Author Archives: foodgal

Sprogs — A Fun-To-Eat, On-The-Go Snack

Front to Back: Bacon & Egg, Kale & Kimchee, and Coconut Red Lentil Sprogs.

Front to Back: Bacon & Egg, Kale & Kimchee, and Coconut Red Lentil Sprogs.

 

Are you a fan of onigiri — the Japanese rice balls wrapped around centers of pickled plum, cooked seafood, veggies, and pretty much anything else the imagination can come up with?

Then, you’ll love Sprogs, the small “rice scooters,” that take them to the next level.

The San Francisco company was created by Ching-Yee Hu, a busy mom who was looking for the perfect snack for her kids, as well as herself. When she couldn’t find exactly what she was craving, she decided to make it, herself.

It’s such a brilliant concept that you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it sooner. Hu was already making pressed fresh brown-rice squares for her kids when she decided to expand on the idea with more inventive flavorings.

She uses Northern California haiga brown rice that is partially milled to remove the tough outer bran to make it easier to digest yet retains the nutritious germ inside. Then, she created both “Veggie” (vegan) and “Meatie” varieties.

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The (Cheese) Table

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery's Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery’s Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.

 

Last week, San Jose’s The Table was transformed into the cheese table.

The popular Willow Glen neighborhood restaurant hosted its inaugural cheese dinner. This one spotlighted the cheeses of Bohemian Creamery of Sebastapol in a $75 seven-course dinner that included paired beverages. I was lucky enough to be invited in as a guest of the restaurant, which plans to make the cheese dinner an annual event.

Owner and cheesemaker Lisa Gottreich was on hand to talk about her hand-made cheeses, which are sold at retailers such as the Cheese Board in Berkeley and Sunshine Foods in St. Helena, and featured at restaurants such as Ad Hoc in Yountville, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Nopa in San Francisco and SPQR in San Francisco.

Gottreich makes her 13 types of cheeses the Italian-way, with little salt. The goat cheeses are made with milk from her own herd of goats. The other types of milk that go into her cheeses are purchased from nearby farms.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

The kitchen at work with Chef "AJ'' Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The kitchen at work with Chef “AJ” Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The first course brought her Bodacious five-day-old goat cheese with a bloomy rind in a spring dish of asparagus and Oro Blanco grapefruit that was paired with Sikyo “Mirror of Truth” Takehara Junmai sake. What a great way to start with a creamy, tangy cheese and a floral, clean sake that worked well with the always tricky-to-pair asparagus.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Ocean Orssten of Citrus Restaurant For A Cooking Demo

MacysOcean

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.

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Home-Style Red-Cooked Pork

Pork belly -- red-ooked style.

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.

PhoenixClaws

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.

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You’re Invited To #Foodtography With the Food Gal and Craig Lee

SunnyvaleLibraryWorkshopDo 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.

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