Dialogue – A dinner

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What a really great experience.  I was invited to cook a fruitful fete for 13 guests curated by Rimma Bosheritan. Rimma organizes a series of curated group talks called Dialogue, with each talk focusing on a different subject. This dinner was the wrap up for the years worth of seasonal talks.

Good friends Joseph Mcpherson and Meryl were there helping me out while Isaac and Jaime opened up their warm and eclectic home to the arriving faces and Angela Decenzo documented the night.  It was really fun creating this menu, it felt like I went out of my comfort zone with plating but I can’t think of a better way to experiment than a table filled with mostly strangers. Here is the menu. I broke down the plating to first passed appetizers into the dinner. ❤ thank you to everyone that came and thank you Rimma for organizing!

crostini:

spiced beet, pickled mustard seeds, chives dill and fromage blanc.

smokey eggplant caviar with creme fraiche, szechuan peppercorns

treat:

deviled egg, croquette de baccalao, aioli, marash pepper

sit:

chicory and carrot salad, sherry vin, pomegranate, persimmon and a savory granola with barberries and black lime

black cod. mole verde, fall squash puree, nasturtium, garden spinach

clean:

mussels escabeche, sea grapes, mussel reduction gelee, olive oil braised artichokes

end:

hazelnut torte with chessnut and mascarpone cream, pink lemon syrup with urfa

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Welcome LOLA !

I have a special guest today!

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Just in time for Thanksgiving, a super fun and surprising recipe by my friend Dolores.  She brings us a vibrant cranberry sauce with a subtle kick, a traditional non traditional and festive sauce that every Thanksgiving table needs. A little perk me up when things can go bland, and when you don’t want that plastic bottle of Sriracha in the middle of the table among the floral arrangements and goards.

Dolores at the Market

I’ve known Dolores for a really long time, we both grew up in Chino, California and have now both long moved from this suburban town.

For the past couple of years Dolores has been traveling through Oaxaca learning the regional cuisine and after some studying in Mexico for her masters thesis, she spent her off time taking cooking classes and getting more in depth with her rich Mexican heritage and her family’s cooking. Easy to say, she has one of those stories that involves a life long passion for cuisine, traditional flavors, cooking which she has now converted into a website Lola’s Cocina.

I am super proud of her and want to give space for her here on my blog, she is absolutely one of the nicest individual who you could ever meet. Not to mention she is also beautiful, and super down to earth.  Go visit her colorful cooking site Lola’s Cocina. 

Please visit Lola’s Cocina and try her other recipes! Thanks Dolores for the pictures and your enthusiasm. Congrats!

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Ingredients:
1 ½ cup water
1 cup sugar
4 cups fresh cranberries
10-15 dry japones chile peppers
½ lemon juiced
¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow sugar to dissolve.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add cranberries, dry chiles, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. Continue to cook until cranberries are soft and most of the water is absorbed (approximately 30 to 45 minutes). Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Once soft, remove from heat and cool.
  4. Once cool, add mixture to blender and blend until smooth on medium-high setting.
  5. Pour mixture back into pot and simmer over low-medium heat for 30 minutes or until slightly reduced and darker in color.
  6. Pour into mason jars and allow to cool in refrigerator overnight before serving.

Authors Note: Dry japones chile peppers can be found in the Hispanic section of most supermarkets. They may also be substituted with dry chile de árbol. I used 10 chiles for this recipe and the spiciness was very subtle once the sauce cooled. 

Out With the Old

Hey look below…it’s a mermaid staring into the sun…59f5aef0cd6911e2bdcf22000a1fbe62_7

Sometimes a break if given to you. When you don’t want it. When you don’t think you need it.

Sometimes I wonder, what did I do wrong? Not much sense in trying to make sense of the wrongs. I’d rather move on to find the right.

Starting about 2 weeks ago, I no longer work at this establishment mentioned in a previous post: Read All About It… It looks like I am off again to another chapter.

I don’t visit many blogs, but one I often go to for inspiration is Heidi Swanson’s. This recent recipe by Heidi is a stupidly delicious mung bean hummus. I mean…really really addictive. It is heavily reminiscent of my Vietnamese flavors found in soups and other savouries that remind me of my childhood.

 101CookBooks – Visit here for a medley of inspiring and outrageously clean and delicious recipes. Thank you Heidi for the hello! HELLO!!

I must say,

If you like that then you will also love…

QuitoKeeto – Visit here for some really beautiful items and recipes.

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LInk to the story of the song, the singers and the writer. love, love, love love lovvvveeee Read here : LINK.

Opps…Really Late Post…

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The weather was sunny, balmy, gorgeous, and boy was it a day to remember.

Hmm…What was it about 3 Autumns ago? Maybe 2? A group of friends who all happen to be cooks and chefs met up at a little lush gem tucked away in Bolinas, CA. Together we cooked a delicious feast and had a really great time and lots of laughs. Night fell when we all sat around a table filled to the brim with garden fresh vegetables, a stew, a roast, a couple of salads, mains and side galore…

We all brought our arsenal of spices, vinegars…actually each brought his or her own pantry. I still can taste the nasturtium butter that Kristen had made, Kim’s warm salt encrusted bread right out of the wood fired oven, Rachel’s tomato jam and fruit pies, Andrew using a saw to cut apart the fresh goat, and Erin’s enthusiasm and professionalism with setting up the event and planning for the whole day.

Sorry it took so long for the pictures, but I forgot I had the file!  Teeheehee

All Photos: Daniel Dent 

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I Was Always Thinking…

Maybe summer will bring me more bubbles…

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(Open house at Headlands Center for The Arts )
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(On James Tucker’s ye ol’ boat Familia Santa)

When I was a little girl, I would dance and sing to this Saint Etienne song. Nothing much has changed, my love for this song. But, our challenges, barriers and difficulties, it’s scope is widened and is often masked  by a dark veil. We’ll get over it. To become stronger and more vigilant in our approach to better ourselves and our lives. Nothing like hitting the play button a few more times, just don’t get sick of it yet.

Summer is coming. What will it bring? Berries, flowers, stone fruits, heat heat heat.

Be nice jerks…

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(Lonely geetar in a corner)

Getting Wired

Photo below from Wired Magazine. Click Here to read the article at Wired Magazine 

This sorta feels like the kind of photo when you wish there was a retake…like at the DMV…when you ask if you can see it and they say no and then you get it in the mail and you wish you could just do anotha’…

Maybe I will revisit it in a couple of years and say “OH hey I remember that…thats the time when I wish I could have taken another picture, like at the DMV.”

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Pre Wedding Celebrations

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What a beautiful sunny day it was…

Many loving wishes to the lovely bride to be Sara. To Chona Reyes for lending a helping hand and being an all around great human being. To Graphic design queen Theresa Lee for planning and creating the fun atmosphere.  For Designer Raoul Ollman for his creative collaboration with the napkin and utensil holders.

Most importantly thank you Yukie Kuznets  for allowing us to use her beautiful backyard space at Kappa Zakka.

CIAO!

Shameless

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A while ago I was invited to be part of a book on women chefs.  At this point I was still on the line figuring things out. My chef had come up to me and asked me if I would like to be involved.  From there I connected with the author Charlotte Druckman.

On a past post You’re Gonna Change I allowed myself to become completely vulnerable and wrote on Charlottes blog TheSkirtSteakFiles.

It’s pretty unbelievable, and somewhat still in shock that my name is amongst the other women chefs.  And though it is a small part, I must say that it’s a really good feeling…the feeling of being on the right track.

Go buy the book here : on Amazon The Skirt Steak Files: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in The Kitchen.