Life Lately

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HELLO!

Guess what. I have five weeks left before I’m donedonedone with grad school and officially a master. Of something. In theory public health but it might actually be a masters in figuring out exactly what I have to do and doing only that…. I kid, I kid.

Only problem is that between now and June 3rd, I have so much crap to do it’s mildly staggering. But! It’s fine, pshhh whatever. I balance my school nonsense with fun life things so it’s all good.

Such as! Semi-annual yoga retreat at Westerbeke was a few weekends ago, which was awesome and restorative and fun as always (though missing two of my besties, waaaah. Good thing we’re going again next May, I can make up the shenanigans in spades).

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Let’s see, what else.

THIS. Always this…

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Flowers!

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Food!

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New swag for my car!!!

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Stuff. Photographic evidence that I still exist despite the massive load of graduate nonsense… Happy Monday!

Living a Gastronomical Dream

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I’m not even sure I have sufficient brain power to compose a blog post right now, given that all the blood in my body is currently being diverted to my stomach because GARY DANKO and a five course tasting menu + a complimentary birthday dessert + assorted bon bons to finish off the meal and does someone have a wheelbarrow I could borrow to leave the restaurant?! Actually I practically ran up Hyde Street after the dinner because I literally sat and ate for three hours and I needed to MOVE. But what a way to go…. this is a food coma of epic proportion and probably the best food I’ve eaten in at least a year. If not more. Allow me to nerd out for a second about realizing a gastronomical dream to actually eat here…

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I actually ordered two desserts tonight. I mean, I shared. But point being, two of my five courses were dessert and then the lovely staff at Gary Danko brought me a birthday dessert! And then a breakfast cake! And then bon bons! This restaurant is gastronomical heaven (I detect angels singing).

And now I’m so full moving is exceptionally optional and I have no need to eat for at least a week. Ha. As if. I will probably get up and eat a ginormous breakfast. And my stomach can just deal because I only turn 25 once, so there, stomach. Don’t be a punk.

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I’m going to get all gastro nerd on you for this post because it is just too good to not share. And also probably include some general birthday shennanys.

First course: Crispy Farm Egg with Grits, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms, Frisée and Pancetta (far and away my favorite savory)

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Second course: Pan Seared Bass with Israeli Couscous, Zucchini, Basil, Meyer Lemon, Tomato Confit and Sauce Maréchal

Third course: Lemon Pepper Duck Breast with Duck Hash, Bacon Braised Endive and Port Glazed Figs

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Desserts: Warm Louisiana Butter Cake with Peaches, Huckleberry Compote and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Lemon Soufflé Cake with Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta and Raspberry Sorbet (mom’s. But actually my fave)
Trio of Crème Brûlée with Assorted Cookies (Vanilla, Bourbon, and Chocolate Hazelnut)
Corn Semifreddo with other delicious things that I don’t remember (Dad’s. Also amazing)

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Complimentary Birthday Chocolate Mousse Cake!

Bon Bons!

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And breakfast cake. Because it’s not like I didn’t already eat enough already…

That was so unbelieveably rich, decadent, and over the top delicious that there are no words. I’m just incredibly grateful to the staff at Gary Danko for an unforgettable birthday evening!

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And a few randoms just to round things out:

Drawing challenge, day 3: favorite food! Except now I might have to draw all of the Gary Danko courses because now I have even more favorite foods…

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Also, sushi!

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A few birthday beach trip snaps from last weekend…

 

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And some birthday tapioca (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free) because I wanted some dessert on my actual birthday, but my stomach was being a bit of a punk and I knew the above was coming so…. I decided to be smart. Which as I sit here in my food coma, was an extremely smart thing to do…

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What a fab birthday! I’m pretty sure 25 is going to be pretty freaking great.

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All kinds of random

IMG_2136This feels like it’s going to be one of those posts that is essentially a snapshotlet [ie a smallish snapshot] of my eatings and goings on for the last several weeks, which have been insanely busy.

I started a new 8-5 office job that will go until I leave for camp/grad school so I am readjusting to having a very consistent schedule. Which is GREAT except totally foreign because all of my jobs ever involved totally random and non-consistent schedules. And also standing. Lots and lots of standing. Which wasn’t my favorite until I began sitting all day, at which point I discovered that standing is pretty great. ANYWAY. Expect to see possibly slightly less on the blog until I can get settled into my schedule. But I shan’t be disappearing entirely… this girl’s gotta eat.

SO, let’s see. What randomness can I share today..

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I love it when people I love have birthdays, since it means I get to cake it up for them. Here’s the latest: chocolate cake with mocha buttercream.

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Thisthisthisthisthis!!!!!

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Jill and I got crazy and made red lentil, coconut milk and walnut ice cream and it was possibly the earthiest, maple-y, walnut-y, weirdest ice cream ever. But also very delicious. And weird. Did I mention lentils?! Because hahahahhahha I am one of the only few who would love lentils in ice cream. Trust me, it works! Recipe here.

SKIING!!!

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I finally got to spend quality slope time with my K2 babies. It was absolutely wonderful and gorgeous and hilarious and exhausting and amazing. And then I had a malt and all was right with the world.

BEACHING!!

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Because, February??! Uhh yeah. It doesn’t make sense to me either but it was sunny and warm and then cloudy and raining but there was delicious bread and scones and cheese and butter and a picnic and Elliott… a perfect day. Capped off by dinner at a kombucha bar/macrobiotic kitchen and then a sundae [whiskey bread pudding ice cream+ caramel+ a fudgy brownie and a metric ton of sprinkles] the size of my face. Because… I’m actually five.

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My dessert is massive. Teehee. The pie is E’s. I’m not THAT piggy, sheeeesh.

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I know, I know… horrible food photography for this next one but just go with it. FUDGYYYYYYY!

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IMG_2153Happy, gorgeous Saturday and delicious eats. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Camp=Love.

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I’m BACK!! And camp was FAB! And I pretty much didn’t want to leave, as per usual. Except then when we were TRYING to leave, Mother Nature had a good laugh and dumped half a ton of hail into the lake and garnished that with some epic lightning and thunder. No big deal, especially when there’s no vehicle access to camp and everything gets rowed across the lake…

Nothing like a good solid Sierra storm to round out an incredible session. No words… just pictures. Camp is where the heart is!

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IMG_6654I mean, this is a food blog after all…. my super awesome campers made two meals al fresco, using three types of cooking! Box oven [cornbread + pineapple upside-down cake], dutch oven [veggie chili+ roasted veggies], and over the coals [quesadillas + banana boats]. So proud!!

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Of COURSE you lick your plate. Or foil, as the case may be… this is camp. Obvs. Leftover meatloaf+roasted veggies + guac all on top of a freshly made quesadilla al fresco. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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And then of course, you have your friendly wilderness ‘helpers’. Not. IMG_6701

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But gunneling is fun!

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And my shoes are ridiculous. This is going on at least three years of those being camp shoes… I’m amazed you can even tell what color they are.

IMG_6696Already missing my camp fam, who I only see twice a year (average).

You have to have at least one place where you laugh till the tears and snot run down your face, your abs hurt and you can’t breathe. Somewhere that the people are there not because they are paid, but because they love it with their soul. A place that gets under your skin in the best possible way. Rejuvenates, refreshes, lightens the soul.

Home.

Camp.

Love.

Two Sentinels.

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IMG_6750And then sometimes you look like this when you’ve just been caught in a two hour hail storm in running shorts and a tee shirt. Thanks Mother Nature, we love you too! Good thing we’re tough camp types, what’s a little hail?!

And Stuff.

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Weekend Stuff!!

Because… it’s summer and I leave for camp in a week (Yay! Only minor packing stresses left to be stressy about now) and I have had NO time to do anything besides stuff my face with the enormous piles of fruit in my house. Seriously. There is an ABSURD amount of fruit around here for three people (sometimes four. E nicely helps out).

Which is fine. Because it’s summer and that means I want ALL THE FRUIT. ALL THE TIME.

Cherries.Blueberries.Blackberries.Peaches.Apricots.Plums.Pluots.Strawberries.

Pretty sure all of those are represented in the house at this moment. There is fully not enough time in my day to eat all the fruit. Does someone have an extra stomach I can borrow?? I need two.

But anyway. Weekend things! Besides eating fruit, this was dinner yesterday because I ate it at 4:30 and then I went into an ice cream coma. For reals.

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That was in fact a brownie ice cream sundae with butterscotch and banana pudding ice cream+whipped cream+caramel (duh)+toasted pecans.

Demolished.

Ps. Go to the Ice Cream Bar on Cole in SF if you want stupid good retro ice cream. Just do it. Or if you’re one of my invisible internet friends NOT from the aybaybay then come visit and I’ll take you because odds are I want to face plant into something like this and will use you as a convenient excuse. Mmk?!

Also. Hhahahaha mustard. But banana slug!!! But actually… mustard.

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And this too!! I told you E helped with the fruit, see?? Peach crispy crumbly thing per deux. It got eaten with frozen bananas-turned-ice cream because we decided to be good for a night. The recipe was essentially this (it’s sooooo complicated. NOT):

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Cut up two delicious, organical peaches. Toss them into a cute little cast iron skillet. In a smallish bowl, combine 3/4 c almond meal+1 tbsp runny, raw honey +1/2 tsp cinnamon+ 1 tsp coconut oil+ 1/4 c rolled oats+ 2 tbsp unsalted almond butter+ a pinch of sea salt+ 1 tsp vanilla and stir until the crumbly thing comes together. Drop over the top of the cut peaches and bake for close to 15 minutes, until the crumble is a little browned. Serve with some frozen bananas+vanilla+a splash of almond milk processed or blenderized into ice cream. Simple. Delicious. FRUIT!! Obvi. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, whatnot.

No comments please on my baking methods. There is possibly not a single square inch of available counter space in said photo and that is obviously not an issue. I can always go vertical and start stacking things if necessary…

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And also!! These were almond butter cookies that I made FOREVER ago but I forgot to share them until now but LOOK at how perfect they are!!! Clearly these might have had a cookie modeling career if they hadn’t ended up in my stomach so fast.

Ew. It’s one of those days where it’s already hot at 6:30 am and I just came back from jazzercise and… ew. Lucky for you you’re my invisible internet friends, not my sitting-right-next-to-my-sweaty-self friends. And on that lovely note..

Bye. I need fruit.

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Things.

IMG_6518Ugh sorry sorry sorry I know it’s been forever since we’ve had an invisible internet friend chat… but I’m back now with random things so you can rest easy. I know, you suuuuper missed me. Or something.

IMG_6524This is pretty much going to be one of those photo dump posts… I’ve made and eaten a lot in the last weekish and am feeling a little braindead. Back with a normal recipe post shortly…

Firstly this.

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Because…. just because. I just think it’s way too good not to share. Agreed?

Just do me a favor and don’t take this out of context… no, my family does not lollop around dressed in early Californiana-esque garments… nor do we secretly own a saloon/tavern/gambling/dancing establishment. Just no. However, we did decide we needed a new family portrait. So that happened.

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And then there was Father’s Day! Or rather, Father’s Day happened before all of the vintage photograph shenanigans but it’s family and therefore relatable so MOVING ON. Vati requested something chocolate and spicy, so I made him these!

IMG_6517Salted chocolate, cayenne and ginger ice cream sammies!!

The recipe is from The Artful Desperado, here, and I made a few changes:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (obvi)
  • 1/2 c avocado oil instead of canola
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips+some chunks from a 70% bar
  • 1 c brown sugar+ 1/2 c white***
  • baked for 13 minutes, yield 15 cookies+ one little baby one

***As you know, I pretty much never ever make things with refined sugar any more (some of the older recipes on the blog do though)… but as Vati specifically requested something sugary and decadent, there you go. It was Father’s Day, after all, and what he says goes.

He looooved them. They are dark and spicy and PERFECT with some good quality vanilla ice cream smashed in the middle. I only caution you if you’re not a fan of spicy things, as these are not particularly for the faint of heart. Especially if you don’t like spicy desserts. If you do, however, I can’t really recommend these enough.

They got annihilated.

IMG_0650Dinner was this spectacular steelhead with potatoes and bacon and red wine sauce. Gastro heaven, thank you Farallon.

IMG_0644Reason number one why I love summer [actually might be one of the only reasons since I hate being hot so much, but regardless]:

SO. MUCH. FRUIT. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

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IMG_0683Oh oh oh!! One last random. HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE [quite possibly the best ice cream ever] opened a shop in the Ferry Building, which means it’s only a short hop away on the Oakland-SF ferry. Winninggggggg. E and I literally ate our way into an ice cream coma last week. Secret Breakfast [bourbon cornflake]+banana beach blanket [with peanuts!!!]+bourbon caramel for me; sea salted chocolate+vanilla honey+bourbon caramel+frosted almonds for him. All hail the ice cream mecca!

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A Bulk-Off of Epic Proportions

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Okay peeps, here’s what’s up.

I challenged myself to a bulk-off.

And no, this has nothing to do with my copious amount of musculature (ha).

Actually, it means that I have to use ALL the grains/beans/legumes in my pantry that I’ve acquired though major stalking of the bulk section before I buy any more. Simple. They’ve just gotten a wee bit out of hand lately, which means I have to step up my grain-legume game.

And this happens to be exactly what I’m doing.

Bulk bins:0, Hayley: 1 (or maybe two. I’ve gotten through three bags o’stuff in 2 days, I think that counts for two points).

Bag one: leftover hazelnuts —> dark chocolate hazelnut butter. I mean, OBVI. Why on earth would I make anything else?! Except this time I used 80% dark chocolate so it’s naaaaiiiiccceeee and dark. Mysterious. Bitter, some weirdos out there might say… But I say whatever. To each his or her own bitter. {to be found here if the photos made you drool}.

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Bag two: farro —> um… cooked farro!! It’s delicious, nutty and almost sweet, and goes really well with anything else lurking in your fridge. My lunch today was chicken+farro+peas+avo. Excellent. Besides that, it cooks quickly: combine 1 part grain to two parts water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. It should still be ‘toothsome’ when cooked… you know, like good-chewy. And don’t forget to rinse your grains before cooking them! Farro is always a little dusty.

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Bag three: LENTILS! Natch. —> mo’lentils. Except this time they got tossed in with sautéed onions, mushrooms, peppers, and greens+basil and oregano. Mmm. Din din. Over farro for leftovers!

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Also, I discovered a really fab new lunch! And it’s stupid easy (exactly how lunch should be. I’m generally starving. Why on earth should it be complicated?!)

IMG_6354Basil Chicken and Veggies on Toast

  1. Acquire some diced chicken {cooked, pretty please}
  2. chop up some mushrooms and mixt greens
  3. heat good quality olive oil in a skillet over medium with a cube of frozen basil or some fresh stuff if it’s in season
  4. toss in veggies once the whole shebang is hot, and sauté until they’re nice and soft
  5. Mix in chicken so it gets all basily
  6. toast a whole wheat english muffin, and grate some parmesan over the top once it’s toasty. Alternatively, mash an avocado over the muffin—also incredibly delicious (if not better)
  7. pile up an obscenely tall pile of chicken-veggie over the muffin halves, and pretend you can actually eat it with your hands. Laugh nicely at yourself when you try… and then procure a fork and eat like a civilized human. Or something.

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I also utilized some bulk buckwheat groats in my bulk challenge —> they are currently residing in the crust of some no-bake, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free lemon-coconut bars. Hooray!! Those are chilling, and as such there are no pictures… yet. If they’re good, I’ll share!

Happy Random Thursday. Why is it so hot here?! This is like summer weather and it isn’t summer yet and I’m not prepared and therefore am whiny. Whine whine whine. I think it’s snack time, that might curtail the whining.

Hellooooo, lemon bars, are you ready yet?!

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