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Monday, May 31, 2004

National Hunger Awareness Day 2004

Do you have a favorite recipe? Wanna share? How about for a really good cause? America's Second Harvest is sponsoring One Big Table to increase awareness of hunger in America. National Hunger Awareness Day 2004 is June 3rd and there are several things you can do to get involved between now and then. You can host a benefit potluck , attend an "online potluck" or submit a recipe that could end up in the One Big Table An American Cookbook which will be edited by award winning cookbook writer Molly O'Neill. Having worked in a homeless shelter early in my career, I know the enormous satisfaction that comes from feeding someone who is truly hungry. We often think of those less fortunate than ourselves around the holidays, but hunger is a year round problem. Find something you can do to help out. Because nothing satisfies more than making a difference....
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Thai Restaurant Names

I love Thailand. I've been there twice and I would go back in a minute. The temples, beaches, hill tribe villages, markets and the Thai people are incredible. But truth be told, I would go back just for the food. Fortunately, Thai cuisine is popular in the US, and there are now many excellent Thai restaurants to choose from here at home. But the one thing that strikes me about Thai restaurants outside of Thailand is the funny, "punny" names. I've done a little research to prove my point. Please feel free to let me know if I've missed any of your favorites. And I promise I did not make even one of these names up! Beau Thai Bow Thai High Thai Just One Thai Love Me Thai Mai Thai Mr. Thai My Thai Once Upon a Thai Tasty Thai Thai Away Home Thai Me Up Thai Poon Thai Soon Thai Speed Thai Stick Thai the Knot Thai This Thaifoon Thai-Inn Thai-rrific That's Thai The Friendly Thai Try My Thai In my search I also discovered this one in Bangkok, Thailand: Tongue...
Thursday, May 27, 2004

More Marin Restaurants

Hi everyone! I'm still on vacation, but I wanted to let you know that the restaurant review I did of Kappa is now online at SF Station In addition, here are some MORE places to eat in Marin For Chinese: Tsing Tao Restaurant 907 B St, San Rafael Really good Chinese. With a world class city full of Chinese places, we actually come into Marin to go there, it's that good. Super friendly too. For Thai: Kitti's Place 3001 Bridgeway, Sausalito In a little strip mall it's a great place for lunch. I can't bear to order anything other than the curry noodle soup it's so good, though the lettuce cups make a great starter. Mainy Thai dishes but the influences are various. They also have some Chinese and American food. When my nephew was five he proclaimed Kitti's to be his favorite restaurant. Good taste obviously runs in the family. Lots of good places for sushi in Marin, but I will mention just one because it's so unusual: King of the Roll 55...
Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Restaurants in Marin

Having grown up in Marin county, sometimes people ask me where to eat there. Honestly, I haven't lived there since 1989! But my parents still live there so I go over from time to time. When I was growing up there were a couple of fabulous French restaurants in Marin. Maurice et Charles and Daniel. But Marin was really lacking in good Chinese food, Mexican food, pretty much anything else. Not anymore. While the two French places are long gone there are now several other terrific places worth visiting if you happen to be in Marin... A very good French place. The Left Bank  is a fabulous brasserie, not too expensive but very French and in the heart of Larkspur. Is owned by the chef Roland Passot who also runs La Folie which is right around the corner from us, but is generally speaking well beyond our budget. And for American cuisine Buckeye Roadhouse , where you'll find lots of meat and game but everything cooked really well and a fun place to boot. You'll need to mak...
Sunday, May 23, 2004

Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding Recipe

Sometimes you try and try and try and you just can't find the perfect recipe. Other times your disasters turn out to be successes. That's the story of my rice pudding. I have been trying to make a creamy rice pudding and each time it has come out grainy or chewy, never quite right. I've tried using different kinds of rice, different kinds of milk, baking it, steaming it, cooking it on the stove-top and finally using a pressure cooker. This had to be at least my fourth attempt. I was expecting the arborio to give it a "risotto" like texture but it didn't. I also was expecting it to be fairly dense. It isn't. When I first opened the pressure cooker I thought it was way too mushy and liquidy, but as it cooled it firmed up quite a bit and the end result was very creamy and rich. So it's with great pride that I can say I have finally conquered rice pudding! This is one of those simple recipes that only has 4 ingredients, well, five if you count the w...
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Million Dollar Scramble:Recipe

So if you haven't heard of the $1000 omelette it's likely you've been living under a rock. The past two days the story of a New York restaurant (actually in a hotel) that sells a super deluxe caviar laden and lobster omelette has been all over the news, even making it onto David Letterman last night. Le Parker Meridien restaurant "Norma's" has been awarded "Best Breakfast in New York" by both the Zagat Survey in 2003 and Citysearch in 2002, so maybe they know what their doing when it comes to eggs. The manager claimed when the story broke that no one had ordered it yet, but that "it's not a gimmick". Ok. If you say so! It's amazing, but you can make an omelette out of almost anything. Vegetables, meat, cheese, seafood, even fruit. I actually prefer a soft scrambled egg to an omelette. My favorite combination is a very poor man's version of the $1000 omelette. I use smoked salmon, herbs and a drizzle of sour cream. It tas...
Monday, May 17, 2004

Wired NextFest 2004

Imagine if you could eat anything you wanted without worrying about getting sick. That day may not be so far away. This past Friday I attended the Wired NextFest a three-day mini World's Fair, where exhibits from leading visionary companies and scientists were showcased for the public. Along with the cars of the future and flying machines was an exhibit set up to show a new technology that could protect the food we eat from bacteria like E.Coli, staphyloccoccus, and salmonella. Most food science can sound pretty scary, but this technology is actually non-chemical, and 100% natural. A food chemist with the University of Alberta, Dr. Hoon H. Sunwoo is developing a powder that he calls a "spice" to add to food that would prevent bacterial growth. Much like the way a flu vaccine is developed, hens are injected with specific foodborne pathogens. The hens then develop antibodies called IgY (immoglobulin Y). The antibodies accumulate in large quantities in the egg yolk, wh...
Saturday, May 15, 2004

More Reading

If your social agenda looks anything like mine, you have some serious shopping to do for wedding presents. Wondering what would make a nice addition to something on the registry? How about a cookbook? Check out SF Station for my foodie feature Cookbooks for Couples . Even if you're not looking for a gift, you might want to check out the selections to update your own cookbook collection. I discovered some wonderful cookbooks I think you'll really enjoy. For another bit of weekend reading, spooncore has published my most recent submission on Chocolate and Love . Like Recipe for a Kitchen Meditation , it's a bit of a departure from my usual musings here at Cooking with Amy, so let me know what you think and have a great weekend!...
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Sushi News

A shocking revelation! According to a recent article in the New York Times "Food and Drug Administration regulations stipulate that fish to be eaten raw--whether as sushi, sashimi, seviche, or tartare--must be frozen first, to kill parasites." The article went on to discuss the merits of "superfreezing" to temperatures of 70 below zero. It also outlined which sushi products are virtually always frozen such as shrimp, salmon roe and octopus. While the FDA does not enforce the frozen fish rule, it is more than likely that much of the sushi sold in sushi bars has been frozen at one point or another, some of it up to two years before being served. But perhaps you already knew this, being a sushi aficionado. Sushi has been growing in popularity for some time now in the US. It has gone from being seen as exotic to being a supermarket item. But making sushi at home has yet to really catch on. Why? First off there was the belief that sushi chefs needed years of train...
Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Meet Nigella Lawson

Yesterday I got to meet another of my culinary heroes, or in this case heroine. Nigella Lawson . Nigella is a terrific writer and a wonderful home cook. In fact when she was introduced yesterday as a "great chef" the first thing she did was to say she is not a great chef and is not even a chef at all. She is completely unapologetic and honest about her abilities and her lack thereof which makes her entirely refreshing. Almost the anti-Martha in some ways, she is eager to point out her imperfections and as if to illustrate the point she managed to burn a pancake in front of about 100 people in her cooking demo which she quickly abandoned in favor of a frank discussion of cooking instead. Nigella is very funny in addition to being drop dead gorgeous. She is somehow attractive to men and unthreatening to women, a rare combination. It's because of her attitude towards life, especially about home cooking and her ability to make us all feel like we can do it too. Perhaps be...
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Gourmet Products Show 2004 Highlights

The 2004 Gourmet Products Show opened today in San Francisco. This trade show launches thousands of new products and is a great opportunity to get a feel for trends, and see some new concepts for the kitchen. There is a lot to take in, three floors of exhibits in fact. Some of the things that caught my eye were: 1. Fondue pots, fondue pots, fondue pots. Are they back in style or what? 2. Bamboo tabletop and kitchenwares. Beautiful and environmentally friendly and in more shapes, textures and styles than I ever imagined. 3. Silicone cookware and bakeware. It's everywhere, and some of it is now safe to use up to 675 degrees, an improvement over the first few pieces I tried that lead to @#$%^! and burned fingers in the kitchen. 4. Ceramic knives. More companies are selling them, they are not cheap but they are sharp and supposedly stay sharp for a year or so. Will they chip and break, are they too light weight or are they the next big thing? 5. Toaster bags. Made of woven...
Friday, May 07, 2004

Ravioli Salad Recipe

We have soup for dinner once every week or two. Soup is comforting and easy because you can make it in advance if you like. Healthy too. Now that the weather is warming up, salads also seem like a good choice for dinner, yet I'm always afraid they won't be hearty enough. I love a Cobb salad or a chicken salad, but they can be a bit too hearty, if you know what I mean. A green salad just needs that extra something to make it feel like a meal. Last week I had a salad at an Italian restaurant that had included a few toasted ravioli. A very American thing to do, but it really worked. Usually when I make ravioli I like to mix it with some kind of vegetable or serve a salad on the side but this was a great amalgamation. I don't remember all the things in the salad so I set about to make my own version with the chicken herb ravioli I had on hand. I added some vegetables, cheese and a vinaigrette and voila! a salad supper if there ever was one. Just the thing when you're ...
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Destino:Restaurant

I don't know much about Peruvian food, but I'm determined to learn more. I have been wanting to try some more of the "nuevo latino" restaurants that have opened up around town recently so this past Friday we ate at Destino . Destino is Peruvian by way of the chef's mother. The menu is comprised of small plates and big plates and many of the dishes are contemporary takes on some very traditional Peruvian fare. We stuck with the small plates and enjoyed every single dish we tried. The menu consisted of some familiar latin dishes like arepas, empanadas and ceviche. On the other hand it also included some ingredients and dishes that were new to me--lomo saltado, pastel de choclo, aji peppers, canchas and anticuchos for example. The arepas were actually a Venezuelan recipe and while described as cornmeal biscuits on the menu, they were really something much more ethereal. Light and crispy at the same time, filled with a mild fontina cheese and topped with a coo...
Monday, May 03, 2004

Vineyards in Marin?

My family moved to Marin county, just north of San Francisco, when I was only three years old. It must have seemed like moving to the country for my parents. In front of the house there was a stable rather than a garage and a huge fig tree instead of a lawn. My parents took up organic gardening and even raised chickens. But it's only been in recent years that there has even been a farmers market in Marin and most of the produce certainly isn't grown there. While the street my parents live on is zoned "light agricultural usage" it's really an anomaly. The average home price in Marin last year was over eight hundred thousand dollars, and farming long ago lost out to property developers. So it was with great interest that I learned about a winery in Marin. Mount Tamalpais Vineyards and Pey-Marin Vineyards are run by Susan and Jonathan Pey, two seasoned wine professionals who clearly know what they like in terms of wine. Speaking with Jonathan Pey I learned th...
Saturday, May 01, 2004

Spa Water Recipe

I don't know if growing up living on the water or being born a water sign--cancer, has anything to do with it but I really do love the water. I love going to the beach and just seeing the ocean calms me. I am transfixed by the sounds, the feel, the look, and the motion of water. I don't know exactly why water is relaxing, but it really is. The relaxing nature of water is something that spas put to good use. Everywhere you turn there's water--whirlpools, baths, jet sprays, cool blue tones, waterfall sounds and water to drink. Every detail is orchestrated at a spa, everything soothing, relaxing, rejuvenating. Even the beverage. If you've been to spa you know what I mean. They serve you "spa water". It's probably just mineral water but in it is some combination of mint, cucumber and lemon. It is refreshing and just seems to reinforce the whole spa experience. So this weekend even though the Kentucky Derby dictates mint juleps, it's been awfully hot a...