Farm Day!

My friends and I recently took a tour of 5 farms in Vacaville, CA. It is about an hour drive outside of San Francisco, in the Pleasants Valley area of Solano County. The tour was made possible by the Slow Food Solano and Solano Grown groups. We started the tour at Soul Food Farm. There, they have pastured eggs, chickens, and Olive Oil. They are also starting to grow a bunch of lavender in collaboration with the woman that helps run the next farm we visited, Morningsun Herb Farm. They have lavender there, too, along with culinary and medicinal herbs. The next farm we went to was the Be Love Farm. The owners of this farm also own Cafe Gratitude, and Gracias Madre, which are vegan restaurants in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. The fourth farm on the tour was Sunny Slope Orchard. There, they shared fresh squeezed orange juice and oranges and other citrus as well as showed us their fruit trees. They have apricots, peaches, plums, figs, citrus and persimmons. Lastly, we went to Mercier Grapevines. Here, they grow grapevines to sell to local wineries/vineyards. They showed us how they graft together the vines and they also let us take one vine home to grow and one already growing pot of grapes. It was a hot, fun day learning about the local farms and how they operate. I am definitely grateful for these small farmers that take the time out of their day to give tours and teach people about the food they produce. Support your local farmers! Go to the farmer’s market! Buy local! Really, it not just about supporting them, but it will help you eat healthier and it is always good to know where your food comes from. Below, there is a slideshow of the photos I took on the farms (in no particular order). All of the farms offer tours; just go to their website to find out more information!

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Photo Friday!

This Photo Friday! is brought to you by spring-into-summer recipes ratios. I made these food items not from recipes, but from ratios. I will post the directions on how to make these goodies in the recipe section soon, so look for them there.

First up, I made these scones. A very basic ratio, and similar method to biscuits or pie dough.

I had leftover egg whites after making ice cream, so I made an angel food cake. I think of this as a springtime cake because it is light and airy and is usually served with fresh, seasonal fruit such as berries and citrus.

I just love the way the light in this photo makes the cake look really light. It tasted more meringue-like than cake-y, but I was okay with that.

I roasted some corn and red pepper and put it and other veggies and rice together for a spring-to-summer  “succotash”. (According to the dictionary entry I found, real succotash is made with Lima beans.)

The “succotash” I made with roasted corn, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and rice. NO recipe here. Just roasted the corn (on the cob) with the red pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet in a very hot (as high as it goes) oven until…the smoke detector goes off! Just kidding. Sorta. 🙂 Just until the veggies start to blacken. For easy clean-up, I recommend using foil and oil, just enough to prevent sticking.

What are your favorite spring/summer desserts? What foods remind you the most of spring or summer?

Photo Friday!

This month, I am participating in the Photo A Day May from Fat Mum Slim. These are the photos from week five: (last week! I can’t believe it’s June already!)

26. 12 o’clock. This was tough because of working through this time since I work at a restaurant and everyone comes there for their lunch break. Also, I did not want to stay up until midnight. So I took this picture on my day off. Almost missed it! I only got one shot because I caught the last 30 seconds of the minute.

27. Something sweet. Dessert. Of course. This is angel food cake I made recently, but more on that later.

28. The weather today. Surprisingly sunny. Pretty Clouds.

29. A number. This is one of the new “stop ids” at the bus stops near my work. They have these numbers at most bus stops now so that you can call up and get a prediction (relatively accurate!) of when the next bus is coming.

30. My personality. I’m a true Scorpio. Also, I guess I can be a bit blurry sometimes. 😉

31. Something beautiful. I am a cheater! Or just thinking outside the box. Took a picture of the restaurant sign for Beautifull!

Photo Friday!

This month, I am participating in the Photo A Day May from Fat Mum Slim. These are the photos from week four:

19. A favorite place. This is one of my favorite delis in San Francisco. It was the first deli I ate at here that really reminded me of an East Coast (Jewish) deli. My other favorite in SF is Wise Sons.

20. Something I Can’t Live Without. Babkah. More specifically, chocolate babkah. But really, I can’t live without dessert. Whether it is a cookie, slice of pie, ice cream, or a piece of chocolate, I need to have dessert everyday. Also, I wouldn’t have a career if it were not for dessert.

21. Where you stand. On the corner of 34th Ave. in San Francisco. This is not just where I stood when I took this picture, but where I currently live.

22. Pink. The ribbon and flowers from the Mother’s Day present my sister sent over here.

23. Technology. My keyboard on my MacBook. It is rare that I see someone with a computer that is not a Mac, or a phone that is not an iPhone. (of course, I do fall into the latter category)

24. Something new. These shorts are the newest addition to my wardrobe. They are lavender and I love them! I never even thought I would own a pair of shorts while living in SF, but these summer days have been warm so far, and they look great with a pair of tights, so it works in the cooler weather as well.

25. Unusual. I am cheating again with this one. The solar eclipse that happened earlier this week was certainly unusual, and while I didn’t take any pictures myself, I saw a lot of cool pictures of it and really like this one. (Picture taken from BigSurKate)

Only one more week left. I feel like I did okay with taking the pictures every day, but mostly this project made me take more pictures of life overall in this month and really pay attention to things in a different way. It was my way of posting regularly on this site and I am sad that I did not post much besides these, but I am inspired to keep posting photos on Fridays, and more regular (weekly) posts. I know I have said this before, but I have a plan in mind, and I will act on it in the coming weeks.

Photo Friday!

This month, I am participating in the Photo A Day May from Fat Mum Slim. These are the photos from week three:

14. Grass. Living in a city leads me to finding grass either in the park (there are 21 parks in SF) or, by the bases of trees on the sidewalk. This is a picture of the latter.


15. Love. I think love and hearts are linked. That’s why I took a picture of these heart-shaped designs on the front of this window. I actually find a lot of these in the city.


16. What You’re Reading. Cookbooks. Yes, I read cookbooks in the same way I read novels. Cover to cover. At least once. And, yes, I am reading more than one at the same time.


17. Snack. Cucumber chunks. My mom, dad, and sister can probably remember as much I can, that I always ate cucumber chunks as a snack. That’s what I called them, too. Not slices or matchsticks or pieces, but chunks. Weird, I know. But healthy. How many kids (or even adults) would just snack on cucumber?


18. Something I Made. I made these scones. More on that later. 🙂




Touring Around {Chocolate and Ice Cream}

I have been lucky enough to have time to do some touring around. For the first time in my life, I have seen the process of cocoa bean to chocolate bar, via the Dandelion Chocolate factory. I also spent a day touring the city with some friends tasting ice cream from 6 major ice cream shops in the city, trying to decide which has the best.

(photo courtesy of Mike)

First up was the tour of the Dandelion Chocolate factory. They showed us the process from bean to bar and everything in-between.

Next up was the ice cream tour. I organized an ice cream walking tour throughout San Francisco. It took us from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, to Humphrey Slocombe, to Mitchell’s, to Xanath, to Bi-rite, and finally to Smitten. It was a great way to see the city and to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

We started the tour in Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. We were feeling ambitious about the ice cream tasting, so we ordered three flavors, which of course, led to ordering three flavors everywhere else, and tasted some other flavors along the way as well. This sounds like a lot of ice cream, but shared between four people and with all of the walking, by the end of the day, it was really an okay amount.

At Humphrey Slocombe, we tried the Seceret Breakfast, which is a bourbon ice cream with corn flakes, the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, and the Tahitian Vanilla.

We tried Mitchell’s Strawberry and Cream, Mexican Chocolate, and Kahlua and Cream. My favorite here was the chocolate, which had just a hint of cinnamon.

Xanath was next, and since they are saffron and vanilla importers, we had to try both the Mexican and Madagascar vanilla and the saffron ice cream. We tried their coffee here, just to be able to compare to the others.

We tried Bi-Rite’s Balsamic Strawberry, Brown Sugar, and Toasted Coconut. All rich and creamy; my favorite here was the Balsamic Strawberry. I was surprised, because I normally do not like balsamic anything, but this just had a hint of it, and really just added acidity to the flavor.

Lastly, was Smitten. Smitten is known for making their ice cream with liquid nitrogen. This leads to a smoother, more dense ice cream with lots of flavor. This also means you can watch them make the ice cream and see fog swirling around. Everyone’s favorite here was the TCHO Chocolate.

The votes are in! My favorite place was Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, because they had great ice cream and homemade treats such as marshmallows and cookies and brittle that looked delicious, too. The runner up for me would be Bi-Rite, because they have good ice cream, a good variety of flavors, and their ice cream is smooth and creamy and really flavorful. Mike also chose Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous and Bi-Rite as the places that stood out to him, but would definitely go back to any of them. Rob chose the chocolate ice cream at Smitten as the best, and said, “Coffee ice cream never seemed appealing enough to get but I liked the ones we tasted.” Michele said that she also liked the chocolate from Smitten, and the Brown Sugar from Bi-Rite. She also said that she likes going to Bi-Rite on a sunny day to sit in [Dolores] park, and Mitchell’s is good for an evening outing (with people from out of town), and definitely has added Mr. and Mrs. to the list as well. Thanks again, to Michele, Rob, and Mike for coming out and spending the day tasting ice cream!

Photo Friday! (on Sunday)

This month, I am participating in the Photo A Day May from Fat Mum Slim. These are the photos from week two:
5. Bird. This one was surprisingly hard; I guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time for finding a bird. I finally found one in a picture at the art show I went to that night.
6. You. I just decided to take a photo of me taking a photo. Simple.
7. Someone that inspires you. This one I have to cheat on because this person is on the East coast, while I am on the West coast. I am very inspired by my sister. I have always looked up to her and learn a lot from her. This picture is from her “wedding”, a few years ago. I am proud to say that she is really married now, due to New York passing the civil rights law recently, allowing gays to marry!
8. A smell you adore. I love the smell of these spices/flavors. Cinnamon is definitely my favorite overall.
9. Something that you do everyday. While I definitely do not post/write as much as I would like to, I think about my blog everyday.
10. A favorite word. I think that “love” and “free” are two of the best four-letter words, but “Goonies” is pretty good, too, especially written into the sidewalk.
11. Kitchen. This is the kitchen of the apartment I live in right now.
12. Something that makes me happy. Ice cream! That, and a bunch of friends hanging out together tasting ice cream on a walking tour around the city on a nice, sunny day. 13. Mum. Happy Mother’s Day to all future, past, and present moms out there! 🙂