Tag Archives: cooking

a love-ly dinner

February 15, 2011

last night we spent a truly lovely night at home. we are lucky to live in a city that offers a bounty of beautiful ingredients and we feel like on special occasions its nice to take full advantage of this bounty.  

 we started the meal with a sampling of charcuterie from the newly opened Fatted Calf store in Hayes Valley. they use high quality and local ingredients and all of their meats are cured and prepared by hand.the flavors and exquisite pates and salumis surly show case this delicate art. they also offer classes so you can learn these skills for yourself. YUM! 

on the right side of the board are a few cheese we picked up at Cheese Plus. they are always so helpful and have an amazing variety of artfully crafted cheeses from around the world. the blue cheese was by far the favorite. a goats milk blue from france: blue du bocage goat. its excellent. the best part is we have enough left for dinner tonight. this makes me very happy. 

finally – mussels from SwanOysterDepot. a long standing sf fishmonger. they have been at it been around for decades. they have an oyster bar which looks like it hasent changed since the place opened and you at 9am you can see people happily slurping oysters, eating huge bowls of clam chowda and drinking anchor steams – its looks like so much fun. i still have yet to partake. but their fish is amazing! its the only place i will buy seafood from in the city. you can call ahead to order or just get there early. but i suggest getting in before 10 to have prime choice. 

Mussels. 

2 1/2lbs of fresh mussels. scrubbed and debearded

1 large fennel bulb. cored and diced. fronds reserved and chopped aprox 1/4 cup. 

1 large onion diced.

2 cloves garlic diced.

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

tbsp of red pepper flakes 

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup vodka

1 1/4 cups of fish stock, or other stock if you prefer. 

1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley 

2 tbsp evoo

1 tbsp butter

salt and pepper. 

in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet heat oil and saute fennel, onion, garlic and thyme. until softened. aprox 8 mins over medium heat. 

next add red pepper flakes and saute another 1 minute 

add vodka and wine and bring to a boil. reduce 3 mins. 

add stock and bring to a boil. when it is boiling add mussels. cover and shake pan or gently fold bottom mussels to top.  until mussels are opened and cooked. aprox. 7 minutes. discard any unopened ones. 

while mussels are cooking i placed a large le cruset baking dish in the oven at 300. when the mussels were cooked i carefully transfered them into the warm lecruset and placed it back in the oven. 

i then added the last dollop of butter, chopped parsley, fennel fronds, and salt and pepper. i melted the butter and reduced the sauce simmering gently for 3 minutes. removed mussels from oven and poured the sauce over the top. 

served w. big hunks of crusty bread. 

fruits of labor. Irish Brown Bread

November 9, 2010

the fall season is well upon us here in San Francisco. With chilly temps and driving rains you can be sure to find me in the kitchen most days. Nothing fills a house better than the smell of baking bread.
Inspired by these lovely photographs via eastsidebride by Susanna Howe. im sharing a very special recipe- for irish brown bread. The recipe came to me via SOS’s mom and what i love about it is that it has been worked on and adapted over the years by her and her 8 sisters to reach its current state.
below is the recipe. enjoy and let me know if you have any questions I would be happy to help!
This recipe makes 2 loafs and I use 8 x 4″ loaf pans. see them here.
wholefood bulk section is a great place to find many of these ingredients.
Pre heat the oven to 400.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
1 3/4 C course ground whole wheat or brown flour.
1/2 C self rising white flour
1/2 C oat bran
1/2 C steel cut oats (not the instant kind)
1/4 C sesame seeds
1/4 C wheat germ
30 hazelnuts halved
2 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
mix all of these together gently.
Next begin to add in wet ingredients
1 pint of buttermilk
2 eggs beaten
3/4 C plain yogurt
mix all ingredients together very well and pour into greased loaf pans. batter should be quite wet. like a cake batter almost.
Bake for 45 mins at 400.
After 45 mins remove pans from oven and cover tops with tinfoil.
return pans to oven and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
total cooking time 1h 5m.
remove as soon as possible from pans and let cool.

Fall in The French Laundry gardens

October 5, 2010



yesterday i had the privilege of walking through the fall gardens of the world renowned The French Laundry. not only are the gardens immaculate they stand for me as a symbol of many of the things i hold most important in my life. Its a thrill for me to be walking among their neat rows.

“Take your time. Take a long time. Move slowly and deliberately and with great attention” – Thomas Keller