Tag Archives: salad

hello, august: heirloom tomato BLT salad with goat cheese and dijon vinaigrette

heirloom tomato BLT salad with goat cheese and dijon vinaigrette

There are few things in life that delight me more than fresh tomatoes ripened on the vine; that earthy and slightly spicy scent that rubs off on your fingers when you carefully twist one apart from it’s branch is, to me anyway, quite possibly one of the most intoxicating perfumes that exists in nature.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - fresh heirlooms

But tomatoes require patience, a virtue that I, categorically speaking, have not exactly been renowned to posses. For try as you may, you simply cannot force a tomato; I am a firm believer that there is nothing in this world less enticing than a watery, mealy, pale round of ‘tomato’ sliding sadly out the side of a sandwich in the middle of Winter. What’s the point?

heirloom tomato BLT salad - thick cut bacon

Sure, you can eek by with some hothouse-grown grape tomatoes in your salads for most of the year, and, in their own right, they will do perfectly fine. But if you forgo the sad and sallow ethylene-ripened specimens and hold out for the Real McCoys, that patience is handsomely rewarded.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - fresh arugula

And come August, they’re ready — and here we suddenly are.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - the makings of a great dressing

heirloom tomato BLT salad - perfect vinaigrette

{but wait! there’s more…}

a perfect balance: summer quinoa salad – chinese eggplant, sweet corn, red onion, & toasted almond

summer quinoa salad with chinese eggplant, sweet corn, red onion, and toasted almonds

Clearly I’m jumping the gun here a bit on “Summer,” but I’ve got a racer-back tan-line seared between my shoulders and the imprint of (my favorite) teeny-tiny wedge sandals emblazoned on the tops of my bare feet, so I can’t be that far off in my seasonal labeling, right?

chinese eggplant from the farmers market

They keep telling me that “it’s never like this;” they being those more seasoned San Franciscans than I, and this being the exceptionally perfect seventy-five-and-no-cloud-in-the-sky weather we’ve been having straight up on the reg.  I know I keep saying it, but there’s been some killer days here; the kind that make me actually excited for the in-betweens when the fog rolls in, and for that perfect time of evening when the eerie echo of the foghorn picks up at dusk.

fresh summer corn right off the cob

We had barely even fifteen minutes indoors this past weekend, with Saturday enjoyed posted up at picnic tables and grilling oysters with friends at Tomales Bay, and Sunday spent having our first taste of Bay to Breakers, an annual road race that seems to be much less about the race and much more about who can wear the most ridiculous costume.  (And…ahem…about lots of random naked people.  Being naked in public is a big thing here, folks.)

chinese eggplant ready to roast

Though sweet corn and eggplant are two things I associate more with July and August, I found both at the farmer’s market last week, and therefore – Summer, shes’a close.

taking the bite out of some red onion

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from one-million to one: zucchini & sweet pea quinoa with fresh herbs & fresno chili

zucchini & sweet pea quinoa with fresh herbs and fresno chili

You know those days when you wake up and swear off pizza, that second (third) glass of wine, and ALL THE RHUBARB CRISP ICE CREAM for ever and ever and always till the end of time?

a half cup of quinoa

Our first month here in San Francisco has gone by in a blur of indulgence, with four (separate!) sets of house guests, lingering meals kicked off with cocktails and wound down with unnecessary multiples of decadent dessert, lots (and lots, and lots) of coffee, and too many celebratory (and introductory!) glass clinks to count.

the zucchini is chopped!

And I am counting myself lucky. When you move somewhere new, you’ve just got to make it a habit to saying yes to it all – yes to a Sunday night dinner party with new friends (even if you’re dead-exhausted), yes to racing around the city for pedicures and lunch dates (even if you really need to get some work done), and yes to last minute concert invites (you’ve got the idea). The first few months in a new place are crucial for establishing a strong network of friends, and if you give in to those urges to slap on a tattered pair of sweatpants and cozy up on the couch too often, those invites to do cool things at cool places with even cooler people start to wane, and eventually dry up.

super sweet spring peas, halved diagonally

Though I truly feel like I’ve been going one.million.miles.per.hour, it’s the best kind of million there can be; and even though my pants have become…slightly less roomy…shall we say – we’ve packed more worthwhile events and made more new friends in our few short weeks as “Bay-Area” residents to totally justify the dark colored luggage I’m carrying under my eyeballs and pesky spare few pounds that always seem to settle in just where I want them the least. (Don’t get too comfortable, my Dearies.)

chopped fresno adds color and just a bit of kick

This week we bid adieu to some of our dear friends on Tuesday morning, after a long (glorious, four day!) weekend spent wine tasting in Sonoma, brunching at our favorite local French bistro, hiking out on the Land’s End trail, dining at Range, beer tasting at Southern Pacific, and hosting a dinner party for six — and we were exhausted. Totally worth it, but totally beat.

fresh herbs lined up and ready to be stirred in

{but wait! there’s more…}

a healthy alternative: chickpea “tabbouleh” (gluten-free & vegan!)

chickpea 'tabbouleh' (gluten-free & vegan!)

I happen to still currently live in the “Gluten Free Capital” of the world (seriously….which also happens to be located smack in the center of the “Napa Valley of (glutinous) Beer” – go figure!), and though I certainly haven’t jumped on the wheat-free bandwagon and shunned all things bready, wheaty, and piled high on a blistered pizza crust (nothankyouverymuch), it has definitely influenced how I look at how much wheat I eat mindlessly on a daily and weekly basis (I do spend my days in a bakery, for Pete’s sake).

chickpea 'tabbouleh' whole chickpeas

chickpea 'tabbouleh' chickpeas chopped

I’m not about to go all glu-tard (haywire) on you and announce that I’m shunning my favorite carb, but I do like that this frame of mind has made me search for different meals and side dishes that aren’t sandwiched between two pieces of bread.

Everything in moderation, right?

chickpea 'tabbouleh' ingredients assembled

I love tabbouleh (an incredibly good plum iteration last seen here), but while making fresh hummus a few weeks ago I was struck by how similar in size and texture to bulgur the chickpeas appeared when I had coarsely chopped them in my processor. A quick google search confirmed that I was not the first to think of this, and I mentally cataloged the idea as a great make-ahead-take-along lunch.

{but wait! there’s more…}

right where i want to be: plum tabbouleh (fresh herbs, chiles, green onions)

“If you are always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in?” 

I caught myself on Monday doing the very thing which this year I vowed not to.  I had just finished checking a few much needed “to-dos” off my list, and turned the page in my planner only to see another looming inventory of yet unfinished projects and errands scrawled over the first few days of next month.

How can I already be behind in things I need to do in a month (and season!) that hasn’t even started yet?!

I sighed and squeezed my eyes shut, envisioning another ‘better’ place and time.  I thought forward to this Friday, when I’d be on a plane on the way to fun wedding weekend in the mountains, and then to October, when I’d be savoring the nostalgic flavors of the Fall season, and then finally to this Winter, where by day I’d be hitting the slopes, and by night cozied up to a fire.

{but wait! there’s more…}