SO. I went on this long ride the other day and despite devouring a ton of soup dumplings and a couple dry fried chicken wings, I had this strange urge to make a dinner consisting of seared scallops over a mushroom farro risotto. What?? Absurd.
I’ve made a farrotto before, but of course I didn’t try to search for my recipe. Instead I winged it. Here’s how I made it happen:
Mushroom Farro Risotto
1 1/4 c mixed mushrooms (I used button, oyster and shiitake), chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c white wine
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 c farro
2 tbsp pine nuts
4 c low sodium chicken broth
1/4 - 1/3 c parmesan, grated
2 tbsp tarragon, chopped
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Saute shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes, until mushrooms begin to soften. Add wine and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and place into a bowl.
Melt remaining 1 tbsp butter in saucepan and toast farro in butter for 2 minutes. Add pine nuts and toast for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushroom mix, cream and 2 cups broth. Cover and cook until liquid appears to reduce, stirring occasionally.
Once liquid reduces, add remaining 2 cups broth and simmer until farro is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add tarragon, salt, pepper and parmesan. Cook for another 5-10 minutes covered.
I know I said I had an urge to do seared scallops and that is clearly a photo of fish. Scallops were not in the cards. Not that day. Instead, I opted to sear a couple halibut filets (sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder) and placed them atop a little bed of sauteed arugula. I’m sure any greenery will work just as well.
In hindsight, I wish I had a bottle of sherry. Maybe it’s just something from my childhood, but I think a splash of sherry always enhances a mushroom-centric dish. Much more so than a splash of white wine. You?
Leftovers. They are not so fun. Especially after eating the same thing for several days straight. So that awesome Lagunitas Braised Pork Shoulder, it was wearing out its welcome. Instead of just tossing the tasty bits, I re-purposed them. This is how it went down:
Spicy Shredded Pork w/Cheesy Polenta
1 1/2 - 2 c braised pork shoulder, shredded (though, you could also use chicken)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus 1 tbsp sauce
1 c polenta
3 c water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c pepper jack cheese, shredded (this is a guess b/c I had random slices of pepper jack lying around)
In a small pan, heat pork, allowing it to form a few brown bits. Add tomato sauce and chipotle and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
As meat cooks, bring water, salt and garlic powder to a boil. Whisk in polenta and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and continue cooking and stirring for another 10 minutes or until polenta is cooked through.
Serve immediately with some greens. I only had frozen chopped spinach lying around so please excuse the super dark pile in the photo. This dish had just the right amount of heat and acidity! Excellent reuse of ingredients :)
First thing’s first. Have I really been away that long that Tumblr changed the posting format? Why can’t I make this picture not so massive? Woah.
Anyway, this post is important. Very important. Especially if you love some good pulled pork and beer.
Last weekend we visited this awesome market at Bluxome Street Winery and one of the delicious treats we walked away with was a jar of St. Louis Style BBQ sauce from S&S brand. Naturally, I thought it would be a great idea to braise a pork shoulder and feast on some pulled pork bbq sandwiches. I mean, what else would you do with a jar of bbq sauce??
I sacrificed one of the precious few bottles of Lagunitas Sucks in my fridge for this recipe and ohmygod. The smells coming from my kitchen were INSANE. You should make this immediately. The pork is pretty flavorful and moist on its own, so you can feel free to split the recipe in half and turn one half into bbq sandwiches and the other half into something completely different. The liquid smoke is optional, a 1/2 tsp added a nice subtle smokey flavor to the bbq half. Enjoy!
Lagunitas Braised Pork Shoulder
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 3-4 lb pork shoulder
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 bottle beer (I used Lagunitas Sucks, but any IPA or ale should work)
8 oz water
1 onion, cut into 8ths
4 cloves garlic, smashed
bbq sauce (optional)
liquid smoke (optional)
Combine first 5 ingredients and rub all over pork. place garlic pieces in any pockets of the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Bring pork to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325. Brown pork on all sides in a large dutch oven (3-5 min each side). Saute onion and garlic in rendered fat (about 1-2 min). Add beer, water and pork. Bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for 4 hours, turning at the halfway mark.
Shred meat, getting rid of bone and any excess fat. Skim excess onion (keep some) and all garlic from the pot. Return shredded meat to pot and let sit and soak up liquid for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
The other week (you know, the one that was horrible and rainy here in SF), I had a craving for tomato soup. I had a ton of bread leftover from Thanksgiving, so naturally I started daydreaming about making my own grilled cheese croutons.
You see, I’ve heard of these delicious cheesy, crunch little gems showing up in restaurants and figured I could totally do this on my own. Totally. No.
Perhaps I should start things off by saying that for a good 19 years of my life, I thought grilled cheese was a Kraft single placed neatly between two slices of white bread and popped into a toaster oven until golden brown. I had no idea butter was involved, and you know what? I was more than ok with that. It’s true. I really like Toasted Cheese Sandwiches. There. Done. Judge away. It’s f-ing good.
So I’m sitting at work thinking about ways to turn all these loaves of bread into mini toasted cheese sandwiches. Here’s how I did it. Note: there’s probably an easier way.
Tomato Soup w/Toasted Cheese Croutons
For the croutons:
1/2 loaf crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes
2-3 Kraft Singles (YES. NO fancy cheese here.)
1 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Using a sharp knife, slice a small pocket on one side of each cube of bread. Stuff a small square of cheese into each pocket and swipe each side with a little bit of the melted butter. Place croutons on a baking sheet and bake until slightly golden, flipping over once.
For the soup:
1 can tomato soup (the non-condensed kind)
1 c frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sriracha
2 slices canadian bacon (or ham), coarsely chopped
dash liquid smoke
Brown canadian bacon in a saucepan over medium heat. Add liquid smoke and cook for a couple minutes before pouring in the tomato soup. Bring soup to a slight boil and add mixed vegetables, sugar and sriracha. Cook for another 10 minutes or until soup is heated through. Serve immediately with croutons on top.
I like to doctor up canned tomato soup with lots and lots of frozen veggies. Sometimes I toss in a splash of milk if I have it lying around, just to add a teeny bit of creaminess, but it was a no go this time around. The liquid smoke was an awesome addition…just enough smokey flavor!
This is another one of those gentle urban hikes. It’s really a walk. With a bunch of stairs. Special stairs.
Anyone! As long as you don’t have bad knees…or don’t mind pausing a lot on the stairs!
A reasonable walk with a bunch of steps. Mileage varies depending on where you start this hike. The mosaic tiles along the steps are really cool to look at as one piece of art, but be sure to stop and take a look at the individual tiles. They’ll surprise you!
Definitely take this in on a clear, warm(ish) day.
We started this hike after brunch in the heart of Haight-Ashbury, so that’s how I’m going to walk you guys through this. Feel free to start wherever you want!
Walk along Haight Street toward Golden Gate Park. Make a left on Stanyan and a right on Frederick. Follow Frederick for awhile and turn left on 2nd. Take your first right onto Hugo and a left on 5th. Make a right onto Irving and take it all the way down to 10th Avenue. Make a left on 10th and a right on Judah (yes, we were big on winding our way over). Walk down Judah and make a left on Funston. Take Funston to a right on Kirkham and then a left up the first set of 16th Avenue Stairs.
Take a moment to catch your breath (ugh, why are stairs so brutal?) and hang a right onto Lawton, which turns back into 16th Avenue. Veer right to continue on 16th Avenue and you should see the stairs on your left. Take in the awesomeness and make your way up the steps. Be sure to check out the individual tiles…I enjoyed the little toads and the random pasta/dinner tablescape. Also, don’t forget to turn around every so often and take in the views of the ocean AND the Golden Gate Bridge. So pretty! Keep in mind, people use these steps for fitness a la Rocky, so stay to the right as you admire!
Once you reach the top, you can call it a day, or continue to your right and up the steps to Grand View Park. There are benches and a dirt path that winds up the hill if you need a break from the steps. Gorgeous views await. Return the way you came!
This is a bit far from our neck of the woods, so we took a pitstop at Social Kitchen & Brewery on 9th & Irving. Two thumbs up! Snacks looked great (maybe that’s why I wanted to make some lumpia shanghai..), not crowded, and they had some tasty craft beers. My recs are the West Side IPA and the Skimmer’s ESB.
I’m not much of a creamy soup gal, but I do love a pureed squash soup here and there. Do not serve me butternut squash…it’s not my fave. I think I’ve been forever scarred by too many sweet butternut squash soup recipes.
The other day I thought hm, maybe I should make a soup with my favorite squash, KABOCHA! I played around with some ingredients in my kitchen and the result is something smoky, slightly Asian and oh so filling.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
1 kabocha squash, peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/3 c light coconut milk
1 1/2 c water or low-sodium chicken broth
1 slice fresh ginger
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sriracha
Spread squash pieces on a lined baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until squash is soft. Set aside.
In a pot, slowly brown bacon. Discard any overly fatty pieces and keep the meaty bits. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in squash pieces, ginger and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes before pouring in broth and coconut milk. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sriracha and lime juice and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until squash begins to break apart.
Remove ginger and about half the shiitake mushroom slices (feel free to snack on them!) and puree with an immersion blender. If soup looks too thick, slowly add a mixture of lime juice, coconut milk and water (1 tbsp:3 tbsp:1/4 c) until it thins out to your liking. Stir in cilantro and let flavors simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Sriracha smiley face optional.
This is definitely a weekend day trip hike since you have to consider the ferry to and from the city. I’m sure it still has great views on a slightly foggy day, but we were fortunate to hike this on a rare clear Saturday in October.
Pack some light snacks and beverages and maybe a long sleeve shirt as it can get kinda windy at the top. Don’t forget to check your watch! The ferry schedule isn’t plentiful so make sure you have enough time to catch that last ferry back!!
Anyone, really. We saw some older folks and kids (and even a few strollers!) on the route. There may have also been some boozers on the walk. Take that as you will.
A fairly reasonable 5 mile hike with a strenuous climb up stairs at the start. Plenty of picnic options along the way. The path is well marked and there are usually a fair amount of hikers that you can follow.
Anytime, but your best bet is a clear(ish) day in San Francisco…it’ll be even nicer once you get to Angel Island.
This really starts at Pier 41 where you pick up the Blue & Gold ferry ($17 adult r/t). Once you’re on the island, it starts to the left of the restrooms at the ferry landing. Fill up on water here.
Once you get off the ferry at Angel Island, look to the left of the restrooms for a sign that says Northridge Trail. This will take you along a narrow path to a set of long steep stairs. Continue past the picnic tables (or pause for a pre-hike snack) and cross the paved road and veer to the right, following signs for the Northridge Trail. Continue along the trail until you see a fire road to your left and take that for a few feet before veering right to continue on the Northridge Trail. Note: there still should be signs for the Northrdige Trail, if not, follow signs to Mt. Livermore.
You will eventually hit a T, where you will want to turn right and follow signs for Mt. Livermore. Keep following the path and after a couple bends in the trail, you’ll start your final ascent to the summit. Keep an ear out for oohs and ahhs from other hikers…we sure heard the noise before we got to the top.
You’ll pass a picnic table a few feet before the actual summit that has an amazing view of Tiburon. I suggest stopping here for your lunch/snack/beverage break. The summit has great views of the city and Tiburon, but there’s one teeny table up there and a whole lot of people. It is anything but peaceful.
Once you’ve taken in the breathtaking views, begin your descent by walking back the way you came, except you will turn right onto the Sunset Trail at the junction. Follow the Sunset Trail and at the 3.5 mile mark, veer right onto a fire road for a few feet, then turn left to continue on the Sunset Trail. You’ll eventually see a large water tank and some picnic tables on your left.
Cross the road and veer right, following signs to the doc area. This will spit you out by a grassy picnic area not far from the dock.