Dinners at Anna's

Happy times spent cooking and sharing life at the Beach House

Pork Love February 17, 2011

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes,Uncategorized — heatherinsf @ 9:15 pm

The day after our fabulous Indian meal, the storm passed and the City’s denizens were treated to the most gorgeous sunset.



I was shooting pictures of the clouds when my phone rang. It was Anna, inviting me over for dinner *again* for a second night in a row, this time for a pigout on pulled pork.

Now I have such a love affair with the noble pig, I could scarcely get on the bus fast enough to meet Anna.

When we pulled up at the Beach House after admiring gorgeous dramatic skies we were greeted by ecstatic doggies and the scent of slow cooked pork.

Anna had marinated a pork shoulder in Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc pork rib dry rub, augmented with a few other ingredients. Then she browned the meat well and roasted it super slow for hours and hours in a Dutch oven. Gorgeous.

Pork porn!!! Pulled pork is almost ready...

When it was done the pork yielded easily to the pressure of a fork and was shredded meat. It was luscious. Mixed together with just the seasoning from the rub and the juices in the pan it was perfectly seasoned and moist. I think though R___ added a few squirts of his favorite BBQ sauce to the pot for added gooeyiness and kick.

Pulled pork

We had a hard time restraining ourselves from sampling right out of the pot but the lure of pulled pork sandwiches, fresh coleslaw and toasted buns called us to the table in a hurry.


What a feast. We had our hands full in seconds with toasted whole grain buns spread with BBQ sauce, mounded with thick chunks of pork, topped with gorgeous coleslaw. Piles of napkins littered the table which was silent except for the clank of beer bottles on the wood surface, the occasional nom-nom from a muffled mouth and the faint drumming of a giant dog’s tail slapping the floor from under the table.

We were too ravenous to take a a picture, it was that good.

All too soon our appetites were sated, the hopeful dogs were disappointed that nothing fell to the floor and our beef supply was replenished clasped in newly washed hands.

Bliss ensued. I really must get copy of the Ad Hoc cookbook!


Snausages June 13, 2010

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes — heatherinsf @ 1:41 pm
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A last minute invitation and a heat wave caused me to head over on a steaming hot train to The Beach House for a cool beer in the garden and a sausage feast after sundown.

It was 86 F by 1:00 pm and the cool ocean breeze was most welcome upon my arrival, a chilly 76 F!

The garden is gorgeous and the icy beer was perfect.

Much later in the evening, we started dinner and Anna instructed me with her method to braise cabbage to serve with snausages.


1 small red cabbage, slivered
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, slivered
2 c Russian pickled vegetables (cabbage) or fresh saurkraut
2 T olive oil
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c H2O (we used potato water)
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil until they are golden brown and starting to caramelize.  Add the cabbage and stir until the cabbage has wilted significantly, approximately 15 minutes.  Add the cranberries, salt and pepper and water, stir well, and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The cabbage and onions should be extremely tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed, resulting in some caramelization.

Serves 4


We piled the cabbage onto a pretty platter, and added a panful of sauteed onions and sweet red peppers, and a lovely mound of fluffy mashed potatoes.  The bratwurst and bockwurst were panfried until browned, split in half and browned a bit on the cut side, and arranged on top of the cabbage.


We had pots of insanely hot Russian mustard, a hot sweet deli mustard and soft white deli buns from Nature’s Pride* .  What a feast!

Cool Sofia Rose was poured, and we quickly dispatched most of everything.

The Aftermath

Finally the air began to cool around 11:00 pm and we drifted off to our various rooms for the evening.  I was tempted to let the doggies sleep with me but I think they already had popped on Anna’s bed.  Well, that’s really okay, Bella snores…

*Please note that the Nature’s Pride Premium Harvest (TM) Deli Rolls were provided to me free of charge by Nature’s Pride and other than the product I am not being compensated for discussing them on my sites.


Decomposed Salads June 11, 2010

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes — heatherinsf @ 12:00 pm
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It has been my custom for quite a while to present a deconstructed salad for my guests.  I arrange beautiful lettuces in a deep bowl, add a perfect tomato, a cucumber, and whatever other veggies I like with a sharp paring knife and a side of wonderful dressing.

One day I served this to Anna and she said, “Oh, a decomposed salad!”  Sometimes her mother tongue comes out with hysterical English equivalents.

Now, I always call my pretty salads prepared in this fashion Decomposed Salads because it is just that funny.

Arrange the romaine prettily!

Tonight, over at Anna’s, we had a bonus crop of romaine hearts from our favorite garden, errrr, well, from Costco.   We were both craving a huge salad for dinner plus someone mentioned Caesar dressing and that sealed the deal.

I prepared the salad while Anna finished the flower border in her backyard, a wondrous creation she and her dear beau have been slaving over the past few weeks.  From an empty lot of sand to a sumptuous riot of color and textures, the garden is the best place to watch the sun set with a glass of juice (a Merlot based meritage) and a cozy sweater.  You can hear the surf so loudly in the yard, it’s like a giant engine humming in the background.

This weekend my stepsister J___ shared with me a wonderful recipe for a fast Caesar-like dressing that she serves over crisp cooked asparagus and diced sweet red peppers.  With a few tweaks of my own,  I realized that with just the basic ingredients one normally has on hand in the fridge one can have a delicious Caesar salad anytime.

To accompany the salad I thawed a few chicken thighs and sauteed them in butter and finished them with vermouth and fresh tarragon from the garden.This Chicken Tarragon is a staple recipe in my family, from the amazing Spice Island Cookbook.

New Message
(Chicken Tarragon)

What a delectable dinner!

If you have these, you can make a fast Caesar salad


1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T H2O
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or pureed
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 romaine hearts, separated into leaves

Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl using a whisk, until very smooth. Add more lemon juice if you like it more tangy, like I do. Serve with the lettuce leaves and dip into the dressing with abandon.

You can make this dressing very low calorie by using light mayonnaise and fat free sour cream. Or, make it more decadent by using homemade mayonnaise.

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Don’t you just want to dive in?

A bonus to the evening, Anna gifted me with a gorgeous Portuguese chicken filled with my favorite herb for stuffing – marjoram. Isn’t she adorable?

My new chicken!

I love chickens!