I’ve been baking a lot it seems lately. Not exactly what I need as the warmth of summer is ramping up and I need to keep trim. Yet there’s something soothing, calmong and centering about the process of making bread, rolls and biscuits. The measuring. The mixing. The proofing. The kneading. The baking.

Recipe for the biscuits is here:

And then the breaking open. In today’s instance it was breaking open a biscuit seconds after it came out of the oven and that blast of steam and yeast and fat hit me in the face and made the world go away. A sswab of butter and some salt and pepper and I was blissfull for a few minutes.

I could eat them all but they’re being donated on Sunday at the SF AIDS Walk to feed my team. Some strawberry jam, some marscapone and some butter blended to smooth in the food processor will go nicely along side these. Part of me is secretly gloating that they won’t get to have them hot and fresh and steaming like I do. It’s a small petty thing I know, but it’s the truth.

Biscuit recipe here:

Hangar Steak with Chimi Sauce and Pinot Braised Cherry Tomatoes

Hangar Steak with Homeade Chimi and Pinot Braised Cherry Tomatoes

Puree some parsley with some garlic and shallot and some tarragon vinegar and some olive oil and some red pepper flakes.

Heat a cast iron skillet till it smokes enough to make you nervous. Salt and pepper on each side of the hangar steak. Drop it in the pan. (Check next to the stove that the fire extinguisher is still there). Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn. Cook 3 to 4 more minutes. Turn one more time for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to cutting board to rest.

While meat rests, drop cherry tomatoes in pan to cook in beef fat. Season with salt and pepper. When the skins begin to split, add minced shallots. (Double check fire extinguisher again). Immediately pour 2 cups left over pinot noire over tomatoes. (assuming you even let pinot sit around that much) If it flares up resist urge to grab that fire extinguisher for a second. Let sauce reduce down to syrupy thickness.. usually 4 minutes over high heat.

Slice steak thinly and spoon chimi sauce over. Pour any juices from cutting board or pan on tomatoes and serve them along side. Try not to grunt in pleasure. It’s rude.


Cottage Cheese and Radish Salad

A childhood memory has been percolating in my brain for days. My mother giving me a bowl in the summer heat and pushing me out the back door to eat in the back yard to get me out from underfoot.

Cottage cheese and radishes together. When I was at the farmers market earlier this week, I snagged omse radishes and grabbed some cottage cheese too. I was all set. Or was I?

I couldn’t remember what exactly was in what I had eaten as a child. There was more than radishes in there. So they sat on the counter while I tried to remember.

Today, I’ve hit a wall in my job search and needed a distraction. I threw the radishes in the food processor with a shallot and pulsed a couple of times. Added some black pepper and garlic powder. Some kosher salt and a few more pulses. I mixed all that into a 16 oz container of 2% cottage cheese, not wanting anything to dry or too wet. A quick tatse. Something was missing. I spied the jar of celery seed on the shelf in the pantry and added about a tablespoon along with a little more salt.

This was pretty close to what I remembered. I sliced a few cherry tomatoes in half and threw them into the bowl with the pink mixture I made. I realized it needed something like parsley too. That would round out the flavors I remember, but I didn’t have any. That will have to wait for the next time I’m feeling whistful for a memory of a comforting food when I had no responsibilities.


365_140, originally uploaded by kitchenbeard.

While the rest of the nation is baking and frying in intense heat, it’s a fairly typical day here in San Francisco with fog and chilly wind. So I made a large pot of rice, diced up some vegetables and sweated them off in olive oil and butter. I added the chicken stock I’d made yesterday as well and thickened it with a roux. Threw in the left overs of yesterday’s chicken salad and let it simmer for a few minutes before ladling out a big bowl of the stew with some rice. Warmth and comfort spreading through me, not just from the food, but from a peaceful Sunday spent cooking and listening to NPR.


lunch, originally uploaded by kitchenbeard.

Just a quick lunch.

Dice up a chicken breast that you roasted a few days ago and you want to use up before it goes bad.

In the bowl of food processor throw a head of parsley, cilantro or whatever leafy herb makes you go happy. Hey, go ahead and make your mix if you want. I won’t be heartbroken if you make this your own.

In a dry sautee pan toast some fennel seed, coriander seed and some celery seed. Toast until you just begin to see whisps of smoke. Immediately remove and pour on top of the herbs.

Add 1 tsp of tarragon vinegar. Add the juice of one half lemon…. Wait, I’m out of lemons, I’ll use limes instead.

Add ½ cup olive oil.

Puree making sure you scrape down the sides once.

Pour over the chicken and mix. Add one or two diced shallots. Taste. Adjust for salt and pepper to your liking.

Make some toast with the bread you baked yesterday.

Pile on the salad. Sit down and feel vaguely smug that you just managed to clean out the fridge and make something yummy.