Monday, June 29, 2009

A Weekend In The Country.

What started out as a weekend adventure to visit Meghan, shawns friend from University of Wisconsin Madison for her 30th birthday - quickly turned into an immersion crash course in the farming community of Jacksonville, OR. Meghan lives in a modern commune (ish) in the Oregon countryside where they grow their produce locally - and her brother is an intern on a goat dairy farm further down the road. The Chevre was OUT of this world if you must know.

You can check them out here http://www.friendsoffamilyfarmers.org/?p=455dsoffamilyfarmers.org/?p=455ffamilyfarmers.org/?p=455

The crash course was enlightening and to see this cooperative trade community that this exists is truly inspirational. When I think of my future I definitely see something that is somewhat in the middle, gardens and produce and countryside - just something with less physical labor and more access to a large city.

We had a lovely afternoon floating on a raft in their pond, sipping beers and playing bocce in the sun- and I will even leave you with a recipe, though I doubt you'll be able to recreate it from your backyard, you can try!
Also, we drove home along the coast from Oregon back to San Francisco - stopping at the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, CA and all the tacky little roadside attractions - and frolicked on the beach.

Sauteed Greens With Goat Feta & Beets
2 beets
Head of Collard Greens
Goat feta
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Olive Oil
Balsamic drizzle

First peel and cube the beets - drizzle with olive oil bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, in a pan start to saute the garlic until starting to brown...toss in the greens - when they are soft - combine with beets and feta - toss with a drizzle of balsamic and tada!



















Wednesday, June 24, 2009

RatDonalds

The McCafe is a C+.

*Better than Keurig Coffee pod coffee, but worse than Seattle's Best Borders In Store Cafe latte.

*You CAN get it non-fat, but you CANT get it with extra shots. Nada on the triple shot.

*It kind of tastes like milky coffee with shots of old coffee grinds, made into espresso shots.

*It was $3.06 for a medium - which means its no cheaper than a Starbucks or a Blue Bottle. ~

LONG LIVE BLUE BOTTLE NAWLINS CHICKORY STYLE ICED COFFEE!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MUST OWN ITEM OF YOUR LIFETIME



<------- I dont want to live in a world where these dont exist.

Shawn and I purchased some this spring at the 99 cents store and have used them at least 5 times since.

Money well spent and a life well lived, if you ask me. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

What To Do When You Cant Find Peppered Bacon

Saturday morning I awoke to find we were out of eggs, out of bacon and apparently out of motivation to trek to Safeway. I ended up going to our local uber expensive, no-discount card needed - Delano's Market where I walked down the aisles trying to come up with something yummo! (Note: had I known we were going to hang out later that afternoon and picnic in the park, I would have skipped breakfast and made another treat!)......but I ended up making a summer hash!

This is based on a breakfast Meagan often ordered from John O'Groats in Los Angeles, CA. It usually is vegetarian and has corn and spinach in it. Looking back I should have included the spinach even if Shawn would have picked it out and thrown it in the garbage post noshing.

Sausage, Potato & Apple Hash
2 Potatoes
2 Apples
1 Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped.
2 Tbs of Margarine
Some Chicken Stock
6 Sausage Links

Chop up potatoes into small cubes and boil for 20m or until tender, use 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock for flavor.

While taters are boiling - chop up apples, onions and sausage. Start to saute onions & garlic with the margarine until starting to caramelize. Once there's a sauce forming, throw in your chopped sausage....let it saute and brown for 10 minutes. Then add apples, with the skin on!
Strain potatoes and add the saute pan - cook for a remaining 5 minutes while you make eggs to top! Salt and Pepper to taste.


Something Of Note

On Sunday morning I had the pleasure of meeting my East Bay friend Jackie for brunch in Berkley at La Note on Shattuck. It was Father's Day so there was already a line when I got there at 10:30am!

Jackie is leaving for a month to study in Ecuador, so a last minute kvetching session was absolutely necessary. :)





I give this place an A+! I had a beautiful non-fat latte served in a charming Parisian mug, frothy and light and cozy - along with Oatmeal Raspberry Pancakes. The thing I regret not getting was something I saw across the way: a baguette slathered in goat cheese topped with roasted red peppers and a soft boiled egg on those lovely little egg holders!








The "something of note" was - I got Jackie ( a strict pescaterian) to try bacon! She's been thinking of re-introducing protein to her diet per her dietitian and what better way to start than something NOT healthy! Her reaction was: it was greasy. but yummy.
C├ęst La Vie!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vegan Green Curry Potato & Tofu Pot Pie

I've been meaning to have our close friends Kris and Darcy over for dinner and cards lately. Bless her heart, Darcy is a vegan - so coming up with new recipes to wow an already seasoned cook is always hard! This time I went to the archives of experiences to come up with something straight from the Kugler brain kitchen.

A sucker for Vietnamese cuisine, I used to go to my favorite restaurant My Lihns in Albany which serves delicious high end (for Albany) Vietnamese cuisine. My always present companion to this place, Christina, was a vegetarian and she always ordered a dish called Cary Ga....green curry stew with potatoes and tofu....green curry made me think of this RED curry pot pie my father once had with salmon at San Francisco's B Star (Burmese food) in the Sunset. So I thought! lets combine them!


Ingredients:
1 Can of Coconut Milk
1 Small Jar of Green Chili Paste (vegan)
1 Pack of firm tofu
1 Onion
4 Small Potatoes
1 tub of margarine
2 1/2 Cups of Flour
1 teaspoon of corn starch
Salt
1 dash of Cayenne pepper
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tablespoons of Ice Water


First make the dough. Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon of salt, cut in 1/2 a cup of chilled margarine. They say use a pastry cutter but I just use my hands to crumble it all up until it resembles course crumbs. Work in the cold water, ball it up and put it in the fridge for later!

Secondly, peel the potatoes and cube them very small - boil them for 20 minutes of until soft.

Thirdly, chop up onion and cube tofu. Toss cubed tofu with a little flour, salt and pepper, minced garlic and 1 dash of Cayenne pepper and set aside. It will get mushy but not too mushy.

Fourthly, take the jar of paste and the coconut milk and whisk together in a separate dish. Also include 1 teaspoon of corn starch.

Put your saute pan over medium heat with some of the leftover margarine and start to cook the onions, then gradually add the tofu mixture and cook til brown.

Once you see the tofu is browning its time to add the coconut milk green curry mixture to the pan....pour slowly! Also salt and pepper to taste the filling.

If the potatoes are done, drain them - and add to the pan as well and set aside.
Lastly, spoon in the mixture to your 4 ramekins evenly. Roll out the dough from the fridge and place the ramekin on the dough, cut along the edges so that there's enough dough to crimp to make the pot pie. :) cut a cross in the middle.

Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown! Cool for ten minutes. :)

PLEASE NOTE: I wish I had taken better pictures but Shawn did make lovely fried wontons stuffed with tofu, green onions and soy sauce - with a delicious dipping sauce! Hooray!





















Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Artsy Fartsy Fancy Schmancy Cocktails.

This past Friday before seeing The Hangover at the The Vogue Theatre Shawn and I were wandering around (aimlessly) in the presidio, parched, looking for something vokda-ey to quench our livers. *ahem* I mean thirst when we wandered into Spruce.

Never in my life have I been treated so nicely by an establishment whose side of butter costs more than the entire cow it came from. :)

We were treated as though we left a $100 tip on a $20 meal - the hostess sat us in our own little corner near the kitchen, checked on our cocktails and even set us on our way to the movie with fresh baked cookies in hand to sneak in!

Oh, and the drinks were great. I had a Macintosh and shawn had a Kentucky Bourbon Side Car with infused Maple Simple Syrup. I give this place an A!

Now, if we ONLY could afford to go back for their $90 appetizer. Sigh. Someday.

Salmon For Breakfast?

I am putting on my culinary anthropologist hat (chapeau) and posing the question: Which was the 1st culture to put salmon in their breakfast dish!? Is it:

A. Ze French? (Crepes & Quiche)
B. Da Jews? (Lox & Bagel)
C. The Scottish. Cause they love salmon.

I dont know if we'll ever know. I could go back in time with Bill & Ted....but thats a lot of mis 90s effort.

ANYWHO. :) Shawn and I went out to breakfast this past Saturday which is a rarity to stray from our coffee, eggs and peppered bacon ritual we've been cooking every weekend for the past 9 months. We went to this place called Tangerine on Sanchez & 17th in the mission. Id say they are not particularly known for their brunch, but is packed nonetheless. I had been there previously with Meag when she was in town, but not back since.
I had smoked salmon, poached eggs with hollandaise over a potato cake and shawn had a delicious heaping serving of almond french toast with strawberries. I give it an A!

Yummy. I love brunch!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Actual Guacamole Not Pictured.

In honor of my dear friend Abbys 26th birthday we all got together for a beach bonfire at Ocean Beach saturday night. It was promptly shut down by the cops @ 9pm but fun was had by all until sundown.

Everyone was making sweet treats so I took it upon myself to make a savory treat I just read about in the Sunset Magazine Grill Edition: Roasted Tomatillo & Garlic Guacamole. I give it an A because Adam A. said it tasted like it was store bought. :)

I included the broiler shot just to prove I made this.

To make this and wow your friends with an easy recipe - take 5 tomatillos, 1 jalapeno, 3 cloves of garlic and drizzle olive oil and salt to taste. Broil for 8 minutes, or until charring and you can stick a fork through them. After --- put them all in a food processor til blended to puree. THEN mash 3 avocados and cilantro - and the juice of 2 limes....and tada! You're sailing.


:)

Pizza From Another Mother

Dear Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza,

I've found you out. You've been exposed. Dont try and run....your endless trail of stringy cheesy mozzerella will leave the proverbial breadcrumbs behind and I'll know where to find you.

You're not pizza.

You're an Italian style pot pie!


For months since my first taste of you I've wondered how people could willingly ingest you in the name of Pizza. Being from New York, you resemble the greasy tomatoey food of the people - but you somehow put on a cape and trick the world into thinking you're the first born child. You're not - you're the second child (who is arguably just as like able) you just didnt go to Yale.

xoxox Kate :)

Shawn and I had dinner at Paxti's Chicago Style pizza on Friday night before seeing The Hangover (different blog post) and we ordered the above-mentioned deep dish pizza with artichokes, garlic and pepperoni. I give this experience a B - the pizza was good but I think i just dont like deep dish pizza. The cesar salad was adequate and the wine was overpriced. The experience overall wasnt terrible - so B it is. :)





Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ALERT: NO SPOILERS.

You should see UP.

It was sad.
It was happy.
It was funny.
It was colorful.
It was funniful.
It was for all ages.
It can be 3D depending on where you see it.
It was adventureful.
It was inspiring.
It was old timey.
It was agist.
It was not racist.
It was musically.
It was romantic.
It had adult themes. No nudity.
It was not as scary as The Lion King.

Please note - I barely watched it in 3D because those glasses irritated my nose but it didnt make it any less fun! Also, please see it at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco if you can because there is a lovely old man who plays the organ before the show and he does a stellar rendition of Part Of Your World.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Crock Pots Are Kind Of A Crock

Last night I attempted to make a simple crock pot delight for Shawn as he was very stressed out from working late and I had eaten shit all weekend in Boston. What better to sooth both our souls and our stomachs than home cooked Spicy Italian Sausage & Onions with Fresh Basil over Wheat Pasta?

For 1 - crock pots take FOOOOOOORREEEEVVVVERRRRR. Yes, I know. thats the point, but my patience got the best of me. (Disclaimer: if you know me, you know I have ZERO patience to begin with. I want an OOOMPAAA LOOOMPAAA NOW DADDYYY! NOW!) --- so ten minutes before Shawn gets home I transfer to a pan - and voila...I am done.

Ingredients:
1 Bottle of premade pasta sauce.
1 Bunch of Fresh Basil chopped in food processor.
4 Spicy Italian Sausages (cut up)
2 Yellow Onions
1 bag Wheat Pasta
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Fresh Romano Cheese To Sprinkle

How To: theoretically --- throw it all in a crock pot.



Are the Afghan People Typically Dieters?

Answer: No clue but they ARE taste conscious!

I am always drawn into a demo at a grocery store when someone is saying LOW CARB! LOW CALORIE! and it isnt a salad. I am always on the quest to start eating better and losing weight so this was kind like of meeting halfway.

I ended up purchasing two of his products from the East & West Gourmet Afghan Food Company: the Vegan Spinach Bolani (alot like naan) and the Lentil Curry Spread - also, there's some curried tofu from the salad bar thrown in.

Anyway - I give this meal an A+++++ for diversity and deliciousness.

Side note: I think Shawn and I bought this last year at the Burlingame Beer & Wine Festival and bought the Cilantro Pesto sauce and made excellent chicken with it.

Definitely worth the $10s.






Monday, June 8, 2009

Boston Baked Dreams.

What a whirlwind East Coast trip I just had! I flew into Boston on Thursday morning and hung out in Albany for 24 hours. Highlights of my trip:

*Saw a dear friend who needed a hug more than anything! We cooked and made a summer salad of fresh mozzarella/pan fried polenta cakes/roasted eggplant and tomatoes with a white vinegar olive oil drizzle. We sat on our deck and I got 15 bug bites.

*Saw my brother and his gf at Alive @ 5 where I fully realized I am 27 and will never be 22 again. Ah, life - partying in the streets to Blues Traveler is for the youth.

*Spent a few hours sunning in the Boston Common reading a $1 store purchase my mother gave me from 2004 - Food & Wine Magazine's Best Of The Year. God-damn the East Coast is charming when its spring. :)

*Hung out with all my best girlfriends from college (the ponies!) and we had Upper Crust Pizza from Beacon Hill (measured up to my memory) and ate at Charley's (which did NOT measure up to my memory). We also had scorpion bowls from Shangri-la, which were too sweet but delightful.

















Cant Stop Til You Eat Enough.


On my way out of town Wednesday night, I had a pre-flight binge fest with Shawn at a BBQ place called BABY BLUES BBQ (Bernal Heights), recommended by lovely Tisha & Paul. We went around 6pm and it was already filling up with locals. Any restaurant hopping with people who eating while the sun is still shining is probably a good sign.

I give it a B. This meal, alot like the TV show LOST asked more questions than it answered.

Do I prefer Texas BBQ Ribs - or Memphis? I grew up on vinegar based Carolina pulled pork - is sweet brown sugar based better?Also - how can you fuck up baked beans? I think with black beans is the answer.

The waitstaff was helpful and the macaroni and cheese WAS exactly like my gramma makes it, best non fancy truffle oil mac & cheese in SF, maybe? The pulled pork was the star! The failures were the baked beans - hello!? am I thinking of baked beans as something else? Why again are there BLACK BEANS!? and the cornbread was too dense and lacked a fluffy center. Also, I didnt care for the sweet mashed potatoes.

LOVED the homemade pepper oil on the table, though.




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Emerson: Where Straight Girls Wish All The Guys Werent Gay.

Tomorrow night I will be on a red eye back to the East Coast to attend my 5 year college reunion from Emerson College (I know, I am young). We're not really there to see other people and find out what they've been up to or make small talk about the "industry" more just to get shit faced and hang out together and pay $50 a night to stay in a dorm in the most key location available - Boston Common! Phew. LONG RUN ON SENTENCE.

We're taking a VERY large gamble and having dinner at our old favorite haunt - Charley's Eating And Drinking Saloon on Newbury. Why is it a gamble?

A. We were 18. We were used to cafeteria pork noodle bowls and dry overcooked baked potatoes - in comparison anytime you ate out it was probably better than French Laundry.

B. We can drink now. We ate that food SOBER - what if the wine selection is Salmon Creek and we NEVER knew?

C. It was over 5+ years ago - what if the chef changed!

Anyway. :) I am looking forward to the alumni weekend! Ah....to walk the streets where I spent my formative years.....!

I wish I had time to go to Wagamama, though!