Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas 2011

Over winter break we meant to crank out a ton of blog posts.  Obviously, that's really been happening.
We're in Hawaii now bringing in the new year with family, but before we make our way too far into 2012, here's a short recap of our Christmas.

We had a small quiet Christmas in Vacaville this year. But even though our table wasn't full, our plates were loaded.
The lineup: Lamb, king crab, green salad, greek potatoes, persimmon pudding, and gingerbread men.

Persimmon Pudding (dessert first, right?)

This is a really simple recipe from an old tattered Sunset cookbook that our grandma gave to our Dad to take to college so he wouldn't starve.

Persimmon pudding
1 cup persimmon puree *we used 3 hachiyas
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg, beaten 
1/2 cup milk *we only had buttermilk, but this worked nicely
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup flour *we used whole wheat
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon *used 2 teaspoons just for funzies
dash of salt
1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 walnuts *or whatever nut ya feel like
Stir together the persimmon puree with one teaspoon of the baking soda. In a large bowl, combine egg, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and butter. Stir together flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon of baking soda in another bowl. Add this to the egg mixture, alternating with the persimmon. Blend well after each addition. Then mix in the nuts and raisins.
Pour batter into a greased/floured 8x8 inch square pan. Bake in a 350 F degree oven for about 55 minutes or until browned. Cut into squares and serve with lemon sauce (see recipe below).

Lemon Sauce
half stick butter
1 cup sugar *used a little less
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
pinch of nutmeg, optional
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix butter, sugar, and flour in saucepan, gradually adding boiling water. Add lemon peel and nutmeg and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve over persimmon pudding!

Greek Potatoes

This is a recipe our mom got from a family friend. The potatoes are roasted with a bunch of herbs, spices, and lemon so they're tangy and oh so good. I imagine they'd be extra yummy with a little feta or parmesan.
The card the recipe's on is a little worse for wear so I'm not going to try to copy it right now. Maybe we'll post it later.

We've both decided it's our favorite red meat. We had a lamb steak that a local butcher gave my mom as well as several racks (in total, not apiece). Since I don't eat a lot of meat during the school year, this meal was that much more enjoyable. 

Now we're in a much warmer climate, but the food has just been getting better and better. Fresh fish, coconut, bananas right off the tree...
We'll update you soon enough!
Till then, cheers to the new year!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Hello, it's Ryo, your beloved photographer and infrequent poster!

Sadly, this is the first post in a couple of months. Also, there aren't any amazingly delicious or beautiful pieces of culinary delight that I have to share with you this time.

The first part of the school year has been hectic for both of us, although my workload in junior year is microscopic compared to Sydney's workload in Berkeley, who has been getting an average of 4 hours of sleep per night.

I have had some time to take some pictures lately, so I'll pick out some of the good ones to share a little later. My Uncle Mark has given me an external flash for my camera, as well as a sweet 105mm Nikkor lens! Still super psyched about that.

We haven't had many amazing food excursions lately (none at least in the same ballpark as Chez Panisse), but we promise to upload any other awesome experiences, food-related or not.

I'll leave you with my first attempt at a time lapse, taken over the summer. (Be sure to watch in HD.)

This particular time lapse was taken over the course of about two and a half hours. It was quite difficult because of the change in light due to passing clouds, but I'm reasonably happy with the result. Next time, I'll use my new neutral density filters (make-it-darker filters) to create longer exposures on individual frames. This should help overall smoothness.

If you want to see absolutely stunning time lapses, check out TSO Photography on Vimeo. His work is the best I have ever seen, even if it makes my own work look like crap.
Have a good day and I hope to post again soon!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So long, summer break

and hello, summer veggies!

School started up again for me last week but before life gets too crazy I thought it would be nice to add something to this poor, neglected blog.

This weekend, a good friend and I had a picnic on campus.  She brought some delicious homemade miso soup and hijiki rice and I decided to throw together some vegetables I bought at the Saturday Berkeley farmers market and make a salad.  Everything was so refreshing and wholesome and it was really nice to start off the year with some quality, home-cooked food.  

Arugula Summer Salad
red onions
heirloom tomatoes
yellow and green summer squash
mozzarella cheese
simple dressing: olive oil and vinegar mixed with finely diced clove of garlic and some chopped basil

Just mix the above ingredients +/- any of your choosing and lightly dress.  It's so summery and delicious!

This weekend also marks the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse so I thought it was very fitting that we cooked our own meal and used some seasonal ingredients.  Then I found out that Cheeseboard was giving out free slices that same night.  Oh well...
By the way, we got to go to Chez Panisse twice this summer.  I think my life is complete.

For dessert I made a peach galette.  I used a recipe I found online for the dough (a Lindsey Shere recipe too!) and just added some sliced peaches, also from yesterday morning's farmers market.

Unfortunately, the oven started smoking halfway through and all of the smoke detectors in my apartment went off.  After running around, madly waving couch cushions beneath the screaming alarms, I called the landlord.  Hopefully we'll have a new oven by tomorrow.  As for the galettes, they just got to sit in the cooling oven for the next half hour.  They probably could have used some extra time, but they turned out all right.  

The recipe for the galette dough can be found HERE.
The original recipe makes one 10-inch galette but I turned it into 4 mini ones.  I'd really recommend the dough because it turns out nice and flaky just like a pastry.  I would not recommend that you bake it in a faulty oven.
On a couple of the galettes I added some diced basil, just to be weird.  I should have added more or omitted it entirely because it wasn't really an obvious flavor and looked a little weird.  But experimenting is fun and I'd definitely suggest you try making these with all sorts of different fruits.  A plum galette sounds pretty good.

Now it's time to start they year off right and actually get some work done!  Hope to post again before too long.