Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Food That Delivers

Do you ever marvel at the sudden coincidences in life? We truck along oblivious when it seems that everything is happening in separate tracks that never touch... And then suddenly, several unrelated things converge at once? It's a happy reminder that the world is smaller than we think. At least, that's how I see it.

Anyway... This year, we decided to take a vacation to San Francisco in May. It promised lots of interesting restaurants to try, sights to see, friends to visit, and a slew of museums -- plenty of inspiration.

But the food (and, honestly anything food-related) well, that's a highlight of any trip for us.

As it happened, this trip corresponded with the release of Clothilde Dusoulier's first book, Chocolate & Zucchini. Clothilde is one of my favorite bloggers, who left the corporate world to follow her food dreams.

At the last minute, Clothilde added a book signing in the city itself, at the Ferry Building on a Saturday, just before the end of our trip.

The Ferry Building is a cook's dream. Gourmet food stands, a very active farmer's market on the weekends. I'd been wanting to try Cowgirl Creamery's cheeses, because I love cheese and have heard wonderful things about this artisanal cheese producer. (That buttery Mt Tam triple-cream cheese and some bread is all you need for lunch. Ever.) And lo -- there is a Cowgirl Creamery store in the Ferry Building.

So, I was thrilled! Not only was I able to meet a blogger whom I'd admired for several years, but it was in a bookstore surrounded by interesting foods, proximity to the cheese place, a Saturday outdoor farmer's market that included the best-smelling roasted chickens this side of France. (I can still smell the aroma of free-range chickens scented with rosemary -- unfortunately, by the time we circled around the entire place, the stand had solds all its chickens and packed up for the day.)

Ooh, and the Noe Valley Bakery's chocolate chip cookies. There is something mysterious added to them that makes them extra-delicious.

But one of the lovely remnants of this trip was having purchased Clothilde's cookbook. Full of sweet stories about the inspiration behind some of her recipes, some long-perfected by many generations of her French family. This book is an absolute gem.

Among the recipes Clothilde has included in the book was a recipe for Yogurt Cake, which she also features on her website. While the recipe's available online, you'd be missing out if you don't get your hands on the book. (I've also spied it over at a few different Anthropologie stores and a large chain bookstore if you want to page through it in person.)

This is a lovely cake that as Clothilde remarks, you can eat anytime -- breakfast, lunch or snacks -- really anytime you feel like it.

To me, it would make a perfect breakfast cake (yes, breakfast!). With a cup of coffee, this simple, light cake will transport you. (A tip: The recipe calls for a 10-inch cake pan; I only had a 9-inch springform pan -- but I cooked the cake for 35 minutes and it turned out perfectly.)

Just making this cake and perusing through the cookbook reminds me of that amazing trip, the food we enjoyed and the lovely people we ran across the entire week.

Excuse me, now I need a piece of cake...

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