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Friday, September 28, 2007

Recipe Development Techniques

I am deep into recipe development right now, sometimes creating up to 4 or 5 recipes in one day. My first step was making the scary decision to take my laptop into the kitchen. I was talked into it by my friend Pam of Project Foodie . Of course, Pam has a more modern kitchen than I do. Mine is circa 1920 and has no built in counters. I don't work as "clean" as I should in the kitchen so I fear gunking up my keyboard with whatever I'm cooking! Maybe this will force me to be a bit less messy. I have begun wearing an apron in the kitchen and slipping a kitchen towel through the apron strings. My real working space is a very cramped and crowded butcher block island. I also have various improvised spaces and a tiny little cutting board that slides out from a cabinet. I have always used it as a place to hold whatever cookbooks I was cooking out of at the moment, sometimes stacking up two or three on top of each other. Using print-outs of recipes from my computer was probl...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yummy Potatoes: Cookbook Review

Last week I went through a box of recipes I had clipped from the San Francisco Chronicle. I found recipes dating back to the late 90's! I wish I was as good at organizing as I am at hoarding. Reviewing all those clippings, I can safely say I had saved more recipes written by Marlena Spieler than from anyone else. Spieler has been a writer for the Chronicle for ages and has written tons of cookbooks to boot. So imagine my pleasure at receiving a review copy of Marlena Spieler's latest book, called Yummy Potatoes 65 Downright Delicious Recipes. And on the same day I posted one of my yummy potato recipes! Potatoes on the brain. I cannot tell you how delectable most of her recipes look! There are Breakfast Potatoes, Tapas, Meze and Antipasti, Soups, Salads, Mashes, Baked, Fried, Sides and a category called "Potatoes for Dinner!" I swear the exclamation point is hers, not mine, but it might as well be mine. The notes that go with each recipe are filled with wonder...
Monday, September 24, 2007

Mustard Roasted Potatoes: Recipe

In addition to being an absolute pasta freak, I am passionate about potatoes. I could eat pasta everyday and potatoes, probably every other day. I love them every which way. A number of years ago Oprah's personal chef at the time wrote a cookbook called In the Kitchen with Rosie . It was a huge bestseller and featured very low fat recipes. There were some good recipes and techniques in the book. One of the recipes that made a big impression on me was called Mustard Roasted Potatoes. The Mustard Roasted Potato recipe was red potatoes tossed with Dijon mustard, cumin, paprika, chili and cayenne. The potatoes roast in the oven and become all crusty and delectable. It's a great technique and can be endlessly varied. I've incorporated plain yogurt, fresh herbs, and different kinds of mustard. I like the Moroccan mustard from Dulcet Cuisine for this recipe because it has so much flavor you don't need to add any additional spices, but feel free to experiment and try any sp...
Friday, September 21, 2007

Farina: Restaurant Review

My review of a relatively new Italian restaurant in the Mission district, called Farina is up over at SF Station . Aside from a few rough spots, I liked the place and will go again. I had a good meal of mostly Ligurian style focaccia and pastas with Lee and my friend Alton. It was also fun running into author and scientist Harold McGee, former SF Chronicle restaurant reviewer Amanda Berne, chef Daniel Patterson and his wife, just one table away. I like this photo because it's a bit of a "where's Waldo?" I took it from across the street and Lee is in it....

Marinated Mustard Vegetables Recipe

I don't think you can ever have enough vegetable recipes. Growing up I ate vegetables steamed and served plain. Frankly I found them pretty boring served that way and I still do. Vegetables should be savored. Of course drenching them in hollandaise sauce or butter makes them taste good, but that's not the only way to dress them up. I like sauteing vegetables with a little red chili, garlic, sprinkling them with fresh herbs, Indian spices, drizzling on any numbers of flavorings. So often the recipes I develop for clients are very meat-oriented. I like challenging myself to come up with interesting vegetable dishes when I can. This marinated vegetable salad was developed because I wanted to find something that would be good for a potluck, It uses a variety of vegetables and can be served cold or at room temperature, but won't wilt like a green salad. Unlike some dishes that I have to repeat several times to get right, this one was a surprise because it came out great the...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crispy Panko Mustard Chicken Recipe

Do you know panko? It's a Japanese style of bread crumbs used to coat fried food. The crumbs are large and very flaky. It's made from yeast-raised bread dough that is baked in a special oven so it does not form a crust. The crumbs start out very pale colored but cook up golden brown. You can find it in the Asian section of just about any supermarket. Traditional Japanese recipes using panko include Tonkatsu, a breaded fried pork cutlet. It is delicious, like most fried food, but not very healthy. I knew there had to be a way to use panko to make an oven-fried crispy chicken breast or cutlet. But I will admit, it took several attempts to get this one right. It really satisfies that craving for crispy fried food but is practically guilt-free. I used the Creole Mustard from Dulcet Cuisine which has a stone-ground texture and is flavored with onion, garlic, paprika, pepper and thyme. So I guess this is kind of a Southern/Japanese fusion entree. The trick to this technique is ...
Monday, September 17, 2007

Favorite Things: Route 29 Napa

I'm a sucker for great looking packaging. If it's cute and retro that just clinches it. While I was a little confused at first as to why the brand name is Route 29 Napa and the company is located in Minneapolis, I like their candy nonetheless. Made in small batches it's fresh and fun. Route 29 sells mostly old-fashioned style American candies such as toffees, caramels, and licorice. My favorite though are the chewy peps. The tin says "succulent dilemma" and after one candy you'll understand. The minute you put one in your mouth it's so mouthwatering and cooling you want to munch into it, but it's so hard that you know you shouldn't. As it softens in your mouth it turns from a hard candy to a delectable chewy one. Lee and I are also fond of the chocolate covered potato chips. It's that sweet salty combo I crave. It may not be as trendy as chocolate covered bacon , but it works. I find that both of these candies are rich and satisfying enough th...
Friday, September 14, 2007

Grilled Cheese, Pear & Smoked Turkey Sandwich Recipe

Recently I've been having some fun in the kitchen creating recipes using products from Dulcet Cuisine including my favorite, the Madras Curry Mustard. I'm not the only one to have fallen in love with it, it was chosen the grand champion at the 2006 Napa Valley Mustard Festival Worldwide Mustard Competition. It's a mildly spicy mustard that really perks up all kinds of dishes. Whenever I'm in Hayes Valley around lunchtime, I'm always tempted to stop by Arlequin for a toasted cheddar, pear and bacon sandwich. The bread is crispy and crunchy, the cheese oozes and the sweetness of the pear is offset by the smoky saltiness of the bacon. Taking that sandwich as inspiration I decided to add mustard to my version. I was sure the warm spices including cinnamon, clove and cayenne in the mustard would really be delicious with the pear but I didn't want the intensity of bacon for this sandwich. After experimenting a bit, the combination I settled on was smoked turkey,...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

News from the Kitchen and Beyond

I am going to be a very busy gal for the next couple of months! The past week or so I have been developing some recipes for Dulcet Cuisine , mainly because I just love the sauces and mustards Pam crafts and enjoy playing with them. I'll share some of my creations here soon. I'm also creating a handful of recipes for MyWinesDirect to pair with a variety of red and white wines. But most astonishing is that I am on the verge of signing a deal to create over 40 recipes for a new cookbook! That's all I'm going to say about it for now, but I'm sure I'll have stories to tell as I get rolling. Did I mention I am also planning a trip to Japan next month? What I am going to tell you about is a recent addition to my kitchen that is making it much easier for me to spend long hours developing recipes. I was offered the chance to try a Gel Pro Chefs Mat and I am loving it. Mine fits in front of both my stove and sink. Because my kitchen is so compact I also stand on it w...
Monday, September 10, 2007

Quiz Answers

Finally! We have some winners of Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking. Congratulations to Tim, Shiree, Arlene, Julie and Melinda. Most of the answers were in an article in the September 2004 issue of Food & Wine magazine. Here are the answers 1. According to Morimoto, in order for there to be creativity in the kitchen the chef must be_____ and _____ A. Relaxed and have fun B. Focused and pay attention to detail 2. Which of the following is NOT featured in Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking? A. Frozen lettuce B. Chocolate covered asparagus C. Squid strawberry candy D. Tofu souffle 3. In a magazine article Morimoto said "I keep cooked rice in my freezer and microwave it when I need it." To which Rachael Ray responded: A. Wow, that just changed my life. I'm going to go home and start freezing my rice. B. We have that in common, I do the same thing all the time! 4. Where can you find an instructional sushi video featuring Morimoto? A. Sta...
Friday, September 07, 2007

Second Chance to Win Morimoto

Looks like my quiz has really stumped you! No one got all the answers right, and only one person was even close. But I really do want to give away copies of Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking. So I'm giving the answers to two of the questions and here is a huge hint. Most of the answers can be found in an article in a food and wine magazine. And yes, it is available online. Got that? Anyone who has already entered a first time, may enter again. Like before only one entry per person, so choose carefully! Remember, you MUST include your email to win and your mailing address must be in the United States--sorry but this is because I'm paying for shipping. Also, you will not be eligible if you have already won a book this year on Cooking with Amy. Just choose your answers and post them in the comments section. The first four people to correctly answer all the questions will win a copy of the book. (I'm going to give the last copy to the person who got all but one r...
Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Morimoto Contest

How well do you know Iron Chef and restaurateur Morimoto? If you know him well enough, you might just win a copy of his latest book, Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking. It's a book I reviewed about a week or so ago. I have five copies of this book to give away. Only one entry per person, so choose carefully! Remember, you MUST include your email to win and your mailing address must be in the United States--sorry but this is because I'm paying for shipping. Also, you will not be eligible if you have already won a book this year on Cooking with Amy. Just choose your answers and post them in the comments section. The first five people to correctly answer all the questions will win a copy of the book. Good luck! 1. According to Morimoto, in order for there to be creativity in the kitchen the chef must be_____ and _____ A. Relaxed and have fun B. Focused and pay attention to detail 2. Which of the following is NOT featured in Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooki...
Monday, September 03, 2007

Pear Pecorino Potato Soup: Recipe

I know what you're thinking. What kind of still life is that? In addition to being a study in ingredients that start with the letter "P"; pear, potatoes, pecorino and pepper are also the main ingredients in a most delicious soup. You don't have to look hard to find a number of recipes featuring the combination of pear and the dry Italian sheep's milk cheese, pecorino. What's truly amazing is the range of recipes. Salads are an obvious choice, and there are sandwiches too. But how about ravioli from Lidia Bastianich? Ice cream from David Lebovitz ? The sweetness of the pear is complemented by the sharpness of the cheese and amazingly it works as well hot as it does cold. The combination is so good, it can make you rethink the ubiquity of those other classic combos like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. I mean, you don't see peanut butter and jelly salad or macaroni and cheese ice cream! If any molecular gastronomists are reading please,...