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Monday, January 25, 2010

Fancy Food Show Winter 2010 Cool Stuff

There were a number of things I saw at the Winter Fancy Food Show that really intrigued me this year. But tasting something is not the same as cooking with, or trying something in my own home kitchen, so I decided I would put some of the most provocative products into a separate post from my favorites . Hopefully this makes sense. Next up will be the trends from the show and beyond... If you love cheese, how can you not fall head over heels for this wedding cake? It's made entirely of Cypress Grove chevre and lovely fresh flowers. For someone who prefers cheese over sweets, it would be a fantastic way to celebrate in style. In fact, master cheesemaker and Cypress Grove founder Mary Keehn served one at her own wedding. I've been hearing about black garlic for quite some time, but I'm not sure I'd ever tried it before the show. It was offered up in various forms from whole heads, to cloves to liquid. It is fermented and all the natural sugars come out creating a v...
Friday, January 22, 2010

Fancy Food Show Winter 2010 My Favorite Things

Here's the thing about the Fancy Food Show , you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet the prince. There are thousands of products to sample and not nearly enough time to try them all, so I let my intuition guide me and keep my eyes peeled for what could be something delicious (plus I ask everyone I can about their best discoveries). Today I'm excited to show you the things I loved the most. Next I will show you some cool new discoveries that I think have a lot of potential... So without further ado I give you my top 10 picks! Please don't be offended but I affectionately call this salted butter caramel sauce, sex in a jar. It is hands down the most delicious caramel I have ever tasted. It comes from Isigny in Normandy featuring one of the only AOC 's for butter. This jar of caramel contains salted butter, sugar and creme fraiche. That's all. It has depth, balance, texture, and the flavor lingers lusciously on your tongue. I discovered it in the French ...
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese with Spanish Peppers: Recipe

I love quick and easy recipes. So I must confess, when I make macaroni and cheese I generally cook it on the stove top and subsequently eat it as fast as I can get it onto my plate. But if I had my choice, I like a bubbly casserole of macaroni and cheese, moist, oozing with cheese, spiked with a little hot mustard and paprika. The perfect macaroni and cheese for me would also have some chewy cheese around the edges and a crisp topping for contrast. I wondered, does everyone prefer this style? So I asked on Twitter and fifty nine people told me they prefer baked macaroni and cheese and about four said they are happy with stove top versions. Baked it is! Macaroni and cheese is a very versatile dish, some recipes use a white sauce, others a custard sauce and some have no sauce at all. Many variations include the addition of ham, bacon, tomatoes or peas. When it comes to cheese, I've seen recipes using American cheese, gruyere, cheddar, Colby, Monterey jack, and even goat cheese. M...
Monday, January 11, 2010

All about Olio Nuovo

Olio nuovo means "new oil" in Italian. Extra virgin olive oil is the first pressing of olives, and olio nuovo is fresh extra virgin olive oil, the very first pressing of the season. It's typically pressed beginning in late October or early November and is available only for a short time. It's not filtered or even allowed to settle the way most oil is, so it may be somewhat cloudy due to particulate matter and moisture. What makes it so prized? Olio nuovo has a creamy, bright, pungent and peppery flavor. It's also rumored to have a greater amount of polyphenols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. When I lived in Tuscany, my host family had a fattoria or family farm in the country outside Florence. The arrival of olivo nuovo pressed from olives grown on the property was a big deal. We enjoyed it by making fettunta, which is bread toasted over an open flame, then scraped with a raw clove of garlic, drizzled generously with olio nuovo and final...
Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why do YOU cook, Mary Ladd?

Photo credit: Mary Ladd I first discovered Mary Ladd's writing on her blog Jalapeno Girl a few years ago. She was a cooking school graduate who wrote about spicy food and more. At that time she was doing some catering and shared the good, the bad, and the downright ugly about creating and serving meals on a large scale. I enjoyed reading her insider stories about parties of all kinds and her accounts of dining on offal with the likes of Anthony Bourdain. While not a category, I was struck by how often nudity factored into her catering gigs whether at a nightclub or the famous Bay to Breakers race. Now Mary writes frequently for the SF Weekly food blog, SFoodie and always manages to stay on top of tasty local food and happenings. "Many of my best memories are food related, so I guess I am trying to recreate that. I cook because it is a way to continue learning about food and culture. Many of the foods I favor today are not ones I grew up with. My folks are great c...