March 29, 2011

Blueberry Polenta Pancakes

Sunday was Michael's birthday. We had been planning for quite some time to have dinner at Frances Restaurant in San Francisco. "Quite some time" was six weeks - that's how far ahead I called, and I was lucky to get a reservation at 6:30 on a Sunday! I wore makeup and heels, and Michael put mousse in his hair. And it was worth it. We were impressed with the service, and the fact that they have house wine for a dollar an ounce. We had a "market shot" - some fruit fresh from the farmer's market (in our case it was asian pear), squeezed and spiked with something (in our case pommeau - which we had never heard of but liked very much). We ate chickpea fritters with harissa sauce, and a lovely asparagus salad with fried shallots, and a perfectly cooked steak with mushrooms and farro...but, we're not here to talk about our dinner.

March 26, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom Enchiladas with Poblano Sauce

These enchiladas are not the most photogenic food, but they are really really tasty. We took our inspiration from a recipe from Bon App├ętit for mushroom crepes; we just took out the step of making crepes and replaced them with corn tortillas, and tweaked the sauce a bit (a little more flavor and a little less cream). The result is one of our staple meals. You could definitely use this sauce on all sorts of other things, or switch out the filling in the enchiladas if mushrooms aren't your thing. 

March 21, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

We've tried tons of different recipes in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. For a while we just used the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chips bag, and these tasted great. But we've had better, so we knew that there must be a better recipe out there somewhere.

There's the New York Times' recipe for what they consider to be the best, which uses a mix of bread and cake flour, and requires overnight refrigeration. But who wants to wait 24 - 36 hours, and buy two different types of flour that you might not already have on hand? Then there's the Food Network's "Best Chocolate Chips Cookies Ever" recipe, but these tended to be too dry due to a higher flour content.  

March 19, 2011

Huevos Not Quite Rancheros

My friend Liz, who is part of my weekly knitting group, raises chickens in her backyard in Oakland, and on certain lucky Wednesdays she shows up at the cafe where we meet with cartons of fresh eggs to share. They are lovely and brown in color, with amazingly bright orange yolks and a flavor that is nothing like the eggs you buy at the store (even the cage free organic free range et cetera). The first time we got a batch of these eggs, we had a luxurious Saturday breakfast of fried eggs over spicy beans with chorizo and polenta. Then we got another batch and had that breakfast for dinner. They're sort of our take on huevos rancheros...

March 15, 2011

Ginger Molasses Pumpkin Bread

We "sprung forward" this weekend, the weather patterns are shifting, and there are buds on our wisteria and asparagus in the markets. We are happy to see spring and looking forward to longer hours of daylight, warmer weather, and a some of our favorite produce. But before we go all into spring, we wanted to make one of our fall/winter favorites one last time: pumpkin bread. We've been working on this recipe for a bit, trying to make a quick bread with lots of spice and a little extra kick of freshly grated ginger and molasses, in addition to your standard pumpkin pie spices. We are very happy with the result, and hope you enjoy it too. Make it before blueberries come into season and you find yourself unable to resist blueberry muffins!

March 6, 2011

Pappardelle with Mushroom Sauce

We like mushrooms, but we have always wondered exactly what is in them. Based on the amount of liquid we have to cook out when we prepare them, they must be mostly water. But nutritionally - are they good for you? Do they have vitamins in them? Most of our general nutrition knowledge is about plants - we know that dark leafy greens have iron. Orange foods have beta carotene. But mushrooms? Little brown or white or tan fungi? What is in them?