This post might include affiliate links for your convenience.
Friday, August 31, 2007

September Food Magazine Round-up

I read food magazines. Or I should say, I read a lot of food magazines. Here's a round up of what's on my stack and what's worth checking out. For Reading and Reflecting Sept 3 & 10, 2007 New Yorker--The Food Issue The food issue is always a treat and this one is no exception. There are no recipes, but plenty of "good reads". There is a funny little piece from David Sedaris, Adam Gopnik writes about eating food grown only from the five boroughs of New York. Calvin Trillin writes about the food in Singapore and Jane Kramer writes about one of my favorite cookbook authors, Claudia Roden. As you might expect there are plenty of cartoons with food themes. For Eating Healthy September 2007 Cooking Light--20th Anniversary Issue Even if you never read Cooking Light, you owe it to yourself to check out this edition. The editors chose their favorite recipes from the past 20 years such as Beef Daube Provencal, Creamed Corn with Bacon and Leeks, Baked Potat...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Easy & Impressive--Leg of Lamb

Looking at the recipe index on this site, I realize I have only written one lamb recipe. That's a shame. I like lamb a lot. I think it's a well-kept secret that lamb is actually very easy to cook. I used to have a friend who made leg of lamb every time she threw a dinner party. People thought she was a fabulous cook, but really, leg of lamb was ALL she knew how to cook! When the American Lamb Board offered to send me some local lamb I was more than happy to accept. When it arrived I was a bit overwhelmed. It was boneless leg of lamb, but over seven pounds. Fortunately I had a good friend to help guide me, master of all things meaty, Biggles over at Meathenge . His suggestion was as follows: Why don't you try a meat puzzle? Take a look and see if you can get 2 little roasts and some kebob action out of it? 2-2 pound roasts and the rest for kebobs? This turned out to be great advice. Indeed, it was easy to trim the fat, find the membranes and natural points at which...
Monday, August 27, 2007

Potato Chip Cookies: Recipe

At an "early 60's tacky tiki" theme party this weekend, it occured to me how sometimes the most retro recipes can also be very of-the-moment. At this particular party there were modern takes on all sorts of things. In each case very high quality ingredients were used and, you know the saying, "quality in, quality out." There was a cucumber gelatin mold salad, only the cucumbers were fresh from the farm, agar-agar was used to gel it and fresh dill and citrus flavors punctuated the dish. It was so good I took some home! Another dish that hasn't been popular in a while was the cheese ball, though at this party there were three of them. When made with the best cheeses, fresh roasted red peppers and rolled in nuts, it was positively delicious. The dish I had the hardest keeping my paws out of was nothing more than a premium "seven layer dip". Seven layer dip is made from refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cheese, olives and green onions or ...
Friday, August 24, 2007

Using Japanese Ingredients Anew

While I love going out for Japanese food, I would never make it at home. And neither would Eric Gower, the " Breakaway Cook ". At a recent dinner and cooking demonstration the cookbook author and private chef explained that when he lived in Japan he could get all the great Japanese food he wanted eating out, but Japanese ingredients intrigued him just the same. So he experimented and came up with a new style of cooking. The Breakaway Cook is a cookbook that uses lots of ingredients that might be considered exotic, including many Japanese ingredients but uses them in simple, accessible ways. Before taking on the recipes you'll want to hunt down ingredients like maccha (green tea powder), umeboshi (pickled plum) miso (fermented soy bean paste) and yuzu juice (citron). Gower also uses other "flavor blast" ingredients that aren't Japanese like one of my favorites, pomegranate molasses. You can check out recipes for Five Flavored Salts, Crispy Tangy Tofu,...
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Day at the Farm

Say you live in a big city. You love eating fresh-from-the-farm produce. You frequent the farmers' market, maybe you even subscribe to a CSA . But every once in a while you long to feel the soil, dig a little, pluck some weeds, pick some fruit and vegetables and get back in touch with mother nature. Here in San Francisco we are lucky to have a four and a half acre farm, and it's just a stone's throw from the Alemany farmers' market . Long neglected after the demise of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, it is now coming back to life under the nurturing care of the Alemany farm managers. Best of all, it's completely open to the public. This past weekend a whole bunch of Bay Area food bloggers helped out at the farm, including four Bay Area Bites bloggers. One of the farm managers, Jason, showed us around and put us to work and gave us a tour. We climbed up the hill to see the remains of an orchard, viewed the beds of chard, tomatoes, strawberries, swu...
Monday, August 20, 2007

The New Epicurious Guest Blogger

I've been sitting on some very exciting news for a long time now. But today is the launch day for the new version of Epicurious and I am one of the daily guest contributors! I am in the very best of company with people I greatly admire and respect including Chef Rick Bayless , food writer (and frequent New York Times contributor) Melissa Clark and wine expert Natalie MacLean in addition to the Epicurious staff contributors. I will keep posting here, and once a week over at KQED , but for a daily fix, you can now read my posts over at the Epi Log . Primarily I expect to be writing about what's going on in the food blogosphere. I hope you enjoy the new blog and as always, do let me know what you think. BLOGGING...
Friday, August 17, 2007

Honeyaholic

My name is Amy and I am a honeyaholic. Sure, I have a lot of jam and mustard in my fridge but I think it's honey that takes the cake. I currently have 13 different containers of honey. Actually it's 14 because I also have a big can of honey that I use when I make granola but I didn't include that in the photo. I personally pledge not to buy anymore honey until I get down to a more reasonable number. What number is that? I really couldn't say... So let me introduce you to some stars in the honey bunch. On the left we have Italian chestnut honey and backup chestnut honey. I greatly fear running out of chestnut honey. It has an almost bitter pollen flavor that perfectly complements roasted pork or gorgonzola. Piled on top is some precious truffle honey I found at a local discount store, the Bargain Bank . It's terrific with cheese like parmesan. I'm skipping the little sample jars, but let me tell you about the honey I bought in Florida at the International M...
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Smoky Seasoning Recipe

They, asked me how I knew, My true love was true, I of course replied, something here inside, Can not be denied. They, said some day you'll find, All who love are blind, When you heart's on fire, you must realize, Smoke gets in your eyes. So I chaffed them, and I gaily laughed, To think they would doubt our love, And yet today, my love has gone away, I am without my love. Now laughing friends deride, Tears I cannot hide, So I smile and say, when a lovely flame dies, Smoke gets in your eyes, Smoke gets in your eyes. Written by Jerome Kern (music) and Otto Harbach (lyrics) for the musical "Roberta" in 1933 "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is supposed to be romantic, but it just makes me hungry. It's completely primal. With all due respect to raw food adherents, smoke has been appealing every since we discovered that the combination of fire plus food equals delicious. The smell of smoky bacon or barbecue has been known on occasion to make ...
Monday, August 13, 2007

Everyday Cookware

Having used saucepans and saute pans from Bourgeat, Calphalon, Reverware and more, there's no brand to date that has completely won my loyalty. Recently I received a saute pan and saucepan from Biro Cookware and so far I'm very pleased with them. They are made of two layers of stainless steel and an aluminum core. The first thing that impressed me about the cookware was that it has great weight to it, so pans and lids stay put. I seem to have a problem with pots boiling over and lids flying off and that clearly won't happen with a lid that weighs just under one pound. Also the heat conduction is impressive. I think the combination of aluminum and stainless steel is a good one as far as strength and heat and I like the brushed stainless steel look. I particularly like the fact that you can really crank up the heat and yet so far the pans have been pretty easy to clean. But I'm a strong believer that it's not until your first cooking disaster that cookware shows...
Friday, August 10, 2007

Amy's Favorite Cookware

Lately I've been getting a number of emails asking me about cookware. I'm no expert, but I'm happy to tell you what I like and why. Cast iron I received a cast iron pan as a "cast off" from someone who didn't want it any longer. I can't imagine why not! Cast iron holds the heat wonderfully and moves easily from stovetop to oven. It's particularly great for frying and searing, but you can also bake in it and if you cook certain acidic foods like tomatoes in it you'll get the added benefit of iron that leaches out in small amounts. It does take a long time to heat up and needs to be cleaned with care. Don't use soap on it! Scrub it with salt if you have to and rinse it with hot water but don't remove the "seasoning", it's what give it an almost non-stick finish. You can buy a new pre-seasoned skillet but there is no way it's going to perform like mine. Porcelain enamel I love my Le Creuset ! I am fortunate to have ac...
Tuesday, August 07, 2007

August Newsletter

Just a quick note to say the monthly email newsletter is going out today. If you'd like to receive it, feel free to sign up. It is a double opt-in system, so after you sign up you'll be asked to confirm your subscription. In other words, if you don't confirm, you are not subscribed. The newsletter provides links to some posts from the prior month, a sneak peek at what's coming up as well as some links to sites I think you'll like. This month I share my thoughts about tomato season and links to Italian recipes, food oral histories and to the site of an amazing artist who creates food out of paper. Thanks again for visiting and staying in touch! I promise to have a new post soon......
Friday, August 03, 2007

Cobb Sandwich: Recipe

I don't know if Mae West ever ate a Cobb Salad , but I bet she would have loved it. After all, she was the one who said "too much of a good thing is wonderful". A Cobb Salad begins with a bed of Romaine lettuce, think of it as your basic crunchy blank canvas. Resting on the greens are strips of toppings--luscious chunks of avocado, juicy fresh tomato, crumbles of rich blue cheese, hard boiled eggs and chunks of chicken breast. Frankly I've always found the chicken to be superfluous, but maybe that's just me. Forget about the hot dog or the hamburger, for my money, the Cobb Salad is one of the best examples of "American cuisine". It was invented in America, it combines American ingredients with American excessiveness and good old American seat-of-the-pants ingenuity. It also has a little bit of Hollywood flair. The story goes that after the chef had gone home, Bob Cobb, the owner of The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles created a late night snack f...
Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Book review

If you are looking for a book to take on vacation, to the beach, or on a plane, you couldn't ask for a better one than Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone. It's a compilation of essays and stories by a wide range of writers. The title references a piece written by Laurie Colwin, one of my all-time favorite food writers. Other writers include Ben Karlin, Nora Ephron, Steve Almond, M.F.K. Fisher, Marcella Hazan, Paula Wolfert and many more. A reporter recently asked me why food plays such a central role in a couple's dating life. My response was that we are naturally social animals and eating is one of the most social experiences we share with others. It's a chance to relax, talk and connect. But at sometime or another we all end up eating alone. It might be by choice or necessity. We might love the experience or we might hate it. Because eating alone is a private affair, we might just give in to secret obsessions ...