Sunday, April 20, 2014

maialino's olive oil cake

Happy Easter from Napa!

I made Maialino's olive oil cake, which we served with a blueberry compote and a dollop of whipped cream. It cooked at least half an hour longer than the recipe suggested, rose in the middle and cracked - but by the time we served it, it had deflated enough to look reasonably ok (though it's not the most beautiful of cakes). It has a very moist, rich crumb and ended up being pretty nice as a mid-afternoon dessert.

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

spring day

What a glorious spring day. I've been shamefully neglecting my camera of late but I couldn't resist taking it along when we went on a walk to China Beach earlier today. Everything is starting to bloom and the walk through Land's End was heavenly. Hope everyone is having a delightful Sunday! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I lucked out hugely this year when it turned out my Thursday class was cancelled and I got to spend today, my birthday, free as a bird - waking up late, going for a run, meeting my mother for a long lunch, doing a bit of shopping, having a bit of champagne, and then meeting up with Daniel for dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood spots. The loveliest of birthdays. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

rishia zimmern's chicken with shallots

At the start of the month, we moved into our new apartment. It's lovely to be back in San Francisco and I'm very pleased with our new place but there have been a few hiccups, including a broken oven.

So we've mostly been eating out since we've moved in and we're lucky because there's a lot of great food in close proximity to our new place. But earlier this week I decided it was finally time to cook our first meal in the apartment and I turned to Rishia Zimmern's recipe for chicken with shallots. I read about this when the article came out in the NYTimes a few weeks back and it looked like the perfect one-pot meal. You pan fry chicken thighs in a bit of butter, sautee whole shallots in chicken fat, then add tarragon, mustard, and white wine and simmer everything for a half hour, dropping in a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes at the end. Easy as pie and completely delicious. At the end of the meal, we swiped pieces of bread around the bottom of the pot to sop up the remaining sauce. The dish is a keeper and it was a great first meal in the apartment. It feels good to get back in the kitchen again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

the most thoughtful of gifts

I took this picture a few weeks ago when I was staying with my parents before moving in to my new apartment. My parents' place is a furnished apartment - a sort of pied a terre while they find their footing in the city. The place is very nicely appointed, but when I saw it for the first time, I snickered at the Nespresso machine. A Nespresso machine? Really? How frivolous and unnecessary!

Except I was completely wrong because Nespresso machines are the most amazing things ever. I quickly fell into the habit of having one every day after lunch while I stayed with my parents, often with one of the crisp little chocolate walnut cookies they sell at Tartine. Heavenly.

Anyway, my parents - sensing my attachment to the device - got me one of my very own as a housewarming gift and I know rank my Nespresso Pixie as one of my most prized toys. It may be frivolous but it's absolutely necessary. There are some indulgences - like a cookie from Tartine, or fresh flowers, or the latest Vogue - that just can't fail to lift one's spirits. A tremendous thank you to my parents for the most thoughtful of housewarming gifts. 
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