The juice was cloudy, a dark amber color. The first sip was surprising. It tasted like an entire crate of sweet, crisp apples were juiced, concentrated, reduced, and squeezed into that 16oz mason jar. It was just apple apple apple. Apple to the hundredth power. It was good.

Local 1205 has a concoction called Floral Spike. It’s made of green apple, lemon, ginger, and cayenne pepper. This is my rendition of it, incorporating sweet, summer watermelon. According to the Plochere Color SystemI’d call this Tango Pink. If ever I open up my own juice bar, I think I’d create a menu by color, and offer a spectrum, from White to Black.

Black – Apples, blueberries, lime, and squid ink?

DSC_0100

Tango Pink

1 small apple

handful of cubes of watermelon

1/2 lemon

1 inch of ginger

dash of cayenne

Happy 4th! with A Recipe Roundup

femme-belle.tumblrHappy 4th! Hope your day is filled with love, sunshine, and lots and lots of watermelon!

Here’s a recipe roundup if you’re in the need of some last minute menu inspiration-

A Summer Cheese Plate

A Summer Cheese Plate

Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta

Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta

Garlic-Mustard Glazed Skewers

Garlic-Mustard Glazed Skewers

Crispy, Juicy Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill

Crispy, Juicy Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill

Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Charred Pepper Steak Sauce

Charred Pepper Steak Sauce

Grilled Strawberries with Pimm's and Vanilla Ice Cream

Grilled Strawberries with Pimm’s and Vanilla Ice Cream

The Moon Safari  (pineapple + tequila + lime + tarragon)

The Moon Safari (pineapple – tequila – lime – tarragon)

 

(Image Source : 1, all other images linked)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in LA

photo-51…is found at The Sycamore Kitchen. Their Rye Chocolate Chip Cookie rocks- they’re thick and chewy, with big hunks of bittersweet dark chocolate countered by flecks of sea salt. They’re baked perfectly- the edges dark, deeply flavored by browned butter, and with each bite of cookie you get the faintest crunch of rye, and your mouth momentarily fills with the aroma of the characteristic grain, but then all that butter and chocolate mellows it out wonderfully. Until I’m proven otherwise, this cookie wins. I gladly accept all contenders with an open mind and gullet.photo-50

The Sycamore Kitchen

143 S. La Brea Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Breakfast and June

UntitledI was looking forward to seeing the supermoon over the weekend. I love the moon. I fall in love with it over and over again. Earlier in the week, I had set an alert on my iPhone, to remind myself that “the moon will be super” on the 23rd.
DSC_0020The moon was indeed super on the 23rd. That is, from the 22nd to the first hours of the 23rd. I had in mind the evening of the 23rd. I spent the actual night of the supermoon eating roast duck at the tiny Chinese BBQ restaurant down my street. I ate a terrific amount of it, along with its wonderfully crispy, fatty, duck skin. I was cholesterolically fearless and happy, and I drank lots of Jasmine tea. Then I went home and passed out on the couch.

DSC_0046The month of June has been like the faintest color of lilac purple. So faint, you’d sometimes think you’re seeing white. I floated along the lightest breeze of June, and it’s bringing me to its end. When I pause now and reflect back on the month, the actualized, and concrete forms, changes, events, and ideas materialize as memory, and it makes me believe that June makes living in the moment so natural and easy.
DSC_0002Grapes are so sweet right now, and I’m consuming gigantic watermelons each week. I’ve also discovered how awesome juicing is. I’ll be sharing my favorite juice concoctions soon.

For now, here are a couple things I made over the weekend. The first- a batch of lowfat yogurt.

DSC_0154I had nearly two full gallons of milk in the fridge, a day past its printed expiration date, yet, it was still good. Milk can’t see outside of its carton. Milk doesn’t know when it’s supposed to die. The milk will spoil when it naturally will, so sniff, inspect, taste, before throwing out perfectly fine milk that has passed- within reason- its printed expiration date.

photo-48Have you made yogurt at home before? It’s simple. Heat your milk in a large saucepan and set it over medium heat, stirring periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. Turn off the heat once bubbles just begin to break at the edge- right before it gets to boil. Let the milk cool until you can dip your clean finger in and is warm to the touch. In that meantime, preheat your oven to 110 degrees, and then turn the oven off.

When the milk has cooled, stir in a few spoonfuls of good yogurt with active cultures. You can use supermarket yogurts like Fage for this, and it’ll still be great, but if you can get your hands on fresh yogurt from a local dairy farmer at your farmers’ markets, even better.

After everything is stirred together, cover the saucepan with its lid, wrap it with a towel, and let it sit in the warm oven overnight. I keep the oven light on for warmth. Incubation.

photo-49By morning, you’ll have fresh, homemade yogurt. It’s different from anything else. It’s like the smoothest custard. DSC_0173

And then I made Heidi’s baked oatmeal. I was motivated to make it after making these blueberry bars that I had mentioned last week, because I spent the following days eating warmed up leftover blueberry bars for breakfast with coffee. Blueberry bars for breakfast made me happy, but I figured I ought to have something a bit more wholesome as a morning meal, so I turned to Heidi, and her baked oatmeal recipe is it. It’s easy to put together, it’s wholesome, delicious, sweet, but not too sweet. It’s wonderful with a dollop of fresh yogurt on top.

The recipe is from Heidi’s latest cookbook Super Natural Every Day, and you can also find the recipe online here.
photo-52
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How Not to Be Alone

Links for midday Monday…
DSC_0021“The flow of water carves rock, a little bit at a time. And our personhood is carved, too, by the flow of our habits.” – A terrific NY Times Opinion article about how communication technologies have affected human connection. butter

Have you tried butter coffee? I’m intrigued.

blueberryPlanning to make these blueberry crumb bars for friends coming over tomorrow night.yoy2 yoy3 yoy1

Studio YOY made me look twice.

And in case you missed this, Apple describing their thoughts and emotions behind their creation process. Beautiful.

Bread

1 2Receiving little gifts wrapped in brown paper is so nice. 3

Especially when that gift happens to be home-baked bread. 4

I’ve been meaning to try Sarah’s recipe for her Life-Changing Loaf of Bread,  and after seeing it praised on Jen’s blog as well, I knew this bread was something. But I never got around to it.

I did however, mention the recipe to a friend a few weeks ago, and in the most lovely and wonderful way, this morning I get to declare to my dear readers that yes, this bread is something. It’s beautifully studded with almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. It’s healthy- there’s no flour in it, it’s high in protein, made of whole grains, seeds, and nuts. It’s incredibly high in fiber.

But apart from all that, it’s delicious. It’s dense, but not heavy, and once toasted, it is indeed life-changing.5

May life remain simple enough for a wonderful little loaf of bread to be able to do that.