Working Girl Lunch #1: Kale in Your Pale

I am a 9-5 (8:30-5:30 oy, today’s economy…) working lady which is a HUGE reason why my posts are so few and far between. For that, I do apologize but my hope is that it is more about quality than quantity. SO, I thought a working girl tip was in order. Each evening or morning I pack up a lunch to bring with me to work because every working person knows that the selections within walking distance of the office can be sparse, tiring and mucho dinero. I care to save my bucks for Happy Hour!

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Happy New Year…with Fancy Jelly Shots!

Festivus! Celebration! Libation! Partying Dooooown! So much of that over the last couple of weeks. Staying around the Bay Area was a lovely gift, although we missed out on seeing some friends and family from afar, there is something special about nesting at home, celebrating with those that didn’t join the exodus out of the city and not having to travel during the holidays. We took it a few steps further and had a little New Year’s Eve cocktail hour at our home with some friends and neighbors before we headed across the hall for more debauchery.

In the food department I kept things simple but did take the time to make some Fancy Jelly Shots. This was my first attempt and they turned out dangerously delicious. Beware because these are strong.

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Pictures From My New Camera

I have been without a camera since our honeymoon because I dropped it in the clean blue waters of Oahu. Luckily, it was on our last day and most pictures had already been taken and my chip was safe! The bad news is that I was without a proper camera – only iPhone, which was OK – during the entire FRIGGING Thanksgiving season. I had all these gradiose ideas of things I was going to post about with some good pictures – pre-Thanksgiving, my now famous Amigos Grapefruit Salad, post- Thanksgiving leftover ideas. Erog, thwarted! But, I will say that I was also so so busy, entertaining and what not. As an early Christmas gift I was blessed to receive a new Canon EOS Rebel T3, the most fancy pants camera I have ever had. Now, a good camera does not make a good photographer so I have been playing playing playing and trying to learn all the tricks and fun of my new prize. So, I thought it might be fun to post a cacophony of photos of my practice subjects. I think you may enjoy them more than my recipes because they mostly feature two furry love balls.

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Butternut Squash Galette

This is a recipe that my good friend Sarah made for me for the first time a few years ago. She has worked as a chef at the Tassajara Buddhist Retreat which is where she perfected this recipe. Before I ate gluten free I ate this version of  a savory galette and could not believe my taste buds. Hearty yet pastry like, savory but herby and sweet with smooth baked mozzarella…it had everything. It also happens to be wonderfully seasonal. So I bust out this recipe every fall into winter around Thanksgiving time. It’s a great appetizer to bring for the big bird meal. It can be a special breakfast or lunch and a perfect solution to those constantly searching for different butternut squash recipes. Rolling your own dough can be tricky so I’ve also thrown in a way to get the same effect but with an already created pastry shell.

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The Saint Teresa Cocktail

Every cook needs a signature cocktail, right? Well, my concoction came from a creative phase I had a while ago where I was infusing my own vodkas and using old liquor bottles from the 70’s with champagne bottle corks plugging up the top. My new favorite infusing bottle is the Bulleit  Bourbon one with it’s attractive looks, curved body and functional cork and plastic top. Bar far the best infusions were my ones that used herbs. Fruits were okay, I liked my blood orange one but the herbs really shined. In particular, my lavender infused vodka. I mixed is with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a drizzle of grenadine (or you can use 100% cranberry juice concentrate, if you want to avoid corn syrup) and named it The Saint Teresa after my husband’s mother – who is saint like in many ways, is currently studying for her PhD in religion, but still appreciates a delicious cocktail.

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Holiday (or Anytime) Hangover Cure

Obviously, the main reason I love the Holidays is all the wine, signature drinks and food I get to make and consume unabashedly. The general merriment is no doubt most people’s favorite part of the holidays – a dreaded part  are the intense hangovers and belly bloat.  Well, after years of searching and trying all kinds of “cures” from Advil and water at night to Bloody Marys and a raw egg in the morning, I have found a natural cure that helps me be productive the next day (instead of doing it all over again, ahem, mimosas.) So, I thought I’d share it with you my quick fix so you can pick up these supplies along with your turkey and celery.

Supplies:

  • Hangover Formula from Source Naturals which you can find at Whole Foods in the supplements section (although not a week before Burning Man in any store in the Bay Area) or online.
  • A box of Emergen C Super Orange (any flavor will do but I like this one the best) also at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and in many drugstores
  • Distilled Water

For best results, take two of the Hangover Formula pills at night after drinking before you go to bed with one 8 oz + glass of Distilled Water. This nutures your little cells and the distilled water decreases bloating plus you won’t get that blood sugar drop that has you up at 4am. Understandable you may forget, because, well…you’ve been drinking. That’s okay just jump to step two. In the morning,  take a full glass of Distilled Water mixed with one (or two) Emergen-Cs and one or two Hangover pills.  Ahh…what a difference it will make! 

Delicata Squash Bake

An indication of Fall in Northern CA is the arrival of squash in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes. In SF, you can’t really stake the claim of foodie or urban organic farm supporter if you don’t get one of these delivered to you weekly – it’s a social requirement only counteracted by frequent visits to the farmers market which for fun loving and busy professionals is not always possible. CSA boxes are wonderful little gems delivered to your door and often you have no idea what’s going to be inside. Many times there are things I would not normally gravitate to when I go to the grocery store, this is one reason why the box is so important to me. It forces me to branch out, try different produce and create recipes. For a couple weeks in a row we’ve been getting delicata squash. I’ve never really known what to do with it. I’ve roasted it in the past with olive oil, salt and pepper and it’s made a decent side dish, but nothing that could make a whole meal. And, frankly, I was very meh about this squash. So when I collected two nice sized, rich creamy yellow and green striped specimens I decided to create a recipe that could act as a side dish but also maximize the delicately sweet flavor, much more mild than butternut squash, and conducive to a savory leaning dish that can serve as a light dinner with salad or a simple lunch.

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Shrimp Truck Adventure: Oahu, Hawaii

Hi + Taste is back from a long overdue vacation. As a matter of fact this was our Honeymoon – 6 months after the fact. I’ve been assured that this is the current way to do it, whatever the way, this was our first opportunity to get away. Believe it or not, my husband and I (either together or apart) had never been to Hawaii before. Our target destination was Maui, to bring back the nostalgic coolness of Maui Fever that any ’80’s baby has. Alas we got an essentially gratis vacation to Oahu, so off to Honolulu with no complaints from us. We have many counterparts who traveled the islands extensively, some having lived there, so we were not at a loss for recommendations of what to do. And, we practically did it all – swam with the sea turtles (who are no longer on their way to extinction – thank the heavens! – but are still on the protected list, so no touchy!!!), snorkeled in open water, snorkeled in sheltered hidden coves, hiked cliffsides, lazed around, drank frozen Mai Tais, went to a Luau, AND appropriate for this venue, explored the North Shore and many of the famed shrimp trucks.

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Faked Fried Curry Chicken

I’m a fried chicken fiend. Colonel Sanders was like a grandfather figure and I could down a five piece of original recipe at the tender age of 8 years old. I’ve spent years in pursuit of delectable morsels of friend chicken, the crispy, the crunchy, the tangy, the gourmand – a pursuit that has sadly tapered to a halt for a variety of reasons. The first, fried chicken is hella bad for you, dudes. The second, not so gluten free friendly mon frere. So, in honor of Southern Heritage Cooking day on the 11th, I faked it a bit. The original plan was to make some fried okra (I learned this from my North Carolina born mom and its more sauteed then anything using it’s natural slime as the stick for cornmeal, comes out crunchy, a cacophony of unique taste), but the California availability is sorely limited which of course I accept because the year-long availability of so many other fantastic fruits and veggies more than makes up for it. I teased with the okra which I will make and post at a later date but now onto the crispy and juicy Southern inspired chicken with a west coast twist complete with curry and requisite gluten free bread crumbs.

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Warm Brussels, Bacon & Egg Salad

Many an awe inspiring dish comes together perfectly at a restaurant because of seasonality – “Brussels sprouts! What am I going to do with all these dang sprouts!?” Well, Bungalow 44 in downtown Mill Valley created a drool worthy warm fall salad with them. I attempted to recreate it adding heaps of Brussels sprouts leaves, boiled egg, bacon, shallots and a perfect toss of mustard and balsamic sauteed up. It is fantastically meaty but somehow maintains a sense of being healthy and nutrient rich. Like many restaurant dishes, sometimes this salad can be heavy on the grease so my version cuts the grease and salt a bit and the result is a more robust Brussels flavor. This dish can also be made without the bacon for vegetarians, and you still get to enjoy the Brussels in a savory, deep balsamic mustard sauce. It becomes crave worthy by any Brussels fan. The bacon version has recently made it on the table at a dinner party I hosted and one where I was a guest (evidence after the jump.)

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