Hey there, y'all!

It's another rainy Sunday, and I'm up super early so I can try to fit everything in today whilst remaining sane.  That's probably asking a lot, but I'm going to give it a whirl nonetheless.  I'm feeling kind of run down - tired, scratchy sore throat that won't go away - 'tis the season...  It was a fun & busy week though and totally worth it.  Normally, I don't go out very often on weeknights because the days are so busy, but my husband gave me a pep talk and told me it was totally within my power to harness a second wind.  So I tried it a few nights because there were some cool things going on, and guess what?  I was ok! Yes, I am kind of under the weather today but that probably would have happened anyway.  

A great place to meet friends is Cask House on 24th Street in Noe Valley - it's casual, has great food and drinks and a nice atmosphere.  I met some of my sister wives (aka lady friends) there on Tuesday right after Quick Dish To Go and swim team carpooling.  I was a little late and I really hadn't sat down all day except for driving, but once I started chatting, eating & drinking the day melted away.  A good thing about going out is that it gave me the opportunity to fix my hair, put on makeup & cute shoes and wear something other than yoga pants & a denim shirt which is my afternoon delivery & carpooling uniform almost every single day.  The very next night I went to a school fundraiser, which was surprisingly delightful.  It was at Cerveceria de Mateveza, which is that beer & empanada place on the corner of 18th & Church that I pass by all the time.  The owner let us have a parent & staff social there and donated 50% of the evening's proceeds to Everett Middle School.  This was incredibly generous - establishments don't usually donate that much.  The beer is delicious, the empanadas are buttery, flaky and have the tastiest fillings and the atmosphere is charming and comfortable.  I would definitely go back there again.  When you walk in it smells like a bakery because of the empanadas in the oven.  It's the most comforting & enticing aroma!  Since I am on the fundraising committee at EMS (the best middle school in SFUSD, by the way) and since my friend Chiara and I are in the midst of co-chairing our annual campaign where we are trying to raise $50,000, I really needed to attend this event.  We were trying to get parents to come to the social and give to the Direct Appeal. I am not sure what we will get from the bar, but we are getting closer to our goal and there were lots of teachers & parents there drinking & socializing.  A bunch of parents had donated money so that the teachers could drink for free so a lot them showed up.  Middle school teachers have changed since my day - they are young, enthusiastic, love teaching and are incredibly respectful of kids (pretty much the exact opposite of my middle school experience).  And so many of them are cute.  Especially my daughter's P.E. teacher who is so charming & so handsome.  I started perspiring while talking to him - it was ridiculous - but since I am a crazy lady in my mid (to almost late) 40's - it's ok.  

A few days later I went to a wonderful Chanukah party where we had latkes served with sour cream & caviar, which were very good & very elegant.  The hostess also served roasted chicken and kale salad - an excellent menu.  I brought a crudite platter with tahini dip.  Let me tell you about tahini dip because it's definitely something you should add to your repertoire.  You can drizzle it on top of meat or veggies (I drizzled it on the Israeli spiced chicken a few weeks back), serve it as a dip or just spoon it into your mouth like I sometimes do because it's that good.  First, you must listen to "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross when she interviews Michael Solomonov, a chef at a restaurant called Zahav in Philadelphia.  This is very important because you need to be able to say tahini the way Israelis do because it actually makes it taste better.  This is no joke.  Listen to how Solomonov talks lovingly about tahini and the way he pronounces it.  It is EVERYTHING.  So go ahead and listen to his interview and then buy tahini paste so you can make the best dip and sauce in the whole world.  Take some tahini paste and put it in your blender - I make a lot at once so I use several heaping tablespoons - add the juice of a few lemons, a good amount of kosher salt, a tiny bit of garlic (too much will overpower), olive oil & a few tablespoons of water.  Start blending and then do a taste & consistency test.  You will probably need more salt & more water or olive oil.  Blend it until perfectly smooth & creamy.  This is hummus without the chickpeas and dare I say it's better than hummus.  I like mine really lemony so I usually add 2 whole lemons, and you will probably need more salt than you think but add it slowly.  You will want it neither too thick nor too runny.  If I use it as a dip I sprinkle it with a mediterranean spice blend and drizzle some olive oil on the top.  It tastes great on endive, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery, radishes, fennel, snap peas - basically anything you serve it with.  Make this asap and enjoy - it's healthy & delicious & it might change your life like it has mine.

Here's the catering menu for tonight - I'm so excited to make this meal, which is a holiday party the owner of my favorite store is hosting for her hard working staff in her charming home: mini spiced lamb meatballs roasted butternut squash salad with kale, candied walnuts, dried cranberries & shaved parmesan chicken marbella with prunes, olives, capers, oregano & wine salmon with lentils & parsley pesto french green beans w/roasted cherry tomatoes


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