Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recipe : Sicilian Orange Salad { Insalata di Arance }

Bi-Rite Citrus Bomb for Sicilian Orange salad with red onion, olives & parsley
orange salad with red onion, black olives & Italian parsley
Last week brought some unseasonably warm days to the West Coast and those sunny spring days along with the tail end of of citrus season were the inspiration for this bright and refreshing Sicilian Orange Salad.

Whipped up in no time, this salad makes for a flavor packed weekday lunch, but just as well as a slightly tart & savory side dish with grilled fish or meats {lamb chops especially!}. It's a classic recipe in the Sicilian and Spanish cuisine that really let's oranges shine in all their glory …

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Parkside Bakery & The Room in Stinson Beach { market }

Parkside Bakery in Stinson Beach

The Parkside in Stinson Beach has been a favorite West Marin destination for years, for a weekend brunch in the sunny garden patio, a casual dinner in the cozy dining room or just for a roadside morning  coffee {with an amazing pastry!} from the little kiosk window  - so last weekend I was thrilled to discover the latest addition at The Parkside: 
The Room, a bright, inviting and rustic space tucked between the patio and bakery. A well stocked market during the day {selling those amazing Parkside Bakery pastries/breads, along with picnic provisions and a selection of local products}, the space turns into a cozy private dining room at night. And with a wood-fired oven & seating for twelve, The Room would make for the perfect venue for a dinner with friends ...

The Room, Parkside Bakery retail & private dining in Stinson BeachParkside Bakery in Stinson BeachThe Room in Stinson Beach

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A weeknight aperitivo with {mostly Italian} friends ...

Crostini with white anchovies cannelloni bean

A spontaneous weeknight gathering with {mostly Italian} friends, catching up over aperitivo nibbles and sunny cocktails {Americano or Negroni Sbagliato}  …

Polpo cookbook americano negroni sbagliatoItalian Aperitivo

Friday, February 21, 2014

A birthday dinner with friends {Happy Birthday, Daniel}


A long festive table set in a cozy kitchen, a prosecco toast with tasty nibbles & a casual birthday dinner with rustic Italian flavors. Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recipe : Blood Orange Marmalade {with a dash of Campari}

Recipe blood orange marmalade
Blood orange marmalade with Campari recipe
When life gives you oranges, make orange marmalade {or marmalade tart} …
Of all winter citrus fruit, blood oranges are by far my favorite. More tart and aromatic than the average orange, I also love the different shades of color each fruit flesh reveals: from sunny orange to rich crimson to dark purple tones - there seems to be an endless range of sunny color variations.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday picnic & galette des rois with a view {Epiphany Day 2014}

Galette des Rois from Patisserie Philippe

Celebrating Epiphany Day on an unseasonable warm Sunday. Three galettes des rois were the highlight of the rustic picnic on Treasure Island, with amazing views of the San Francisco skyline across the bay.

Galette des Rois picnic

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A sunny winter day in Point Reyes & oyster picnic by the sea


A sunny winter day and a picnic with a view. Fresh shucked Drakes Bay oysters & chilled rosé and a long beach walk - slowly winding down the old year ...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A holiday brunch with family & friends { Merry Christmas 2013! }


Getting ready for the holidays. Baking cookies, roasting nuts, decking the halls & sharing a Sunday brunch with family and friends ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An expat holiday brunch in the neighborhood ...


A classic San Francisco Victorian with a contemporary core, a weekend brunch with expat friends {& some sparkling magic courtesy of Google Auto Awesome} …

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A francophile potluck dinner in the Berkeley Hills


A modern home high in the Berkeley Hills, a long festive table and a francophile potluck dinner with an amazing view ...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A wild coast escape and Thanksgiving dinner at Big Sur Bakery

thanksgiving dinner at big sur bakery
A last minute escape from the holiday rush. Three unseasonably warm days along Big Sur's rugged coast filled with coastal hikes, beach picnics - and a cozy Thanksgiving dinner at Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, a longtime roadside favorite on this wild stretch of California coast.

Thanksgiving dinner Big Sur Bakery & RestaurantBig Sur Bakery & Restaurant in Big Sur, California

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TBD Restaurant, campfire ambience & wood fired hearth cooking

TBD Restaurant in San Francisco

A sneak peek at TBD Restaurant, opening next week in San Francisco. The latest project from the team behind AQ Restaurant & Bar {Matt Semmelhack & Mark Liberman}, with the entire menu prepared over wood fire or cooked on the open hearth ...

TBD Restaurant in San Francisco, campfire ambience & decorLoophole cocktails at TBD RestaurantStaff attire at TBD Restaurant in San Francisco

Friday, September 27, 2013

Le Diner a San Francisco, a pop-up picnic dinner with friends {& 4000 others}

Le diner a San Francisco 2013
Le diner en blanc san francisco white pop-up dinner
Le Diner à San Francisco, an annual elegant all-white pop-up picnic dinner with a long tradition in Paris was held in San Francisco for the third time this Friday. The secret location {Civic Center Plaza} was not revealed until hours before the picnic - and by late afternoon long rows of tables set up under the plaza's allées of pollarded sycamore trees were slowly turning into elaborately decorated all-white picnic tables, with thousands of diners following the all-white dress code {bringing fabulous foods & wines to the tables} ...

Le diner a San Francisco Le diner en blanc

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recipe : fig crostata & plum crostata {straight from the tree}

fig crostata fruit tart shortcrust recipe  recipe adapted from elizabeth minchilli
fig crostata plum recipe
We only spent a few days in Anderson Valley, but an overbearing fig and Santa Rosa plum tree bursting with ripe fruit made for the perfect excuse to bake not one, but two Indian summer fruit tarts. The crust for both tarts was based on Elizabeth Minchilli's infallible shortcrust {no long kneading, no chilling, no rolling pin!}, a recipe that has become a dessert staple around our kitchen since the first cherry crostata earlier this summer - so here's to sharing it again ...

Recipe : Oven Roasted Plum Rosemary Jam

Oven Roasted Plum Jam with Rosemary Recipe

It was the peak of plum season in Anderson Valley last month and I don't think I have ever seen fruit trees laden with more ripe fruit: there were two plum trees in the fruit orchard {a yellow Mirabelle and a purple Santa Rosa variety} and each tree's branches were covered in heavy clusters of sweet plums. While picking a small basket for lunchtime plum crostata, ripe plums literally started raining down from the heavy branches - so, two full baskets later we decided to make jam with the sudden harvest bounty!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Indian summer days in Anderson Valley


A rustic ranch in the hills above the Anderson Valley. Days of homestead living with chickens and roosters, sheep and goats, a wise dog, two barn cats and a hog named Piggy. Amazing sunset views over the coastal range in the distance. And a fruit orchard bursting with ripe fruit - bright yellow mirabelle plums, golden Asian pears, tart red apples, sweet green apples, fragrant Santa Rosa plums, sweet figs and the tiniest of grapes {more on some baking here & canning here} ...

all photos © dinners with friends
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