Friday, February 16, 2018

Vintage Car Passing By, Only in San Francisco!

I was coming home from Chinatown this afternoon and was walking along the end of Jasper near Green St. in North Beach- when I chanced upon the sound of an antique car approaching into my direction. I can see it clearly from my vantage point. Just as it was pacing to cross Union and Jasper,  I was able to capture  it in full site through my iPhone. The car came by so quickly. In a minute, it was gone!

The driver was in his 40s and the passenger, an elderly man, in his 70s, obviously was having a ball! Now where in the world would you see something like this? Only in San Francisco!


NDV Hospitalty Potluck Night with Fr. Juan and Fr. Dennis

Homemade Moist, very moist- Chocolate Cake

Seafood Paella (with lemon zest and rosemary for aroma and flavor)
2009
We had the hospitality potluck last night. Poor attendance. Half of the team didn’t make it due to the long weekend with Monday being Presidents’ Day. Everyone seemed to have gone out of the city for a much needed breather elsewhere. We stayed on and so with the rest of us who made it to the meeting con potluck. Yesterday was also Chinese New Year so there was traffic everywhere.

For dinner, I brought paella and chocolate cake. Others brought lasagna, pesto pasta, garlic bread, fruit salad, wine and lots of green salad. 

The Hospitality Team 2018 with  Fr. Dennis (extreme left)
As usual, we started the gathering with a short prayer with Fr. Juan leading it. Our new parish pastor. Fr. Dennis was with us, too. The meeting was held after dinner. By 7:30 PM the church hall was dark and empty and we were all gone by then.

Here are our photos in the early days and of last night’s potluck. Fr. Juan was not in the photo because this was taken after he was gone. We just thought about it while doing the dishes and by impromptu, Matty brought out her iPhone and took our photo. So this is it!






Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ash Wednesday

Last night was unforgettable. I was at church with my partner and there were so many of us who showed up for the mass at Saints Peter and Paul Church t was ASH WEDNESDAY. First time in 78 years that it coincided on VALENTINE'S DAY. So this is meaningful and symbolical for many.

We attend mass here in Saints Peter and Paul when we are limited by time and space since this Gothic church is so close to home, just 5 minutes on foot and then we are there. It is also right across Washington Square, our neighborhood park in this neck of the wood.

The mass started at 6 PM and it was packed. Many tourists and guests were present. It was a good feeling of being there, listening to the priest giving his homily and with us participating in the message of Lent (praying together, alms giving and making some sacrifices). I am not preacher but I believe in doing all of the above.  And after mass, I felt better. Later, we headed to Victoria Pastry for some coffee and then we were home.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We are here and waiting for our order at North Beach Pizza on Grant Avenue for a late lunch. It’s very cold and nippy today.  It’s Ash Wednesday  (yes, we’re Catholics) so we can’t have our favorite Cable Car Pizza. We just  ordered Margherita Pizza since it's just filled with tomatoes, cheese and basil leaves. We are fasting, today being the first day of Lent. Can't eat meat. And by the way, Happy Valentine's Day! 💕













Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Homemade Gravlax by Pizzicatto



This Gravlax recipe is time tested and am sharing this to anyone who wants to try out this Norwegian deli. This is very simple to do because you just need some some canned good to press it and you are good to go! No cooking needed! I add some drops of LIQUID SMOKE for the aroma and taste it emits. It is optional.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 pounds of salmon fillet- skin on*
¾ granulated sugar
¾ cup coarse  salt (don’t use the fine sugar, it will be too salty!)
¼ black peppercorns, cracked (don’t use the very fine grounded pepper, won’t taste good- will lack the flavor and aroma of peppercorn)
1 cup*fresh* dill
2/3 cup vodka + 6 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
juniper berries, cracked (optional- this is hard to find, available in Amazon but very costly)

Must have: 9” X 13” glass tray or stainless steel baking pan

To serve: slice lemon wages and drizzle with olive oil on top and capers. You can add spicy olives as well and cocktail onions.Best served with hot bread, toast or freshly baked from the oven. Bon appetite!

PROCEDURE:
1.     Wash salmon fillet. Remove pin bones- use twizzer or if needed or small pliers.
2.   Cut belly flaps as much of the tail end- useful to make the fish fit into the glass tray.
3.   Mix the CURING MIX: salt, sugar and peppercorns.
4.   Rub half of the curing mix into each side of salmon.
5.    Spread dill on one salmon sixe.
 6.   Drizzle over 1/3 cup of citrus vodka on both sides. Careful not to wash the curing mix.
7.    Flip the salmon side without the dill so it is on top of the other salmon side, flesh sides together.
8.   Place an empty glass or stainless steel baking pan on top of the plastic wrap. Fill the tray with as much canned goods the glass tray could handle. The heavier the better. This is to “press the salmon” to get all the spice and curing flavor.
9.   Refrigerate.
10. Every 12 hours, remove the fish from ref and turn over salmon, put weight back on salmon and return to the ref.
11. Cure the salmon for 3-days.
12. Scrape off the fresh dill and peppercorns using your hands, not the spoon.
13. Pat the gravlax dry.
14. Store in ref until ready to use.
15. Personally, I keep this in the freezer and this could last for a year.

Enjoy! This is best served with Ciabatta or French baguette, home baked, of course!













Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Maykadeh Restaurant


Maykadeh Restaurant on Green St.
This is my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in my neighborhood which just two blocks on foot from my residence. They have been here since the 80s.  Can you believe that? It is elegant, neat and has a really nice ambience, quiet for a lunch date which I like. They serve dinner, too. 

Wherever I am, I can’t stand to be in a noisy place to eat. I want to enjoy a peaceful meal without having to deal with loud  diners who have no finesse and or  being in the company of screaming kids, whose parents are insensitive in not to teaching them how to behave in public. So far, this is just the milieu for me. Quiet and nice.

The urge to come here has been impromptu. Husband and I were planning to just grab an Italian sandwich, at Subway (we eat the meat and dump the bread due to our low carb diet for over 5 years now). But it would mean a fifteen-minute drive to North Point. We looked at each other and in tandem our eyes met. We casually kinda say it in unison, “Ah....na. let’s just stay home.”  However, upon seeing the sun being out this noon (it has been over cast for more than a week), we thought that it would be nice to be out for a short walk;  have a nice meal somewhere near' support the local economy and  enjoy this beautiful day. So we did.
Since we are in the center of all the fabulous international restaurants in the area, it is quite convenient to saunter and enjoy our time to choose on where to go. Unlike the others who have to drive here for a date night, husband and I just have to go downstairs from our milieu. Et voila,  we are in already in any of restaurants  we fancy. Thai. Japanese, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Argentinian, and Italian. This neighborhood is surrounded primarily with Italian restaurants because North Beach is equivalent to New York city's Little Italy.

 

Busy Weekend

The past days were exhilarating for me and I just didn’t have much energy left to tinker around my Lilliputian  kitchen to cook. 

I have been working on the layout of a "political blog" for somebody and my mind has just been preoccupied with it. I am like this when I am in the midst of my creative process. Driven to pursue and finish the job according to what I feel is “perfect” (based on my own standard), I was up until 3 AM for the past few days. So, hubby has been ordering meals  online at grubhub and presto, the food is delivered!

At The Restaurant

There were just six diners today. It could be crowded here at times  but not today. 
We ordered our usual ensemble of  homemade  spiced feta cheese, roasted tomatoes with sumac, kebabs,  etc. 

I was so starved that when the hors d’oeuvres was served, I just began to eat so fast like I have not eaten for days. Boy, I was famished! Seriously, I broke the ten commandments of low carb diet and had the four pieces of pita bread finished in such a short time. Ah, what  the hell, once in while, I needed some variety and having some bread won't heart a bit. Just on my hips. For more info on this restaurant, just click on the link. 

 Maykadeh Restaurant 



TARTE- TATIN


I baked this in spring 2017. My friend from France who is posted in Thailand came to visit us and I baked this for him. He was delighted, smiled and sent this montage to his mom in Marseilles. He was impressed and said that it was very good. Wow.  I used the recipe I have developed through the years. I added cinnamon. The French folks don’t use cinnamon for this recipe.

Kouign Amann


A good friend of mine named Olivier introduced this pastry to me and my partner. This is bathing in butter and sugar! Crispy and caramelized. Very, very good. The recipe I used to make this Breton specialty in France was taken from the vendor where I bought some of my baking gadgets in Netherlands. The website is:


The Weekendbakery's KOUIGN-AMANN version*

The main ingredients are flour, water, yeast, sugar and lost of butter! After baking, you need to turn each of the Kouign-Amann upside down to keep it from collapsing. It is swimming in butter and sugar and very, very good!


This is a 3-day process. You've got to be patient if you want to get it right. It is like making a croissant. But you add sugar in it. It caramelizes. Ideally, you bake this when it is cool and not hot and humid. The butter will melt and will be hard to make the pastry. 








Sunday, February 04, 2018

Late Post: Paella Mixta

I cooked this before baking the Japanese Cotton Cheese Cake.

Paella is one of my favorite dish (Spanish).  It's "mixta" because the meat products are a mixture of seafood, chicken and pork. It's like cooking Adobado but you add in the paella rice. Bigger grain of rice is used compared to Thai rice because this bomba rice or Paella rice absorbs the flavor of the stock. So here, enjoy the photos. Oops, I forgot! You need about a half cup of white wine to add flavor. That's the secret!




I finally bought a "paellera" a special kind of cooking pan used by Spaniards to make Paella. It is round, wide and shallow.



Late Post: Japanese Cotton Cheese Cake

This very soft Japanese Cotton Cheese Cake is very, very light. At the time dear husband was in Idaho on January 19th was the day I decided to try out this recipe. This cake is a hybrid of a chiffon cake and a soufflé. It wiggles once it's done and taken out from the oven! So delicate, you might break it if you are not gentle.

If you are good at baking chiffon cakes, then this isn't hard to do. Like a leche flan, you put it on a water bath in the oven over medium oven temp. Here are the photos! I ate this all by myself. Dear husband wasn't into it. But I was!!!





Sticky Buns with Orange Zest

The sticky buns on a plate, right after baking.
I baked this batch of Sticky Buns yesterday. It's a lot I know but me and dear husband can finish these little monsters within two days! 

Sticky buns for those of you who are not familiar with are like Cinnamon Rolls. But you don't put an icing over it. The caramel syrup is placed at the bottom of the baking pan, then you put in nicely the sliced risen dough and bake it. As it bakes, the caramel concoction boils. It's shiny because of the butter and the large amount of double whipping cream on it. Once baked, it needs to be placed in another serving tray at once. Toss it  upside down so you now have the bottom part which is filled with caramel syrup to being on top of the sweet bread. Now, it acts as its natural topping. So, what are you waiting for? Come into my kitchen and enjoy. Bon Appetit!

Very delicious! Addicting!


The buns during the proofing time. First batch. Larger pieces 😊

Slightly smaller pieces of sticky buns proofing for the second batch (rising). 😙

Saturday, February 03, 2018

This Is Us- Our Hands


What To Give?

Just before  Christmas came last year, I wanted something distinctive and memorable for us to have as a couple. One that is unique and  captivating but is there such a thing?

To search for this, my main source was Amazon. After reading the reviews that I found to be in sync with my own expectations, I ordered the material I needed right there and then. It is called “Precious Impressions.”  It is a ready-to-use set of materials created to make it easy for consumers to make sculptures even for those without an academic background on doing it.

Packaged in a small plastic tumbler and enclosed with a pack of powdered gel and plaster of Paris, it was the perfect gift for me and dear husband. When this package arrived at home on January 4th, we both didn’t know what to expect, except  for the fact that we were just enveloped with curiosity and excitement. 

We worked on this project just this Thursday evening, February 1st at around 5 PM. The next night by 6 PM, it was all set to be seen. "Did we do it right?" That was the question that was resonating inside me.

It took 24-hours for the plaster to harden.
 
We slept over it and dreamed a little about it.

The Day Has Come

When we cut and unraveled the solidified gel and pulled out the impression inside it, we were in awe to see on how beautiful it came to be. Wow.

 This sculpture is "us" and a loving tribute to who we are as man and wife.

Today, it is resting on top of my upright piano in my studio in San Francisco. Husband and I had created our master piece called “Our Hands”  (or “Ang Aming Kamay” in Tagalog and “Nos Mains” in French).