Monthly Archives: October 2010

pork sandwich at ‘wichcraft

pork sandwich at 'wichcraft

I wish I could have eaten this sandwich.

Danny and I wandered around downtown San Francisco with our daughter, basking in the sunlight. We were in town for the BlogHer Food conference, where I would be speaking. That afternoon, however, we were free to wander, without public appearances or anywhere in particular to be.

We met our good friend Aran and her baby daughter, M, on a sunny corner, just down the street from 'wichcraft. Danny and I both grew excited, as we had never eaten at one of Tom Colicchio's chain sandwich store. They make memorable sandwiches with great ingredients and inventive flavor combinations.

Aran and I were happy with salads. Neither one of us can eat gluten. Those are no short of interesting. However, Danny ate this sandwich.

Pork shoulder marinated in lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, soft and tender. Pickled red cabbage. Mustard. Mint. Chewy ciabatta.

There are a few moments where I miss gluten. Not being able to share this pork sandwich with Danny was one of them.

You should eat one for me.

'wichcraft

westfield centre

868 mission street @ 5th street

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a lovely surprise for lunch

prosciutto and melon

When you're gluten-free, you worry about every meal outside your home. Will there be anything for me to eat? Will it be free from cross-contamination? Will I eat only a salad again?

When Danny and I attended the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago (along with our toddler daughter), I was overjoyed to hear there would be an entirely gluten-free lunch provided by the staff of Luce Restaurant, at a separate table than the rest of the buffet. If someone understands, I'm excited.

But when I saw this table, with the platter of prosciutto and melon, I wanted to shout out a little hurrah! Instead, I took this photo. And then I grabbed some for my plate.

Prosciutto and canteloupe is always refreshing. It was hot that weekend in San Francisco. There were 300 people packed into that conference area. That place was hot.

Cool melon and thin slices of prosciutto together is a little like heaven. I was so happy to see them on my plate.

Of course, I didn't get much, in the end. Our daughter kept stealing slices of prosciutto. Along with avocado and blueberries, prosciutto is her absolute favorite food.

The kid has taste.

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sausage and chard soup

chard and sausage soup I

Chard and Sausage Soup with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

On our last day in San Francisco, a fellow writer friend welcomed us into her home for the night. After days of decadent food experiences, we were thrilled to find she had prepared a simple kale and sausage soup for us. Danny and I both found it nourishing and hearty.

When we returned home, we started cooking. Both of us wanted to create our own version of this soup. With its chickpeas and tomatoes, this has more depth than most soups, hearty like a stew. Using everything fresh makes it taste bright and alive. Whenever we return from another part of our book tour, we make this soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages, cut into ¾ inch slices
½ medium yellow onion, cut into small dices
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
4 leaves fresh sage, chiffonade
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
4 large leaves chard, stems removed, chiffonade

Set a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. Add the sausage slices to the hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is thoroughly browned. Put the sausage onto a paper-towel-covered plate. Keep the fat in the pan.

Add the onion and garlic to the hot fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh sage and cook until it releases its fragrance, about 1 minute.

Pour the diced tomatoes and drained chickpeas into the saucepan. Cook until they are heated through, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and let the soup simmer for 5 minutes.

Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Throw in the chard leaves and cook until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Serve in large bowls with a bit of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese on top, if you wish.

Feeds 4.

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coming back, with ham

breakfast at home again

Gosh, we've been gone a long time.

The last few weeks have felt like a beautiful blur, a whirl of images and great meals, pork sandwiches in San Francisco, prosciutto eaten in the car on the way to a book signing, a late-night meal with friends on a warm evening, sitting on the sidewalk waiting for the next excellent dish to arrive.

You know those dreams you have just after you have fallen asleep? Those dreams that feel more vivid than real life, intensified in color and sensation, everything hugely important and gracefully easy at the same time? Sometimes I involuntarily flinch myself awake from those dreams — wake up running in the bed — and I always feel sad to let them go. These past few weeks? They have been like those dreams. Only, there has been no flinching or shrugging. Only long hugs and laughter, bacon next to buckwheat groats and another cup of coffee.

These past few weeks have been the best days that Danny and I have ever lived.

The only regret? We couldn't write here. In our nine days of book tour in New York, I realized just how frustrating a smart phone could be. Thinking I could take photographs of everything and make up posts on the spot, I found nothing but frustration with the cramped keys on the phone and the spotty coverage where we were staying in Queens. I didn't update us once, even though there were amazing meals.

We were home for five days, and on four of them, we had public appearances for our cookbook. Exhaustion set in. I could barely lift the mail out of the box, much less process photos and write something akin to sensible.

And then, San Francisco. Five glorious days in one of our favorite cities in the world, including two days at the BlogHer Food conference. I spoke on a panel and gave the final keynote address with two writers I respect deeply.  Dazed by the experience, and the intense connections I experienced with at least a hundred people who came to thank me for what I said, Danny and I went to the fabulous after-party. (So did our toddler. She danced more than anyone.) The entire event was sponsored by the Pork Board. At least 20 little dishes for people to sample and nibble, along with bacon martinis. Everything was gluten-free.

And since we have been home from San Francisco, Danny and I both have been overwhelmed. By the emails. By the kind offers. By the new work. By the lack of sleep with a darling girl suffering with molars coming in. By the state of the house. By the lack of space and time to really reflect on what has happened, and how much this time has changed us.

Today, however, I decided to start small.

This was the breakfast Danny made us the morning after we returned home. (We're going to be gone again in November, with a week in Colorado, but it won't be as packed as this past month was.) The night before, we stopped at the store on our way home from the airport. Eggs, salad greens, potatoes, avocadoes, apples for Lu. “Ham?” he said to me.

“Yes,” I said. It's about the only pork product we had not eaten in the past few weeks. There's something homey about ham. Solid and dependable, never on the menu of avant garde restaurants. It's mom cooking. It's Easter Sunday. It's long strips nuzzled against fried eggs. It's breakfast.

In the morning, we pulled the coffee table away from the couch. (The dining room table was covered in books and gifts from swag bags, which we later gave away.) All three of us sat on the floor and dug our forks into the first cooked-in-our-home we had eaten that week. That ham, the salty meatiness of it, the familiar flavor, felt welcoming.

We are home now.

Since we've been gone so long, Danny and I will be posting up something five days a week for awhile here, to catch you up on meals we have experienced, new recipes we've imagined, links to crazy and interesting blog posts from other people, and even the debut of a new video series we are going to be doing called Pork 101.

We can't wait to share this with you. We've missed you. There's so much to share.

We are back here now.

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