Friday, November 20, 2015

Food I'm Eating: Warm Olive and Marcona Almond Salad with Mozzarella

The version shared with me says "Best eaten informally standing in the kitchen before dinner is served, or sitting around a coffee table. It is particularly good with chilled Champagne or rich, dry sherry, like Oloroso or Palo Cortado. It's most successfully enjoyed served without plates or silverware in a big flat serving platter, right from the pan." It also admonishes "No silverware!" The idea was to use the bread (see below) to pick up the food with and to encourage conversation at the start of a party, but many at the gathering I attended found it easier to use a utensil--namely a fork. I will share the proper attribution for this recipe as soon as I can track it down. I record the recipe here because, if I don't, I'll lose it.


1 cup canola oil
½ cup peeled garlic cloves
1 garlic bulb, cut in half
1 fresh serrano chile cut in half lengthwise
2 pints assorted PITTED olives--a variety of colors and flavors recommended
1½ cups Marcona almonds or whole blanched skinless almonds
2 small jars marinated artichoke hearts with their oil
1 tbsp. good red wine vinegar
8 oz small-size fresh mozzarella cheese, drained, at room temperature, Or larger mozzarella cut into smaller pieces.
4 oz. Manchego cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 oz. Gruyere, or any other similarly textured cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 basket cherry tomatoes
1 head Belgian endive, leaves separated, then cut in half
Black pepper
1  cup whole parsley leaves
1 cup basil leaves, torn
Zest of one lemon


In a small saucepan, sauté the peeled garlic cloves in the canola oil until golden brown, stirring often--about 5 minutes. Remove the cloves and transfer them to a paper towel. Reserve the garlic oil.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add three Tbsp. of the garlic oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the garlic cut sides of the garlic bulb down into the pan and sear for three to four minutes, add the chile halves and continue to sauté until the chiles are brown, being careful not to burn them.

Add the olives and almonds and continue to sauté until hot all the way through--three to four minutes more--tossing often.

Add the cherry tomatoes, the artichoke hearts and all of their oil and cook for another minute or two, stirring or tossing continuously until the tomatoes are warmed through and beginning to swell. Add the vinegar and lemon zest and stir well.

Add the hard cheeses and continue to toss until they begin to melt.

Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella balls all at once. Stirring or tossing well. Stir in the parsley, basil, and endive leaves and season with pepper.

Turn out the salad into a large serving platter and serve immediately with rustic bread, cut into thick chunks. Serves 8-10.

Miscellaneous: San Francisco City Hall Lit with the Colors of France (November 18)

I attended a San Francisco Symphony concert on November 18, at Davies Symphony Hall. Diagonally across the street from the concert hall, City Hall was lit with the colors of France in recognition of the attacks in Paris earlier in the week. The concert was a recital by Leif Ove Andsnes. He played music by Sibelius, Beethoven, Debussy, and Chopin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Miscellaneous: Tricycle Sailors

The mistakes made by voice recognition software (which I sometimes use in my job as a translator) are mostly annoying. Once in a while, however, the software makes an intriguing substitution. Today I got "tricycle sailors." I like the image.

What I actually said was "triacetyl cellulose."

I did an image search on Google using the words "tricycle sailor." I found tricycle sailors. Little boys in sailor suits riding tricycles seems to have been a thing. Who knew?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rain: 0.3 Inches Overnight on November 14

It rained last night here in the middle of the night. I didn't hear anything, but I had emptied the rain gauge and this morning there was evidence of rain and 0.3 inches of new precipitation in the rain gauge. That brings our total so far for the 2015-2016 rain year (calculated from October 1 2015 through September 30 2016) to 1.25 inches. That's something, but we're well behind the historical average for November 15, which is 4.05 inches.
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