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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slow Food Nation: Civic Center

Slow Food Nation is a an indoor and outdoor affair with high ticket fundraisers and plenty of free events and activities. If you want to enjoy it on the cheap, head over to Civic Center and take a walk through the inspiring Victory Garden. In the garden swing by the "Soapbox", where a series of speakers and artists get to have their say. The garden is ringed by booths called "the Marketplace" which is kind of like a national farmer's market with growers and producers from all over and plenty of free samples and tastes of fresh fruit, cheeses, nuts, milk and more. Even if you're on a budget, stay for a snack or a meal. There are all kinds of offerings from Slow on the Go, including local favorites and regional specialities. My pick? A scrumptious muffaletta made from Heritage Foods company Salumi of Seattle! And if you can't make it to San Francisco, I hope you'll enjoy the slide show....
Friday, August 29, 2008

Slow Food Nation: Re-Localizing Food

How do you enjoy Slow Food? There isn't one sanctioned way. What began as a protest against fast food has become the symbol of a new consciousness about food. While the organization is somewhat controversial, the goals are admirable--to promote a return to the way people used to eat. What that looks like these days is up for debate. That very discussion was part of the Re-Localizing Food panel discussion today at Slow Food Nation , the community event organized by Slow Food USA, part of the international Slow Food movement. The panel featured author and journalist Michael Pollan, chef Dan Barber, Gary Nabhan, founder of Renewing America's Food Traditions Alliance, RAFT and Winona LaDuke, a Native American activist. It was moderated by James Oseland, editor of Saveur . Michael Pollan explained that the current state of our food systems was a product of interstate highways, supermarket chains, refrigerator trucks and cheap fossil fuel. But the days of cheap fossil fuel ma...
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meet the Cardens

Matthew and Jennifer Carden are smart, fun and just amazingly talented. I've gotten to know both of them through the San Francisco Professional Food Society . Jennifer is a cook and wrote the book The Toddler Cafe which has inventive recipes that even toddler-less me wants to make! There is a great version of salsa made with fruit and balsamic vinegar, panko and parmesan crusted chicken strips and mint and pea popsicles. Of course Matthew did all the photography, and all the recipes have way cool names. For you moms, be sure to check out Jennifer's blog in addition to the book. Matthew has helped out quite a bit doing event photography for the Food Society and does wonderful food photography as well as homes and gardens. But it's his " we are what we eat " series that puts a smile on my face. He's created a world that seems like The Borrowers have infiltrated the garden... the cheese shop.... the bakery... and the kitchen... Head to hi...
Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mini Rhubarb Strawberry Galettes Recipe

I like food in miniature. I like dim sum, mezze, tapas and appetizers of all sorts. Working on the latest recipe development project has been an exploration of many things in miniature. One recipe that sadly will not work for my client was a terrific success when it came to ease and taste. It does not work particularly well for vacuum sealing but that's ok. It means I can share it with you here and now. Rhubarb makes one of my favorite pies and now, my favorite galette, which is pretty much a pie for lazy people. Rhubarb requires some tender loving care to coax out the perfect balance of sweetness and especially texture. While mushy rhubarb isn't terrible, firm, sweet yet tangy rhubarb is fabulous! I like the method of macerating it with sugar. The trick to this recipe is to not let the rhubarb macerate too long. I think you could make it with just rhubarb but a little bit of strawberry really complements it. I also don't cook the filling! You don't need to, it cooks...
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Urban Tavern Opening Party

I've been to a fair number of parties, and in my experience restaurant parties beat all others, hands down. One of the best I've ever been to was the joint fete for Epic and Waterbar . A lot of the same industry folks were at the opening at Urban Tavern last night. It was a great chance to get a sneak peek, toast to the new restaurant, listen to the Backburner Blues Band , catch up on chef gossip and grab a bite to eat. So first off, the restaurant is attached to the Hilton on O'Farrell St. I'd call the decor rustic contemporary. The large Doug Owen horse sculpture is a focal point and sets the color palette. The menu features grilled meats with most items in the $15-20 range, casserole dishes for 1, 2 or 4 people such as beef daube, sides of vegetables, potatoes, beans and lentils, salads including duck prosciutto and grilled calamari versions ($9-13) mussels and starters ($9-11) that range from charcuterie to piadini to cold tomato and crab soup. Having only n...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Favorite things: Putumayo Presents: Acoustic France

The only time I ever got a speeding ticket I was listening to music on the radio. Not long after I switched to NPR and have stayed out of trouble ever since. While driving and music are subjects that have been explored in detail, lately I've been thinking about food and music, specifically music in the kitchen and music in the dining room. On my mother's birthday last month my family and I ate at Ad Hoc in Yountville. Dinner was delicious, though nothing earth shattering. But the music was way too loud and like that day I got pulled over, it distracted me. In the dining room I like background music. If I notice it, that's a good sign it's too loud. Meals are a precious time for me to catch up and connect with my dining companions, not to rock out. If you are a chef and want the music loud, that's fine, just please, keep it in the kitchen. Speaking of kitchen music, I just love the new Putumayo Presents:Acoustic France CD. It's filled with jazzy, catchy...
Thursday, August 07, 2008

All about Peaches

I have no children, not even a dog or a cat. But I'm considering adopting. Adopting a peach tree that is. Near Fresno, farmer Mas Masumoto and his family grow lovely heirloom varieties of peaches including Sun Crest and Elberta. Their peaches are organic, fragile, absolutely delicious and only available by adoption. Now I have to admit, I am totally and completely biased towards peaches. They are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin C but that's not why I love them so much. Soft, juicy, fuzzy, fragrant and ever so pretty to look at, peaches are the sexiest fruit around. Because the Elberta variety is so delicate, Mas Masumoto sells his peaches in a most unusual way, he allows people to adopt a tree and harvest all the peaches for personal use. That means a commitment to go to the farm and pick peaches the moment they are ready. A single tree produces 400 to 500 pounds of peaches and the cost to adopt a tree? $500. Each ...
Monday, August 04, 2008

Cabaret Brewed Chocolate

I remember first smelling the scent of coffee roasting in North Beach. I was a teenager and it was exotic and intoxicating like the City itself. Even though I didn't drink coffee, I loved that smell. Over the years whenever I've smelled fresh coffee, especially during roasting, it's been a combination of soothing and exciting to me, like the promise of something wonderful and dangerous. Sadly drinking coffee has never held the romance that smelling it does. If you take the Scharffen Berger factory tour , and I highly recommend that you do, you will more than likely be enveloped by the scent of roasting cocoa beans. It is such a warm and happy scent it reportedly makes those who work there giddy. Even a few minutes will give you a profound sense of well-being. Having taken the tour twice, I've often wondered, would it be possible to make a drink out of the roasted beans? Not the cocoa powder or chocolate, but the roasted beans themselves, like coffee? I'm hap...