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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pantry Paella Recipe

My kitchen is overflowing. My freezer is so full I can barely close it. I sometimes hear the crash of bottles, jars and tins falling off my pantry shelves and onto the floor. I seriously think I could cook and eat without going out of the house for a month. Ok, I might get bored of tuna and beans and pasta, but then again, maybe not. I have no idea what causes me to hoard food, but I sometimes imagine I must have been a starving Italian casalinga in another lifetime. The other day I was thinking about using the short grain Valencia rice I had languishing in the cupboard to make paella. I was going to buy some shrimp but as I perused various recipes it became clear to me that you can make paella with just about any combination of vegetables, seafood or meat. There is no one paella. I figured I might as well use what I have on hand. In my pantry I had a jar of artichokes and a can of green olives, and in the freezer I had pearl onions, peas and a single sausage. Those ingredients we...
Monday, February 23, 2009

The Ungarnished Truth, A Cooking Contest Memoir: Book Review

I'll admit it, even though I find most of the recipes atrocious, I am fascinated by the Pillsbury Bake-Off . Every two years the contest is held with much fanfare and prizes, including a million dollar grand prize. The judges are generally food editors and choose recipes based on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal, but because the recipes use packaged "convenience" foods, they often end up sounding bizarre. Samosa Taquitos with Apricot Chutney Sauce , anyone? Or Huevos Rancheros Pizza ? The Ungarnished Truth, A Cooking Contest Memoir "A Woman, A Chicken Dinner, A Million Dollars" is out now in paperback and I devoured the book in two sittings. Bake-off grand prize winner and author Ellie Matthews is smart, funny and very engaging. Her story gives an almost unbelievable level of detail on her road to the win. But even if she never won anything, you would want to read about this quirky and down to earth woman (who shocked everyone by not jumpi...
Friday, February 20, 2009

100 Things to Eat (in San Francisco)

Have you seen the 100 Things to Try Before You Die list over at 7x7? It's a terrific to do list . I've done about half. 2. Coffee-rubbed pork shoulder at Range 3. Carnitas taco at La Taqueria 6. Burger with fries at Slow Club 7. Shaking beef at the Slanted Door 8. Morning bun at Tartine Bakery 10. Baja-style fish tacos at Nick’s Crispy Tacos 11. Pork sugo with pappardelle at Delfina 12. Salt-and-pepper squid at Yuet Lee 14. Beef brisket at Memphis Minnie’s 15. Oysters on the half shell at Swan Oyster Depot 19. Tuna tartare at Michael Mina 21. Pizza margherita at Pizzeria Delfina 22. Vietnamese roasted pork sandwich at Saigon Sandwich 29. Spaetzle at Suppenküche 30. Laughing Buddha cocktail at Cantina 35. Salted-caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery 36. Dry-fried chicken wings at San Tung 37. Rotisserie chicken at Limón Rotisserie 38. French fries at Hayes Street Grill 40. Cheeseburger at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher 41. Pho ga at Turtle Tower 42. Fried-shrimp po’boy at Brenda’...
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Double Stuffed Baked Potato Recipe

David Lebovitz and I should never go out to dinner together. Why? Because I have a wandering fork. I love sharing food for several reasons. First of all, I can rarely decide what I want, so sharing generally means I get to try more than one thing. Also I fear I have bad ordering karma and will choose the worst thing on the menu and be stuck with it if I don't share. Finally, I don't like massive portions so sharing also helps me keep from eating way more than I want. A few years ago there was a diner that was known for serving gigantic portions and my mother and I used to share a double stuffed baked potato and salad. It was one of those potatoes that was way over a pound to begin with and then it had loads of vegetables in it. It probably wasn't as healthy as I like to believe it was. The restaurant and the potato are long gone now but for years I have tried to recreate it. This latest version is my best effort to date. My double stuffed potato is really just a formu...
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

There are lots of things you simply must eat when you come to San Francisco, the latest is ice cream at Humphry Slocombe . It's located in the Mission just off of 24th street, a neighborhood more known for Mexican food, but perhaps becoming ice cream central. Back in the 80's gelato was all the rage, but sadly the fad seemed to die out. For years my pick for interesting flavors was Bombay Bazar , an Indian shop on Valencia street in the Mission district that offers flavors like fig, cardamom and chai. Thankfully over the past couple of years ice cream shops like Sketch , Bi-Rite Creamery (on 18th street in the Mission) and Ici have opened up reintroducing the idea of high quality ice cream with fresh and unique flavors. Suddenly it seems the Bay Area is becoming an ice cream mecca. Humphry Slocombe might just be my favorite ice cream ever. The flavors are sophisticated and not too sweet. It's a cute and retro looking shop with bright red bar stools that face the street...
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chicken Roasted in a Pot Recipe

Last month it seemed everyone was roasting a chicken. Perhaps the chill in the air inspired a desire for something comforting and familiar. I couldn't watch a cooking show on television, read a newspaper online or food magazine without staring at yet another roast chicken. And blogs! It seems just about every food blogger was roasting chicken. I think it was the steady stream of breathtaking photos that finally got to me. This is a "poulet en cocotte" recipe that I modified. I saw it on a certain television program and decided I would make it a little differently. It was moist but didn't yield crispy skin. Fresh out of the oven, I particularly enjoy roast chicken with roasted root vegetables or a big green salad and boiled potatoes all slathered with vinaigrette. The next day I shred the leftover chicken and use it in something else like enchiladas, another excellent comfort food. The liquid from the chicken was very rich and flavorful and I had so much of it l...
Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chocolate Bar Review

You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but I'm in training. In March I'll be on the tasting panel for the Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon and I take this responsibility very seriously. In fact, I snagged as many bars of chocolate I could at the Fancy Food Show to prepare for my judging. Ok, that's not completely true. I took the chocolate bars because I love chocolate. The samples of chocolates I tasted are very random. I took bars and mini bars from any chocolatier who did not literally tape the bars into the boxes, prohibiting me from taking any. Why anyone would exhibit at the Fancy Food Show and NOT provide samples of their products is beyond me. But believe me, there are plenty of them. I also took some samples from a company that makes chocolate intended to be paired with wine. I will review those another day. There is a bit of a debate that rages on about chocolate, both about percentages and about single estate versus blends. Frankly, I ...