This weekend I went to my first estate sale. Being let into a stranger’s home and then encouraged to rifle through their things is exhilarating. Now I totally understand those people on HGTV who are out every weekend looking for treasure in musty basements. For ten bucks I got this cool wine picnic kit. It has two compartments with room for a bottle and accessories. Breetel and I had a lovely afternoon in Golden Gate Park until it started to rain.
I trade food for goods and services that otherwise would not be available to me. This kind of resourcefulness is widely practiced in my family. My father is from Sicily where bartering and haggling are taught in kindergarten. My mother told me never to go anywhere empty-handed. This rule applies whether you’re visiting a friends house or picking up your car from the mechanic. Not only are people impressed and appreciative when you bring them food but they are more willing to go out of their way for you. In this case food is neither entirely selfish or generous, but a tool of exchange.
Recently my bartering led to a business opporunity. Word got out that I make killer biscotti and an inquiry was made as to whether or not they were for sale. Yes, they are now; and no, you can’t have the recipe.
Note: biscotti means “twice baked.” You bake the cookies in a log, slice, and bake a second time.
Twenty-three years ago today, the earth was graced with Breetel’s presence. To honor this event I made her a breakfast of salmon cakes, hash browns, fried salmon skin, bacon, fried eggs, and mimosas. All of Breetel’s favorite things. Also, toast made in her brand-new toaster oven!
Happy Birthday Bree. Love you.
1 lb salmon, skin removed
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels (frozen or canned is fine)
1/3-1/2 cup bread crumbs
1-3 tbs any fresh herb, finely chopped
salt & pepper
Preparation: Cut the salmon into small pieces. Mix with all ingredients in a bowl. Do the breadcrumbs last because you just want to add enough for the slightly sticky mixture to hold together. To form patties gently form a ball and flatten slightly. Pan fry. Top with fresh herbs for a fancy look.
Note: A runny egg belongs on top of these fish cakes.
1/2 potato per person
salt & pepper
Preparation: Grate potato and squeeze out excess moisture. Season, shape into patties, and pan fry. Drain on paper towels and salt (potatoes love this).
Fried salmon skin is so delicious: crispy and salty. Just drop it in oil.
My birthday present to Breetel. No more forgetting toast under the broiler.
When my father was visiting he discovered a grill in a pile of trash in my backyard. Except for the fact that the grill was poorly assembled, and therefore wobbles, it works great. After being cleaned with a grill brush and a roaring fire it was ready for its BBQ debut.
One of the best parts of working in a restaurant is that almost everyone working there loves food. We talk about food constantly and share it occasionally. Because we spend all of our time in the kitchen serving the people, throwing parties is natural. My manager, Nicole, is a young and talented culinary school grad and my favorite cooking partner. With similar tastes, style, and speed, cooking with her is like dancing. Kylie, a co-worker and friend, is also becoming a sommelier and is my favorite drinking buddy. Possessing an impressive tolerance for tequila, Kylie could probably drink me under the table. Her bubbly personality, approachability, and sensitive palate will make her a fine sommelier. This is my dream team.
Attending the BBQ were more work-friends and fellow service professionals from the market across the street from our cafe. It was great fun.
Honey Chipotle Whiskey BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup honey
few shots whiskey
four chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
1 tbs adobo sauce
1 garlic clove
1/2 red onion
few tbs white vinegar
salt & pepper
Preparation: saute onion and garlic with oil in a medium-sized pot and cook until tender. Add chipotles and adobo. Add everything else and cook over medium-low heat for about 2o minutes. You just want all the flavors to come together and for it to be a thick and sticky consistency. Puree with blender, food processor, or immersion blender. If you don’t have a way to blend the sauce then I guess you could use onion and garlic powder.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
Preparation: heat the milk, cream, coconut milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar. Whisk egg yolks. Slowly add the heated milk mixture to the egg yolks, beating constantly. Put mixture back into the pot over medium-low heat and add sugar. Cook until it coats the back of a spoon. Add extract. Chill in ice bath and run it through the magical ice cream machine.
Note: this is not a sweet ice cream so feel free to increase the sugar.
pineapple, cut into chunks
Preparation: coat pineapple in brown sugar. Skewer and grill. Serve with ice cream.