25 February 2014

on again, off again, and a recipe for olive tapenade

i have a confession. i haven't baked bread in weeks. literally. as i mentioned before, i have a new job that currently keeps me busy 5 days a week. it's a great job and i'm learning oodles and oodles about the ins and outs of running a small business, but it means that i try and spend those precious 2 days off riding my bike or getting some of that glorious moab sunshine.

however, this will all change soon (i think). the beginning of tourist season is days away - i can imagine the throngs with their cameras around their necks and their jeeps gassed up, speeding their way to moab right this minute. when they do arrive we will be keeping our retail location on main street open much longer, so i'll be working less days. perhaps then i'll crank up the oven (just in time for the 90 degree heat, too!).

but until that day comes, i'd like to share a super simple recipe for olive tapenade. this may come as a shock to folks who have known me for a while. i used to despise olives, olives and mayonnaise that is. but before russ and i took off for morocco last winter i decided that, given our destination's inclusion of all things olives in their cuisine, i should probably get over my distaste. and you know what? it worked. i now sometimes willingly eat and enjoy olives at home (!). unbelievable what you can do if you put your mind to it. that being said, the absolute best olives we had were from spain, grown on the property of a friend whose parents harvested them themselves. i haven't had anything that good in the states. any recommendations?

olive tapenade
typically served with crackers or fresh bread, olive tapenade also makes an excellent rub for roasted chicken - simply rub beneath the skin before roasting. also, i recommend using a mortar and pestle for this dip, you have more control over the consistency and you heat the garlic which sometimes creates a bitter flavor, but it can also be made with a food processor.* well-covered, this will keep in the fridge up to a week.

2 cloves of garlic, peeled
large pinch of coarse salt, plus extra to taste
1 cup olives, pitted (i like kalamata because they're not too strong in flavor or saltiness)
2 tablespoons capers
1 handful fresh italian parsley leaves, roughly torn
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. in a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic cloves and a large pinch of salt until it forms a paste.
  2. add about 1/3 of the olives and pound with the pestle until crushed. continue adding olives until they are all crushed to your desired consistency. add the capers and crush.
  3. add the fresh parsley and black pepper and crush until the parsley leaves are mostly broken down.
  4. slowly add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly with the pestle after each addition. taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
 *if you are using a food processor blend all ingredients, except for olive oil, until desired consistency is reached. Using the food processor's opening in the lid, slowly add the oil in a steady stream while the blender is running. 

16 January 2014


december in san diego

I didn't intend to take two months off. really, I didn't. I had grand ideas of baking complicated and comforting treats all winter long (croissants! brioche! biscotti!), there were to-do lists and recipes bookmarked, everything was good to go.

so what happened?

23 November 2013

snow for thanksgiving

it snowed. not just a dusting, no. it started snowing yesterday afternoon and didn't let up until sometime early this morning.
typically around this time of year i have a plane ticket purchased, my bags are nearly packed, and i'm ready to fly to a warmer destination (see: no snow). this winter is a different story. i'm hunkering down and settling into moab for the long haul. now don't get me wrong, our winters are very mild when compared to those of say, montana or the dakotas, but for a girl raised in the every-single-day-is-72-degrees climate of southern california, this is the real deal.

14 November 2013

early morning musings

5:40am  i've been up for an hour now. whaaaaaat? oh ya. it's sourdough day people. due to the way i bake these loaves (in cast iron dutch ovens), i can only bake in very, embarrassingly small batches. therefore, it's early to rise to get it all done before heading to the restaurant in the evening.

the silence at this time of day possesses a kind of substance; it feels full, pregnant with the anticipation of the sun and all that it's warmth will bring. don't get my wrong, i do not like getting up this early, but there is something exceptionally calming about rising before el sol to bake bread [i hope to refer back to this statement when (if?) i own a bakery and am rising at 4:00am to bake 300 loaves]. doing something with precise intention, setting your self and your comforts aside to accomplish something greater, for others, is immensely satisfying.

also: yay coffee!

05 November 2013

baking for thanksgiving

this is my cat, lolita.

this photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but how could i not share a capture like this? it would just be mean.

anyway, i'm beginning to think about thanksgiving and this little baking operation i have going on. i would like to offer something special, something homemade (of course), for you all to share with your friends and loved ones on thursday november 28th. i have some ideas of my own (all-butter pie dough, parker house rolls, pecan shortbread cookies), but would love to hear some suggestions from you, if you have them.

30 October 2013

adios october

working at my "desk" today, experimenting with some bread before the baking week ahead.
thinking about ciabatta and croissants and wedding cakes for friends...lots to do.
until then, thanks everyone for all the feedback and support! i'll be covering our kitchen in flour all winter long, so stay tuned.

23 October 2013

desolation and a facebook page

well, i survived 7 days on the river. it was a beautiful and very special trip through desolation and gray canyons. i felt as though i was a world away, something i love about utah and it's wild places. we were never more than a few hours from moab, but we were so isolated that had an emergency occurred and a rescue been necessary, it would have been hours (or more) before someone could get to us. scary, but a situation that inevitably makes you feel very vulnerable and, more importantly, very alive.