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Bunny and Morro Rock

Fantastic trip.

We totally ate like wee piggies…
Ethiopian on Telegraph Fried cheese at Fenton's. Kind of a tradition. Huitres et pommes frites
smoked salmon bruschetta Fentons Chocolate Ice Cream Soda Bunny contemplates mocha at Crepevine

Which made me very happy! I’m especially happy in this shot because everyone else was eating raw oysters and I played the kosher card for all it was worth. I really dislike raw oysters. The taste is ok, but it’s a textural thing. The girlie, OTOH, ballsed up and slurped down shellfish with the big girls.

In this shot, I am fervently grateful to be Jewish Emily eats a raw oyster

We did nothing but eat for 6 days. Holy cow. I think I gained ten pounds. Then, I think I walked it all off. Our hotel was 6 blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, right on Telegraph. We tromped everywhere, took BART under the Bay, saw good friends and did I mention the food? Korean, Ethiopian, Fenton’s ice cream, the Crepevine in Rockridge, oysters, salmon bruschetta and pommes frites in San Francisco, Peet’s Coffee and of course, Zachary’s pizza pies…

Zachary's pies

The whole point of this little trip, though, was to acquaint the girlie with the UC Berkeley campus and give her a taste of what she might get to enjoy if she keeps her grades up and works hard for the remainder of high school. It seems to have taken.
Em on steps of Wheeler

I really miss Berkeley. I have to admit that by the second day of our trip I was entertaining thoughts of going back there to live one day. It is one of a handful of places on this earth that truly feel like Home to me. Oh… and… I might have acquired a thousand yards of laceweight pashmina and eight hundred yards of silk/merino laceweight plus some bone dpns at Lacis, there on Adeline @ Ashby. There’s a ton of other yarn stores which we didn’t make it to. I may have to take a second trip.

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we’ll all have tea.

happy

I used to have a hysterical Wallace Tripp illustration of that poem, featuring some incredibly lazy and stupid mice as Polly and Suki. I wish I still did. I’d so totally frame it.

Tomorrow I am having some friends over for tea and I am SO excited! I’m also completely behind on my cleaning and cooking schedule aaaaand of course this week my back decided to go all screwy and I woke up this morning unable to bend over, but that’s what teenage slave labor is for. When Mama is having a party and there’s work and she needs a muscle relaxer.

So here’s what’s on the menu:
Amuse bouche:
Melon prosciutto bites paired with this fabulous cheese I got at Whole Foods, plus a sparking Italian wine served in champagne flutes. I plan to put this out in the living room before everyone sits down at the table.

First course:
curried grilled chicken salad sandwiches on cranberry spice bread (tandoori marinated chicken grilled and chopped up fine for chicken salad, with sultanas and green apple – this was supposed to be on rosemary currant bread from a special bakery but naturally I didn’t get over there and now I’m out of time, so cranberry spice bread it is. Or maybe whole wheat. We’ll see. I’ll try it on both and decide.)
egg salad rectangles on whole wheat (with buttered, sesame seed edges)
smoked salmon maki (smoked salmon rolled up in white bread with dill, cream cheese and persian cucumber, then sliced/displayed like maki rolls)

Second course:
Kensington Scones with New Forest strawberry rosemary jam, Bellwether Farms creme fraiche and mango fans. I couldn’t find Devon Cream anywhere. Fortunately I like scones with creme fraiche just as well, though it’s definitely not the same.

Third course:
Tiny lemon tarts with Italian meringue and raspberry garnish (who knew there are like, different types of meringue. Italian just sounds schmancy, doesn’t it?)
Tiny macaroons
Chocolate FAIL cake (this cake is not actually FAIL. It is full of WIN and Callebaut. But we call it FAIL cake around here because it is a little tricky to work with and one time S made it and there was sort of a cake disaster as far as putting it together, we ended up with broken cake all over and so just ate it in chunks, and ever after it has been FAIL Cake. This time we are smart, we are doing one layer and glazing it with jam, then covering it in ganache.)

I’m doing Tsarina Samovar Blend (yunnan, assam and green tea pearls) for the first and second courses and then probably a pot of either Golden Monkey or Keemun – probably Golden Monkey – for the dessert course.

I should probably get back to it but I’m sitting here waiting for my 800 milligrams of Motrin to kick in before I go roust the children to make them help me clean the house.

I am so excited for tomorrow!

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OMGBecky! Black Bean Soup!

I blame Cass for this one. Oh my GOSH. I used her recipe, which you will have to get off her blog as I do not have permission to reprint it here cos I haven’t asked – but I altered it a bit because I did not have everything I needed on hand or had other things that worked equally well. Here’s what I changed.

Substituted:
1 can of TJ’s italian plum tomatoes with basil (instead of the Muir Glen kind suggested.)
TJ’s vegetable broth (I prefer the No Chicken Stuff from Pacific Foods suggested in her recipe, but I didn’t have any on hand.)
Omitted:
chili powder (I didn’t have any! Go figure!)
Added:
1 small can of diced green chilies
2 chipotle peppers in adobo (seeded)
1 TBS. Paul Prudhomme’s magic poultry seasoning (it seemed good and I wanted to make up for no chili powder.)

I pulsed the chilies and chipotles into the black beans and tomatoes in the food processor and added them in that way. I think probably it is way spicier than Cass’s version, but that’s ok – the chipotle adds the spicy zing that the chili powder would have otherwise contributed. This version is VERY zingy, btw, not burn the roof of your mouth hot but definitely spicy, so if you are not a fan of spicy food then use only one chipotle or even a half of one. It is really the flavor of the adobo you want. A half chipotle would be acceptable. Remember to wash your hands after seeding the chilies.

Otherwise made and cooked as instructed in the recipe, served with sour cream, grated sharp cheddar cheese and fresh baked corn muffins.

This is a HUGE pot of soup. Cass is not kidding when she says Black Bean Soup for DAYS. I have a feeling we’ll be noshing off this one for a while, even after I freeze a meal’s worth to use sometime when I’m feeling lazy. My picky little eaters polished off several bowls each.

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