Tales from the road: San Fran one bite at a time

I know I shared my fantasy of daily updates, but, friends, Internet access has been an unkind stranger. So bear with me as I search for wireless and in the meantime plan stories and recipes to share in the future. For now I do not cook, but I present you with a peak at people in San Francisco who do.

Kelley, I owe you big-time, girl. Were it not for your love affair with the city of San Francisco and your current unemployment allowing you unbridled time to indulge your friends, I would nevereverever have discovered the food wonders you suggested I try.

Kelley is a brand-new friend who spent all of her twenty-some-odd years in California, but now resides in Brooklyn. She has only seen snow once, has - I've come to learn - artfully well-tuned taste buds, and knows all the hippest, most tasty places to tantalize them.

San Francisco is the one stop on my California road adventure where it seemed possible to avoid breaking out the bills every time hunger roars its mighty call. You see, Joe and I are staying in a friend's apartment, and that apartment so conveniently features a lovely yellow kitchen and the necessary appliances for creating a home-cooked meal. The ventures we've made outside of the kitchen, as per Kelley's wise word, have been positively phenomenal and very well worth the (usually small) fare we've doled out. The excerpts that follow are not intended as reviews, but are merely an opportunity to relay my delight of the few eateries I've sampled


run, forrest, run

Since March I have been waking extra-early before work, regularly visiting a well-shaded trail in a neighboring town, and repeatedly tracing a selection of streets in my own. I've been training, you see - not for a "Who Love Bergen County Roads Best Bee, but for a race, one that I will run this Sunday in sunny, never-been-seen-by-me San Diego.

The race is San Diego's take on the Rock n Roll Marathon. Take back your gasp. I'm only running half. Still that's a whopping 13.1 miles.

Completing a marathon has been on the "things I really want to do" list that I sometimes compose in my head for a number of years. I keep this list in mind, yet don't consider achieving the goals until I know that I can actually make them happen. At that point I write down the task, and in the case of the marathon, I runrunrun. That's not exactly how this went down.

When I was introduced to Team in Training in March, an organization that would not only help me, but benefit others as well, I was struck by the urgent impetus to commit on the spot. With three months to go and a handful of reservations nagging sporadically in my head, I signed up to run farther than I have ever before and to raise a sizable sum that would make its way to people living with blood cancer.

Without getting into it too much, I'd like to let you know that TNT is a truly impressive organization - supportive, legitimate, organized, and kind. Training and fundraising have given me direction in the past three months.

Friday marks the beginning of the culmination of all of that. It also marks the beginning of what I'm hoping will be a wonderful summer - one that involves me, my dear friend Joe, and his trusty car. We'll be tracing the coast from California up north before making our way back east. With this trip I hope to bring you a daily chronicle (or almost-daily, depending on Internet availability) of our days on the road. The form that this will take has yet to come to me. But I have a lengthy flight tomorrow to figure it out.

I baked a variation of 101 Cookbook's Marathon Cookies to celebrate, commemorate, and fuel me for the occasion. They're delightful lumps of protein, power, and spicy goodness. I highly recommend them if you're inclined to carry snacks on summer activities, or like to eat cookies for breakfast.

Finally, if you would like to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, first thank you! and second, you can do so here, at my fundraising page.

(Half-) Marathon Cookies
adapted (only a little) from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks

2 c rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

one 15-ounce can white kidney, great northern, or navy beans, rinsed & drained
1/4 c olive oil
1 c natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c chopped dates
1 c sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place a rack in the top third. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Pulse the oats in a food processor (or blender) until they resemble a raggy flour. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and salt.

Pulse the beans and olive oil in the food processor until they are creamy. Add the sugar, egg, dates, 1/3 c sesame seeds, and vanilla extract and pulse until smooth. Scrap down the sides of the bowl once or twice along the way.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until the ingredients start to come together.

Place the remaining sesames seeds in a bowl. Form each cookie with a scant 1/4 cup scoop of dough. Roll each scoop of dough into a ball then coat it with sesame seeds. Set each ball on the prepared baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten the dough just a bit. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving at least an inch or so between each cookie.Bake for about 15 minutes or until the sesame seeds around the bottom start to get golden.