Recipes San Francisco Thoughts on Life

tomato sauce, chicken broth and wedding plans

Saturday was the first weekend day I’d spent at home in a month—October really was an exceptionally busy month.  I took the day to catch up on home things, which mostly meant clearing 20 pounds of tomatoes and three chicken carcasses out of my freezer. Glamorous.


While my sauce and stock were simmering, I started a new weaving. I’ve been pretty into this small-scale textile art lately. Like cooking, it requires just enough effort and concentration to occupy my mind, but not so much that it’s no longer is relaxing. On top of that, the states are low. If you make a mistake, grab a pair of scissors and you start again. Low stakes, moderate concentration, repetitive movements, reruns of Archer in the background—ideal hobby characteristics in my opinion.

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We’ve also began to really put our minds to planning this whole wedding thing. My mom has been a tremendous help so far, taking most of the dull tasks off my plate, like booking hotels and shuttle buses and tables and chairs, and leaving me with the fun stuff, invitations, food, flowers, photgrapher. It’s a pretty lucky setup.

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The more things we plan, the more real it gets. I’ve got our Save the Date cards mocked up, and Jordan’s favorite of those attempts is sitting on our kitchen table. Every time I look at it, I think, we’re really doing this thing, aren’t we?

Even though we’ve been together for ages, marriage still feels like a big step. I have no doubts it’s the right one, but hitching your wagon to someone else’s forever, it’s hard to imagine that not feeling pretty huge, even when you know it’s exactly right.


Ps. Tomato Sauce Recipe & Canning Instructions, and Chicken Stock Recipe.




french onion soup

A while back, we made Julia Child’s french onion soup. It was delicious, but a serious undertaking. First you make a beef stock, then you caramelize onions for a few hours, and then you make the soup. This recipe is less time intensive and uses homemade chicken stock instead of beef, which I usually have on hand. (Whole roasted chickens make up a rather large portion of our meat consumption and their little frozen carcases become stock about once a month). This soup turned out beautifully and while I don’t know if it is better than Julia’s, it’s certainly just as good.


One Year Ago: Mock Porchetta
Two Years Ago: Nonnie’s Carrot Cake

French Onion Soup, from Tartine Bread
6 large yellow onions, cut into slices
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon duck fat (use another tablespoon of butter if you don’t have duck fat)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups rich chicken stock
4 slices day old bread
5 oz gruyère cheese, grated


Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Combine onions, cream, butter, duck fat and salt in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat so that the onions and cream are at a slow boil. Spread the onions over the bottom of the pot and cook, without stirring, until the onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir the onions and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze. Continue cooking the onions without stirring for another 10 minutes, until they brown again. Add another 1/2 cup of wine and scrape the bottom. Repeat this process two more times, until the soup takes on a deep caramel color.


While you’re caramelizing the onions, toast the bread. Spread the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast until dry and brittle. About 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the broth is well flavored by the onions, about 15 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.


Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls, float a piece or two of toasted bread on each serving and top with the grated gruyere cheese. Put the bowls on a baking sheet and carefully put the sheet into the oven. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and caramelized, about 20 – 30 minutes.


This soup is delicious—simple and satisfying. I wholeheartedly recommend you bake the soup for 20 minutes with the cheesy crouton on top, instead of just topping the soup with a piece of cheesy bread. Something magical happens when you bake the soup and bread together for a while, you don’t want to miss out on it.



white stock, brown stock

An ambitious cooking project is quickly becoming my Sunday tradition. This week I decided to make use of the multiple chicken carcasses Jordan has been hoarding in our freezer and make stock. And while I was at it, I thought that I may as well make beef stock so I bought some beef knuckles at the market.

I followed Julia Child’s recipes for a basic white stock and basic brown stock. The cooking method for both is nearly the same, with an extra bone-roasting step for the brown stock. Making stock from scratch is very simple, but time intensive. The stuff has to simmer for 4 – 6 hours to get the most flavor out of the bones and bits of meat, but it is absolutely worth the time investment. The flavor of canned or boxed broth pales in comparison to that of homemade stock.

White or Brown Stock, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
3 lbs of chicken or beef bones
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks celery, cut into quarters
2 carrots, cut into quarters
herb bouquet (2 cloves of garlic, 3 sprigs of parsley, 1 sprig of thyme, 2 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf tied up in a cheese cloth)
salt, pepper


For just the brown stock, preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Roast the bones, onion and carrot for 40 minutes until deep brown in color, turning the bones occasionally to brown all sides.

For both stocks, pour bones into a large stock pot, add vegetables and herb bouquet. Fill with water to cover the bones. Simmer uncovered for 4 – 6 hours, skimming the debris of the top occasionally. Once the stock has reached your desired degree of meatiness, season with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.

Once the stock has cooled, refrigerate it. The fat will separate and congeal at the top and then you can easily scrape it off. Divide the stock into freezer bags or tupperware and cram them into your already tamale-laden freezer.

And if you are looking for a recipe to enjoy your homemade stock try making easy noodle soup, gravy for chicken and waffles, or tortilla soup.