Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tea at Craftsman & Wolves SF

I had plans to make an effort at taking better than usual pictures at tea at Craftsman & Wolves. But, I hurt my hands. So, pictures mainly by K and very few words from me as typing still hurts. 
That said, go!

The menu

Sweets on top, savories on the bottom
The sweets: financier, tile and paté de fruit

Scones and crumpets with meyer lemon curd and clotted cream

The savories

Laver, lobster mushroom, radish and smoked butter on rye

Salt cod rillettes with parsley

Salt cod rillettes with parsley on the brioche

Hot chocolate with violet marshmallows for K

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wines of the Tour de France 2013: The Route Map

Much like with the release of the Giro schedule, it is time to start thinking about the wines of the 2013 Tour de France. As always, suggestions more than wlecome. 
From LeTour:

First up Corsica... then nothing but the French mainland
Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse were the only two departments in metropolitan France that had never before hosted the Tour. The Grand Départ of 2013 will put an end to that. Once back on the mainland, the race will continue entirely within France and not take in any foreign countries – a concept last applied in 2003.

IndividuaL and team time-trials
The 4th stage, contested at Nice across 25 km, will represent the team time trial challenge, last carried out in 2009. Two individual time trials are also scheduled over a distance of 33 km between Avranches and Mont-Saint-Michel on stage 11, then over 32 km between Embrun and Chorges, on stage 17.

Alpe-d’Huez 1 and 2
The most significant change and, without a shadow of a doubt one of the highlights of this 100th edition: the Alpe-d’Huez will be climbed twice on the 18th stage. The first passage at the top of Alpe-d’Huez 1 will take place 50 kilometres before the finish at Alpe-d’Huez 2. Three further summit finishes are planned: Ax 3 Domaines, Mont Ventoux and Annecy-Semnoz, a new venue on the Tour map.


Stage Date Course Distance Type
1 29 June Porto-VecchioBastia 212 km (132 mi) Flat stage
2 30 June BastiaAjaccio 154 km (96 mi) Medium-mountain stage
3 1 July AjaccioCalvi 145 km (90 mi) Medium-mountain stage
4 2 July NiceNice 25 km (16 mi) History.gif Team time trial
5 3 July Cagnes-sur-MerMarseille 219 km (136 mi) Flat stage
6 4 July Aix-en-ProvenceMontpellier 176 km (109 mi) Flat stage
7 5 July MontpellierAlbi 205 km (127 mi) Flat stage
8 6 July CastresAx 3 Domaines 194 km (121 mi) Mountain stage
9 7 July Saint-GironsBagnères-de-Bigorre 165 km (103 mi) Mountain stage

8 July Rest day
10 9 July Saint-Gildas-des-BoisSaint-Malo 193 km (120 mi) Flat stage
11 10 July AvranchesMont-Saint-Michel 33 km (21 mi) History.gif Individual time trial
12 11 July FougèresTours 218 km (135 mi) Flat stage
13 12 July ToursSaint-Amand-Montrond 173 km (107 mi) Flat stage
14 13 July Saint-Pourçain-sur-SiouleLyon 191 km (119 mi) Flat stage
15 14 July GivorsMont Ventoux 242 km (150 mi) Mountain stage

15 July Rest day
16 16 July Vaison-la-RomaineGap 168 km (104 mi) Medium-mountain stage
17 17 July EmbrunChorges 32 km (20 mi) History.gif Individual time trial
18 18 July GapAlpe d'Huez 168 km (104 mi) Mountain stage
19 19 July Bourg d'OisansLe Grand-Bornand 204 km (127 mi) Mountain stage
20 20 July AnnecyAnnecy 125 km (78 mi) Medium-mountain stage
21 21 July VersaillesParis 118 km (73 mi) Flat stage

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Double Chocolate Cookies

First, a confession. I don't drink coffee. Not because I don't like caffeine (see: cat named Oolong), but because I just don't like the taste. So a good portion of this book is really not for me. Ironically, at least based on the questions at the recent Omnivore Books event and signing, it is the part of the book that may appeal most to the general public.

That said, I also have to say that I am not an objective reader. K and I tested some of the recipes, along with some for the forthcoming Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, featuring recipes that Caitlin Freeman has paired with art on exhibit at SFMOMA.  

I first met Caitlin when K was young enough that she traveled most everywhere in a Baby Bjorn. I would venture out each Saturday and celebrate a week of newborn craziness, with a cake from the Miette stand at the Berkeley Farmers Market. If available, usually a buckle. Later, when Miette moved into the Ferry Building, K and I would be their first customers almost every Saturday. I was regularly amazed that during the craze just before opening, Caitlin would often stop to take a look at K's latest sticker book or to hand her a treat before the official opening. I was also amused to see how many tourists would stop and photograph a very frosting covered K, as at that age she far preferred the frosting to the cupcake.  As you might have seen here before, K's first five birthday cakes were from Miette, and if you have not looked, you should, because they are amazing. Especially, I think, Purry.

So, not objective. But that said, this is a book that I will bake from repeatedly. From my beloved buckle, to the irresistible Liege Waffles and Ginger-Molasses Cookies and far more, these are recipes that already have become part of our regular rotation, as the advantage of signing up to help test was early access.

When I asked K what recipe she wanted to make "for the blog," she surprised me. I expected the graham crackers that are a part of the S'mores recipe. But, instead, she opted for the Double Chocolate Cookies. 

From K: "I chose them because we made them once and they were extremely delicious and I wanted to make them again. I did mostly what it said in the book, while listening to music from Wicked. 
I did not sift. Instead of coarsely chopped chocolate, I used the Tcho chocolate discs that we got after my Sprouts Camp visit. I also used the vanilla salt that Mama had. I don't know why she has it, but I also like it on baked potatoes. I did not space the cookies well and they ended up as kind of a big chunk of cookies, but Mama helped me with that. 
They were really good and they really live up to the ones at the store. Caitlin is really nice and I am glad that I like her recipes and that I got to try them early."

Double-Chocolate Cookies
(I've slightly edited the recipe to reflect some of K's changes.)

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Maldon salt (K used vanilla salt)
1 egg at room temperature (K's was more refrigerator cold)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3.5 oz  dark chocolate 62%-70% cacao, coarsely chopped (K used Tcho discs, unchopped)

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. (As always, K did not sift and simply whisked them together.)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on medium speed until the mixture gets lighter in color and the texture become fluffier, 5 to 6 minutes. (I doubt K waited that long.)

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until well blended. (K states that she used much vigor.)

With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture very slowly (K fesses up to not very slowly), in a steady stream and mix until well incorporated and very smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds.

Scrape down sides of bowl, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate. Mix on low speed until the color is a uniform brown and no streaks of white remain.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a rough disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. (K waited until 8 the next morning. Barely.)

Preheat your oven to 350. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Roll 1/4 cup portions of the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. (K failed at this.)

Bake 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch and the surface is no longer glossy, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. 
Let the cookies cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

The recipe suggests that they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. In our house, we had trouble waiting for them to cool enough so that K could have one without burning her mouth. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pickled Golden Beets with Onions and Cardamom

Beet day! First up were a batch of the red wine beets I have blogged about before. 
Next, golden beets.

1 pound golden beets
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cardamom pods
1/2 Tablespoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Roast beets in foil in your oven at 350 for about 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Slip off the skins and, if large, cut into chunks. Place in pint jars with sliced onion.

While the beets are roasting, prepare your brine. Add vinegar, water, sugar, cardamom, cloves and salt to a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle the brine over the beets in your pint jars and finger seal. Process immediately in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quince Jam for My Mom

Orange Haired Mom
More Orange haired Mom

Orange House

Orange Kitchen
When I was a child, I lived in an orange house with an orange kitchen and had an orange-haired mother who drove an orange car. No, that is not the beginning of a fairytale, but instead the thoughts that were in my head as I was making a batch of quince jam this morning. Something about the color, and the fact that quince is my mother's favorite of the jams I make, had the phrase running through my head almost like a jump rope rhyme.

Indeed, through what I have always assumed was a paint color accident, my childhood home was orange, until some point in junior high when it was finally repainted red. And my mother, a redhead of the Pippi Longstocking variety, had hair that was much more orange than K's is today. For several years, she even drove an orange Ford Fiesta, purchased, I would guess, because the color was on sale. 

So today, a very easy quince jam for my mother.

Quince Jam

9 cups water

12 cups quince, cored and diced, but not peeled (I started with 6 quince)
2 lemons, zested and juiced
8 cups sugar

Place two plates into your freezer. These will be used to check if your jam is set.
Wash your quince carefully to remove all fuzz and core and dice them. 
In the meantime, bring 9 cups water to boil in a large saucepan. 
When it reaches a boil, add your quince, lemon zest and lemon juice. 
Boil for 15 minutes until your quince beings to soften. 
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. 
Lower the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally.
After the quince has further softened, if desired, use either a potato masher or immersion blender to smooth out the texture.
Continue cooking for about one hour or until your jam mounds on one of the cold plates.
Ladle your jam into jars, finger seal and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

Yield: 12 half pint and 2 pint jars
Oolong and the very orange jam

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Wine I Wish I Had Bought More of: Bonavita Rosato

Quince, soon to be jam
It is a pity that the 2013 Giro is not going to Sicily next year, because I would like to feature this wine. Instead, I'll mention it here in the off-season. Not, by the way, that I really believe in an off-season for rosé, especially here in San Francisco, but perhaps in colder areas it is more of a reality.

Ceri at Biondivino recommended this wine to me a few weeks back when I dropped by for one of her in-store tastings. I had loved the Bressan Rosantico during the 2012 Giro and was eager to try more Italian rosés. Ceri sold me two, the first being this Bonavita Rosato. 

I spent more time than I should have photographing a glass, as I wanted to capture the almost cranberry-juice color of the wine. Thus, three cats, and quince (see below). The wine was indeed darker and fuller than many rosés, but refreshing and vibrant enough that willpower was necessary to not finish the bottle quickly. It paired well with my pasta with arugula pesto and I noticed that is was also recommended on Eater as an excellent pizza wine. I'll look forward to trying it again in 2013.

With help from google translate, I have found out a few details from the producer's website:
CLASSIFICATION: SICILY - Typical Geographical Indication.
PRODUCTION AREA: village of Faro Superiore - Messina, Sicily North - East.
ALTITUDE: 250 m above sea level
VARIETY ': Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera.
AGE of THE VINEYARD: 7 to 55 years.

SOIL TYPE: Clay, characterized by layers of clay and tufa.
TYPE OF AGRICULTURE: natural. No use of chemical fertilizers, organic matter supply through annual legume green manure, no use of herbicides and insecticides; judicious pruning green limited to a minimum pesticide treatments carried out at low doses of copper and sulfur cluster thinning in excess , if necessary.
WINE-MAKING: no chemical intervention on the grapes, no addition of sulfur dioxide and other chemicals in fermentation maceration on the skins for 24-30 hours, then fermented in stainless steel.
AGEING: 6 months in stainless steel.
PRODUCTION: 1500 bottles.