Packing the weekend with Holiday Fun

Packing the weekend with Holiday Fun & Treats

With the gift of unexpected tickets to see the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus SFGMC Elfstravaganza concert last night from our friends Paul & Ryan –  after a day of baking some treats for my Pauls office fundraiser on Monday and a trial run of an older Lemon cake recipe I had found a few weeks back. Dinner at Rocco’s then heading over to the SFGMC Concert at the Nourse was a perfect way to end the night. The Lemon “bread or cake” or jelly toast as its post was called on the blog I found it on was flavorful but super dense when we cut into it this morning – so either it needed more time to cook or a few more modifications to make it work. I also think it needed some sharpness so would mix the lemon varieties in a future batch (but.. umm yeah that didn’t stop me from eating it. I am thinking maybe convert the rest into a bread pudding. The Marbled M&M mini’s worked into the Biscotti is always a favorite!
As usual, dinner at Rocco’s Cafe down on Folsom Street is always good. FYI you crab lovers – get on Rocco’s email list to get the announcement for when it’s winning crab Chioppino will be back on the menu during Christmas week.

Packing more in as “The Men Sing On”

Nothing took the message home stronger of the power of the enduring voice of these men has had, than the simple two number reminder held by conductor Tim Seelig. Season 40 is ready to hit the bricks with the 40TH ANNIVERSARY; CRESCENDO GALA SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018 .
 
This is the power that a unified voice has. Kudos to an outstanding year gentlemen and the successful Southern States tour. Not to mention some of the very exciting updates that Tim Seelig shared which you can find out more of from visiting the #SFGMC facebook page or website (http://www.sfgmc.org/welcome)
 
I took more shots – but have left them with Paul to whip up some editing magic on them. In the meantime… a few snaps from the show. Ff course, it wouldn’t be a proper #SFGMC concert without a political comment or two and a few special guests you might spot.

You still have a chance to see the men sing during its “Home for the Holidays” Castro show

Sunday, December 24, 2017   5:00 PM, 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM
Castro Theatre – San Francisco

Every year, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus comes together on Christmas Eve to celebrate the holiday season with three not-to-be-missed concerts at the historic Castro Theatre! This year is the 28th Annual iteration of “Home for the Holidays,” and we have quite a few tricks up our holiday sweater sleeves. These shows always sell out, so be sure to buy your tickets early.

Packing Even more

Next up this week is to try to knock out a few more treats and perhaps a remake of the lemon bread.. perhaps… but first its some Chocolate blossom cookies!

The Value of Holiday Cheer; Gestures, Thank You’s & Acknowledgments

This is a good time to consider the art of thank-you’s and gestures.

Like it or not, Thanksgiving has passed and we are officially on the close-out of 2017.

Every year about this time I start messages from folks, asking me about our annual Orphans Holiday Party held each year around late December and how will I be managing to pull it off this  year or how do I have all that stuff to prepare for it.

As the summer wraps up, the fall is normally one of my favorite times of the year and the Orphans Holiday Party is one of the highlights of the year to share time with friends.

This year, I seemed to get several inquiries asking me about my thoughts on the customs, gestures, and traditions that go along with being a guest. You know, those commonly held, or historically offered niceties that civil society says is “what polite society” dictates as a way to thank a host.

I started this post as I sat on a flight from DC just before Thanksgiving but got sidetracked catching up till now. So I figured  I would try to jot out some thoughts as I check my “to be answered” folder of questions.

What is the scoop on “Invitation Protocols”?

Frank,   It’s that time of the year when I have started to get invitations to dinners, brunches etc. What do I bring ? Do I need to bring something?  Is there a universal set of gestures I should know?— TK

This is a great question and while I wouldn’t say I am the “arbiter of good taste and manners” all the time –  I have some opinions on what I believe to be common courtesy and reflect a gesture of appreciation for your host. (For the sake of ease when I write “host(s) it is implied as “host or hostess”).

Mostly it’s about three things:

Appreciating the gestures of being invited

Acknowledging the effort and work that goes into that brunch or party

Common Sense understanding that tokens & gestures do matter to some, but doing something needs to not derail the host/hostess’s game plan.

Appreciation

This is key – when you are invited to something – your host(s) has taken the forward thought to plan, design and arrange what they hope will be a memorable time. During the days that lead up even to the smallest luncheon or brunch to the largest open house – tension rises and many last minute “fixes” are in full implantation mode.

Ensuring that your host(s) know how much you appreciated the invite, the time you had, and any special moments that the event made for you. These could include photos, gestures, networking or even a memory made is a great way to appreciate the experience.

3 simple gestures to show your appreciation

Ask: If you know you are going to the store the day of the event. Maybe in the morning (or the day before). Call and ask if you can pick anything up that may have been forgotten. But be prepared to get those supplies back to the host early so that they have time to use them as needed. (Hint: even if you don’t need to go to the store, but you have the free time and willingness to help, the offer to do so is huge)

Offer to stay late to clean up; come the “witching hour” when the bulk of the guest have left, most of us that toss the party, push through on adrenalin alone. So come the end, the energy runs out. Nothing says “appreciation” better than “Frank, We are going to stay and help you clean up; what do you need to be done

Check in after the event; If you aren’t able to attend or have conflicting events, let your host know as soon as possible. then a day after the event, drop the person a call, text or email asking how it went. That lets the host know you valued the invitation and was disappointed at not being able to attend. Who knows you might even get an invite for coffee or dinner to help use up those leftovers.

Acknowledgment

Look I can say how much I love to throw a party – and I do. But being acknowledged for the effort I put is, while it may not look like it’s important, it is.

Those of us that like to entertain and create these moments, feed off the excitement of the planning and staging something that will be memorable. We often take special care to blend in specialties to make everyone feel good. So hearing someone acknowledge the time and effort that goes into it, or noticing the small personal touches go a long way.

For instance, for me, I take pride in creating a menu that includes dishes and options that encompass vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free needs without them feeling like an aside. I use these as a way to “challenges” me to expand my food thinking and try new dishes that I might not generally eat myself.

In fact, some of the results can be stellar, like the gluten-free orange cardamom granola and spinach stuffing I created for a stuffed turkey one year. That recipe has now become a great alternative to my regular “old school” recipe.

One simple way to show your acknowledgment is to let the host know with a simple gesture says ” you noticed something that made them feel special”. One way to send a small token; this could be something fun, whimsical, or useful and in the theme that the host would enjoy. Feel free to ask for the recipe or the brand and where they found it. We generally love to tell you; once the event is out of the gate. For those of you “less creative types” here are a few ideas that I either send or have enjoyed receiving:

For those of you who know how “anal” I can be, will understand why this Magnetic Dry Erase Weekly Meal Planner 11X17 Whiteboard ($12.99) tickled me: 

Many of us make notes for the planning of the next event and your comments, feedback, and notes are ways we know what to keep or use again so journals such as this Refillable Travel Diary Notepad ($15.99)

Another way to acknowledge the effort is to share your own specialty ideas. If you have special food issues and knowledge of brands, recipes (or even well-loved book cook) and ideas for substitutions. Those I keep handy for the future. A great way to do this is making use of mail order or online services that stock your preferred “finds”. In some cases, you may even find them on Amazon.com.

Common Sense

Tokens and gestures to show your appreciation with a thank you are long-held traditions. They may changes from time to time, perhaps with an updated look or trend – but the basics remain the same.

If you are invited to a small dinner party, brunch or dinner:

Cut and arranged flowers, potted plants are perfect thank you gestures. But if you really want the host(s) to know you are excited or had a good time, have them delivered the morning of the event so that they have time to place them in a spot instead of having to figure out a frantic fix while trying the deal with the last minute preparations. (Hint: you really want the host to love you? Call  a few days before and say you want to send over an arrangement to the table or the fireplace and what colors is the room or theme). Or even better, have something delivered a few days after the event for the host(s) to enjoy a lovely personal note inside.

At the holidays (or any time of the year) if you know the host has a fondness for collecting something; I work hard to custom select something for them. In my case, I have a “story tree” at the holidays where most of the ornaments come from friends & family.  So I often get unique ornaments from places I might not have visited as a thank you or clever people found out I keep a “gift” list on Amazon of stuff that I want (and eventually plan to buy but should someone ask – it’s easier to send them to the list)

A few thoughts for those that haven’t got a clue yet:

Resoprocity is equally as important. 

Even the most gregarious and “party loving” host, doesn’t always want play host.  Offering to have the host over for a dinner to say thank you is perfect. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it’s the fact that you took the time to say thank you and take the night off is what matters. If you don’t cook, then offer to take them to dinner or at minimum, send them a gift certificate to a store with a fun personalized note “saying you are happy to taste any new dishes this inspires“.

Larger events like open houses, parties etc

These are less formal or because of the crowd less likely to need something to be given. But special bottles of wine or alcohol is always a nice touch – but remember to add a personal note – with your name and mention why this beverage is significant. Is it a special year or from a vineyard you love. Is it a hidden wonder etc. I know one of my “go to” gifts this year will be a vodka that has a dedication of funds toward dog adoption. Or try your hand at making something. The last few years I have made and jarred gifts to give to hosts; preserved lemons, pickled vegetables are two that get mentioned a lot. Remember to include the recipe tag and hold long they will keep with them.

What about Potlucks? Or invitations to meals or parties held at a restaurant?

Potlucks play a unique role. If you agree to bring a dish, let the host know early on what you are bringing and ask when do they want it. Nothing puts a host on edge more than during a potluck when someone arrives late with a dish and half the food has already been served. You can always drop your dish offer earlier if you think you will be late.

If you aren’t bringing a dish to a potluck – any of the other ways listed above will work – but letting the host(s) know you would like to offer to help out with clean up is always welcome.

Resturant or venue-based dinner parties: If you are invited to a dinner party held at a restaurant and the host has made it clear that you are guests (i.e. they are covering the costs of the meal) can be tricky. I rarely want to bring in a bottle of something or a gift as I know the hosts then have to figure out a way to get them all home.

So try to find out what the host’s plan is.  For a birthday or anniversary held at a beloved resturant or because of the host(s) lack space at home, then it’s likely they may either have a “no gifts” on the invite or will have a place identified to put cards, gifts, and gestures. Just remember to secure your card well so they don’t get separated. I can’t tell you how many times I have ended up with orphan gifts and gift tags after we get them home.

If it is a more casual setting or annual open house type thing, I would lean towards sending your acknowledgment after the event (use any mentioned above – I personally love waking up to breakfast or brunch baskets) and have it delivered to them at home.

When all is said and done  

Whatever you send or do, it should be significant to the host, serves as a way to show you care, and how you felt special about being included and appreciate the effort.

You can blend all or any of these ideas into one “thank you”. Gifting the host with that special dietary cookbook you love, with a note inside letting the host know much that it meant including their food sensitivities into the party menu and you are wanting to share this cookbook… etc. Those personal touches are the part I like best.

Over the years I have had several “thank you’s” that stand out as memorable to me:

One was to find a case of small batch, specialty tomato sauce delivered as a thank you from two guests who had been to a dinner party at my home. the brand was a favorite they thought I would enjoy being introduced too.

Another was taken right from the “Martha Steward school of entertaining” when the morning after a rather large party, my doorbell rang and I opened it to find a box with all my favorite breakfast foods; bagels, lox, cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, a loaf of poppyseed bread, jam, ground coffee ready to be made and savored.

Another was a gift certificate good for brunch at a restaurant we had spoken about but that I hadn’t gotten a chance to try yet. Included with a thank you card reminding me of our chat about how much they liked the food and they thought I would as well.

The common theme here is personalizing it, make it memorable and do it timely.

I have left the comments open on this post so that others can share ideas as well…

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Looking for some food inspired things to do?

December isn’t just about the gifts. It’s also a great time to get out and sample whats happening around you.

I try to post local happenings on the BiteTheRoad Event Page or you can visit SF.FunCheap.com for lots of other ideas.

You can also send me your event and I will add them as I can.

Here is a series I am especially fond of:

This waterfront market, run by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), has over 100 food, fruit, and vegetable vendors on Saturdays and the entire Bay as its beautiful backdrop.

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market operates year-round from 8 am to 2 pm.

On most Saturdays, free cooking demos take place in the CUESA Classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) and are free to the public, with recipes and samples for all.

Check out whats coming up

About CUESA

8 AM to 2 PM, YEAR ROUND, RAIN OR SHINE

With more than 100 vendors, it serves as the largest market surrounding the Ferry Building every Saturday, offering a wide variety of high-quality local produce, food craft products, and breakfast and lunch options.

Enjoy free educational programs by visiting the CUESA Classroom for Market to Table Demos by local chefs, and stopping by CUESA’s Food Shed education tent to deepen your understanding of sustainable food systems.

Another of our Thursday Night-Out’s last night

Another of our Thursday Night-Outs last night

We  continued on our food theme started in October with Night-Outs to the Exploratorium for After Dark, a cookbook night at Omnivore Books, to hear Cenk Sonmezoy, the mastermind and home-schooled blogger behind the food blog Cafe Fernando introduce his new cookbook; The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker as part of my “Bite-Cap“, and seeing 177 Milk Street Author and Food Personality Christopher Kimball, who was in town talking about his second season of Milk Street TV.

This week’s agenda included

But tonight, for our Night-Out we went back to basics with Kimball’s former colleagues, at a special live programming from KQED, hosted by the Bay Areas very own Leslie Sbrocco of Check Please Bay Area for an evening of stories, tips and socializing with cohosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison of  Cook’s Country & Americas Test Kitchen

While I know they have been on tour promoting the newest cookbook due out soon and the new season – it’s nice to see they have developed a fresh and casual style that fits them and doesn’t have them try to fit the former shows, recipe. These two funny, straightforward ladies, really bring “home”, the meaning of home access food. I was amazed at the time and detial, as they explained the intense amount of effort, ethics and time that goes into the recipes and shows. An even more special treat as I recently had attempted one of Cooks Country recipes for Spicy Cheese Bread to great success. I know Paul enjoyed it as well, as he whispers in my ear after hearing it mentioned, that I need to add the Curried Butternut Soup with Cilantro Yogurt to the next menu

Not having been to one of the KQED events before, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. The KQED space itself was great and being in the studio added its own charm. But what made it a super nice evening, was how approachable and friendly all of these television personalities were. The post-show social, snacking and wine testing was quite the mid-week treat.

Good Swag!

Of course, taking home some great swag didn’t make for a bad night either with copies of Cook’s Country Eats Local, and Pistachio Oil from the folks at La Tourangelle

These three could be trouble

And for those of you inspired foodies

Check Please Bay Area is taking applications for season 13 now. So get those applications in!

More on that can be found at http://ww2.kqed.org/checkplease/apply/

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A Sunday morning treat at Le Marais

Planning and Brunch at Le Marais

A busy week of late, as I prepared for a trip to Alexandria, VA for a week of meetings. Including one of which is a workshop, I am hosting as part of my other world. But knowing that, on Sunday I took Dino for a morning walk and I even managed to get Paul up to go with a promise of brunch. We had heard a lot about the new Le Marais Bakery that made moved in on 18th & Sanchez. But hadn’t had a chance to sample it. It has been some time since I was last in France, so anytime I can enjoy some of the flavors I look forward to it. When we saw seating outside – we grabbed it for sure.

A menu I look forward to sampling more of

I really like the Le Marias  “Board” menu which lets you choose from a variety of options. This is perfect for me as I am not normally an omelet person. After waiting for an unusually long time,  a server came over to check on us and I think realized we hadn’t even been offered coffee. Once they fixed that and took our menu, we were pleasantly surprised when another server came by with an offer of two curtesy pastries to apologize for the delay.

Not being one to say no to the temptation of the baked kind, I went with the savory scone of the day and Paul grabbed the almond croissant. So just to stop you from wondering if you should? YES! You should. They were great. The scone was the right balance of cheese, dense and savory with chunks of ham. While the croissant was crisp, rich and layers of the almond filling but not so much it was like paste inside as some other spots tend to do.

We both opted to order from the Board Menu, my going for a smoked salmon and lox theme and Paul with a more traditional egg, avocado one. From a quality perspective  – I was very pleased.  While paying for the check, I went up to the counter and purchased a few other take homes and again was pleasantly surprised when the house tossed in an extra croissant for the trouble.

It is service like this, that will make me a customer on a routine basis. I don’t need extras on every visit – but I do appreciate places that put the effort out to recognize when”service had a moment” with a gesture. Overall a great showing at Le Marias Bakery in the Castro.

 

Le Marias Bakery http://www.lemaraisbakery.com

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeMaraisBakery and Twitter and Instagram as @LeMaraisBakery

Thursday Date Night at AfterDark

We have been on a binge of late to try and sample some of what is happening locally and AfterDark was on deck.

Last week I shared about out try to the California Academy of Sciences for it’s Thursday night event. This week knowig I was working that day at the office and Pauls office isnt far we thought we would check out After Dark this week at the Exploratorium.

Since I was planning to go into the office Thursday for that late afternoon meeting and the weather was mild, I decided to walk. I arranged to meet a professional colleague at Cafe Flore for coffee first. Lucky me,  I got to see the infamous “Smoking Santa” get ready to take to the roof. It’s amazing to see what is going on around us, when we aren’t in our cars or stuck below ground.

Each week they highlight a few special themes. Last week was food and the food of tomarrow, on Nov 16th the theme also food related is: After Dark: Cooking Contraptions. They have a posted full list of the scedule as a well as the indivudal nights events here

After walking down to the Ferry building or Ferry Building Marketplace as it is officially what they call it (earlier than expected due to a power outage on the Van Ness/Market street area). I took some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that being in the Ferry Building always offers. The Ferry Building actually has a cool history  to it and what it has become. It is well worth an afternoon or early evening walk through. If you are a cheese lover – the happy hour crowd at the Cowgirl Creamery‘s Sidekick spot is pretty rocken and on the night I stopped they had “oh so good Raclette” and grilled cheese goodness everywhere.Eventually Paul got out of work and we walked over the the Exploratorium. A hint – as long as you buy your tickets for the even by 5:00pm you can save a few bucks off the entry, not can get busy – so you might want to read up on what features it has and what you want to be sure to get in line for early.  

The Exploratorium is a meadering space that makes thinkers out of children and children out of adults! Below are a few of my favorites shots from the night. This is so a “do with your friends kind of place” very hands on and well worth  taking the time for it. After Dark is every Thursday from 6:00 – 10:00 pm. The whole idea of the place is interactivity – some on your own, others with those around you. They even offer a few “trust” activies for you to consider..  Which would you hit?

Sip or Squit; make the choice

This was one of my favorite displays – if you had two fountains and one looks like a toilet – would you still drink from it?

Would you drink from this?

 

Wrapping up the night, we walked back from Pier 15 towards the Ferry Building and ended up deciding to stop at Gott’s Roadside for burgers, people watching and even spotted a few celebrity Food Network folks walking through before grabbing Muni home for the night.

Ahh a day off!

Friday being my day off, that meant I got to do mostly catch up as I prepare for a trip to DC in two weeks, and offer a several hour workshop.. But since the weather wasn’t all that nice, after a quick trip to the grocery store, I tossed togther a hearty pan of “Cowboy Lasagna” which I have raved about before a few times before. This dish has become a real favorite as it takes only 30 minutes to put togther and 40 min to bake. Sure it isn’t my all-day sauce Italian lasagna, but it sure is a great alternative with some homeade cheese bread on the side. The recipe actually comes from the Trisha Yearwood cooking show.

 

 


San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace

Ferry Scedule http://sanfranciscobayferry.com

Farmers Market 

Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop

For a full list of Merchants

SF Exploratorium

Pier 15
(Embarcadero at Green Street)
San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 528-4444

More Contact Info

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Bite-Cap3: The Final Chapter

Bite-Cap3 … well, it is Halloween, the most notoriously themed holiday for “sequels, prequels, and new adaptations”.

As many of you know or saw on Facebook – Sunday was our monthly book club. This months book was a Werewolf book; Mongrel by Stephen Graham Jones

So trying to stay in tune with the book and determine what to make to eat – I recalled a recipe for Braised Cauliflower I had been wanting to try. Which when I remembered, it looked a lot like brains. Which I imagine why when it is photographed it gets special treatment. So that started the menu. With some help from Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking, my variation to her standard recipe for Braised Cauliflower is below. I also checked out several other versions including one at NYT and they all offered options and flavors and cooking technique (oven or stovetop). But I stayed with the style that Lidia’s version offered.

But I couldn’t stop there –

Last week I also caught an episode of Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules For the  Meaty Intestines – and I thought that would marry well with the brains.

Stuffed Bread intestines – this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)

But the ones I served at Bookclub revised as follows:

Braised Cauliflower Brains

Ingredients

1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons
4-6 ounces chopped Bacon (I use a black pepper thick cute sliced)
1 large onion, large diced
1 large head of cauliflower (keep it whole)
1 can 28 ounces can plum tomatoes (San Marzano work well), plus the amount of one can of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (or you can use 1/4 cup red wine)
2 teaspoons Parmagrante paste (omit this if you use wine)

 

 

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat:

Add oil and bacon, cooking off until almost crispy, then add onions.

As the onions soften, add red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently.

Open and pour the tomatoes into a bowl and hand crush them ( I left some chunks for affect) and pour entire can, along with adding enough water the fill the empty can with water to the pot.

Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot and then, adding enough water the fill the empty can with water into the pot.

Add Bay Leaves, Thyme, Rosemary, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and pomegranate paste (You can adapt for personal  taste – if you have red wine handy – swap that out for vinegar and pomegranate paste )

Stir and raise heat to a low simmer, place the head of cauliflower in the center.

Spoon some of the mixture over the head of cauliflower, like you are giving it a bath…

Bring back to a simmer and cover.

Cook for 25 – 35 minutes. It is done when a knife slides in easily.

Covered it will keep warm for a while or turn the heat back on to bring back to temperature when serving.

Serve by slicing or break it up as you please

 

Stuffed Bread intestines

– this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)

Ingredients

Two (2) 13.8-ounce package pizza dough (I removed them from the container and wrapped in loose plastic wrap prior to using)
1 medium onion -small  dice
2 Jimmy Dean Sausage roles ( or any kind of ground pork will do)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheese ( I used  a mixture of Cheddar and Provolone cheeses)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1 – 2 tablespoons tomato paste
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
1 box of long grain rice and almond mix
1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)

 

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat

Add oil and cook the pork sausage, break it up as it cooks -but you don’t want is so small that you haven’t any texture.

Add onion, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper stirring frequently.

When done, remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Mix well and leave to cool uncovered (you can make this mix the day before and then use the mix on the day you need it for.While the meat cools, prepare a box of long grain & almond rice mix but omit the seasoning packet. Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

While the meat cools, prepare the box of long grain & almond rice per manufacturers instructions mix but omit or use less than half the seasoning packet.

Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

On the day you plan to bake the “Intestines” off:

On a lightly floured table, roll out the dough into so you cut it into 3-4 in wide strips however long you want them to be. Note: One thing I did was removed the dough from the tobe container the day before so I could let it breathe a bit and soften to room temperature before rolling.

Lay the meat mixture down the center, add shredded cheese alongside it, and the cilantro.

Now seal the edges, keeping the tube affect. Don’t worry much id they look a little ragged -that helps the effect.

Place on parchment covered sheet pans.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25 – 30 min, switching pans 1/2 way through the cooking.

Hints

I especially love the tip from on the recipe – about using a wash of  1 – 2 eggs and 1-2 tablespoon of tomato paste whisked together to make the pre-bake glaze. That is what gave it the “intestinal” color.
Another hint is to use some of the tomato paste and dab it on the precooked bread to give it a “gashed” look.

Afer 5 min cooling, remove and let cool on a rack

Once baked and cooled a bit I laid them out as you saw to create an affect. I also mixed the leftover rice and meat with the sauce to serve it around the “brains” to help soak up the liquids and used a small rack, under the bread, in the serving pan, to keep them semi-dry.

 

 

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Bite-Cap2: What a week! with visits to Academy of Science for Nightlife

Bite-Cap2: What a week! – Part 2

This morning I posted my “What a week! – Part 1” and included a Bite-Cap of the week’s happenings.

  • The launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series earlier last week,  
  • A follow up of my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building,
  • Getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from www.CafeFernando.com talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event, a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…
  • The 5.4-mile local urban hike, and of course the Cholate chip cookie pie

But as I had so much more to share, Bite-Cap2 was required (and yes there will be a Bite-Cap3)

Bite-Cap2 starts with the fun night we had at the Academy of Sciences, Halloween themed Nightlife event …

A few weeks ago we saw the posting NightLife as a Thursday night activity; being a big Peaches Christ fan, it was an easy sell to check it out. But after reading up on the event, we decided to check out how the creatures come out at NightLife with Bay Area Science Festival and Peaches Christ Productions. Now they really did a great job at transforming the place into a perfect freakshow then topped it off with it’s supernatural tribute to ’80s horror movies and creatures even stranger than life. It included a tour of a “haunted museum exhibit” full of scientific curiosities and monsters then wrapping up with the centerpiece of the night—a STRANGER QUEENS drag show and costume contest hosted by local drag legend Peaches Christ.  Overall it was the perfect marriage or crowd, space, and planning.  It for sure has me inspired to check out more of the Thursday night events in the future at Academy of Sciences.

The has lots of fun stuff to see in and do on any day of the week, but the off a Thursday program series called “NightLife, billed as a new adventure unfolding every Thursday night from 6–10 pm” which holds my attention; great for date nights or peoples night out.

Academy of Sciences  (https://www.calacademy.org/) and on Facebook

Not to be outdone – the exhibits themselves were pretty marvelous! My personal favorites were the jellyfish, as part of the Steinhart Aquarium and a visit to the Swamp to meet Claude the albino alligator was pretty cool. I grabbed a few shots without a flash, topside shots but later found out that below the surface they prefer you not take pictures. Luckily the Academy supplies you with them online include a cool video of feeding time with Claude! Note: Claude isn’t white- rather he lacks any pigments at all!

A quick video of those Jellyfish in action

I didn’t take a lot of shots that night. OK, ok,  I took some. Check them out in the carousel below:

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The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum—all under one living roof.
GOLDEN GATE PARK
55 MUSIC CONCOURSE DRIVE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94118
Note: Save 42% on admission to the Academy and three other must-sees San Francisco attractions with CityPASS—plus 3-days unlimited Cable Car rides & Muni bus Passport.

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Bite-Cap — get it, a Recap my BiteTheRoad week.

What a week!

From the launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series early in the week,  some follow up at my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building, getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from www.CafeFernando.com talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event , a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…

Bite-Cap: 1 Food Memories; Telling Our Story

I had wanted to add a new feature to BiteTheRoad decided to use a more “crowdsourced” approach with a new guest feature called ‘Food Memories Stories Told. The overall idea was to offer a larger scope of unique stories through the common experience of food and eating and invite others to help grow it. (You can also read my initial post about Food Memories here.)

Yes, everyone is welcome to participate. From the novice to more experienced blogger, the home cook to the professional.  Each guest storyteller will share personal themes of food-related memories, recipes, moments of healing, love, transitions, and reflection and post them during the next few months. We will use the hashtag #FoodMemories2017 and all guest posts will be featured on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page Facebook.com/Bitetheroad. I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course, I encourage you to share your post to your networks. Our first guest feature went live with Travis’s 81-layer Biscuits.

Bite-Cap: 2 Talking about Mentoring LGBTs in Tech at TechInclusion

I did a 10 min “TED” Style talk and used storytelling as a way to share about the importance of mentorships and mentors for the LGBT person in Tech. It was a great afternoon with so many very cool people present, that it would have been as nice to attend and not speak. I had forgotten how I enjoy the process of planning using the storytelling technique and coaching through humor. It was fun to be back in the San Francisco Armory in this other role, even it I always enjoyed it from my regular one. As a venue – they do a great job with hosting programs. One of the folks snapped a picture of me in motion and I dressed it up a bit and shared about my social media hubs as well. You can check out my post on Monday afternoon of the MentorSF.com/Engage blog to read more and see some of the slides.

Bite-Cap 3: Omnivore Books and The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker

Omnivore Books, (Omnivore Books has a Facebook page as well) here the Bay Area, often hosts book and author events. My pal Brad suggested we check it out last week, and I am so glad we did. This months offer was the newest cookbook from Cenk Sonmezoy, the mastermind and home-schooled blogger behind the food blog Cafe Fernando. With cookbook author and blogger for www.EatTheLove.com, Irvin Lin serving as local Interviewer  – Cenk did some great storytelling behind his masterful cookbook and the powerful images he took himself in addition to the recipes he wrote. If I hadn’t already purchased my copy, I would have put this on my Christmas list. Its a classic trilogy of storytelling, recipe sharing and visual enticements.  The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker is available at Omnivore or on Amazon.

Of course , hile I have finished reading the Artful Baker (Yes, I read them cover to cover like a novel), I did get inspired to pop out an old school Chocolate Chip Cookie “practice” pie. “Practice” as in it’s a recipe I hadn’t tried and it’s that time of the year when I start working on the menu for the Holiday Orphans party in December..

Bite-Cap 4: The weekend wasn’t all about food….

I did manage to get a 5.4 mile urban hike in on Saturday. This trail was a new one for me, but it has been part of Pauls exercise path previously, so it gave me a chance to explore parts of Glen Park that I hadn’t seen before. But I think poor Dino’s little legs might not have been as happy with the walk! I think other than the obvious – it’s what you don’t expect to see that always catches my eye.

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Fire & Brimstone week

Early in the week, I started off with some “mummy wrapped” sausage patties. I found this silly recipe on one of those cooking magazines with a Halloween theme and couldn’t resist making them for Paul’s breakfast.

Midweek, with the fires still high and smoke and smell string, I stayed in as much as possible and tossed in a batch of Banana Bread; one to trade with a pal and one to save for us. For our version, I tried a recipe from my roommate’s grandmom of peanut butter frosting and tucked in a few Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups for fun.

With the rest of a busy week on deck, between some planning for two presentations and a “TED” style talk at Tech Inclusion this week, transitions in my own life and workplace and the dramatic unfolding of the devastation North of San Francisco from fires. I have been stockpiling my posts for tonight.

Anginette’s have been on my mind and I wanted to get a test batch up and out. Especially after a pal summed it up so nice on Friday; about it being time for cookies.  So Friday night I mixed up the batter for a batch of old-school anise #anginettes.  Then as the smoke settled back on Saturday, I gave them a quick 10 min bake to cool before glazing them in several colors and flavors. Pickled Avocados. I am gonna blame Ryan Knight’s mom on this today. Tried hers several weeks ago and was amazed. So put up a jar to Sunday dinner.

On Saturday I tossed up some quick Pickled Avocados. I am gonna blame my friend Ryan’s mom on. I tried hers several weeks ago and was amazed at the taste. So put up a jar to Sunday dinner.

😋 Don’t judge till you have tried them.  Note: it’s a perfect solution when you have several not quite ripe enough to eat and not sure you will get to them later in the week.