Life. 365-Style (5/28-7/1)

I’m gonna go out there and say that this set of pictures is pretty boring compared to the last post. But really, what beats the Inca Trail? As it turns out, not much. But life back home in SF isn’t bad, either. The weather has been AMAZING, which means it’s been out of the 60s in the city. Last week, we hit the high 80s. How crazy is that?! Down south in Palo Alto? That’s another story – it sometimes feels like the seventh layer of hell there. In a totally good way, of course ;).

But enough of that. Here’s the pics.

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148 – never mind the cat on the mantle – we brought back a bottle of PISCO! But really, how did she get there?

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149 – a kale Caesar salad, and you’ll never guess the secret ingredient in the good-for-you dressing. Ok, I’ll tell you – silken TOFU. So damn tasty.

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150 – whhhooooooo are youuuu looking at?

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151 – peach season is upon us!

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152 – taking advantage of a gorgeous day and wandering around Lands’ End with Brook, Katherine, and Graham (visiting from Chicago!)

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153 – where’d Chris get that cute baby from? Meet Graham, Brook/Katherine’s bundle o’ fun.

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154 – Happy 7th (!) anniversary to us! We loaded up on sushi from ICHI in Bernal Heights.

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155 – do I have to tell you?

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156 – why has it taken me 33 years to discover the awesomeness of a Pisco sour? and why do they go down so easily? hoo boy.

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157 – still in love with my bike.

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158 – meet Orson T Cumberbatch III !! This is Judy’s new doggy and he is killer cool. And so dang rotten.

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159 – A Saturday full o’ beer, and a bus full of Apple folk. We stopped at Lagunitas (pictured), Russian River, and Bear Republic.

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160 – fried chicken eggs benedict (what?) at Brenda’s. holy heaviness.

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161 – this is how I spend my commutes these days. I’m on Season 5 now. Also, I LOVE Jerry’s sneakers.

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162 – I’ve been looking forward to breakfast at The Mill on a rando day off. I finally made it there after a nice foggy run in Golden Gate Park and a drive by our old place. That Josey Baker knows how to bake, that’s fo sho.

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163 – just another commute. i love how the sunshine makes my arm look ultra hairy.

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164 – afternoon shade in the living room, and balls on the wall.

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165 – a well-spent Friday night at El Techo de Lolinda with Liz & Kevin. Not a bad view, eh?

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166 – Chris and I were sans plans on a Saturday night, so we up and decided to walk down the street for ramen at Ken Ken. It was a brilliant move.

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167 – this was our appetizer almost every night of my childhood: garden-fresh cucumbers soaked in apple cider vinegar and cracked pepper +/- fresh tomatoes.

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168 – the damn cat is cheating on me! but that’s ok, I always think it’s super sweet when she shares her love with people other than myself, even if it is infrequent.

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169 – I made a pie version of the popular Indian samosa and I almost forgot to photograph the goodness. whoops. and yes, I used my regular recipe for pie crust, but with a mixture of 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white spelt flour.

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170 – I’d love to find out who did this to their bike. I’d punch them.

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171 – the other cooking thing I did recently is make 2 batches of pizza dough, which is enough for 4 4-serving pizzas. You freeze them individually and thaw overnight when you want to make pizza. this came in handy when the in-laws were in town. this is a hella tasty one: bacon, brussels sprouts, red onions.

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172 – just seemed like a cool array of oranges and greys, one of my new favorite color combos.

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173 – we made an attempt to go hiking in Point Reyes with Susan & Barry, but instead we ended up teaming up to change a leaky tire on the Mini. It seems that hiking and flat tires go hand in hand with us these days (see this post)! we made the best of it, and the pic above is of the signs on the crazy bathroom at the gas station. oh, small towns.

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174 – why, yes. this is a miniature “castle”. outside of a soccer field in the Presidio.

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175 – no words.

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176 – didn’t know this was a shaky pic, but nonetheless, i was watching Iron Chefs battle Iron Chefs. Of course, I was going for Michael Symon, and of course, he won it all. duh.

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177 – Tange has been taking prednisolone for almost a year now, but now we have to also start giving her thyroid meds twice a day. she is definitely getting tired of these pill pockets, so it’s time to break out the tuna! too bad you can’t shove pills into pieces of bacon…

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178 – do you see the kitty in the window?

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179 – another pizza night. this time using fresh kale, black beans, more bacon, and feta cheese.

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180 – Pride weekend in the Castro. this guy was marrying people for 5 cents!

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181 – spending Sunday on Lake Anderson is a good way to end the weekend, even if I do suck at wakeboarding.

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182 – impromptu sandwich dinner: turkey, cheddar, and arugula with pickled red onion. i even tossed some miso butter on the grill pan to season the bread. CARB LOVE.

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magic mushrooms

I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of the mushroom family. I searched through my recipe archives, and not one dish on here highlights mushroom as the chief ingredient. Not one. Unless you count the sloppy Joes from last year, and I still vote that those are more “beefy” than they are “mushroomy”. Also, I still vote that the cans of Manwich are f-ing awesome. Judge not.

So we’re back to this – a first, of sorts – a sandwich with a key ingredient – a big ol’ fatty chunk of a portobello mushroom. Watch out, people.

I’d like to also add though, that the pesto is certainly something to “shake a stick at”, too. Chris and I spent a good part of a recent Saturday morning cooking together for our second bout of our Turntable Kitchen subscription (the first included an excellent cioppino, if you missed the post). We rocked out to some lovely tunes (including Biggie Smalls! yes! and also some lesser knowns that I’m sure will lead to album purchases) and got our bags packed for one of our very favorite picnics yet.

If you’re in the Bay area when the sky is clear (which is most certainly a crap shoot in the summer, for sure), head over to Lands’ End, essentially the furthest you can go northwest in SF without falling into the ocean. Don’t steal our picnic spot, which is top secret, because it’s so awesome and we’ll go there as much as possible, but search carefully for lovely patches of land to plop down onto. You might have to do a little shimmie down some dirt to get to the spot, but I promise you it’ll be worth it.

If you aren’t in the Bay area, just go have a picnic somewhere else for cryin’ out loud. Picnics are fun almost anywhere, except maybe a swamp, or during high-tide, or a heavy sandstorm in the desert, but you know what I mean, right? Pack a hearty lunch and some snacks, too. You’ll want to stay a while. Also, pack some sunscreen, because I forgot and almost couldn’t focus on my Temper Trap concert later that night as a result of severe burning of the insides of my legs. Especially the right one.

I pulled through and enjoyed it, in case you were wondering…

Even if you’re a meat-eater, make sure this exact sandwich is packed – you won’t regret it. And toss in a small grain salad with some quinoa, farro, or even just peaches and lettuce. A soda? Or just some nice, cold rosé (we opted for both). If you have any treats stowed away in the freezer, this is a perfect time to take that out at the last minute, throwing it on top of all your other goodies because it was the best last-minute idea ever (in my case, it was a slice of that awesome Earl Grey cake).

At the end of the day, you’ll have a hard time figuring out your favorite part of the meal, because it’s all just ten times better, and so magical, when you’re eating it outside. And atop it all, the best part of that is the company (well…. maybe the view…if it was as awesome as ours!).

Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches
adapted from Turntable Kitchen; makes 4

time commitment: 30 minutes

printable version

ingredients
pesto
1 c arugula
10-12 fresh mint leaves
1/2 c walnuts
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 c grated Manchego cheese
1/3 c olive oil
fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

sandwiches
2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
olive oil
arugula for putting on sandwiches, optional
1 fresh loaf of ciabatta bread

instructions
make the pesto. combine arugula through cheese in a food processor. add some of the olive oil and process until smooth, adding more olive oil by the tablespoon if needed. add a squeeze of lemon juice, then adjust taste with salt and pepper as needed. process one last time until smooth.

oil and preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. salt and pepper the mushrooms and brush lightly with oil. grill whole for about 5 minutes on each side, until tender. meanwhile, cut ciabatta loaf in half to create the top and bottom sandwich pieces. I like to scoop out some of the bread (which you can grind up and use for bread crumbs) so the sandwich isn’t so ‘bread’) slather pesto sauce onto the bottom of the bread (using almost all of the loaf, but save some for another use if you have a large loaf. you just want enough for the two mushrooms to cover, which will result in good-sized sandwiches but not ginormous.) and then add arugula, if using. put mushrooms atop arugula and then close the loaf and cut into 4 equal sized sandwiches.