Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I went swimming with my mom on Sunday morning. (Well, technically it wasn't exactly swimming, but I did submerge myself in the Pacific and loll around in the waves for a while.) This may seem like a perfectly normal thing to do if one imagines the Hollywood version of California, all sunshine and palm trees. But the Bay Area doesn't meet this tropical vision. Ours is the land of fog, chilly summers and icy waters. Too much of a wuss about the cold, I (until Sunday) had never dipped more than a toe into the water in the 35 years I've lived in Northern California. Paul, on the other hand, surfs regularly. And our kids - Lilah a self proclaimed penguin and Otis who never seems to get cold - have swum many times, but not I.  I've happily stayed on shore, usually bundled in sweaters and scarves, watching everyone frolic in the surf. Even swathed in a wetsuit the waters are seriously chilly, but this time, I was determined to try something new. I have to say, it felt invigorating and life affirming to move beyond my comfort zone even in this tiny way.

A dip into unknown waters seems an apropos metaphor for my life at the moment. Since sending my book into the world last month, I feel as though I'm taking the plunge on a daily basis. I'm connecting with new people every day... Hosting a big party for my community. Teaching classes. Giving talks. Sitting on panels. Doing book signings. Giving interviews. It's all new for me. Despite my introverted leanings, I'm trying to approach this adventure with an open mind and heart and so far I've been blown away by the warmth and generosity I've encountered. When someone meets me with a smile and shares a story about their own love of cooking or even how my book might be bringing a little extra joy to their kitchens, I'm blown away and filled with gratitude.

As I pondered what recipe to share today, at first I imagined something elaborate and celebratory, but after I took a few quiet moments to breathe and reflect on what my body is craving these days, I realized that once again I'm inspired by the simple goodness that the season has to offer. Our backyard fig tree is bursting with huge juicy fruit and I thought I would let nature's exuberance mark this occasion by letting the figs shine in their own delicious way. Today's recipe isn't really a recipe at all, but an acknowledgment that if we take a moment to a look around and appreciate the magic that nature has to offer, we'll be met with great reward.

INGREDIENTS per serving
  • 2-4 fresh ripe figs, sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • a handful of salted, roasted Marcona almonds
  • a drizzling of honey

You can serve juicy figs with creamy Greek yogurt, honey and salty crunchy Marcona almonds - these delicious companions - for breakfast of course, but this dish also makes a wonderful afternoon pick-me-up or a not-too-sweet dessert. The layers of texture and flavor are heavenly!

It seems as though I'm not the only fig-lover out there.... Here are some other delicious fig recipes from around the web:

Phyllis's Fig and Blue Cheese Tart
Cheryl's Fig Leaf Ice Cream
Laura's Dark Chocolate Fig Cinnamon Buns
Stacy's The Wonder of the Fig
Sarah's No churn Fig + Coffee Ice Cream
Kathryn's Fig and Almond Torte
Elizabeth's Fig and Cantaloupe Salad
Kasey's Yogurt, Mascarpone and Fig Tartlets 
Carolyn's Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes with Figs

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


What a week! Paul and the kids are heading back to school - and my boy Otis is starting high school today. Summer vacation has come abruptly to an end, and my book was released into the world last Tuesday! I've been excited and nervous, scared and giddy all at the same time. 

You, yes you, have helped welcome this book by greeting it with open kitchens and hungry bellies. I have gotten some of the sweetest notes from friends and even strangers, saying that you are already busy cooking my recipes, sharing them with your families. I'm moved beyond words. 

Some of you have shared the book on your own blogs and websites and I'm grateful for the amazing outpouring of support and generosity!

***If you are also cooking from the book already, I'd love to hear about any recipe you've tried!***

Vanilla Bean Blog: Creme Fraiche Caramel Sauce  
5 Second Rule: Hanger Steak with Gremolata
London Bakes: Simple Almond Torte
Turntable Kitchen: Sunshine Soup
Edible East Bay: Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes 
Bay Area Bites: Candied Tomatoes
Ashley Neese: Inspired Living 
Design Sponge Home Tour + Ruby Red Grapefruit Fizz
Rodale News
My Darling Lemon Thyme: Simple Almond Torte
Sweet Sugar Bean: French Toast Sandwiches
Poires Au Chocolat: Golden Millet Crepes 
A Cup of Jo: Breakfast Salad 
365 Cookbooks: Ruby Red Grapefruit Fizz 
The First Mess: Bali Garden Stew 
Mom's Kitchen Handbook: Polenta Fries
Food Gal: Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes 
The Little Green Wheelbarrow: Sunshine Soup 
SF Chronicle
Rue Daily 
The Oregonian
Lonny: Red Rice Risotto + Pluot Parfaits + cucumber gimlets
Cookie + Kate: Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Brooklyn Supper: Wild Salmon with Dill Butter + Fennel
A Cozy Kitchen: Honeydew Granita

The Kitchn 
Maria Rodale's Farm Country Kitchen
The Style Saloniste
Eat Your Books 
SF Weekly 
London Bakes via Steller Stories: Simple Almond Torte
The Food Network's Healthy Eats Blog: Quinoa Tabbouleh
The Little Loaf 
Huffington Post
Handmade Charlotte: French Toast Sandwiches 
Organic Gardening
My Little Expat Kitchen: Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
She Eats: Wild Salmon With Dill Butter
Delicious Shots: Ruby Red Grapfruit Fizz
The Little Things: Peach + Rosewater Lassi
Good on Paper: Best Granola Ever
Red Tricycle: Juicy Burgers with Gruyere, Avocado & Pickled Onions
Lisa is Cooking: Prawns on Lemongrass Skewers + Pip's Yellow Rice
Authentic Suburban Gourmet: Toasty Pecans 
Two Tarts: Peach + Rosewater Lassi 
Celiac Foundation of Northern California 
Cari Borja
Something Lovely
{510} Families
Fitbie Fresh Picks: Tomatoes
SBS: Kitchen Pharmacy

To mark this big occasion, I wanted to share an easy summery recipe from the book with you. With tomato season in full, juicy swing, I thought you might enjoy this one. xoxoxo


Juicy hot cherry tomatoes pop in your mouth. There’s just a hint of basil for sweetness. When both mingle with creamy baked eggs, it’s an amazing combination of texture and flavor that makes for very happy tastebuds. 
These baked eggs are a hearty meal—even one egg, with its tomato companions, is surprisingly filling. You can easily increase or decrease the recipe depending on how many people you want to serve: Think 1 egg to 3/4 cup tomatoes, and you’re good to go. 

Of course, you can serve these eggs for breakfast or brunch, but I’d eat them for dinner any day. 

I highly recommend serving the eggs with a side of big buttery Croutons or Polenta Fries (both recipes are in the book) to soak up all the juicy goodness. 

  • 3 cups sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Scatter the tomato halves into a medium ceramic baking dish or cast-iron
skillet. Bake the tomatoes in the hot oven for 12 minutes, then take the dish out. (If a lot of liquid has cooked out of the tomatoes, carefully pour off a little liquid now.) Top the tomatoes with the Parmesan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons basil and the salt and pepper. Then crack the eggs gently onto the bed of hot tomatoes. You want to keep the yolks intact, but don’t worry when the egg whites spill down around the sides of the tomatoes. 

Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll know you’re done when the egg whites have set but the yolks are still soft. Sprinkle the cooked eggs with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon basil. 

Serve right away in shallow bowls. 

serves 4 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


FRENCH TOAST SANDWICHES with Peaches and Mozzarella
recipe and photo excerpted from Yummy Supper: 100 fresh, luscious & honest recipes from a {gluten-free} omnivore 

Sandwiched between two slices of French toast, peaches get juicy and sweet in the hot oven, and are oh so good with warm, melty mozzarella. Add a drizzle of maple syrup . . . yum! 

While I am partial to the peach and mozz combination, you can make these sandwiches with all sorts of other fillings—baking French toast is an easy way to feed a crowd for breakfast or brunch. In the winter, try sliced pears with mozzarella or even Parmesan. You can also stuff your French toast sandwiches with jam and cream cheese any time of year. 

  • 2 eggs
  • 12 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more, warm, for serving
  • 12 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • 8 slices sandwich bread {GF folks: I particularly like Canyon Bakehouse 7 Grain Bread here}
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3–4 ounces fresh buffalo or cow’s milk mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 peach, pitted and sliced into 16 thin wedges 
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously coat a large baking sheet with butter. In a wide shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.

Submerge each slice of bread in the eggy batter for 30 seconds or so. You want to coat the bread but not let it get soggy. Place all 8 slices of battered bread onto your greased baking sheet. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes. 
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip all the slices of bread. Tuck a nub (teaspoon or so) of butter under each slice of toast before returning the baking sheet to the oven. Top half of the bread slices with a layer of mozzarella and four peach wedges. Continue to bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the toast is golden brown and the mozzarella is nice and melty. 

Assemble the sandwiches and generously drizzle warm maple syrup over the top. Serve right away. 

This fall, I'll be roaming the West Coast, and taking a trip to NYC, to talk about food with all of you and to share this book I love. Mark your calendars and please come say hello... I'd be thrilled to see you!  
*Big Launch Party ~ Book Signing and Popsicles in the Edible Schoolyard Garden ~ Berkeley
Omnivore Books will be selling copies of the book.
Open to the Public. Kids are welcome. Bring a friend. The more the merrier!
September 7th, 2-4 @ The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, 1781 Rose Street 

*Book Signing and Conversation ~ Corte Madera
With Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food and Vibrant Food
September 14th, 4pm, Book Passage, Corte Madera 

*Book Signing + Demo ~ Seattle

*Food Photography and Styling Workshop ~Portland
September 26th, 3-5, PDX Culinary Alliance. Portland. Sold out.

*Book Signing + Tasting ~Portland
September 27th, 10am-1:30 pm. Beaverton Farmers' Market, Portland

*Cooking Class ~ Portland
*Book Signing and Tasting ~ Portland
Powell's Books joins Pastaworks for a culinary book signing. 
September 28th, 3-5pm Pastaworks-Hawthorne, 3735 SE Hawthorne, Portland

*Book Signing + Tasting ~ New York City
October 8, 11-1. Union Square Greenmarket

*Yummy Supper Cooking Class to Benefit the Edible Schoolyard Project  ~Berkeley
Pair up with one of your favorite kids (your own, a grandchild, niece/nephew, or young buddy) and let's cook and eat a few of my favorite recipes in the amazing ESY Kitchen! 
All proceeds benefit The Edible Schoolyard Project. Space limited to 30 participants.
October 11th, 10:30-1:30 @ The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. Purchase Tickets here. 

*Panel Discussion ~San Francisco  
Contemporary Food Writing and the Future of Culinary Publishing
@ The California Book Club's Symposium, "A Feast for the Eyes: Gastronomy & Fine Print"
October 24th, 2:30, San Francisco. Tickets and info available here.

*Book Signing + Tasting ~ San Francisco
Come to the Ferry Building for the Harvest Festival - I'll be signing books at Stonehouse Olive Oil!
October 25th, 11-1, Stonehouse Olive Oil, San Francisco Ferry Building 

*Book Signing + BBQ Sauce Demo at Oaktown Spice Shop ~ Oakland
October 29th, 5-7, 530 Grand Ave, Oakland.

*Book Signing ~ Los Angeles

*Book Signing + Tasting ~ Sebastopol, California
November 15th, 7pm Copperfield's Books, Sepastopol. 138 North Main, Sebastopol

*Book Signing + Tasting ~ Albany, California
November 22nd, Flowerland, 1330 Solano Ave, Albany 

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