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Four Locally Made Host/Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

Wednesday, 10. December 2014 5:25

Sweet, delicate and buttery Clair de Lune cookies.

Sweet, delicate and buttery Clair de Lune cookies.

Clair De Lune Cookies

Crumbly, crisp and utterly melt-in-your-mouth, Chateau Bakery’s Clair de Lune cookies are the perfect holiday treat to share with co-workers or to thank your holiday dinner host.

The sugary butter cookies, which were first made in a small European bakery in 1898, are now made in Burlingame by Esther Buss, a former consumer marketing professional who’s been baking since she was a child.

I had a chance to sample the cookies, which are made with just cane sugar, flour, butter, sea salt and vanilla. They’re delicate and disintegrate in your mouth even more than your average meltaway cookies. Rolled in sugar, they are super sweet. A smidge of sea salt adds a refined touch.

Enjoy them with coffee, tea or even sparkling wine.

The cookies are available online, as well as at retailers including Lunardi’s, Mollie Stone’s and Draeger’s. They are priced at $9 for a package of 15 cookies; $25 for a large gift tub of 28 cookies; and $5 for a mini gift tub of five cookies.

Round Pond Estate’s Pomegranate Syrup

Imagine the super concentrated fruity taste of pomegranates without having to ferret out all those plump seeds to enjoy it?

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Category:Chefs, General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (8) | Author:

Snake River Farms Kobe Ribeye Roast and a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 8. December 2014 5:27

A prime rib to end all prime ribs. From Snake River Farms.

A prime rib to end all prime ribs. From Snake River Farms.

 

Consider this the Maserati of meat.

Luxurious, extravagant and a work of art in its own right.

This is the Snake River Farms American Kobe Gold Grade Eye of Ribeye Roast.

At nearly $400 for a 6 1/2- to 7-pounder, it’s meat that makes an entrance. Especially on an important holiday.

I actually had a chance to try a sample of the roast recently. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a cut of meat worth this much. My kitchen almost felt unworthy.

What accounts for its sky-high price tag? First, it’s American Kobe, which is Japanese Wagyu crossed with American Angus. Second, it’s gold grade, meaning it’s more marbled than than any other roast the Idaho-based company sells. Third, it’s aged, hand-trimmed and limited in quantity.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Great Finds, Meat | Comments (23) | Author:

Take Five with Cheryl Forberg On Being the Nutritionist For “The Biggest Loser”

Friday, 5. December 2014 5:25

Nutritionist and chef, Cheryl Forberg, has had anything but a one-track life. (Photo courtesy of Forberg)

Nutritionist and chef, Cheryl Forberg, has had anything but a one-track life. (Photo courtesy of Forberg)

 

You may know Napa Valley resident Cheryl Forberg as the nutritionist for NBC’s smash hit, “The Biggest Loser.’’

What you may not know is how she got that coveted job, or how superstar Chef Jeremiah Tower played a pivotal role in her making a dramatic career change, or how Darth Vader’s creator played a part along the way, too.

A few months ago, I had a chance to chat with Forberg about all of that and a whole lot more.

Q: You were a flight attendant in 1986 when Jeremiah Tower happened to be on your flight – and that experience totally changed your life?

A: Yes, it was a flight from New York to Nice. I was working economy and he was sitting in first class. I was crazy about Stars. I had his cookbook and cooked all the recipes. He was my idol.

I heard through the grapevine that he was on the flight. When I went up to meet him, he was sleeping, so I didn’t even get a chance to meet him. I had wanted to change careers for so long. It planted the seed. I couldn’t sleep that night. When I got back to New York, I went to a pay phone outside customs at the airport and called the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. And that was that. I quit my job to go to cooking school.

Q: Years later, you wrote him a thank-you note?

A: Over the years, I’ve been interviewed by so many people who ask why I became a chef. Every time, I tell that story. And each time I do, I think that I have to tell Jeremiah Tower since I never even really got to meet him. He wrote back that it was one of the nicest notes he’d ever received.

Q: After cooking school, you landed an impressive first restaurant job.

A: I was on the opening team of Postrio. That was before Wolfgang Puck had so many restaurants, so he was actually there. I trained with him on the sauté and sauces stations, before going to the pasta station, which was very, very busy, because we made everything in-house.

I learned a lot and he greatly influenced my style of cooking. But I had no aspiration to own my own restaurant. Instead, I started moonlighting for private clients in San Francisco who could afford a private chef.

Q: That led to you getting hired by someone quite famous?

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Category:"Take Five'' Q&A, Chefs, General, Health/Nutrition | Comments (3) | Author:

Chewy-Coconut-Chocolate Pinwheels for the Holidays

Wednesday, 3. December 2014 5:26

Chocolate and coconut all swirled into one pretty cookie.

Chocolate and coconut all swirled into one pretty cookie.

 

When I was a kid, I remember my Dad buying me a fanciful pinwheel. It spun as you blew on it and its clear plastic rod hid a trove of tiny colorful candy balls inside.

It was truly two treats in one.

Just like these cookies — which are pinwheels of a different sort.

The kind where you get both chocolate and coconut in one delightful bite.

“Chewy Coconut-Chocolate Pinwheels” is by Martha Stewart. With their two-tone design and festive swirl, they a perfect treat at this time of year.

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Category:Favorite Cookie Recipes, General | Comments (7) | Author:

Join the Food Gal and Madera Chef Peter Rudolph for a Macy’s Cooking Demo

Monday, 1. December 2014 5:30

MacysPeterRudlph

Join me at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 when I host Chef Peter Rudolph of Madera restaurant for a holiday cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

You’re in for a treat as Rudolph shows off one of his signature dishes that you’ll get to taste.

The East Bay native is the former executive chef of Campton Place Restaurant in San Francisco. Under his guidance, Madera in the Rosewood Sand Hill resort garnered a coveted Michelin star.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person | Comments (3) | Author: