Since moving to our new house, I’ve been itching to start a garden. In San Francisco terms, we have quite a bit of space. While our “garden” is currently full of weeds, a giant Jade plant, some geraniums, and an unidentified tree, it is about to become a full-blown urban homesteaders dream.
The first step in my journey to becoming a real gardener was to actually take a class. Love Apple Farms, a small biodynamic farm in Scott’s Valley kindly invited me to come hang out for the day. I had the pleasure of taking an early spring gardening class and spending some time with founder, Cynthia Sandberg.
Love Apple Farms is pretty well-known for tomatoes- Cynthia grows over 300 varieties- each selected for it’s own qualities. Though the farm doesn’t sell produce to the public, each year, their tomato seedling sale is a chance to stock a garden with countless varieties of tomatoes from the rarest heirlooms to the hardiest juiciest straight-up salad tomato.
It’s hard to talk about Love Apple Farms without talking about the Farm’s symbiotic relationship with Chef David Kinch, of Manresa Restaurant. If Manresa sounds familiar, it’s probably because it has two Michelin stars, has been named one of the top 100 restaurants in the world, and is a semifinalist in this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards. Though other chefs had asked Cythia to supply them with produce, she finally said yes to Chef Kinch because her dinner at Manresa was “Rapturous” and “life … get the recipe
One year ago, I began what was supposed to be a 28 day vegan cleanse. A day or two in, my husband jumped in with both feet. For this cleanse, Joshua and I cut out all meat, dairy, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. In total, we stayed off of meat and dairy for two and a half months.
The impact of those 70 days has been much deeper and longer lasting that we could have ever imagined. As we added the meat and dairy back into our diets, it was in smaller portions and much less frequently. My love for fresh fruits and veggies is well-documented, but I came to love grains, nuts, and seeds like never before as well- and don’t even get me started on nutritional yeast!
Whether you are vegan or not, the choice to incorporate more plant-based meals is a healthy one and (as evidenced by this list) incredibly tasty. Preparing vegan meals also made me a better cook.
Here is a list of 44 fabulous vegan recipes- a few from this site, a few I’ve written for other sites, but mostly just some drool-worthy food you probably need in your life.
Banana Nut Waffles
Vegan Rice Pudding
Springtime Tofu Scramble (gorgeous—just add nutritional yeast to make it over the top amazing)
Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Veggies & Salads
Roasted Broccoli with Sriracha, Honey, and Soy Sauce
Lentil and Pomegranate Salad
Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut and Sesame Oil (YUM!)
Roasted Pumpkin … get the recipe
Sometimes, life is a feast. Last weekend, San Francisco hosted The Good Food Awards on Friday and Saturday. Sunday through Tuesday, The 37th annual Winter Fancy Food Show was in town. I was a very busy and very well-fed girl.
These are my top 20 finds from the Fancy Food Show. In the coming months, I’ll also profile some of the small producers and their foods.
Please note: this list is in no particular order.
- Mugolio by Primtivizia: This pinecone bud syrup from Italy is foraged by Eleonora Cunacia in the forests of the Dolomites. It is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, this syrup is reminiscent of molasses and honey with lovely pine flavor.
- Bourbon Barrel Foods Bourbon and Vanilla Sorghum Syrup: Another syrup makes the list, this one from Kentucky. This sweet sorghum syrup is has only three ingredients, sorghum, Kentucky bourbon, and vanilla from Madagascar. It is earthy and sweet kind of like the fella who makes it.
- Savini Tartufi Miele Al Tartufo Bianco – White Truffle Honey: The Italians and Californians sort of stole the show this year. I think most of my top 20 come from either place. This truffle honey was one of nearly a half dozen I tried, and it definitely wins. It is dark in color and has large slices of white truffle floating in it. The flavor is rich and sweet and dark- something to get lost
… get the recipe
Welcome to part two of Design and Branding for Bloggers or Food Blog Design Bootcamp. This is a series created by The Cusinerd and Me, The Tomato Tart.
In part one, we talked about:
basic brand elements
and your voice
I ended the last post with a pretty bold statement.
Of course, that’s easy to say. You might even say it rolls of the tongue, but start to think about it and it may come off as confusing. I promise I’m not speaking in riddles or channeling Yoda. We’re gonna break this down.
your blog is your brand:
To clarify, your blog is the place on the web where your brand is expressed. Each time you post, you have the chance to strengthen your brand with your words, your photos, personal stories, and recipes.
For example, there are countless recipes for apple crisp on the web, and I’ve probably seen at least 40 of them this season. There’s one I want to share with you. It stood out in my mind, not because it’s the best recipe (although it sounds fantastic), not because it has the prettiest photos (although they are lovely). Lora, The Cake Duchess’s, recipe for a cranberry apple crisp stood out in my mind because of the story she told about making it with her dad.
What a perfect example of standing out in the crowd. The beauty of this is that all Lora had to do was be authentic- to stay true … get the recipe
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND?
There are roughly 179 million blogs on the web.
98,500 more blogs will be created in the next 24 hours.
There will be more than 1.1 million blog posts in that same time period.
The numbers are huge. They can seem overwhelming, and statistics like that can make a person wonder how one little blog can shine in a sea of hundreds of millions.
The good news is that your blog can shine.
In this four part series on, The Cuisinerd & I will present to you the basics of branding and design for bloggers. This presentation was originally created as a live session and presented at Foodbuzz Fest 2011 in San Francisco, CA. Kristin (The Cuisinerd) & I put our heads together to come up with these simple and effective branding and design essentials:
So back to making your blog shine, sparkle, and stand out in the crowd. It starts with a simple question:
“What makes you, you?”
You may not be a corporation, with a team of people managingyour brand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t approach your branding like a professional. There is a balance though, as a blogger, a writer, a photographer, a person, your brand is you, and it should reflect your very essence.
The best personal brands are the most authentic, the most honest.
What Is Your Brand?
We’ll start at the beginning. Most people know about logos, taglines, website URLs. These things are all a part of your brand, … get the recipe
I wrote, earlier this week, about my approach to the holidays. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll find it here. (You’ll also find a pretty great recipe for vegan pumpkin chocolate chunk cake).
Today, I realized I was absolutely exhausted. After having gotten up at 6 yesterday to bake a blackberry rosemary hazelnut cake for an event hosted by Driscoll’s berries, I walked in the door at 11pm last night. I wrote for a while, edited some photos, and spent some time with my husband.
Finally, I fell asleep at around 1. Back up at 6:30 this morning, I mixed some of the fresh berries I snagged from the Driscoll’s event (thanks!!) with some of the blackberry rosemary syrup I made so that I could bring something homemade to my office holiday party. It’s 11, and I’ve just sat down to start writing. Thank goodness, I’ve got this low key approach to the holidays, otherwise, I’d never have time to cook or write.
This weekend, I’m excited to buy my little organic Christmas tree, decorate the house a little, and go to this lovely lady’s Cookie Exchange. My cookies will be dual purpose. They’re actually my post for this month’s vintage recipe swap, as well.
Sunday will be a full day of cooking as I have many recipes planned for my contributions to Treehugger’s Green Wine Guide- somewhere between five and ten before the start of the new year!
So, no new recipe this morning, just … get the recipe
[This post is a part of Foodbuzz’s 24x24 program. Where 24 meals happen across the globe on the same day. I’d like to thank Foodbuzz for including this very special occasion in their 24x24 lineup]
I went to Catholic School for eight whole years, but unlike the sterotype, the nuns at my school weren’t mean. On the contrary, they were awesome. Ranging from sweet and gentle to a little mischievous with that Irish twinkle in the eye. I loved the nuns at St. Robert’s Catholic School.
One night, at a party, my mother was talking about my dad. She said, “Moe is really the nicest guy in the world.” Sister Ita felt compelled to test this, I don’t know, maybe she had to make sure my mom wasn’t breaking the lying commandment (is there one?) maybe she was just being her adorable impish self. ‘Round about 10pm, Sister Ita found my dad and said, “Moe, I need a favor.” My dad said, “sure, what is it?” She said, “I need a ride to San Jose”
“Right now?” he asked. Sister Ita told him that she needed to go right then. “Okay, let me go tell Gilda and get my keys” He was ready to jump in the car and drive 45 minutes each way- no questions asked.
Sister Ita never got tired of telling that story. It summed up how nice my dad was, but not how cool he was. He was funny, and he was easy to be around, … get the recipe
I’ve spent all but a few of my 38 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born and raised here, and while I’ve left a couple of times, I’ve never tricked myself into thinking my leaving was permanent. Sure, I’ve thought about a simpler life, a porch swing, a big rambling yard. Sometimes the dreaming drifts to living in a “real city” or finally moving to Maui or The South of France, but when I truly connect with the place I live, I fall head-over-heels in love all over again.
This past Sunday, we woke up early and lazed around in bed. I had planned on making some apple tarts to bring on our day trip, but Joshua managed to talk me into extra snuggle time, and before I knew it, I was rushing to photograph Friday night’s pumpkin soup before we were heading out the door to Point Reyes- bellies full of the last of the pumpkin goodness.
It doesn’t matter how many times I cross the Golden Gate Bridge and pass through the Rainbow Tunnel into Marin County. Each time, the beauty, the happy memories, the readiness for adventure, the sense that something wonderful could happen at any moment, is always fresh. This time, it truly would be new; we were headed up to the birthday party of Joshua’s friend’s kid near Tomales Bay. Climbing the hill to the property, we were surrounded by redwoods. Wild strawberries lined the path, and a break in the trees … get the recipe