Another Frisco Trip

Two weeks ago Joe and I headed up to San Fran for another trip to the Bay. This was my 5th time to San Francisco. Every time I go I fall more in love with the city.

This trip was based around our tickets to the 49ers vs. Packers game on Sunday but we decided to extend our trip to be Thursday until Monday. I was super happy about that because it meant I got to spend more time with Chrissy (one of my favorite law school people ever) and got to spend time with my cousin Mary who I haven’t seen in nearly 1 year.

Chrissy and I during 1L when we were young, innocent, and I experimented with bangs. #NeverAgain

We drove up on Thursday arriving in time to catch the Broncos vs. Ravens game (booo Ravens) at a bar. The bar was quiet and full of what seem to be mostly regulars. I love how Lagunitas is on tap at almost every bar in SF.

We also sat next to a very drunk man who told my boyfriend that he is blessed because he has a girl friend who loves football. Obviously, I will never let him forget it.

Thursday night we eventually got to Chrissy’s apartment which is really like a very nice hotel. There is a hot tub and a pool which needed to be taken advantage of. We also spent plenty of time with Penny. Penny is adorable but secretly a mischievous demon destroyer who kept putting the moves on Joe.

Penny snuggles with everyone.

Friday we went on a run and then headed over to Berkeley to see Mary. She took us to Sliver Pizza which was an amazing choice. They only have one pizza available per day. On that day the pizza was Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fresh Corn, Mozzarella, Bulgarian Feta Cheese, Mexican Key Limes, Cilantro Garlic Olive Oil. I also had an IPA.

Feast your eyes.

The pizza was amazing. I know that Cheeseboard corners the good pizza market in Berkeley but this was damn good. I loved the potatoes and sweet corn but the hint of cilantro stole my heart. After we walked around Berkeley with my cousin and got some delicious ice cream because it was vacation.

Saturday’s major food highlights included a trip to the farmers market at the Ferry Building where I was reunited with my favorite blue bottle coffee.

 

While I waited in line at Blue Bottle Joe went over to Strauss Creamery for milkshakes. We each got our own because I cannot control myself and I would have drank the entire milk shake before he had a sip otherwise.

Saturday was hot and we spent the entire day at Chrissy’s rooftop pool.

For dinner the girls went to a small hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Café Sport. I loved the vibe of the restaurant. There were things hung on every inch of the wall which made the booths feel very private.

I don’t remember exactly what we had. I do know we ate a ton of garlic bread, pasta with beef sauce and ravioli.

After we saw Moonrise Kingdom in the park and then crashed after watching numerous episodes of revenge. Party animals.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday and the Packers vs. 49ers game. I have a deep dislike of the Packers as a native Chicagoan and was very excited to be at the 49ers season opener. We tailgated with burgers and beer in the parking lot before the game.

The game was exciting, probably the most exciting NFL game I’ve been to. The game moved quickly and it was close until the end.

It was great to go to a game where every down felt like it was do or die. The game was very loaded for the Packers because we knocked them out of the playoffs last year and they came to play. The 9ers ended up prevailing and a fun time was had by all.

Fun Fact: an elderly grandmother Packers fan flipped off one of the members of our group at one point. Oh, Green Bay.

We headed back Monday. I love San Francisco. San Fran is probably the only place I would consider moving outside of LA and I was so happy to explore it with Joe and spend quality time with Chrissy. I always eat well there and I am so excited to go back.

I have my marathon in Long Beach in 5 days. I am planning on posting before then. Don’t worry everyone who gave me a hard time for not blogging enough over the weekend 🙂

Fig Lime Jam

Remember two summers ago when I first discovered figs?

It was the first summer I started going to the farmers market in LA and taking advantage of all the amazing produce that southern California has to offer. I was so swept off my feet by figs I started coming up with plays on the word like “un figgen believable” and “figgen good”. I’m a fan of figs.

Figs are not loved the world over though. I mentioned fig jam to my dad last week and I could visualize the side eye he was throwing me via email. However, I feel this jam has the power to change minds.

Studying for the bar exam threw my world a little upside down this summer. Weekly trips to the farmers market have been a ritual for me since 2010, yet this summer I just never really made it out. The week before the exam I wandered into the Wednesday Santa Monica market. I was kind of sad I hadn’t made it there sooner this summer. The tomatoes, peaches, berries, melon and figs smelled so good. Luckily when my mom was in town she invested in a massive number of figs for me. I made the easy decision to make jam with them.

Why jam? Because saying “I’m making jam” makes you sound vaguely like Martha Stewart. But really making jam is simple. There is very little effort that actually goes into it and very few ingredients. Also, I really like figs but I feel like they go bad fast. Unlike a giant bag of cherries that I can demolish in under an hour, I never really sit and eat a large number of figs. Plus I have a jam recipe from 2010 that I’ve wanted to make foreva.

Plus, once you have jam there tons of ways to use it –> stay tuned for that.

Ingredients:

2 lbs figs (I used Brown Turkey)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

Instructions:

Take the figs and chop them up. I took my 2 lbs of figs and chopped them into quarters.

Juice two limes to get 1/4 cup of lime juice.

Combine the sugar, lime and figs. Mash and combine all of the ingredients. The recipe called for use of a potato masher but I don’t have a potato masher. I used the edge of a rolling pin. Mix and mash the figs, sugar and lime until they are mostly liquid. There were some chunks left from the figs. This is completely acceptable.

Cover the jam and let sit for at least 2 hours. You can let it sit over night.

After two hours heat the jam over medium heat for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. The jam will bubble and reduce down in the process of cooking.

After 30 mins remove from the heat and let it cool. Then refrigerate.

I have to say, this jam is pretty damn good. Plus, it looks pretty and isn’t that equally important?

The jam is sweet but not too sweet. I think the tartness of the lime juice cuts the sweet a bit. Also cooking this will make your apartment smell like heaven.

I have so much jam in my apartment right now (like more than I can just use on toast). Stay tuned next week for ways to use jam. One of them involves pancetta and we know pancetta is always amazing.

Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

Easy Soba Noodles with a Homemade Sauce

Remember when I made salmon with bok choy and discovered sesame oil?

It looked a little something like this…

The instant I tasted the sauce all I wanted to was slather it on some soba noodles. Everyone told me to use sesame oil sparingly but the salmon recipe called for 1 tsp but with the salmon to absorb the sauce everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately the first attempt at putting the sauce on soba was totally misguided and the sesame oil flavor was way too strong. I worked out the kinks and now the sauce is great on soba.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry in a Homemade Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

Grated ginger

Tiny drop of sesame oil

Pinch of garlic salt

Assorted chopped veggies (I used eggplant, beans, scallions, bok choy and sugar snap peas)

1 serving soba noodles

Instructions

I started by chopping the eggplant, beans, bok choy and peas.

I love the purple and white colors of the beans and eggplant. I heated up a pan with a dollop of EVO and added the beans and peas. I started with them because they were going to take the longest time to cook. The I added the eggplant and the bok choy. I cooked until the bok choy was wilted and everything was cooked through but not burned.

While the items were cooking I put together the sauce.

It was super easy. I just added all the ingredients together and whisked (I also added the ginger through it wasn’t photographed).

Weird picture, I know.

Anyways, while all this was going on I cooked the soba noodles. I love soba because, like the sauce, they are ready in less than 3 mins.

I added the soba to the veggie mixture until the sauce coated everything.

And that was it! Dinner is served!

As you can tell, this took about 15 mins to make and was so simple. Personally, I always try to make homemade sauces. Yes, I’m that weirdo who hasn’t bought marinara sauce in three years. I really like this sauce as an alternative to Trader Joe’s Soyaki which is my normal go to. I love the sweetness of the honey and the bite of the ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite flavors!

In other news: I went on my final weekend run before the marathon tonight. I did 8 miles and it was the last long run where I saw the ocean. I ran 8 miles with a 9 min per mile pace (still running 10 mins, walking 2 mins) and felt fantastic. I’m going to take it very easy this week and I am so excited to head to Chicago on Thursday. I’ll be posting more about running this week than I will about cooking, just a heads up!

What’s in Season Now: August

I realize that I always say one of the best ways to save money at the farmers market is to buy what is in season but I never blog about what is in season or what I’m buying. I thought I would take you WITH me to the beautiful, epic Santa Monica Farmers Market for a little peek at what is in season now.

Peaches

Eggplant – When I saw eggplant a few weeks ago I let out a squeal of delight. I LOVE eggplant and please note that there are about 5 varieties at this booth alone.

Heirloom Tomatoes – Both minis and full size perfect for Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes

Peppers

Bunches of herbs – Actually these are pretty much available year round, $1 for a bunch!

Summer Squash – Again, squeals of glee when I spotted these a few weeks ago! I’ve been using them in this risotto recipe to make summer risotto.

Papaya Melon – Like honeydew but 100% better! Sweet and mild, this is what I use in my Prosciutto Melon Salad.

Carrots – Normally I associate these with Fall, they are so good when honey roasted.

Ginormous ArtichokesGrilled artichokes are good but I need to find other recipes.

BerriesSo summer.

What are you loving at the farmers market right now?

Saturday Brunching

Saturday I drove east to Silver Lake for lunch with my awesome cousin Joe. Joe is actually my mother’s cousin which makes him my first cousin once removed (I think). I love hanging out with Joe because 1) he’s been in LA forever and knows a ton about the city 2) he is a great conversationalist and is up on politics AND popular culture 3) he reads Dlisted which automatically makes him good people. We had brunch at Local. I’ve been to Local before but never blogged about it.

Just like last time I ordered this amazing apple and pecan pancake.

Guys, this pancake was insane. The roasted apples with cinnamon and pecans? Yes, please. This is one of the thickest pancakes that I’ve even had. I didn’t eat the whole thing because obviously I had to save room for this glorious plate of bacon:

Food porn. I’m not even kidding. I know a few weeks ago I said The Griddle has the best bacon ever but I think I need to revoke the title and give it to Local. This was the perfect combination of crispy and chewy. Amazing. If you are on the east side or just want a great restaurant in LA to try, you should hit up Local.

After brunch we hit the Silver Lake FM which had blood oranges! I haven’t seen them on the Westside in a few weeks. Literally, my heart skipped a beat and I bought like 7. Overall, a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Tomorrow LCCDad arrives in LA and Saturday I leave for San Diego! I’m starting to get excited and a little bit nervous for Sundays half marathon. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Anyone have awesome weekend plans?

Vay-cay!

Fact: everything is better when you’re on vacation.

After having two majorly lazy days (and when I say lazy I mean literally not leaving the couch until 1 pm) I woke up today ready for action. I decided to indulge in some of my favorite things: the farmers market, running, coffee, and the Sunday paper.

In my opinion, there is only one paper on Sundays:

Cover to cover, this is my favorite thing ever. I have a method: I always start with the Style section, move to the front page, and then read Week in Review before reading anything that is especially interesting. Then I wrap up with everything else. And I when I say I read everything, I mean everything. I might not closely read the whole thing but I make sure the scan every page. You never know what you’re going to find.

Today this was interesting and in a section of the paper I generally barely touch:

An article about food products claiming health benefits and, legally, what they can claim or not claim. It bothers me when products claim to be very healthy when really it’s just more processed crap. Unprocessed food all the way! It made me think I should take food law.

In that spirit I hit the farmers market. I didn’t go last week and in the week since I last went it seems like the market has totally blossomed!

Beans and peas are in season.

Beets are still around, at a great price.

Here is something new: Apriums! That would be an apricot and a plum hybrid. I hadn’t had them before so the stand owner gave me one for free. The one I got was a bit too ripe (if that is possible). I loved the flavor but the consistency wasn’t my thing. If you live in So Cal snap these up fast, they’re only going to be in season for a few weeks.

The strawberries were amazing today! I didn’t buy any but I indulged in a liberal number of samples. Cherries are also in season finally and I did end up buying some. I even broke my own rule and bought something because the sheer size was impressive. Let’s just say I’ll be putting fresh dill into everything I make this week. I had a long list because I have a ton of awesome meals planned for this week. I cleaned out my fridge yesterday and went on an epic shopping trip to Whole Foods. Vacation means that I’m going to get back into blogging with a vengeance. Let’s just say the Flour Cookbook is going to be making repeat appearances this week! Chocolate Chip macaroons: it’s happening.

Now that I’m getting back into my blogging groove are there any special requests for what you’d like to see on the blog? I’m open to suggestions for restaurants, recipes etc. You name it, I’ll try it!

Grilled Baby Artichokes

When my Mom was in town we spent Saturday morning at the Santa Monica Organic Farmers Market. She was very impressed by all the amazing deals we have (like an entire bundle of thyme for $1) and the variety of items for sale. At one point we walked by a stand, the one I always get my broccoli from, her eyes landed on the baby artichokes I pass every week and she made an excited utterance. I always see them but have never been sure how exactly I would utilize them. This got my wheels turning.

Last week I passed them again and thought “what the hell, just buy the adorable artichoke”.

You would too, wouldn’t you?

There were a TON in the pack and I was able to enjoy them several times throughout the week.

These were sliced in half and positioned on my grill pan. I made sure to spray cooking spray on the pan and salt and pepper.

I love how GREEN they are!

All lined up. I used tongs to check them periodically.

Can I tell you how excited I was about the grill marks? Fantastic!

These were pretty good. The grill gave them a smokey flavor and the insides were moist. In the future I really want to try this roasted because adding EVO to anything always makes it better. This really is an ideal side dish or appetizer because it is so easy to cook and delicious to eat. I like challenging myself by picking up something I’ve never cooked before and experimenting with it and this was for sure a success!

Have you ever picked up a new ingredient on a whim and loved it?

Couscous Stuffed Pepper

Good evening blog world! How’s it going? Who has work or school off tomorrow? This girl does! I spent the afternoon chilling and cleaning. I did some serious cleaning! I’m not that messy but I did a deep clean including but not limited to dusting, moping, vacuuming, scrubbing, and organizing. I’m still not done but am excited about the results. I need to pass my Mom’s “white glove test”.

For dinner I was super healthy because, lets face it, I’m working HARD on that pint of pumpkin ice cream obviously served with mix ins. I had a couscous stuffed pepper with roasted veg. I made the quickie version.

The pepper at the farmers market for the last few weeks have been glorious. When I saw it I knew I needed to make something wonderful with it. I cored this puppy and roasted it (standing up) with other veggies on the same tray because this is the quick version. Normally I would sautee the veggies and then bake in the pepper. Tonight I roasted (at 400 degrees for 30 mins with EVO&S&P) bok choy, eggplant, squash (summer), and broccoli. While everything was roasting I prepared the couscous.

If there is a difference between regular couscous and whole wheat couscous I can’t taste it.

Then I took out the veggies. I was hoping the bok choy would turn out like kale chips…

Um, kinda? The white part was still moist but it was pretty tasty none the less! I actually liked these better than kale chips.

I combined all the veggies with the couscous and then stuffed the pepper…

Pretty good. For being a quick version it tastes a lot like the long version. The pepper was soft and flavorful. Farmers market for the win! This will be happening again soon. I liked the roasted veggies, especially the bok choy. I don’t cook with it often but I should cook with it more. This was a delish dinner.

Tomorrow is the kick off to a great weekend. There is talk of Clementine and dinner in Pasadena! Wahoo!