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Personals history

I moved to San Francisco in 1991. At the time, I was freelancing in theater, doing sets and props. The work was sparse, and the pay was abysmal, but San Francisco was a different city then. It was moderately affordable, and…

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Amore per Amatrice

The news of this week's 6.2 quake in Central Italy shook me, halfway around the world. The epicenter is close to the town where my great-grandfather came from, Salle, which itself was destroyed in a quake in 1933. In this…

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Meet Giro

After losing Reese in January, we took a break. We needed time to grieve, and to live our lives dog-free for just a little bit. We had some travel planned, first a week in Mexico with friends, and then a trip to LA and Orange County to visit family and attend a conference at the beginning of April. So, we agreed not to rush into getting another dog until after that was over.

While visiting my mother, one evening dpaul and I were walking her dog. “I miss walking a dog,” he said, to which I replied, “yes, but I don’t miss having to walk a dog.” Still, I knew it was not long before we’d bring a new companion into our lives. It certainly wasn’t.

The entire time from Reese’s passing through our travels, dpaul was actively window shopping, combing the rescues from as far south as the Peninsula and north into Sonoma. We knew we wanted another terrier, generally of the same size and temperament. dpaul kept gravitating back toward black and tans, but I was less enthusiastic about trying to duplicate Reese. I didn’t want a dog that would remind us of her, to keep that wound raw and fresh.

While still in Orange County, he found one on Rocket Dog. Spinner, as he was called, was listed as a Jack Russell terrier and just 18 months old, so we braced ourselves for a frenetic, high-maintenance dog. Even before meeting him we began to fall in love with his picture, wild-eyed, with a tongue lolling out of a wide-mouth grin. dpaul put in the application even before we came home.

On a sunny April morning, we met him and the foster parents in a park in Corte Madera. They had come down from Ukiah. The implication was that, barring anything unexpected, it was a one-way trip for Spinner. An hour later, he came home with us.

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On Purpose and Satisfaction

I've been freelance for six years now. It's not a life for everyone. If you crave stability, regular pay, or the social environment of the office, don't quit your day job. However, these have been some of the most fulfilling years…

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Dilly bread

Cooking is one of those things that is never learned in a vacuum. You do not learn it solely from books or blogs or television shows; you learn it from people. They impart their knowledge, their wisdom, and their sense of taste, and you internalize that.

For many of us, of course, much of this wisdom comes down generationally. For those who cook professionally, they learn in a school or on the job. Those of us who are passionate about food tend to learn from each other. It is our bond.

This recipe comes to us from a dear friend, who is in turn passing on a piece of someone dear to her, a colleague named Tom. Tom was an engineer, but also an avid home cook and pioneering food blogger. He would throw lavish dinner parties for his birthday, collecting his crew of fellow cooks to work with him. He was our friend’s mentor both at the office and in the kitchen.

This bread was his comfort food, something his mother used to make for him. He would make it when he was vexed by a problem, either professionally or personally. He’d also make it for friends if they were sad or stressed out. It’s not hard to see why. When this bread comes out of the oven, its aroma erases any cares in the world.

Tom passed away in 2008. We never met him, but his influence lingers on in his friends, in our friend. A recipe from a man we’ve never known has made it into our repertory. The cycle continues.

When Jerry James Stone asked me to participate in Three Loaves, this recipe sprang to mind for three key reasons. First, because it has significance. Second, because it’s delicious. Third, and most importantly, because it’s easy. I am not a confident baker, so I gravitate toward recipes that are, simply, hard to screw up.

The recipe scales linearly. The original makes two loaves, so I’ve scaled for three. According to our friend, each loaf can also be broken out into three mini loaves, though the baking time will be shorter. Serve slices warm, slathered with butter, or alongside a lovely spring salad.

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Chocolate mousse made with … bean water?

Hey, did you know that the UN has designated 2016 the International Year of Pulses? Of course you didn’t! Do you even know what pulses are? Bet not. I’m not talking the throbbing on your wrist, or the thing you do on the food processor to pulverize nuts. Pulses are dried members of the legume family that include beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas. This does not include fresh beans or peas, soybeans, or peanuts. Got it? Good.

I had the privilege to be invited to the gorgeous Culinary Institute of America Greystone a few weeks back to learn more about pulses, and get inspired on how to use them. During this weekend intensive, we heard from experts on the virtues of pulses, and then went into the kitchens to work with instructors to get our pulses racing.

Why pulses? Simple. Pulses are:

  • Renewable and sustainable. Pulses actually fix nitrogen in the soil, adding rather than depleting nutritional value like many other crops do.
  • Healthful. Pulses are high in protein and low in fat. Increasing pulse consumption has been demonstrated to aid in weight loss, even without making other dietary change. They are heart-healthy, and help regulate blood sugar.
  • Oh yeah, delicious. If you’re not already in love with them, you haven’t had them prepared right. And about that farty thing: Research has shown that once you integrate more pulses into your diet more regularly, that little problem tends to go away.

To get more people to enjoy pulses as part of their regular routine, they’ve launched the #PulsePledge, where you commit to eating at least one serving of pulses a week. In our household, that’s a no-brainer. We eat beans on the reg, most especially the fabulous ones from Rancho Gordo.

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Two daddies had Reese

Nearly nine years ago, we brought Reese home from the SF SPCA. On January 20, we said goodbye to her.  After nearly losing her back in October, she rebounded with the help of our amazing vet. Over the ensuing weeks…

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How to brew the perfect pot of tea

Though I start my day with espresso, I really enjoy a nice pot of tea, especially on dreary winter days. I keep a varied selection, to suit my moods: Bracing black to wake up the palate and inspiration, soothing green…

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It's a given that we self-edit to some degree on social media. The face we present rarely reflects the whole picture. By way of example, in early October, I was posting updates and images during a trip to Italy, effusing…

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