Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ode to tartine

The main thing I miss about traveling to SF every week (besides seeing my parents) is getting together with friends to eat amazing food at least once a week. I have a whole list of my favorite spots that I send to people when they travel there, and it was getting outdated because there are so many new and great places. My new favorite is Outerlands in the Outer Sunset neighborhood. I have many classics, but the one I will wax poetic about  right now is Tartine. I've talked about them before. Their cookbook contains my all-time, absolute favorite lemon bars recipe. It's a must-see spot. On my last week of travel, I discovered that my friend Ruel had never been. So we decided we must go to indoctrinate him, and satiate my cravings for it, since it will be a while till I get back to the city. We ordered the Pastrami sandwich that had two of my favorite ingredients: gruyére and horseradish. We'd be chatting and one of us would have to stop and take a moment while the horseradish drew a tear or two. SO. GOOD. 

We ordered two desserts, and I was only able to manage to get a picture of one, cause we devoured the other  (bread pudding—you know how I love my bread pudding) before I could think of documenting the evidence. Dessert #2: Banana Cream Tart. Here is the description on the menu: Flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream.Yup. It's as good as it sounds.

In summation. Go to San Francisco. Then, whatever you do, EAT HERE.

(ps, sorry about the crappy camera phone photography)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pear and Fresh Ginger Crisp

I love a good crisp. Warm fruit and spices with a crispy topping is just magic to me. It's one of the most ultimate comfort foods out there—and we all know how much I love my comfort food. I found this recipe in a cookbook called The Craft of Baking. The thing I love about this book is that it will give you a recipe and then on the side of said recipe it says "varying your craft" and gives you alternate versions to the original recipe. This is totally my steez, y'all. I love tweaking stuff and seeing what works better (and sadly, occasionally, sometimes worse) than the original. Most of my favorite recipes have come from that very practice. This book is definitely one of my favorites for this reason, and just the fact that it contains so much goodness. So, without further ado, here is the "varied" recipe of a Pear and Fresh Ginger Crisp.

6 ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, halved, cored, and diced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (4 oz.) almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoon (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the pears, ginger, sugar and flour. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until juices begin to draw out from the fruit, about 30 minutes.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix just to combine. Add the butter and mix just until the streusel comes together. Spread onto a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes.

Crumble the streusel with your fingers, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

Pour the fruit and juices into a 6-cup casserole or an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the streusel. Place the baking dish on the prepared baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the fruit in tender, the juices are bubbling and thickened, and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let the crisp cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The crisp is best eaten the day it is baked.