Deep Purple

A real looker of a Brussel sprout.
A real looker of a Brussel sprout.

I think Prince would have definitely approved of these Brussels sprouts, don’t you?

With vivid purple streaks, these beauties were grown by Covilli Organics, a family-owned, fair trade-certified farm in Mexico. I snagged them recently in my grocery deliver order from GoodEggs.

They’re slightly sweeter and a little less bitter-sulfur in taste. And yes, the purple will fade a bit once cooked.

Still, what a marvel these are. I typically halve Brussels sprouts, and place them cut-side down in a cast-iron pan on the stove-top to cook or on a sheet pan in an oven at high temperature. But a new sprout called out for a new technique to try.

No surprise, I found what I was looking for in the seminal “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, 2014) by Deborah Madison, the founding chef of San Francisco’s Greens, the pioneering plant-forward restaurant.

Her “Slivered Brussels Sprouts Roasted with Shallots” is a very simple recipe. The only part that takes any real effort is slicing the sprouts with a mandoline.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 22

Soba noodle salad, pickled veggies, and seaweed-tofu miso soup -- the start of a Manresa Family Meal.
Soba noodle salad, pickled veggies, and seaweed-tofu miso soup — the start of a Manresa Family Meal.

Manresa, Los Gatos

If you’ve been thinking there’s no way I can afford to get takeout at a Michelin three-starred restaurant, think again.

While pre-pandemic, a dinner at Manresa would have dented your bank account, its Manresa Family Meal selections offered at this time are actually quite affordable, especially considering the quality of what you get. That’s what I found when I picked up dinner last week.

Manresa’s takeout is offered Wednesday through Sunday, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The family meal not only changes each week, but actually each day of the week, too.

A Japanese rolled egg omelet with nori for the vegetarian option.
A Japanese rolled egg omelet with nori for the vegetarian option.

When I spied last Saturday’s Japanese-influenced spread, I went for it. For each family meal, there is a vegetarian counterpart option offered, as well. I got one of each, with the soy-braised short ribs with beef jus option ($67) for my husband Meat Boy, of course. While I’m not necessarily a vegetarian, the Jidori hen egg omelette with toasted nori vegetarian substitution ($43) proved irresistible.

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Three Things to Enliven Shelter in Place, Part 3

Nancy Oakes, chef-owner of Boulevard, will be teaching a virtual cooking class for kids. (Photo courtesy of Boulevard)
Nancy Oakes, chef-owner of Boulevard, will be teaching a virtual cooking class for kids. (Photo courtesy of Boulevard)

Kids’ Cooking Class with Boulevard’s Nancy Oakes and Dana Younkin

Your youngsters can take their cooking skills to the next level in a Zoom class taught by none other than Executive Chef Nancy Oakes and Chef de Cuisine Dana Younkin of San Francisco’s celebrated Boulevard restaurant.

The virtual live-streamed class, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.. March 21, is the brainchild of Sprouts Cooking Club in Oakland.

Oakes and Younkin will demonstrate how to make ricotta crespelle manicotti and strawberry shortcake. Ingredient and equipment lists are provided five days before the class.

The $45 class is designed for kids, 6 to 15 years old. The fees help fund Sprouts’ Chef-In-Training Program, a vocational platform that provides restaurant training to underserved women and youths of color.

If your kids can’t make that particular class, don’t fret. Sprouts has put together a whole line-up of celebrated female chefs to teach upcoming virtual classes, including March 20 with Mina Newman of Sen Sakana in New York City; March 27 with Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit in New York; and March 28 with Nite Yun of Nyum Bai in Oakland. The March 3 class with Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco is sold out, but there is a wait list. Find the complete schedule here.

Zola’s Fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula

Pick up some tasty takeout from Palo Alto’s Zola on Feb. 25, and 50 percent of sales from a special to-go dinner package will donated to the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.

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Drunken Noodles

A tasty Thai noodle dish -- with a little tweaking.
A tasty Thai noodle dish — with a little tweaking.

Far from it for me to disparage this “Drunken Noodles with Chicken” recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

But I think someone might have been hitting the sauce when writing this one.

America’s Test Kitchen, with its meticulous and detailed recipe testing, is typically the holy grail. But when I saw that this recipe that uses 8 ounces of noodles called for half a cup of brown sugar in the sauce, I was aghast. A tablespoon or two maybe. But half a cup?!?

Still, because I like to adhere to new recipes exactly the first time I make them, I followed suit. The result was what I feared — noodles as sweet as candy. Definitely not what you want. The noodles also were swimming in that sauce.

So, the next time, I cut the sauce amount in half, but kept the quantities the same for everything else. What I ended up with was far more delicious and balanced.

“Drunken Noodles with Chicken” is from The Complete One Pot: 400 Meals For Your Skillet, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot, Dutch Oven, and More” (America’s Test Kitchen), of which I received a review copy.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 21

A small, 6-inch chocolate silk pie from Manresa Bread.
A small, 6-inch chocolate silk pie from Manresa Bread.

Manresa Bread, Campbell, Los Altos, and Los Gatos

Manresa Bread is a must-stop any day of the week. But come holidays, it shines even more.

That’s what I discovered when I dropped by last week to pick up Valentine’s Day treats. It pays to heed the window for early pre-ordering, too, as popular items will sell out fast.

Pastry Chef-Founder Avery Ruzicka built a reputation for her outstanding breads, made with organic flour milled on site. Those are a must-purchase, especially the profoundly crusty baguette, which quite frankly is a steal for $4, and the oblong levain ($9) with such depth of flavor from a combination of organic whole wheat, organic white, and organic rye flours in concert with a sourdough starter.

Manresa Bread's version of a Basque cheesecake.
Manresa Bread’s Basque cheesecake.

Admittedly, I was there for two holiday items in particular: the 6-inch chocolate silk pie ($22), and the Basque cheesecake ($35).

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