Life. 365-Style. (7/2-7/29)

Man, ya’ll. We had a *heat wave* this month! And in SF, that means it hits 80 a few times. It was magnificent, and so odd for summertime.

Oh, and since it’s well into the second half of 2013, I thought I’d take this chance to update my progress in my “goals” from the first post of 2013:

  1. Run 500 miles this year. That’s roughly 10/week, so as of today I should be at 300 miles. Here’s reality: 309.33. BOOM.
  2. Finish the Stairway Walks: we’ve walked 20/29. I’m betting it won’t be a problem to get those last 9 finished this year. BOOM again.
  3. Take a picture every day: this is the hardest of them all, honestly. I won’t be doing this in 2014, but so far, I’ve managed to pull something out every day. BOOM BOOM BOOM.
  4. Go somewhere awesome: this was the easiest. Peru was awesome. Other small trips were awesome. And in late August, we’re heading to Chicago, which is awesome again. Quadruple BOOM.

And now, the pictures:

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183 – one of our commuter systems, BART, went on strike recently. the gates were shut to get through to the BART side and a whole bunch of folk were p-o’d.

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184 – gotta love an impromptu happy hour with coworkers! it was much more fun than running ;).

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185 – we found a perfect spot to watch SF’s fireworks from Bernal Heights. it was so clear that night it was insane. the fog has usually taken over that part of town by then!

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186 – Chris made me watch Sinister. it was uber creepy. and Ethan Hawke looked funny in a man-sweater.

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187 – Chris, Judy, Jared and I headed out really early to Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport. we rummaged through the strawberry fields. well, some of us stared off into the open air…

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188 – my loot! i ended up making jam (strawberry-lime and strawberry-balsamic), strawberry-buttermilk sherbet, and then we ate a lot of them too.

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189 – I hope he wore these kicks last week! he was in the front car of the Caltrain watching the track. super cute.

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190 – afternoon sun.

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191 – i want to make this dish. it’s called a “veggie ceviche”.

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192 – Frannie’s delicious cocktail stories made me wanna try a recipe i found. this is st. germain, tequila, lemon, and thyme simple syrup. it wasn’t bad. not at all.

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193 – I had a Friday off (crazy!) and went back for my favorite breakfast at Craftman & Wolves (the toasted chocolate bread). then i went and sweated it off at yoga.

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194 – this cat gets herself into the damndest places. she keeps thinking she’s gonna jump on top of the hutch. i don’t think she knows my wrath yet.

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195 – we did a stairway walk out in St Francis Wood, a ritsy neighborhood. that house is for 1 family! in our neighborhood, that would be 12 units. ha!

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196 – i looked outside this morning and this bird was staring in. totes eerie.

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197 – Chris was in Austin for a few days, so I wandered down to Philz after work for some qualitee people-watching. never disappointed.

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198 – pineapple close-up!

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199 – blue house, blue sky. but much chillier than it looks!

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200 – grilled chicken on a Friday night indoors. i think i fell asleep at 10 PM. i know how to live!

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201 – we actually went out to Speakeasy Brewery this afternoon, but happened upon a wine tasting when we decided to stop by Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous for ice cream. talk about a perfect day!

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202 – We spent the day being So. Classy. by first going to a free concert from the SF Symphony in Dolores Park, then dinner at my chef crush, Michael Chiarello’s, new restuarant, Coqueta. We ate a bunch of small plates and, while we didn’t plan to on a “school night”, we ended up with a couple of cocktails apiece. This is the “Revolution”, my favorite drink of the night. Food-wise, I could eat a whole plate of the “tattas bravas”, and the duck meatballs weren’t bad at all. Chris could have easily filled up on the cheese plates, his favorite food group.

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203 – Steven’s Creek Trail in Mountain View. a nice break from my typical Mission or Stanford campus runs.

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204 – I had leftover frozen “mornay” (cheese sauce) from a mac n’ cheese dish I made a while back. I wasn’t sure how the frozen cheese sauce would be once thawed, but as it turns out, it’s just dandy. I also mixed in a couple of frozen cubes of pesto sauce. Not bad for a last-minute dinner ;).

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205 – another day of construction in the building of a new hospital.

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206 – An impromptu dinner/beer night at Pi Bar just *had* to end with a stop across the street for a cookie. Right?

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207 – Where’s Sasha? And how did she get there?

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208 – A night out in Berkeley at the Greek Theatre to see The Postal Service. The show itself wasn’t that great, really, but we still had a great time!

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209 – The weather was a little foggy this weekend (a true “summer” in SF, not this heat wave stuff!) and it was the perfect setting for a nice big bowl o’ ramen. One of our favorites, Halu, is closed on Sunday, so we went to an easy standby, Tanpopo, in Japantown. it hit the spot.

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210 – Even though I’ve lived in CA for 2 1/2 years now, the palm trees still make me smile :).

Battle Chorizo: Liquid Courage

When it comes to pork, I don’t discriminate. Give me bacon, give me Boston Butt, or give me a rack of ribs – I will eat it all, and be as happy as a clam at high tide. Better yet, give me chorizo, and I become weak in the knees.

What’s not to love about pork sausage turbo-charged with smoked paprika and dried chile peppers? And what’s not to love about eating 14 dishes in a row that all use the Mexican counterpart in unique ways?  It would only be appropriate for the first Iron Chef battle sans vegetarian, Hope, to have a meaty secret ingredient, right?! And sure, I’d choose Hope any day over a meat-containing Iron Chef theme, but at the end of the day, I knew that was a choice I didn’t have – so when I saw chorizo on my email I smiled. I smiled big.

I used the rest of my smuggled Spanish chorizo a while back, and believe you me, it’s hard to find similar quality Spanish chorizo outside of, well, Spain. But Mexican chorizo is a whole other ballgame. There are gazillions of Mexican markets around Chicago, and they all have their house-made chorizo, and they are all scrumptious. This battle was for the Mexican version only, so I was in luck.

That being said, you could definitely make your own Mexican chorizo, which isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I have a hard time justifying that act though, with a tienda de Mexicana right around the corner.

All in all, Battle Chorizo was chock full of both chorizo and fun. I thought I’d get some originality points by bringing a dessert to the table, but I should know by now, 13 battles in, that I’m not the only one who brings it. Either way, the food was consistently good, and this time picking a favorite didn’t come as easily to me as it has in past battles.

But in the end, what stood out most was a dish that typically doesn’t fare too well in Iron Chef land: a beverage. Brook went balls to the wall and infused tequila with chorizo, making a super spicy, subtly meaty, perfectly-mixed meat-garita. It may not sound good, and maybe everybody didn’t adore it, but I sure did.

The Top Three (all pictured individually, above):

1. Brook’s Meatgaritas (gluten/dairy-free)
2. My Maple Panna Cotta with Candied Chorizo Caramel (gluten/dairy-free)
3. Katherine’s Chocolate-Chorizo Crostini (dairy-free)

Of course, in the midst of Brook’s (all too narrow) win over my maple-chorizo dessert, we all found even more liquid courage and busted a few moves with Brook & Katherine’s new toy, the Kinect. I could quickly abandon the gym in exchange for the dance game, that’s for sure. Wait.. does not going in three months already count as abandoning?! What with battles like this past one, it might be time to reconsider..

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For links to the first 12 battles, visit the newly created Iron Chef page!

Meatgaritas (aka Chorizo-infused margaritas)

the instructions below can be used for various infusions. if your flavor of choice isn’t fatty, the freezer part isn’t really needed, and you can instead infuse in the fridge for as long as you want. infused liquors keep indefinitely.

printable version

ingredients
1 lb bacon
1 lb Mexican chorizo
bottle of tequila
chorizo spices (garlic powder, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, guajillo chiles)
lime juice
triple sec
kosher salt, for rimming
fire salt, for rimming

instructions
Cook a bacon and chorizo in saucepan. Add both and tequila to large airtight glass container; let sit in the freezer for 24 hours or longer (the longer, the better). Remove from the freezer, and remove layer of fat from the tequila. Strain and return to container, without meat.

Steep various chorizo-spices in infused tequila for 1 hour; strain. Mix tequila with lime juice and triple sec to desired flavor. Combine salts and rim glasses, moistened with lime juice.

*dishes from above picture, from top left to bottom right: Jon’s chorizo-stuffed pork tenderloin, Katherine’s black bean chorizo chili, Terri’s chorizo bread stuffing, Michelle’s chorizo cupcakes, Terri’s chorizo mincemeat cups, Chris’ chorizo and clam stew, Becca’s chorizo sliders, Jennifer’s chorizo-stuffed mushrooms, Kaitlyn’s chorizo macaroni and cheese.