Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ti Couz

What's on your wish list for a day off?
A bit of new scenery, quality time with a favorite companion, some light exercise, and a restaurant on my wish list.
That's how I spent one recently- walking tour through San Francisco with my mom, followed by lunch at Ti Couz, a sweet little creperie on 16th Street and Valencia in the Mission District.

It's popular on the weekend but nice and empty for us. We had the pick of tables after ordering our lunch. After 2 1/2 hours of straight walking in a brisk wind it was lovely to sit down.
Walk in off the street and directly to the counter; it's self-service on weekdays which was fine with us.

Crepes originate from Brittany, in northwestern France. The word itself comes from the Latin crispa which means curled.
In Brittany, crepes are traditionally served with some hard cider. Ti Couz serves several alcoholic and non-alcoholic French ciders. It's certainly an acquired taste, like fermented apples and grapes, slightly effervescent and thirst quenching.
A small was served in a charming ceramic bowl, the perfect size for us to sample.
Order a large and it will appear in ceramic jug. Might go for that next time. . .

You may be familiar with crepes, but likely you haven't had one made with buckwheat flour. These savoury crepes are harder to find, but Ti Couz serves them with a wide range of filling choices.

Hers was filled with a gruyere-like cheese, mushrooms, almonds, and topped with a deliciously rich mushroom sauce.

For me, the combination of tomatoes, egg and and cheese is pretty close to perfect.

Best of all was my companion who provided great company and conversation, and a few tastes from her plate. Thanks Mom, you are my very favorite lunch date.
Ti Couz
3108 16th Street at Valencia
(415) 252-7373


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flowers For You

~ I got you some flowers, just because it's Sunday ~


Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Meet the Babies!

Smokey and Cindy are new members of the extended family.

I've seen them a handful of times, now and Cindy seems to have this habit of staring at you upside down . . . . . . for a long, long time.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Breakfast with the Butler and the Chef

Who doesn't want breakfast served by The Butler and the Chef?

This special cafe is tucked in a corner of South Park, steps from the ballpark and Highway 101- easily accessed by Peninsula residents such as ourselves. It's also a brisk walk from my brother's apartment, ideal for an early brunch on a Sunday.

It's tiny and the menu is scrumptious. They open at 10:00 am to a crowd on the doorstep, waiting for mugs of delicious coffee, crepes, and waffles. Very Parisian, with French-speaking waiters and tiny bistro tables. On cold San Francisco mornings (when are San Francisco mornings not cold?) the restaurant is warm, cozy, and filled with the delicious smells of espresso and pastry.

Ray is a fan of the smoked salmon eggs benedict.

My brother enjoyed the eggs benedict with Niman Ranch Ham.

For me? A Belgium waffle with wild blueberry preserves.
Their waffles are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, made with a wheat flour batter with a hint of malt flavor.

This may be breakfast/brunch, but the check comes with a little plate of homemade chocolate truffles! One for each of us.

Yes, you can get me to drive into the city on a weekend morning any time if you promise me this for breakfast.

And this view too~ downtown from the roof of my brother's apartment.

The Butler and the Chef
155a South Park Street, San Francisco
(415) 896-2075


Monday, September 21, 2009

Quiet Spot


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oats with Tomato and Cheddar

I will make this many more times and take some better photos,
but I wouldn't wait to share this one.

I haven't been feeling well, so something comforting and simple at work was all I wanted. Some savory oats have been in the back of my mind so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give them a whirl.
I cooked some rolled oats on the stove, plain with a pinch of salt. Next, I sliced some fresh tomatoes and grated some extra sharp cheddar cheese, transporting them separately in my lunch bag. I assembled the bowl after reheating the oatmeal at work with some water, and snapped this picture with my iPhone before stirring together and digging in.
Delicious! I love the simple flavors of the cheddar and tomatoes; I ate tortillas stuffed with chopped tomatoes and cheddar for lunch in college and this is very similar. I was really satisfied after this lunch, can't wait to make it again!
Future topping ideas:
Cumin, chickpeas, tomatoes, and cilantro
Fresh figs and goat cheese
Grilled eggplant and bell pepper, garam masala
Fried egg, basil, parmesan
..any suggestions?..

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Apparently, Mom's bed was more interesting this morning.

With Bunny; she was chewing on its head a minute after this shot was taken.
She looks tranquil, but watch out!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grandma's Spanakopita

Grandma Nitsa has a repertoire of Greek dishes that she makes my family every year.
This is my favorite.
I received a care package gently wrapped in foil for the freezer, and we baked them for a special dinner. Straight out of the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, and they were golden brown and delicious.

I've never seen her look at a recipe, she makes them by memory and feel.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pizza First Course

I have great respect for hostesses who really get timing.

It's a refined skill, to be able to sweep courses in front of a crowd in a timely manner for tummies and for the food. When I entertain, what to serve revolves around my need to put the best on the table and not sit down sweating and panting from the effort.
Recently we had grilled pizza in the yard with a couple of friends. If you read Suite Apple Pie, you know we love grilled pizza dough (here and here for starters), but it's a tricky thing. I can't imagine doing this for more than 5 people. You can only fit so much on the grill at a time (as I discovered here- one large pizza turned into two when the dough was too big to transfer to the stone). You also have the problem of quantity- too many people and you'll be churning out batch after batch all night long. As chef you'll get to nibble a few crusts after everyone else finishes their meal.

This effort turned out well with these fig and goat cheese flatbreads as a first course of pizza. When these were half-consumed I fired round two. A margherita pizza was a nice contrast; not a great match together but delicious separately. These flatbreads were a little thick for my taste- chalk that up to my nerves about the experiment. Dough never ceases to surprise me. Next time friends, next time.

Regular olive oil and balsamic would work fine to dress the arugula. I provide instructions for use on my own gas grill that I've learned through trial and error. Every grill is different, so use mine as a guideline and modify for the equipment you have.

Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbreads

1/3 semolina pizza dough recipe (ballpark), split into four balls and risen
4 fresh figs, peeled and smooshed into a paste
6 more fresh figs, sliced
1/2 log fresh goat cheese, crumbled
3 cups arugula
1 Tbs toasted walnut oil
2 Tbs fig balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat a pizza stone on an outdoor gas grill to at least 475 degrees.

Roll out one ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a lightly floured pizza peel or wooden cutting board. Repeat with the remaining three dough balls.

When the grill is ready, transfer the flatbreads to the stone. Use your hands and work quickly. Shut off the heat directly beneath the stone to prevent burning. Shut the grill and monitor the temperature; turn the heat back on low to maintain the high temperature if necessary.

Grill the flatbreads for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly dress the arugular with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and prep your toppings grill-side. Open the grill and brush with the fig mush. Add the sliced fresh figs and the crumbled goat cheese, and cover with the lid again. Grill for another 4-5 minutes until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is melty.

Remove the flatbreads back to the pizza peel/cutting board and top with the arugula salad. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving (so you don't burn your mouth on the cheese!)


Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Have Dreams About This