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some choice shots from a lazy bear dinner that i attended at the beginning of last month. lazy bear is an “underground pop-up” dinner series, and having such a loaded qualifier, i was curious to see what their cuisine was all about. throughout the many servings of snacks and courses both savory and sweet, my palate was pleased but often overwhelmed. notes of uber unctuous porkyness were frequent, and though enjoyable, plate after plate of it was a bit heavy. i was happy to see use of some of california’s local fare, from abalone to clams, oysters and squab. it was nice too, to be in such an environment— part of lazy bear’s concept is that the kitchen is completely open to guests throughout the dining experience. diners can feel free to mosey in and watch plating and preparations take place to their heart’s content, something that many of my fellow meal-goers and myself took advantage of. the plating and service were both playful, and overall an experience that i would readily take part in again.

{tara firma farms}

a few weeks ago i went on a visit to tara firma farms. nestled neatly amongst the (now) brown hills of petaluma, this homestead and farming operation was one of the warmest visits i’ve had yet.

craig and his wife started the farm after their son came home from school with The Omnivore’s Dilemma by michael pollan, and were instantly taken by the desire for change. within a few years, tara firma came to be.

the day i visited, craig himself lead me and a few others around the fields, walking right next to the animals and explaining human orientation within the food system and how tara firma demonstrates the tenets of basic animal husbandry. they have a csa program, barn dances and most vital of all a warm and welcoming demeanor. chickens grazed inside and outside their barn, the pigs were happy on the hillside, with access to the woods beyond. craig and his family took the initiative, and are doing wonderfully. what a treat to witness something so swell.

{tartine bakery, san francisco}

most people have that place they’ve been dying to visit. for some it might be a a museum to peak at a certain subtly smiling woman. others might lust over the chance to drop a penny into the the giant canyon that pocks the southwest dessert.

for me, that place was tartine. i’d been wanting to visit since i first heard about what elizabeth prueitt and chad robertson were setting to rise out in the bay area. i had visions of baskets of loaves rising full of happy yeast, shelves lined with neatly composed combinations of chocolate and croissant dough and sweet cream and all sorts and forms of sugar. visiting delivered on all of these fronts— i tried one of their namesake and was floored by the satisfactory richness of each bite (not to mention the pairing with pickled carrots), and a perfectly flaky pan au chocolat riddled with eerily dark avenues of chocolate down the center.

thank you, elizabeth and chad, for working so hard to make such a good thing happen. its working, for myself and many many others.

{a collage of bread…and a bit of spread}

the crunch of a good loaf is unmistakably one of the most satisfactory sounds when it comes to food. crisp cracking. the lingering heat of the oven that delivers aromas of nutty flour and toasted seeds throughout the house. a light littering of crumbs of the counter. that doughy give of the sweet interior filled with caverns. when it comes to great bread there’s nothing quite like it.

this past summer, i started to bake for friends and family, providing this dinner table cornerstone to special events or average daily meals and meetings. the whole process from start to finish mirrored the product i was delivering— both sweet and satisfactory. when setting dough to rise, there is an inherent sense of care and obligation each loaf becomes imbibed with. as the baker visits loaves to turn or dust them with flour, a routine of familiarity and friendliness evolves. how fitting when delivering the finished product to those you love!

they may not have been as glorious as a pane d’olio or as essential as a baguette beneath the eiffel tower, but all the same they sopped up the sauce or soup for certain occasions just as well.

break bread and scatter some crumbs with friends soon. it’s soon to turn to stew season after all…

this slew of squash is a pretty accurate depiction of how i spent my afternoon after class today— surrounded by bounty. 
a few members of the farm club at school and i went to the sonoma county heirloom produce expo to explore what vegetable and fruit gems still lay undiscovered by our palates and growers throughout the valley. the immensely various display was breathtaking, and my pride beamed too at our own farm’s spot int the expo. from new farming and preserving techniques to the bulbous and exotic cultivars on display, it all was such a delicious sensory overload.
congrats to our farm manager, christian dake, for his award-winning hubbard squash!
soon to be more on the blog quite shortly— just awaiting a vital piece of wiring to transfer photographs from the camera to the computer. here’s a hint: farm.

this slew of squash is a pretty accurate depiction of how i spent my afternoon after class today— surrounded by bounty.


a few members of the farm club at school and i went to the sonoma county heirloom produce expo to explore what vegetable and fruit gems still lay undiscovered by our palates and growers throughout the valley. the immensely various display was breathtaking, and my pride beamed too at our own farm’s spot int the expo. from new farming and preserving techniques to the bulbous and exotic cultivars on display, it all was such a delicious sensory overload.


congrats to our farm manager, christian dake, for his award-winning hubbard squash!

soon to be more on the blog quite shortly— just awaiting a vital piece of wiring to transfer photographs from the camera to the computer. here’s a hint: farm.

i’ve only been in the valley for two weeks, and already my head is pooled with new information. each day there is guaranteed to be some new tidbit that i hadn’t known before that will nestle into my brain, feeding even more fervently the passion that i came here to pursue.

i haven’t had much time to snap pictures in the kitchen, though those moments might come at some point. the hustle and bustle of task-doing in that realm doesn’t exactly lend itself well the framing up the perfect shot. but here are a few snaps of moments that i’ve already enjoyed, many of them at the farm or focusing with ingredients we’re so privileged to work with. i’ll try and keep the hits coming, but for now, enjoy some sun on me.

the ship has landed.

after quite some time, i finally find myself at school ready and set to learn and discover more about the discipline i love. and how sweet, too, that i have the opportunity to do so in such an amazing environment. the landscape here is breathtaking— brown hills and rows of grapes, roadside signs for fresh produce at every turn. i feel ever so fortunate.

these photographs aren’t from my time here, but rather from when i was back at home, perhaps a bit of a memory whose substance will transpire here as well. fresh food from the farm is some of the finest, and boy do i feel that alive here. can’t wait to see what happens, stay tuned for some tasty bits of news along the way.

Photo spread from a few quality moments of the summer. Its been a good one for sure

a. heirlooms and basil cheddar waiting for the flames

b. fire feast one night in the backyard featuring sautéed brussels, leeks, corncakes with heirlooms and cheddar and lots of stars

c. pizza from floriole, which was pleasantly enjoyed at a movie in the park one evening. If you live in chicago and haven’t done this yet, I highly recommend it. Floriole is an amazing bakery and their pizza creations definitely are above and beyond the average pie

d. chickens grazing in the yard

e. lil sister Kirby prepping another super for the hive. She’s an amazingly passionate and energetic bee advocate

f. one of the most simultaneously quizzical and beautiful fruits

g. summer dinner for two with bruschetta, fresh goat cheese and greens, fruit, and broiled figs with bleu and honey

h. recent pulls from the garden

in a few days I’m off to culinary school in California, and will be sad to leave hone but excited for the beginning of a whole new journey. The bounty of this summer, be it from the garden or through moments shared with friends, has been ever so full. The future, I optimistically hope, is sure to match.

 

there’s something pretty nice about dining in a barn on green and beets fresh out of the earth and cheese from neighbor goats. something pretty nice.
i’ve got a new project in the works. one centered on mail and recipes and enjoying the greatness that life brings. a bit of it just might be sent your way, if i’ve got your address. but if not, send it on and i’d be happy to include you in the fold!

there’s something pretty nice about dining in a barn on green and beets fresh out of the earth and cheese from neighbor goats. something pretty nice.


i’ve got a new project in the works. one centered on mail and recipes and enjoying the greatness that life brings. a bit of it just might be sent your way, if i’ve got your address. but if not, send it on and i’d be happy to include you in the fold!

catch-up post #3: sweet summer

there’s something excellent about summer. sun paired with heat paired with a resounding sense of its-ok-to-relax-ness makes for one of the most magical times of year fit to be paired with equally magical moments.

my family and i had one of those the other night. my sister, father and i teamed up to create a brief brake from duty for my mom. he whisked her away for a bit, and we went feverishly to work in the kitchen, creating a feast from produce from that morning’s market. peas and their shoots sang sweet notes of summer when poking out from clouds of creamy risotto. rosemary and frank echoed the meal with melodies harkening back to years past. we sat on the porch, enjoying the heat and slight stickiness, the conversation of the birds and watercolor sky that eventually faded to a quieting navy. something so calming to make you content, you’d wish it would never end.

THEME BY PARTI