barcelona

Posted on August 29, 2015

The first stop on our honeymoon was Barcelona. Perched above the Mediterranean on the north eastern corner of Spain, Barcelona just might have the best vibes of any city I’ve visited yet. It’s just cool. Cool in the way that makes you feel welcome and relaxed, the very best kind of cool. Hundreds of tiny, twisting alleyways are bordered by massive tree-lined boulevards. Café tables line most sidewalks and fill the plazas, and they’re usually full of people enjoying what’s best in life. Somehow it feels beachy and a like big city all at the same time. In the summer, the sun doesn’t go down until 11 pm, which means you can take a nap at 7 pm and still have a whole day’s worth of fun ahead of you when you wake up.

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Though we didn’t plan anything in advance other than where we were staying for the whole trip, there were two reasons we wanted to go to Barcelona: the food and the Gaudí architecture. We let the five days we spent there unfold in front of us unscheduled, led by recommendations from friends and family or by our curious eyes and able feet. It was a glorious string of restaurants and museums, architectural landmarks and parks, markets and cafes, beaches and bars, all enjoyed at the leisurely pace that 17 hours of daylight affords.

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Usually I come back from trips with plenty of photos and blurry memories, but I wanted to try something different this time around. At the end of each day, I took notes on what we’d done that day, what we’d eaten, what we’d discovered. I realize that this might be par for the course for some folks (ie: better writers than I), but it was quite the accomplishment. Armed with the specific details that often float away from me immediately after returning from a trip, I give you our favorite things to do, eat and drink in Barcelona, and a few stories to keep it interesting.

To Do

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La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s stunning and ongoing masterpiece. I was brought to tears by the beauty of the Sagrada Familia. I’ve never been inside a building so transcendent. While the outside is interesting and impressive, organic weirdness juxtaposed against gothic tradition, you must go inside. The light inside, colored by panels of stained glass and bouncing off of treelike white marble columns, baths you in a rainbow. It is unlike anything I’ve even experienced, transcendent. Tip: Buy tickets the day in advance online so you can skip lines, and if you can get a ticket to go up one of the towers, do it.

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Park Guell. Another Gaudí project, Park Guell aspired to be a multi-home oasis for wealthy Barcelonans, but was never completed. However, what was finished, is absolutely beautiful—full of experimental landscaping, phenomenal mosaic work and amazing views of the rest of the city. My favorite part of Park Guell was the community meeting area, a terrace filled with columns covered in white mosaic. Tip: Buy tickets in advance online, and go early in the day. After you go to the main part of the park, exit and hike up to the top of the mountain for wonderful views of the city and sea.

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La Boquería. A food lovers paradise. La Boquería is a semi-covered market filled with hundreds of tiny stalls, and even more people doing their shopping and/or gawking at the incredible spread. Fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, charcuterie, bread, pastry, candy, and everything is beautiful. If we could have figured out how to smuggle in a leg of jamón ibérico back into the US, we absolutely would have. I’m still a bit sad we didn’t manage it. There are also small tapas bars scattered throughout, which are absolutely worth eating at. Tip: Go more than once! Eat at a bar inside the first time, then go back and get picnic supplies another day.

Museu Picasso. If you like Picasso, you must go. What I liked best about the Museu Picasso and Fundación Joan Miró was that I was able to see the evolution of the artist’s style over their whole career, and experience their work in so many different media—painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography. Seeing a body of work beyond just the “greatest hits” is a very different way to experience an artist, and I really enjoyed it. Tip: Don’t skip the room with the series of pigeon paintings.

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Fundación Joan Miró. I loved this museum. A good portion of Miró’s work, though not all as I discovered while viewing this collection, has a playfulness and lightness to it that I really respond to. It was neat to see how the symbols and color pallet he’s know for evolved. Tip: Have a coffee on the terrace and smile at the bobble-eyed ceramic figures sitting out there with you.

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El Born Neighborhood. We stayed in this neighborhood and it was a perfect home base. Narrow, twisting alleyways are lined with restaurants, bars, cafés, shops and apartments, almost no cars can squeeze their way in. I felt lost all the time, but in the best possible way. Jordan, of course, always knew where we were. We spent a lot of time meandering through the streets, coming up on a new little plaza or cafe or shop that looked interesting, poking in, grabbing a drink or pastry or an ice cream, and then kept on strolling. Tip: Don’t try and get anywhere on time or any a hurry. Relax and enjoy yourself.

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Barceloneta Boardwalk and the Beach. Barcelona’s beach boardwalk is awesome—wide and well-paved, and the beach is beautiful. I was so excited to put my feet in the Mediterranean; it was colder than I imagined. Our second day, we bought some penny skateboards (knock-offs for $20) and skated all around the boardwalk. I’m terrible at skating, Jordan is much better, it was ridiculously fun.

To Eat
Cal Pep. Cal Pep was a recommendation from our friends Josh and Erin. It’s a gem. A tiny shotgun style restaurant with just about 14 seats at the bar, it’s super lively and really fun. If there’s a wait, you can stand behind the seated guests and have a class of wine. When you sit down, the waiter/chef/barman will ask if you’d like to order or let him choose. We let him choose. Pan con tomate, sautéed cockles, fried baby artichokes, roasted fish with potatoes. Though they specialize in seafood, we had the best tortilla española of our lives at Cal Pep—runny eggs studded with bits of smokey ham and potatoes then slathered with a layer of pork fat when it came out of the pan. Muy bien.

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El Quím de La Boquería. Located in the heart of the Boquería market, it might take you a while to find El Quím, but as we’ve previously mentioned, it’s worth getting lost in La Boquería. El Quím was a recommendation from Jordan’s uncle Jeff, and serves traditional spanish tapas. We had the garlic shrimp, blood sausage, patas bravas and probably a few more dishes I can’t quite recall—cava at lunch is a wonderful idea—and everything was delicious. Not to mention, you have the bustle of the market around you and the ingredients are just so fresh.

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La Boquería. Get snacks a La Boquería and then find a plaza and picnic. You’ve got to try the jamón—they have several varieties and you can get slices fresh off the leg. Of course there is the manchego, and why not a baguette while you’re at it. There’s also little cups of cut tropical fruits. I was able to try wild strawberries (frais du bois, alpine/woodland strawberries) for the first time. They are the cutest and have a texture strangely similar to pop rocks.

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Cafe con Leche. I love the leisurely coffee culture of Spain, it was one of my favorite parts of living in Argentina too. Sit down, have your coffee, and then sit some more. There is no coffee to go. Chat with your friends, read the paper, smoke a cigarette, eat a little snack. It’s a good reminder to slow down, and we took Barcelona up on that plenty.

Helado. You can get pretty decent helado all over the place and when you’re walking 10+ miles a day in the summer heat, why not stop at least once a day? My favorite flavors were passionfruit (aren’t you surprised) and coconut, and Jordan’s favorite was dulce de leche.

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Other things you should try and eat. You can find these dishes at many restaurants, and the place you stumble upon will most likely be pretty darn good. Patatas bravas, grilled razor clams, fideos with seafood, chicken croquettes, grilled asparagus. It’s hard to eat poorly in Spain.

To Drink

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Ohla Hotel Bar. Another recommendation from Jordan’s Uncle Jeff, Ohla is the most over the top/amazing cocktail bar we’ve been too, and that is saying something since we come from San Francisco. They serve classic cocktails but with a twist. Each cocktail is expertly prepared and garnished to the hilt. Jordan got the mojito and the martini, I got a passionfruit tequila drink complete with a bruléed passionfruit garnish and tiny spoon to eat it with and their piña colada. Not just any piña colada though, my ‘circus’ colada was garnished with caramel popcorn, a tiny cone of cotton candy and sprinkles. Jordan’s mojito was dusted with gold. His martini, now that was prepared table side. It was an experience.

BierCab. A beer bar with 20 taps. They had Jordan’s long lusted after Cantillon on tap (the reason we ended our trip in Brussels), along with other craft beers, mostly from Belgium but some from the rest of Europe. We went twice, both times in the mid-afternoon and it was super mellow and delightful. If you like craft beer, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Lambicus. We ended up at Lambicus by accident, though Jordan had heard of it while researching the Barcelona beer scene. We were on a long stroll back from the Miró museum and heard a woman singing jazz in the street along with a small band, and decided to see what was going on. Turns out, it was the bar’s anniversary party. We had a few beers – they have a few taps and large selection of bottles – while listening to live jazz and eating corn nuts. If you happen to be in the neighborhood after museum-ing, why not?

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Whew. I’m sure I overwhelmed you way back up in that ‘to do’ section, but Barcelona really is a stunning city, perfect for all of our favorite things: eating good food, looking at art and architecture, wandering around without a plan. And on top of all that, I got to spend time with my sweet husband, both of us relaxed and not distracted by work responsibilities for the first time in maybe years? Perfection. Let’s go back.

summer barley salad

Posted on August 20, 2015

… And you thought this was going to be a post about that beautiful European vacation we went on. I promised it was coming weeks ago, and here I am with a salad recipe. A salad recipe?!? They went to Paris, and all I got was this lousy salad recipe. Etc, etc.

Someone should really inform her editor.

Her editor says it’s actually a pretty damn good salad. Seasonal ingredients, fun and colorful. Let’s run it.

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Other things are happening around here. Things of the non-salad persuasion. For example:

Realizing I’d ripped a sizable hole in the crotch of my Madewell skinnies tonight while walking the dog. I felt quite the draft. The question becomes, did I rip them earlier today only to notice hours later, or did they rip while I was trying to prevent Willow from eating the mystery food someone spilled in the elevator?

Reading David Bayles and Ted Orland’s book Art and Fear, and feeling just ever so slightly better at my ongoing attempts at writing, ceramics, textiles, photography, cooking. “This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren’t any people like that.”

Listening to This America Life’s ‘The Problem We All Live With‘. We have so much work to do. A must listen, like most things that are tough to hear.

Looking forward to the weekend and the marriage of two of our dearest friends. Two people who we’ve seen grow from AP-class-obsessed skater kids into smart, generous, fascinating gems of human beings who’ll still skate a parking lot, though maybe skip ollie-ing the six stair. Nick and Dena, we love you. Congratulations!

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Summer Barley Salad
2 cups barley, cooked according to the package directions and drained
2 – 4 oz of feta, cut into cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into batons
1 – 2 bell peppers, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced or 2 tomatoes, diced
2 handfuls of arugula, mixed greens or spinach
a handful of parsley, chopped
a handful of cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thinly
a small handful of pistachios
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil to cook the barley. Cook the barley according to the package directions. We like Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Barley – it saves a lot of time. Once the barley is cooked through, drain it and rinse with cold water.

Slice up all of your veggies. You want everything to be bite-sized, but you don’t need to take it too seriously. Cut up the zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers. Slice up the scallions and herbs. Assort the greens, herbs, and veggies in a large bowl or platter, except the zucchini. You need to cook that one.

Grill or sauté the zucchini, a few minutes per side and add to your salad platter.

In a small bowl, combine the zest and juice of one lemon, one grated clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, some salt and pepper, and several good glugs of olive oil. Toss with the drained and cooled barley. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed.

Cube the feta and add that to the platter. Pour the the barley into the center of your ring of veggies and top with a sprinkle of pistachios. Drizzle the veggies with a little extra olive oil and another lemons worth of juice.

To serve, toss everything together and plate or eat it straight from the platter.

-Emily

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fog and toast

Posted on August 5, 2015

This isn’t a post about fog. Or about toast. It’s a post about a cocktail with a silly name.

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Fog and Toast is a tiki drink. It’s fruity, tropical and goes down way too easy—I’m fairly certain those are the sole requirements of a tiki drink. Jordan threw it together on Sunday while we were prepping dinner and after we’d each had a rattlesnake. Inspired by some leftover passionfruit puree in the fridge from these popsicles, he improvised. It was ridiculously good. Almost too good.

Since this drink was a Jordan original, we had to come up with a name. Ever wonder why cocktails have such funny names? It’s because the bartenders have usually had several before they’ve decided it’s good enough to merit naming. Our contenders: Caught in the Rain, Gay Passion (no doubt influenced by our rum brand), Daqui-fury, Summer Lovin’, and lastly Fog and Toast (The Sunset).

Fog and Toast was the winner, despite having very little relevance to the actual beverage, and actually referring to the unofficial motto of San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood I’d come up with earlier that day. This is just how (alcohol-fueled) inspiration goes.

Fog and Toast
1 oz fresh lime juice
scant 1/2 oz passionfruit puree, find it at latino markets in the freezer section
1/2 oz agave
1 1/2 oz dark rum, we use Mount Gay Dark Rum
dash of orange bitters

Shake with ice. Strain and serve in a chilled glass with a twist of lime. Try not to drink it too fast.

-Emily

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our wedding

Posted on July 26, 2015

I’ve got a bit of a dark side and so when people say things along the lines of “college will be the most fun years of your life” or “your wedding will be the happiest day of your life”, I politely nod while thinking something along the lines of “yeah right”. Well, I’ve been proven wrong.

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Our wedding was the very best day. I’ve never felt more loved, more lucky to be living in that exact movement, or more sure of our choice to to marry. Surrounded by so many people from the different phases of our lives, people who love us, people who traveled from near and far to be a part of this milestone, it was happiness unlike any other. I was either laughing or crying happy tears the entire day, my heart was so full. Even weeks later writing this, I feel the prick of those same tears welling up in my eyes.

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We were married in the backyard of the house I grew up it. My mother and brother spent months turning an already beautiful backyard into a truly magical garden, like something out of a storybook. Our families teamed up to string bistro lights across the lawn and patio, and we rented big wood plank tables. My mom collected milk glass from every antique store in the Sacramento Valley and we stuffed vases full of deep green camellia branches picked from the yard, white garden roses and sweet little daisies. I made my own bouquet with the same camellia and roses, big and wild. I slipped into my dress moments before the ceremony, while my mom pinned the veil my sister had made me in my hair. Our dearest friend married us, and then we feasted and danced until midnight. It was more perfect than I could have imagined.

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Because this is a food blog and I’m no idiot, let’s get into the most important detail of all—the menu. Before we had even decided to get married, we knew we wanted to roast a whole hog. And on a spit mind you so the skin gets good and crispy, none of this dig-a-pit nonsense. Once that important decision had been made, the rest of it came easily.

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During cocktail hour, there were fish tacos, cheesy bread and ceviche, summery and light. I heard good things. Our friends Russ and Kelly brewed us a honey wheat beer special for the occasion, and Jordan had pre-mixed big batches of cocktails named after our favorite surf spots, the Channel and the Patch. Though the pig was dinner’s main attraction, there were also game hens roasted with fresh herbs, grilled vegetables, macaroni and cheese, greens with vinaigrette.

Everyone ate and drank, and then ate and drank some more. Dinner was leisurely, like all the best meals are, and as the sun set, it finally cooled off and those lovingly hung bistro lights began to shine. It was delicious.

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Our wedding cakes were from Tartine Bakery here in San Francisco, I picked an assortment because I couldn’t choose just one favorite. My cousin had the stressful job of transporting ten beautiful cakes from San Francisco to Sacramento, and we are forever grateful. The bakery said that at most fifty percent of the guests at a wedding eat cake, but I’m certain that at ours that percentage was more like ninety-five. This is how we know we’re friends with the right kind of people.

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While planning the wedding, I figured the party would feature most prominently in my memories of the day, and it was a glorious party, but the tender moments from our ceremony are some of the most special. Our friend Miykaelah married us, and we wrote our own vows. We wanted someone who knew us well to guide us into marriage and help us share what this commitment means to us with all of our friends and family. Her ceremony was exactly right; heartfelt and generous, serious and light. This is the blessing she closed with. I love those last few lines.

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May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.

May the love of this man and this woman, their unity of spirit, grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.

Loving each other, may they love all persons.

Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life.

May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch.

May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy.

May they be to each other both strong and gentle.

May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness, but in their brave and generous living which makes life beautiful and significant.

We are grateful for all of the hard work of our families and friends put in to making this day so special for us. Without their help, generosity and love, a day so perfect and magical could not have been possible.

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All photos by the incredibly talented Arturo Oliva Pedroza. Book him!

raspberry passionfruit popsicles

Posted on July 14, 2015

Hi! We’re back! But before I can write about our wedding (perfection!) and our trip (incredible!), it’s Popsicle Week! Popsicle Week summons food bloggers from all corners of the Internet to converge upon the genre that is icy desserts on a stick, and it is a glory to behold. You might remember past novelties like Pimm’s Cup popsicles, Stout Creamsicles and Chipwiches, and those are from just this semi-neglected blog alone. The rest of the crew puts forth an even more impressive offering, and some of my favorites from this year are linked down below.

This popsicle was inspired by a tartlet we had in Paris. Passionfruit and raspberry are such a happy match. Plus, PARIS. (How stoked am I that I now get to reference things I ate in Paris?! So stoked.) If it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for me.

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These pops are tart, refreshing and adorable. They’ve got little berries in the top because that’s cute, and you’ve got to wait at least an hour to pour on that second layer of fruit puree so it looks even more precious. Give your popsicle a lime slice halo for its photo op and then can you can call it a day.

Raspberry and Passionfruit Popsicles
For the passionfruit part of the pop
14 oz passionfruit puree (Passionfruit is tragically underrepresented in US grocery stores. I find my passionfruit puree in the freezer section of our latin grocery store. It’s called maracuyá in Spanish)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste, I like these tart, but you might want a bit more sugar)
2 tablespoons vodka (optional, to make slightly less icy)
a pinch of salt
fresh raspberries for stashing in the top (optional)

For the raspberry part of the pop
6 oz fresh or frozen raspberries (1 small carton of fresh)
1/4 cup cold water
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 lime, juiced

In a blender, combine passionfruit puree, sugar and vodka (if using) and puree until quite smooth, about a minute or two. Put three raspberries into each popsicle mold. Pour the passionfruit mixture into your popsicle molds on top of the raspberries, until they are about two-thirds full. Freeze for an hour before you add the second layer.

While the passionfruit part of your pop is freezing, puree the raspberries, water and sugar in the blender. Stir in the lime juice. After the passionfruit layer has solidified enough as to not mix when you pour on the raspberry layer, top each pop off with a layer of raspberry deliciousness and stick in your popsicle sticks. Freeze overnight and then enjoy!

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Other pops I’m eyeing …

Coconut Matcha Blueberry Pops from GirliChef

Spicy Tequila Sunrise Popsicles from Floating Kitchen

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Avocado Popsicles from Dula Notes

4-Ingredient Strawberry Cream Pops from Hungry Girl Por Vida

As always, we send a virtual hug to Billy from Wit and Vinegar for organizing the thrilling, frostbitten fiesta that is Popsicle Week. Be back soon!

-Emily

clean out the fridge, you’re getting married pasta

Posted on June 5, 2015

Our wedding is just over a week away and everything is falling into place—with the exception of the weather forecast, which hovers stubbornly between 100° and 102°.  The vows are written, my mother’s backyard where we’ll marry is stunning, cases of wine and ten cakes are on order. We are excited.

After the wedding, we’re going on our honeymoon to Spain, France and Belgium. Our plan is see all the art, eat all the foods and walk all over those cities. There might be a shellfish tower, there will most certainly be gooey cheese. I’ve downloaded the Paris Pastry App to my phone detailing cookbook author David Lebovitz’s favorite places to get pastry in Paris, which I think means we’re all set.

Of course, before we head out, there’s the usual business to attend to. Packing, bathing the hound, cleaning all of the food out of our fridge. And that’s where this pasta comes in.

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Clean Out the Fridge, You’re Getting Married Pasta
1 pound dried pasta, preferably a short noodle, but why be picky
2 italian sausages, or any sausage really, or bacon
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 pound of fava beans, shelled
1 onion, diced
2 – 4 cloves of garlic
a splash of red wine
olive oil
parmesan cheese

This pasta comes together especially easily if you have an almost-husband or almost-wife to help you in the kitchen. Of course, there’s nothing really difficult about it, just a fair amount of vegetable prep and sautéing that might take a bit longer if you’re a solo show. 

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Almost wife: Put a pot of salted water to boil. While that is coming up to temperature, shell the favas from their first pod and set aside.

Almost husband: Cut the broccoli into florets and set aside. Dice the onion and the garlic.

Almost husband: In a sauté pan, add some olive oil and warm it over medium heat. Take the sausage out of it’s casing and cook the sausage until browned. Remove from the pan and place in a large bowl.  Add the onions and sauté over medium low heat. Once the onions are warm, add a nice splash of red wine, and continue to sauté for 5 minutes more.

Almost wife: When the water boils, add the favas into the hot water. This will loosen their second skin and you can more easily shell them. After 5 minutes, scoop the favas out. Put them back in the bowl and cover with cold water. Shell the favas and add them into the same bowl with the sausage.

Almost wife: Blanche the broccoli in the pasta water. It should only take a few minutes. Scoop the broccoli out and add it to the same bowl with the sausage and fava beans. Now that all your vegetables are cooked, add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Almost husband: Once your onions are translucent, add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes more. Scoop the sausage and veggies and turn the heat to low just to keep everything warm.

Almost husband: Drain the pasta and add into the large bowl, toss with some olive oil. Pour the sausage and veggie mixture over the pasta and toss with some pepper and parmesan.

Almost husband and almost wife: Pour a glass of wine, add more parmesan and enjoy!

And a quick programing note: For obvious reasons, the blog will be silent for a few weeks while we wed and honeymoon (!!!). Rest assured, there will be recipes and photos to come out of it. Many of you who read this blog, we’ll see you on Saturday. We cannot wait to celebrate with you!

Xo,
Emily

oysterfest

Posted on May 19, 2015

This past Sunday we partook in the immense gustatory pleasure that is Oysterfest. Our fourth annual, Oysterfest is a celebration of shellfish, overeating and friendship. We get together with some of our dearest friends to shuck and share upwards of 160 oysters. Throw in a cheese plate, fresh focaccia, cole slaw, pigs in a blanket, homebrew IPA on tap, several well-timed “shuck it” jokes and a view of Sutro Tower perched over the Mission, and it really feels like you’ve made it.

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Now if I was on top of my blogger game, I would have a recipe for homemade pigs in a blanket—I am marrying an aspiring sausage artisan after all. But instead of dutifully obsessing over brioche dough on Saturday, I went sailing. I ate cheese and salami on a boat in the San Francisco Bay while drinking champagne out of a pink dixie cup with a penis-shaped straw. I performed terribly in a series of questions about my betrothed, took the helm for all of 5 minutes before my nerves got the best of me, and basked in the glow of nine beautiful, hilarious ladies. Back-to-back days of great food in picturesque settings with tremendous company, I am a fortunate woman.

And so without further ado, I give you the culinary crowd-pleaser, pigs in a blanket. All of the ingredients are happily waiting at your favorite grocery store, and you can throw these babies together in minutes. Not wanting to be known for a dearth of useful information, there are also directions to purchase raw oysters, if and only if you’re located in the Bay Area.

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Pigs in a Blanket
1 package all beef hot dogs, cut in half
2 packages crescent rolls

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Open your package of hot dogs and cut them in half. Open your crescent rolls. Wrap the rolls around the dogs and place them on a cookie sheet with about an inch between each one. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown.

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Oysters
If you happen to have a group of friends similarly dedicated to the celebration of oysters and live in the Bay Area, it is easy (and surprisingly affordable) to secure a few bushels of oysters for your enjoyment at the Alemany Farmer’s Market from Point Reyes Oyster Company. Throw your bushels of oysters in a cooler, pour a few bags of ice on top, and get ready to shuck.

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Ps. Oysterfest 2014Oysterfest 2013, and how to shuck an oyster (it’s all about that hinge).

-Emily

pizza with prosciutto and peaches

Posted on May 11, 2015

A weekend at home after several busy weekends away really is the loveliest. Sleeping in, wandering around the city, stopping in for a donut, a beer, a coffee, a pupusa, maybe one of each? Then making your way home to cook a pizza and finish out the night with two episodes of Chef’s Table. At least that’s how we spent our gloriously food-filled Saturday. When we weren’t eating, we were walking (or watching Massimo Bottura make the most perfect tortellini you’ve ever laid eyes on).

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The pizza was inspired by the newest cookbook in our collection. The lovely ladies at Short Stack Editions came across our blog while looking for cooks who love pork to check out their newest cookbook, Prosciutto di Parma. Short Stack Editions makes beautiful, single subject cookbooks written by chefs who know the title ingredient intimately. The books are adorable, useful and range in subject matter from apples to honey, broccoli to brown sugar. We’ve enjoyed paging through Prosciutto di Parma and finding new ways to cook with an ingredient we adore but never take much further than a cheese plate.

This prosciutto pizza is a fun one. It’s salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy. It sounds a bit wild when you read the ingredient list, but everything goes together beautifully. And, for one reader out there who also happens to enjoy cured pork products, it’s your lucky day! I’ve got a second copy of Prosciutto di Parma waiting to find it’s new home. Comment on this post, and I’ll pick a winner to receive a copy of this sweet little book.

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Pizza with Prosciutto, Peaches and Burrata, adapted just slightly from Prosciutto di Parma by Sara Jenkins
Makes two pizzas 
1 ball of pizza dough, cut into two pieces
1 ball of burrata cheese, torn into pieces
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup spicy peach jam (recipe below)
a few tablespoons olive oil
flour for rolling out the dough
10 paper-thin slices of prosciutto
chives

Preheat your oven to 475° F. If you have a pizza stone and your oven’s heating element is located at the bottom,  move the stone to the top rack of the oven. We’ve had the best success cooking pizza on the pizza stone at the very top of the oven; the stone cooks the pizza’s bottom, and hottest heat at the top of the oven cooks the toppings and browns the crust.

Dust a ball of dough with flour and roll out your pizza dough; use a rolling pin or your hands,  it’s your choice. Divide the burrata in half, and then tear that half into pieces and scatter on the dough. Between the dollops of cheese, add a bit of the spicy peach jam. Don’t be to heavy with the jam, you don’t want a pizza that verges on dessert. Sprinkle the whole pizza with parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake the pizza until the crust is browned and cheese is melty, 15 – 20 minutes. When the hot pizza comes out of the oven, drape it with a few slices of prosciutto and add a sprinkle of chives. Enjoy hot, just as the prosciutto fat melts into the molten cheese and jam. Heavenly.

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Spicy Peach Jam
4 ripe peaches, cut into chunks
1 habanero pepper, whole
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, juiced

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the peaches, habanero pepper, sugar and lemon juice. Over low heat, let the fruit cook gently until it is soft and jammy. About 20 minutes. You want to make sure you’ve got a pretty thick sauce so you don’t end up with a soggy pizza.

You will have extra jam, this recipe makes enough for 4 pizzas. It will keep in your fridge for a month or 6 months in your freezer. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it would be transcendent on vanilla ice cream.

-Emily

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a while before

Posted on May 7, 2015

We’ve spent the last two weekends in Sacramento, steadily chipping away at our Google Doc filled with wedding to-dos. I’ve got a few categories to keep me organized—A While Before, Soon Before, Today is the Day Fingers-Crossed—and I think this system is working for me. The wedding countdown websites so favored by Martha Stewart types far too intimidating, I immediately deleted my accounts upon subscribing. I suppose there isn’t really a way to know how well my particular system has worked until the wedding has come and gone, but by then it will be blessedly too late to change anything anyhow. And so, onward, strikethrough font at the ready.

What with all this brain-power devoted to wedding planning and thesis writing (perhaps not the best laid plan, consecutive Masters-degree-earning and marriage-happening), we haven’t had much time to cook anything all that fun. Instead I’m going to share some portraits that our photographer Arturo took a few weeks ago. Being editor in chief has it’s perks. Arturo is quite the talent, and our living room looks positively gigantic. Let the record show that the room is not at all large in real life, though the handsomeness my groom and my hound are accurately reflected in the photographs.

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We’re home this weekend and have a pizza adventure in the works. I hope to have something good for you next week.

Xo,
Em

hardly a salad

Posted on April 23, 2015

Since late January, I’ve been spending time in the pottery studio on the weekends. It’s my newest artistic endeavor, and I’ve gotten pretty caught up in it. It feels so good to make something real with my hands, to practice an art the way it’s been practiced for thousands of years. Especially good after spending the week tethered to my computer pushing pixels around, typing furiously on a keyboard, sending 1s and 0s into the ether. It’s a pleasure to create something you can hold in your hands, to transform a ball of wet dirt into something beautiful. I feel the same satisfaction when I cook. That raw, human pleasure that only comes from making something useful,  nourishing or beautiful with your very own hands.

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I’ve lost hours in the studio. I’ll sit down at the wheel, blink and somehow it’s 3 pm. I think the experts call it flow. And then I’m absolutely starving. If I’m lucky enough to have had the foresight, there’s this salad at home in the fridge waiting to be devoured.  I’m calling this a salad, but I use that term liberally. It’s got more grains and goodies than it does greens, but salad seems to be an acceptable catchall term for this type of dish. I’m going for it.

I like this dish because it really excels at using up bits in your fridge. I hate to see those bits go to waste. Got a bit of cheese leftover from earlier grilled cheese sandwiches? Perfect. Some rotisserie chicken? Throw it in. Greens inching past their prime? Why not! Add in grains and something acidic and you’ve got a perfect, rather substantial salad.

This is a flexible recipe. You can swap things out for whatever you have on had and want to use up, but it’s good to keep this formula in mind: a grain, a protein, a green, something creamy, something acidic, and don’t forget the salt! Why fall victim to wasted food guilt when you can make this.

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Farro Salad with Chicken, Cheddar, Arugula and Apple
2 cups farro, cooked according to the package directions
1 apple, sliced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup leftover rotisserie chicken, cubed
2 – 3 cups arugula
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
pickled shallot for garnish (1 thinly sliced shallot, mixed with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt)

Cook the farro according to the package directions. I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Farro because it cooks in 10 minutes instead of 40. Food science magic right there. You could also use another grain like barley or quinoa or rice if you have it lurking in your pantry, but I prefer the nutty taste of farro.

Cube the apple, cheddar and leftover chicken. If you can find an aged cheddar, all the better. Toss the farro with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add in the apple, cheddar, chicken and arugula. Toss together. To serve, top with pickled shallots. Everything is better with pickled shallots.

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-Emily

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