Last week was a fun and busy one with three separate trips into the city and some serious heat in the East Bay. (Side note: I remember a conversation with Irvin as we were starting to think more seriously about moving to the Bay Area. He told me that people in San Francisco call it the “the city” or, very occasionally, SF. No one calls it San Fran or, heaven forbid, Frisco. I thought this was kind of silly – “the city”? Aren’t there a lot of cities this could be referring to? But no. I now, 9 months into being a Bay Area resident, always refer to San Francisco as “the city” and occasionally SF when I am writing. He was right!)
I swear I could move my bed into the Ferry Building and be very happy. The Ferry Building has a huge (and very crowded) farmers’ market on Saturdays. They also have a much smaller and much less crowded one on Tuesdays, so I ventured in to check it out and stock up on favorites inside the terminal. I swear, every time I go in there, I see so many new treasures.
I bought a huge bag of English peas. One of my earliest food memories is walking through the Pike Place Market in Seattle with my mom and just popping peas out of the pods and eating them raw. It is still my favorite way to enjoy English peas. Whenever I see them at markets, I buy a ton of them and put them in everything. I thought I had finally met my match with this bag but every single pod held candy-sweet treasures, and we had no problem finishing them. See also: pen in the background.
Dinner al fresco.
On Wednesday, I got to go back into the city for a book event with Jennie. I had the good luck to meet Jennie last summer when we both happened to be in Paris at the same time. In true Jennie fashion, she invited us over for a glass of wine and snacks. We arrived, with a lukewarm bottle of rosé, to a huge hug from lovely Jennie wearing an apron around her waist and her signature sunglasses on top of her head. We sat around her small kitchen table eating melons and bread and cheeses, and got to know her and her sweet girls. It is one of my favorite memories of our trip to France.
Now Jennie has a beautiful cookbook out called Homemade with Love and she is stopping in a few cities to promote it. She had a signing at a bookstore but she also invited some friends old and new and she cooked a beautiful lunch for us. Everything was vegetarian and I loved every bite of everything. That panzanella, on the left, is the first thing I’m making from the book. I kept stealing croutons long after I was full.
This (deep breath) is Mollie Katzen. The woman who wrote The Moosewood Cookbook among many others. She is to vegetarian cooking as Justin Timberlake is to pop music. Mollie was at the party too although I didn’t know it until she said “excuse me” on her way out. I might have squealed. I might have thrust my hand at her in a lame attempt at a shake and said something dumb about how I’ve been a fan forever. Damn! I wish I had had time and clarity of thought to actually thank her for all she has done for the vegetarian cooking world.
I got to try out a new-to-me tip for fava beans. Use a Y-vegetable peeler down the seam of the pod to open it easily. I’ve always used a paring knife but the peeler worked better.
The favas got puréed with lots of lemon juice, mint, and olive oil. That got put on top of toasted bread and topped with pecorino. Also, burrata topped with crushed pink peppercorns, olive oil, sea salt. Look carefully and you can see my reflection in the pan.
It was hot all week, one day close to 90º. We were very thankful for friends with pool memberships. This one in the Oakland hills…
…this one just a stone’s throw from the Ferry Building.
Heat means lots of ice cream. This is Graham in his favorite jersey with our neighbor. He is SO proud of that jersey, he asked for one from Santa. Now that the Warriors are in the playoffs (right? I’m not a basketball fan), he got lots of high fives from people on the street while wearing it. Also, my son has darker skin than his Persian friend.
Hot nights mean gatherings on our amazing street. S’mores as soon as the sun went down.
I got a request recently to do a post on books. Novels I like as well as cookbooks. What do you think? In the meantime, I really liked this book. I loved Olive Kitteridge too. Both books were very readable but made me feel like I had accomplished something when I finished them.
Sunday trip to the farmers’ market. All of this (plus a bunch of cilantro and 3 years of corn) cost me about $45.