Somehow I found a variety of uses for it. And at less than $3 a can (or less than a dollar at some places), its hard not to give this ingredient a shot.
Some recent snaps of places visited and things eaten in San Francisco.
Of course, there are plenty of things not included. The totopos (chips covered in red chile sauce, cilantro, cheese, and white onion) from Nopalito. The Josey Baker toast of the day from the Mill. The olive bread from Tartine.
Or the sunets at Ocean Beach - there are too many of those. But then there are many scenes that a camera can't capture because the landscape has just too much fog or too much sunshine or just meant for remembering. #SoSF.
yogurt + pear + granola at brunch at Nopa
tomato, mozzarella, basil pizza from Pizza del Popolo - a pizza truck on wheels with a wood oven
my first ramen - Hapa Ramen's fried chicken version - Ferry Building on Tuesdays
a map of San Francisco inside Trouble Coffee
a PBR, a Polaroid land camera, and a smartphone: Sunday instant camera walking tour by Photobooth
Late last week, I attended one of the thank you dinners for folks who contributed money to ForageSF's Kickstarter campaign. All the funds raised will help build a cooking co-working space called Forage Kitchen. Food makers of all kinds will use the incubator space to launch businesses or can or jam whatever is in season, but cooking classes, events, and parties will also take place in the building. The brainchild behind this project is Iso Rabins, a guy who hopes the space will be a model for other cities to create.Below is the menu of the evening's dinner - thanks to Meghan for making this happen!Radishes with Nasturtium Butter and Hand Harvested Jacobsen's Sea Salt (not pictured)
Crispy Fried Lake Smelt with Tempura Fried North Bay Seabeans
Eucalyptus and Wild Huckleberry Popsicle
Day five of San Francisco living. The sun shines a different shade of blue. Not to wax rhapsodic or pile on the romanticism, but the air is a bit different out here. The biggest adjustment is the time difference. Three hours. Football is the first thing to air today. Not a terrible thing, its just not something I'm used to, especially when a beer used to be involved. Now its coffee or tea.
Nopalito's red chile chips + lime + crema (along with the rest of their menu) is crave worthy. And very welcoming and friendly service to boot. Its dangerous and delicious to be living around the corner.
above: picture of a favorite Boston cafe, 3 little figs.
Today is my first full day in San Francisco. The weather is warm, the sky is blue, and there are new sights and smells.Main to-do for the day was hitting the grocery store. With all of my kitchen tools/pantry items in storage in Boston, its tough to think about what I need, what I can live without, and what could work.
Here's what I bought at the Haight Street Market, a friendly local store that offers a membership. The exact rules seem to be in a grey area, but a discount is much appreciated.
above: tortillas, tortilla chips, yogurt, milk, avocado, cheddar cheese, oats, granola, arugula/spinach mix, eggs, iced coffee
When you moved to a new city, what did you buy on your first grocery store run?
Two weekends ago I visited some farms in Sonoma County. Its rare to find farms in this area as most of the land is used to grow grapes.
The 100 year old barn houses a store, open to the public to buy seasonal produce, flowers, and handmade wreaths. Oak Hill sells to restaurants, grocery stores, and at local farmer's markets.
Specialty and hard to find varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown. Bi-Rite employees (and excited customers) are encouraged to harvest and help out lead farmer and produce buyer, Simon. The crops that come from this farm are sold in the market.
That mini chicken sandwich can't be beat. You know a place is a winner when the lady working the register says she comes to eat dinner on her days off.
Its been years since I have cooked a packaged pasta. Buitoni, the longstanding brand of pasta sauces, filled pastas, and noodles, recently announced two new pasta flavors. The nice folks (thanks Sarah!) at Buitoni's agency, Night Agency in NYC, contacted me about tasting these pastas and creating a new recipe or two. Armed with coupons to try them out, I brought home packages of the Butternut Squash Agnolotti (half moon shapes filled with butternut squash puree, ricotta cheese, and amoretti cookie crumbs) and the Chicken Marsala Ravioli (chicken, roasted mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and Marsala wine). Both of these pastas are part of Buitoni's all natural reserve product line.Preferring the Butternut Squash, I made a list of ingredients that plays well with the agnolotti filling. Nutmeg immediately jumped to the top of the page. Shallots and garlic are always reliable aromatics. Finally, kale emerged as the other star of the show. The green leafy vegetable often shows up butternut squash side dishes or savory pies. Plus, it seems to be everywhere this time of year and for a bargain.
What I didn't want to create was another sauce, especially one chock full of butter or cream. Not that those sauces don't taste good - they just didn't seem to fit with this pasta. What I like about this recipe is the use of a delicious filled pasta (the filling really tastes like butternut squash) along with seasonal ingredients, not to mention local. This means cutting out some kitchen time (rolling and stuffing pasta) yet still chopping, stirring, and toasting raw ingredients. Water boils while the kale wilts in the saute pan. Active cooking time means dinner gets eaten sooner.Kale is one of those superfoods that gets lots of name dropping for health benefits and nutritional impact. It is a frequent guest on farmers market tables in the summer as well as the winter. In other words, this pasta recipe fits the summer and the January dinner menus. There are many varieties of kale - use whatever you find at the market. Since they all look like mini shrubs, rip off the stems and tear the leaves. No need to bring out the knife this time. Unlike the other green leafy vegetable, spinach, it won't disappear quite as quickly in the pan. Another +1 for this recipe: it only took 30 minutes, from start to finish. *I was not compensated for these products or recipes - the Night Agency provided me with coupons to purchase the pastas free of charge*
Heat the olive oil in a medium size skillet on medium high heat. Add the kale and toss the leaves in the olive oil to coat. Watch how the color changes to bright green. When the kale starts to wilt a little, add the shallot and garlic. Turn the heat down a bit to avoid burning the shallot and garlic. After about five minutes of cooking, add the chicken or vegetable stock. The stock will sizzle and start to form a sauce, of sorts. The kale will get more tender. Grate the nutmeg over the kale - 20 gratings should do the trick. Use more or less depending on taste. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. When the pasta is ready, spoon the agnolotti into a bowl or plate. Add several spoonfuls of the kale on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds and cheese.
Cook the Buitoni pasta according to the instructions on the package.
I definitely left my stomach in San Francisco; everything from wine to pizza to salted caramel ice cream to crudo to a mortadella hot dog. And, there are many places I didn't get to on my list.
salted caramel + strawberry balsamic: Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission
menu + refreshing hibiscus drink: Nopalito
Omnivore Books: tiny shop full of cookbooks, old and new
Boccalone in the Ferry Building: Chris Constantino's shop devoted to tasty pig parts
Tasting menu + wine pairings: Commonwealth in the Mission
Pot and Pantry: store sells gently used high end kitchen gear and offers recreational food classes
Marin County/San Rafael Farmers Market: 3rd largest market in California
In continuing the tour of Massachusetts farms, last Sunday I visited Cricket Creek Farm with my friend Elizabeth and her four legged companion, Jackson. Our friend, Jenni, is spending the rest of this year as a cheese-maker at CC, and we wanted to check out her new home. From Boston, the drive is all of three hours, but it's a scenic drive on Route 2.
piglets hang out under the a-frame
afternoon nap from the sun
a cat named creamy on watch in front of the store