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looking fresh!

Posted on May 21, 2013

emily-jordan-surf-day

Three years ago when Jordan and I started this blog, we never thought we’d to keep it up this long. Like several previous blogging attempts, I fully expected it to fizzle out after a few months. But somehow, cooking and sharing our stories here has really stuck. Because of this blog, I’ve become a much better cook, a more adventurous eater, a better photographer and a better writer too. I couldn’t be happier than when my tiny apartment kitchen is full of friends and food, leaving me with stories and recipes to share.

Because it seems like this blogging thing might stick around for a while, I decided to try my hand at a redesign. We hadn’t changed anything about the blog since we started it a few years ago and it was time. Now here we are with a new logo, cleaner design, and mobile optimized! With any luck, an updated recipe index will soon follow. If there’s something new you’d like to see, here’s your chance to let us know.

And lastly, a huge thanks to you for reading and commenting and cooking our recipes. It means the world to me.

Xo,
Emily

zucchini banana bread

Posted on August 22, 2012

This is what you make when you have bananas going bad on your counter and zucchini lingering in your refrigerator, but not enough of either to make its own cake. Adapted very liberally from the Tartine Bakery cookbook, this breakfast bread turned out surprisingly well. It is balanced, not overly sweet and the flavors got along with one another just fine.

Zucchini Banana Bread 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 1/1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

In another bowl, mash the bananas. Combine with eggs, vanilla and salt and stir.

In the bowl of a mixture, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the banana mixture. Scrape down the bowl and then add the zucchini and walnuts. Mix until combined. Fold in the flour mixture and pour into a loaf pan.

Sprinkle the batter with 2 tablespoons of sugar for a crunchy top crust. Bake about one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

-Emily

homemade vanilla extract

Posted on July 5, 2011

I’m sure it won’t surprise you that we go through a lot of vanilla extract. And that stuff, especially the good stuff with a strong vanilla flavor and no added sugar, isn’t cheap. After some research, I was amazed to find just how easy it is to make your own – just two ingredients, a glass jar and a little waiting.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped (I used Tahitian beans from Beanilla. I buy my beans online for a much better price than at the grocery store.)
1 cup vodka

Split and scrape the vanilla beans. Place them in a glass jar. Pour in the vodka. Submerge the beans and give it a good shake. Place it in a cool, dark place and let it infuse for at least 2 months, shaking it occasionally. After two months, your vanilla extract is ready to use and you can bake your heart content. How easy is that?!?

This vanilla extract is so flavorful and delicious. The awesome part about this process is that you can choose your favorite variety of vanilla bean and make an extract that you might not be able to find at the store – Indian, Bourbon, Indonesian. Plus, you’ll save a few bucks and end up with a higher quality product. Not too shabby!

-Emily

 

our csa from eatwell farms

Posted on May 10, 2011

We’ve been a member of the Eatwell Farms Community Supported Agriculture program for several months now and we couldn’t be happier! The produce is amazing, the variety inspiring and we’ve been forced to experiment. So many great recipes have been born out of “tricky” ingredients. Another awesome thing about eating with the seasons is how excited we get about new produce as it comes into season. We haven’t had strawberries since last July and that makes the first spring strawberries absolutely amazing! Perfectly sweet-tart, a deep red all the way through, and they go bad in about a day – that’s how you know they’re the real deal.

In this week’s box we received: strawberries, navel oranges, marjoram, parsley, lemons, sugar snap peas, green garlic, spring onions, stir-fry mix, radishes and carrots. Yum!

If you are interested in joining a CSA, please visit Local Harvest to find one in your area.

Happy Spring!

-Emily

cinnamon sugar cupcakes with tangelo glaze

I made these cupcakes for a coworker’s birthday last week. I had high hopes for them – cinnamon + sugar + cake = awesome, right? Well, sadly, Martha failed me this time. The cupcakes were a little too dense, a little too dry and only tasted good the first day. However, the tangelo glaze that Jordan improvised to replace the meringue frosting recommended by Martha was awesome. I’ll post that recipe instead and you all can go glaze your hearts content.

Also, I took all these photos to make a cute photo recipe entry for the blog. I think the photos turned out pretty well, so I’m going to post them even though the recipe was less than stellar.

Tangelo Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 t citrus zest, we used a tangelo, but you could make this with any citrus

3 T fresh citrus juice, we used a tangelo, but you could make this with any citrus

Whisk together all ingredients. Use immediately.

-Emily

sushi

Posted on January 3, 2011

There’s something really special about good sushi that Emily and I both enjoy.  When you’ve got perfect rice and super fresh fish, you get something so amazing that you almost forget there’s no bacon involved.  Unfortunately, maintaining an addiction to sushi can easily get out of control, and before you know it you’re deciding between paying rent and going for that extra plate of chirashi.  What does one do in such a dilemma?  Well, I’ve been making it myself about once a week since our hiatus began, and I think the results have been pretty tasty and relatively cheap.

rice:

Making perfect sushi rice is a craft that is mastered over many, many years.  Seeing as I’ve made it about half a dozen times, I’m not going to pretend that I’m doing everything right, nor am I going to pretend that I can teach those reading everything there is to know about sushi.  I will give some basics that have helped me make rice that is at least as good as a decent sushi bar.  First, you need rice specifically for sushi; this means short grain.  Short grain rice has a lot of starch, so it needs to be rinsed so it’s not too sticky.  I like to put two cups of sushi rice in a bowl, add about four cups of cold water, and run my fingers through the rice to separate all the grains so each is rinsed.  Then you run it through a sieve and repeat.  You’ll see a lot of cloudy water come off at first, but after about 4-6 times, the water becomes much clearer.  I know this seems excessive, but this is crucial to have the proper texture.  Next you let the rice drain in the sieve for about 20-30 minutes, then you throw it in a heavy sauce pan and add enough cold water to cover the rice by about 0.5 in.  Let the rice soak for 30 minutes, then heat until it boils, lower to a bare simmer and cover for 20 minutes.  Then it’s done right?  No way!  Don’t open that lid during the 20 minutes, or for 15 minutes after because the steam continues to cook the rice.  Once the rice is done cooking you cool the rice quickly by putting it into a large, non-reactive container and stir it gently with a wooden spoon.  Having a friend fan the rice helps cool it faster.  As you cool the rice, add  the sushi-zu to taste.

sushi-zu:

Sushi-zu is the seasoned rice vinegar used to give sushi rice that delicious balance of sour, sweet, and salty.  I’m sure there is some perfect balance of the ingredients, but I mix them according to my preferences.  In a small saucepan, slowly heat 0.25 cup of unseasoned rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt.  As soon as the salt and sugar dissolve it’s done and you can let it cool before adding it to the rice.

fish:

Now that you’ve got your rice under control, it’s time to get some good fish.  As long as you get fresh, quality seafood from a reputable fish monger you should be safe.  I tend to trust Whole Foods, Sun Fat Seafood, and Nijiya Market.  Nijiya Market is a pretty awesome store in Japantown; they carry really obscure ingredients as well as high quality seafood.  So far I’ve only bought salmon, ahi, and octopus and all were excellent.  I’ve also been tempted by their uni (sea urchin roe) and toro (fatty tuna), but that’s when the habit starts getting pricy.  This place is really cool and worth checking out even if you don’t buy anything.

sushi:

Fish and rice.  That’s all you really need.  If you want to get funky and make some rolls, that’s cool too; that’s just not what I like about sushi.  My favorite thing to make is chirashi (sashimi scattered over rice) as it’s really easy to make and eat.  Overall, making sushi is really fun as well as a bargain; it’s also easy to tweak what you’re doing to keep improving.  If anyone out there is even remotely interested in making their own sushi, I highly recommend it.

-Jordan

seared sesame-crusted tuna over rice noodles

It’s been strangely hot here in San Francisco. I’m talking mid-70s, but still, it is November after all. Because it’s been warm and because both Jordan and I have vigorous commutes, we’ve been in the mood for fresh, light dinners. Last night I made seared tuna over rice noodles with a side of broccolini and mushrooms.

Seared Sesame-Crusted Tuna over Rice Noodles
1 lb rice noodles, cooked, drained and cooled.

For the noodle sauce: Whisk sliced green onion, soy sauce, siracha sauce, sweet chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, and canola oil together. This was seriously approximated – I just threw a bit of everything asian we had in the kitchen together in a bowl.

1 lb fresh tuna
3 T sesame seeds
A pinch of salt

Sprinkle tuna with salt. Coat with sesame seeds, pressing seeds into fillet.

Heat 1 T of canola oil in a sauté pan over high heat until it is just about smoking. Place fish in the pan, sear for 30 – 45 seconds. Flip, sear for another 30 seconds. Remove from pan and slice.

Look how even that sear is! I'm pretty proud.

Toss rice noodles with the sauce. Lay sliced tuna over the rice noodles. Enjoy!

Conclusions: Super easy, tasty, and fresh. The only catch: Be mindful not to murder the tuna – it really does only take 30 – 45 seconds per side. Another upside: super gourmet leftovers to take to work/school for lunch.

-Emily

julia child’s garlic soup and eggs coquette

I busted out Mastering the Art of French Cooking the other night. I was in the mood to cook something classic, yet more ambitious than usual. I chose two different recipes – one for garlic soup and another for poached-style eggs. I had all my ingredients, I was excited about the recipes, I felt good. And … it all went downhill from there.

A brief outline of the snowballing disasters:

The garlic soup is basically garlic, boiled, crushed and then infused into water. You turn this garlic water into a soup by adding an emulsion of eggs and olive oil. Got that far without issue. I was even proud of my very viscous emulsion. I carefully mixed the hot garlic water with the egg mixture as to not burn the eggs … another successful step. I tasted. It needed acid. I added a squeeze of lemon juice … and watched as my soup went from beautifully emulsified to curdled in seconds. Strike one.

I then decided to tackle the eggs. The idea was to bake eggs in ramekins with a little cream and butter and then top them with fresh chives and sauteed mushrooms. Delicious. Sadly, I failed to read the bit in recipe about starting the eggs on the stove to thicken the cream. Frustrated, I just tossed them in the oven in a water bath. After a few minutes they didn’t seem to be cooking at all. Strike two.

Jordan suggested we put the eggs under the broiler in an attempt to rescue dinner. It was tricky to move a small, too-full pan of water with ramekins sliding around into our drawer style broiler, but we did it. After a few minutes, we opened the broiler drawer to check on the eggs and the pan came sliding out, spilling an eggy, creamy, watery mess all over the kitchen floor. Of course, this commotion prompted Willow to come racing over to investigate. To sum things up, in our tiny galley kitchen we had myself, Jordan, a nosy dog, an open broiler door, a large eggy spill, and a pot of curdled soup. Strike three.

Amazingly, I tried to save dinner yet again by plating this disaster and serving to Jordan and myself.

We had green beans and sautéed mushrooms for dinner. I do love green beans.

-Emily