Monday, October 31, 2011

our halloween

It's sort of anticlimactic, having Halloween fall on a Monday. I feel as though I already thoroughly celebrated the holiday over the weekend and have nothing left to give now that actual Halloween is here. On Saturday, we celebrated a friend's birthday in full costume (our little group included a banana, a ghostbuster, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, a luchador, Fielding Melish of Woody Allen's Bananas, Frida Kahlo, and Angela Chase from My So Called Life. Colorful, to say the least.) On Sunday, we discovered that our jack-o'-lanterns had sprouted thick coats of fuzzy black mold all over their wizened interiors, so in a fit of disgust we threw them out after only two days. Sort of sad, but I had no desire to watch my apartment fill with evil mold spores. In the evening, we watched Rosemary's Baby because I was too impatient to wait until Monday. Danny despised it, but I quite liked it- mainly because of Mia Farrow's hair and wardrobe.

So no big Halloween plans, but I'm quite alright with that. I hope everyone else is equally pleased with their plans- or lack thereof.

Friday, October 28, 2011

have a spooky weekend

Pumpkin carving last night was so much fun...almost like a flashback to childhood, except with wine. Can you guess which one of the pumpkins above is mine?

In other news, here are a few vaguely Halloween themed links to start off the weekend...

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Unsurprisingly, things have been very busy for yours truly ever since I got back from vacation. It's not a bad thing, I just haven't done much worth mentioning, blog-wise. I made some very average eggplant curry for dinner, and some better than average granola I've been eating for breakfast. I worked on pas de bourree in dance class. And I watched Frankenweenie on TV the other night to try to jump-start the Halloween spirit.

Tonight, we're carving pumpkins with friends (bonus: they have a black cat). It's going to be awesome. I've always favored pumpkin faces with big sharp teeth and mean squinty eyes, but it's been a few years since I did any pumpkin carving (last year, I was on a plane from Milan to Paris on Halloween...the year before, a flight from Paris to San Francisco. Rough life, I know.)

Looking forward to a more Halloweenish experience this year.

Photo via daniella marie

Monday, October 24, 2011

sunday suppers

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to ordering Suzanne Goin's cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques which I've been coveting for...well, a long time. I love that it's organized by season and then arranged into menus.

Last night we had our friends Dave and Lindsay over for dinner. We had:

Onion, mushroom and goat cheese on puff pastry
Arugula with champagne shallot vinaigrette, pomegranate, and shaved parmesan
Cumin rubbed cornish game hen
Roasted butternut squash with sage hazelnut pesto
Hazelnut brown butter cake with sauteed pears and vanilla ice cream

The cake was a recipe from Sunday Suppers and it was lovely- maybe even my favorite part of the meal. Lightly sweet and richly flavored with toasted hazelnuts, it was just my kind of dessert.

hazelnut-brown butter cake with sauteed pears from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

5oz (1 heaping cup) blanched hazelnuts 
1/2 lb unsalted butter, plus butter for cake pan
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 extra large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F
Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes, until golden and fragrant

Brush the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan* with melted butter and line with parchment paper

Place the remaining butter in a saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the saucepan, the add the bean. Cook the butter and vanilla over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the butter browns. Set aside to cool and remove vanilla bean.

Grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners' sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add flower and pulse to combine

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks (4-5 minutes). Alternate folding the dry ingredients and the brown butter into the egg whites a third at a time.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour**
Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

*I used a 9-inch pan and it was fine.
**My cake only needed 40 minutes in the oven.

storm king

Have you heard of Storm King?

I hadn't until recently, but while I was in New York, I decided I had to make the trip out to see it. Luckily, my aunt Roseanne said she'd be interested in going as well, so on Thursday we drove out to Cornwall, NY.

Friends, it was breathtaking. Having seen it in the fall, I can't imagine going at any other time of year. The colors of the leaves, the dramatic clouds, the sharp blue of the October sky- it was incredible. The sculptures are are fantastic, but the most impressive thing- to my mind- was how they worked with the landscape. Just stunning. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


On Sunday, I asked Lena if she'd be interested in going to Brooklyn.  

{Brooklyn Bridge}


{Boerum Hill}

We set off after lunch and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. We stopped for ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (good) and then walked to Brooklyn Heights, which reminded me a little bit of some parts of Copenhagen. We continued on through Boerum Hill and Park Slope to Prospect Park, where we sat and watched Hasidic families pushing baby strollers. I really liked Brooklyn. It felt less densely packed, less overwhelming than Manhattan- maybe a little more approachable. I sometimes find Manhattan a little intimidating. Brooklyn is just more relaxed. It was a nice side adventure and a perfect way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

saturday morning, nyc

Saturday was my first full day in the city and I wanted to do something that would be relaxed and include both lots of walking and eating. With these criteria in mind, I decided to check out the Union Square Greenmarket. On my way, I stopped by City Bakery for breakfast.

{pretzel croissant from City Bakery}

{apples at the Union Street Greenmarket}

{assorted root vegetables}



{more apples & pears}

{west village}

I spent quite a while wandering around the market. There were so many different varieties of apples and squashes and bitter greens- tempting, but I didn't have any plans to cook while I was in the city. I satisfied myself by buying the most perfect apple I'd ever seen. The variety was Red Spy- isn't that a wonderful name?

back from nyc

I got back to San Francisco this morning after my little vacation in New York. It was a splendid trip and I have a lot of pictures to share, but now it's time for me to unpack and spend a little time catching up on my sleep. Back soon!

Friday, October 14, 2011

and i'm off!

I'm off for ten glorious days of vacation in New York City!
Image via Riazzoli

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

dance class

I'm trying to psyche myself up to do a more advanced ballet class tonight after my usual class, since I'll be missing dance all next week while I'm away on vacation. I'm a little nervous...but maybe it'll be a good for me?

Image from Bertrand Normand's documentary film Ballerina

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

point lobos state natural reserve

We left Big Sur Sunday morning to head back to the city and on the way we stopped at the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. I know I've been heavy on the shots of beautiful cliffs/ocean views lately, but I just couldn't resist putting up a few from Point Lobos. 

Daniel brought his binoculars and we spied on otters and seals and various sea birds. The weather was fresh and bracing and gloriously sunny- really, we couldn't have asked for better. 

The whole weekend was such a delight. Sometimes you forget how important it is to take some time away and enjoy being in a place that's filled with so much natural beauty. We had the best time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

big sur (II)

{Pfieffer State Park}

{banana slug}

{hike to Partington Cove}

{Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park}

{Henry Miller Library}

{Sierra Mar}

{Hendrick's martini}

We had a very full (but not rushed) day on Saturday with lots of hiking and driving along the coast. The Pfeiffer State Park and the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park were particularly lovely- though really, pretty much everything in Big Sur is spectacularly beautiful. Before our trip I had hoped there would be a concert at the Henry Miller Library we could go to, but even though there wasn't anything playing there this past weekend, we still went to check it out and had fun poring over the selection of books for sale. In the evening, we stopped by Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn for drinks and watched the sun set into a thick fog bank that was creeping in before heading to dinner at the Big Sur Bakery. Such an excellent day. I think both of us were ready to up and move to Big Sur at the end of it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

big sur (I)

{Monastery beach}

{sea urchin}

{view of Bixby Bridge}

{Deetjens Big Sur Inn}

{vacation reading}



On Friday, we drove down to Big Sur. The weather was superb and we made several stops along the way to dip our feet in the ocean and check out the views. 

Big Sur is just so damned beautiful. 

We checked into our hotel in the late afternoon and sat around reading and relaxing. Deetjens was charming and rustic- we loved our cozy room with its wood burning stove and high wood ceilings. We ate an early dinner at the hotel and then drank wine in our room and played board games. We went to sleep early because we had plans to get up early Saturday morning to go hiking. 

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