We’re taking a little end of summer break and will be back with more yumminess in September. In the meantime, here are just a few highlights from our “A Little Yumminess Around the World” summer camps. We had a blast cooking and tasting world cuisines from every corner of the globe.
A big thanks to all the young chefs who came along to cook with us — we love your creativity, joy and curiosity! Much gratitude also goes to our wonderful pals at Bernal Cutlery and CUESA for sharing your knowledge and skills with our campers…. and a big thanks to See Saw in Hayes Valley for providing a bright and lovely venue for our classes.
– XOXX Stacie & Simran
Summer break is here and we have many, many food adventures to go on. During the school year, we are unable to check out as many new food joints as we would like to, so the grand plan is to make up our “food adventure” deficit over the summer.
We kicked things off right by a visit to Suite Foods Waffle Shop on Cortland Avenue located on the very adorable Bernal Hill main retail area. It’s hard to go wrong with a sweet treat coupled with a little tour to Belgium. According to Inside Scoop SF, Suite Foods has been selling its Liege-style waffles in stores like Whole Foods, as well as at cafes, such as at pop-ups at Contraband Coffee in Nob Hill. This is their first (mini) store-front. I was unaware that Belgian style waffles are made more of a yeasted dough versus the American style batter that many of us are more familiar with. The dough is full of pearl sugar pieces that melt under the heat of the waffle machine and create a caramelized outside – which Belgian waffles are famous for. There is also no need for syrup, as the waffle is sweet enough on its own.
You can also order your waffle with a poached egg, whipping cream or frozen custard. We got ours plain this time though I am sure the option with frozen custard is ridiculously good. Next time!
Suite Foods is one of the five shops located in the mini marketplace that is 331 Cortland and they took over the spot from Bernal Cutlery (love them!) after they graduated to a bigger space. 331 Cortland has been the starting place for many a well-known San Francisco food and food related businesses. We cannot wait to go back and try the treats from Ethiopia and Russia.
This is the time of year when we do less “cooking” and more “not screwing up beautiful ingredients”. My mind is starting to wander towards little composed salads, whatever looks good piled onto crusty grilled crostini and golden fruit galettes. We heeded the call of the farmers’ market this weekend and nabbed our first juicy tomatoes of the season, deep red pluots, the last cherries (short season — we even missed our U-Pick tradition), and lots and lots of apricots. My kids go especially nuts for apricots and the good ones can be hard to find — so many of them can be mealy, bruised, or flavorless. I feel like when you come across truly great apricots you should always buy twice the amount that you think you should and throw in a little happy dance to celebrate your good luck.
My Favorite Farmers’ Market Tip…..
After years of buying gorgeous (and sometimes expensive, but worth it) summer fruit at the farmers’ market only to come home to find it squashed and bruised from transport, now I always bring a flat cardboard box to transport delicate items. My favorite fruit box is one that came with a flat of peaches I bought at Trader Joe’s. This one has been saved from the recycling bin numerous times, but it keeps on ticking. (Perhaps we should give it a facelift inspired by Ria’s Fruit Box). What’s great about it is that it’s super sturdy, has a plastic insert which cups each fruit, a loosely fitting plastic cover, and high enough sides that allow you to stack another box on top. In this box, your fruit will travel in the lap of luxury and will arrive home as beautiful as when you bought it. While this is perhaps the Mercedes of recycled fruit boxes, any shallow, study box will do and be sure to tuck in some scrunched up paper towels to provide a little cushion for your fruit. Also in my farmers’ market essentials kit is a small paring knife (tucked into an edge guard which totally worth the couple dollar investment) and plenty of napkins. It’s impossible not to want to dig into a big juicy peach when you have one in hand and it’s so much nicer/easier/neater to share when you can hand out slices to your hungry fruit lovers.
We are trying to eat more fish and I am constantly on the lookout for simple and tasty fish recipes. This seared sesame salmon with bok choy has all the components of a dish we love for dinner – an international twist, healthy and fairly quick and easy to make. We enjoyed it with some brown rice and glass of white wine for the grown-ups. Use the best available salmon for this dish – it’s pricey but cheaper then eating out. 🙂 Reduce the portion size (3-4 oz enough per kid and 6 oz per adult) for the fish and load up on the veges.
A very yummy, everyday family dinner – you will want to try this one.
Seared Sesame Salmon with Bok Choy from Frame-by-Frame Quick and Easy
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 4 skinless salmon fillets (4-6 oz each)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- lime wedges to serve
- 2 small bok choy
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- salt and pepper
- Peel and finely grate the ginger, then combine with soy sauce and sesame oil in a shallow dish that us large enough to hold the salmon fillets in a single layer.
- Add the salmon fillets, turning to coat evenly on both sides
- Sprinkle one side of the salmon with half the sesame seeds, then turn and sprinkle the other side with the remaining sesame seeds
- Cut the bok choy lengthwise into quarters
- Cut the scallions into thick diagonal slices
- Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the salmon and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- In a wok, heat the sunflower and sesame oils and add the scallions and bok choy, and stor-fry for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the vegetables among warmed serving plates and put the salmon on top. Serve immediately with lime wedges for squeezing over.
We are sort of over our “fro-yo obsession”. The daily after school snack at Tutti Melon and other fro-yo establishments, is a thing of the past. Most frozen yoghurt feels like a healthy snack, but I am not quite sure it really is. It is laden with sugar, even though it is often “low-fat” for “fat-free” and creates the illusion of being good for you. Though, from time to time we do stop by at Fraiche for our fix of some great, real yoghurt.
Fraiche’s yoghurt is homemade, organic, and fresh. All of their European-style yogurts are made from scratch, in-house using local Clover organic milk and a special probiotic-focused culture. Those yoghurts are then turned into their amazing frozen yoghurt. It is pricier than than the run of the mill yoghurt shop, with far fewer flavors (think 4 at the most) and that excessive self-serve topping bar does not quite exist here (yay! no gummies/fruity pebbles on kiddo’s yoghurt!). Their toppings are “civilized” and appropriate yoghurt topping like fresh-cut fruits, local honeys and purees, toasted nuts, homemade granola, and hand-shaved Callebaut chocolate.
Our favorite: original/plain or mango with toasted almonds. Now that’s a good snack – “wholesome, delicious, and incredibly good for you”. 🙂
We’ve got Easter egg fever here at Casa Stacie!
We love trying cuisines from around the world at home and we recently got together for a very British dinner of “Bangers & Mash”. Bangers and mash is a traditional British dish which consists of sausages (bangers) and mashed potatoes (mash). The sausages are called “bangers” because after the First World war they consisted more of water than anything else (with some cereal with scraps of meat), so when they were added to the pan, there were often mini explosions, as the water heated up and exploded.