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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Amy's Granola Recipe

It's all about breakfast in our house. Lee's favorite meal of the day is breakfast and before we even met I used to flirt with him, recounting detailed menus of breakfasts I had made. Now he gets the goods everyday, just about. Today we had lemon brown sugar blueberry pancakes. I've been on the hunt for the perfect blueberry pancake recipe and this one might be it. Excellent flavor, sweet but tangy and full of berries. It's really the texture that's so hard to manage. The batter has to be thick enough to hold the blueberries but thin enough to still make tender pancakes and not come out too cakey. I also made a batch of granola this morning for breakfasts to come. The recipe is my own, but is loosely based on Jane Brody's Great Granola from her Good Food Book. Note: This recipe can be endlessly adapted. You can add flax seed to the sesame seeds or mix in 1/3 cup wheat germ with the nuts at the end of baking. Amy's Granola Ingredients 1/4 cup bu...
Monday, July 28, 2003

Middle Eastern Food

On the rare San Francisco summer days when things really do warm up, I want to cook food that is best suited to the season. While the Asian tradition is to eat hot soup that makes you sweat to cool you down, I prefer food that can be served cold or at room temperature. Middle eastern food is a great choice because unlike some other ethnic cuisines, the ingredients are widely available, especially in the summer. The basic ingredients are fairly simple--cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemons, mint, parsley, cumin, pita bread, yogurt, tahini...so many recipes include them. The cuisine seems designed to take advantage of summer bounty and to keep you cool in hot weather. Many of the dishes do not even require using the stove, an added benefit when the kitchen is already too hot. Last time I was in London I went to my favorite bookstore--Books for Cooks, and bought a slim volume on Lebanese cooking. While it lacks some of the French inspired recipes I recall from eating at Lebanese ...
Saturday, July 26, 2003

Galette:Restaurant Review CLOSED 1/06

Out running errands, including picking up the perfect sugar pot from Zinc Details, we stopped for lunch at Galette on Fillmore street. It's a cute little place that in every way reminds you of what it's like to dine in France. The staff is French. The decor is French. The menu is French. The tv in the back corner has on French programs. They serve Brittany style buckwheat crepes with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. The crepes or "galettes" looked wonderful, but Lee had the brioche french toast and I had the "brittany fish soup" which was really bourride, a dish I simply cannot pass up when I come across it. Bourride is a soup similar to a bouillabaisse made with mussels and fish and served with gruyere, garlic, croutons and a rouille. Rouille is kind of like a spicy garlic mayonaise made from red peppers, garlic and olive oil. All the toppings are served in little bowls at Galette so you can add them to the soup to your liking. Some other places th...
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Cheese Shopping

I guess you'd say I'm on a cheese kick. It started with reading about the Annual Festival of Cheeses to be held at the newly remodeled Ferry Building put on by the American Cheese Society. And yes, there really is an American Cheese Society. There are going to be several events but I decided to create my own event, consisting of visiting cheese shops and making purchases. First stop was Leonard's 2001 Cheese Shop. Leonard's is just a few blocks from my house and they have a wonderful selection of cheese at reasonable prices. They had samples of a fabulous aged emmenthal with a nutty creamy flavor that completely won me over so I bought some. I also bought a piece of St Nectaire that comes from the Auvergne region of France. Since I'm partial to the songs of the Augvergne I figured, why not try their cheese? Finally I also bought a piece of feta, in hopes that the weather would warm up enough to make a Greek salad for dinner one night. As it is downright freezin...
Monday, July 21, 2003

Scharffen Berger Factory Tour

A few months ago I went to the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory for a visit to their shop and a tour. The shop has just about everything you can think of that you would need to make something chocolate-y. There are various kinds of chocolate, cocoa and cacao nibs, but also cookware and speciality items like chocolate molds and chocolate fondue pots, etc. The store welcomes you with a pot of hot chocolate for sampling and some decadent recipes too. The chocolate tour is really amazing. You are first given a lesson in where chocolate comes from (Venezuela, Ghana, Madagascar, Trinidad, and Papua New Guinea), its chemical properties (you have noticed how it good it makes you feel, right?), how it is harvested and processed. Of course the lesson wouldn't be complete without tasting various types of chocolate (yum!) and then comes the actual factory tour. The noise level of the machinery is so great that mostly it's just a walk through to show you the machines in action and to...
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Yum:Software

As I have mentioned before, I LOVE cookbooks. But cookbooks have their physical limitations. They get messy. They can be hard to keep open and cook from at the same time. And who hasn't made something from a recipe, enjoyed it, then at a later date, forgotten the source of the recipe? The San Francisco Chronicle food section has a whole column dedicated to trying to search for long lost recipes...well I have found the perfect solution. I have been using an application called Yum! and it gives me the perfect way to save recipes. Here is what the creator says about it: Yum!" is a recipe collection application featuring: * Dynamic searching of all text - found set of recipes updated as you type the search terms. * Indexing by category - each recipe can belong to any number of user-defined categories. * Several printing options - 1 recipe, all recipes, selected recipes, all recipes in selected category, found recipes. Let's face it, who can afford to have the comput...
Friday, July 18, 2003

Okoze:Restaurant

Last night it was too hot to cook and we really weren't that hungry so we went to a new sushi place right around the corner on Union at Hyde--Okoze. Very chic, contemporary Japanese interior in rich earth tones with lots of dark wood, some luxurious textile hangings and most importantly GREAT sushi. Some unusual things like the Golden Dinosaur, a tempura style "sandwich" made of fried shiso leaves with a layer of uni. Super fresh fish, everything was divine including some unusual presentations, the scallop sushi came with some kind of caviar on top? and white tuna belly sashimi with a ponzu sauce, scallion, shredded radish and shiso leaf. Excellent ratio of fish to rice. The sushi chef/owner is Jason, who hails from Osaka and was most recently at Ebisu out in the avenues; he has been in the US for 3 years, sushi chef for 15 years. Jason told us how he scours the market for what's best and shops for fresh fish every single day. Expensive, but what do you expect? M...
Thursday, July 17, 2003

Cobblers

Cobblers, cobblers, cobblers. I think my favorite summertime dessert may be cobbler. But how many times have I ordered cobbler in a restaurant only to be served a crisp, or a crumble or some other abomination? A cobbler MUST have a cobbled crust, either made of a sweet pastry pie dough or a sweetened biscuit dough. It should look like a cobble stone street, not a gravel top roof! I have a wonderful cobbler recipe and have been using different fruit combinations such as rhubarb and strawberry or plum and peach. I particularly like a sweet and tangy fruit combo to compliment the crisp and soft topping. The topping I use is a very simple biscuit with some added bits of crystalized ginger. It's topped with a little buttermilk and sugar and when it comes out of the oven--heaven! A good cobbler should be a scrumptious melange of crisp, soft, sweet, tangy, all to be topped with some good vanilla ice cream. Now that's what I call dessert....
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Kalijira Rice:Ingredient

Lee has asked for chicken for dinner so chicken it is! I got the new edition of Food & Wine magazine and it has a chicken with apricots and almonds recipe I will make tonight with baby basmati rice. Baby basmati rice is really Kalijira "The Prince of Rice" a very special premium long-grain white rice on a miniature scale. Grown in Bangladesh, this tiny rice cooks in only 10 minutes producing a delicate aroma, taste and texture. I use it in place of regular rice because it smells so wonderful and cooks so quickly. Unlike other kinds of rice, it is almost no-fail. You can buy it bulk at some natural food stores or it is sometimes available in packages from Lotus Foods....
Sunday, July 13, 2003

Food Book Report

I seem to be reading a lot of books on food these days, and good ones. I really enjoyed Apricots on the Nile and I discovered it in the best bookstore in all of London (as far as I'm concerned) called Books for Cooks. Books for Cooks actually has a kitchen and a few tables in back and runs a cafe/restaurant. I could just move in! Apricots on the Nile is "a memoir with recipes", the story of a Egyptian Jewish Parisian girl and her memories of growing up in her grandparents house in Cairo. Her family is food-obsessed and there are wonderful accounts of shopping and cooking and of course eating. I am also just starting to read Fast Food Nation. It's as much about economics and marketing and sociology as it is about food. It's a fascinating read and I can't wait to finish it and get a chance to chat about it at my book club. On the reading list is Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table by Ruth Reichl. I got her latest book, Comfort Me with Apples: Mor...
Friday, July 11, 2003

Custom Salsa:Recipe

Today I found a recipe archive with some great recipes http://www.tantemarie.com/recipearchive.html--it's from the Tante Marie cooking school. I plan on making the cappucino biscotti with some slight changes and trying the scone recipe. I've seen Mary Risley cook on TV and I think she's quite good. My tip of the day is to create your own custom salsa using a jar of salsa as a base. I like the Safeway Select brand of Chipotle salsa, but you can use whatever you like. Sometimes I add minced red onion and fresh mango. Tonight I added fresh corn and chopped nectarine. It's a great shortcut!...

Zyliss Gadgets:Equipment

Last night I went to a very interesting lecture by an industrial designer from IDEO. He showed the work they had done for Zyliss, making kitchen gadgets "good, clean and fun". The insights about how people use kitchen gadgets--that they are like an extension of themselves, that they have to be uncomplicated to use and that you forget about what they look like the minute you start to use them, was very interesting. The designs looked terrific too. The new products have not been released yet, but I imagine they will be soon. On the way home Lee and I spotted Francis Ford Coppola sitting at a table in front of his restaurant--Niebaum-Coppola....
Thursday, July 10, 2003

Sticky Rice Steamer:Equipment

Next project is Mango & Thai Sticky Rice. This is a favorite dessert in our household and we only get it when the Thai restaurants we frequent have it on the menu. I have several recipes for it and finally found the right rice at Smart & Final of all places. Traditionally Thai sticky rice should be steamed in a special conical bamboo steamer over a pot. Will be trying it soon and reporting back!...
Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Mixed Green Salad with Supper

The other night we had a very summer-y dinner. I like to buy chuck flanken style ribs when they are on sale and I got a really nice package of them that I marinated in a bottled chipotle marinade from Fronterra Grill. Then I broiled them and served with fresh corn on the cob and a big salad. Here is the mixed green salad I have been making lately: I head of lettuce or salad mix Blue cheese crumbles Sun dried tomato crumbles Croutons Sliced cucumbers or radishes A balsamic vinaigrette...
Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Food Sites

I love cookbooks! But lately I find myself spending more time looking for recipes on the web. The 2 top sites I use are: www.epicurious.com www.foodtv.com Epicurious has great sources and reviews--very important for getting a feel for how a recipe is going to turn out before you try it. Food TV has excellent searching capabilities. If you have cuisine related questions, I recommend the Craigslist food forum (got to www.craiglist.com then go to forums and click on "food") You can ask any question and get rather quick responses--everything from "I have too many beets what do I do with them?" to "I'm going to Gary Danko for dinner what do I order?" A couple other sites I also recommend are: www.foodandwine.com www.recipesource.com ...
Sunday, July 06, 2003

Bambuddha Lounge:Restaurant

The party was very last minute, but it was also a great success! Lots of people and great drinks and nibbles. Now starting next Tues July 8th the Bambuddha Lounge is offering a happy hour every Tuesday thru Saturday, 5-7pm in the courtyard: * $3 ABSOLUT-ly potent libations * free exotic eats & treats * eclectic Bambuddha beats Sounds good to me! The Bambuddha Lounge is where Miss Pearl's Jam House and then Backflip used to be--601 Eddy St. next to the Phoenix Hotel. ...