Showing posts from February, 2017

Spicy Italian Sausage & Kidney Bean Soup Recipe

I'm not big on most convenience foods, but I am a fan of sausages. I always keep a package or two in the freezer. They are quick to cook and combined with a few other ingredients they can take the leading role in soup, stew, casseroles or pasta dishes. I�ve paired them with everything from pears to rapini to make meals on the fly.
During the Fancy Food Show last month I got a chance to try Mulay�s Sausage at Food Fete. I was impressed by their products and especially founder Loree Mulay�s dedication to using high quality ingredients. Her Italian sausages were juicy but not greasy. �No one should see how laws or sausages are made� goes the Otto von Bismarck quote, but I'm not so sure about that. Loree spoke passionately about the sourcing of meat that goes into her sausages made according to her family�s recipes. She uses meat from animals never treated with anitbiotics. She doesn't use nitrates, MSG, soy, dairy, sugar, artifical flavors or colors and her products are gluten…

Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Recently I worked with Bolthouse Farms to create some recipes using a new yogurt based spread called MAIO which comes in three versions�plain, garlic and chipotle. I do recipe development for clients all the time, but only occasionally do you see those particular recipes reprinted here on my blog. I refuse to be compensated monetarily for anything on my blog, so I only share things here that I really want to share, never because I was paid. But this is such a unique and wonderful new product I�m really happy to tell you about it.
When I was in Sweden last month I enjoyed a variety of sandwiches and salads that used creme fraiche rather than mayonnaise. It's lighter and less oily than mayonnaise, but is unfortunately very high in fat and calories. MAIO is yogurt based and egg-free but also includes some olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. It has a light creamy texture and fresh flavor and can be used in place of mayonnaise but is also much more versatile. I've found it als…

Cabbage with Horseradish, Chives & Salmon Roe

Back in December I spent a few days in Seattle. I was very excited to check out new restaurants and in particular Renee Erickson's Bateau, considered one of the top new spots in Seattle. It�s a steak restaurant but the side dishes are no less glamorous than the exquisite cuts of heritage breed, grass fed and finished beef. One of my favorite dishes was the Cava-Butter Poached Cabbage with Horseradish, Chives and Ikura. I have no idea what the actual recipe is, but decided to recreate it as best as I could. 
Cabbage is a terribly under appreciated vegetable. Given a bit of care, it can turn into something really special. In this case, the buttery braising liquid, the horseradish, herbal freshness of chives and pop of salmon roe are the equivalent of giving cabbage the royal treatment. It�s such a fine combination of flavors and textures, I really didn�t see the point in changing it up very much. I used Sauvignon Blanc instead of Cava, because it�s what I had open, but I think any wi…

Halibut Roasted in Parchment Recipe

Recently Real Good Fish reached out to me to see if I would try their services and share my experiences. I was already considering subscribing and am very happy to tell you about them. Real Good Fish is like a subscription based community-supported agriculture program (CSA) where you get a box of fresh produce only in this case, it's a share of fish or seafood each week. It's dropped off at a convenient location in the San Francisco Bay Area for you to pick up. You get a heads up the day before so you know what you are receiving. Sometimes you will receive things you may not ever be able to find at retail like Ridgeback shrimp or California red abalone but the newsletter and website provide storage tips and recipes. 
So far I've received crab, abalone and halibut. It's always enough for 2-4 servings and costs $22. It's pretty much the freshest way to get your fish or seafood. It's all local, sustainable and the newsletter gives you details about who caught your …

Emu Eggs

What�s big and speckled green? It might look like a dinosaur egg, but it's actually an emu egg. The emu is the second largest bird in the world and native to Australia. Emu are raised in US for their meat and oil, but their eggs are also quite a delicacy. This particular emu egg is the very first one I�ve ever had the pleasure of cooking. 
You may not be able to tell from the photo just how massive the egg is, but when cracked and emptied, the contents are equal to 2 cups! According to the American Emu Association, chicken eggs contain 37% saturated fat and 63% healthy unsaturated fats, emu eggs contain 31% saturated and 68% healthy unsaturated fats. Both contain 8 of the essential amino acids. Another key difference? Chicken eggs are about 65% white and 35% yolk whereas emu eggs contain 55% white, and 45% yolk. Not surprisingly they are richer and creamier than chicken eggs.
Emu eggs can be stored in the refirgerator for up to two months. I was advised to let the egg come to room t…

Chicken with Fennel & Lemon Recipe

If you live in California, you're probably sick of the rain. Of course, we need the rain after many years of drought but it's still somewhat tiresome. The wet weather has put me in the mood for comfort food and in particular braises, soups and stews. Truth be told, this particular dish is barely a braise. Chicken thighs are seared then finished on top of a melange of onions and fennel and some slices of lemon. It's soothing and familiar but lighter than traditional comfort food which was once synonymous with "heavy." Comfort food can be fresher and healthier than it used to be, but just as soul soothing. 

Have you ever noticed how recipes often call for dry white wine? That always frustrates me and I vow not to do it moving forward. It's better to know which wine in particular works well in a given recipe. In this case, I think a crisp Sauvignon Blanc is great. I used Joel Gott 2015 Sauvignon Blanc which has hints of lemongrass and tropical fruit and plenty of…

Favorite San Francisco Chocolate Caramels

I grew up in California, learning about the Gold Rush and about the waves of immigration that it brought to our state. It wasn�t the prospectors who succeeded so much as the entrepreneurs who followed in their wake. The most famous of couse is Levi Strauss. But another important immigrant was Etienne Guittard who came from France in the 1800�s intending to mine for gold, but ended up in the family chocolate business instead. Fast forward 149 years and the company is being run by 4th and 5th generations of the Guittard family, supplying responsibly sourced high quality chocolate to the Bay Area and beyond.

Chocolate is big in San Francisco. Our climate makes it an ideal place for making confections. Many local confectioners today use Guittard chocolate. Just in time for Valentine�s Day, here are some of my favorites, all of whom use Guittard chocolate. All except Kika�s Treats have retail locations and all except Recchiuti are available in Whole Foods Markets

Kika�s Treats  I first fell…

Bananas at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2017

This year the Winter Fancy Food Show was bananas. Literally. I sampled an incredible number of a banana treats. Are bananas trending? I can�t say for sure, but here are the highlights. 
Tropical Fruit Stand makes a unique range of tropical jams using organically grown fruit from Sri Lanka. Their Banana Jam was easily my favorite, very fresh tasting and naturally sweet. It�s not organic but only because of the addition of ascorbic acid aka vitamin c, included as a preservative. 
I tried two different kinds of banana chips Banana Joe offers savory banana chips in strips, thinner than sweet banana chips and available in flavors like Thai Sweet Chili and Gruyere Cheese. 
The other type of banana chip was from SunTropics a company that makes products using fruit from the Philippines. Their banana chips are made from the Saba banana, a cultivar from the Philippines that's used raw but also in cooking. The chips were long strips, rather than small and round. They would be great with ceviche…