Volcan Valley Apple Farm

09-28-14 Apple Picking 032This past Sunday we went apple picking with our good friends Mark and Christine who are expecting! These days I see a lot of apple orchard feeds on blogs and ig but it’s such a novelty for me, the city dweller! We made our way up to Julian’s Volcan Valley Apple Farm (about an hour outside of SD) which had 5 varieties of apples to choose from. As we were walking up and down the rows of apple trees, we discovered Golden Delicious apples which none of us has ever heard of before and it was …wait for it .. delicious! It didn’t taste like an apple to me and it made me a believer. We walked away with four bags of mainly Golden Delicious apples that day.

BUT FIRST, we stopped by Julian Pie Company because Christine has had their apple pie and said it was to die for … she’s also pregnant so she’s the boss. The pies were indeed amazing. Now, I actually don’t like pie fillings, just the pie crust and Julian Pie’s pie crust is so good – sturdy yet flaky. After we fed ourselves with enough pie to last the rest of fall, we went to work at the orchard.

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Eat your veggies

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09-18-14 Juicing 025Recently we watched the much talked about “Forks over Knives” on netflix – a documentary that promotes the benefits of a whole food plant diet. While we probably won’t be making such a drastic change to our diet anytime soon, we do think there is truth to benefits from eating more veggies. I’ve recently started juicing – it helps that Aaron can bring home tons of cucumbers from the farm and I usually add kale, apple, celery and spinach to the concoction. I have to say we polish the juice off pretty quickly and are usually fighting over the last glass. Since my mom’s cancer diagnosis three years ago, we’ve been paying more attention to the food we put into our body. It’s something that I think about a lot and hope to be more mindful as I cook meals for my family. Here are some pictures of veggies in the kitchen. Wishing everyone a good weekend, filled with healthy food.

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09-18-14 Juicing 012White Bean Kale Soup from Epicurious

09-18-14 Juicing 019Summer Succotash over Zucchini Fritter both from Smitten Kitchen

Story of Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

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Can I tell you a story about Panna Cotta? Once upon a time, Aaron and I were visiting New York – or I should say eating our way through New York. One night we ended up at Mario Batali’s Babbo near Washington Square. Aaron still swears that we saw him hanging out in the alleyway next to the restaurant but I’m not convinced – that’s not the point of the story! Everything that night was delicious, from Squid Ink Pasta to Lamb Brain Ravioli but the one thing that blew our minds was the Saffron Panna Cotta. It was the most heavenly Panna Cotta I’ve ever had. Not too creamy, not too sweet and just the right amount of lightness. Ever since then we’ve been trying to replicated to no success. Sometimes it wouldn’t set right, sometimes it’s too creamy, the whole thing just seemed impossible. A couple of months ago, I was making my way through one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks and I came across her Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries. There was a little blurb in the cookbook about how she loved the Panna Cotta at Babbo and this recipe was inspired by it. I loved the recipe because it felt almost fool proof. I’ve done this a few times now and each time it has set beautifully. Now there is a whole other story about passion fruits but I’ll spare you. Long story short, we got ourselves some fresh passion fruits and decided to make Passion Fruit Panna Cotta. The recipe is as follows and is adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. If you decide to give this a try, let me know how it goes!

Ingredients:

3/4 packet (1.5 teaspoon) unflavored gelatin powder

1 1/2 tablespoon cold water

1 1/2 heavy cream

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup fresh passion fruit juice

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Cut each fruit in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then push it through it through a fine sieve. We found that each passion fruit gave varying amount of juice. We used about 10 total.

In a bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin. Let it set for 10 min, it should result in a gummy texture.

In another bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, all of the yogurt and vanilla extract. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and all the sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and remove from heat. Then add the gelatin to the hot cream and stir. Pour the hot cream gelatin mixture into the cold cream yogurt mixture. Once everything is combine, stir in passion fruit juice. Pour into 4 (6-8oz) ramekins and refrigerate until cold. Then wrap with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

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This final picture was actually taken just 5 hours after we put it in the refrigerator because we were impatient, that’s why it looks a little runny. We had the rest the following night and it was set beautifully. The trick to getting it out of the ramekins is to dip the bottom of the ramekin into a bowl of hot water. Then flip it over on a plate and it should slip out.

We also made a simple syrup with the left over passion fruit juice. Cut up some fruit and bon appetit!

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Suzie’s Farm Fourth Annual Autumnal Equinox Dinner

09-20-14 Suzie's Farm Equinox Dinner (D800) 001dThis past Saturday we went to Suzie’s Farm Fourth Annual Autumnal Equinox Dinner. (now say that three more times) It was such a beautiful event, hosted by Suzie’s farm (see our past visit here) with catering from Whisknladle hospitality and drinks from a local brewery, Ballast Point. The evening started with cocktail hour which served oven roasted flat bread, zucchini fritter and a variety of drinks, all made with produce that were grown right on the farm. Even Ballast Point’s beer utilized their cucumbers and sancho buttons. On a side note, we were introduced to sancho buttons a few months ago; it’s the most bizzar plant and when you bite down into it, it numbs your whole mouth. We now keep a bag of it in our fridge just to terrorize, I mean entertain, our dinner guests.

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Running High

Photo Sep 01, 12 22 23 PMI’ve been running for about six years now – sure, from time to time life gets in the way of consistent running but for the most part running has been a part of my life. I love running for its simplicity – you don’t need anything but a pair of shoes to run. OtherMix is the first blog I’ve read that featured runners from time to time on her Running High series and today you can find me over there talking about my running experience. Click on over to check it out.

Flea Market and Farm Shop

While we were up in LA we did a few other things – we visited our friend’s new baby, went to the Rose Bowl flea market early Sunday morning, had brunch at Farm Shop Brentwood and found a new Korean shaved ice shop in Torrance – but really this post is to dump the rest of the pictures from this past weekend … let’s just be honest.

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Heatwave and Simpons

Photo Sep 10, 3 55 19 PMIt’s that time of year when my blog feeds are filled with pictures of leaves turning, boots and sweaters that it puts me in the mood for fall so I start pulling out my sweaters and scarfs …. then I walk out of the house and it’s 100 degrees. oh yeah, I live in California. In fact, this week we hit a heat wave and it left my parents house without power for two nights. The lowest it got to was 77 and that was at 2 in the morning. Come on! Let the fall begin already!

Despite the heat, we headed up to LA to catch the Simpons at the Bowl concert. (being the bowlaholic that I am) It’s the first year they are doing this and it was a lot more fun than I had anticipated. They brought out some of the cast, the creator, the music composer and some special guests including Conan. My favorite part was probably sitting among all these Simpsons fan that can sing each song word for word. I thought Aaron was the only one … he found his kind that night.

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Photo Sep 13, 6 18 47 PMI don’t know what they were doing, but I was having myself a donut

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Photo Sep 13, 6 52 55 PMThat’s my Homer impression … I need to work on it.

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