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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Indian Style Chickpeas Recipe

When Is My Blog Burning #19 was announced I started looking for vegan recipes and what I found was a lot of fake food. Fake meat, fake milk, fake cheese, even fake bacon. That just made me sad. If people want to eat fake stuff, so be it, but not me! So I turned to a cuisine that has a lot of vegetarian and vegan food and there's nothing fake about it. Indian food. Besides all the fakery, the other problem with vegan food can be finding a way to get protein. Without protein a meal can feel less than satisfying. Fortunately beans make a terrific vegan friendly protein option so I went with that. In Indian cuisine you sometimes see the name chole and other times kabuli chana or channa. Same thing. Garbanzo beans. Also known as chickpeas or ceci beans. In addition to being a good protein source, chickpeas are also high in manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron and dietary fiber making them very healthy indeed. While relatively mild-flavored, chickpeas are slightly nutty ...
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Zucchini Mint Soup Recipe & meme

I've been tagged to participate in the latest meme by Gastronomie . This one instructs bloggers to do the following: 1. Delve into your blog archive. 2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to). 3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to). 4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. 5. Tag five people to do the same. "Or laziness." That was the 5th line of the 23rd post of this blog. The post had to do with not cooking. Not cooking is something I can relate to right now because I am nursing a cold. My energy and appetite are below normal. Soup seems like a lazy food to me, especially when cooking is a bother. Of course soup takes some effort to make but after that it is easily reheated. Lucky for me I like soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So here is a recipe that uses something I have too much of at the moment, zucchini. This is my absolute favorite recipe using zucchini and is closely adapted from a recipe by Peter Gordon fro...
Sunday, September 25, 2005

Go ahead, says David Lebovitz, have a croissant . This week we got the good news that a croissant may be healthier than baguette, butter and jam. Who knew? If you're looking for a way to turn a croissant into a luscious dessert, She Who Eats offers up a terrific idea for a croissant topped with roasted fruit. Check it out here . Is it possible to ever have enough posts about Pierre Herme? I think not! Check out the Autumn/Winter Collection of Pierre Herme Desires at Movable-Feast . Finally a little plug for a new blog that is sponsoring yet another online event, I like 'em spicy . What do you expect from a blog called Hooked on Heat ?...
Friday, September 23, 2005

Masa's: Restaurant Review

Recently I got a chance to eat dinner at Masa's. So I was a bit surprised when the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed what they consider to be "four star dining". Masa's was left off the list. Unlike the Chronicle reviewer, I was "wowed" by more than a few dishes. So much so that I thought I'd write up my own review. It's online over at SF Station today. In my review I concentrated on the positives, there really wasn't much to find wrong. Even what I might have criticized was no big deal. For example the delicious cranberry bean soup with prosciutto foam. It was the kind of hearty soup you want in a mug, not a demitasse cup and the texture of the foam was lost as a cap to the thick puree. Here are photos of my favorite dishes from the six course tasting menu Lee and I enjoyed a little over a month ago. White corn agnolotti with mascarpone: fresh white corn and parmesan accented with summer truffles and truffle oil Lamb belly served ...
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

All about Lemongrass

I remember the very first time I tasted lemongrass. It was in Tom Ka Gai soup. A classic Thai soup it is creamy and tangy at the same time. The creaminess comes from coconut milk and the tang comes from lemongrass. It's a very common ingredient in both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Sometimes you find stalks of it in soup like I did in the Tom Ka Gai. Lemongrass is such a perfect name for an herb that is lemony and herbal. It's the essential oil citral that gives the lemon flavor and is also known as citronella root. I've read that it actually comes from Sri Lanka. You can buy dried lemongrass, chopped lemongrass but the fresh stalks are really best. One reader asked what are the advantages to using lemongrass rather than lemon? Lemongrass has a lovely herbal quality. It's also milder and more nuanced than lemon. It has no acidity so you can use it in marinades and sauces to give flavor. I have to admit I hadn't experimented with fresh lemongrass until I discover...
Monday, September 19, 2005

Bargain Bites of San Francisco

Bargain Bites is one of my favorite editions of the San Francisco Chronicle magazine. This year it is even better than it's been in the past. There are tons of great places to eat where you can find "a good-tasting entree for $10 or less." Some of the places listed are already favorites (such as Shanghai Dumpling Shop and Naan 'n Curry), others I'm dying to try (such as Tajine Morocccan and Pagolac). These are places where 90 percent of the menu is $10 or less; and two people should be able to eat dinner for $30 or less. While I think the Chronicle did a great job, as to be expected I don't completely agree with the choices (there is at least one horrid place on the list and a few more that are lackluster). Many of what would have been my top picks got left off the list this year or have never been reviewed by the Chronicle. Here are my top picks that for whatever reason, didn't make the cut, all are in San Francisco except one place in San Rafael. ...
Saturday, September 17, 2005

Does it feel like Fall to you? If so you might want to think about tackling something a bit more labor intensive than mozzarella and tomato salad. When the weather turns cooler spending more time in the kitchen is a nice thing to do. Nosheteria's Zen and the Art of Dumpling Making post is one to inspire you and if you are looking for something vegetarian, check out 101 cookbooks for a Spring Roll Salad , lots of ingredients but no actual wrapping to do. If it doesn't quite feel like Fall yet, checking out the list of harvest events from Gastronomie will surely put you in the mood....
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mystery Solved

It's dried dragon fruit, also known as Pitaya, Pink Pitaya, Red Pitahaya, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, and conderella plant. The fresh stuff was recently blogged about by Nicky at Delicious Days . Though common to Mexico and Costa Rica, this dried dragon fruit came from Thailand. Congratulations to Debra for correctly guessing the answer first (though in the future I will probably only allow one entry per person!) Second place goes to Jackie. Consolation prize for Fatemeh who correctly remembered Nicky's post. Kudos to Anthony, J and Tamara for your correct guesses. So many correct answers, ya'll are getting too smart for me! Thanks for playing along....
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One last hint

So here it is again--and it is in a chip form. Available at your local Trader Joe's for $1.69 a bag. A serving provides 10% of the recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates and 15% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. It has crispy and crunchy seeds and chewy, sweet dark magenta flesh. It turns your tongue red when you eat it! I'll announce the winners tomorrow......
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Contest: What the heck is that?

I found this item while shopping just the other day. I was intrigued in part because I saw something like this in another blog in the past month or so. Perhaps you remember it too. Do you know what it is? The first person to correctly identify this edible mystery item and its country of origin will win Food Smarts from SmartsCo and the second winner will receive a packet of Cranberry Jelly Candies from the Oregon coast. Is it: A. Beet chip with sesame seeds B. Dried dragonfruit C. Micro watermelon D. Raspberry mustard seed jam Did it come from: 1. United States 2. Australia 3. Mexico 4. Thailand Choose the correct answer and country where you think it comes from and post your guess in the comment section be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win!...
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Have you ever wondered what happens when food meets design? You'll have to head over to Movable Feast to find out! This week Louisa reported back from a special exhibition in Paris that attempts to answer that very question. This week one particular recipe caught my eye. It's a delicious idea for making gravlax. In Praise of Sardines posted the recipe which uses lemongrass instead of dill. As is pointed out in the post, the wild salmon season is almost over. At the Alemany Farmer's Market I found bunches of lemongrass for only 50 cents yesterday, surely kismet! Finally My Little Kitchen and A Full Belly both pointed out a new search engine. While it's only just launched, check out Foodie View and give it a whirl next time you are looking for recipes. Next week stay tuned for another contest at Cooking with Amy....
Friday, September 09, 2005

A Gourmet Event

If you've been reading Gourmet magazine lately, you've probably noticed their increasing coverage of locally grown produce and sustainable agriculture. Now in conjunction with Grand Marnier, Gourmet magazine is hosting an event focused on these topics starting off with a tour of our very own Ferry Building . After the tour the event continues with "A Spirited Conversation" with panelists Executive Chef Mark Dommen of One Market, Chef Chad Callahan of Fish and Chef Bridget Batson of Hawthorne Lane to be moderated by Dave Stockdale of CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture). Top the whole thing off with cocktails and hors d'ouevres. Count me in! Thursday September, 29, 2005 5:45 - 6:15 pm Farmer's Market Tour 6:30 - 9:00pm Grand Marnier cocktails, hors d'ouevres and A Spirited Conversation One Market Restaurant One Market Street San Francisco RSVP 1-866-467-2351 by Wednesday, September 21 (there is no charge for thi...
Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Chef For All Seasons

This Summer we were introduced to chef Gordon Ramsay in Hell's Kitchen yet another food-oriented reality TV show. I admit I watched it, drawn to it like a moth to the flame. But truth be told I was more curious about the cooking than the pathetic contestants or the sadomasochistic challenges and punishments. Ramsay is a notorious yet brilliant chef with several very successful restaurants in Britain. Now we finally get a taste of Ramsay's food instead of his fury in the paperback edition of A Chef For All Seasons . The first thing that struck me about this book is the introductions to each season. They cover the fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood and even herbs that Ramsay likes to use in his cooking. He shares how and why he prepares them. It's almost like a mini cooking course. I read every single one of the intros all the way through. I also devoured the Basic Recipes and Techniques section where you can learn his recipes for things like peach chutney, citrus confi...
Monday, September 05, 2005

Basic Pesto Recipe

With Summer in full blast the scent of basil is in the air. At my house the most common thing to do with basil is make pesto. Pesto is an intensely herby sauce that with pasta makes a meal or is great dabbed on top of fish, swirled in soup, on pizza, crostini, or even mixed into mashed potatoes. Pesto is traditionally made with basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese which is pounded into something that defies description. No good word exists to describe how glorious pesto is. Think about it. Paste? Goo? Goop? No. Even "uncooked sauce" doesn't do it justice. While basil is abundant at the moment, I would like to suggest that actually there are several other good "pestos" that are not basil based. Last night I used arugula to make a lovely pesto with toasted walnuts. It was perfect over cheese ravioli. A cilantro pesto is terrific with fish or on quesadillas. A mint pesto is great with lamb or with white beans. With a basic formula you can ...
Sunday, September 04, 2005

September Newsletter

Just a head's up that the September issue of the Cooking with Amy newsletter went out today. It includes a recap and links to some of the posts of the past month and also some links to interesting sites I've come across recently. If you didn't get one and would like to sign up, scroll down a ways and fill in the form on the left marked "Monthly Newsletter". You do have to confirm that you want to sign up so be sure to look for a confirmation email to make sure you end up on the list. You can unsubscribe at any time. cheers, Amy...
Saturday, September 03, 2005

I've never been to Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana. But I've always dreamed of going to New Orleans. I've seen and heard so much about it especially from other food bloggers. This past week many food bloggers shared their memories of New Orleans and pledged their support to the people in need in the region. Take a look at some of my top picks for posts about New Orleans: Gastronomie wrote a beautiful tribute to New Orleans , that includes the sight, sounds and flavors that made it so special to her. Tana at Small Farms wrote about how New Orleans turned her into a foodie . Photographs, song lyrics and a taste of the politics of our country are explored in her thoughtful post. Amy at Beauty Joy Food shares something that may comfort us all, a signature recipe of New Orleans, for bread pudding with hard sauce. She is also involved in organizing a fundraiser so take some comfort in her post, her recipe and share the comfort by opening up your wallet. I've been a fan of ...
Thursday, September 01, 2005

Google Cafeteria Review

The biggest problem with eating at the Google cafeteria is one of too many choices. What's for lunch? Ask Google and you get 8,520,000 results in .28 seconds. The philosophy of providing a vast number of high quality choices very quickly seems to have permeated the cafeteria. The day I was there I was nearly paralyzed trying to decide between an Angus steak, Chinese stir fried pea greens, shimp tacos or Indian food. As it turned out I clicked here and there just like being online, trying a bit of this and a bit of that. I finally chose the Cornish game hen and a spicy tomato relish. I also partook of some cauliflower, chana masala, a speck of lentils, rice, an eggplant casserole and I loaded up on raspberries and strawberries, knowing that the kitchen prefers to serve organic produce. Ok, a bit strange selection I admit, but I'm somewhat indecisive by nature. The chana masala was mild but very fresh tasting, definitely restaurant quality. A saucy dish of spiced chick peas,...