Food. Story Telling. Discovery.

What I Did This Summer

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(Drinking enough sangria, unfortunately, wasn't one of them)

Definitely not revamping the blog. Being technically challenged is painful to discover, especially if you're trying to gussy up the beloved blog. The makeover will come later when techie friends aren't dying of stress or I become graphically independent. But I can't put off posting any longer, so you get the same old same old. But with more thing to read ...

1. Moved into a new place that still had windows to be knocked out and carpets to un-flood. Still living out of boxes I cooked my first meal there: coddled eggs and butter crumbs. READ: poached eggs because they can sit out of the fridge and sauteed panko crumbs because they exploded in the moving box.

2. Gradually going mad. Work, social life—can't say precisely why.

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3. Met up with a friend who is quite possibly one of the best human beings in the world. We discovered he loves chilaquiles at the Red Iguana.

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3. Spent one painful weekend discovering a city with no bona fide bar or food scene. It's a bad thing when the best thing you ingested came out of a sundae glass and you had to eat it next to a huge fake ice cream cone with flashing lights.

4. Redeemed said trip with another to Colorado, meeting cool people, cooking in an awesome kitchen, and spending time in a ranch that has no internet connections or cell phone signal.

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5. Hung out with two incredible people: Jamie and Linda Gilmore. Met face to face the sheep that would become delicious Morgan Valley Lamb and got a mini-off road adventure in Jamie's pick-up through the most beautiful part of Hard Scrabble Canyon.

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3. Whirled through San Francisco and Napa with some crazy ass people.

4. Wandered the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market on a foggy, grey morning. Ate bursting ripe Adriatic figs for breakfast. A stranger (hot guy) caught me mid-reverie wearing a goofy grin and fig juice on my chin. The food nerd in me blushed. He smiled.

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5. Actually stocked up for the winter. Raspberries, peaches, and apricots sit beautifully in the freezer in unmarked Ziploc bags. Many thanks to Jarrod Weeks, Leon Wilson, Isaac, and Christi's friend's stubborn tree for all the good fruit.

6. Discovered a shitload of frozen egg whites in the freezer. Proceeded to make a shitload of meringues.

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7. Made my first ever fool—fresh currants, bubbled and blistered, cooked into a syrup and smartly blended with clouds of whipped cream. I added some of the meringues because I had a shitload.

8. Discovered that when drunk, I can cook up a feast for five friends in one hour. Clean-up, sober, takes about four days.

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9. Made risotto with corn, guanciale, and wild chanterelle and lobster mushrooms because I could.

10. Cooked dinner for a friend's family. Spent one full day with a view of beautiful valley and cooked twelve dishes for fifteen extraordinary people. For one night I was the 16th family member.

11. Even without sangria experimentation, successfully increased my wine tolerance. Still working on the whiskey tolerance.

12. Made the pasta pictured above in the first few days I moved into my apartment (and after I was sick of poached eggs and panko) and it's more than once gotten me out of a possible Wendy's run, meaning it's quick even for a lazy sod like me, comforted me when anxiety got a bit too much at home, and even fed me out of a drunken stupor.

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Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
NOTE: This is a throw-together sort of recipe. Don't judge me for not having measurements. I suppose not everyone will have artisan Italian sausage links in the freezer, so I'd venture to say breakfast links may work for this recipe. But don't quote me on the Jimmy Dean.

3 handfuls of penne pasta * however much broccoli rabe you feel like * a bit of onion or garlic chopped * olive oil * a shake of red pepper flakes * 1 italian sausage link * juice of 1/2 lemon * grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. A few minutes before it's done, add the broccoli rabe and finish cooking through. Drain everything into a colander and let rest. In the same pot, heat some olive oil. Add the garlic/onion, sausage, and pepper flakes. Cook until sausage is broken up and done. Add lemon juice. Add pasta/rabe combo into the pan and toss well. Add more olive oil if necessary. Serve hot with lots of parm. Eat hot, without breaths between bites.

UncategorizedVanessa Chang