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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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. 

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)

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.
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Sprout Soup

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I was inspired by Heidi’s timely post on soup, and wholeheartedly agreed that it’s a fine time for soup. Today is officially the first day of spring, but it seems like we’ll be facing a few more bouts of cold weather before the season warms up to us.

I called the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve yesterday to ask how the blooms were coming along. With such a dry winter this year, they’re estimating that the poppies won’t be out until late April, possibly early May. They suggested I make some soup as I wait.

No, they didn’t, but if they read Heidi’s post, they might’ve.

This is a Soybean Sprout soup. It’s nourishing, simple, and good. The broth may appear light and clear, but it’s incredibly aromatic with a base of dried pollock and soybean sprouts.  You can find bags of dried pollack at most Asian supermarkets, located in the aisles where the packages of dried anchovies and octopus would be. The pollock smells quite strong, but the soup isn’t fishy at all, but rather has an aroma of a light seafood broth.

The main ingredient of this soup is obviously the soybean sprouts. They’re used in many Korean dishes, but I’ve noticed that with non-Asian cuisines, apart from soybean products like soy milk and tofu, the actual soybean sprout is rarely used. The sprouts in the soup mellow and complement the pollock so wonderfully, and if it’s your first time trying both ingredients, this soup is an easy introduction.

The flavors in this soup are subtle enough to accompany most main dishes, particularly rice dishes or main courses that are rich with meat. Or, as with nearly all foods I mention, it’s great with just a bowl of hot, white rice.

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Soybean Sprout Soup

Serves 6 as main, 10 as starter/side

8 cups water

12 ounces soybean sprouts

6 ounces dried pollack

1/2 onion, sliced

9 ounces tofu, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon hondashi

salt, to taste

3 green onions, diced

Heat the water in a large stock pot over high heat. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, wash the soybeans, then drain in a coriander.

When the water begins to boil, add the soybean sprouts and the dried pollack. Lower the heat to medium high. Cover the pot with a lid, and make sure you don’t open the lid until the water comes to a boil again, 5 to 6 minutes.

When the water comes to a rolling boil again, add the sliced onions, tofu, garlic, hondashi, and salt. Boil for another 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Serve hot with diced green onions on top.

Avocado

While mixing some watercolors today to determine color schemes for an upcoming stationery project, one part of the palate had some yellows, and greens, and browns, and the way they blended together made me think, “wow. that is the color of a perfectly ripe avocado.”

One thing led to another,

and I made this.

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In my life, everything just wonderfully ends up being food.

Lunch

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Tilapia sashimi + natto, with gochujang and soy sauce and wasabi.

Gochujang (on the left) is a Korean sauce that’s sweet and spicy, made mainly of red chilis. It’s the same sauce you’d use to top bibimbap, and is an ingredient in several Korean dishes. Sometimes I like it simply mixed with hot white rice. With a fried egg on top.

Oh, and the lettuce and green onions on the side are from my garden! I know it’s not much of an achievement that warrants to be exclaimed. I understand green onions grow effortlessly like weeds. But for someone like me, around whom green bananas hesitate to ripen on the counter, it’s a pretty delightful thing.

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For anyone who has wanted to try edible gardening, but doesn’t have a yard or much space for that matter, I’d highly recommend Amy Pennington’s Apartment Gardening. She gives simple instructions and helpful explanations on starting and cultivating an edible garden from the urban home.

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It’s always enlivening to have fresh herbs and plants in a room, and every time I pull a sprig of rosemary or thyme from my kitchen windowsill to add or garnish a dish, I still get this geeky thrill, and I’m just completely charmed.

 

Summer tomatoes, I’m ready for you!

(Image source : 1.,2.,3. mine; 4. miekewillems; 5. via inhabitat)