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Monday, April 28, 2014

Poke Bar at Costco in San Francisco

One of the many things I enjoy eating in Hawaii is  poke . It’s a raw fish dish, that generally combines fresh yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi, with local ingredients like seaweed, Hawaiian salt and kukui nuts. There are seemingly infinite varieties, with ingredients such as green onions, sesame seeds, mayonnaise, tobiko, wasabi, sriracha, etc. In Hawaii you can find it at delis but also in supermarkets where there is often a poke bar in the seafood department.  Well, guess what just arrived at Costco in San Francisco ? A poke bar! It features fresh wild ahi from different regions of the world including the Philippines and Sri Lanka and marinades flown in directly from Hawaii. It’s all prepared fresh at the store and sold only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Prices range from $15.99 to $17.99 per pound. Varieties include ahi shoyu poke, ahi wasabi poke, and ahi spicy poke. They also had two cooked shrimp styles of poke. I tried the ahi limu poke which had onions...
Thursday, April 24, 2014

From Tanzania to Peru to Texas (or lunch at your place) Cookbooks

Any fans of Lisa Fain’s first cookbook, Homesick Texan or her blog, Homesick Texan , will surely enjoy  Homesick Texan's Family Table , her latest cookbook of recipes inspired by family favorites. Fain always manages to put her own twist on the recipes, updating them, making them even better than you might remember and her stories of growing up in Texas will charm even those who have never been to the Lone Star state. There are plenty of guilty pleasure recipes like Bacon and Chipotle Corn Pudding, Stacked JalapeƱo Cheese Enchiladas and Potato Chorizo Breakfast Tacos, but also more modern fare like Blueberry Granola, Turkey Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Chipotle Sauce and Tuna with Avocado and Red Pepper Baked in Parchment.  I tend to shy away from self-published books, but I was intrigued by  Taste of Tanzania Modern Swahili Recipes for the West . I’ve not seen very many African cookbooks and even fewer designed for a Western audience. There are many indigenous ingredient...
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Kitchen to Call Home

Last year I told you about Azalina , a chef who shares her Malaysian and Mamak heritage through food. She is a 5th generation street food vendor, but the first to find success in America. And her success so far has been amazing. She is a fixture at farmer’s markets, street food events and large outdoor concerts. Her products including her peanut sauce and coconut jam are sold at Whole Foods. Bon Apetit magazine even chose her lacy crepes as one of the top 10 things to eat at farmer’s markets.  But Azalina needs a kitchen, her own kitchen now that her business is expanding and she is about to embark on the process of opening a restaurant. I know there are tons of crowd source funding campaigns, but this is one I wholeheartedly support because I know Azalina, I know her exciting food and her inspiring story. She is a single mom, an entrepreneur and a role model.  Azalina is 1/3 of the way there, but just has a week left to reach her goal. I’ve pledged my support. But if fo...
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vegetarian Cookbooks for Omnivores

The reason cookbooks continue to sell when you can find plenty of recipes online is beautiful photos, illustrations and inventive recipes.  The Forest Feast  has it all. The pretty and very visual format of recipes with tons of photos as well as pretty watercolor illustrations is easy to follow and ever so appealing. The vegetarian recipes are simple but also attractive, such as Strawberry Salsa, Nectarine and Tomato Salad, Corn & Cauliflower Tacos and Polenta Portobellos. There are also a handful of cocktails. Erin Gleason the blogger behind the stylish vegetarian blog The Forest Feast is self-taught and focuses on seasonal ingredients. Nothing too cheffy here. Easy, pretty and original, it's a great introduction to vegetarian cuisine for omnivores or newbie home cooks looking for inspiration for everything from family meals to cocktails and entertaining. Vegan cookbooks are nothing new. But a vegan cookbook written by someone who is not only not a vegan but not a ...
Monday, April 14, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Potato Dip Recipe

Greek cuisine features many great snacks and nibbles from olives to pastries and dips. An easy dip to make is skordalia. Recipes vary regionally, but generally feature garlic, extra virgin olive oil and potatoes though sometimes egg yolks, almonds or bread as well. The problem for me is raw garlic which gets more and more potent over time. The solution? Roast garlic. Roast garlic is sweet and soft and most important, mellow. It won't overpower most dishes like this skordalia inspired dip made with potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and roast garlic, instead of raw. Not only is this dip good for Passover, it's vegetarian (vegan if you use vegan mayo) and gluten free! That is if you use a gluten free mayonnaise, which adds additional creaminess to the dip. I have been experimenting with "roasting" garlic in the microwave oven, but whatever technique you want to use is fine. The main thing is not to overcook it. It should be soft and creamy but not too d...
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Beet Almond Dip Recipe

I'm in the midst of creating 101 recipes for a new cookbook  (it was announced March 3rd). As a result, I haven't been cooking anything other than recipes for the book. But Passover is coming up and I've been asked to bring appetizers to the seder dinner. Appetizers for Passover are a bit tricky. If the meal is meat, which is typical, then you can't use any dairy. In addition you can't use legumes, seeds and most grains. So that means things like hummus and baba ghahoush are out so are cheeses and dairy based dips. What's left? Vegetables and nuts. Also eggs and meat (chopped liver is typical). Recently I received some samples of Melissa's Organic Baby Beets , peeled and steamed and ready to eat. These cooked beets are great for salads but I decided to try use them to make a dip. Instead of tahini, I used blanched almonds. Beets and almonds are really nice together. But they are both sweet, so I added ginger and lemon to cut the sweetness. It also needs...