Author Archives: foodgal

What Do You Want to Learn? Plus A Food Gal Giveaway for CourseHorse

Cooking up a storm in a CourseHorse class. (Photo courtesy of CourseHorse)

Cooking up a storm in a CourseHorse class. (Photo courtesy of CourseHorse)

 

One of my great regrets in life is not learning Cantonese as a child.

I blame my oldest brother for this.

You see, my parents sent him to Chinese school so he would learn the native tongue of my grandparents. They thought he was doing great — until my uncle let it slip that he saw my oldest brother playing basketball after school every day, which is when he should have been in Chinese school.

So much for that.

My parents, no doubt defeated by that experience, never even tried to send my other brother or me to Chinese school.

In high school, I had another chance to study Chinese. Mine was one of the few high schools at the time that offered courses in Mandarin. Not exactly my family’s mother tongue, but at least in the ballpark.

But what did I do instead? I took French, because I thought it sounded so pretty.

Yup, that one I have only myself to blame.

If only there was an easy way to learn now. Well, there just might be. CourseHorse is a start-up educational program that offers access to classes on everything from — yes — Mandarin to architecture to computer programming to pilates barre to sushi making.

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Cuban Pork Chops with Warm Grapefruit Vinaigrette

A taste of Cuba in an easy dish.

A taste of Cuba in an easy dish.

 

These days, Cuba is on everybody’s mind and itinerary, now that travel restrictions have been loosened, allowing Americans to travel to the island nation more easily.

For those of us who haven’t yet jetted there, we can at least take our palates there, thanks to “Cuba!: Recipes and Stories From the Cuban Kitchen” (Ten Speed Press), a new cookbook by photographer Dan Goldberg, art director Andrea Kuhn, and food writer Jody Eddy.

The timely cookbook offers an inside look at the everyday food and culture of this mesmerizing country. Included are 75 recipes for classic Cuban dishes such as “Crispy Pork with Mango Salsa,” “Fresh Corn Tamales with Poblano Sauce,” and “Cuban Coffee Flan.”

CubaCookbook

Because Cuba has been isolated for so long, food shortages have been a regular occurrence. In particular, chicken, beef, and pork are still considered luxuries. Beef is especially scarce because all cows are considered state property.

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Take A Taste of the Impossible and Beyond Meat Burgers

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.

 

What is a burger without meat?

Diehard carnivores might answer, “A travesty.”

But even they might change their minds after a bite of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger. Both are entirely plant-based patties that closely mimic beef burgers. And both are now available in the Bay Area for vegetarians and the curious to enjoy.

Impossible Burger is the creation of Redwood City’s Impossible Foods. It is fashioned from wheat, coconut oil, potatoes, and heme, a compound in plants and meat, which gives meat its characteristic aroma and taste.

Compared to raising cows for burgers, the Impossible Burger uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about slaughterhouse cross-contamination.

El Segundo’s Beyond Meat Burger is similarly environmentally-friendly, and is fashioned from pea protein, yeast extract, coconut oil, beet extract and annatto extract.

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First Day of Spring Means Asparagus

Weeknight dinners were never so easy and tasty as this.

Weeknight dinners were never so easy and tasty as this.

 

I get giddy for asparagus in spring.

There are many things I look forward to with each season, but there is something special about asparagus because its local season is so short. Because of that, I gorge myself on the spears until they disappear all too quickly from the markets. I always hunt down the really fat ones if possible, too, because I think they taste sweeter.

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Real Good Fish Is…Real Good

Fresh Tomales Bay oysters that I got at my local library, of all places, thanks to Real Good Fish.

Fresh Tomales Bay oysters that I got at my local library, of all places, thanks to Real Good Fish.

 

Just-caught fish, delivered conveniently to pick-up locations in your Bay Area neighborhood each week, with reasonable prices and no long-list of middlemen to tack on more costs.

That’s what Moss Landing’s Real Good Fish is all about.

Established in 2012 by founder Alan Lovewell, who studied international environmental policy, it was one of the first community supported fisheries in Northern California. It operates in much the same way as a CSA. But instead of buying a “share” in a farm that provides you with a box of produce each week, you buy a “share” in the group of local fishermen that Real Good Fish partners with.

Not only are you getting impeccably fresh, local, sustainable, seasonal fish, but helping to support fishermen and their families in your community.

I shucked some to enjoy on the half shell with mignonette sauce.

I shucked some to enjoy on the half shell with mignonette sauce.

I was invited to try some sample deliveries, receiving a weekly full share (1 to 2 pounds of seafood), which is normally $22 per week.

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