Author Archives: foodgal

A Very Special Cooking Demo with Ming Tsai and the Food Gal at Macy’s


Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara and yours truly, the Food Gal, are thrilled to welcome celeb Chef Ming Tsai for a cooking demo at 6 p.m., May 21.

A member of Macy’s Culinary Council, Tsai is the Yale-educated, James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of acclaimed Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon restaurants in Massachusetts, and host of “Simply Ming” on public television.

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The First U.S. Grown, 100 Percent Stoneground Cereal

A novel new cereal.

A novel new cereal.


I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m in awe of the two guys behind Back to the Roots.

Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez had just graduated from the Hass School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley when they turned their backs on lucrative job offers in investment banking and business consulting. Instead, they turned their attention to starting their own business — creating DIY mushroom-growing kits using spent Peet’s coffee grounds.

That single product launched them at Whole Foods and other major retailers. Next, their Back to the Roots company devised a Water Garden, a self-cleaning fish tank that grows fresh herbs in a compact aquaponics system.

Now, they’ve set their sights on the cereal industry. The result is Organic Stoneground Flakes ($4.99 for an 11-ounce container), which bills itself as the first U.S. grown, 100 percent stoneground cereal on the market. It’s made with only three ingredients: organic, non-GMO stoneground whole wheat from California, sea salt from the San Francisco Bay, and a touch of organic cane sugar from Florida.

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Of Strawberries and Sweet Memories

Strawberries get blanketed by a super crisp topping.

Strawberries get blanketed by a super crisp topping.


Strawberries hold a trove of memories for me.

Of whipped cream-slathered, fresh strawberry layer cakes that my Dad toted home from Chinatown bakeries for a special treat.

Of bowls of berries hidden by a mountain of aerosol-spurted whipped cream my parents would sometimes indulge us with for dessert in summer.

Of aching quads after my girlfriends and I once spent an afternoon at a u-pick, plucking our own super ripe, juicy berries from rows of lush, low-lying plants.

And of the consternation my older brother felt when he tried to grow them in our own backyard, only to have the bugs gnaw away at most of them.

But in many ways, one of the most profound remembrances I have is not of the berries themselves, but of the small, green crisscross plastic baskets they come in.

Strawberries from the farmers market in their iconic basket.

Strawberries from the farmers market in their iconic basket.

Whenever I bring the berries home now from the farmers markets and empty them out of of their containers, I can’t help but think of those baskets.

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BITE Silicon Valley, New Howie’s Artisan Pizza, and More


BITE Silicon Valley

Doesn’t it always seem like the cool food extravaganzas always bypass the South Bay and take place in San Francisco, Napa or Pebble Beach instead?

Not anymore.

Get ready for BITE Silicon Valley, June 5-7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

A brand-new event, it promises to showcase the intersection of food and tech in this booming, dynamic valley.

Of course, there will be a grand tasting, June 6 and June 7, with a plethora of the biggest-name chefs and wineries doling out gourmet tastes. Cooking, app and technology demos also will abound.

What’s more, on June 5, luminaries will gather at a conference to discuss such topics as: “What Are You Doing to Enable the Planet to Feed 9 Billion People”; “The Challenge of Food Waste”; “The Renewed Debate on GMOs”; and “The Story of Loco’l — Bringing Restaurants to Food Deserts.”

If you’re familiar with the latter, you know that’s the project by Coi’s Chef Daniel Patterson and Kogi Truck entrepreneur Roy Choi to revolutionize the fast-food burger industry by creating a model business that stresses good-for-you, affordable eats.

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Icelandic Yogurt — Oh, Yes!

Push aside the Greek. Make way for Icelandic yogurt. This one is full of shreds of coconut.

Push aside the Greek. Make way for Icelandic yogurt. This one is full of shreds of coconut.


Remember the first time you went gah-gah for Greek yogurt?

Then, prepare to go insane for the Icelandic style.

I admit I’d never had Icelandic yogurt (skyr) until recently when Petaluma’s Smari sent me samples to try.

In short, they blew my taste buds away.

Icelandic yogurt has been made for generations from nonfat milk that’s heated with a culture, then strained and strained again. Smari makes its from organic, grass-fed Jersey and Guernsey milk, which is thicker, richer and more nutrient-dense than most. While its original yogurts were made from skim milk, it recently introduced the first Icelandic-style yogurts made with whole milk.

What you notice with these yogurts is how exceedingly creamy and thick they are, especially the whole milk varieties. They’re the consistency of a decadent pudding.

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