Author Archives: foodgal

Maio That’s Not Mayo

Plain broccoli becomes practically gourmet with dollops of Maio.

Plain broccoli becomes practically gourmet with dollops of Maio.

 

Now, you can have your mayo — and eat it, too.

If like me, you’ve shied away from mayonnaise in the past because it’s such a calorie bomb, now you can indulge with a whole lot less guilt, thanks to Maio.

It’s not bona fide mayonnaise made by whipping egg yolks and plenty of oil. Instead, it’s made of yogurt, given a substantial mouthfeel from the additions of cornstarch and gelatin.

While store-bought mayonnaise weighs in at 100 calories for 1 tablespoon (with 100 of those calories being fat), Maio has all of 20 calories for 1 tablespoon (with half of those calories fat).

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Sidle Up To The Bar At Bistro Don Giovanni

Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding -- good to the last spoonful -- at Bistro Don Giovanni.

Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding — good to the last spoonful — at Bistro Don Giovanni.

 

You know the rare restaurant that always makes you feel warm, welcome and satisfied time and time again — no matter if you’re dining solo, too?

That’s Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa to me. I’ve eaten there many times, and never ever had a bad meal.

When I find myself on assignment traveling solo to the Napa Valley, I will often plant myself on a bar stool at the end of the day at this long-time Italian favorite established in 1993 by Proprietor Giovanni Scala and his late-wife Chef Donna Scala.

The glowing strings of light at night in the courtyard can’t help but beckon, as does the on-point Italian food.

The entrance.

Th entrance.

The dining room.

The dining room.

I took a seat at the end of the bar last week (paying my full tab) to enjoy a glass of 2015 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc while I contemplated the menu.

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Andrea Nguyen’s Pho Of A Different Sort

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

 

There is pho. And then there is pho pancake.

Yes, my friends, get ready for something all together different and delicious.

Leave it to my friend and cookbook author extraordinaire Andrea Nguyen to come up with this novel version of everyone’s favorite soup noodles.

“Pan Fried Pho Noodles” is from her newest tome, “The Pho Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), which already went into its second printing before it was even officially released in February.

You may have enjoyed steaming huge bowls of brothy noodles countless times at neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants. But with this book, you’ll learn how to make your own — from preparing the broth from scratch to choosing noodles and assembling garnishes and toppings.

PhoCookbook

Depending upon how labor-intensive you’re feeling, you can choose among quick versions of pho (which calls for doctoring purchased low-sodium broth or buying a rotisserie chicken) to pressure-cooker recipes that speed up the process to non-traditional riffs such as seafood pho.

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Oui Oui to These French Sable Cookies

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

 

BUTTER!

I had to type that in bold all caps — with an exclamation mark — just to emphasize how incredibly buttery tasting these cookies are.

La Mere Poulard cookies were first baked in 1888 by Annette Poulard, the local baker’s wife in Mont Saint-Michel, France at the inn she opened. La Mere Poulard pays homage to those original cookies with its own versions, made with no preservatives or GMOs. Produced in France for 15 years, they are now readily available in the United States.

The cookies are made with eggs from free-range hens and sugar from beets. It’s not surprising that after the first ingredient listed of wheat flour, comes butter. Because these cookies taste unabashedly of sweet, creamy butter.

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Can’t Get Enough of Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy

The meatloaf of your dreams.

The meatloaf of your dreams.

 

After making and eating plenty of meatloaf over the years, I can unequivocally declare that this is definitely one of the very best.

“Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy” is from the new cookbook, “Poole’s: Recipes and Stories From A Modern Diner” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, by Chef Ashley Christensen.

Her Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC is all about comfort food — done with craft and skill. This is the kind of food you never tire of because it’s delicious and just makes you feel better — inside and out.

PoolesBook

Of course, being a James Beard Award-winning chef, Christensen’s dishes often redefine diner food, stretching the boundaries, but still in keeping with its inherent warm soulfulness. There’s everything from “Cornbread Crab Cakes” to “Grits with Roasted Pumpkin, Aged Maple Syrup and Crispy Peptias” to “Jacked Up Devil’s Food Trifle.”

What makes her meatloaf so spectacular?

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