Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The 7-year hiatus I the first person in the history of the world to return to a blog after a 7-year hiatus?

I actually thought I'd lost The Hungry Dog. I put it aside for awhile, a few years, and then one day, maybe three or four years ago, I went to find a recipe and the blog was gone! Too long since I'd logged in or something; everything was gone. I felt pretty sad. I mean, I spent a lot of time writing all those posts. 

But then today, while going through some old recipe emails, I came across a link to an old post and to my surprise, it worked! So. Here we are. Although, I doubt anyone still reads blogs, unless it's done ironically.

A few things have happened in the world since May 2014. For starters, our country elected a lunatic for President, who actually served a full term! Boy, does it feel good to be on the other side of that now. Adults are in charge! And, we elected the first female Vice President! That's pretty huge. 

We also had a pandemic, in case you didn't know. That's been a real treat. And there's tons of stuff that is just too depressing to get into...domestic terrorists storming the Capitol, anti-vaxxers, wildfires, floods, buildings collapsing, asshole billionaires rocketing into space, but even worse, returning. It's a lot.

Here at the Hungry Dog household, we've also had some changes. So, first, we no longer live in San Francisco! We left in 2018 and spent a strange, stimulating, and surreal year in Los Angeles. We lived in the middle of the city, which, like some things in life, somehow turned out to be the best and the worst at the same time. We were five minutes from LACMA, Petit Trois, Connie & Ted's, Mozza, etc--but about two minutes from the saddest states of human existence you can imagine. We were one block from one of the fancier neighborhoods in L.A., but also one block from tent encampments. Our bikes got stolen from the locked bicycle storage in our building. And one day, the abandoned meth house next to our apartment building went up in flames and we had to be evacuated. It was...rough. On the upside, L.A. is hands-down the most interesting and diverse place I've ever lived, and the food absolutely rivals San Francisco's. We lived within minutes of Koreatown, Little Armenia, and Filipinotown. 

In 2019 we hit the road and headed to San Diego, which is where we've been ever since. San Diego is a very pretty, easy, simple place to live. It's not very interesting and the food is overall pretty lame. But, did I mention how pretty it is? And how easy it is? Everything takes 10 minutes to get to. It's been a great respite after L.A., and the ideal place to ride out Covid. 

Other stuff hasn't changed. Same jobs. Same huz. Same pup. Although, sweet Soph has entered her golden years. Much as we did for Frannie, the original Hungry Dog, we've got an elaborate caretaking schedule to tend to her every need. It's hard, but I know it's a lucky thing, too. To have a dog that lives a long life is what you want, right?

Anyway, that about catches us up. I might start posting again; our cooking in San Diego is vastly different than it was in SF. We have a grill here, and that's been fun. I finally understand not wanting to turn on the oven in the summer. In San Francisco, we did it to heat up the house on cold July days. Life is funny.

Hope you're all well, and thanks to anyone who actually read this. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pizza, cake, Kauai

Um, it's already May?

Once, when I was much younger, I commented on how fast time flies and an annoying cousin said to me, smugly, "Wait until you get older." It bugged me at the time (because being the youngest always meant that everyone else knew everything before me) but of course it turned out to be true. This year is flying by faster than ever, and this poor blog is getting left in the dust.

It's hard to keep the momentum up with a blog, as any of you who keep one know. Thinking of things to say and dishes to make, trying to finagle a decent photo, editing it, etc, then feeling sad if you don't get as many readers or comments as you feel the post deserves--it's tiring. It can hurt your ego. And there have been times where I've felt like I've outgrown this blog--sometimes I don't think I care about writing about food anymore. And sometimes I feel like I have to be careful about what I say on this blog--it's actually weirder to have people you know read it than total strangers. (Luckily, one can have a secret blog on which they can be their full anonymous self.) Anyway, I'm back, after a hiatus. Sort of, at least.

Recently, I started making pizza.

I always resisted making pizza but now I'm kind of into it. I like the kneading part. Do I have aggressions to work out? Yes, who doesn't? Dough is a good thing to take them out on.

I also like covering the dough to rise and checking on it periodically to assess its progress. It's a miracle to me that dough rises, all because of a little thing called yeast (some call it science). 

We've been using this recipe, which is as simple and good as it promises. It makes two pizzas, and generally we've been doing one tomato-y one and one white pie. So far, the best combos are tomato with mozzarella, arugula, and serrano ham; and  zucchini with ricotta and pine nuts. I haven't really been into taking pictures much these days but I did get a Hipstamatic of a shaved asparagus and crispy ham pie we made, which was pretty delicious.


I've also been baking a lot of cakes. I made this blueberry crumb cake for Easter brunch.

It was a total hit. You should try it. But, make it in a springform pan. Silly Ina, how am I going to get a crumb cake out of a regular cake pan?

The other thing I made for Easter brunch that was a little bit interesting, although not a cake, was strawberry bellinis.  I kind of went apeshit for them. Basically, you make a simple syrup, puree it with frozen (!) strawberries, strain the seeds, mix it with prosecco, and voila! They really were good, although a bit of a girly drink. That worked out fine for Easter, though, as with the exception of the huz (good sport!) it was me, my mom, and some of my girls. I hate to encourage a cliche, but girls like pretty pink drinks.

I also recently made this cardamom and coffee pound cake for the second time. The first time I made it in a loaf pan (per the recipe), but I underbaked it. While the flavor was amazing, the center was a gooey blob. This time I did it in a bundt pan, the king of pans, in my opinion, rivaled  only by the springform (I could write an ode to the springform pan). Turned out much better. I cheated and just used regular jarred cardamom but I have no doubt going the extra mile and roasting, grinding, etc the cardamom yourself would be divine. I think what truly makes this cake special, though, is the espresso in it. And the creme fraiche. And the vanilla bean icing. Vanilla bean icing! My heart melts at the words.

This is one of those great cakes that can be dessert or breakfast.  I feel like a cake with icing can be breakfast but a cake with frosting cannot. Although, typing that now, I'm not sure that should be a hard and fast rule.


We're headed to Kauai next week. Kauai is tied with Paris for my favorite place on earth. We have talked a lot about moving to Kauai, and one of the main reasons we have had trouble taking the plunge is that it would make our flight to Paris that much longer. That isn't the only reason, but it's up there, along with having to put Soph into a short quarantine. Actually, those might be the only two reasons.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Maple once, maple twice

Around Christmas, we bought some panettone. While I don't care for the idea of fruit cake, I'll throw down on some panettone. I splurged and bought a fancy one at our grocery store, wrapped in crisp red paper and tied with a ribbon. Here is how pretty it looked (thanks, Amazon!).

My original idea was to make French toast with it, but that panettone was so pillowy and delicious it seemed a shame to weigh it down with milk and egg and syrup. So, instead we toasted it and ate it with butter and jam. Good idea, right?

The thing is, I'd already bought some maple syrup. Now, we don't eat many pancakes or French toast, and the husband isn't wild about maple as a flavor. But with a bottle of Vermont's finest, I figured I ought to do something worthy of it.

First, I made these scones.

These were good! But mostly because of the maple icing. The scone, um, body is perfectly nice, but let's face it, the glaze is what makes these scones sing.  There may be people out there that do not care for the idea of icing making its way into a breakfast item, but I am not one of them.

After the scones, I still had some syrup left. I also had pears, which always seem to go from hard and angry to mushy and sad in about 4 minutes.  I captured them right as they were sliding into their brief happy stage and made this maple-pear upside down cake.

I'd been holding on to this recipe literally for years--clipped it out of the Times the day it was printed in 2009. But see, I never have maple syrup on hand. So, finally...well, you see how this went down.

I didn't end up having enough syrup--I was 1/4 cup shy--but it didn't matter. And I decreased the sugar in the cake because I was worried it was going to be too sweet to pass for a breakfast cake (two of my favorite words when paired together). It was divine. Mine baked for around 38 minutes instead of 45-50 and was perfectly cooked--just know your oven.

With a cup of coffee, you'd be hard-pressed for a better way to start your day.