Author Archives: foodgal

Slow-Braised Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Whipped Ricotta

Whipped ricotta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil finish this lamb ragu with rigatoni.

Whipped ricotta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil finish this lamb ragu with rigatoni.

 

Winter’s chill begs for a robust dish.

One that demands an equally powerful wine alongside, too.

So stir up a big pot of “Slow-Braised Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Whipped Ricotta” and pop open a bottle of Italian Barolo — and you can’t go wrong.

The recipe — and pairing — is from the new “Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking” (Lorena Jones Books), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Dana Frank, a Portland sommelier who co-owns the wine bar Bar Norman and urban winery Bow & Arrow; and cookbook writer Andrea Slonecker.

Wine Food Cookbook

Packed with more than 75 recipes, this book makes pairing easy and understandable, by not only suggesting the best wine for each dish, but giving recommended producers, too.

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A Visit to the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum

The lavish display of gleaming copper molds at the Chuck Williams Culinary Art Museum.

The lavish display of gleaming copper molds at the Chuck Williams Culinary Art Museum.

 

You don’t often get to meet a legend. But I did in 2005.

I remember climbing the stairs to the top floor of the flagship Union Square San Francisco Williams-Sonoma to meet for the first time, its revolutionary company founder who single-handedly changed so much about the way we now cook.

Chuck Williams was about to turn 90 and his cookware company about to celebrate half a century.

A genteel, elegant figure, dapper in a sports jacket, tie and sweater vest, he was still editing every cookbook Williams-Sonoma published then. And his appearance anywhere in the store would provoke a rock star’s reaction, with starry-eyed shoppers coming up to pay their respects.

The new museum is on the second floor of the CIA at Copia.

The new museum is on the second floor of the CIA at Copia.

He started the original Williams-Sonoma in, yes, Sonoma. He filled it with French cookware he found on his travels, items that were well made and served a real purpose: hammered copper pots, gleaming molds of all kinds, coffee makers built to last a lifetime, and the first food processors. In so doing, he introduced to us all sorts of marvels we never knew we needed but now can scarce live without.

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Shredding It In The New Year

Your new go-to dish in the new year.

Your new go-to dish in the new year.

 

Another new year. Another pledge to exercise more, snooze more, disconnect from the electronics more, and of course, to eat more tofu.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

You know come Jan. 1, you promise yourself you’ll eat better. This is an easy way to keep your word.

Because “Shredded Tofu with Spicy Ground Chicken and Edamame” not only incorporates good-for-you tofu, but is effortless and delicious.

It will also teach you a new nifty trick with tofu.

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A Taste of Germany In Berkeley

Real-deal Black Forest cake at Gaumenkitzel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Real-deal Black Forest cake at Gaumenkitzel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

 

Gaumenkitzel in Berkeley is named for the old-fashioned German term for “delicious and precious.”

The restaurant is both those things personified.

It was opened in 2011 by husband-and-wife Kai Flache and Anja Voth, who hail from Hamburg, Germany.

You can’t miss the restaurant on San Pablo Avenue, what with its sunny mustard-hued facade. It’s the place for comforting, rib-sticking fare, along with what’s likely the largest selection of German beers and wines in the Bay Area.

Recently, I met my brother and sister-in-law for dinner, paying our own tab at the end.

The happy-hued exterior. (photo courtesy of Gaumenkitzel)

The happy-hued exterior. (photo courtesy of Gaumenkitzel)

Flache revamped and designed the colorful, almost Scandinavian-like, clean-lined space, which used to be a lighting store. Voth is the head chef. She takes great pride in the fact that everything that can be made in house, is. That means even milling her own flour to make bread daily, flaking her own oats for granola, jarring her own jams, and culturing her own yogurt.

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