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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Salmon Tacos with Mango Corn Salsa

To be honest, I haven't been feeling very inspired in the kitchen lately. I've been busy with lots of things including travel, and when I'm home I've been trying to eat the food in the freezer since it is on the verge of overflowing. But yesterday I was at the store and I found local king salmon on sale and some beautiful white corn. I thought about the mango I had and just like that, a plan came together. Sometimes ingredients speak to you and the lightbulb goes off. I diced the mango to serve with dessert a few nights before but it was firm and a little too sour. That's not good for dessert but it's excellent for salsa. The salsa can be used with chips, with roast chicken or scallops. It's actually pretty good without the tomatoes too. I was a little undecided as to which way I preferred it, so try it both ways and you tell me which you like better! This recipe has a lot of parts, but you can make the salsa and the sauce for drizzling ahead of time....
Monday, May 20, 2013

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child Book Giveaway

If you’re a fan of Julia Child, it’s really worth reading Dearie : The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, the biography written by Bob Spitz. It covers a lot of territory, starting with her family history and fills in gaps, sharing much more than you'll find in previously written books about her. Because Child was an avid letter writer, there’s a lot of source material. But there are also wonderful anecdotes from those who knew her best--from her editor Judith Jones to her TV director Russ Morash and many other colleagues, relatives and friends. It’s an entertaining book, and has the kind of “playful romp” feel to it that typified Julia Child as well.  An average student, with a funny voice and not much of a career track, Julia Child found her calling later in life, first in cooking school and later on television. Her story is tremendously romantic, because it was her husband who not only supported her but encouraged her in everything she did. You may be surprised to learn abo...
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ProCook Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

I love my enameled cast iron cookware. Nothing can really beat enameled cast iron for stews and braises. It holds the heat well, and is easy to clean. It is compatible with every type of range (gas, electric and induction) and is ovenproof up to 500 degrees. It's heavy, so I leave some pieces on the stove all the time. I mostly have Le Creuset , because that's what I registered for when I got married and I have bought some for friends too. But Le Creuset is terribly expensive so I have a hard time recommending it.  Late last year I wrote about the Martha Stewart line of enameled cast iron . It was much less expensive than Le Creuset and definitely performed as well. The colors and shapes were a bit different from Le Creuset, but the price made up for any differences. Now I've got an even better recommendation, the ProCook line of enameled cast iron .  Take a look at how the ProCook in aubergine compares to my Le Creuset in white (and ignore the crumbs on the stov...
Monday, May 13, 2013

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Turns 20

The Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture , aka CUESA is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Ferry Plaza farmers market . It's one of the best farmers market in America, and for good reason. In addition to being a showcase for some of the finest local produce, it's also been a model for building community and reestablishing the urban connection to farms.  Thanks to CUESA and the Ferry Plaza farmers market, the farmers market movement as whole has grown, with somewhere around 20 markets in San Francisco alone. Beyond helping to grow the farmer's market movement CUESA has supported chefs, created educational programs, and regularly holds events that engage the public in a variety of ways. The Ferry Plaza farmers market is a showcase for gorgeous produce, but in some ways the very success of the market has chased me away. While I have friends who still shop there religiously, I've grown tired of the hustle and bustle of tourists and chefs,...
Friday, May 10, 2013

Grocery Outlet Wine Bargains

Robaire showing off one his wine picks at Grocery Outlet in Berkeley I've been buying wine at Grocery Outlet for a long time and I've always been curious about Robaire, the manager in the store who picks the wine. At Grocery Outlet you won't find a lot of "shelf talkers" or ratings and descriptions of the wines, but sometimes you will see "Robaire recommends" at the Berkeley store or a sheet with details on the wine that Robaire has printed out. When Robaire took over the wine department at the store he was a cognac and scotch drinker. He told me he thought a lot wine was "just hideous." But he started reading about it and tasting and over the course of about six months, he became something of a wine lover. Today he recommends wines he thinks his customers will enjoy and not just the ones he prefers. Likewise Andy, the wine buyer at Grocery Outlet says he never buys for his palate. The wines at Grocery Outlet all have stories. Not jus...
Monday, May 06, 2013

Mango Mustard Chicken Recipe

Recently I was at a dinner hosted by Maille , an award-winning brand of Dijon style mustard that's been around for 265 years. Mustard was used in everything from cocktails to dessert. Mustard adds complexity and brightness and can be used in the background or front and center, it all depends on the dish. It also seems to balance out sweetness, adding pungency and acidity. As luck would have it, the National Mango Board sent me a box of luscious mangoes and I was instantly inspired. Mangos and mustard! I'm happy to say this recipe for Mango Mustard Chicken was a smashing success from the very first try. The sauce of mango, sautéed onion, mustard and honey is tangy, sweet, spicy and so good you won't be able to stop eating it! The pungency of the mustard is tempered by the sweetness of the mango and honey. I bet it would be good on a roast pork loin as well. A few years ago I learned not all Dijon style mustards are the same, some are sharper and some emulsify better t...
Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Taste of Bermuda

Bermuda is pretty pink beaches, dazzling turquoise water, lush vegetation, touches of British style, pastel painted homes and truly friendly people. It’s posh yet casual and while not a bona fide culinary destination, it offers some delicious things to eat and drink that you won’t find elsewhere. Here are my top picks: Fish chowder This scrumptious soup, considered the national dish, was originally poor people’s food, made from fish bones. It’s a rich broth, with vegetables including onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots and a variety of spices and herbs. It's a little bit like Manhattan style chowder but with bits of fish instead of clams, but what makes it most special is the black rum and sherry pepper sauce that’s added to it, often at the table. Where to find it: I loved it everywhere I had it, and it’s on just about every menu, but I’m told, the best version is sold at the Rubis gas station near the airport (get your taxi driver to take you!). I tried it at Bonefish...