Thursday, May 26, 2011

Open-Faced Sandwiches...

Are my favorite.

Mainly because I think sandwiches typically have too much bread for my obsession with ratios and also because it usually means the contents are stacked high and looking delicious.
Like this one.
At least I think it does. But maybe that's because I just ate it and loved it. Every bite actually. My only regret is not having someone to eat it with...but these are the nights I fulfill my selfish food cravings so I suppose it works out in the end.

As for the contents of this leaning tower of goodness:
- Whole Wheat Walnut Bread by Acme, toasted
- Homemade Pesto (basil, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan)
- Edamame Hummus (thanks Berkeley Bowl)
- Italian Eggplant (broiled in the oven)
- Sauteed Red Onions (de-glazed in balsamic vinegar)
- Heirloom Tomatoes (I know it's early but I really needed these guys- thanks really pulled through)
- Fresh Mozzarella (yes please)
- Avocado (tis the season!!)
- Sprouts (next time I'll add make the sandwich even higher)

Just one last note: you'll need a knife and fork for this one, but it's worth it, I promise!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Did you think before deciding on this?"

(right after crossing the Antioch bridge...the one place I actually feared for my life)

Well, not exactly. Sometimes I don't think things through well enough...mainly the details of something, mainly how difficult something will be, especially if I think it sounds like an adventure of some sort.

It's been a few weeks since I tackled the 68 miles from Antioch to Sacramento with my two amigos Brian and Thomas. At this point I think it sounds exciting and a ride I might do again if the weather forecast promises me it won't produce a head wind for the second half of the trip. It has, however, taken me a little while to grow out of my thinking the trip was a foolish idea. I made it, right? Despite thinking my body might just break into a million pieces those last 15 miles it actually stayed in in tact I was able to walk the streets of downtown Sacramento later that night to experience a natives perspective. What a place!

I haven't pushed my body that hard since I raced Wildflower...though it was over 4 years ago the exact feeling came right back with my body feeling good and terrible all at the same time.

The views were actually quite beautiful with spectacular green grass and scattered clouds against blue skies, almost making up for the Springtime wind...
And the two boys I went with, they're pretty cool. Actually, they're really cool and I'm positive I wouldn't have been able to do even half of it without them.

Cheers to embarking on unplanned adventures...often!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

East Coast Adventures

Within a year of graduating college I had four of my closest friends wed which may sound overwhelming but it was actually quite exciting.

Now, four years later I’m still in this place of solo adventuring and figuring life out on my own; usually enjoying it unless I find myself in a rut thinking of how they all left me behind...ha!

One of the great joys of being single right now is that I am able to do my own thing completely almost whenever I want.

This translates into traveling for my job and visiting friends in far off places like Washington DC and Maryland!

I love seeing where my friends are at now that we’re not in the same college house studying and not studying, making chocolate chip banana bread and going on random adventures to Solvang, the Danish VIllage

This last trip I saw Lindsay and David and their new hyper and perfect dog Sundance. They took wonderful care of me showing me Baltimore, our friends farm in Maryland, Eastern Farmers Market and last but not least…The Cherry Blossom Festival!
If you're going to this festival you should definitely grab bikes to bypass all the traffic and cruise around in the splendid Springtime breeze like we opted to do :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

So Excited

I have a slight obsession with cherry blossoms (known fact if you know me) and it just so happens I'll be in DC this Saturday for the kick off of the National Cherry Blossom Festival!

I honestly couldn't be more excited...and the even cooler part is that I get to go with two of my best friends to walk the mall, Linds and David.
How amazing is the poster this year? I love it...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pasta in the Mountains

We got into Truckee realllly reallly late Friday night. Stuck in traffic on the 80 was not so much fun. It was a miracle I had these three characters to keep me company. And of course, my trustee ipad.

By the time we got to the cabin, shuffled into the front door and unloaded the car it was far past midnight. Just in time for T to whip up some oh so delicious pasta with tomato sauce to usher us into the snow. So few ingredients- it's almost something magical. I would say it's definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket for that special night.

The ingredients: pasta, water, salt, canned whole tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, dried peppers, fresh basil, Parmesan Cheese. Bamb! Done!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Amazing hospitality, oysters from Puget Sound, beautiful sunrises, two giant St. Bernard dogs, three chefs in the kitchen and delicious pub food...

Only a few of the things I experienced during my trip to Seattle and Bainbridge Island this past weekend- My good friends Jon and Gina Brandt have an amazing little cottage on the water where they spend a few months out of the year. Seriously, these two have a gift for hospitality and I'm so grateful!

(I love this shot of Boston Thomas took)

Blackbird Bakery...

Can you spot the kite?

I think I'm finally warming up to oysters...

T in Seattle's library- a site not to be missed

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunchoke Puree at the Ritz

Recently I've wanted to cut back on my complaining at restaurants. No particular reason other than not wanting to be annoying to the waiter . Who knows what kind of day they had. I mean, unless they're really terrible at their job or the food is pretty bad or not what I ordered I don't want to say a peep.

The other day at the Ritz Carlton I ordered the Sea Bass. The waiter sold me on it saying there was a sunchoke puree on the bottom and pickled sunchokes on top. Sunchokes remind me of the restaurant I worked at in Rennes; we would steam and puree them with cream (from Normandy, of course) and use the rich silky tuber as a garnish. It was so good! I couldn't wait to consume the puree and see what a pickle sunchoke looked like at the Ritz.

My dish came and the only puree I saw was yellow, looking more like butternut squash and the pickled vegetable wasn't a sunchoke, it matched the puree in color and was in fact a butternut squash. Hm. I looked under the fish and to my disappointment it was only grilled frisee. Interesting. My sunchoke dreams were shattered. The strange colored puree tasted a hint of sunchoke but not enough to make it amazing.

Without thinking I asked our waiter about it..."I was just curious where the sunchokes were in this dish?" He ran to the kitchen coming back to tell me they were in fact pureed with the butternut squash. Okay, not a huge deal, I smiled and thanked him for asking.
He then proceeded to apologize profusely for selling me the dish wrong and told me to save room for dessert...he was going to send out a cookie platter.

Ahh, I didn't need free food! I'm sorry! Didn't I recently vow to stop my complaining? I was just inquiring, not complaining...

The cookies were good, real good, but maybe not worth backsliding on my goal. I will say, however, that the coffee flavored macaroon was quite delicious.

Shaved fennel and celery salad topped off this crab cake. I love this idea.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Nachos

If you know me you know I don't care much about football and when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday I typically want to be at a party but don't exactly focus on the game. I enjoy the highlights and commercials as well as a good touchdown or two but the food at the superbowl party is far more interesting.

This year I cruised up to Napa with a friend and made the most decadent carnitas nachos of all time. I don't know anyone who doesn't like a loaded nacho plate, and for good reason I might add; Every bite of these treats had a delicious blend of homemade goodness.

Loaded Super Bowl Nachos

Homemade carnitas meat, recipe found here
Rancho Gordo Heirloom pinto beans (yum!)
Homemade red tomatillo salsa
Chips from La Luna Taqueria in Rutherford
Sauteed poblano chiles and onions
Tillamock Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Mexican Crema
Green Onions

Napa in the winter- there's just something magical about it, even if it is in the high 70's!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Since When Do I Crave Rabbit?

Oh you know, since the other day my friend Thomas decided it was going to take center stage at our dinner party- No biggie.
We were a few blocks from Bi-Rite market brainstorming ideas when we became fixated on the idea of rabbit...and then, remarkably, Bi-Rite had whole rabbits as if they were waiting there for us in the glass case, traveling all the way from Devils Gulch Ranch. Not cheap, mind you...unique game comes at a special price. Mainly because it's special but also because it's not in high demand. (but we can change that, right?)

I did go to culinary school and was exposed to all sorts of game but I honestly only saw rabbit a few times, most notably in paella. All I remember is it being dry and reminding me of my pet rabbit growing up, Benji. Benji was smaller though, if that makes any sort of difference at all.

When Thomas suggested a roulade preparation I perked up thinking if it was stuffed and wrapped it would have less of a chance of drying out. Saveur provided us with great visuals for how to de-bone the rabbit- such an awesome magazine! They also gave us inspiration and focus for what to stuff it with.

All this to say, I'm completely sold on the idea of rabbit- I want to make a roulade again soon and then I want to take my French co-workers advice by roasting the rabbit whole, basting with Dijon mustard and using the liver to make liver stuffed mushrooms. Anyone interested??

I know this post is incomplete without a picture of our finished product. We served the roulade with a reduction sauce made from the stock and Brandy soaked cherries, next to Parmesan risotto and sauteed collard greens, topped off with an apple tart with caramel sauce for dessert. Next time, I'll try to pull myself away from the excitement of eating to take the final shot...

first proscuitto, then blanched cabbage, then the rabbit

mousse along with bits of leg meat for the center...

after poaching it in plastic wrap we trussed it and then seared it...

and then we devoured it! it fed exactly 7 of us

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ricotta Cheese

I love the stuff and at Sideboard they put a spin on bruschetta by slathering pesto spread and then ricotta on before topping it with cherry tomatoes, basil and olive oil.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sally Loo's

Sally Loo's! Why weren't you around when I went to school in San Luis Obispo? I would have been your number one fan, there each week studying while sipping lattes and nibbling on delicious baked goods. I would know all the regulars...because I'd BE one. I would walk in and it would be like a second home.
I miss you SLO.
I miss you more knowing Sally Loo's is gracing her presence there.

Okay, so you can't exactly buy blocks of cheese at Sally Loo's but you CAN bring a block of cheese and buy some toast to eat it with. This particular gem is called Lamb Chopper and it's made by Cypress Grove Chevre where Janne works!

Hands down the most delicious orange cinnamon roll in the entire world. I took one for the road and dug into it before we hit Paso Robles.

Fun Fact: Sally Loo's is owned by two of the coolest people ever- Jen and Brandon Manuele. They actually were the photographers for Lindsay and Davids wedding! Quite the power couple, right?!