June 30, 2011

Ceviche de Atún


We both grew up on the East Coast, and we have to confess that we both thought that the people from California that we met were kind of obnoxious. All they could talk about was the wonderful food and weather in their home state. Then we moved here, and we turned into those people. See, the weather is really great, and the food...well, it's pretty good too.

One sign that we might have become obnoxious Californians is our tendency to gloat when we have a random week of 70 degrees and sunny weather in the middle of January or February, and we check the forecast for Connecticut or New York or North Carolina or D.C. and we see temperatures in the teens/snow/sleet/ice, and we just can't resist sending our families an email with our weekly forecast, or a picture of us enjoying the sun in our backyard.

June 23, 2011

Marin Sun Farms Tour


On  June 15, we took a very interesting (and free!) tour of Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes. This is something that we had wanted to do for a while, since, like many other people who have read books like The Omnivore's Dilemma and seen movies like Fast Food Nation, we are trying to be more aware of where our food comes from, and to make responsible choices about what we buy and eat. We've found this to be fairly straightforward when it comes to produce; we are fortunate to live in an area where a lot of fruits and vegetables are grown, and we try to stick with what is in season and has not traveled too far to make its way to us. Things get a little trickier with meat, though; we can buy things that are labeled "organic" or "grass-fed" or "free-range," but it's hard to say what that really means when it comes to the lives of the animals involved. 

June 15, 2011

Bibimbap


This recipe caught my eye last asparagus season when I saw it on Epicurious, but somehow I let the spring season pass and it has been languishing in my recipe box ever since. This is really a shame, now that we know how good it is (Michael declared it "one of the best meals we've ever made," and he does not utter those words lightly) - so many missed bibimbap opportunities! Fortunately, now that we know what we've been missing, we also know that this dish is a simple concept that can be applied to various vegetables and meats and need not be limited to asparagus season.

Bibimbap means "mixed meal" in Korean (so says Wikipedia); it involves rice, some kind of vegetable(s), chili paste, maybe some meat, and probably a fried egg. And there is something greatly appealing about a meal where everything (meat, veggies, grains) is served all together in a big bowl (or in a big wrap, as in the case of a burrito - which is, according to Michael, "the perfect food").

June 7, 2011

Brown Sugar Cake


This is a spectacular cake. You should make it, right now, and you should eat it right out of the oven, when it's hot and the gooey caramel top is dripping all over the cake. You should probably also put whipped cream on it.

This is the kind of cake that we rarely make. We're usually doing something with frosting or something with fruit (or something with both), and tend to forget about the simple deliciousness that happens when sugar is mixed with cream and butter and turned into caramel. This is a pretty standard upside-down cake, but with no fruit, and I have to admit it was hard to resist the temptation to add something to it (but what if we put raspberries in the cake? Or added some sliced apples to the topping?), but I am so glad that we did, because it's perfect and simple and beautiful as it is. There's a very moist, buttery cake made with almond flour, cooked with a layer of caramel in the bottom of the pan. As the cake bakes, the caramel boils and bubbles up the sides of the pan, coating the cake. Some of the sugar topping bakes into the cake, making a sweet, sticky cake layer, and then some gooey caramel stays separate and oozes over the sides when you turn the cake out. Some of our caramel stuck in the pan - make sure you scrape that out with a spatula and drizzle it over the cake.