Tomato season is upon us, and they are everywhere; the Farmers Market, grocery store, and, most importantly, in my backyard. Alas, one variety of tomatoes from the garden did not turn out to be all that I had hoped for - a little watery, a little mushy and not a ton of flavor. I decided to slow roast them to condense the flavor before freezing them to add to meals throughout the summer and fall.
I have been so busy lately. Between working full time and starting Redfield - I'm pretty exhausted by the end of the day. Still, Mike and I love hosting at our house. We do a lot of dinners with family and friends and I have been looking for quick dessert ideas that look and taste beautiful but don't require a lot of effort because come dinner time, I'm usually totally beat.
I've done a version of the following tart using store bought puff pastry and stone fruit a few times recently and it's been a big hit. That said, you can really use any combination of jam and fruit that you have on hand--even frozen fruit works well. It is the tail end of the apricot season here in California so for this version, I grabbed a few of those and some pluot jam I had in my fridge.
I'm super stoked to announce that my husband Mike and I are starting a cider-focused bar and bottle shop! Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop is slated to open in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland later this year.
My love of tacos is serious and, after visiting Mexico last year, have been obsessing over making tortillas at home. But the toppings on a taco are just as important as the filling and pickled onions are one of my favorites. Here is a quick and easy recipe to make your own for your next taco night at home.
These cookies are inspired by one of my favorite local haunts, Bartavelle and their delicious ginger cookies. They are a comfort food for me and I was craving something spicy and really chewy. So I decided to make my own. This cookie is dense and soft and spicy and sweet. Full disclosure, I ate two in a row hot out of the oven. Consider me comforted!
Last month Mike and I tied the knot in a small ceremony up at Philo Apple Farm in Northern California. Shortly after we wrapped up our party we hopped on a plane to travel across France and Spain for two weeks. Below is a list of some recommended places to eat and drink in Paris. More blogs coming soon on our other adventure destinations!
Growing up, Pecan Sandies were some of my favorite cookies. Though I loved sweets (like most kids do), my love for Pecan Sandies always surprised me given they weren't filled with chocolate. That love of shortbread continues to this day and these cookies combine hazelnuts, pecans and almond extract for a nutty texture and flavor. The additional of maple syrup makes it the perfect cozy winter cookie.
Perfect with on a cheese plate and delicious as a condiment in a salami sandwich, this olive tapenade is really easy to make. I use my favorite type of olives for this, Castelvetrano, which are buttery in flavor and have a firmer texture than the typical Kalamata black olive. I leave this tapenade on the chunkier side, but if you're going for a smoother texture, feel free to blend longer or add more olive oil to the mixture.
This cake is a celebration of the arrival of apple season (hello old friends!) and the daily reality that is a surplus of zucchinis in my garden. I ate a lot of zucchini bread growing up and, well, just a lot of zucchinis in general during the late summer months. I have so many food memories of summers in Missouri- slathering butter onto zucchini bread and eating plates full of tomatoes still warm from the sun. This is my grown up and gussied up version of the classic summer squash loaf from my childhood.
Ah, fava bean season. One of my favorite summer flavor and textures and one of Mike's least favorite tasks... cleaning and peeling. It happens every year, the moment where Mike asks us to stop eat fava beans because I keep asking him to do the hard part. Well, I'd proud to say, I cleaned and peeled these beans myself and Mike just got to enjoy them! Now back to business, this hummus is really easy to make and tastes great as a dip or spread and is sure to be a summer favorite.
This is officially the second part to my two-part guide from our trip to Mexico this Spring. Holy moly, I loved this city. The people, the food, the architecture, the mezcal - everyone was so friendly and inviting and all of their food was delicious. Here's my guide on where to eat and drink in this little town with a couple of suggestions on ways to fill your time.
Last weekend Mike and I took a day trip down to Santa Cruz to drink beer at Sante Adairius, eat wood-fired pizzas, admire the Pacific Ocean and to (most importantly) get fresh strawberries from Swanton Berry Farm. I know I have waxed poetic about these guys before, so I will spare you a long rant. The point of all of this is that I had an excess of strawberries and decided to make a classic pie combo: strawberry rhubarb. I like adding balsamic vinegar to this filling because it contributes to the pie's complex acidity and pairs nicely with the flavors of the rhubarb. You certainly could use this recipe without adding it, but I would recommend giving it a try at least once to see if you like it.
The name "pasta primavera" means "spring pasta" in Italian, but it can be used for any pasta dish with fresh vegetables. That said, the name has never been more appropriate than when applied to the dish the way I made it here--the peas and asparagus in California are so beautiful right now that I want to put them in everything. Stick to the veggies listed below, or go ahead and toss in whatever looks best at your market to get the most out of this dish.
Mike and I recently took a much (much) needed vacation to Mexico. Instead of hitting up the beaches, we decided to go on an urban adventure and spent a few days in Mexico City and a few days in Oaxaca City (Oaxaca City guide coming soon). Some of my foodie friends over the years have always told me that Mexico City is a must but before arriving one hot Saturday night in early April, I wasn't really sure what to expect.
This recipe is so simple, it seems a bit silly to really write a recipe for it but I am so inspired by this window where winter is closing out and are we still have beautiful California citrus, but spring is ramping up and I can buy pea shoots. Toss them together with good olive oil and pistachios and you have the most California dish ever! Hah!
One thing I love about eating "California Cuisine" is its ability to truly showcase a single ingredient in a dish. I had the pleasure of eating dinner at Zuni recently and they had a root vegetable and Meyer lemon soup--the Meyer lemon was really on display. With juice and thick chunks of zest, the soup was merely a platform to celebrate the glory of the fruit. To showcase a singular ingredient, in addition to balancing out the rest of the flavors, to me, is what California Cuisine is all about. This slaw is a nod to some beautiful Hawaiian ginger I found at my local market. It has a bit of a kick to it--this recipe is not for the faint of heart!
This is my version of a perfect winter salad, good as a starter course for 4 people, or as it's own meal for 2. It's a little bitter from the chicories, spicy from the watercress, creamy from the crème fraîche, sweet from the apple and nutty from the almonds. This salad is nothing without that nuttiness, so if you're not an almond person, substitute for toasted pepitas or pecans.
I first had this cocktail at Drink in Boston (if you haven't been and are a cocktail lover- add it to your list) and it really left an impression on me. Mayahuel in New York developed it and pops up on mescal-focused cocktail menus around the country. I have to admit when I had it at Drink a few years ago, I wasn't really a mezcal fan. Many mezcal drinks later, I can see that this cocktail was a turning point for me. With bright, citrusy, smokey, and tangy notes, this beverage is delicious.
Slow roasted pork is delicious, right? Right. Slow roasted pork that is also fried to have crispy caramelized edges? Yes please! This pork dish has lots of citrus and pineapple making it bright, acidic and great on tacos.
As the weather (sort of) begins to cool down for the fall in the Bay Area, I'm starting to crave hearty stews. This one gets better with time--make it for dinner and enjoy it for lunch the next day. The fennel adds a delicious earthy herbal taste that cuts into the fattiness of the dish. It's a very easy stew to make but be warned, it needs a few hours of simmering to come together.
As summer ends and the weather gets cooler, the last burst of tomatoes are ripening in my garden. I really like to roast them--they're not quite as sweet as they were even a month or two ago. Roasting them brings out a sweetness and juiciness that can save even the sourest tomatoes. This tart is a great starter course for dinner and should be made right before serving.
These popovers are ridiculously easy to make and are a major crowd-pleaser. They also gave mea chance to highlight a beautiful California cheese: Fiscalini's San Joaquin Gold. The cheese monger I bought this cheese from described it as "cheddar meets Parmesan" and that was right on - this stuff is nutty, buttery, and firm. I kept shredding a bit for the popovers and then snacking on it before it could even make it to the batter. Delicious. Don't have access to Fiscalini's cheese? Gruyere or a combination of cheddar and parmesan would work too.
This is my take on a gussied-up version of a classic American potato salad. With corn, herbs, buttermilk and 7-minute eggs you really can't go wrong with this salad. I was so hungry I ate it warm out of the bowl but this is also a great side dish to make the day before to really let the dressing soak into the potatoes.
Growing up, I ate a lot of Entenmann's crumb coffee cake. That's a sure sign that I grew up in the Midwest--that stuff was everywhere! When no one was looking, I would sneakily pick off bits of the crumb topping (read: brown sugar lumps)--that's the best part. I decided to make a fresher, more moist version of the classic from my childhood. The Smitten Kitchen has a few excellent coffee cake recipes and I adapted this version from one of Deb's.
Those of you that know us well may have noticed that Mike and I have become a little bit obsessed with cider lately. From planting apple trees in the backyard and fermenting just about anything we can at home, to running the cider category of the Good Food Awards and just drinking a whole lot of the stuff - we definitely have the bug. On a recent trip to Chimacum, Washington, we got to visit one of our favorite producers, Finnriver Farm and Cidery. There, we toured their beautiful farm and saw how they make some of the most interesting cider around.
This soup is meant to be made during the summer when you have too many tomatoes in your garden or if you get a little overzealous at the farmers market. It is also meant to be quick and simple--I threw this together on a Sunday afternoon for lunch with my family and served it with grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a hit.
When I worked for Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, the owner, Sam, would always make this salad for staff meals. Every once in a while I get a craving for tahini and this dish really hits the spot. The blend of earthy tahini with sweet cooked carrots is just so good. This is a slight variation of Sam's tahini carrot salad and it is great for a quick weeknight dinner side dish.
This one goes out to all the chunky pesto lovers out there. You know who you are. I will admit, there is a time and a place for smooth pesto, but there is something so satisfying about the chunky, salty, savory stuff. This recipe uses toasted pistachios which add a sweet flavor and a beautiful color to the blend. I find myself experimenting with lots of different pesto recipes during the summer months when I have an explosion of basil in the garden. This one might be my favorite yet.
On weeknights, I often find myself craving a simple vegetarian dinner. One that feels intentional-not thrown together-and celebrates the flavor of vegetables. When I need inspiration, I almost always turn to Heidi Swanson or Yotam Ottolenghi. This dish is a play on a recipe from Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty.
Banana bread is a total comfort food for me. It is easy to throw together and needs to be eaten while it is still a little warm from the oven (at least for me). My favorite type of banana bread is moist and dense and I love this recipe because the honey adds sweetness and texture. Also, because of chocolate.