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Showing posts from November, 2016

Grape Olive Pig book review

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Author Matt Goulding is in love with Spain, and it shows. It�s where he has a home with his Spanish wife and where he has the perfect �insider/outsider� status to dig deep. A James Beard award winning food and travel writer, it�s easy to get seduced by his prose, as he covers a mix of food, people and places. He�s genuinely enthusiastic which almost always makes for a good subject and a great book. 
In Grape Olive Pig, Goulding takes readers all over Spain. But it�s anything but a typical trip. In addition to stories, he uses graphics and lists to take his experience and turn it into tips for the would be traveler. In each location he tells the stories of the locals�from chefs to shepherds and a few family members too. In Salamanca it�s about processing pigs, in Valencia it�s the story of rice, in Cadiz it�s about tuna. Each story is personal, told with history and details that pull you in. It�s a new kind of travel guide packed with both plenty of practical information and yet, a focu…

All About Preserved Lemons

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Earlier this year I received a lovely batch of lemons from Limoniera Ranch. They were so perfect I knew I wanted to preserve them. Preserved lemons are a wonderful ingredient to use in traditional Moroccan cuisine, but if you don�t cook Moroccan food very often, have no fear! They are more versatile than you might think.

Making preserved lemons is more about technique than recipe. I use the general instructions from Paula Wolfert. The biggest difference is that I slice the lemons into quarters, I find them easier to squish into a Mason jar. Wolfert leaves them attached at the bottom. But beyond that, her recipe for packing them in a jar with salt and some lemon juice to cover them is pretty much perfect. But do use nice lemons, without blemishes and on the small side if possible. You can add black peppercorns or bay leaves, but I go simple just using lemons, lemon juice and kosher salt.

Now when it comes to using them of course you can add to tagines, the most classic way to use them, b…

Dungeness Crab Season & Giveaway!

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I�ll admit it. I�m feeling a little bit crabby. Fortunately after a closure last year, this year, crab season has already opened and I can be as crabby as I like! I spoke with Chris Lam the president and CEO of Pucci Foods, a leading seafood distributor, about the season. 

How�s the Dungeness crab season looking?  Crab season started out on time, looking promising, Fish and Wildlife have done the testing, and so we are quite excited, especially since it�s traditional for the holidays in the Bay Area. We have a lot of crabs. This year we�ve been getting heavy crabs full of meat. 
How is the supply, are they sustainable? We have the supply because of sustainable programs. You are only allowed to fish for the males and a minimum size, allowing the females and juveniles to reproduce. 
How long will the season last?  Into the first quarter of next year. As areas open up, in Oregon and Washington we will see even more availability after December 1. 
How's the pricing? This year we anticipate it…

East of Jerez Cocktail Recipe

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Boozy and bitter. No, I�m not describing anyone in particular, but rather one of my favorite cocktails, the Negroni. The classic recipe for this cocktail is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. While a truly perfect cocktail as is, the Negroni also lends itself beautifully to variations. 
Lately I�ve become enamored of barrel aged gin, which sounds like a terrible idea but done with restraint, it�s actually terrific. You get the sharper botanicals and citrus notes but with a mellower edge. A good barrel aged gin retains freshness that is so key to gin, but picks up nuances of spice from the barrel. Watershed Distillery takes their Four Peel gin, which contains lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit peel along with juniper, cinnamon, allspice and coriander, and they age it in bourbon barrels for at least a year.   
On a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio I met Alex Chien, one of the top bartenders in the Midwest and something of a gin aficionado. He�s also the bartender for Watershed Dist…