daily toast

There’s a really sweet breakfast spot in our neighborhood called Farm Table. They run the whole thing out of a space no larger than a San Francisco studio apartment, which for those who don’t know this reality personally, means there’s about 40 square feet of kitchen real estate. Still, they manage turn out some seriously tasty breakfast treats, along with solid cups of coffee just about every morning.

Their “Daily Toast” is my favorite dish. It starts with slightly salty slice of focaccia bread, topped with a generous spread of sweetened mascarpone, seasonal fruit and a sprinkling of pistachios. It’s a simple, stunning combination. Inspired after stopping by for breakfast a while back, I wanted to see if I could do it any justice at home. Turns out, I can, which means you can too. The Daily Toast actually comes together in 15 minutes, if you don’t go full on crazyperson and make focaccia from scratch (ahem).

Daily Toast | The Answer is Always PorkDaily Toast | The Answer is Always Pork

There’s a pretty interesting trend sweeping San Francisco, and I’m sure other cities too, of artisanal toast. Like the cupcake and donut before it, toast has been transformed from a boring, at-home-breakfast to a fancy, indie coffee shop specialty complete with from-scratch breads and snazzy toppings. I don’t scoff because I happen to really like toast—more than cupcakes anyway—and I know making a good loaf of bread is dang hard, but the trend bears mentioning. The word is that it all stems from a coffee shop in the Outer Sunset, Trouble Coffee. I’ve had their cinnamon toast on many occasions, it’s delicious, and worth every penny. Not much beats the warm comfort of cinnamon toast as it mixes with the salty breeze off the Pacific, blanket of fog surrounding you, softly whining greyhound at your side. But, Daily Toast sure makes a decent effort, and you should absolutely give it a shot.

Daily Toast
Several slices of plain focaccia bread (I made mine from scratch, but you can often find focaccia at the grocery store. I think they use Acme Bread at Farm Table)
1 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 cup berries, washed, dried and sliced if needed (We used a combination of strawberries and raspberries, but you could really use any berry or stonefruit. Supremed citrus would also be wonderful in winter)
1/4 cup pistachios

For the toast
In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and spices. Beat to combine. Taste for sweetness, it should be just a tad sweet. Wash, dry and slice the berries.

Cut a piece of focaccia about 3 inches by four inches. Cut in half as if you were making a sandwich and spread each half generously with the mascarpone. Top with berries and sprinkle with pistachios. Enjoy!

Daily Toast | The Answer is Always Pork

For the focaccia, from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
5 cups (22.5 oz) bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz) salt
2 teaspoons (0.22 oz) instant yeast
6 tablespoons (3 oz) olive oil
2 cups (16 oz) water, at room temperature
olive oil and sea salt for drizzling

Stir together flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and water and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed, until the ingredients start to come together into a wet, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be smooth, sticky and clear the sides of the bowl.

Sprinkle your counter with a light dusting of flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the counter. Dust the top liberally with flour and pat into a rectangle. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough into a rectangle twice its original size. Fold the dough letter style; fold one side into the middle and then fold the other side over that. Dust with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Once again, stretch the dough into a rectangle, fold it letter style, dust with flour and let rest for another 30 minutes. Allow the dough to ferment on the counter for one hour.

Line a 17″ x 11″ baking pan (I used a rimmed baking sheet) with parchment. Sprinkle some olive oil on the pan and coat your hands with some. Transfer the dough from the counter onto the baking dish, taking care to maintain its rectangular shape. Using your finger tips, press the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick.  Drizzle with some oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Daily Toast | The Answer is Always Pork

Remove the pan from the fridge three hours before baking. Drizzle olive oil over the surface and dimple the bread by poking it with your finger tips. Cover the pan again with plastic wrap and let proof for 3 hours, until the dough doubles in size, about 1″ high.

Preheat your oven to 500° F and put a rack in the middle. Uncover the dough, and sprinkle with sea salt. Put the dough in the oven on the middle rack and lower the temperature to 450° F.  Bake 10 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° and bake for another 10 minutes. When the bread is golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. The internal temperature of the bread should be 200° F. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing and assembling.

Daily Toast | The Answer is Always Pork Daily Toast | The Answer is Always Pork


Randomness Uncategorized

our csa from eatwell farms

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!



lemon cream pie with fresh strawberries

This pie is about as spring as you can get in one dessert! The fresh strawberries compliment the lemon cream perfectly and it’s not heavy, which is nice now that the weather is starting to warm up a bit. Additional bonuses: it looks gorgeous and you can assemble it all in advance!

Lemon Cream Pie with Fresh Strawberries

For the crust, from the Tartine Bakery cookbook

This recipe makes two pie crusts. You’ll only need one for this recipe, so stick the other in the freezer and defrost overnight in the refrigerator the nigh before you want to use it. 

1 1/2 t salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups plus 2 T all purpose flour
1 cup plus 5 T unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes

In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve.  Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor.  Sprinkle the butter on top. Pulse briefly. Add the water. Pulse again. The dough will just begin to come together. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Divide into two balls. Press into 1 inch thick disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 

Roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Lay into a pie or tart dish. Line with parchment and fill with pie weights, beans or rice (new discovery on the rice – works just fine). Chill the shell for another 30 minutes to get the flakiest crust. 

Heat an oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weight and parchment and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool completely.

For the filling, adapted from the SF Chronicle
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
zest of two lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
a pinch of salt
4 T butter, cut into cubes

Over a double boiler, whisk the eggs, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice together. Continue stirring until a custard has formed. Be very diligent with this step. You can very easily end up with lemon scrambled eggs!  No good! Once the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain though a mesh sieve and chill. Ta-da! Lemon curd!

To assemble
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 T sugar

Slice the strawberries. Whip the cream with the sugar. Lighten the lemon curd with the whipped cream by first stirring in 1/3 of the whipped cream and then folding in the remaining. Carefully! I always am too hasty here and Jordan has to remind me to slow down. Pour the lemon filling into the prepared crust. Top with sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

This pie is delicious and the lemon cream would compliment any berry as each comes into season. The combination of the lemon and the strawberry is particularly satisfying because it hit a nostalgic vein in all of those eating it … Jordan, Matt, Alexa and I were eating our dessert on Sunday evening when Jordan pauses, “Does this remind anyone of some sort of ice cream novelty?” Instantly, and almost in unison, the rest of us cried, “Flintstones Push Up pops!” Yep. The pie tastes like a Push Up. Not sure how it happened, but it is absolutely going to happen again.