Snapdragons, Purple Artichokes, and Mulberries
Plus: The Breville Barista Pro, Anchovy Plates, and Craig's First Dinner Back.
Hope you’re having a good start to your Monday. I had a very fruitful (heh heh) trip to the Atwater Village farmer’s market yesterday, where I picked up everything that you see above: gorgeous snapdragons (Only $6), sun gold tomatoes, purple artichokes, two types of cherries, nasturtiums, and — totally new to me — mulberries.
The farmer who sold me the mulberries told me “they’re sweeter than blackberries and not at all tart.” That turned out to be a perfect description and I couldn’t stop eating them. In fact, I still have a few in the fridge, excuse me while I go have a snack.
Everything at the market was so bright and inviting, even the tomatoes which are a few months early. I bought more stuff than usual because yesterday Craig came home after FOUR MONTHS away in Concord, Mass making a movie.
A little certain someone with four paws and a tail was pretty happy to see him.
After shooting through a brutal Massachusetts winter (night shoots out in the cold), Craig was more than happy to be home in L.A. I even hung up a Welcome Home banner.
But I didn’t stop there! Me and the welcome home committee (that’s Winston) also got Craig a very, very nice gift.
That’s right: I got him the Breville Barista Pro! (Note: this isn’t sponsored by Breville and I didn’t get any discount, in case you’re suspicious.)
Craig’s from the Pacific Northwest and takes his coffee VERY VERY seriously. Up ‘til now, we’ve used a traditional coffee maker and a burr grinder, but now we’re upping our game. Behold my very first homemade macchiato.
This machine is wonderful because it grinds the beans for you and you can adjust the grind size as you experiment with your various pulls. The goal is to get a double espresso shot to pull in 25 to 35 seconds. It took me a while to get there, but I did get there after just a tries and a lot of time watching. YouTube videos. Now I’m working on getting microfoam in the milk so I can make latte art. One day at a time! If you have any latte art tips (or Breville Barista Pro tips in general), sound off in the comments.
In other news, my friends Ryan and Jonathan just got back from Italy and they very thoughtfully brought me this anchovy plate and bowl.
I love them so much, I already put the plate to work last night, pre-dinner, with a little spread of farmer’s market vegetables with tahini yogurt dip (literally just whisked together a cup of Greek yogurt, a few squirts of tahini, a grated clove of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and Aleppo pepper).
Oh how I love a sugar snap pea.
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Dinner, of course, was that old saw: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans.
I served it with a natural wine from Mexico that was lip-smackingly good.
For dessert? Actual rainbow rainbow cookies that I made for a future A.G. YouTube video. And speaking of A.G. Youtube videos, don’t forget to watch this week’s where I make the pasta FROM SCRATCH:
Now for some links:
Testing out Anna Wintour’s go-to lunch (Grub Street);
Here’s a helpful summer reading guide — I recommend Molly Shannon’s book for a summer read, but definitely do the audio version because she’s so fun to listen to (The Atlantic);
The restaurant dress code is back? Not sure I buy it (NYT);
17 Essential Coffee Bars in L.A… that I’ll no longer need to go to now that I have an espresso maker (Eater LA);
That’s all for this week, folks!
I’m taking the rest of the week off: headed to Palm Springs with Craig for some R&R over Memorial Day weekend. See you back here next week! Hope you have a great kick-off to your summer.