Friday, August 31, 2012

California Sun

California produces some damn fine fruits and veggies. I thought we got good tomatoes in Seattle, I thought I grew delicious tomatoes in Seattle, but California has raised the bar. The good tomatoes in the East Bay are REALLY GOOD. Also, avocados have become a staple in my diet:

Halved and sprinkled with salt

Our very first meal made from a California farmers market was a cast iron pan full of ground beef, peppers, onions,  and eggplant:
Beef-Pepper-Eggplant saute with a side of avocado

 Alex and I spent several weeks crashing with my dad before we found our own place in the bay. One night we cooked my dad and his lady-friend dinner. I dug up potatoes from my dad's front yard and we whipped up a feast with our loot from the farmers market!

Dad's potatoes!

Pork & veggies in an Avocado-Pesto sauce
topped with tomatoes and served with roasted potatoes

For the record, avocado and basil are super delicious companions!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fried Olives

Ladies and gentlemen, I am blogging in REAL TIME. Alex and I recently moved into a cute half-a-duplex in Berkeley, CA and it's taken us some time to acquire internet. So we've been relying heavily in our neighborhood businesses for internet access, coffee, beer, and food as we re-build our living space.

Paisan has been the other half of our home. They have internet access and they're open from 8:30am-9pm with everything from morning pastries to vermouth braised pork (OMG so amazing!). I want to be friends with all their servers and did I mention their food is INCREDIBLE and inspiring! Also they have a delicious IPA on tap (Green Flash IPA).  

But the reason I am blogging now is because I am eating the most amazing olives I have ever had. They are fried olives and they are amazing. It's like the next generation of hush puppies... I'm so blown away. Alex just said, "they're like popcorn shrimp, but tasty and not terrifying!"

mmmm fried olives!

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Edible Marriage

Well, since my last post I graduated college, got married, went on honeymoon, packed up my entire life, and moved to California where the new hubby and I have been in limbo for a few weeks between a storage unit and my dad's house. Needless to say, things have been a bit crazy...

Anyway, first things first - I must give props to the deliciousness that graced our wedding:

Edible Flower Bouquets - I wanted my bridesmaids and I to have completely edible bouquets, so I grew lots of edible flowers in my own yard, but ended up using flowers grown by the folks at Colinwood Farm.

Also, my friend Sarah figured out how to make roses out of bacon!! She put a dab of hot glue on a skewer, topped the glue with lettuce, and topped the lettuce with bacon baked in the shape of a rose bud. The glue gave the structure integrity while the lettuce acted as a barrier between bacon an glue. Brilliant!  While I was freaking out before the wedding, my bridesmaids assembled our bouquets with bacon roses, pea vines, bachelor buttons, squash blossoms, calendula, nasturtiums, and my favorite - columbine! Then immediately after the ceremony we chowed down.

Madres Catering - These ladies were an absolute pleasure to work with. They were totally chill and down for anything. They used local and/or organic produce and let us provide the meat and bread from our favorite folks at the farmers market (Skagit River Valley Ranch, Stokesberry Farms, and Tall Grass Bakery).  After our ceremony, we were greeted at our reception venue by Madres' lovely staff and a selection of appetizers. We chose to have a "heavy appetizer" style reception so our guests could be free to eat and drink as they please without having to conform to a set dinner plan. Here is our menu with pictures where I have them:

Salad Cups! 

Soup Shots 
Shots of zesty tomato soup that I found to be an important injection of calories between hugs and conversation!

Crostinis with:
Shredded chicken tinga
Roasted cumin mushrooms with parmesan
Dilled salmon

Polenta Triangles with Roast Tomato Chutney (so good!)

Bacon Wrapped Cesar Potatoes
Roast potatoes with Cesar dressing, wrapped in bacon (delicious!)

Sausage Bites with a Trio of Dips
Skagit Valley sweet and hot Italian sausages wrapped in pastry dough

Slider Bar:
Cuban pulled pork
Beef patties
Vegan roast veggies
Tall Grass Bakery brioche or mutli-grain slider buns

Heather's Groovy Drink Mix
(Heather is one of the owners of Madres, she is a wizard with a blender and whatever happens to be in season!)

Made by me, Alex, and our friends!
(and supplemented with Elysian beer and Charles Shaw wine)

The only one not on the list is the beer we toasted with - a brew that Alex and I concocted together:
Lavender Ginger IPA
(Also Sarah designed this gorgeous drink menu!)

Trophy Cupcakes - Dessert was a couple hundred mini cupcakes of three different flavors: Snickerdoodle, Triple Chocolate, and Hummingbird (a more savory dessert cake made with banana, pineapple, and coconut).

In addition to Trophy cupcakes, Alex's sister made gluten-free vegan cupcakes ( you can see a few at the edges of the photo above, at the base of the tier).

T'was a delicious wedding indeed!