Last week was my birthday. In San Francisco, it's typical to pile into a restaurant with 12 of your closest friends, and last year that's what I did. We wore funny glasses, ate too much, and drank. And drank. And drank.
Way too much.
I really nail the disapproving glare when I'm stone sober or incredibly drunk. What can I say: it's part of the genetic hope chest gifted by my Puritan Yankee ancestors.
Think you'd toss back vodka sodas in front of that guy? Think again.
To the matter at hand: this year I wasn't feeling the party circuit, in part because I wanted all of my friends to join in, not just the ones who could afford to commit to a $60 share of the tab. What with this depression we've got on, about half of us are unemployed or struggling.
Instead I cooked for them.
What's that? Huh? Oh. Yes. That is a pile of bacon on a paper plate. We're not in grilled squirrel territory yet. I turned my head, and like a puff of smoke the bacon was gone. I love my friends.
The sweet tomato jam, developed from this New York Times recipe, went well with a zucchini frittata; next time I'd add some bitter greens as well. On its own, the jam seemed a bit too saccharine, but paired against vegetal sharpness, the flavor peaks and mellows. Fig and strawberry-rhubarb jam I set out to serve with biscuits, but in the rush to fry chicken and semi-clean my dusty apartment, they also evaporated in a puff of smoke, but one that set off the fire alarm.
Luckily my friend Marco brought some raspberry muffins and homemade butter. Because of course if you were going to a brunch at noon on a Saturday, you'd wake up early to start churning your own butter. Right? The wheaty muffins were delicious with strawberry jam.
So there it is. The ideal birthday brunch. I'm off now for a trip to Laos and Vietnam. Maybe I can smuggle some pandan leaves back with me to finally make coconut-pandan jam?