Chef Ocean Orssten won’t have to travel far when he joins me for a cooking demo, 6 p.m. April 26 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.
That’s because he’s the head chef of Citrus restaurant in the Hotel Valencia across the street at Santana Row.
Born in Capitola, he grew up in the Napa Valley, raising heritage pigs when he was 12 years old and cementing his passion for farm-fresh ingredients.
After cooking at Arcadia in San Jose, La Folie in San Francisco, and Campton Place restaurant in San Francisco, he became chef at Citrus in 2011.
Pork belly — red-ooked style.
It’s no secret that the Chinese love the color red, which is festive, and symbolizes prosperity.
We also love our pork.
And no cut quite so much as the pig’s luscious belly.
Combine all three and you get “Red-Cooked Pork,” an iconic family-style dish of pork belly that’s cooked in a soy sauce-laced braising liquid that’s not really more brown than red. The “red” in the name, though, comes interestingly enough from the fact that the Chinese language doesn’t really have a character to describe “brown.” So, apparently, they opted for the next best color — red.
So writes Kian Lam Kho in his new cookbook, “Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. The comprehensive book just won the prestigious “Julia Child First Book” award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The book’s poetic name pays homage to the Chinese characters used as synonyms on Chinese menus for chicken feet and Chinese broccoli.
Indeed, if you are interested in learning more about Chinese cooking, this book is a must-have. Kho of New York City is a private chef, culinary instructor, and creator of the blog, RedCook. He’s written a book that deftly explains the fundamental cooking techniques of Chinese cuisine — from pan-frying to light frying, from flash-poaching to oil-poaching, and from simple steaming to flavored steaming.
Do you like to share your opinions about food? And photograph what you eat or cook?
Then, you’ll want to join me and award-winning food photographer Craig Lee when we host a workshop, “#Footography,” 7 p.m. April 25 at the Sunnyvale Public Library.
I’ll share the in’s and out’s of food writing these days — whether it be a simple post on Facebook or an in-depth magazine story or even writing a cookbook. Want to break into food writing? Learn what it takes, as well as the benefits and the pitfalls involved. Want to start your own food blog? Learn what that entails — the good, the bad and the crazy.
Craig, who for years was the main food photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s food section, will teach you how to compose, light and shoot better food photos — no matter if you’re using a camera phone or a DSLR.
A stunning hand-made glass cheese board by Annieglass. (Photo by Annieglass)
Looking for a perfect bridal shower gift? Or wedding gift? Or perhaps just something new and pretty for your own entertaining needs?
Annieglass has you covered with its new spring line.
Watsonville designer Annie Morhauser has been handcrafting unique glassware for more than 30 years. Made in her Watsonville studio, her elegant pieces have been featured at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, and at the Four Seasons resorts. Celebs Jennifer Aniston and John Grisham are reported fans, too.
You’ll find the designs at her store, which opened last year in San Jose’s Santana Row.
Annieglass debuts new collections only twice a year. The new spring collection is all about spring blooms with bowls and glasses with scalloped, petal edges. The pieces range in price from $67 to $240.
The new spring collection by Annieglass. (Photo by Annieglass)
CONTEST: See that gorgeous Annieglass large Grove Plank Cheese Board at the top of this post? The wood grain and knots were actually textured using wood grain from an actual tree. The 15-by-8-inch hand-made glass board (valued at $113) is durable, chip-resistant and dishwasher-safe. It’s one of Annieglass’ best sellers.
Imagine serving cheese, crackers, fruit or canapes to friends and family from that stunning piece. You can — if you’re the winner of this contest.
One lucky Food Gal reader will receive that glass board. Entries, limited to those on the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST April 16. Winner will be announced April 18.
How to win?
Tots and bacon-wrapped dog at Stumpy’s.
Over the years, Chef Jim Stump has run many restaurants in the South Bay.
Stumpy’s is his tiniest.
The veteran chef and restaurateur, who helped founded the Los Gatos Brewing Company, now draws in the crowds at The Table in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood and his just-opened Campbell bar, The Vesper. Coming soon will be his seafood restaurant, Forthright in Campbell.
In 2014, he opened Stumpy’s hot dog and burger joint on Willow Glen’s well-trafficked Lincoln Avenue. It’s a slip of a place, with just enough room to order your food at the counter and load up on a few condiments at the back station.
Order the food inside; pick it up outside at the window.
When your order is ready, you pick it up at the window outside. There’s really no place to eat inside Stumpy’s. But the old movie theater next door has a few patio tables set up so you can enjoy your food there. Or you can opt to get it to-go and take it home, as I did when I paid my own tab there recently.