My new favorite bread.
I am madly, deeply, crazy as a loon in love.
With this bread.
It’s a solid loaf. It has a beguiling character owing to an unusual backbone of arborio rice. It has every quality you’ve dreamed about in the perfect bread. In short, it’s a keeper.
And I was smitten at the first chewy bite.
Naturally, the recipe comes from one of my favorite bread bakeries — Della Fattoria in Petaluma, where owner Kathleen Weber and her family turn out artisan loaves baked in a wood-fired oven on their ranch. They are breads full of flavor and integrity. Among the first restaurants they supplied was the French Laundry in Yountville, which tells you just how extraordinary the products are.
“Arborio Rice Bread” is from their new cookbook, “Della Fattoria Bread” (Artisan), complete with 63 recipes for everything from Della Fattoria’s signature Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne Boule to Spicy Cheddar Crackers to Sticky Buns.
It appealed to me for its intriguing use of risotto-style rice and because it’s one of the more streamlined recipes in the book as it doesn’t require a starter.
Making bread always takes time and patience. It’s never a quick process. But this particular recipe doesn’t require much heavy-lifting. It also makes two loaves, so you’re amply rewarded after an afternoon of work.
Seafood with Italian gusto — that’s what’s on the menu at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 when I host a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara with Chef Pablo Estrada of Fattoria e Mare in Burlingame.
He’ll show you how he creates one of his specialties: Venetian poached prawns.
Born in Mexico, Estrada got his start working in his family’s bakery. Since coming to the Bay Area in 1993, he’s worked in a slew of top-notch San Francisco restaurants, including Campton Place, Restaurant LuLu, Palio d’Asti, Red Herring and Rose Pistola.
Chuao Pretzel Toffee Twirl, and Ravishing Rocky Road bars.
Chuao Chocolatier bars pronounced “chew-WOW) are not made for purists.
That’s because they come loaded with everything imaginable and then some. Panko breadcrumbs. Potato chips. Toasted corn chips. Bacon. Chipotle. Pop Rock-style candy bits. You name it.
These imaginative bars are the creation of Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard, whose Venezuelan ancestors once owned a cacao farm.
After moving to San Diego from Venezuela, the brothers forged a career in high-tech, before deciding to go into the chocolate business. Michael Antonorsi trained as a chef and pastry chef in France, before opening his first chocolate cafe in Encinitas with his brother in 2002. They named it Chuao, after Venezuela’s cacao-growing region.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup perfection at The Fremont Diner.
Sure, I have an appreciation for pull-out-all-the-stops tasting menus in which chefs maneuver and manipulate food into high art.
But it takes a place like The Fremont Diner to remind us all how wonderful the simple, the bare bones and the pared down can be.
I’m talking the perfect crumbly buttermilk biscuit you can’t wait to tear into, and a thick, spicy tomato soup served in a heavy coffee mug with a spoon — all enjoyed on a picnic table underneath a tented patio.
Surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards on the Sonoma side of the Carneros wine region, The Fremont Diner evokes nostalgia from the get-go with its rusty pick-up truck parked outside and its wood-slatted building with its swinging front-porch door.
Like stepping into the past.
The tented patio.
My husband and I dropped by a few weeks ago, paying our tab at the end of a most soul-satisfying meal.
Dig into a bowl of tender chicken, squash, pomegranate seeds and kale. What more could you want?
Brrrrr. The perfect time to turn up the stove is when the temperatures dip.
After all, you not only warm up the house, but yourself, as well.
Especially if it’s with a one-pot dish that’s simple, comforting and loaded with good-for-you ingredients.
Let’s face it, we probably all over-indulged over the holidays. What better way to start a new year then with a cookbook that spotlights the nutritious ingredients of “Greens + Grains”? The cookbook (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy, is by my friend Molly Watson, a former staff writer for Sunset magazine. I’ve always loved Molly’s snarky sense of humor and no-nonsense way of doing things.
In her debut cookbook, she takes you through the world of grains and greens, giving advice on how to choose, store and cook them. Learn all about purslane to stinging nettles, buckwheat to millet, and everything in between. There are plenty of vegetarian recipes, but enough meat-based ones, too, to make this an ideal cookbook for anyone wanting to expand their plant-based eating in the new year without feeling deprived in any way.