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Friday, November 06, 2020

The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook Review & Roasted Grapes and Yogurt Recipe

The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook by Toby Amidor is a book a lot of people could use right now. If you are feeling like you can’t face cooking anymore, don’t know how to cook, have very little in your fridge or pantry or are cooking for fussy eaters, it solves the question: What should I eat? Eat, not cook, because some of the recipes don’t even require using the oven or stove.   I don’t remember exactly when I met Toby but we have been on several press trips together. She’s a dietician, but also a home cook and I can attest she thoroughly enjoys eating. Her recipes are good reminders of what you can do with very little but also include some really ingenious things you probably haven’t seen before. She has a 3 ingredient oatmeal raisin cookie and two-grain free pancake recipes, one for pumpkin oat pancakes and another for peanut butter banana pancakes.   The book has recipes that are for every meal including snacks and treats, and have codes to indicate things like whether they are freez...
Friday, October 30, 2020

Pasta with Eggplant, Olives and Capers Recipe

October is both National Italian Heritage Month and National Pasta Month. In honor of both, I’m sharing a recipe for pasta with tomato-based sauce, and hosting a giveaway and post sponsored by  TheGreatestTomatoesofEurope .                                                                                                                                   While nothing can beat a fresh ripe juicy tomato, for sauce, canned tomatoes might be even better because they are peeled and cook so quickly. When it comes to Italian style tomato sauces you’ll see many recipes specify San Marzano tomatoes. The official name is actually Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP, in English DOP means Protected Designation of Origin.  A lot of tomatoes are labeled San Marzano, but are not grown and harvested according to the strict requirements of the DOP. If you try to find information about them it can be a little confusing and frankly, many food publications seem to miss the point of why you ...
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Lay's Supports Iconic Restaurants & You Should Too

I don’t have to tell you that restaurants are suffering. In the beginning of the pandemic many launched GoFundMe style campaigns to try and stay afloat. Restaurants also keep pivoting from offering pantry staples to meal kits, cooking classes, take out, delivery and more to make up for the loss of their normal business.   Independent restaurants numbered 500,000 before the pandemic and employed over 11 million people according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition and some industry analysts believe 2/3 of restaurants will not survive the crisis in the US. Yelp data shows 26,160 restaurants have closed as of the end of July.  Restaurants are pushing for a $120B Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund. You can ask your representatives to support this initiative .   Since 2104 Lay’s has offered limited edition “flavor icon” potato chips that honor classic dishes. In past years there’s been Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese, Fried Green Tomato, and even Crispy Taco. This year t...
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pandemic Provisions

Shopping for groceries has changed and it may be permanent. Restaurant suppliers have had to pivot to stay afloat. The good news is that they are now selling more to consumers than ever before and most say they plan to continue to do so. I wrote about this development over at Mart ha Stewart , but I thought I’d also share a few of the places where I’ve personally been shopping and that have been recommended to me. The benefits include better social distancing but also fresher food and support for farmers, fishers and ranchers.  I've also been buying dumplings, ramen, baked goods and taking cook-along classes at home, I'll share the details on those soon along with a list of where to find great takeout and delivery options.  Fresh produce  I often shop at the farmers market, but right now I am really enjoying the produce boxes from Tomatero Farm . They are only $20 and are delivered weekly around the San Francisco Bay Area. They include a wide variety of produce and s...
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dijon Mustard Black Cod with Cabbage & Potatoes

I know a lot of people are intimidated by the idea of cooking fish. A fillet of fish can sometimes fall apart when you cook it and because it’s expensive you don’t want to ruin it by undercooking or overcooking. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s hard to mess up black cod. This recipe is actually a sheet pan supper, which makes both the cooking and clean up particularly easy.  Black cod also known as gindara, sablefish or butterfish, is incredibly rich. The names are a bit confusing since it’s not actually butterfish or a member of the cod family. Butterfish is the name used for a popular misoyaki style of cooking it, popularized by Chef Nobu. It’s also popular smoked like salmon and is sometimes just referred to as sable. It is sustainable and caught along the Pacific coast from Baja up to Alaska.  Recently I discovered several recipes for black cod using Dijon mustard. When I think about Dijon mustard my mind goes to sausages, and the combination of cabbage, onions, apples ...
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Caesar Salad Recipe

Just as there are phases of grief, I’m pretty sure there are phases when it comes to food cravings while sheltering in place. I have officially reached the salad phase. When I got back home from a short vacation in Hawaii we were eating a lot of Japanese food. I cooked ramen, gyudon (beef bowl), Japanese curry and Japanese hamburger steak. After that, I craved carbs and it was pasta, rice, grits, tortillas, pizza, potatoes day after day. Along with the carbs, I wanted cheese. After all, what’s better than carbs and cheese? Maybe a Caesar salad.  I guess Caesar salad is a transition from the cheese phase (with some croutons for carbs) into the salad phase. Caesar salad is a favorite in my house, but I usually don’t make the real original Caesar. I doctor some mayonnaise with Worcestershire sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano and call it a Caesar. But it’s not a real Caesar.  A really good Caesar salad makes a fine main course and never needs the addition of chicken. It only takes a...
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ginger Matcha Walnuts Recipe

I received free samples of California Walnuts  mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Walnuts   and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. Everyone has their own way of coping during a crisis. For me, it’s time spent in the kitchen and lately, coloring. Yes, I’ve taken up coloring. The title of my coloring book is Meditations on Tea. Doesn’t that sound soothing? Of course, I need a snack to keep me going. And since the coloring book is tea themed, I figured my snack should be too. While the California Walnuts contest is all about how walnuts can work well in savory or sweet snacks, I tend to prefer a balance of both so I leave it up to you to decide which category it fits in.  Sometimes the simplest recipes are the hardest to perfect. This recipe was no exception to that rule. I tried roasting the nuts in a pan and in the oven with a bit of oil, but I found that ...
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Lavender London Fog Latte Recipe

My thanks to  Sonoma Syrup  for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands I personally use.  While it may sound like a drink from England's Victorian era, legend has it that the London Fog latte drink, Earl Grey tea flavored with vanilla and topped with foamy milk, was invented in the late 1990s at a Vancouver cafe for a customer who was pregnant and did not want to drink coffee. We may never know if the story is true, but it is a very popular drink on the West Coast and especially in and around Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia.  The origins of Earl Grey tea are also a bit mysterious. It is said to be named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey who was a British Prime Minister in 1830. Who came up with the blend and why remains a source of some debate but there are ads referencing Earl Grey tea from the 1880s. Earl Grey tea is a Chinese black tea flavored with bergamot, a type of sour orange that is very fragrant, and possibly a hybrid of lemon and bitter o...
Friday, April 03, 2020

Angkor Cambodian Sauces

For many years I’ve been wanting to write a cookbook about how to cook with condiments and sauces. I have a refrigerator and pantry filled with all kinds of ingredients from everyday ones like ketchup and miso to more unusual ones such as pomegranate molasses and preserved lemon paste. My Asian sauce collection is massive and I don’t just use Asian condiments in Asian recipes but in all kinds of things. Which brings me to Angkor , a line of Cambodian ingredients.  A couple of years ago I met Channy and Kent Laux at the Winter Fancy Food Show. I was blown away by their first product, lemongrass paste which also includes garlic, jalapeno, onion, fish sauce (there’s a vegan version as well), galangal and makrut lime, and couldn’t wait to experiment with it. It’s herbal and tangy with funky notes from fish sauce. Channy has shared a number of traditional Cambodian recipes on the site Angkor Chef but I knew the sauces would work in so many non-Cambodian dishes as well. Earlier th...
Friday, March 06, 2020

Mint Matcha Latte Recipe

My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands I personally use.  Growing up I loved pistachio ice cream, green marzipan covered princess cake, and shamrock shakes from you-know-where. Yes, green was my favorite color. I’m not sure I would have liked matcha as a child, but I certainly like it now. I usually make matcha with just water, but for St. Patrick’s Day I created a minty green matcha drink as a treat. Matcha is a Japanese green tea, ground into a powder. You can easily find matcha powder suitable for recipes at the supermarket nowadays. Matcha can be used in  cookies, ice cream, cakes and more . It has a lot of health benefits including antioxidants and is reported to help protect the liver, boost brain function, may help prevent cancer and even support weight loss . In many recipes matcha is combined with milk, if you combine it with cow's milk the calcium counteracts the absorption of many of the beneficial nutrients and antio...
Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Emma's Famous Beet Borscht Recipe

There are a few dishes that I grew up eating that are my soul food. High on my list is borscht, a beet soup from Eastern Europe. I like it hot, I like it cold. I like it thin, I like it thick. I like it with beef, I like it vegetarian. And I particularly like it with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. The beets somehow transform mundane carrots, onions, and potatoes into something sweet, juicy and scrumptious.  I used to make borscht from a recipe from The Victory Garden Cookbook . It's a great recipe from a really great cookbook, but it is incredibly involved and time-consuming. To the rescue comes my friend, Emma. Emma is a colleague of mine so I get to see her fairly frequently at events around town. She is in some ways a bit like me  —  she is curious, has a great appetite, is interested in art and strongly opinionated. We don’t always agree about everything but I am guaranteed a good conversation with Emma and I truly enjoy her company. Recently on a long drive...
Saturday, January 18, 2020

Masala Chai Recipe

My thanks to  Sonoma Syrup  for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands that I personally believe in and use.  Hot, creamy, spiced, black tea is called masala chai in India. In Hindi chai means tea and masala means a mixture of ground spices. But in the US we often refer to masala chai as chai tea or chai tea latte. During Winter I crave masala chai. I first tried it in an Indian restaurant. It was rich with milk and very, very sweet, then in college, I discovered the pleasure of making it myself. I got the recipe long before the internet, from someone I met at a party. Calling it a recipe might be a stretch, it’s more like general guidelines. Funny that tea is not even mentioned in the recipe! But that ancient scrap of paper is the basis for my recipe, which is a combination of strong black tea and milk, flavored with cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and fresh ginger. I’ve tried many commercial versions of chai, but they often use flavorings or ground spices ...
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Half The Sugar All The Love Cookbook Review

Sugar has been in the news lately and it hasn't been sweet. While it isn’t a surprise to learn that too much sugar is bad for your health, it is a bit surprising to learn just how addictive and pervasive sugar is. In Make 2020 The Year of Less Sugar , a story that ran in the New York Times just a few weeks ago I learned that sugar lurks in 70% of packaged food, the many health risks associated with too much sugar as well as the “addictive nature of the fructose in processed foods and beverages.”  The article recommends taking a 7-day break from added sugar, and then adding it back in but carefully. The New York Times also published a “ 7 Day Sugar Challenge " but  if you’re really serious about cutting the sugar, check out Half The Sugar All The Love , a new cookbook by Jennifer Tyler Lee, a healthy food advocate and Anisha Patel, an MD and Stanford professor who researches children’s health. The book definitely slants toward families, but even a household without kids l...