Caramel Popcorn Cookies

Start with homemade caramel popcorn.
Start with homemade caramel popcorn.

Sure, you could make this addictive caramel popcorn and just call it a day.

But come on, it’s the holidays. It’s time to take it up a notch, to revel in being over the top, to go big or go home.

So go one better, and turn that snack into “Caramel Popcorn Cookies.”

Oh, yeahhh. Instead of stirring in the usual chocolate chips or dried cranberries into your cookie dough, throw in a big flourish of caramel popcorn instead.

It’s like two treats in one.

And end up with Caramel Popcorn Cookies!
And end up with Caramel Popcorn Cookies!

This novel recipe comes from the new cookbook, “Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by one of my all-time favorite bakers, James Beard Award-winning Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery, with multiple locations in Boston and Cambridge, and the Chinese restaurant Myers + Chang in Boston.

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Coffee, Tea & You

Dripdash — Kyoto-Style Coffee

Dripdash takes coffee to another level.
Dripdash takes coffee to another level.

Japanese aesthetics are all about precision and perfection — even when it comes to a simple cup of coffee.

Palo Alto-based Dripdash brought that sentiment to the United States this year with its Kyoto-style, cold-brewed, slow-dripped coffee.

How slow? Apparently, only one drop of water per second gets poured over the grounds in a process that takes 16 hours.

The glacial-pace process makes for a highly caffeinated brew. And the taste?

I had a chance to experience it for myself when I was sent samples.

This is one incredibly smooth coffee. The pronounced acidity I’ve often found with other cold brews is decidedly missing here. Instead, what you get is coffee that tastes more balanced, with tempered bitterness, a silkiness on the palate, and a long, soft finish. If coffee can be somehow relaxing and invigorating at the same time, Dripdash nails it.

One smooth operator.
One smooth operator.

The 6-ounce bottles are available on GoodEggs for $3.99 each. Or in a six-pack on the Dripdash site for $37.

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Proclamation Goods — The Only Pans You Need? Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Made in the United States, Proclamation Goods’ pans.

Less is more — even when it comes to outfitting your kitchen.

That’s the philosophy of Proclamation Goods, a new cookware company built on the belief that you really only need two pans in your cooking arsenal: a 12-inch skillet and a 7-quart pot.

The company was founded by CEO Chris Burrage, former general manager of Casper mattresses, and Chief Product Officer Tony Leo, former head of design at Pottery Barn.

With that kind of pedigree, you’d expect the pans to be of high quality. And they are, as I found when I was given a free set to test drive.

Made in the United States, the set of two pans, which comes with one lid that can fit either, retails for about $300.

The skillet and pot can be attached via handles that come together in a hinge to create a dutch oven.
The skillet and pot can be attached via handles that come together in a hinge to create a dutch oven.

The first thing you notice when you pick them up is their heft. These are heavy-duty pans with a streamlined design. The pot is made of gleaming stainless steel, and the skillet comes in either stainless steel or carbon steel. I was kindly sent one of each, and I will say you will surely get an arm workout wielding the carbon steel one, which is much weightier like cast-iron.

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Take Five with Chef Gloria Dominguez About Closing Her Oakland Restaurant And New Beginnings

Chef Gloria Dominguez, who nutured Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana for 14 years. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Chef Gloria Dominguez, who nutured Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana for 14 years. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Chef Gloria Dominguez was nearly set to sign a lease for a restaurant space in Tucson, AZ in 2005 when her architect son Alfonso called to stop her. He had found the perfect place in Old Oakland, a Victorian with soaring ceilings and immense possibility. No matter if the neighborhood was rather a ghost town back then with empty storefronts all around, Gloria and Alfonso believed in it.

They put their heart and soul into creating Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana. They transformed the space into a vibrant oasis with a pressed tin ceiling, vivid canvasses, and artsy white-washed wood chairs that Alfonso made himself. He created what’s thought to be the first Mezcal-focused bar in the area, serving up inventive cocktails to be enjoyed as old black and white Mexican movies projected on one of the walls of the lounge. Gloria attracted crowds, including the coaches and players of the Golden State Warriors, for her authentic chiles en nogada and chicken mole.

But now after 14 years, they plan to close the restaurant, following notice from their landlord that their rent was not only going to increase, but that they were limited to a two-year lease.

The restaurant’s last dinner service will be Nov. 30. After that, the restaurant will be available for private bookings through the end of December. The bar will be open during limited hours, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until the end of the year. And a special mezcal and tequila tasting on Dec. 8. Tickets are $55 each.

I had a chance to get to know Gloria when I profiled her in my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1). Last week, I had a chance to talk to her about the restaurant’s impending closure and what the future holds.

Q: How hard of a decision was this to make?             

A: Very, very difficult. Every day, I couldn’t sleep. It really hurt my son, too. There are so many beautiful memories here – all the graduations, proposals, bridal showers and weddings that were celebrated. People have been coming by with tears in their eyes and choking up.

Sometimes I think that things happen for a reason, though. I think better things will come along. Some investors who are doing projects in San Francisco and Walnut Creek have already approached us. We haven’t made any decisions. We’ll just see how it goes. We don’t want to rush into things.

Q: You still have your other restaurant in Antioch?

A: Yes, Taqueria Salsa, which we opened in 1988, which is much more casual. When we first opened, it was going to be everything with masa – like gorditas and sopes. But then we started selling burritos for the students and the Kaiser employees. Everyone always wants burritos. They are the Mexican burger. (laughs)

Q: When Tamarindo closes, what will you do with your time?

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No-Fuss Rosemary Clodagh Bread

An impressive addition to your holiday table that's super simple to make.
An impressive addition to your holiday table that’s super simple to make.

This hearty bread bakes up with the heavenly scent of rosemary, a dense yet soft crumb, and a sturdy crust as impressive as one from an artisan bakery.

Best yet, there’s no fussing with yeast or hours of proofing time to let the dough rise.

“Rosemary Clodagh Bread” is a take on Irish soda bread. It’s from the new “Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to Celebrate the Seasons” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Clodaugh McKenna, chef and owner of the now-shuttered restaurant, Clodagh’s Kitchen in Dublin, who has been hailed as Ireland’s Rachael Ray for her breezy manner and approachable cooking.

The collection of one-page recipes definitely don’t intimidate yet they’re enticing enough to want to make for company. McKenna also helpfully includes themed menus to give you ideas on putting dishes together. Savor everything from “Maple & Harissa Chicken Wings with Tabbouleh” and “Irish Farmhouse Cheese Souffle” to “Roast Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese & Saffron Pappardelle” and “Plum Pudding Ice Cream.”

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