Saturday, August 27, 2011

The layering effect

It's hard for me to get excited for fall since everyday during the summer season in San Francisco is like fall!  But I was glad to hear that Alexa Chung teamed up with Madewell again to bring out another fall line.  Scotch & Soda never seems to disappoint as well, and especially this fall's line up.  Looks like a lot of layers, boots, warm sweaters and cardigans...never a bad thing.

In other news, Hurricane Irene has decided to wreck havoc on the East Coast and has delayed my flight back to San Francisco from New York.  I, like many others, will have to wait out this storm and experience the frustrating nuisances of delayed flight travel...sigh.

I hope that everyone on the East Coast stays warm, prepared and safe!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Through the lens

Here are some images from this past weekend in New York.  I checked out the Lomography Store in the West Village before deciding to buy one of the new Holga's at Adorama on W. 18th near Union Square.  I like the Lomography Store, believe me.  But I like Adorama's prices better.

After shooting the wedding in 'Jersey, I ended up visiting the Brooklyn Flea.  Had I more time and room in my suitcase, I would have bought a few vintage cameras while there.  In general, there was a nice mix of old, vintage and handmade goods.  Food stalls in the back beckoned and I ended up walking to the train with a huge Dough Donut.  You New Yorkers out there are verrrry lucky to have Dough Donut.  They're fresh, tasty and huge!  I had about five people stop and point at me with my donut on my way back.  It was insane.

I met up with a friend in DUMBO and tried my first lobster roll.  Mmm...later we headed to K Town and ate at Bon Chon for Korean chicken.  Double Mmmm.

As per usual, a great trip.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hoboken is for lovers

One happy couple.

W Hotel.


...Who knew that 'Jersey could be so classy.  ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jumping on the bread wagon


It finally happened.

I gave in.

After reading other blogs and articles, I finally jumped on the wagon and tried the no-knead bread recipe.  This recipe has been circling the interwebs for a few years now and since I received my french oven a few months ago, I've been wanting to try the easy to make bread recipe.

And it is everything that everyone has said it would be.  Warm, flavorful...and that amazing bread smell!  My only regret was that I made it shortly before I left for my New York getaway.

You can find the recipe from the original post by the New York Times Journal, adapted from Jim Lahey from the Sullivan Street Bakery.

In other news, I photographed an amazing wedding at the W hotel in 'Jersey.  I hope to share a few of those images soon!

I hope that everyone had a great weekend and Monday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to Brooklyn

By James Gulliver Hancock, via All Buildings in New York

Photo by Eugene Nikiforov, via Brooklyn Flea

Today I'll be making my way back to the East Coast, staying in Brooklyn with a friend, before flying home for a mini vacation.  All this before fall semester on Sept. 1.  

There are many nice things about the West Coast and San Francisco in particular, but as they say, nothing compares to your first love.  New York happens to be mine.  It is the city in which all others shall forever be compared to.

Typically when I visit, I come prepared with a long list of places and things to do.  Perhaps this time around, there won't be so many expectations but appreciations and reminisces of places of the past.

And, on a random note, this will be my first red-eye flight.  (That I can remember, of course.)  I've been flying before I turned one year old, been across this country so many times that I lost count and have seen many luxuries and horrors of international flight.  It seems a bit odd that I never encountered a red-eye but I suppose there's a first for everything.  I even bought my first sleeping mask, though I doubt I'll be getting a good nights rest.  (I rarely ever sleep soundly on a flight.)

We shall see... 

I only hope that I make it to New York in one piece...perhaps a bit rumpled and grumpy, but one piece nevertheless.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Slow food is forever worth the wait.

I had first heard of the Slow Food Movement while studying abroad in Genova, Italy, a few years back.  And honestly, I didn't understand the true meaning until finally moving to San Francisco this past January.  I had thought that slow food meant taking way too much time thinking of an impossible meal, buying too-expensive ingredients in order to make a Thanksgiving Feast, which is only to be gobbled up in minutes after cooking.  
After trying the new American/San Franciscan cuisines, buying local produce, paying attention to the importance of "in season and following, what I like to call, "gateway food blogs," did I truly begin to understand how slow food can change the way you think and feel about food.

Slow food isn't complicated.  By far, it's experiencing your food in the best and simplest of ways.  
It's about learning which foods come into season and how to create harmonious blends of flavors.  
It's knowing certain scientific facts about your food.  Like when you combine yeast with sugar, fermentation will occur, creating carbon dioxide gas.  It is that process that creates that light, airy and chewy texture in bread.  And it only gets better when you let the process set up and rest for a long period of time.

Slow food creates a certain environment while eating.  No longer is dinner considered the third meal of the day.  It is a meeting and gathering of family and friends.  The experience of good food, sustaining drink and warm conversation is the end goal of slow food.  It becomes more of a way of life rather than a complex meal.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whole wheat spinach, ricotta and spicy sausage calzones

Q:  What's for dinner tonight?
A:  Calzones

But not just any calzone, a traditional Italian kind with a spicy kick.  You see, when I grew up, calzones were just inverted pizzas with the crust all over.  I never thought that they could be more than just American shredded moz cheese and pepperoni, side-kicked with store bought Ragu for dipping.  It wasn't until a college trip to Italy, did I find what a real calzone could be. 

This calzone takes the traditional spinach and ricotta cheese pairing up a notch, with the addition of a very hot and spicy Italian sausage.  I used fresh spinach (instead of the frozen box kind) and real minced garlic (which anyone can say makes all the difference!)  I also used a half white and whole wheat flour mixture instead of using only white.  I find that half & half flour recipes create meals that keep one satiated. 

Below, you'll find my step by step progress through this easy and delicious meal.

Whole wheat spinach, ricotta and spicy sausage calzones
(Yields four calzones)

Dough Ingredients:
1/2 Cup (plus extra 1/2 cup for kneading) White All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Package of instant dry fast acting yeast
1 teaspoon White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 Cup of warm water (120 degrees or so)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Cheese Filling Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Ricotta
3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 
1 Large Egg
1/8 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Other Ingredients:
Three sausage links of choice, casings discarded
2 Cups Fresh Spinach, washed and dried
1/4 Cup of water
1/4 Cup Diced White Onion
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to season

Oven Temperature:  375 Degrees Fahrenheit 

Prepare Dough.  Start by mixing together the flours, yeast, salt and sugar.  Add the olive oil and water and stir to create a sticky dough.  Dust a clean surface and knead in the other 1/2 Cup of white flour to create a firm dough that does not stick.  Place in a clean and greased bowl and cover with a fresh linen.  Set the bowl aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Wash and dry about 2 Cups of fresh spinach.  Break off any stems.  Tear leaves in half if large.

Dice onion and mince garlic.

Cook sausage in large skillet.  Once the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes, drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Next cook onion and garlic with some olive oil.  Salt and pepper to season.  Once onions are soft (about 5 minutes) add the spinach with a 1/4 Cup of water.  Place lid on pan to wilt the leaves.  Once leaves are wilted (about 2 minutes) drain any excess water and add back the sausage to the pan. Cook all ingredients through for an extra couple of minutes.  Turn off burner and set pan aside.

Create cheese filling.  Add ricotta and mozzarella cheese, pepper, and one egg to a small bowl.  Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Set bowl aside.

With a floured surface ready, divide dough into four equal quarters.  Roll out each quarter of dough to form a circle with a diameter of 8".  With cheese mixture at hand, spread out a small portion on half of the circle of dough.  Next, place a spoonful of the meat mixture.

Fold over the dough to form a half circle.  Pinch ends closed and place calzone on a prepared baking sheet using a flour-dusted spatula. 

Using a small knife, make three slits on each calzone.  Next, brush the calzones with olive oil and sprinkle salt on top to finish them off. 

Place calzones into the center of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

When the calzones are done, they should be a nice golden brown.  Place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes before picking one up and tearing into it!  The bread should be warm, with a slight sweet taste, while the inside is savory and spicy.  


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simple Sunday

 I met this weekend head on and conquered it like a boss.

I sewed, cooked and juiced my way into a better mood.  I also want to thank all of the people that reached out and supported me from my last post.  It means a lot y'all, I'm touched.

Sundays are always those wonderful days where life slows down and breathes a sigh of relief before the next week rush.  I love walking to my local deli, picking up the Sunday paper and getting to go through the whole thing, front to back, while drinking a nice hot cup of coffee.

 Thom and I have re-ignited our juicing philosophy, so I've been making a few more trips out to local produce stalls and markets.  This past Thursday, I ventured out to the Castro Market on Noe and Market St.  It's small, tidy and humble, but I thought it was plentiful and endearing.

I made a venture out later today to check out Green Apple Books in the Richmond Neighborhood.  Completely overwhelmed by everything that they offered, I ended up finding a used copy of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies for $8.  I'm sure I'll be quite entertained on my flight back to New York.

Later, I caught cooking inspiration from some leftover quinoa, fresh produce and a new tart pan.  I rarely ever eat a meat-free meal but after cooking up the zucchini and tomato ricotta tart, along with a vegetable quinoa, I didn't miss having meat one bit.

All in all, a wonderful and slowed-down Sunday. 

I hope you all enjoyed yours as well!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Health, wealth and happiness

I never felt that I needed to defend my life and the choices that I've made thus far but the other day I was taken aback when someone had mentioned the fact that:  A.  I currently do not work.  And B.  I seem to have tons of time for making shit.

Between those simple statements was a whole hell of a lot of insinuation.

Immediately, I thought, scrrrrrrrew you.  And then, after all the anger and pride, I started to feel a bit hurt, insecure and lesser than anyone that worked a regular 9-5 job.

It had really hit me hard that some people would think that little about me and worse,

that I even cared.

I've been thinking about the whole situation for a while now and mulling over all my confused feelings to finally come to this conclusion that I wish I had told that initial person:

I love everything that I am currently you?

I love the fact that I make things for myself.

I love that I am always curious, always learning and always growing.

I love that I made the decision to dedicating my time to my graduate studies, pursuing my dream of one day teaching others.

I love that I have an understanding boyfriend and family who see my education as an investment for the future.

I love that I get to experience a new city, a better life, and a new purpose, here in San Francisco.

I love that I can sit down, open up and say this all right now.

So, can you say that you're currently in love with everything that you're doing?  

Some people find that joy in their Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm job.  I couldn't.  I tried.  It sucked. 

Yes, I was independent and making my own money, but I also wasn't happy in my job.  Far from it, I was miserable.  Ultimately, I wasn't exploring new possibilities.  Each day was the same... 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that some people feel justified in making these kinds of comments to others in order to feel better about themselves and I've realized that.  I have taken a lot from this experience and no longer feel sad or remorse for myself.

If anything, I feel more defined.  I feel assured that the life I live may account for no one but myself and that I am forever grateful for each day and decision I make.