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Taste

I’ve been craving Mexican food like crazy lately. But since that usually involves bean and cheese burritos (at least for me) and feeling slightly terrible afterwards, I’ve decided to take a different approach:

I had a few ears of corn, some cucumber and some peppers from the Farmer’s market left in the fridge, and Kelly’s boss had just given us some amazing tomatoes from her garden. I picked up some radishes from the store (Am I the only one obsessed with radishes lately?) and decided to whip up a healthy, Mexican-style salad.

You could cook the corn if you want, but I like it extra crunchy (and this corn was really sweet and delicious), so I just shaved it raw off the cob with a knife. 

Then I chopped up all my veggies and added them in. I may or may not have eaten half my cucumber along the way. 

Next, a simple dressing. I thought I had a lemon (which would’ve been WAY better), but made do with white vinegar. I added a crushed garlic glove, a healthy dash of cumin, and a good sprinkle of Tapatio for spice. 

Feta, basil, and a half cup of cooked quinoa were added in at the last minute, along with the dressing. A few good tosses later, and it was ready to serve. 

I decided to put a few crushed up tortilla chips on top for extra crunch, and LOTS of Tapatio (I like my spice), but that’s optional, of course.

Super easy, only took about 15 minutes and there were plenty of leftovers for lunch today. Next time I’m going to try mixing in some avocado and cilantro for a slightly different twist. 

xo

Glimpses from my Sunday:

1. Meandering through the Fort Mason community garden …

For SF residents, this hidden gem behind Fort Mason park is well worth visiting. Locals have their own plots — now bursting with blooms and produce — that they care for throughout the year.

The whole garden is open to the public to enjoy — benches, tables and grills are littered throughout to encourage people to take advantage of the park.

It’s amazing what’s growing here — in the middle of the city. Beans, tomatoes, corn, herbs, squash, beets, carrots, lettuces and every type of flower, grass and succulent imaginable.

There’s a greenhouse for more delicate flowers.

Patches of succulents fill up any potential empty space.

A shaded potting shed protects hard working gardeners from the sun’s rays.

It’s like a quirky, edible version of the Secret Garden. I definitely plan on taking a book and an iced tea there on another sunny Sunday.

2. Fort Mason Farmer’s Market

I love this little farmer’s market — I can always find everything I need there. There’s just as much of a variety as the Ferry Building Market — but without the crowds.

My mom used to buy this wildflower salad mix for us at the farmer’s market in Los Gatos. It’s always on my list when I go to one of the markets in the city. 

I love tomato season. 

Nectarines in every color, shape and size are just begging to be put in a cobbler or tart. 

I was really tempted to buy the squash blossoms, but settled on some strawberries and a baguette instead. 

3. A casual summer meal. 

Sometimes I get super motivated on Sunday nights and whip up a fancy dinner for myself and Kelly. But this Sunday, all that farmer’s market produce needed to shine in a simple salad, accompanied by a baguette and cheese. 

This jar of pickled green beans from Happy Girl Kitchen may have been one of my best food purchases ever. 

This meal is just like the ones that Kelly and I ate every night when we were in Paris — just without the additional two bottles of wine. 

xo

I’m a big hummus fan. It’s perfect for snacks and makes every sandwich better. The problem is, it can be pretty fattening when store bought, and expensive too (you don’t want to know how much money I was spending on hummus). 

When I got a food processor for Christmas, I decided to start experimenting with hummus recipes. I wanted the perfect consistency and flavor, but without all of the heavy oil and crazy calorie count. After much trial and error, I’ve finally perfected my hummus. It’s delicious, doesn’t require any olive oil (unless you want some) and it doesn’t cost much more than a can of garbanzo beans.

Ingredients:

1 can of garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved

1/2 cup of tahini

2 tablespoons of harissa

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 garlic clove

olive oil for serving (optional)

So, when I first tried to make hummus, I just dumped garbanzo beans and olive oil into the food processor and blended it into a pureé. I thought that’s all it took, and was unpleasantly surprised when it came out with the consistency of dried Elmer’s glue. 

A hundred Google searches and test batches later, I discovered the secret to fluffy, perfect hummus: whipping the tahini. This ground sesame paste makes or breaks a hummus (in my opinion). The key is to get it light and fluffy. I put a half cup of tahini into my food processor, along with a 1/4 cup or so of the reserved garbanzo beans liquid. After a minute or so of processing, the liquid and the tahini whip together for a lighter consistency.

I usually mix it up a bit with my spoon and then process it for another 30 seconds after the first minute — it makes a big difference. You can also use lemon juice, or just plain ol’ water instead of the leftover garbanzo liquid.

After that, it’s just a matter of choosing your accoutrements. I’m a spicy hummus gal, so I invested in a big jar of harissa and use a few tablespoons in each batch. It adds some color, and the perfect Middle Eastern spice. I also like to add paprika for a little extra flavor. Lemon peel, herbs, garlic and kalamata olives are all great add-ins too.

I add all of my flavored items into the food processor, and dump in the drained garbanzo beans — then hit the power.

After the first couple minutes of blending, it usually looks like this. Some people like hummus this thick, but I like it SUPER whipped and fluffy, so I like to add a few more tablespoons of the garbanzo bean liquid in to make it really smooth and light. 

Another minute, and it’s perfect! The harissa makes it bright orange, which I kind of like. 

I always try to keep some pita bread in the freezer, so I warm it up in the oven (I cannot believe we haven’t had a microwave for almost 2 years now!) to get it really toasty, and serve it warm with the hummus. I usually have some carrots or cucumbers  on hand too. 

I find the hummus keeps for a week to a week and a half in a mason jar in the fridge before it starts getting a little stale.

Enjoy!

xo 

Fourth of July 2012 meant:

1. Going on a sunny motorcycle ride to Baker Beach

2. Failing to find a BBQ at said beach, so heading home to cook up our meal:

Buying the herbed butter was an amazing accident.

Salmon burgers with garlic, cilantro, teriyaki sauce and avocado; corn with herb butter; roasted asparagus; homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert

3. Getting ridiculously full and dragging a blanket out to a quiet corner of Fort Mason for a long nap.

Kelly fell asleep in about 30 seconds.

4. Walking up to the tippy top of Russian Hill where we got a clear (and uncrowded) view of the fireworks from the Alice Marble tennis courts. 

Chain-linked view of the North Beach fireworks show

xo

Summer is salad season.
Here are some of my favorites lately:  

Heirloom tomatoes, broiled with goat cheese on top. Mixed greens, avocado, fresh corn, roasted pepitas and dried cranberries.

Can’t get enough of this one lately: Asparagus, chiogga beet, red onion and feta. 

Golden beets, carrot/almond/currant salad, green onions, pepitas, mixed greens. 

All mixed with my standard go-to vinaigrette: red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove (smashed once with a knife), olive oil, dijon and salt/pepper. 

xo

NYC Recap: EAT

I would say that about 75% of my time in New York was spent eating. The other 25% was spent walking around, shopping, and drinking wine. 

I think that’s how most vacations should be spent, don’t you? 

Here’s a few of my favorite foodie highlights:

A cheese display straight from Heaven at Eataly. 

Breakfast at DeKalb Market in Brooklyn. Kelly got an amazing chicken sandwich, and I chomped on a veggie omelet. Aaaaand then we shared a cupcake (even breakfast has dessert when you’re on vacation). 

Best. Cookie. Ever. 

Amazing veggie meatballs from The Meatball Shop

And a mushroom burger from Shake Shack (I wolfed this down so quickly, this is the only shot I got. The center was literally a ball of melted cheese. I just about died)

Among other highlights (which didn’t get photos): A steaming bowl of pho in Chinatown, massive sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon butter in Crown Heights, and delicious Mediterranean food at Balaboosta. 

More photos of our NYC adventures to come soon!

xo

What I did this weekend:

1. Watched beets grow at Root Division.

2. Shared a mini Mexican feast with Kelly at our favorite Mission taqueria.

3. Enjoyed the plant life at Greenburger.

4. Caught up with a dear friend over veggie burgers.

5. Had a girl’s dinner at Bar Jules.

6. Enjoyed the afternoon sun with Sawyer and our new chair.

7. Whipped up a salad with the last of our farmer’s market produce.

8. Snacked on goat cheese and honey and finally met one of my very favorite bloggers.

Tomorrow, we head off to NY for the week! I’m in desperate need of a vacation, and seriously cannot wait to eat, drink and play in the city with some dear friends.

xo