Monthly Archives: September 2009

Autumn brought ’em!

I know everyone knows exactly what I mean when I say this. Today was that first day of fall. When you feel, really acutely, the air change. The fog burned off around noon and then the wind came in, blustery and cool. The neighbor’s wind chimes were flying and the light was somewhat golder. As it is  Monday, a day of rest in our house after a long weekend of work, we opened the fridge this morning to find an explosion. Of food, that is. The Sunday Farmer’s Market in San Rafael is actually where Ryan and I both work on Sundays (and where we met…awww) but it is also when we talk to all our farming friends and trade our goods (bread and meats) for theirs (veg, fruits, eggs, etc.).  So we come home Sunday afternoons with bags bursting. Yesterday I was given some pretty, green and rosy pears from McEvoy in Petaluma, and we had a few tart apples hanging around. After cooking up a storm last night (roasted delicata squash, braised peppers with broccoli and garlic, basmati rice and chicken crepinettes from Fatted Calf), we were left staring at the pears and apples that crowded the counter this morning.  What a conundrum. Ha!

This recipe comes from Simply Recipes, a favorite food blog of mine. Thanks, Elise! I used 4 large pears and three smallish apples instead of all apples.


Apple Crisp Recipe


* 7 tart apples (or pears in any combo), peeled, cored and sliced

* 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1 cup rolled oats

* 1/2 cup butter, room temperature


1 Preheat oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, and vanilla. Toss to combine.

2 Layer sliced apples in a 9 x 12-inch (or approximately the same size) baking pan.


3 Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal in a bowl. Cut in the butter. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apples.


4 Bake 45 minutes or until topping looks crunchy and apples are tender.

Serves eight. Or two. You know how this works…

the first of many servings

the first of many servings

via Apple Crisp Recipe | Simply Recipes.


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calling all oven geeks!

When most people go on vacation, they go somewhere to relax, get away from work, read and stare off into the sunset. Well, we went camping this week and we did do all those things but we also are of questionable focus when it comes to relaxing.  Hence the photos. History, my friends, it is history.

a cooking area inside the Officials' Quarters at Fort Ross, CA

a cooking area inside the Officials' Quarters at Fort Ross, CA

I’m not saying we tried to cook in it, but I will say that Ryan definitely tried to get in there and check it out. A little historical reenactment goes a long way. This was at Fort Ross, on the rugged Sonoma coast. The other really beautiful thing was a double-sided fireplace that was in the center of the main room of the Rotchev House, the last remaining original building on the grounds, circa 1836. For California, this is ancient. You know…

This fireplace/oven had another duplicate opening on the opposite side.

This fireplace/oven had another duplicate opening on the opposite side.

It was then that I realized it is wonderful to be of food-centric mind. You see relics like these and you think of everyone crafting their breads to slide them into that gorgeous oven and the warmth and comraderie it must have made in a cold, coastal cliffside life. We went back to the car and ate some turkey jerky. It just felt right. 🙂

all photos © tessacahill

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hot dogs are fancy too…

Today I got the gorgeous new issue of Gourmet, and I swear it’s been awhile since the Bay Area got so many shout-outs in such a New-York-centric magazine. A few of my favorite spots are listed, including Contigo, a Catalan-style restaurant in Noe Valley, San Francisco. And, indeed, a shameless plug for my friends (and boyfriend) at Prather Ranch Meat Company, Fanny Singer has chosen them as her guilty-brunch-pleasure at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.  Great job, guys!

Check it and all the other great Bay Area spots listed at:

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Thursday Pancakes

The big, white wedgewood stove I grew up with was always cool to the touch, even when cranking out a factory-load of pancakes on a weekend morning. Time softens details, but I will always remember to flip them only when the little  bubbles form and start to burst on the glistening surface of the pancake. Ryan and I make these on Thursdays mornings when we only have a bit of time together.  This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson. Full of easy, deceptively luxurious little treats, it’s a go-to when you have a little time on your hands and some room in your belly. I use sheep’s milk ricotta in mine and toss in a little yogurt for tang.

Ricotta Hotcakes

9 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sheep’s ricotta

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

2 tablespoons butter

any topping, fruit or otherwise

Put the ricotta, milk, yogurt and egg yolks into a bowl and mix well to combine. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and gently whisk to make a smooth batter.

Beat the egg whites until they become foamy and then fold them into the ricotta-milk mixture.

Melt the butter in a warm cast-iron pan, and drop in heaping spoonfuls of the batter. Cook the hotcakes for about a minute, until the little bubbles are popping on the surface, and them flip them over, cooking for about another minute longer.

We love them with more butter and a generous helping of blackberry jam, but any fruit or maple syrup is equally pleasurable.

Makes about 20 small hotcakes.


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