Fall is officially here (honestly, hooray!) and just this year, we’ve started a new family tradition: apple picking! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of my favorite season – plus, it’s so fun to see my toddler pluck ripe apples from trees, all while grinning from ear to ear and attempting to take just a single bite out of each one. So with 15 pounds of honeycrisps, and enough apples in our bellies to keep the doctor away for years, how can one not make the obligatory apple pie? Since I’m not a huge fan of your standard fruit pie, with it’s far too sweet and mushy filling, I thought I’d challenge the norm with this open face apple pie. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s delicious. The way the fruit is arranged allows it to bake and caramelize evenly, maintaining the integrity of the apple. I won’t have apple pie any other way. And there you have it friends, another family tradition created.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I’ve been so busy lately that I feel like I’ve hardly taken the time to appreciate this beautiful California weather. Last weekend, after practically spending the whole day in the car, I stopped by Erica’s for a moment to unwind. Before long, we’d thrown together some tasty snacks and made our way out back (have I mentioned that Erica has the best backyard?!). Of course, I never come empty handed. With the little ones preoccupying each other inside, I busted out the Aperol, prosecco, and sparkling water. That’s right, it was time for a Spritz Break. It’s funny how a simple backyard gathering, however fleeting, is exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. Mission #SpritzBreak accomplished!!
Roasted chickpeas are one of my favorite snacks. I drain them and coat them in oil and spices and roast them in the oven until they’re crunchy and dry on the outside. I normally will just eat them as a side or snack, but it dawned on me that they’d make a perfect topping for a falafel inspired salad. Falafels are fried patties made of ground garbanzo beans, herbs and spices and instead of grounding and compacting all that flavor into one, I’ve combined the ingredients that make up a falafel into a salad. I’ve used kale as the base since I like the heartiness of it with the creamy tahini dressing, but you could of course, use any green you’d like. I just love this salad, it’s so hearty, but has a lightness to it from all the fresh herbs and cucumbers, a perfect salad for the season’s transition into fall!
Today’s post isn’t so much a recipe as it is a technique for cooking pizza that, in my opinion, gets you the closest thing to a wood-fired oven pizza but without the wood-fired oven. I’m in the process of a house remodel right now and my dream has always been to get a wood-fired oven. But, the reality of our budget has settled in long ago and, of course, out went that outdoor pizza oven. Having made many pizzas before, I can tell you that you’ll never get that crisp and slightly blistered pizza crust in an oven. The oven temperature just doesn’t get hot enough. Invest in a pizza stone (they’re pretty cheap, about $30-$50, and you’ll find other uses for it) and take your pizza out to the grill. The key is to wait (longer than you think) for your grill to get as hot as it possibly can. The pizza only needs about 5 minutes to get crispy bubbly hot!
With a third of the YUM team down in LA, it’s a rarity to get the three of us together. So when Karen decided to come up to the Bay Area a couple of weekends ago, we immediately made plans to . . . do what else but eat and drink! With the weather so wonderfully glorious these days, as we close out summer, it made perfect sense to host an outdoor backyard brunch. Flakey pastries, soft scrambled eggs, yogurt parfaits, French cheeses, fluffy ricotta pancakes, classic St-Germain cocktails and a group of our favorite friends a family . . . the perfect recipe for living the daylife!
Thursdays are officially the worst!! You see, we just started daycare for Fiona on Thursdays and frankly, I don’t think I can handle it. Don’t get me wrong, the daycare is great and she gets along well with all the other children. And yet, watching her stare up at me from the floor with a confused look on her face, tears welling in her eyes as I reluctantly back my way out the door is, well, like I said – the WORST! She’s our first child and I get that it’s important for her to social with her peers – you know, someone besides the dog. Even so, I can’t help but feel guilty dropping her off each Thursday morning as I explain, “Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll be back in a few hours. I just have to go photograph some caipirinhas.” Or yesterday, “Sorry baby, I have an important business meeting at the bar. Mommy will be here soon, I promise!” Not more than an hour later I was drowning my guilt “giraffe-deep” in a chartreuse swizzle at Longitude in Oakland. Bah, enough complaining! After all, it’s Friday. Here’s to a weekend full of good food (links below) good drinks, and most importantly, family. Oh, and football. Don’t forget football!!