Early fall in the Bay Area is often regarded as the most beautiful time of the year, our Indian Summer. Unlike the often cold and foggy months of summer, September and October generally bring sunny days, warm enough for outdoor adventures and dining al fresco. It’s also the time of year when everything in my grocery store is available in pumpkin spice and my Instagram feed is full of friends eagerly anticipating fall festivities. This juxtaposition leaves me torn between holding onto the fleeting feeling of summer and embracing the coziness of fall. On a recent patch of colder days, the fall bug finally got me. I set to making one of my fall favorites, caramels. Bourbon, sea salt caramels.
Nothing beats the pleasure of baking a cake for a child’s birthday. The recipient is invariably excited and, of course, easily impressed. Having become inured to teenage contempt and adult-onset apathy, watching someone eat your creations with the gusto and abandon of a 4-year-old is a rare and refreshing delight. When the opportunity to bake a birthday cake for an adorable little cousin fell into our laps, we couldn’t wait to get started. (more…)
We held a fabulous dinner party a few weeks ago to celebrate all things pork-related and to usher in that delightful season of conviviality and festivity we call “The Holidays.” We gathered together to toast good friends, communal consumption, and the sizzle of bacon on hot cast iron. In early preparation for the annual Thanksgiving parade of gluttony, we pulled out all the stops. For those of you with an aversion to pig products or meat in general, we advise you to proceed with caution (although the sumptuous bounty we presented did manage to seduce two traditionally-vegetarian dining companions). (more…)
Contrary to what many of our posts may lead you to believe, the San Francisco Bay Area is a place where people really care and put thought into their diets. In addition to promoting our general health and well-being, you will commonly see and hear words like vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, and paleo while dining out or during a trip to the local grocery. Luckily for the folks that fall into any of those categories, most restaurants and grocery stores in the area are now catering to an array of diets and food allergies.
“Hot churros! Get your hot churrrros!” shouts the hot churro man. It’s an ice-cold June evening in AT&T Park, and you want both the churro man and his hot churros to keep you warm. Alas, the churros are obscenely expensive, probably not terribly hot, and the churro guy is not going to get your come-ons when there are 15 glaring baseball fans standing between the two of you. The only solution? Make your own at home! (more…)
I think the true key to achieving impressive feats – whether it’s hosting a five-course dinner party, formulating an experiment that produces publishable results, or completing a full marathon – is a healthy dose of naive enthusiasm. We were on Food52 looking for something else entirely when a picture caught our eye: golden-brown caramels, topped with toasted pepitas and fleur de sel. Hey, those look good, we said, let’s make them tonight. And so, with no prior planning we embarked into the unknown. There was a brief moment of clarity on the way home – I have a historic success rate of 50% when it comes to caramels – but then the enthusiasm flared and I forgot all about the disasters potentially awaiting us in the kitchen. (more…)
Baking a birthday cake for a friend is a meaningful gesture. I was greeted at work on my birthday with a flamboyantly decorated desk and a sweet cake baked by the other half of First We Eat (the lady without a sweet tooth, nonetheless!). When our coworkers birthday rolled around, we wanted to surprise her with a pretty treat. What better than a recipe that takes advantage of the abundance of blueberries in boxes, in barrels, in crates at our local markets? We hurried to Monterey Market (our favorite source by far of fresh produce in the East Bay) and scooped up as many as we could. (literally: we were looking at a mountainous pile of blueberries with a plastic scoop). Returning home with our plunder, we began to build this lemony cake. (more…)
Nothing says “party” like confetti. Whether you’re remembering confetti cannons during the Giants parade, a booby-trapped card sent by your grandma, or a wild New Year’s celebration, confetti says, “let’s not worry about cleaning this up; let’s just enjoy this moment.” Funfetti, similarly, is all about the party. During childhood, that party was your best friend’s birthday (pre-sugar crackdown) when her mom made multi-colored cupcakes for the whole class. In high school, you partied at your house with your drug of choice (sugar), baking a pan of Pillsbury cake and singing along with your favorite musicals. Now, entering adulthood, you demand a good bar with strong drinks and a relaxed policy about homemade birthday cakes. (more…)
Lemon poppy seed has found its way into our collective bosom here at First We Eat. Sugary enough for my insatiable sweet tooth, restrained enough for my FWE partner’s own taste, lemon poppy seed cake is a perfect compromise. It’s delicate and fruity, fluffy but with a richness that we both find irresistible. As we all know the richness is the product of a lot of butter, but you only get set much time on this earth and you should make the most of it (this sentence is the adult equivalent of shouting “YOLO”). (more…)
Whipped up for a potluck (does your life ever feel like an endless game of potluck roulette?) these little cookies were a perfect dessert, served with a small scoop of ice cream. They are crisp and buttery, but the addition of polenta yields an unexpected bite to each sweet mouthful. A dash of rosemary gives these cookies an irresistible scent and complements their, well, rustic appearance. Better yet, the dough comes together in minutes – unless, like me, you don’t have a food processor, in which case it takes what feels like hours – and bakes nearly as quickly. (more…)