Whenever Scott and I move into a new home, the first thing we do is put on a pot of chicken stock. I consider it a “sage burning” of sorts. To me, there’s nothing that says “home” like the smell of chicken stock wafting into every nook and cranny of the house. It makes the house ours. Chicken stock is one of those things that is really not difficult to make, but it does take time to perk along on the stovetop. It’s a job for a stay-at-home kind of day, when you’re puttering around the house, tying up loose ends, and doing chores. But no, the chicken stock is not a chore. It’s a pleasure! Growing up, my dad would always make chicken soup with dumplings on the nights when we had a fresh batch of chicken stock. We’d mix up the dumpling batter and drop it by the spoonful into the simmering broth until they bobbed back up to the surface, indicating that they were done. Yes, chicken stock holds a special, romantic place in my kitchen.
At the restaurant, we make chicken stock regularly to be used in our soups and stews, and it occurred to us one day that some of you might like some of our homemade stock to take home! We’ve all got busy lives…I can tell you that I rarely have those stay-at-home-all day kinda days where I can tend my simmering pot of love. I’m usually paying more attention to keeping our toddler from standing on the coffee table! So to make things a little easier for everybody, I’ve started making extra chicken stock at the restaurant. We pour our hearts into it and then freeze it as soon as it’s cool, so that you can buy it mid-day and have plenty of time to get it into the fridge. Then you can enjoy a little homemade stock at your own house! $4 per quart.
There’s something about jam that just makes a person happy. Good jam. Homemade jam. Seasonally made jam. Lick-your-knife jam. And I’m part of that crowd. Wholeheartedly!
I’ve started making jam for the Caffe from scratch. I love the sight of empty mason jars waiting to be filled. It is their destiny. And who knew we’d plow through it so fast? The jam pot seems to have a permanent spot on the stove now just so I can keep up. Strawberry is the flavor of the moment and so far the berries have come from Swanton Berry Farm, Tomatero, Rodriguez Farms, and Rio de Parras.
And you know what I’m so happy about? I’m happy that you’ve noticed! Our Saturday brunch crowd comes back for seconds and thirds, and I love watching toddler-sized fingers swiping the jam-dishes clean. With toast, with ham, with a croissant, with a spoon.
So if my jam starts your day off with a burst of sunshine, then I’ve done my job. And that is what fulfills me.
The last few days have been spent “settling” in to our new home, but we’re gearing up to reopen on March 30th. We’ve been coming to eat at Caffe 817 for years and are thrilled to be part of its family. We couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from the neighborhood as a whole. Thanks a million.
…And perhaps we should introduce ourselves. I’m Emily, and this guy over here… is my husband Scott. We’re the new owners of the cafe. We’ve got a few decades of cooking under our belts and a few lifetimes of enthusiasm to go along with it. You’ll find us at the Bay Area’s farmer’s markets every week finding inspiration and picking up “the goods” for next weeks menus. We love to support the “local and sustainable” as often as we can, and have become good buddies with farmers from the surrounding Bay Area.
When we’re not cooking or eating, we like to make lofty goals and big plans for fun excursions and messy projects. So come take a look-see to see what we’re up to. You’ll find us here!