September in San Francisco

September 3, 2009

If Paris has April, Northern California has September. While summer is waning in most parts of the country and the days are getting shorter, San Francisco has its best days this month. The foggy days of July and August are gone. No more drastic 20 degree drop in temperature as the fog rolls in around 5:00. The temperature is more consistent from day into night. The evenings are clear and soft. No more blustering wind. In the east and mid western parts of the country, mums and pumpkins have appeared. In San Francisco you can finally leave the house for an evening out without a coat.

It’s hard to believe after looking at these gorgeous pictures taken this morning at the Marin County Farmer’s Market (in San Rafael, CA) that we are well into our first week of September. But don’t get fooled by the abundance of produce- in a few short weeks they will be just a memory until next year so make sure you get your fill while they are still around.


Tomatoes are now at their peak. Gone are the days when this kitchen staple was solely basic red. The color palate has extended to yellow, oranges, variegated green and yellow and all shades of red. The color just isn’t for show. Each variety tastes unique. My favorite way to eat them is in a simple brushetta. Toast some levain bread (or a baguette if you prefer), drizzle on some olive oil and lay sliced tomatoes on top. Sprinkle liberally with kosher or sea salt, a little bit more olive oil, and you have a perfect snack or lunch. Another favorite of mine is to coat Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for about 2 hours in a 250 degree oven. The tomatoes shrivel up and their flavor is concentrated. Toss them in pasta with some fresh basil and cooked diced bacon.


Raspberries like September as many varieties get a second harvest. In the recipe below you can serve the raspberries at room temperature or even warm them up briefly in a large pan with a little orange juice and butter.


French Cream with Raspberries

Serves 6

2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 pints raspberries

In a small heatproof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 10 minutes to soften.

In a stainless-steel bowl or the top part of a double boiler, whisk together the cream, sugar, and sour cream until well blended. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stirring occasionally, heat the cream mixture until it is hot. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Whisk the gelatin into the cream mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Stirring occasionally cool the cream to lukewarm. (This prevents the gelatin from separating once you put it in the ramekins.) Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Divide the cream mixture evenly among six 5-ounce ramekins. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours until set.

When ready to serve, dip the base of each ramekin in hot water for several seconds, then run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekin and invert the cream onto a dessert plate. (Or, you may serve the creams in the ramekins.) Serve chilled with the raspberries.

The creams may be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated. 

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