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Monday, February 28, 2011

Le P'tit Laurent

Several of my friends told me Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday and that they can celebrate love everyday, they don't need to wait until February 14th. If that's truly the case, they should all plan on taking their beloved to Le P'tit Laurent for a cozy dinner for two. I was recently invited to be a guest at Le P'tit Laurent and I can't wait to go back. It booked up quickly for Valentine's Day and it's no wonder why. Though located just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Glen Park BART station in San Francisco, it's the quintessential French bistro, decorated with all things French–a pressed tin ceiling, a collection of antique corkscrews, vintage posters and liquor signs. The waiters and waitresses are French. I can't imagine not being charmed from the moment you walk in. The food is classic bistro fare, onion soup, mussels marinieres, beef bourgignon, cassoulet, frisee salad with bacon and poached egg, bouillabase. Call if French co...
Monday, February 21, 2011

Ninja Professional Blender Review

I was curious to try out the Ninja blender and to see how it compared to my VitaMix . The VitaMix is tremendously powerful and makes the smoothest creamiest purees, sauces and smoothies. While I love it, I don't love the price, which is around $500. DESIGN I like the design of the Ninja. It looks sleek and similar to the VitaMix. The pitcher locks easily onto the base and has a very firm fitting lid with a spout to make adding ingredients or pouring easy. There are only a few buttons and they are all enclosed so it's easy to clean. The pitcher is lightweight and BPA free. The biggest difference in the construction is the blade configuration, there are 6 blades that run up the stem in the Ninja. They are very sharp! PERFORMANCE So how did the Ninja do? I did two tests. In one I made a smoothie with milk, ice and a frozen banana. At least, I tried to make a smoothie. What I got was a smooth drink with little chips of ice. No matter how long I blended on high, I could no...
Monday, February 14, 2011

Helen Roberts & the Kikkoman Test Kitchen

Chef Helen Roberts is the manager of culinary development and public relations at Kikkoman . She works on consumer recipes using the whole range of Kikkoman products from soy sauce to panko bread crumbs to soy milk and beyond. She used to work in product development and was hired because of her amazing ability to taste subtle differences in 16 different soy sauces! At the time she was hired, she had never even tried Japanese food. I recently got to visit Helen and her test kitchen in downtown San Francisco. What a treat! Helen is friendly, enthusiastic and has a great sense of humor, and so it was no surprise to see that her recently renovated test kitchen in San Francisco is cheerful and lively as can be. The kitchen has a big island, two stoves and a large refrigerator. It also has a big flat screen television with cooking shows on all the time and the radio set to "old school." By the way, is there anything better than cooking with Prince playing in the background? ...
Monday, February 07, 2011

Chocolate for Valentine's Day

The Superbowl is over! Thanks goodness. Frankly if I saw one more post about recipes for half time snacks I was going to go long and never come back. Not that I haven't been busy. I've been eating chocolate, consider it a warm up for Valentine's Day. There is a lot of not so good chocolate out there, and I'd hate to think you'd end up with some by mistake. What you need is someone you can trust to try before you buy. In this regard, let me be of service. Without further ado, here are my chocolate picks for Valentine's Day. 1st–New and Notable Art Pollard of Amano Chocolate is a mad genius when it comes to chocolate and while a bit wacky, under the surface he is a true perfectionist. He's won just about every award there is to win for his chocolate bars, and his latest introduction are boxes of chocolate confections . They are insanely good. They have a wonderfully delicate texture. Each flavor I tried was better than the next. The flavors are elegant an...
Thursday, February 03, 2011

10 Cool Things: Fancy Food Show Winter 2011

This year at the Winter Fancy Food Show I was chosen to be one of the "trendspotters" for the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade . As part of a small group of editors, writers and chefs, I helped to identify a number of trends . But that was just the beginning. I saw and tasted a lot of other interesting and appealing things. There were cultured, pastured and hand rolled butters, snacks made from seaweed, shortbread cookies flavored with herbs and flowers and lots of lovely chutneys, jams, vinegars and olive oils. Here are some new things I had not seen or tried before that each made a positive impression on me. I hope you get to try them soon! These wacky little fruit, Shanley Farms Finger limes , look like cornichons. Inside they have little beads of a very mild lime juice. It's like some kind of molecular gastronomy experiment only from nature! Crunchy caviar-like beads of lime would be great on oysters, smoked salmon, guacamole; I can think of almos...