Apple Spice Cake

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Wednesday at sundown. On this night, apples dipped in honey, or apple cake, traditionally make an appearance on the dinner table to signify a sweet year ahead.

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground cloves
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 eggs
4 cups, 2-3 peeled, cored, and chopped apples (use tart apples like Macintosh)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350F
Butter and flour a 10 inch round cake pan

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Set aside

In stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar until combined.

Add eggs and beat for a minute or two on medium speed. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Take bowl off mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold in the apples, raisins and nuts. The batter should be stiff and it will look like you have too many apples.

Scrape batter into cake pan and spread evenly.

Bake approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and middle is firm to the touch. Check after 1 hour. Cool on a rack in the pan.

Cut around the pan with a knife to loosen it, then invert onto a plate. Invert again onto serving platter so it is right side up. You can dust the slices with confectioners sugar when serving, if desired.

Putting a Blush in your Sauce

I’m a bit obsessed with applesauce. Not the smooth type found in glass jars on the grocers shelf, but the chunky, unsweetened kind that you can make yourself. My favorite applesauce is a deep pink color that comes from the addition of purple plums.
Mix it into your oatmeal, place it on top of yogurt, or just eat it in a bowl…yum!

Pink Applesauce

8 apples – I like to mix different varieties for a more interesting flavor but don’t use Granny Smith. They are too tart.
8 Italian plums
Juice and zest of 2 navel oranges
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Sugar to taste (optional)

Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

Preheat oven to 350F
Wash fruit in cold water. Peel apples and cut into large chunks, about 4 pieces each. Remove pit from plums and cut in half. Place fruit in ovenproof saucepan or casserole dish. Add orange juice, and lemon rind. Mix together, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven. Fruit should be very soft. Mash slightly with a potato masher, leaving some chunks. Adjust sugar, if desired.

Quick, easy and delicious! Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Preserving Summer- Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

In the dead of winter, the taste of summer tomatoes is a welcome reminder of warmer, sunnier days. This is an easy, all purpose tomato sauce with a fresh and delicate flavor that I’ve been making for years. Always use plum tomatoes for this sauce. They are meatier and less watery than other varieties. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Tomato Sauce

2 lbs. fresh, ripe plum tomatoes

2/3 cup chopped onions

2/3 cup chopped carrots

2/3 cup chopped celery

1/4 t. sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 t. salt or to taste

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from Marcella Hazan

Wash the tomatoes in cold water.
Slice them in half. No need to peel or seed them.

Place them in a non-aluminum pot. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so to release their juices.

Chop onions, carrots, and celery

Add to pot along with a pinch of sugar and salt. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, through a food mill, or with an immersion blender.

Add the olive oil and cook an additional 15 minutes. Adjust for seasoning and allow to cool. Ladle into storage containers or heavy duty zip lock bags and freeze for later use.

 

Or enjoy right away!

 

What Can You Do with a Quince?

One could make jelly, compote, or even a wonderful Persian inspired dish, but my favorite thing to make with quince is Membrillo, or Quince Paste. In Spain it is a popular tapas when paired with cheese, preferably Manchego. Together they make a perfect marriage.The combination of sweet and salty is one of the most delicious on earth. One bite and I guarantee you will be hooked. Now you can buy prepared Membrillo at Whole Foods, in gourmet stores, or wine shops, but it is quite expensive. So why not make your own?

What is a Quince?

The quince is an ancient and hardy fruit related to the apple and pear. It is hard and tart and most varieties cannot be eaten raw. But once cooked, it becomes delightfully fragrant, taking on a rosy hue and delicate flavor. You can find quinces in late September and October.

Membrillo (Quince Paste)

4 medium quinces (about 2 pounds total)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 1-quart terrine.

Wash quinces and place in a small roasting pan. Cover and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour.

When cool enough to handle, peel, core, and chop quince and place into a food processor.

Puree pulp with 1/4 cup water until smooth (if mixture is too thick, add remaining 1/4 cup water a little at a time, as needed).

Measure the amount of puree, then transfer to a heavy saucepan and add the equivalent amount of sugar.

Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and begins to pull away from side of pan, about 25 minutes.

Pour into terrine or Pyrex loaf pan.

Smooth the top and once cooled, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until set.

Run a thin knife around sides of terrine and invert onto a platter. (Quince paste keeps, wrapped well in wax paper and then plastic wrap and chilled, 3 months.)

Serve with crackers and Manchego cheese.

To Market, to market…

If you love a good farmer’s market like I do, Saturday’s at the Ferry Building in San Francisco will have you gasping for air. Since 1993, approximately 100 farmers and 25 food artisans display a staggering assortment of the freshest produce imaginable, showcasing heirloom varieties you don’t often get to see. Therefore it’s not surprising that the market attracts thousands of visitors each week.
So if you have the opportunity to visit, come early and be dazzled.

Sun ripened plums
Samples anyone?

Multi-colored Eggs

Cow Girl Creamery
Curried Carrot Soup

Source: Bob Kattenburg and Jill McFadden, The Critical Edge Knife Sharpening.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 pound carrots,peeled and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 quart water or chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Yogurt, for serving

PREPARATION

Heat a heavy-bottom pot over medium flame, add butter and sauté onions, garlic, carrots and spices until everything comes together and vegetables begin to soften.

Add lemon juice and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat and reduce to simmer until carrots are completely tender.

Cool slightly, then puree in blender until smooth. You may have to do this in batches.

Serve with dollop of yogurt (Greek is really good), sour cream or crème fraiche. Soup can be served hot or cold.

Soup’s On!

I hate to admit it, summer’s ending and it’s getting colder. And at times like this, my thoughts turn to a hot and hearty bowl of soup to take the chill off. One of my favorites is a Mediterranean Lentil Soup that is great tasting and nutritious. Just add a salad and a loaf bread and you’ve got dinner!

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

Serves 6-8

2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
Note* I like to use red lentils for the color they impart to the soup. They can be found at Whole Foods.
8 cups chicken stock, store bought or homemade
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 dice
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 T. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 cups fresh spinach, chard, or kale, rinsed, stems removed and cut into wide ribbons
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large and heavy pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook stirring often for a few minutes. Then add garlic and cook a minute longer.

Add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils soften, about 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes, potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 20 more minutes.

Just before serving, add lemon juice. Although it may sound like a strange addition, don’t omit it as it adds a fresh and bright flavor to the soup.

Add kale, spinach, or chard and simmer gently just until it wilts.

Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired

Recipe from Food to Live By
Myra Goodman

Eat your Vegetables

Ubuntu

One Michelin Star 2010
One Michelin Star 2011

I stumbled upon Ubuntu in Napa, California, two years before they were awarded their star. I don’t remember where I first heard about the place, but I knew I had to try it sometime. Ubuntu is a vegetarian restaurant like no other. When I took my son there and told him it was strictly vegetarian, he grew wide eyed. But after our dinner, he said it was one of the best meals he’d ever had. Their young chef Aaron London, is truly gifted and his story is quite interesting.

After getting in trouble with the law at age 14 (he’s vague on the actual incident), London began cooking to kill time while under house arrest. Then something clicked. His food was so good that his probation officers, whose visits were supposed to be a surprise, would call ahead to give London a heads-up so he could fix them a snack.

“I’ve always been super high-energy,” he says, “but before cooking I didn’t know how to express myself. By the time I got out of my room, I was hooked.”

The loquacious London, born in the Sonoma County town of Graton, routinely bicycles 60 miles before work and enjoys his weekly hamburger. At first, his personality seems at odds with the painstakingly plated dishes he serves at Napa’s Ubuntu, a vegetable restaurant whose menu is riddled with unusual ingredients such as “sunchoke dirt” and “kohlrabi noodles.”

2011 Rising Star Chef: Aaron London
March 13, 2011|By Sophie Brickman, Chronicle Staff Writer of SF Gate.com

Ubuntu
1140 Main Street
Napa, Ca.
———————————————————————————————————-

Greens

Since 1979 Greens has been serving up fine vegetarian fare in it’s waterfront location at Fort Mason in San Francisco. They were pioneers in establishing vegetarian dining and elevating it to a fine dining status.

Ricotta Corn Griddle Cakes

Fig and Melon Salad

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

Greens
Fort Mason
San Francisco, Ca.

San Francisco Treat – Tartine Bakery & Cafe

It’s 9:00am on a Sunday morning, and a line has already formed outside Tartine Bakery. I can’t help but wonder, does anyone sleep in on Sundays anymore? I make my way to the end of the line and try to wait patiently. But I’m dreaming of a hot and steamy bowl, (yes, I said bowl), of cappuccino to start my day, so patience is not so easy to come by this morning.

Once in, ahhhhhh, so worth the wait!

My friend Linda gets one too!

Tartine is very family friendly. You see happy little kids all around.Shortly after this photo was taken, this little girl devoured her entire croissant!

And I pick a Croque Monsieur for my breakfast (and lunch too). The most flavorful mushrooms and tomatoes on a slice of their famous bread, topped with Gruyere cheese. It is the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
Thank you Tartine! You never disappoint me.

Pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and her husband, renowned baker Chad Robertson, are the co-owners of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine in San Francisco. They both trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Elisabeth and Chad traveled, trained, and cooked in France and upon their return, opened Bay Village Bakery in Point Reyes Station, California. Using a wood fired brick oven, they baked bread and created rustic, elegant pastries using many of the techniques they had learned abroad. Chad’s bread garnered the attention of Alain Ducasse, who wrote about the couple in his book, Harvesting Excellence. After 6 years of baking in the countryside, they relocated to San Francisco to open Tartine Bakery in 2002. Elisabeth was named Pastry Chef of the Year in San Francisco Magazine. Tartine Bakery is continually rated in the Zagat Survey as Best Bakery and Best Breakfast in San Francisco. Elisabeth and Chad were nominated for James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chefs in 2006 and 2007, and won the award in 2008. Their first book, ‘Tartine’, published by Chronicle Books, was chosen by Corby Kummer of the Atlantic Monthly in the New York Times list of selected top ten cookbooks of 2006. It was also nominated for a James Beard award for the photography of France Ruffenach. Tartine Bread, Chad’s second book, published by Chronicle Books is out now.

600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110 t. 415 487 2600
Monday 8-7 | Tuesday, Wednesday 730-7 | Thursday, Friday 730-8 | Saturday 8-8 | Sunday 9-8