08 February 2015

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Za'atar Spice

There's no way to take a picture of this that doesn't look terrible. See also: hummus
For the past 2 years, I've been telling myself that after some particular event happened, I was totally going to hop on the primal bandwagon. Obviously this has never happened, but we're trying to cook from home more often and choosing recipes that aren't just flour with potatoes and a side of sugar is probably to everyone's benefit.

Cauliflower is the darling of the paleo/primal community, so we had a head in our fridge to make it into *something*. After watching enough America's Test Kitchen, I made cauliflower soup this weekend. It was surprisingly good, although I'll definitely be playing with it to achieve a better depth of flavor. The next iteration will (hopefully) include actual bacon, I'll actually brown the onion, and look at adding other sources of umami.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 T za'atar spice
1/4 c whole, peeled garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T butter
1 T bacon fat
2 c water
2 c stock
salt + pepper, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t balsamic vinegar

1. Roast the cauliflower and garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil, za'atar spice, and salt + pepper at 375 for ~30 minutes or until everything is golden brown and delicious.

2. Meanwhile, saute the onion with a pinch of salt until softened.

3. Add in butter, bacon grease, bay leaf, water, stock, and the roasted cauliflower and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for ~15 minutes, until everything is softened.

4. Take off the heat and puree. Add in balsamic vinegar, and taste for seasoning.

02 February 2015

Home Makings and Other Announcements

I've been thinking about Austin a lot lately. I miss being part of a community that I know by heart and being close to so many of my good friends. One of the biggest differences between Austin and the Bay Area is that everything that I "need" is spread out here, whereas I could almost find everything I could possibly want north of the Colorado River in Austin.

Watercolor maps are awesome.

One of the biggest challenges is to find a replacement for Central Market. As absolutely ridiculous as it sounds, Central Market played a big role in our lives. We played on the playground and watched the turtles in the pond. We used it as a space to get to know people who would become dear friends. I worked on my thesis while drinking iced lattes and liters of mineral water. And even more plainly, we shopped for our groceries there. I miss being able to find the ingredients I cooked with in my Austin kitchens (my kingdom for some Cento crushed tomatoes) and being able to create the meals that I've fed my family and friends for the past six years.

whole milk lattes. forever

We do need to work on making the Bay Area feel like home, though, because we'll be here for awhile. After Hackbright ended, I put some serious legwork into applying for jobs. I even had a twitter hashtag that I used like three times (#getajobjanuary).  I'm happy to report that I start work as a data scientist today. Wish me luck.

30 January 2015

Birthday Month 2015!

My birthday month is fast approaching, so I figured it was time for me to put together my annual list of demands, erm.. I mean, wish list for Colby. Also, I should be studying right now, but I am a super wonderful procrastinator.

Raleigh Retroglide
I really want a bike for riding around Alameda. Since Alameda is completely flat and the speed limit is 25 MPH in most places, I don't need anything fancy. Therefore, I want something cute. Like, super cute.

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed that whenever I've tried a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, it's been a great success. Next on my list to try is his caramelized garlic tart. And now I want all of his cookbooks and have my Julie/Julia moment with him, except that Julie/Yotam is not nearly as alliterative.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook - Recipes from his restaurants

Jerusalem: A Cookbook - Written with Sami Tamimi, explores the cuisine of their home city

Plenty - Features all vegetarian recipes

Plenty More - Follow up to Plenty

Bonavita Electric Gooseneck Kettle

I've been getting into coffee again. I still haven't found a good replacement for my beloved Epoch, so making coffee at home is a must. I prefer pourover style to coffee machines and a gooseneck kettle allows for much better control. Even better than a gooseneck kettle? An electric kettle. Because I'm lazy.

27 January 2015

Biiiiiicycle, biiiiiiiiiiiiicycle

Please don't be intimidated by my kolourpaint4 skills. I'm an immensely talented individual.

I need some advice, so I'm crowd sourcing. I'm looking to buy a bicycle in the next few months. The idea would be to ride my bike from my apartment to the ferry station in Alameda, which is about 1.3 miles, and lock it up there.

Things to note:
I am so very incredibly short. As in, my inseam is 26 inches and I was really excited when crop pants were in because I could finally find pants that fit and didn't bunch around my ankles.

The last time I really rode a bike was in college. I had a Lance Armstrong approved Trek mountain bike that got stolen from in front of Owen Hall at Michigan State in the summer of 2005. I guess I learned my lesson about cable locks versus U-Locks.

I'd be okay with a used bike.

I've never used clip-in pedals, but maybe that would be okay? I don't know how necessary it is based on how short my commute will be.

I'm not currently planning on bicycling in San Francisco because I'm too young to die, but perhaps if I get comfortable around Alameda, I might try it in SF. Not sure if that changes the recommendations.

So, please send me all of your recommendations and suggestions! Also, I'd totally be into biking tips and safety info, too. :)

12 January 2015

Yerba Buena Gardens Children's Playground

It's hard to take pictures in San Francisco. This is due to a number of things conspiring against me, but mostly it's because the sun sets early and Ramona hates sleep. We went hung out in San Francisco this afternoon and I actually got to take a few pictures. I can't believe I have an almost 3 year old.

15 December 2014

Strawberry Chipotle Jam with Liquid Pectin

Oh hey, remember when this used to be a food blog and not a blog about Hackbright?


So one of my friends gifted us a jar of strawberry chipotle jam for Christmas a few years ago and it was fantastic. I've been making a variation of it ever since, but it's been been awhile. For whatever reason, it's always been easier for me to get liquid pectin and all of the recipes I've seen call for powdered pectin. Here's my converted recipe because I originally started this blog as a way for me to catalog things that I thought I'd want to come back to and I'm kicking myself for not writing this down earlier.

Everything is better with a highly enthusiastic child in the background

Strawberry Chipotle Jam with Liquid pectin

1 c (or 1/2 lb) strawberries, chopped
1 chipotle pepper, minced
1 c (or 100 g) granulated sugar
4 t lemon juice
3 T liquid pectin

1. Combine strawberries, chipotle, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil for 1 full minute.
2. Stir in pectin and bring back to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute
3. Make sure that the jam is sheeting and remove from heat
4. Let the jam cool a bit and then pour into a pint-size mason jar.

I like to consider this "nano-batching" because it just makes a jar and then you don't need to worry about the canning aspect of jam making. Be sure to refrigerate the leftover pectin.