san francisco

My Bay Area Travel Guide

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If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco and have an extra day, I recommend you coming out to my neck of the woods! There are lots of fun hikes and foodie stops. I recently contributed to Flipkey’s San Francisco Travel Guide with a day trip itinerary in my area, with all my favorite places. There’s brunch at Alice’s, wine tasting at Fogarty, cheese tasting at Harley Farms, the cutest coffee shop in Pescadero and a hike at Russian Ridge.

Check out the whole itinerary here!

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I’m excited to let you know about a very special dinner event in San Francisco I am doing with my friend, photographer Kimberley Hasselbrink, who runs the food blog The Year in Food. Kimberley also just released her first cookbook, Vibrant Food, and we are cooking a meal together in a couple weeks, from our 2 cookbooks! Her book is sooo beautiful, you definitely need to look for it. She’s based in San Francisco and the recipes are all inspired by colorful produce. The photos are gorgeous and her recipes have all kinds of brilliant flavor combinations. I went to her book launch party last week and got to try some of the goodies- delish!

Since we are both so inspired by colorful food, we decided to team up and do a vegetarian meal where each course is based on a different color- I am so excited!! We are each making 2 dishes from our new cookbooks, and then we’re collaborating on a dessert. The Forest Feast + Vibrant Food = A VIBRANT FEAST!!

The dinner is in SF on Monday July 14th. Click HERE to see the menu and buy tickets. I’m making the Nectarine Tomato Salad above (among other goodies from my book!) Hope you can join us!!

Doesn’t the dish above look amazing? It’s Kimberley’s recipe from her book for Grilled Halloumi cheese topped with strawberries and herbs (YUM!).

Top Photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink, and her recipe is below.

Lower photo is by Erin Gleeson from The Forest Feast cookbook.

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GRILLED HALLOUMI WITH STRAWBERRIES AND HERBS

from the cookbook Vibrant Food, by Kimberley Hasselbrink.  A note from Kimberley:

I was inspired to make this by some snacks brought to a picnicky party: my friend Dafna’s spicy jalapeño jam and my friend Andy’s halloumi cheese. We grilled the cheese and doused it with the jam and it was the undeniable hit of the party. I liked the idea of going for something spicy, sweet, and fresh on top of this intriguing cheese, so I made a mess of strawberries and herbs to pile atop it for this version. Halloumi is a firm, salty cheese that keeps its shape when grilled or fried in a pan. It’s an awesome way to enjoy the unique pleasure of hot, melty cheese as a vehicle for food. It’s best to eat the cheese as soon as possible after it’s come out of the pan—the magic of halloumi happens when it’s hot. 

DRESSING

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar 

1 serrano chile, seeds removed if desired, minced 

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 (8- to 9-ounce) package halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, agave nectar, serrano, and pepper to taste. Toss the strawberries with the dressing and set aside. 

Heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat and add the 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add the halloumi slices. Cook the cheese for 2 to 3 minutes per side without disturbing, until a deep brown crust forms. 

Remove the cheese from the skillet and spoon the strawberry mixture over the slices of cheese. Serve immediately, while the cheese is still warm.

SERVES 4 TO 6

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While on the east coast for a wedding last week, Jonathan and I snuck away for a couple nights to his family’s house in Vermont, which is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. Blueberry picking is big there in August, and we found a stunning place to gather some: Merck Forest. I love freezing blueberries and using them instead of ice in drinks at cocktail hour. Cheers!

Summer Salad with Egg, Tomato, Basil, Cucumber & Avocado

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Continuing in the effort to make filling summer salads for lunch, yesterday I came up with this combo: 2 hard boiled eggs topped with pear tomatoes and cucumber (from a friends garden!), plus half an avocado (cubed) and a handful of chopped fresh basil. I tossed the whole thing with olive oil and a bit of truffle salt (obsessed with that stuff!).

Happy weekend!

x Erin

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I have just returned from a lovely trip back east to New York, Connecticut and Vermont to see family and friends and attend a cousin’s wedding. When I get back from vacation (usually having spent my time eating copious amounts of bread and cheese!) I often feel like I need something light for a few days. As I settle back into the studio this week, I am making lots of fresh but filling salads for lunch. Gorgeous summer tomatoes came in our CSA box this week and I am topping them with cottage cheese plus a handful of fresh basil and some avocado chunks.

Enjoy!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast