Author Archives: foodgal

Festive Cranberry & Pear Tart For the Holidays

Jazz up the Thanksgiving table with this beautiful cranberry-pear frangipane tart.

Jazz up the Thanksgiving table with this beautiful cranberry-pear frangipane tart.

 

You may never spy a partridge in a pear tree.

But in Darina Allen’s newest cookbook, “Grow Cook Nourish: A Kitchen Garden Companion in 500 Recipes” (Kyle), you’ll learn not only how to grow pear trees and how to keep alert to pests and diseases, but how the fruit is a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. What’s more, you’ll find a selection of delectable recipes to make the most of your harvest.

Allen, who runs the renowned cooking school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland that has its own 100-acre farm, offers up similar wisdom for a roster of other fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and foraged finds in this 640-page book.

It makes a great resource for anyone who enjoys cooking, gardening or both. You’ll learn about oca, a tender green originally from South America that stars in “Oca, Chorizo, Scallion & Radish Salad.” Everyday potatoes turn special in “Burmese Pork & Potato Curry.” And easy-to-grow thyme gets a sweet turn in “Buttermilk Ice Cream with Olive Oil and Thyme Leaves.”

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are good to go.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are good to go.

With the holidays upon us, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at the “Festive Cranberry & Pear Tart” from the book, of which I received a review copy.

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State Bird Provisions II: Introducing State Bird Seed

Almond Rosemary State Bird Seed.

Almond Rosemary State Bird Seed.

 

After evening dinner service, chefs Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza would often find themselves with leftover quinoa at their award-winning State Bird Provisions in San Francisco.

They ended up frying it and mixing it with nuts, seeds and spices to transform it into a crunchy topping for other dishes. In the process, they created something so delicious that they and their staff could not resist snacking on it whenever possible.

Now, you can try it for yourself. Their whimsically named State Bird Seed just launched last month. It’s now available in resealable 3.5-ounce bags for $4.99 each through Good Eggs, and at stores such as Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, SHED in Healdsburg, and Bi-Rite in San Francisco.

It comes in three flavors.

It comes in three flavors.

The organic puffed red quinoa blends come in three flavors: Sea Salt, Furikake, and Almond Rosemary. I had a chance to sample them recently.

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State Bird Provisions Part I: Persimmons with Kinako Dressing and Black Sesame Seed Salt

Fresh fuyu persimmons accentuated by a roast-toasty sauce.

Fresh fuyu persimmons accentuated by a roast-toasty sauce.

 

It’s a given that “State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press) is one of the most anticipated cookbooks to arrive this year.

After all, Chef-Owners and husband-and-wife Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (who wrote the cookbook with J.J. Goode) own one of the hottest restaurants in the country. When State Bird Provisions opened in San Francisco in 2012, it wasn’t long before Bon Appetit magazine named it “Restaurant of the Year.” That was followed by a James Beard Award in 2013 for “Best New Restaurant,” as well as a Michelin star.

The restaurant’s inventive dim sum-like service, where diners choose dishes from cart or trays ferried to their table, proved irresistible, especially because of their array of eclectic, globally-inspired small plates. The place got so mobbed that hackers even broke into the restaurant’s reservations system to try to snag a hard-to-get table.

State_Bird_Provisions_Final_Cover

Even after opening a second restaurant next door, The Progress, State Bird Provisions remains a tough ticket today, with folks still lining up on the sidewalk long before the doors open to try to get a walk-in spot.

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Reveling In Modern Cal-Indian Cuisine at Campton Place

Campton Place restaurant's famed Spice Pot dish.

Campton Place restaurant’s famed Spice Pot dish.

 

Naan formed into rolls as fluffy as classic Parker House ones and hiding a center of ricotta. Cauliflower florets garnished with ethereal turmeric foam. And familiar-tasting cumin-scented potatoes and peas, but uncannily presented in a flower pot spewing wisps of dry ice.

That’s the unique, incredibly elegant cuisine served at Michelin-starred Campton Place in San Francisco by Chef Srijith Gopinathan. French techniques are applied to traditional Indian flavors with inspired Bay Area flourishes to create food that evokes time and place.

That’s what I found when I was invited in as a guest a few weeks ago. It had been a few years since I last dined at the restaurant. The food has grown more personal with Gopinathan really showcasing his native India and adopted city of San Francisco in memorable ways.

The dining room.

The dining room.

Just a few steps from Union Square.

Just a few steps from Union Square.

My husband and I checked into our complimentary room at the Taj Campton Place Hotel. 

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Little Star Pizza South Bay News, Taste & Tribute, And More

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Little Star Pizza

What happens when Little Star Pizza teams with DoorDash?

Easier deep-dish delivery for South Bay folks.

Delivery app DoorDash recently launched a 2,000-square-foot commissary kitchen in San Jose for four different delivery-only restaurants. It represents an option for restaurants that want to expand their delivery reach without having to invest in their own brick-and-mortar facility.

The first tenant-partner in the DoorDash Kitchens is The Star, an off-shoot of San Francisco’s Little Star Pizza, famed for both deep-dish and classic thin-crust pies.

I was invited to try a sample delivery from the commissary kitchen, which now services the San Jose-Santa Clara area.

You can order either on the app or Web site, and choose what day and what time-frame you want it all delivered. DoorDash also lets you add a tip on the order electronically, so you don’t have to fumble with your wallet when you answer your door.

I chose the Classic Small Deep Dish Pizza ($22), Mediterranean Deep Dish Pizza ($22), and small Goddess Salad ($6).

The driver texted me when he picked up the food, and noted he’d arrive at my house in about 25 minutes. Sure enough, he was there at the pre-scheduled appointed time, bearing pizzas that were still hot.

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The crust on the pizzas are beautifully golden. They’re crisp on the outside and slightly chewy within, rather like olive oil-brushed focaccia.

The Classic is piled high with a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce, nubbins of fennel sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers. The Mediterranean is even more flavorful with its loaded mix of tomato sauce, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, green olives, onions, red bell peppers, and feta.

They were as satisfying as if I had eaten them at the restaurant, only I got to enjoy them in the relaxation of my own home.

There wasn’t a whole lot to the Gem salad, owing to the fact that the toasted almonds mentioned on the Web site were nowhere to be found. Still, the greens were fresh and flecked with a few minced chives.

I appreciated the salad was composed of Little Gem leaves, too, rather than mundane iceberg or spring mix. The accompanying creamy pesto dressing was full of tangy, piquant and herbaceous flavors. I ended up cutting up a cucumber in my fridge to round out the salad a little more.

If you’re craving pizza in the South Bay — particularly deep-dish — you’ll definitely be glad to know it’s a mere delivery away now.

Taste & Tribute

Help preserve ancient Tibetan culture, while enjoying one of the most unique chef galas around.

The 17th annual Taste & Tribute takes place Nov. 17 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco.

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Founding Chef Laurent Manrique, owner of Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco, will be joined by 21 other top chefs, including Jennifer Sherman of Chez Panisse, Rogelio Garcia of The Commissary, Anjan Mitra of Dosa, Khai Duong of Kai restaurant, Daniel Corey of Luce, and Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade.

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