I live in the suburbiest of suburbia. Green lawns, swimming pools, sprinklers. People walk in my neighborhood – all the time – but they’re walking their dogs or taking a walk, rather than walking to something.
But even in the suburbiest of suburbia, we have our little neighborhood attractions. An elementary school is in walking distance. So is the local branch of the library, and a small park. But best of all, we have a cafe. And not just any cafe. The kind of cafe you wish were in your neighborhood. The kind that makes amazing lattes, and has a menu of interesting salads and sandwiches, cute kitchen items for sale, jars of homemade caramels by the cash register, art by local artists, and the most mouthwatering bakery case you ever will see. Buttermilk pretzel rolls. Honey lavender scones. Kale and Gruyere croissants. Tomato Tartines. Salted caramel sticky buns.
Is it any wonder that we’re in there for breakfast nearly every weekend?
Continue reading Little Flower Cafe’s Breakfast Egg and Vegetable Terrine
I am something of a rhubarb fiend. My great-grandparents had a big patch of it when I was growing up, and stewed rhubarb featured heavily in visits. I love that tart-sweet unique flavor, and the glorious PINK color. It fulfills all my girly food fantasies.
I haven’t been able to find rhubarb for most of this spring. I forlornly cross-examined the clerks at Whole Foods (“But WHEN will you have it in stock?”), fruitlessly haunted farmers’ markets and researched growing my own, so I would not be left rhubarb-less forever (Apparently, Los Angeles used to be a huge center for commercial rhubarb growing, but sadly, it’s impossible to get the varieties that grow well in the heat any more).
Continue reading Rhabarberkuchen or Rhubarb Coffee Cake
I knew, when I moved back to California from New York, that I’d be losing fall. Fall in the Northeast was my favorite season — the crisp air, the brilliant colors, the smell of rain. I was always eager to don my sweaters and pull out the soup pot. We do get a semblance of that fall in Southern California — it just arrives in November or December and lasts until February.
September this year has been especially trying. I know intellectually that September is the hottest month of the year. But the seemingly endless string of days over 90 degrees are making me yearn for autumn relief more than usual. I am tired of grilled chicken and gazpacho. I want sweaters! Brussels sprouts! Bean soups! But really, the idea of eating bean soups when it’s 103 in the shade is … off-putting.
This french toast, then, is my brave attempt to bring a little autumn to my life. The Nuni loves french toast, and while pancakes seem daunting even for a weekend breakfast, I’m always up for a quick egg soak and a fast saute. The five cans of pumpkin puree in my cupboard (we can call it what it is — aspirational pumpkin) inspired me to spice up my usual quick and easy French toast with a little fall flair. I thought that pumpkin pie filling is really just pumpkin added to eggs, cream, sugar and spices — change the proportions slightly and you have the perfect soak for french toast. After all, I may not feel like turning on the oven, but I can handle 10 minutes on the stove.
Continue reading Pumpkin Pie French Toast, or the Hope of Autumn