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Monday, November 22, 2010

Why do YOU bake, Irvin Lin?

While Irvin Lin is a relative newcomer to food blogging, having launched Eat the Love earlier this year, he has quickly been embraced by bakers, cooks and food lovers. He's extremely talented as a baker, having won various competitions, including the Food Wars :Pie or Die, also this year. Lin does it all with a sense of joy and humor that is positively delicious. "There is something slightly schizophrenic about being a home baker. It’s a soothing zen-like solitary experience where precision measurements are needed to ensure a perfect end result. It’s a bit magical, when you put that batter or dough into the oven, at the correct temperature, and it comes out a baked good, something worthy of sharing with the people you love. Baking may be a lot of science (as well as a lot of art – don’t let anyone tell you any differently) but it’s also a magic that everyone can access. Few things in life create the warm happy feeling I get when I smell something baking in the oven. But bakin...
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's Special Movie Review

Today's Special opens up in theaters around the US tomorrow. I got a chance to see a preview of it a few months ago at the International Food Blogger Conference and found it to be utterly charming, funny, and a bit of a tearjerker at times. You may recognize the lead actor Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You will certainly recognize cookbook author and actress, Madhur Jaffrey. She's great in the role of the mother of the central character, a chef in the midst of professional and personal crises. I don't want to give away too many of the details, but the movie is about a chef, Samir, who impulsively quits his job, is pressed into service at his family's restaurant, finds his cooking mojo and of course, the approach to food is really an approach to life. I was disappointed that the filmmaker did not accept Madhur Jaffrey's offer to help with the food scenes, because some of them lack authenticity. It's a shame, because in every other wa...
Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet Chef Gopinathan of Campton Place

Campton Place the restaurant at Campton Place Taj Hotel San Francisco has an illustrious history. Many celebrated chefs have passed through the kitchen including Laurent Manrique, Jan Birnbaum, Bradley Ogden, Daniel Humm, Todd Humphries and Peter Rudolph. The restaurant added an Indian flair to the menu when the Taj took over the hotel and Executive Chef Sri Gopinathan took the helm. The restaurant has flown a bit under the radar for the last few years, but now it's back in the spotlight. Michelin just awarded Campton Place a star in their 2011 guide. Chef Sri Gopinathan hails from Southern India, trained at the CIA Hyde Park and apprenticed in the kitchen of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at the famed Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, in Oxford, England, a Michelin 2 star restaurant. Since Campton Place is sure to be on the list for local and visiting foodies, I checked in with the chef to learn more about him and his cooking. How would you describe your food? My style of cooking...
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meat Cookbooks

Vegetarians, avert your eyes, now! This year there are several cookbooks dedicated to cooking meat. If you are like me, you are eating less meat, but being more particular about what you consume. I no longer buy meat at the supermarket. I am too haunted by images of factory farming. But I am still eating meat and while it makes up less of the plate, the few days a week I do cook it, I want it to be as deliciously satisfying as possible. Each of the following books are written by James Beard award-winners who know their stuff. Their recipes work, their writing is clear and their knowledge unassailable. James Peterson is an experienced cooking teacher, he not only knows how to cook, but knows how to explain it clearly to just about anyone. Meat , A Kitchen Education is his latest book. All kinds of cooking methods are covered in it and it's worth pointing out his book includes chicken, turkey and fowl. Step-by-step photos show how to carve, make dishes like salt pork and veal cho...
Monday, November 08, 2010

Winter Cobb Salad:Recipe

Last year I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Michael Symon at a demo that he did at Williams-Sonoma. From recipes in his cookbook, Michael Symon's Live to Cook , he made creamy scrambled eggs with goat cheese, potato pancakes and of course, plenty of bacon. Michael Symon loves bacon, it features prominently in many of his recipes. The next best thing to eating Michael Symon's food, is seeing him cook, so you can replicate his recipes at home. Right now you can see a number of videos with Michael Symon at EatWisconsinCheese.com , where he demonstrates some very interesting techniques. For example, he makes gnocchi that is cooked in a pan, with no need to parboil. I'm always looking for more salad recipes and I like his version with arugula, apples, radishes and Wisconsin blue cheese. Symon's salad is a side dish, but with just a couple more additions, it actually makes a great main dish. To the salad I added crunchy jicama, creamy avocado, toasted walnuts ...
Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Why do YOU cook, Dianne Jacob?

If you are a food blogger or an aspiring food writer, there is a good chance you know Dianne Jacob , author of Will Write for Food : The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More, now in it's second edition. She's an editor, a writer, a teacher, a cook and a coach. She has helped countless people get book deals and polished their writing. After meeting her at a book signing years ago, we've gotten to be friends and I've been lucky enough to share the stage with her at various conferences. In addition to Will Write for Food she co-wrote Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas , and past work experience includes both newspaper and magazine editing. Her popular and provocative blog addresses food writing and blogging issues, but it doesn't answer the question--why does Dianne cook? So, I'm happy to give her that opportunity here. "I’m a storyteller first, not a chef. As far as cooking goes, I’m just an enthusiastic home cook who makes fo...
Monday, November 01, 2010

Tea at the Laurel Court

There are three things I feel are necessary when it comes to afternoon tea and the beautiful Laurel Court restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco atop Nob Hill excels at each. The first is the tea itself. It should be very high quality. It should be loose leaf, not served from tea bags! The service should be attentive and never rushed because tea is meant to be leisurely and relaxed. Finally there should be abundant food. It's funny how the meal is named after a beverage but it often features three separate courses of food. Generally served on tiered trays, there are finger sandwiches, scones with cream and finally pastries, often petit fours. The Laurel Court is a posh room under three domes, decorated with painted murals, columns, and surrounded by cozy loveseats. The room was restored in 2000, and it's a treat just to spend time there, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Because afternoon tea is a bit of a luxury (at the Laurel Court it is $36) the...