Pair unusual grapes with an unusual cheese with delicious results.
Get a load of these grapes.
I sure did when I spied Moon Drops at my neighborhood Whole Foods recently.
How can you not notice these beauties that sport such an unusual tubular shape that do give them a rather otherworldly appearance?
They are juicy, sweet and with just enough tannin from their inky purple-black skin to keep everything in balance.
Moon Drops was developed by the Grapery in Bakesfield.
Incredible, edible Moon Drops.
After buying a bunch, I ate quite a few just right out of hand. But I also saved some for this recipe, “Haloumi with Grapes.”
Top-selling Italian ricciarelli cookies at Market Hall Bakery.
More than three decades ago, this lot on College Avenue in Oakland sat empty except when it transformed into a pumpkin patch every Halloween.
But siblings Sara, Tony and Peter Wilson had a vision that it could be so much more.
The New Zealand natives set to work to turn it into the first European-style food court in the Bay Area.
This year, Rockridge Market Hall Foods celebrates its 30th anniversary, a remarkable achievement in this day and age when fewer and fewer family-owned markets seem able to survive yet alone thrive.
The bakery case.
A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.
Just part of the cheese selection.
To celebrate, the marketplace is hosting monthly events all this year that feature fun free activities and treats. To see what’s upcoming, check out the calendar here.
This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?
Melon and prosciutto.
Ho-hum. Been there, ate that.
But not like this.
Not when the cantaloupe cavity is filled with molten mozzarella before being draped with thin slices of salty-sweet prosciutto, and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and lush olive oil.
“Broiled Cantaloupe with Hand-Stretched Mozzarella Curds and Prosciutto” takes a familiar taste and turns it on its head.
The genius recipe is from the new cookbook, “Around the Fire: Recipes For Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting From Ox Restaurant” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by husband-and-wife chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, with assistance from food writer Stacy Adimando. They are the chefs of the critically acclaimed Ox in Portland, OR.
A decidedly not-sweet zucchini bread.
If given the choice between sweet and savory, I will almost always veer at full speed toward sweet.
But a dinner four years ago at San Jose’s The Table had me backpedaling.
That was when I had Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez’s take on zucchini bread.
It wasn’t served for brunch or dessert, but as an accompaniment to roast chicken. The slab of zucchini bread had been sliced, then griddled until it was slightly crisp on the exterior. Its sweetness had been remarkably dialed down. It was tender with some parts soft, some crispy — and it reminded me very much of Thanksgiving stuffing.
Who knew zucchini bread could be enjoyed quite like this?
Katie Sullivan Morford, for one. A Bay Area food and nutrition writer, she’s written a new cookbook, of which I received a review copy: “Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings” (Roost Books). The lovely photos are by Bay Area photographer Erin Scott.
It’s filled with 75 inventive recipes for the most important meal of the day. Some can be made in a flash, such as “Orange Almond Date Lassi.” Some are remarkably time-saving, such as “Better Than Boxed Instant Oatmeal” and “Make-And-Freeze Buttermilk Waffles.” And some are designed more for weekends, such as “Big Joe’s Huevos Rancheros.”
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.
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.