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.