We’ve been in a mad rush this weekend to get our house ready for guests, but are finally sitting down with a glass of wine for a little quiet time before all the prepping & cooking begins!
We’re going fantastically nontraditional this year, ditching the turkey completely in favor of Thomas Keller’s ad hoc fried chicken. If there are any leftovers, they’ll be put to good use as chicken & waffles!
1. Our friendly neighborhood bottle shop, Bottlemixx, celebrated their first anniversary. There was cake & food trucks & even a scavenger hunt for grownups…hunting for highly allocated bottles hidden all over the store. We’re happy to have them nearby.
2. Power Tool Pumpkin Carving Party IX. Where beer, power tools & artistic expression collide.
3. Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter. We’re probably going to lose our foodie (& I hate that term anyway) cards over this, but we like Jif Peanut Butter in this house. Natural peanut butters just tasted too natural. That is, until we tasted Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter slathered on a waffle at Jubala. I’m not sure what kind of magic is blended up in that jar (it’s actually peanuts, wildflower honey, organic coconut oil & sea salt), but we’re totally, completely, 100% hooked.
4. Edible Art cake. It’s probably been on one of these weekly roundups before, but the stars aligned in my favor this week, allowing me to enjoy this bakery’s dense, delicious pound cake on three separate occasions.
5. Bida Manda Laotian Restaurant and Bar. I’m sorry it took us so long to get to this spot. We had cocktails, Panang crab cakes, green papaya salad with grilled duck breast, & duck larb, & it was all amazing from start to finish.
My mom has lots of wonderful talents. However, cooking is not one of them. In fact, I was talking with a friend the other day & she said she loved having dinner at my house growing up. I said, “Why, because we had take out?”
Vegetable lasagne was my mom’s culinary anomaly…fresh veggies, no jerkied meat from dad’s grill, no blatant misuse of cilantro.
This recipe is very similar to the one I remember growing up, with yellow squash, zucchini & broccoli, except we roasted the vegetables before layering them up with noodles & cheese, then throwing in a bunch of torn kale.
Roasted eggplant or sautéed mushrooms & spinach could easily be at home in between these cheesy, saucy layers, too.
ROASTED VEGETABLE LASAGNE serves 8-12
2 zucchini, halved & sliced
1 yellow squash, halved & sliced
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into florets
extra virgin olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb lasagna noodles
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, divided
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
ground or freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
4 cups tomato sauce
4 cups (1lb) shredded mozzarella
1 bunch kale, torn from the ribs
Preheat the oven to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with foil & scatter the sliced zucchini & squash in an even layer on one & the broccoli on the other. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper & toss to coat. Slide in the oven & cook for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is golden brown & the zucchini & squash lightly browned & softened. Once cooked, remove from the oven, set aside to cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 375°.
While the veggies roast & cool, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lasagne according to package directions. Set up a large bowl of ice water. Drain the pasta & place it in the ice water to cool. Once cool, blot the noodles dry.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, salt & pepper & nutmeg.
Spread a thin layer of sauce across the bottom of a deep 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover with a layer of noodles, slightly overlapping their edges. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture evenly over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle on 1/4 of the mozzarella & 1/4 of the remaining Parmesan. Spread 1/3 of the roasted veggies on next and 1/3 of the torn kale on top of them. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce on next. So. Many. Fractions. Continue this process until there are 4 layers of pasta & 3 layers of filling. Spread the remaining sauce evenly over the top & cover with the rest of the cheeses. Cover the pan with foil & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake for 15-20 minutes more until everything is bubbly & the cheese is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before digging in.
This Ginger Rogers has been my drink of choice this summer, when I’ve been motivated enough to get out a few bar tools, rather than crack open a beer or pop open a bottle of wine. So really, those times have been few & far between…but when it’s happened, it’s been for the Ginger Rogers.
This drink has a lot going for it with mint, freshly squeezed lime juice, homemade vanilla ginger syrup, GIN…& I love it even more when topped off with Blenheim Old #3 Hot Ginger Ale.
makes 1 cocktail
8-10 mint leaves
1/2 oz vanilla ginger simple syrup, recipe below
2 oz gin
1/2 freshly squeezed lime juice
ice, for chilling
ginger ale, to top
lime wedge, for garnish
Fill a tall, 10-14oz glass with ice & set aside.
Place the mint leaves in the palm of your hand & clap your hands a few times to start releasing the flavor. Add the mint to a cocktail shaker with the vanilla ginger syrup & muddle it just a bit. Add the gin, lime juice & ice. Shake well & strain into the prepared glass. Top with ginger ale, garnish with lime & cheers!
This Instagram Travel Thursday post concludes our trip to Northern California last fall. Don’t worry though! This won’t be our last IG Travel Thursday…we just booked our next big trip, so lots of good things are coming!
Our final day in San Francisco began just like the first, with a walk down to the Ferry Building for breakfast. Although, this day breakfast consisted of Blue Bottle Coffee, a meat cone from Boccalone & dessert in the form of more saffron vanilla snickerdoodles from Blue Bottle…because on the last day of vacation, it is downright necessary to have dessert after breakfast. Especially those cookies.
We shopped for a bit & bought my sister a totally-appropriate-for-her-to-wear-to-Catholic-school hoodie.
We did a little bit more shopping as we made our way back to Union Square to meet our friends who were coming up from San Mateo for the day. Then the four of us hit the streets again, taking the “scenic” city walking tour down Market Street with it’s “hotels”, strip clubs, & police supervised street-side chess games, all the way to the Mission for lunch.
Tartine’s bread has to be some of the most highly regarded, most written about bread, so we knew we had to make time for it this go ’round. We hit the Sandwich Shop within Bar Tartine, ending up with four different sandwiches, sampling a little of each others, & that bread really is phenomenal. But also? The pickles. Those pickles are like no pickle I had ever tasted & they’re not something I will forget anytime soon…familiar, yet so very different at the same time. Seriously, so good. (After a little investigation, it turns out they’re fermented pickles. We might have to try this.)
After our ice cream, we took a little stroll to make room for more calories…in the direction of Toronado. In the few times we’ve been to Toronado, it never struck us as the kind of place we’d want to see in the daylight, but their draft list is just so damn enticing. It really wasn’t so bad, although we didn’t venture past the front room. Actually, it was pretty lively for a bar in the middle of a weekday.
Slightly buzzed, we made it over to Alamo Square Park to check out the Painted Ladies, aka the houses in the opening credits of Full House. They’re very pretty historic homes, & in the right light would make a postcard worthy picture, but I guess I had just imagined that they would be more vibrant?
Then we ventured to a new part of the city, right near AT&T Park actually, to check out 21st Amendment, having completely forgotten that it was Game 5 of the NLCS. You know, the series that would decide who would go to the World Series. The San Francisco Giants being one of those teams. The place was PACKED. We wedged our way into the mezzanine area, but they started running out of beer, so we squeezed our way back downstairs & squished into some nonexistent standing room around the bar.
We drank Pumpkin Schmunkins, Hell or High Watermelons, & 5-Souths & high-fived strangers as the Giants ran in to home. Hunger finally set in, & there were no seats & people were absolutely not leaving while the game was on, so we were off in search of food.
Now, in North Carolina we get pretty serious about our Tobacco Road basketball, but being in the city of a professional home team during a playoff series was pretty incredible. The city was electric. As we walked through the streets, all the restaurants & bars had their windows & doors flung wide open, the volume on their TVs cranked, & the crowds inside were roaring. All along our way we ducked in & out of several of these places, stopping to cheer the Giants on to their 5-0 win against the Cardinals.
After all the walking we did, we were hungry, tired, & not at all willing to battle any kind of crowd, so we made way for Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers. The place is so tiny, it seats maybe twenty & every table was full. So, we took our burgers, garlic fries, & frings back to our hotel room where we collapsed into heaps on the floor, on the bed & sitting at the desk…tired, full & sad to say goodbye to it all in the morning.
Don’t forget to visit all the other wonderful locations through the link up!