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Monday, December 30, 2019

White Ginger Turmeric Latte Recipe

Disclaimer: My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands that I personally use and want to share with my readers  I love the tingle and zing of ginger, especially fresh ginger, but lately, I’ve been using Sonoma Syrup White Ginger Infused simple syrup to add a bit of spice and warmth to Winter recipes. Just this past week I used it in both applesauce and turmeric latte or golden milk. Instead of using sugar in applesauce, I added 1/4 cup of the white ginger infused simple syrup to 8 peeled and diced apples and the juice of one lemon. This was a change from the usual cinnamon, and it was particularly good on potato pancakes.  I’m a bit of a latecomer to the pleasures of "haldi doodh" also known as turmeric latte or golden milk. A traditional drink in India, it is purported to have all kinds of health benefits including everything from warding off colds to curing acne to supporting weight loss. I can only speak to one benefit, which i...
Monday, December 23, 2019

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated Review

Joy of Cooking was one of the first cookbooks in my collection. It's been a solid reference book for home cooks since it was first published in 1936 and was the cookbook I turned to when I was learning to cook. I turned to Joy to learn  how to make biscuits, cobblers, pie crust, gingerbread, how long to roast a chicken or leg of lamb, and the general guidelines for everything from how long to steam an artichoke to how to make zucchini bread. As my cookbook collection has grown and my cooking has become more adventurous, I stopped referring to Joy of Cooking which felt a little old fashioned, and a little too Midwestern. But the latest version has brought me back into the fold and here's why. The most recent version was updated by John Becker, the great-grandson of the original author Irma Rombauer and his wife Megan Scott. They live in Portland, Oregon, and the book now has more of a West Coast flavor than ever before— which is evident in recipes for things like poke an...
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Pantry Pasta Pomodorini Recipe

I’m a big believer in a well-stocked pantry. I could probably cook everyday for a month without shopping thanks to my pantry full of beans, pasta, rice, condiments, jars of anchovies, cans of tuna, along with fresh onions, garlic and potatoes. I also have tomato paste, canned whole, diced, fire-roasted tomatoes and cherry tomatoes from Italy. I believe you can never have too many cans of tomatoes or too much pasta. No one will ever go hungry in my house.  There are probably a million things you could make from pantry staples, but pasta with tomato sauce has got to be one of the most comforting. This pasta recipe uses cannelini beans so it’s kind of a mash up of pasta fagioli soup and pasta pomodoro. The beans add creaminess and starch to the pasta and also protein. If you haven’t ever tried using canned cherry tomatoes, you really should. They have a flavor and texture that you won’t get from regular canned tomatoes and they are perfect for a quick pasta sauce.  Pomodorini i...
Monday, December 02, 2019

All About Simple Syrup & No Oil Added Granola Recipe

Simple syrup is one of the most classic cocktail ingredients. Even though simple syrup is extremely basic and true to its name, simple, it is also incredibly versatile and can be used in so many ways other than just for cocktails and coffee drinks. I became fascinated with simple syrup thanks to Karin Campion, the founder of Sonoma Syrup . Her company grew out of her experiments developing high quality handcrafted simple syrups infused with ingredients from her garden in Sonoma. I use Sonoma Syrup simple syrups because they come in a wide variety of flavors making them more suitable for recipes and because unlike homemade simple syrup, they don’t require refrigeration and last a very long time, even though they don't include any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. After Karen shared her products with me, I discovered that in addition to using simple syrup in cocktails, and in hot and cold beverages, it could also be used in cooking.  While I rarely see recipes u...
Sunday, December 01, 2019

Fall Fruit Salad Recipe

I love the Thanksgiving meal as much as anyone else if not more, but I admit, it’s heavy. It needs something light, bright and frankly refreshing. I know fruit salad isn’t traditional but my mother often decorates the holiday table with seasonal fruit that makes the table pop with color, and I was inspired by her tablescape to make a salad using Fall fruits. The main fruit in the salad is Fuyu persimmons. Fuyu persimmons are the rounder ones with bright orange skin and a very firm crunchy texture. They are incredibly sweet and have a very unique flavor. Hachiya persimmons are delicious as well, but too soft to use in this recipe.  While Summer fruits are probably my favorites, Fall fruits are pretty compelling too. In addition to persimmons, I used grapes and pomegranate which each provide a pop of sweetness along with acidic and sweet tangerines. Apples and pears are in season too, but they have a tendency to brown. Kiwi fruit is another fruit that is in season starting in October...
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Taste of Travaglini Gattinara

The Travaglini family is obsessed with Nebbiolo and I don’t blame them. Nebbiolo is a grape native to the Piedmont region of Italy and it’s the grape in wines from Barolo and Barbaresco. But the Travalglini family is from Gattinara, a region of Piedmont that received a DOCG certification for wine in 1967 and wines produced there must be at least 90% Nebbiolo (a tiny amount of Bonarda and Vespolina are also allowed). In Gattinara the grape expresses itself in a way that is extraordinary—it has incredible minerality and earthiness, but also freshness, with spicy, fruity, floral and herbal notes, terrific acidity and elegant silky tannins. Imagine a wine with raspberries, cherries, violets, roses, and even a bit of licorice and sometimes tobacco. I’d say it’s a great wine for Thanksgiving because it pairs with just about everything. Drink it with pasta, with cheese, with game, with turkey, with beef, even with fish.  Nebbiolo is named for nebbia , the Italian word for fog. But it’...
Friday, November 01, 2019

The Art of Escapism Cooking Cookbook Review

Lady and Pups is a blog by Mandy Lee an expat living in Hong Kong. But perhaps living is not the best word to describe it. She is suffering in Hong Kong, and before that, she suffered in Beijing. Cooking is her refuge and her blog is a chronicle of how she throws herself into cooking as an escape, hence the cookbook title, The Art of Escapism Cooking . In many ways, her blog and cookbook, are like any others — lots of great photography, impressive recipes and personal stories. Except for one thing, Mandy Lee is unapologetically negative and dark. She does not try and sell some happy vision — real or imagined. She wallows. The politics and pollution are major downers in China, I totally get that. Though I could be wrong, I am fairly certain she does not work outside the home. Her recipes are not the “quick and easy” type, but rather the type that relies on ingredients many Americans are unlikely to have on hand and take a degree of preparation and time that is at times daunting. Tha...
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Infuse the Holiday Season with Flavor

Photo by Lee Sherman I’ve been a fan of Sonoma Syrup Co . ever since I discovered the brand at the Winter Fancy Food Show 15 years ago. Bursting with bright flavor, Sonoma Syrup Co.’s infused syrups are made with fresh ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Over the years I’ve written about them and their founder for KQED's Bay Area Bites , over at SF Station, and on my blog. Because of my long relationship with the company, I’m happy to partner with them to share some of the ways I love using them the most. While infused simple syrups are a great everyday ingredient that adds pizzazz to everything from iced tea to cocktails, they are particularly wonderful for entertaining. During the holiday season, we all want easy ways to impress family and guests, and Sonoma Syrup infused simple syrups fit the bill perfectly. Here are three great ways to boost the flavor at your holiday gatherings.  1. Breakfast and Brunch  Whether it’s Thanksgiving wee...
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Snøfrisk Waffle Tartines Recipe

Snøfrisk means "snow fresh" in Norwegian and  is a  goat cheese blend made from 80% goat's milk and 20% cow's milk. It is an extremely creamy, smooth and spreadable cheese that has all the tangy freshness of chevre but is as soft as sour cream. It's not aged, and has no additives or stabilizers, just a bit of salt. Made by a farmer-owned company in Norway, it's being introduced in a 3-pack at Costco in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two packages are plain and one is flavored with red onion and thyme.  There are lots of ways to use  Snøfrisk. Not surprisingly it's great to spread on toast, crackers, bread or vegetables. You can also toss it with pasta or add fresh herbs to it to make a dip. I also created a recipe for  Snøfrisk  Zucchini Risotto  for the brand. But I found it's smooth enough that you can even spread it on waffles. I make waffles from a mix but I skip adding any sugar or honey and keep them slightly savory. Waffles, just like goat ch...
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California and their nut oils are all expeller pressed and are GMO-free. Their walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan and pistachio oil are made in house and their almonds and walnuts come from California.  Earlier this year I got a chance to visit the La Tourangelle mill and also a farm that supplies some of their nuts. Bullseye Farms grows tomatoes, cucumbers, hay, and nuts sustainably on about 16,000 acres. They have 500 acres of walnuts and they use a black walnut rootstock which is resistant to diseases. The walnuts are a cross between different varieties and are self pollinators. You might be surprised to learn that ugly nuts make the best oil. It’s the variety of different nuts r...
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Cherry Cranberry Chutney Recipe

It's #canbassador time again. That means I get a big box of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers and head into the kitchen to do some canning. Last year I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canner. It's not terribly expensive and stacks inside one of my stockpots. I generally can small batches and this time around I decided to make chutney with the help of my pal Alison . She shared the ingredients she would use and I tweaked the proportions. The first rule of cooking with fruit is you need to taste it. How sweet is it? How juicy is it? That should guide your recipe.  Adapt the recipe based on your preferences and the quality of your fruit.   My cherries turned out to be very juicy so I added some dried fruit towards the end of the cooking to thicken the mixture. While this chutney has a great sweet and sour flavor, someone in my household actually used it in place of jam on toast. So far I've used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and on lamb chops. How yo...
Friday, July 12, 2019

Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread Recipe

I always crave pizza but I am trying to cut back on carbs, so when I saw little street taco sized whole wheat tortillas at the store, I was inspired to revisit a recipe I created a few years back for Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas . This time I went in a slightly different direction, making flatbreads that are not very pizza like at all—no grated cheese, no tomatoes, no sauce, no meat.  Right now it’s corn season and the combination of corn, smoked salmon, a little crunchy cucumber and goat cheese is a real winner. What takes this recipe from good to even better, is the addition of a bit of Chili Onion Crunch. Chili crisp has been a condiment I’ve been seeing all over the internet and I finally bought a jar from Trader Joe’s. It was so good I decided to do a little taste test and compare it to the more well known Lao Ganma brand.  A comparison— Lao Ganma Spicy Chili Crisp , 7.4 ounces, $2.19. available online or in Asian markets  Ingredients: soybean oil, chili, onion, fermen...
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ten Grapes to Know Book Review

Over time I’ve tried selling wine books back at a used bookstore with very little success. I’m sorry to say it’s because many wine books just aren’t that good and quickly become out of date. Sure there are some exceptions, but it can be hard to find a book that hones in on just the useful stuff you really need to know. That’s exactly why I’m so enthusiastic about Ten Grapes to Know by Catherine Fallis, the "grape goddess of Planet Grape ." Fallis is a master sommelier but is not in the least bit snooty or pretentious and doesn't fall into the trap of writing for other wine writers and sommeliers. She’s all about enjoying wine and makes learning about it fun. And she lets you in on many of the secrets that sommeliers know and many wine drinkers don’t know.  The book begins with what feels like the best cheat sheets on tasting wine, pairing food with wine and buying wine in a store or restaurant. She walks you through exercises for your senses and how to properly...
Tuesday, June 04, 2019

StarChefs San Francisco 2019

Courtesy of StarChefs I've long been impressed by the Rising StarChefs awards. Unlike chef awards, their process is transparent and has a rigor that is often missing. I spoke with Antoinette Bruno, the CEO and Editor in Chief of StarChefs to discuss the upcoming awards and the diversity that they reflect. The StarChefs Gala takes place on June 11, 2019, buy tickets or learn more . What’s the process for selecting Rising StarChefs? Antoinette Bruno (AB): The selection process has more or less remained the same since 2002. The awards program has just grown in size and scope. StarChefs covers four cities or regions a year. From the nomination process through the Gala, it takes about six months per city. Today, we have a network of more than 1,200 Rising Stars alumni who contribute their nominations. We also accept recommendations through social media, our website, and during in-person interviews. We do in-house research as well, and candidates are vetted through a “pre-inte...
Friday, March 08, 2019

7 Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2019

The Winter Fancy Food Show is a great place to identify trends. It’s also a way to see how trends are evolving. Here is a short list of what caught my attention.  Cauliflower is everywhere! This isn’t new and you've probably seen cauliflower rice in stores. From the Ground Up makes gluten free pretzels and crackers from cauliflower. I wasn't crazy about the pretzels, but the cheddar crackers taste a lot like Cheez-its. The other brand I liked was Caulipower . They make gluten free cauliflower pizzas, pizza crusts and tortillas. They each have the right texture, something I found lacking in other brands.  I wrote about mushrooms before but this year I saw even more innovations, including snack bars with mushrooms, from a brand called Shrooms offering a sweet and savory version as well as one with chocolate. Mushrooms are also showing up more in tea and coffee including one from the Republic of Tea called Restore and Reset  that combines Reishi and cocoa.  ...