Author Archives: foodgal

Savory French Toast — For Breakfast, Lunch Or Dinner

French toast gets a savory makeover with Indian spices.

French toast gets a savory makeover with Indian spices.

 

If you’re under the impression that French toast has to be sweet and only be enjoyed at breakfast or brunch, you are in for a delicious eye-opening taste.

Because “Savory French Toast” done up with Indian spices and served with a fruity tomato chutney with a hit of heat will have your taste buds dancing.

The recipe is from the new “Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by husband-and-wife Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth, along with Nirmal Save, the head chef of their Gunpowder restaurant in London, where the home-style cooking is a modern take on favorites they all grew up with. That includes “Kale and Corn Cakes,” “Ginger Chicken Wings,” “Maa’s Kashmiri Lamb Chops,” and “Mint and Apple Lassi.”

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Brioche is used for this French toast, its soft, buttery texture and indulgent flavor creating a subtle sweet base for the savory, spicy flavors it sops up.

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Dinner on the Farm — In Sunnyvale

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

 

With new condos and tech buildings going up at a dizzying pace in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to believe that in the midst all this concrete and glass, one can actually still enjoy the bucolic experience of a dinner on a farm here.

But you can — right here in Sunnyvale at 1055 Dunford Way. At an 11-acre organic oasis owned by the Santa Clara Unified School District.

After taking over the property last year from Full Circle Farm, the district hired farmer Dave Tuttle to over see it. And how fruitful the SCUSD Farm has become. This season, 1,500 pounds of tomatoes were harvested and turned into sauce for use in lunches at the district’s 28 schools. In fact, every day, there is something featured from the farm on school menus, most notably in the salad bars.

Pumpkins galore.

Pumpkins galore.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Twenty tons of pumpkins were grown, along with 3,000 pounds of watermelon. There are persimmon, avocado, pomegranate and lemon trees thriving. Rows of fava beans, Persian cucumbers, and kabocha squash were planted. There are nine laying hens, and beehives, too.

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The Countdown Begins — For My Next Cookbook

Photographer Eva Kolenko arranging potential images for my "East Bay Cooks'' cookbook.

Photographer Eva Kolenko arranging potential images for my “East Bay Cooks” cookbook.

 

For most of this year, I’ve immersed myself in writing a new cookbook, “East Bay Cooks” (Figure 1 Publishing), which spotlights the diverse, progressive and talented chefs of the East Bay Area.

Writing a cookbook is a major undertaking involving a multitude of interviews, fine-tuning a heap of recipes, and conducting scores of interviews.

For so long, it’s lived mostly as text in my manuscript. But last week, it all came to vivid life when the photography on the project began.

Chef Paul Canales of Oakland's Duende with a salmon dish ready to go before the cameras.

Chef Paul Canales of Oakland’s Duende with a salmon dish ready to go before the cameras.

Chefs from all around the East Bay descended upon the incredibly equipped Rule & Level Studio in Berkeley, where they and their dishes were photographed by the incomparable Eva Kolenko.

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Baked Brie En Croute — For Your Holiday Entertaining

An elegant brie en croute fit for company -- or just spoiling yourself.

An elegant brie en croute fit for company — or just spoiling yourself.

 

Who doesn’t love warm, melty, gooey cheese?

Swaddle it in flaky, buttery pastry and it’s even more irresistible — if that’s possible.

That’s what you get with Marin French Cheese’s Baked Brie en Croute.

America’s longest continually operating cheese company that was founded in 1865, Marin French Cheese brings back this popular product for the holidays through the end of this year. I had a chance to try a sample recently.

Its brie, inspired by the luscious triple cremes of France, gets encased in pastry dough made by La Boulangerie of San Francisco. It’s a simple idea. But the execution is top-notch.

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Take A Whiff — And Taste — Of Gingerbread Pancakes

This time of year cries out for gingerbread pancakes.

This time of year cries out for gingerbread pancakes.

 

When it comes to Austin, I can’t help but think barbecue, Tex-Mex and food trucks galore.

Now, it’s become synonymous with gingerbread pancakes, too.

That’s because in “The Austin Cookbook” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy, there is a wonderful recipe for just that from Magnolia Cafe, a beloved institution that’s not only open 24/7, but serves breakfast anytime.

The book, by food writer Paula Forbes, features more than 80 recipes that give a delicious overview of the city’s culinary traditions, from “Green Chile Queso” to “Mustard and Brown Sugar-Crusted Ribeye” to Bootsie’s Buttermilk Pie.”

Austin Cookbook. jpg

Being the ginger fanatic that I am, it’s no wonder that “Gingerbread Pancakes” called out to me.

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