weekend brunch: by J

brunchI love an easy brunch on the weekend, but don’t always feel like dealing with crowds or the unhealthy options.

This brunch of fresh tomatoes, avocado, eggs, fruit and yogurt and coffee was a sweet way to start last weekend.

xo J

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farm brunch: by J

FarmLunchOne of the sweetest brunches I’ve had in a long time.

This Saturday my friend P made us brunch at the Farm he’s been interning at, freshly picked produce prepared by him, with earthy french toast topped with a homemade blackberry syrup-jam, and locally produced chicken sausages. We ate on a picnic table outside, with the smell of tomato plants on our hands from picking sungolds just before eating.

xo J

dumplings: by J

photo 2 (2) photo 1 (2)

I’m a lover of dumplings. Sometimes I keep frozen bags of pre made dumplings in my freezer, because sometimes you just really need a big plate of dumplings. That being said I always feel a little guilty about the quality. So once in awhile, I’ll make a batch of homemade and freeze the rest for those dumplings moments.

I didn’t make the wrappers but the Nijiya market close to my house had organic wrappers I felt good about. I kind of used a recipe sort of.

Basically, I finely chopped a small napa cabbage sprinkled some salt on it, and let it sit for about 20 minutes before pressing the water out, I added that to about a pound of ground pork, with a clove of chopped garlic, a few splashes of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a touch of sesame oil.

I always microwave a tiny bit of filling for about 20 seconds to taste it for seasoning, I do this with meatballs too, although a few minutes in a fry pan would work as well.

This is a basic recipe and would be great with ground turkey for a leaner dumpling, or a mix of both, and you could add in chopped cilantro, chives or water chestnuts.

I pan fry these on medium with oil until brown then add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with a lid and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, or until you hear the pan is dry, and remove the lid and let them brown a few more minutes if needed.

For a dipping sauce I pour roughly equal parts quality soy sauce and rice wine vinegar into a small bowl and add a couple of drops of sesame oil, or if you like it hot, chile oil. They’re also great with the dipping sauce and chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

To freeze place them not touching on a baking sheet and place in the freezer, no need to cover, for 20 minutes, once they are frozen on the outside you can put them in a bag or airtight container and keep them for months in the freezer. No need to thaw them when cooking, just add a little more water and steam for a few extra minutes.

xo J

At about 2:30 a simple how to on dumpling folding.

soba and greens: by J

sobaandgreensThe warmer days are perfect for cold noodle salads. One of my favorite is cold soba noodles with seasonal greens, in this case sugar snap peas and bok choy, with tofu and chives.

Cook the soba according to the directions, they should be firm, but tender, and rinsing them well with cool water ensures the noodles aren’t too sticky or gummy.

Soba noodles if 100% soba are gluten free, but make sure to read the ingredient lists if this is important to you, as 100% buckwheat are harder to find and generally quite a bit more expensive.

I season to taste with soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.

xo J

summer salad: by J

summersaladHaving family here has definitely meant sharing all of my favorite food spots. So last night a huge summer salad at home was in order for dinner. Peach, tomato, avocado, baby kale, little gems and red onions, seasoned with good olive oil, sea salt, and a touch of balsamic, I would have prefered the juice of a lemon, but forgot to pick one up.

xo J

strawberry jam: by J

strawberryjam

I had a pint of aging strawberries, but I always imagined making jam would require a full day, and there would be no point in making less than 12 jars or so.

This quick recipe took me about 1 hour, and likely isn’t shelf stable, however with just 1 jar I plan to keep it in the fridge  and use it right away. I made it with no pectin and it is much lower in sugar than most traditional recipes. This recipe seems pretty close.

I’d really like to do more preserving in the future, but definitely find it a little daunting, even though it seems pretty simple.

strawberryjam1

xo J

quinoa sushi: by J

photo (3)I had a craving for sushi the other day and remembered seeing this recipe. It’s super simple, and ideal for vegetarian sushi as you get protein from the quinoa. While the quinoa didn’t hold up quite as well as sushi rice, it was a pretty solid replacement. I made avocado and cucumber, and avocado and carrot.

xo J

 

cottage food industry: by J

bananabreadmuffin

I went to an interesting workshop on the relatively new California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616). Basically it allows an individual to produce a number of food items in her/his home kitchen for resale either directly from home, through CSAs, Farmers’ Markets, and Festivals and events, or indirectly through third parties like restaurants and local shops.

The beauty of the law is it supports small local business people, that can’t or choose not to use the industrial methods typically required by the food industry. The products are limited to a certain number considered of relative low risk for foodborne illness like jams, baked goods, granola, and others.

In an ideal way, this would mean a farmer with a CSA could jar her/his own preserves and jams and include them in the weekly deliveries, your neighbor who makes the best granola can now make a profit selling to the neighborhood, and people with new business ideas can start out small to try them out.

I’m excited and intrigued, and hope that the bill continues to adapt to make small, local, homemade, community driven business thrive.

xo J

comprehensive summary and FAQ

spring frittata: by J

asparagusfrittataI’m really happy spring is here. Weather wise, San Francisco is pleasant for most of the year, but the seasonal produce is what I’m most excited for. I made a quick asparagus and new potato frittata with pasture raised eggs and flowering chives.

I sautéed roughly 6 stalks of asparagus with a touch of butter for a few minutes, added 4-5 sliced previously boiled leftover new potatoes, salt and pepper to taste and poured over 3 eggs beaten with a handful of chopped chives. I baked it at 350 for about 17 minutes until mostly set with a little looseness in the egg at the center, which will firm up once out of the oven. But keep an eye on it after about 10 minutes as you really don’t want to overcook the eggs.

Serve alone or with toasted baguette, or anything else you’d like. It would also be fantastic with the addition of fresh ricotta, soft goats cheese, or any other kind of cheese you love and have on hand.

xo J