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Friday, February 29, 2008

Whole Wheat Vanilla Pancakes: Recipe

Want to know the most scrumptious thing you can make for breakfast this weekend? It's these pancakes. Seriously, they are so good I made them twice this week. I've been slowly but surely testing out more and more recipes from whole grain cookbooks , trying to learn how to cook with whole grains. I just want to perfect that handful of recipes I can turn to time and again. Whole wheat flour can be a tough ingredient to work with because it has such a strong flavor and texture. Often I use white whole wheat flour from King Arthur or I mix half all purpose white flour with half whole wheat but in this recipe, use all whole wheat. The pancakes are both fluffy and moist at the same time. Of course, I put maple syrup on them too! If you have a vanilla syrup like the ones from Sonoma Syrup Company , you could use those instead. The recipe originally comes from the Betty Crocker Whole Grains: Easy Everyday Recipes , but I've taken more than a few liberties with it. I've ma...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Italian Cookbooks

When it comes to Italian food, the true measure of whether a recipe is authentic is whether it's the way your Italian mamma made it. It's hard to say whether a cookbook is ever truly authentic, unless of course your mamma wrote it. With Italian food, I think you need to get a feel for how Italians approach food and then use recipes as only a guide. Here are three Italian cookbooks I like very much, each for a different reason. It's been a couple of years since the American edition of The Silver Spoon was published, but it remains one of my favorites. It is still the most comprehensive Italian cookbook I have ever come across with over 2,000 recipes. It has very traditional recipes but more modern ones as well. For example, while not a traditional Italian ingredient, Italians are crazy about Scottish smoked salmon and it is featured in several recipes. It disturbs me that the brand-new edition of The New Regional Italian Cuisine Cookbook is written by a Bavarian au...
Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Morning Update

1. Thanks to Food Blogga for awarding Cooking with Amy the excellent blog award! I don't mean to brag, but to alert you to some other excellent blogs. You really you should check out all of Food Blogga's picks . There were several I never heard of before such as The Well Seasoned Cook and Canela & Comino . Head over to Food Blogga to see all her picks and poke around the site a bit. 2. You're not alone if you've never heard of Creole Shrubb from Rhum Clement , even the bartender I asked on Friday night hadn't. But it's a shame. The stuff is amazing! It's a scrumptious mix of spices, citrus and two kinds of rum. I got a chance to see some local bartenders make magic with it. Read more about Clement Creole Shrubb on GlamDish today. 3. How many recipe search engines do you have bookmarked? One? Two? Three? Read my post on Recipe Search Engines and learn about the four I recommend on EpiLog today....
Friday, February 22, 2008

Fennel Shrimp:Recipe

We all know that fresh herbs can make a dish sing. But my herb garden is in hibernation these days. Some of the parsley is coming back, and a few leaves of mint, barely enough for a garnish really, so I've had to resort to buying fresh herbs, and looking for other options. One decidedly herbal enhancer I've been playing with is Pernod. Pernod Fils used to be one of the most popular brands of absinthe. After 1915 when absinthe was no longer legal in most of Europe, the recipe changed, but the herbal and anise flavors remained. While it's not the type of thing I drink, Pernod, like Pastis and ouzo, it's absolutely wonderful to use in cooking. For years I had a bottle of ouzo that I used when steaming mussels or sauteing seafood. But it had a syrup like consistency and I find Pernod to be a bit more subtle. The fennel flavor it lends to vegetables and seafood is really delicate when used in moderation. The Pernod website has great suggestions and recipes to get you ins...
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Meet the Contributing Editor of Glam Dish

It's me! I am the contributing editor of the newly launched Glam Dish blog ! I'm posting 4 days a week, so I hope you will check it out from time to time and say "hi." I'm doing my best to keep my head above water so hang with me until I adjust to the workload. My first post is all about bollito misto in the form or an interview with Peter McNee, the chef at Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito. I've also included some links so you can make it at home, if you like. You'll notice I've snuck another button over on the left hand column to make it easy to get to my posts. Without it even I would have a hard time keeping up! READ MORE Over at Bay Area Bites is my round up of whole grain cookbooks . ...
Monday, February 18, 2008

World in a Teacup: Tracing the Global Journey of Tea

The Hearst Museum of Anthropology is hosting a special event exploring the trajectory of tea in its many forms: from ancient origins in Asia, through its spread to Britain, India and the rest of the world, to contemporary manufacture and its modern role in popular culture. Experts will discuss the history and trends of production, preparation, consumption and retailing of tea and related goods. Attendees will then enjoy opportunities to sample tea and other products from select Bay Area purveyors. I've already bought tickets for this event! Hope to see you there. Amy DATE/TIME: Saturday, March 1 1-3:30 Speaker presentations and discussion 3:30-5 Vendor event/sampling LOCATION: The Bancroft Hotel 2680 Bancroft Way at College Berkeley, CA, 94704 hotel web site COST & REGISTRATION: Tickets are $20.00 general admission; $18.00 for museum members, UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students. MORE INFO: website email Phone: 510-643-7649 Contact: Akiko Min...
Friday, February 15, 2008

Kona kampachi Ceviche: Recipe

I know, it's February and I ought to be singing the praises of cabbage and turnips but frankly I'm not in the mood. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and I feel like celebrating with something tropical and refreshing. I need a break from Winter. Right now. And ceviche is just the ticket. Knowing that the ocean's resources are rapidly being depleted, we should all be concerned with the sustainability of our seafood. The problem with seafood harvested in the wild is that it has the potential to drop below sustainable levels. You probably know what has happened to cod populations and tuna may not be far behind. Also in some instances the pollution and chemical levels in wild fish is not very healthy. On the other hand some farmed seafood practices can lead to pollution and disease which can harm wild populations. There is no hard and fast rule. In some instances we should buy wild, in other instances farmed seafood. Kona Blue , the company that produces Kona kampac...
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Favorite things: Brut Rosé

Chatting with winemaker Eileen Crane is almost as delightful as a glass of sparkling wine. In fact, Eileen is a bit like the sparkling wine she makes--bright, sophisticated, elegant but completely unpretentious and fits in just about anywhere. She's a great person to talk to about wine, because she's been making it at European style wineries in California for ages. She's been a winemaker at noted sparkling wine producers Gloria Ferrer and Domaine Chandon , in addition to Domaine Carneros in Napa Valley, where she's been for the last twenty years. I talked to Eileen because I wanted to get to the bottom of why I am so crazy about sparkling rosé, especially brut rosé. Now as we are heading in to Valentine's Day it seems like the perfect bubbly, but actually, it's the perfect bubbly all the time, as far as I'm concerned. Sure it has a festive color, and a rarity about it, but there are so many more reasons to love it. Perhaps most importantly, we talked about...
Friday, February 08, 2008

Meet Alice Medrich at Charles Chocolates

Photo ©Abigail Huller Just in time for Valetine's Day! The Alice Medrich event at Charles Chocolates has been rescheduled. Meet Alice Medrich and perhaps do a little holiday shopping at a favorite local chocolate shop. Charles Chocolates has a lovely Valentine's Day collection including very traditional heart shaped boxes, but my pick would be this heart decorated edible box filled with passion fruit, raspberry and mojito chocolate hearts, eight of each flavor. Fresh, delicious and unique. Alice Medrich will be signing her latest book, Pure Dessert , which was one of my favorite books of 2007. Hear her experiences working with chocolate and try some locally made chocolate confections. A visit to the Charles Chocolates retail shop is always a treat, it's attached to the chocolate factory where you can see practically everything that goes into creating chocolates. Proprietor Chuck Siegel like Alice Medrich, is a chocolate innovator, creating beautiful confection...
Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hotel Chocolat Goody Bag Review

Let's talk chocolate. I promised you a review of Hotel Chocolat's Valentine's Day offerings. Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolate company that recently launched their treats in the US, available online. They are also hosting a contest for Valentine's Day. But in case you were on the fence about entering, perhaps this will help you make up your mind. The Goody Bag of the Season changes but when I tried it there were two scrumptious slabs of chocolate, a bag of caramel and Florentine canapes, praline butterflies and a chocolate dipper. I really loved the milk rocky road chocolate slab. A super thick chocolate bar has chocolate chip cookie, puffed rice and white chocolate bites. It tasted like a candy bar with lots of textures in every bite, it's crunchy, crispy and creamy. It kind of reminded me of a mix-in ice cream, without the ice cream! Very silky and high quality. The caramel canapes might have been my favorite treat of all. This is a high cocoa milk ...
Monday, February 04, 2008

The Future of Chinese Food continued

On January 23rd the San Francisco Professional Food Society presented an insightful panel discussion on the future of Chinese cuisine in the US, along with The Asia Society and the Chinese Cultural Center . The panelists were (seated from left to right) Martin Yan, TV host and master chef author of 26 cookbooks, Alex Ong, Betelnut partner and executive chef, Albert Cheng, former three-term president of the Chinese Culture Center; Nicole Mones, author of the novels Lost in Translation , A Cup of Light , and The Last Chinese Chef , and moderator Olivia Wu, currently chef at Google and a former writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. One of the hurdles to great Chinese food in the US has been immigration policies. In a discussion about Chinese immigration to the US, it was mentioned that opening a Chinese restaurant was often the only opportunity for Chinese immigrants. Often those restaurateurs were not professional chefs, and as a result did not have the same passion for the cuisi...
Friday, February 01, 2008

The Future of Chinese Food

On January 23rd the San Francisco Professional Food Society presented an insightful panel discussion on the future of Chinese cuisine in the US, along with The Asia Society and the Chinese Cultural Center . The panelists were (seated from left to right) Martin Yan, TV host and master chef author of 26 cookbooks, Alex Ong, Betelnut partner and executive chef, Albert Cheng, former three-term president of the Chinese Culture Center; Nicole Mones, author of the novels Lost in Translation , A Cup of Light , and The Last Chinese Chef , and moderator Olivia Wu, currently chef at Google and a former writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. The discussion focused mostly on the challenges of finding great Chinese food in the US. While a few panelists did not mind American-style Chinese food, having traveled extensively in China, they all agreed there are many hurdles to finding truly authentic Chinese food in America. From the outset, Wu mentioned the following: • Limits on Chinese immigrati...