Olive Oil Plum Cake

IMG_3775In a recent effort to eat healthier (which may or may not have something to do with having to wear a wedding dress in approximately nine months) I’ve been looking for alternatives to my beloved butter-filled cakes and pastries. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth, but love the idea of being able to have a piece of cake that’s healthy enough for breakfast too.IMG_3778

This cake swaps most of the usual butter for olive oil and has a healthy dose of whole wheat flour to boot. You could also use turbinado or demerara sugar instead of regular sugar–I didn’t have any, but it would give the cake a lovely caramelized taste. If you can find decent plums (we’re lucky to still have a few in California) then use that–but I would bet that this cake would be just as delicious with sliced pears or apples (though let’s not neglect my favorite apple cake–which is pretty much the ideal thing to bring to a holiday party. I promise.)IMG_3786

Continue reading “Olive Oil Plum Cake”

Olive Oil Plum Cake

Matcha Lattes

IMG_3639I’m going to be honest with you guys. I really wanted to like matcha, a super refined green tea powder that’s supposed to have great health benefits (and has become pretty trendy recently). It has so many anti-oxidants! It’s so much less acidic than coffee! It’s such a pretty color green!

IMG_3632I made these lattes one afternoon looking for a caffeine fix, and I just…didn’t like it at all. Maybe I needed to add more sweetener? Maybe I need to try a different brand of tea?

IMG_3634In any case, I still wanted to post this recipe for a couple of reasons: one, to show that even food bloggers fail at recipes. And two, to see if there are any matcha aficionados out there who have suggestions (also, I’m kind of obsessed with those handle-less mugs.) I’ll be sticking to cappuccinos to get my caffeine fix for now, but I’m always on the lookout for new things to try.IMG_3636

Continue reading “Matcha Lattes”

Matcha Lattes

Travel: Nice, France

IMG_3124My first time in the south of France was when I was 16, on a trip to Arles with my family. I was immediately taken in by the pastel-colored buildings, the warm air (even in March) and the warm, friendly people (not to mention the delicious seafood.) We stayed with a delightful family in a small bed and breakfast, and spent the few days we were there exploring the Roman ruins, traveling around the region and eating (a lot.)

IMG_4299This trip was a bit different. Ari and I didn’t quite know what to expect, neither of us having been to Nice or the French Riviera before. (I was basically envisioning Casino Royale with more croissants.) We were immediately charmed by the gorgeous architecture and the incredible views of the Mediterranean, and one of my favorite moments was when we decided to walk up to the city Chateau and stumbled across a waterfall. We also had some incredible food–though we didn’t get to go to Le Canon because I forgot to make a reservation, we still were able to eat at a number of wonderful restaurants.

IMG_4310.JPGLe Franchin Situated on a little side street, this traditional bistro served the best seafood bisque I’ve ever had. We actually went here after we learned that Le Canon was booked on a recommendation from the owner, and it didn’t disappoint. A great spot for affordable wine and delicious fish–and the staff speaks English, so it’s easy to communicate.

IMG_4318.JPGRestaurant Aphrodite The menu at this molecular gastronomy restaurant looks pretty crazy at first glance, but don’t be afraid. Ari and I had two different tasting menus, and everything was wonderful–but we especially loved the asparagus dish with an egg and caviar, and the incredible edible forest, complete with tiny souffle “snails” and mushrooms. Chef David Faure and his wife were incredibly nice and friendly, and the staff explained everything about the menu in great detail.

IMG_3132Parcours Live Situated just outside Nice in the hilltop village of Falicon, Parcours Live is a Michelin-starred restaurant in an unassuming old farmhouse that just happens to have world-class views of the Riviera. When we got there it was already dark, but food more than made up for it. Chef Frederic Galland is clearly super talented, and the spacious dining room was very comfortable and quiet. I particularly loved the rabbit terrine and the red snapper with zucchini flowers.

IMG_3057Other notes: we stayed in two different hotels, Hotel La Perouse and the Hyatt Palais Mediteranee. Both quite different and equally lovely, but I loved the old world charm of Hotel La Perouse. Though they’re both on the Promenade des Anglais, La Perouse is a bit more off the beaten track, and their roof deck has some of the best views of Nice.

IMG_4290We also enjoyed a delightful lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the Place Durandy, and we loved walking through the Promenade du Paillon, which was probably one of the best city parks I’ve ever seen. We didn’t make it to any museums, but I’ve heard wonderful things about the Chagall museum and the modern art museum, should you be so inclined. As it was, we were very happy walking around the old city and having an aperitif or an ice cream cone when it suited us.

 

Travel: Nice, France

Travel: Bologna & Modena

IMG_2953My love affair with Italy started in high school, when my family traveled there for a week. We stayed in Siena and Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, and I was immediately hooked. After that trip, I vowed to learn Italian and go back for a longer stay–and I did. I studied abroad in Bologna during college, and grew to love the language and the culture even more. Ari studied abroad there as well (we actually met when we were both TA’s for an intro Italian class when I came back), so it’s a very special place for both of us–and we were really excited to go back together.

When I lived there, we lived in pretty basic dorm-style apartments with other Italian students–not exactly the fresco-filled palazzos of your dreams. This time, we decided to stay in an Airbnb on the other side of town to explore a new neighborhood (it was fantastic! Paola was so gracious and lovely, and the place was very comfortable.) Bologna is a very walkable city–you can get from one end to the other in about an hour and a half, and there are electric buses that go all over as well. It’s still very much a university town, and you can feel the energy of the students all over the city. It was pretty amazing to be back in the familiar streets, seeing the same restaurants and stores (and bars) that we had been to as students. Of course, now with jobs and a little more spending money, we could also eat out more–though I remember eating very well there on a minimal budget too. Here’s where we ate:

Osteria della Lanterna

Just down the street from our Airbnb, this trattoria felt like the quintessential Italian neighborhood spot. We ordered two of the Bolognese specialties: tagliatelle al ragu and tortelloni al brodo, both delicious. I love that you could order ragu from 100 different restaurants in the city, and they would all be slightly different. They also had a great selection of inexpensive, local wines–we had a lovely sangiovese from Emilia-Romagna that went perfectly with the pasta.

Trattoria dal Biassanot 

This place was a recommendation from a former professor, and it didn’t disappoint. I had gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and Ari had the tortelloni al brodo (are you seeing a pattern?) and we shared the pork loin. If you’re looking for a perfect example of Bolognese cuisine, this is an excellent choice.

IMG_3039Hosteria Giusti

This tiny restaurant is in the neighboring town of Modena (about 20 minutes away by train) and is absolutely worth the trip. Housed in the back of a salumeria, it’s only open for lunch and the curated menu is perfectly executed by the Morandi family. Be sure to order the salumi plate with fried gnocchi–the prosciutto, salami and lardo is the best I have ever had, and the light-as-air pillows of dough were incredible. You can also order half portions (as to be able to try more things, of course) which left us feeling pleasantly full but not over-stuffed. Note: you need to make a reservation about a month in advance, so plan ahead.

Don’t miss: in addition to the incredible pasta, Bologna is also known for a few other specialties: piadine and aperitivo. I ate a piadina almost every day for lunch while studying abroad–it’s a kind of flatbread sandwich, typically filled with prosciutto or coppa and cheese. Aperitivo happens every day before dinner–remember, Italians eat dinner around 9 pm or later, so their “happy hour” is anywhere from 6 pm to 10 pm. Around this time, you’ll see restaurants and bars set out little plates of food, ranging from a bowl of potato chips to full plates of pasta. If you buy a drink (an Aperol or Campari spritz if you want to feel very Bolognese), then you can snack on the food as you like.

Travel: Bologna & Modena

Kale Caesar Salad Remixed

 

IMG_3687Kale salad has become pretty ubiquitous recently (I blame it on Bon Appétit calling it the best restaurant dish of the year a few years ago) but I still love it. My current favorite iteration is a take on the traditional Caesar, with plenty of crunchy greens, a lemony dressing with lots of umami flavor from the anchovies, and (the best part) a runny poached egg instead of mixing the eggs in the dressing.

IMG_3690Since kale can be a little tough to swallow (literally), I love cutting it in ribbons like a slaw to make it easier to grab with a fork and bite. You could also easily add a different protein like chicken or salmon for a heartier meal, but as-is, this makes a pretty lovely lunch.

IMG_3684Also, some news! Ari and I are leaving for Bologna, Italy (where we both studied abroad in college) and Nice, France this afternoon! It’s the first time I’m going back to Italy since studying there, and I can’t wait. We’ll be back on the 26th, and I’ll report back on restaurants, gelato, and all of the pizza–and I’m planning on writing a bit more about moving across the country and adjusting to a new city. IMG_3692

Continue reading “Kale Caesar Salad Remixed”

Kale Caesar Salad Remixed

End-of-Summer Peach Galette

IMG_3613Summer is my favorite season. I love the sweltering days leading into still-warm nights, the smell of sunscreen, and of course, all of the incredible produce summer has to offer. And my favorite of all of those wonderful fruits and vegetables are peaches. In New York, peaches had a pretty short growing season (July and August) and I would eat one pretty much every single day.

IMG_3605I’m still getting used to the idea that here in California, there aren’t really seasons–at least, not in the way that I’m used to them. The idea that it could be around 60 degrees in January boggles my mind (what do people talk about when they can’t walk about the weather??) But one thing I will definitely be able to get used to is the amazing produce all year-round–and I can’t say that I’ll miss only being able to buy apples and root vegetables for six months of the year.

IMG_3614I made this galette last week when Ari’s family came over for dinner–I love galettes because you get all of the flavor of pie but without the hassle of making a double crust or worrying about shaping the dough exactly right (plus, I don’t have a pie tin.) I’m loving our new kitchen too (and the fact that it’s a separate room! And there’s a DISHWASHER! If you’ve ever lived in New York, you know that’s not something to be taken lightly.) We’re still getting settled into our new little cottage, but it’s really starting to feel like home.

Continue reading “End-of-Summer Peach Galette”

End-of-Summer Peach Galette

Sesame Noodles

IMG_3548Oh, hello there. It’s been a while. And a lot has happened since my last post–I’m officially a California resident (not used to it yet), we moved into an apartment and bought a car (my first!) All very exciting, but one of the things I was most excited about when we found our place (which was a process, as anyone who’s looked for housing in the Bay Area recently knows) was the fact that I could cook again. After staying with very generous family and friends for more than six weeks, you can bet that I was anxious to get back in the kitchen, and the first thing I made when we were moved in were these sesame noodles.

IMG_3549

Sesame noodles were my go-to order from our local Chinese takeout in Brooklyn, and I haven’t found a place in Oakland (yet) that makes the same kind–so when I found this recipe from the New York Times, it seemed to perfect to pass up.

IMG_3558

These noodles come together in minutes and satisfied my craving for takeout Chinese exactly–now I just have to learn how to make scallion pancakes and I’ll be all set.

IMG_3560

Continue reading “Sesame Noodles”

Sesame Noodles