Probably my favorite Ferry Building Farmer's Market haul to date. We came away with fresh rabbit from Devil's Gulch, duck breast from Golden Gate Meat Co., cheese from Cowgirl Creamery lobster mushrooms and sea beans from Far West Funghi, and an assortment of seasonal delights: strawberries, baby artichokes, sorrel, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, squash blossoms, radishes, and some deliciously fragrant herbs.
When I opened one of the first issues of Saveurs magazine (the French magazine, not SAVEUR), one of the features was about Classics from your Grand-Mère. It included a litany of recipes that someone growing up in France might recognize from their childhood. When I asked Jules what oseille was, he didn't know the English translation and for a while I couldn't find one. When I finally found the translation ("sorrel"), I didn't even know what it was, and couldn't find it at the store, so I just made the soup with watercress (which is a good substitution in this application, but it makes an entirely different soup).
For the uninitiated, sorrel is a popularly foraged plant that has a tangy and sharp flavor, which usually appears in the spring through the summer. Much of the sorrel I find at the farmer's market now is cultivated instead of foraged, but if you're lucky enough to live in Scandinavia, the northern Mediterranean coast of Europe, or certain parts of Central Asia, you may find it growing in the wild. Sorrel soup is the most common way to prepare it, but it can also be used in sauces (like the famous Salmon and Sorrel Troisgros). The simple soup preparation is below, and can be served as a starter, or a main course. I served this to Jules and he closed his eyes and smiled. Can't get a better seal of approval than that one!
Soupe à l'oseille (Sorrel Soup)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced (or 1 leek, white part only, chopped)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups water
1 large bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
2 bunches sorrel, stemmed and chopped (about 2 dozen leaves)
1-2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg, optional
Dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, optional
Heat the butter in a soup pot. Add onion and potato, and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add water, chard and sorrel and several pinches of salt to the pot. After the greens have wilted, simmer for about 10 minutes.
After simmering, puree soup with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor. Return pot with pureed soup to stove and over medium heat, stir in one cup of milk. Add more milk or water until the soup reaches a desired consistency (it is usually served rather thin). Season to taste with more salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, if you desire. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, if you wish.
Today's Instagram is from the amazing B. Patisserie, located in Pacific Heights, featuring the pastry stylings of Brenda Leong, formerly of Manresa & Gary Danko. I didn't eat this all myself, but boy did I want to.
Welcome to a new series of videos that I'm going to include on the blog! These Tastemade Appisodes are just a brief glimpse into some of the spots we enjoy dining at.
Tommaso's is the oldest pizzeria on the West Coast, established in 1935 - they brought the wood-burning brick pizza oven to California. For over 70 years, Tommaso's has been serving up pizza, pasta, veal scaloppini, and other Italian favorites to locals and tourists alike in San Francisco's famous North Beach District. Join us at dinner to see what this family-run San Francisco favorite is all about.
Jules came home from 3 weeks in France today, and it just happens to be the best birthday present ever! Coming in second place today is this - the halo-halo at one of my favorite Filipino restaurants, Karilagan. If you don't know what halo-halo is, it's basically a bunch of preserved fruit and beans, topped with ice, coconut milk, and a big scoop of ube ice cream. Who needs cake?
Salt cod (bacalao/bacalau/morue) is probably one of my favorite ingredients because it can be kept for a really long time (yay, preservation!) and when it's prepared correctly and put into a dish, it is flavorful and light. Salt cod is a staple ingredient in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, so you will see it on menus in places like Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Norway, Russia, and even Africa. The number one thing you have to do in order to use salt cod is to desalinate it correctly. You can't rush or skip this step - trust me - I made the mistake of rushing through the process once and we ended up having a bunch of inedible cod at a group dinner for six people. After the cod is prepared for cooking, there are dozens of dishes you can make with it - and today, we're doing Brandade de Morue.
If you didn't already know, Anthony Bourdain is one of my favorite chefs - not because he's some super innovative Michelin-starred phenom (he's not, he's more like a good chef with serious writing chops), but because he's more of a no-BS kind of guy. I bought his Les Halles cookbook last year because I felt like it was a very straightforward guide to bistro classics, and I'd be able to learn the framework of some of Jules' favorite childhood dishes. We went through the book together and marked off the ones that he wanted me to make (which ended up being almost all of them), and one that stood out was the Brandade de Morue, or, what you could call a "salt cod gratin". You can serve this as an appetizer, or, just supplement it with a side of vegetables and it can be a main dish. It turned out to be a success - reminds me a bit of a really good seafood chowder - and now it's one of my favorites too.
Brandade de Morue (adapted from the "Les Halles Cookbook" by Anthony Bourdain)
1/2 lb salt cod
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bouquet garni
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of flat parsley, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
Place the cod in a large mixing bowl and cover to the top with cold water. The cod should soak for at least 24 hours to rehydrate, and you should change the water several times; once every hour for the first few hours, and then every few hours after that. I repeat, do NOT rush or get lazy about this process!
After 24 hours, remove the fish from the water and pat dry with a towel. (If the fish is still too salty, Mr. Bourdain says to boil a few potatoes, chunk them up, and toss them into the mix.)
In a large pot, combine the cream, bouquet garni, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add the fish and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 6 minutes, then remove the fish wtih a slotted spoon and place in a clean mixing bowl.
Bring the cream to a boil again and reduce slowly for about 10 minutes. Don't worry if the cream doesn't cover the fish - and do not add more liquid, or you will get the wrong consistency at the end. Remove from the heat, and discard the garlic and bouquet garni. Stir in the olive oil and set aside.
Preheat the oven to broil. Use your finger to shred the cod very fine. Once it is thoroughly shredded, slowly introduce the cream and oil mixture, mixing well with a wooden spoon. After all the liquid has been added, adjust the seasoning and add the parsley. Transfer the mixture to the gratin dish and top with the bread crumbs. Cook under the broiler until a nice, golden-brown crust forms over the top - then serve, hot, with garlic toast.
I'm blogging from Los Angeles right now - just coming down from the frenzy of events of our wedding this past Friday. I can't describe how amazing and beautiful everything turned out, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect event. We ran out of processional music because my sweet flower girl decided to stop on the stairs longer than expected, Jules elbowed me in the face during our first dance, my shoes hurt like crazy, and I was terrified of ugly-crying the entire time...but when I look at some of the photos and hear everyone's comments about the ceremony and reception, I can't help but have a beaming smile across my face.
Here's a few photos that I managed to snap (and one that my cousin sent me). We get our official photos next week! I'll be back to blogging very shortly :)
If you're wondering why my food posts have been few & far between, it's because I've been preoccupied with getting ready for...our wedding! (It's in just 14 days, I can barely believe it.) Unfortunately for my husband-to-be, that means our meals have been less indulgent (when I manage to cook) and we've been eating a lot of salads or grabbing takeout when I don't have time to cook something.
I haven't talked about health & fitness on this blog in a long time, but I figured I should write a little something since it's been consuming my life as of late. I'd originally started with two Spin classes a week with the amazing Jorge Chavez at Crunch on Polk Street, whose classes are like a big, sweaty, dance party. I've been Spinning for a few years now at several different gyms and with several different instructors, but when SoulCycle finally opened its doors in San Francisco, I started adding 1-2 Soul classes into my routine. This made a big difference - not just because I essentially doubled my workouts, but because these tough-as-hell yet inspiring cycling workouts included strength training (say what you will about lifting those 2-3 lb. weights at Soul, but they feel like 20 lb. weights after a while!). Plus, like Jorge's classes, they are fun and you work your butt off to an amazing soundtrack. Trust.
There's one really important component to SoulCycle that helped changed the game for me and stick with and improve my fitness routine this past year - the culture. The instructors that I've ridden with (Allie Fell, Ben Bruker, Ian McAndrew, and Jenny Gaither) have such an incredible energy about them. They connect with their riders, they offer words of advice that help you reign in your wandering thoughts and/or self-sabotaging doubts, and really encourage a sense of community in each class. Everyone that attends a SoulCycle class regularly is genuinely excited to be there and makes lots of noise during class (the good kind). Years ago when my cousin Karen mentioned SoulCycle on her blog, I'd read about the so-called Rooster classes in NYC - "Roosters" are riders who attend the first morning classes of the day, at 6am. I thought they were nuts - who gets up that early for Spin?
Answer: ME!! I'm a Rooster! HOLLERRRRR.
Honestly, I've struggled with food and weight and fitness my whole life. (I even hesitated to start this food blog because I thought I'd resigned myself to becoming an overweight home cook.) While I entered into this fitness routine with the intent of losing weight specifically for my wedding, one of my favorite instructors recently posted on his Facebook that, "Losing weight is not your life's purpose". He's absolutely right. While toning and tightening is definitely a great side effect of workout out, it has become much more than that. Learning how to dig deep and push your limits, believing in your own power and honoring your strength. Giving yourself credit. Connecting with others. Finding what motivates you. While SoulCycle may not be everyone's cup of tea, when you find that thing that helps push you in the right direction, you have to recognize it and give it props (likewise, when something isn't working for you, you need to have the strength to let that go too). These kinds of yoga-like realizations are what sets SoulCycle apart and really makes these workouts meaningful to me.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the food part of this blog nor am I going to change it to some raw vegan version, though I may bring in those recipes from time to time to share with you. I have so many things I'd like to post once we get through the wedding, like what to do with dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes or how to roast a whole Branzino (hint: it's not hard at all). I thought I'd just share what I've been up to, and to let everyone know that I haven't completely fallen off the planet, rather, I've been getting my exercise on and trying to keep my head clear during this exciting and hectic time of my life!
I threw together this dish based on the ingredients to scafata, and added some chicken. The star of the show is the maccheroni lungi, made by Mattarello Pasta. Sold only via pop-up shop. Get on their mailing list, trust me.