Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's Make Olive Oil Cake

Cooking with Laura was one of the best bits about my old, temporary dwelling on Fillmore Street. My sweet fellow Texan took the offhanded mention of my food blog and really ran with it. She took me to the Mission street food fest, to Bi-Rite and Nopa and Little Star Pizza, and she performed in the tiny SF kitchen.

Back in August, we made Maialino's Olive Oil Cake. It was unlike any cake I have ever tasted—orange zest, liquor, buttery, moist with olive oil. But delightful nonetheless. Check out the images below and give it a shot yourselves.

P.S. I recommend topping with fruit. Oh yes.


Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes.)
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.
  5. Enjoy with friends!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just Peachy

Mmm August. When the city was largely unknown, and life was transitional, and we made sweet Peach Raspberry Jam. It was still warm as we spread the jam over slices of bread, adding bites of cheese and occasionally licking our fingers. Sure, there were nearly twenty jars in the fridge waiting to "pop," but we chose to savor every oozing drop of the thick, homemade nectar.

I watched and photographed (trick work, I'll tell ya), as Laura and her coworker made Peach Raspberry Jam two separate ways. All I can tell you now... nearly two months later... one recipe called for lots of sugar, and the other recipe—not so much. Thus, you hardly need to guess which one I preferred.

So, what's the point of this post? Well... to reminisce. To remember sweet moments and fruit with cheese and bread. To encourage you to make your own jam. To make future plans to make my own jam. To honor jam.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fleet Week

We stood on the roof and watched the planes fly overhead. It was Fleet Week.

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"Taking place over three consecutive days, this event attracts over a million people every year. The United States Navy Blue Angels put on a breathtaking display, while on the ground visitors enjoy a family friendly festival featuring the Fleet Week Humanitarian Village."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Piece of Texas

The best birthday presents this year were all little tokens of Texas. My parents sent me a cowhide rug for my apartment, my friends sent me texts and voicemails and letters from home, and sweet Kelley sent me a Pecan Pie from Goode Company BBQ. All of these things traveled miles and miles, and upon arrival, they filled my heart so full.

Texas is pretty sweet, and the people there really make it the best.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rules for a Golden Year

I'm setting down some ground rules for the best year yet.
1. Invite people into my home and life.
2. Schedule time for spontaneity.
3. Unplug and get outdoors. Inhale and exhale.
4. Be present on public transportation.
5. Make time to go sit in random places.
6. Listen to tangible music.
7. Be conscious of consumerism.
8. Work with what you already have.
9. Say hello to Texas friends, and friends near and far.
10. Walk along the water mindfully.
11. Keep meeting strangers and hearing stories.
12. Pursue creativity.
13. Get out of town.
14. More pillows and salsa and snail mail.
15. Cook with friends and savor dinner.
16. Set your intention for the day.
17. Lift up others, serve others.
18. Pray for this community.
19. Drive with the windows down.
20. Always appreciate time with good, smart friends.
21. Don't answer work emails on the weekend. Take a true Sabbath.
22. Eat more good foods.
23. Find ways to care for my family from afar.

Kaity joined me on the couch and helped me brainstorm some of these goals. She pushed and stretched my thoughts—"that's too vague, Vic... that's not a goal"—until we finally reached magic number 23. So, why these goals then?

Invite people into my home and life. — I think we have a very special home, Kaity, Melinda and I. Who can call a place a home after just mere weeks? But truly, I look forward to coming home from work to sit in this place with these people, opening bay windows, cleaning dishes, sharing stories. I need to invite people into this home and community.

Unplug and get outdoors. Inhale and exhale. — On a recent trip out of the city to Mount Tam and Stinson Beach, I was reminded of sweet smelling air. I think we forget our sense of smell sometimes unless we're looking for it..a scent, or something overwhelms us. Mmm but fresh air can be so good. That change can be so good, too.

Be present on public transportation. — Because I really do not have anything more important on my phone than the people sitting around me.

Listen to tangible music. — With my job especially, I am plugged in all. day. long. Spotify, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Email, you name it. So when I get home, I need to unplug. Really, my brain is melting. Unplug unplug unplug now now now. But I still like music and I've added a record player and some scratchy vinyls to the ambience. It is more tangible.

Keep meeting strangers and hearing stories. — Stories might be the most important thing in my life, and I miss focusing on this.

More pillows and salsa and snail mail. — Hold tight to those things you love. Self-explanatory.

Set your intention for the day. — I have a homepage that asks, "What is your main focus for today?" It's about setting your intention, your hopes and your goals and your attitude.

Eat more good foods. — Oh, and it's all good food out here.

Find ways to care for my family from afar. — Hello, family. I miss you much. See you at Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Birthday Celebration

They say it's your birthday...
It's my birthday too yeah!

Two weeks ago, I celebrated my golden birthday in the golden city. And that sentence alone comprises a perfect blog post. But there's so much more. I turned 23, and it was my first birthday outside of my sweet home state. Thus, I held September 23rd loosely in my hands. I was away from friends and family and fellow Texans, but still... I felt incredibly loved and cared for.

I attribute all birthday goodness to you guys, and to the community I have built for myself out here. Actually, more like the community that has been given to me. My day consisted of birthday candles and La Boulange, sweet roommate thoughtfulness and mimosas and my favorite Mexican shirt dress, a work desk overflowing with candy and endless party playlists, one long-long-long day at the office followed by a kids grilled cheese & french fries, and all topped off with champagne in my living-bed room with new friends and old (ahem, Beatles record).

But also, the whole day was peppered with messages and calls and voicemails and love notes.

All in all, 23 is pretty good.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's Go to the Beach, Beach

Let's go get away. Which we did. Just last weekend. It was adventure day.

Kaity and I, (guys...Kaity is my one of my lovely San Francisco roommates, you'll be hearing a lot about her and Melinda. formal introductions soon), went to Mount Tam, hiked a bit, then we figured, "hey, why not drive-by Stinson Beach and scope it out." I'm a big fan of drive-bys. Not to take the spontaneous out of situations, but to prep camera and just artistic/creative ideas. Or maybe to amp up my own enthusiasm, too? Regardless, we got sucked into the best brunch ever–case in point: BBQ pulled pork eggs benedict–and then a barefoot stroll along Stinson Beach.

Oh I think it's safe to say that we are now fans of California/Stinson/Bay Area/etc. BIG. FANS.

Also, are you a beach or mountain person? Because apparently in California, you can be both!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Mount Tam

We climbed like 2,000 feet and it was INSANE. Okay... not really crazy, but Mount Tam is essentially our backyard. Kaity and I adventured, inhaled pine-sweet fresh air, drove along the coast, and lived in nature. We're going to do it again. Maybe even each weekend.

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