Kitchen Playdate: Raspberry Crumble Bars

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These days kitchen playdates and food adventures with our kids are harder and harder to schedule given the demands of school and after school activities.  Whenever we have a day off school, Stacie and I try to relive the days when the kids were with us a lot more and we would go explore all things food related.  In fact that was the genesis of this blog – the food adventures we shared with our kiddos.  We have come a long way since then, but whenever we can spend a day recreating those carefree (and delicious days), we do just that.

This past Monday, we spent the day exploring the Japanese Tea Garden on a San Francisco City Guides walking tour, and then eating some yummy Chinese food at San Tung, checking out multiple other shops and food spots in the Sunset and finally ending the day by making some delicious raspberry bars together.  A little ambitious perhaps, but we had a super fun day!

And these raspberry crumble bars are “idiot-proof”, which means even I can make them again without Stacie and the kids helping me.  Luca and Ria could probably have made them all by themselves.  Matteo, I have decided is my twin (though far more adorable) – he was just hanging around to get his fingers into to everything to get a taste!!

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Buckwheat Crepes (Galettes), Savory or Sweet

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We really love this buckwheat crepe (galette) recipe from the always excellent David Lebovitz — it’s a little less eggy and a bit more crisp and delicate than other crepe recipes we have tried and we love the deep color and the nuttiness from the buckwheat. I’ve made this recipe so, so many times over the years, but realized that I have never shared it here on the blog. Now is the perfect time, with that foggy chill in the air and major cravings for cozy foods like cheese and chocolate setting in. Crepe season is here! Continue reading

Breakfast Makeover: Spanish Tortilla

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We are big fans of Spanish food these days and tapas dinners are becoming more and more frequent at our homes.  We made this Spanish tortilla at one of summer camps and the kiddos loved making and eating it.  :)

This Spanish tortilla is a fantastic dish to make ahead (on the weekend, perhaps?) and have ready for breakfasts during the week.  It’s a simple dish in which the sum of it’s parts is far tastier than the individual components.  It is non-traditional to pre-boil the potatoes, but it makes the cooking process even easier.  Reheat in the morning and serve with some crusty bread rubbed with a tomato and garlic for a true taste of Spain.  I have also been known to stuff a wedge of this tortilla between two slices of bread and call it “school lunch”.

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Going Going Gone! Preserving the Last Bit of Summer with Classic Pesto Genovese

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Fall is in the air and basil is on its way out of our farmer’s markets in a blink of an eye, so now’s the time to make that last batch of pesto before it’s going, going, gone!

Most recipes you will find for pesto genovese are no more than a few sentences long. They basically boil down to “throw stuff in a blender and blitz away” (or a mortar and pestle if you want to be traditional) and toss with pasta. There’s also not much difference of opinion when it comes to the ingredients  — almost all agree on basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and parmegiano reggiano. While making an average pesto is a fairly simple thing to do, making a sublime pesto — one with perfectly balanced flavors, that keeps it’s amazing color and coats pasta just right — is like some kind of Jedi magic trick (if you’ve had the handkerchief pasta with pesto at Farina in San Francisco, you know what I’m talking about. Watch the video at the bottom of this post and be prepared to drool!)

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Upcoming Family Event: Barn Dance

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We attended 18 Reasons’ first Barn Dance a few years ago and had the best time ever – dancing and eating possibly the best burger we had ever eaten.  Our little one was asking for months to go back to a barn dance.  We did attend the fun but albeit over-crowded Pie Ranch Barn dance, but it was not quite as much fun as the 18 Reasons Barn Dance.

The afternoon will start with games and activities for adults and kids, including farm tours, lasso lessons, face painting, and a lively game of horseshoes.  Fatted Calf, Bi Rite, and Primavera Tamales have generously donated dinner, which will be served picnic style and accompanied by fresh lemonade, beer, and wine from Casey Flat Vineyards. Hang out on a hay bale and enjoy a beautiful late summer evening. Continue reading

Dinnertime Journaling: “I Would Totally Eat that for Breakfast”

We’ve been posting some breakfast makeover ideas this week in honor of the return of rushed school day mornings (here’s a link to the article we wrote for the San Jose Mercury News on this topic). As they kids get older, I realize more and more how important it is to start the day off with a nourishing meal and a full tummy (especially given the shrinking lunch periods at school).

With breakfast on our minds, we even found ourselves talking about it at the dinner table recently. We were eating Chinese jook which is a simple, thick rice soup that you dress up with lots of yummy condiments (I will post a recipe next time we make it).  The kids were intrigued and surprised when I told them that jook is actually considered a breakfast food across Asia since we always eat it for lunch or dinner. It’s not unlike a savory variation of oatmeal, but I guess jook is enough of a departure that the kids found the idea quite intriguing. Our conversation about jook got us thinking about other things we would like to eat for breakfast that are not on our typical morning menu of cereal, toast or eggs here in the US. Without hesitation they shouted out things like “quesadillas”, “fish”, “crackers”.

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We cracked up at this non alcoholic cat-nip infused wine for cats, so that of course made it into our journal as well.

Again and again my kids demonstrate that they’re often more creative thinkers than us adults when it comes to food (and this proves itself over and over again in our kids’ cooking classes too)… it also reminds me that I should remember to get their input more often!!

I’m curious to know how other kids and families would answer the question “what would you eat for breakfast?”

[My family has been doing this simple dinnertime journaling project for the last 3(!) years. Whenever we sit down at the table for dinner we pull out an index card and draw and write together. We capture a few highlights from the day, ideas, funny thoughts, or just some crazy drawings. It's been a lot of fun an]

Breakfast Makeover: Smoothie Collection

Everyone loves smoothies! They’re super quick to make when you keep basics on hand, and they’re wonderfully portable for when you’re in a rush to get out the door (we’re always in rush on school mornings). Lately we’ve been making a big batch for breakfast and refrigerating the leftovers for an after school snack. I’ve also started adding smoothies to the lunch box this year (cleaned up, recycled small Odwalla containers work perfectly). As school lunch periods get shorter and shorter (don’t get me started!), this seems to be something my kids can successfully eat (along with a few other tidbits) in the teensy amount of time allotted for lunch.

If you start searching around for smoothies on the internet you’ll find tons of info– recipes, special containers, little tips and tricks. So…. to the collective oeuvre of smoothies out there I add our list of favorites with an international twist.

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Mango lassis are by far the most requested smoothies in my house. We all love the creamy, sweet mango flavor, but that pinch of cardamom is what makes it special. For kids who insist they don’t like spices — this is a good place to start. Here’s our previous post with the recipe.

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