Wednesday, August 31, 2011

back to ballet

Ballet classes started up again this week after the summer recess.

We had our first class on Monday and this time, we had an accompanist come in to play the piano- perhaps the most charming thing in the world. I'm looking forward to picking up where we left off- this is sort of my version of school starting up in the fall. It's hard to believe that today is the last day of August.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

clementine bakery's banana cake

I don't read the LA Times. I grew up in San Diego and my parents always got the NY Times and the San Diego Union Tribune. Now living in San Francisco, I mostly just skim the news online, but rely mostly on the NY Times. 

But perhaps I've made a mistake. 

A few days ago, I read a recipe for banana cake on Luisa's lovely blog,attributed to the Clementine Bakery via the LA Times. I've never been particularly ga-ga for banana cake, but this one caught my attention. We'd been invited to a last-minute dinner party with friends, so I thought I'd make this as our contribution to the meal.

{with cream cheese frosting}

I baked the cake in a 9x13 inch pan and it took almost an hour to bake (rather than the 35-40 minutes suggested). I think it would have been prettier baked in a 10 inch round pan (but maybe that's just because flat, rectangular cakes seem kind of bland looking to me) but 9x13 was what I had. I let it cool, frosted it, and stuck a strawberry on top to dress it up a bit.

Pretty or not, this cake is delicious. The bananas give it an incredibly plush crumb and the flavor was full and rich. I noted Luisa's changes to the cream cheese frosting, but decided I wanted it with the full amount of sugar listed in the original recipe. Even after a big meal at our friends' place, everyone still managed to put away large slices of the cake and even go for seconds, in some cases.

molly wizenberg's chicken stew

Since I managed to pass my cold on to Daniel- how do you avoid this when you share an apartment?- I decided the only possible thing to make for dinner last night was chicken noodle soup.

I used Molly's recipe on Orangette because it was simple and quick to throw together for a weeknight supper.

It turned out just as I'd hoped- hot, savory, and delicious- perfect for two sick persons on a chilly Monday evening.

Monday, August 29, 2011

scenes from the weekend

{Asiatic lilies}

{Aretha Frankenstein's Waffles of Insane Greatness}

{berries with lemon and liqueur de cassis}

{newly framed poster for the living room}

{reorganizing books by color}

{dismantling old computers for recycling}

{carrot rapĂ© with sunflower seeds}


So even though I was a sniffly mess for most of the weekend, it wasn't so terrible in the end. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It's a funny thing- I love tarot cards but would probably be too terrified to have anyone read my cards. Instead, I content myself with simply appreciating particularly strange and beautiful renditions of the cards, like the ones done by Francesco Clemente. I read an article on his foray into designing tarot cards in the New Yorker and loved looking through his versions of the Higher and Minor Arcana. 

Seven of Disks

Sara Mearns as The World

Diane von Furstenberg as The Force

I think Francesco Clemente's work is fascinating. I remember watching Alfonso Cuaron's version of Great Expectations when I was twelve and thinking how amazing the art in the movie was- all the sketches and watercolors, so beautiful and otherworldly. I'd love to find some prints of his work to put up on the admittedly rather bare walls of my apartment...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

le croissant du jour

Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there's no room for the present at all.
                                                                                          -Evelyn Waugh

Saturday, August 20, 2011

birthday barbecue

This afternoon, we went to a birthday barbecue at Crissy Field. 

In a fit of optimism, I wore a sun dress. I sorely regretted this decision once we got to the picnic grounds, where it was cold and gray and the wind was whipping paper plates off of the tables.

Still, it was a good time. Everyone ate hot dogs and drank beer to warm up. I stayed for a few hours and then took my leave to go home and sneak in a quick nap before dinner. Off to doze on the couch!

Friday, August 19, 2011

joy wilson's s'more brownies

Tonight, I'm going to a dinner party over in Nob Hill. It's a bunch of girls getting together and no one really eats at these things. Instead, everyone pretty much drinks their dinner and then sits around gossiping at high volume. A cliche? Possibly. But it happens, which is why we have these types of gatherings at each others' homes rather than in restaurants. Nothing is worse than a table of drunk, shrieking women at a restaurant.

I digress.

Because I don't want anyone to be overly tipsy, S'more brownies are my contribution to the evening. I figure this way, everyone will have some nice butterfat coating their stomachs. 

Happy Friday. I hope everyone has plans that include lots of wine and chocolate.

*Update: these brownies were more cake-like and- dare I say- a little dry. I would try this again, but using a more fudgy brownie recipe as the base, leaving the graham crackers in fairly big pieces, and using either homemade marshmallows or the big square ones you can often find in gourmet groceries. I figure if you're going to eat a s'more brownie, it should damn well be worth it. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Would anyone like to tell me how I can go to the grocery store on a Wednesday and spend $91.96?

Actually, I can tell you myself. You buy Dufour puff pastry. And Scharffenberger chocolate. And a big bottle of organic vanilla extract. Those three things together? 35 bucks. Appalling, I know.

Anyway, I also bought some semi-practical items and tonight I made pesto pasta for dinner.

I made spaghetti and poured the pesto over it along with a handful of multi-hued cherry tomatoes and then wolfed the whole thing down double-quick because I was ravenous after ballet. Wednesdays. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

end of summer, ballet

Summer session for ballet ends this week and I officially graduate on to the next level. In between, we get a week off from dance. I've had so much fun in the class and I can't wait to start learning some more advanced techniques. A lot of people have asked me if ballet class is a good work out. Absolutely it is. Of course it feels different than going for a run or taking a spinning class, but at the end of  ballet, my muscles always feel as though they've been thoroughly stretched and woken up. It's wonderful.

Monday, August 15, 2011

david lebovitz's vanilla ice cream

Yesterday, I made ice cream.

I used a recipe from David Lebovitz and although there were a number of steps and I had to let the base chill for what seemed like forever (real time: 24 hours), it really wasn't so bad. I poured the ice cream base into the machine and 15 minutes later, I had ice cream. Rich, custardy, vanilla bean specked ice cream. The store bought stuff just can't compare. I can tell this is going to be dangerous.

an august weekend

A few delightful things from the weekend:
The weekend was, in fact, almost entirely delightful. The sun was shining, Daniel came home from his work trip, and I got to spend time with some wonderful family friends who spoiled me rotten with good food.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

saturday morning, hayes valley

I woke up fairly early this morning. No reason- I was just awake. I went to make coffee and then remembered that I'd used up all the milk two days ago. So I dressed myself and headed out.

I decided to walk down to Hayes Valley. It was sunny and I thought a morning walk would be pleasant. 

I'd been planning to head to Blue Bottle, but as I walked through Patricia's Green I spotted Ritual Coffee and thought it looked promising.

I was not disappointed. I ordered a double latte and sat down to absorb the sunshine. Glorious.

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but the flowers are luminous. 

Afterwards, I walked home- up along Hayes St. and through Alamo Square. I stopped to watch the fog bank that was blanketing the western part of the city and thought about how cold and damp it was going to be at Outside Lands. Then I went back to the apartment to wait for Daniel, who was due home from the airport any minute. A beautiful morning- there's nothing like drinking a cup of great coffee in the early morning sunshine.

Ritual Coffee Roasters
432 Octavia St
SF CA 94102

Friday, August 12, 2011

pictures from the field

When Daniel travels for work, he sends me pictures each morning of the surrounding landscape.

It's become sort of a morning ritual, since he's been gone all week. I like starting the morning out with a picture, but I'm also glad I won't be getting any more of them for a while- Daniel comes home tomorrow morning. Very glad the weekend is nearly here.
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