Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunday's Best of the Rest ~ Lunch & Dinner

In my CSA delivery this morning - I found some lovely things. Green garlic, leeks, artichokes, fresh rosy snapdragons and more. So here's a menu worth the beauty of these spoils. As always email me for the recipes or look them up online, most are available.

~ Lunch
Alice Waters' Green Garlic Soup (Instead of pureeing that soup, I added some bread crumbs in each bowl and stirred it in just before serving, this makes it a little more substantial as well as gives a deeper flavor)
Steamed asparagus with a dressing of creme fraiche, dill, green garlic, lemon, and hot sauce

Leek Tart
Gourmet's Sauteed Artichokes with lemon

Monday, April 6, 2009

For the last winter cold of the season...

It seems like everyone gets sick in April. Its as though our balance gets thrown off just as the seasons are thrown off - not knowing whether to blow cold or warm, Winter or Spring?? So here's a recipe that will beat that lamb/lion cold from early Springs indecision.

Kao Tome
Rice Porridge with Minced Pork, Fried Garlic, and Green Onions*
from Real Thai, Nancie McDermott

*I make this vegetarian also, its as simple as substituting a good veg stock/broth for the pork/chicken.

4 c chicken/veg stock
chili-vinegar sauce (see below)
2 c cooked white rice
1/4 lb of minced pork or chopped chicken meat
1 T fish sauce, plus some for serving
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 c Fried Garlic in Oil (see below)
3 T thinly sliced green onion
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, prepare the chili vineager sauce and set aside. Stir the rice into the boiling stock. When the stock return to a boil, add the pork, pinching off small amounts and dropping them in one by one. Cook until the pork is doe, about five minutes. Stir in the 1 T fish sauce and pepper.

Remove from the heat and ladle into bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of friend garlic, green onion and cilantro leaves. Serve with the chili vinegar sauce and any additional fish sauce.

Serves 6

You can also add a poached egg to each bowl if you want.

Chili Vinegar Sauce (Prik Dong Nahm Som)

1/2 c white vinegar
1 T fish sauce
10 fresh hot chiles, thinly sliced crosswise

Combine all ingredient in small bow. Store at room temp, keeps for 2 to 3 weeks.

Fried Garlic in Oil (Gratiem Jiow)

1/4 c veg oil
2 T finely chopped garlic.

Heat a small skillet over low heat. Add the oil and heat until very hot. Drop a piece of garlic in - if it sizzles immediately the oil is ready. Add all the garlic o the oil and stir to break up any clumps. It should sizzle and bubble and begin to turn golden. Stir gently, and as soon as half of the garlic is a soft wheaty color, remove pan from the heat and let the garlic continue cooking in the warm pan. This entire process shouldn't take more than three minutes.

Let cool and put in glass jar with tigh fitting lid and store in the fridge.

Makes 1/4 c.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Food Muse ~ Asparagus

7x7 is having a recipe competition that got me thinking. The challenge is a first course asparagus dish. Thinking of Asparagus pickled (if there is a such a thing) with cilantro and mustard seed. Served with a homemade dried apricot chutney with preserved lemon...candied, finely diced ginger and freshly white ground pepper...

Friday, March 13, 2009

From Chowhound, via BayAreaBites

The Foods Hounds Fight For

Many places in the Bay Area have specialties they only make once a week or sell in limited quantities that run out fast. A rundown of some of the coveted items:

Liberty Bakery’s challah, only offered on Fridays. “It usually sells out quickly, and it happens when I’m at work,” says BernalKC. “It’s not crunchy or artisanal (other than the braiding)” and “on the less gummy end of the challah spectrum.”

Liguria Bakery’s foccacia. Snap it up before noon because “once it’s gone for the day, it’s gone,” says DavidT.

White Crane Spring Ranch’s The Mix, at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. “It looks like a spring mix, but it is all herbs and makes a wonderful salad,” says rworange. “The vendor keeps it in a cooler in the back and you just have to know it is there.” Get there early to snag it.

Neldam’s Bakery’s petits fours. “They only make and sell them on Thursdays, and they always run out,” says ace.

Magnolia Pub’s fried chicken. It’s only made on Thursdays, so “get there early or you will be S.O.L.,” says Senor Popusa.

Two Dog Farm’s tomatoes at the Civic Center Farmer’s Market. “Get there early and sharpen your elbows,” says david kaplan. They’re available “June-ish to October-ish.” Get there before 10 a.m. adds artemis.

Rosamunde Sausage Grill’s Tuesday cheeseburgers. “be there by noon to be safe,” says scarmoza.

Liberty Bakery [Bernal Heights]
410 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco

Liguria Bakery [North Beach]
1700 Stockton Street, San Francisco

White Crane Spring Ranch [Embarcadero]
1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco

Neldam’s Bakery [East Bay]
3401 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

Magnolia Pub & Brewery [Haight]
1398 Haight Street, San Francisco

Two Dog Farm [Civic Center]
1182 Market Street #415, San Francisco
No phone; Civic Center Farmer’s Market number is 415-558-9455

Rosamunde Sausage Grill [Haight]
545 Haight Street, San Francisco

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Requested 'Sunday's Best of the Rest'

My mother in law was wondering if I might have some simply flavored appetizers and such that would be appropriate for a dinner with a close friend. The meal needs to be free of red meat influence, but rich in homey delight. Here's what I'm thinking so far ~

Candied Walnuts
Herbed Jam with Lemon
Bean Spread

Baked Artichokes
Baked Carrots with Creme Fraiche
Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata and Dried Cranberries in a Dijon Vinaigrette
Thomas Keller's Roasted Chicken

Macerated Oranges and Candied Ginger

Smothered by a pillow of kale...

I have so much kale in my fridge and its not like I don't know what to do with it all necessarily, its just that I am getting tired of braising and souping them. Came across this while surfing the foodie blog sites. I'll let you know how it goes. ~GBV

Kale Chips
adapted from Stacie Billis at

1 bunch organic kale, torn into 1/2″ pieces
3 tablespoons organic olive oil
1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt

Preheat oven to 400° F. Whisk oil and vinegar and toss kale in the dressing until thoroughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, until crispy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The New Old Favorite Thing!

Fig Caviar

Last week I got some dried organic figs from the CSA. These were beautiful pleasing in all manners - could feel the little bit of fuzz from the skin, good chew factor, and popping crunch like fruity caviar; a subtle sweetness to round it all out. Thinking about the similarity in texture to caviar - like a membrillo paste - scraping out the luscious inside, adding a tish of lemon juice and sherry to loosen it all up and then what...? Looking for your ideas. Please comment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Words to Eat By"

Hi All,

I want to start compiling a list of books about food, chefs, critics, or just "the good life". Thought you and I could read them together and discuss them as we go. I'm sure it will help to keep me continually inspired. I know the first one will be "The Simple Life" by Alice Waters. It's only appropriate after all - having just moved to the Bay area and barely touched the California cuisine. So let me know of any recommendations!

"Like the Pineapple and the Coconut"

I'm a huge proponent collaboration, with the idea that ideas generated
on a particular subject are very personal -that we all think of
different things, pictures, or scenes when for instance, someone
mentions "pineapples and coconuts". For this reason, I want to start a
new sidebar for brief pairings. I hope it will inspire you and I to
venture into new worlds of gastronomy. I might even come up with a corresponding recipe, if you like.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sunday's Best of the Rest 2/15

I've added the recipes for this coming Sunday's Best of the Rest. Hope you enjoy them. I have to work until 7pm, so I am going to prep the dressing and marinate beforehand. This was menu was called the January Dinner Party - but most the same things are still in season in February. But you'll just have to get those hothouse tomatoes if you are anywhere but California. I'm hoping to get some more organic dried apricots from my CSA this Saturday that I can use for this menu - otherwise I will do a berry variation of the souffle. Sad that I have to enjoy this meal alone, but my soul will certainly be fed along with my stomach!

~Cooking the Books~

Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon ISBN - 0-96708973-5

I LOVE this cookbook. Was first pointed to it by some yoga friends of ours. Finally asked for it for Christmas and was lucky enough to get it from my mother-in-law. Have been making many recipes from it. All very wholesome and balanced pH-wise it seems. I highly recommend this cookbook if you have read Barbara Kingsolver's book 'Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral' and found some part of you that wants to experience such wholesome-ness.

The recipes are not fussy ingredient-wise, but can require some time, which is why I've modified some a bit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

~Recipe Fits~

~Oranges and Olives as a Chutney~

Caramelized Red Onion

Want to add a fresh, green taste also - would cilantro work?

What are some of your favorites - "food in literature"??

Right now I am reading Proust, who describes foods in the deepest detail. I have other favorites as well, but what are some of yours?

Anyone else always find themselves salivating over the "borderline-gluttonous" feasts at Hogwarts??

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oranges with Olives

At Chez Panisse on the 6th, I had an starting course called 'Martin's blood oranges with green olives and watercress, and marash pepper'. It was very good - one thing that Alice Waters cooking does well is incorporating different textures as well as palate flavors, i.e. bitter, sweet, salty, and sour. In theory,this app had it all - olives for salty, oranges met both the sweet and sour taste bud requirements, and watercress a slight bitterness. I say in theory, only because while the potential was there for everyone to see, the putting together of it all was far from balanced. The water cress was a little too mild (maybe it needed more pepper to boost its own slight peppery flavor) and there weren't enough olives to counter the sweet sour of the blood oranges. But I LOVED the idea, so I am trying to work out my own version.

Could I use a premade olive tapenade and just plain oranges? What about bitterness...?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


~Special wood oven pizza - Ricotta, arugula, olive oil

Ricotta well balanced, but could have been a bit sweeter to contrast with the salt in the crust or more buttery to contrast the peppery arugula.

Crust very good - salted just right, crispy on outside, soft inside

Couldn't really taste the olive oil that was supposed to be the star of the dish -- too much arugula.

~Puzzled by the Ragu entree - a meat based sauce, but wasn't.

Homemade ricotta salata very good, nice salt and milky, like clots of cream

Pasta - definitely homemade, with eggs - gamey though, cooked little less than al dente.

Red sauce was the puzzler - something a 'tish bitter - not sure if its the gamey undercooked egg pasta, bitter tomatoes with seeds, bitter olive oil, or if the sauce was slightly, ever so slightly burned on the bottom. Not a fan of the bitter, but on the border bitter is just frustrating.

Overall - B+ : Need to go again after all the hype from the cookbook calms.