View all posts filed under 'Chefs'

St. Helena’s Press Welcomes A Most Appropriate New Chef

Wednesday, 27. August 2014 5:25

The very clever carrot "hot dog'' at Press in St. Helena.

The very clever carrot “hot dog” at Press in St. Helena.

 

Earlier this summer, Press in St. Helena welcomed a new executive chef — Trevor Kunk, who was the chef de cuisine at Blue Hill New York for seven years.

It’s a most apropos choice, given that Blue Hill is renowned for its almost painstaking use of locally grown ingredients, including those from its own farms, and the fact that Press is very much a root-to-shoot, nose-to-tail steakhouse with the bulk of its provisions coming from its 13-acre Rudd Farms and Chef’s Garden.

In Kunk’s hands, the food at Press embodies the garden even more so now, as evidenced by my recent dinner there when I was invited in to dine as a guest of the restaurant. My dinner was a week ago, prior to last Sunday’s 6.0 earthquake in Napa. Fortunately, no damage occurred at Press, which is operating as usual.

Press was founded by Wine Country mover-and-shaker Leslie Rudd, who also owns Rudd Oakville Estate and Dean & DeLuca. The graceful restaurant was designed by Howard Backen, who has been responsible for the look of the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, Archetype in St. Helena, Kokkari in San Francisco, and a slew of premiere wineries including Harlan Estate, Ram’s Gate, Dana Estates and Bond Estates.

You can't miss the sign on Highway 29.

You can’t miss the sign on Highway 29.

The beautiful, light-filled dining room.

The beautiful, light-filled dining room.

The soaring barn-like restaurant fills with natural light, lending a casual but elegant ambiance. With an old-fashioned, hand-crank grape press as its logo, Press takes wine seriously. There are more than 1,500 Napa Valley selections, with a specialization in Cabernet Sauvignon, that you can thumb through on an electronic tablet. Or just put your hands in Sommelier Angela Stem’s hands. After all, with a surname like that, how can you go wrong?

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants, Travel Adventures, Wine | Comments (10) | Author:

Join the Food Gal and Chef Philippe Breneman of the Lexington House at Macy’s Valley Fair

Wednesday, 20. August 2014 5:26

MacysLexingtonHouse

It’s a little bit of San Francisco in downtown Los Gatos.

The Lexington House, which opened in September 2013, boasts a modern speakeasy vibe with plenty of craft cocktails and inspired farm-to-table cooking. Get a taste when Chef Philippe Breneman joins me to create a signature dish at a cooking demo at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

The Allure of Shiso

Wednesday, 13. August 2014 5:26

Fresh tomatoes, soy sauce, olive oil and shiso flavor this wonderful cold noodle dish.

Fresh tomatoes, soy sauce, olive oil and shiso flavor this wonderful cold noodle dish.

 

Long ago, my husband jokingly gave me the rather apt but embarrassing nickname of “Black Thumb Jung.”

I admit I’m no Martha Stewart when it comes to nurturing my backyard. In fact, I’m sure Martha would give me one of her telling looks if she only knew that I’ve actually killed ivy and cactus. Things that people say are impossible to kill. I’ve done it, though, with my lethal gardening skills.

But there is an exception to that predictable massacre. I can grow shiso like nobody’s business.

OK, I admit it doesn’t take much for that to happen. Years ago, I planted one seedling in a pot and ever since then, I watch it die over the winter, only to regenerate on its own in summer, when it grows with abandon.

Every summer, I get big green leaves with saw-toothed edges that have the unmistakable and unusual taste of basil crossed with citrus crossed with mint. An Asian herb in the mint family, it’s most commonly found as a garnish on sashimi plates in Japanese restaurants. When I am dining out, I always save it for last. Its bright, refreshing jolt is like a natural after-dinner mint candy.

Yup, I grew that shiso.

Yup, I grew that shiso.

Though I most often add it to summer salads, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use my home-grown shiso. That’s why this recipe for “Cold Udon with Fresh Tomatoes” caught my eye. It’s in the newest cookbook by New York City Chef Tadashi Ono, of which I received a review copy. “Japanese Soul Cooking” (Ten Speed Press) is full of recipes for ramen, gyoza, donburi, curry and other comfort dishes typically found in mom-and-pop restaurants or made by home-cooks.

This cold noodle dish could not be more effortless. Seriously, it would take you longer to take a shower than to make this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Asian Recipes, Chefs, General | Comments (12) | Author:

Macarons Galore Plus New Juice Bar and an Oyster Fest

Monday, 11. August 2014 5:25

Presenting the "Hedwig Schmidt'' macaron. (Photo courtesy of Tout Sweet Patisserie)

Presenting the “Hedwig Schmidt” macaron. (Photo courtesy of Tout Sweet Patisserie)

Glitzy New Macaron from Tout Sweet

Inspired by the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Tout Sweet of San Francisco has created a limited-edition macaron covered in a riot of edible red glitter.

Pastry Chef-Proprietor Yigit Pura was inspired to make the “Hedwig Schmidt” macaron because the musical’s message of “love and discovering who you really are,” resonated with him.

Named for the title character in the musical, the macaron features a bourbon-orange marmalade ganache with a brandied cherry center. And of course, there’s the glitter, which will leave your lips sparkling.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Enticing Events, General, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (3) | Author:

Getting Corny For Dinner

Wednesday, 6. August 2014 5:27

Summer on a plate.

Summer on a plate.

 

I have developed a serious corn dependence.

But I can’t be the only one buying fresh corn from the farmers market week in and week out.

Whenever I come within a few steps of the stand with its boxes of just-misted ears and kernels so fresh that they squeak, I succumb.

Typically, I tote them home to char on the grill while still in their husks. Sometimes, I take a knife down the length of them to dislodge the milky kernels to saute with garlic, butter and herbs for a side dish or the makings of a room-temperature salad.

Creamed corn is not something I grew up with. Nor ever craved. But one day, with a load of fresh ears staring up at me, I spied a recipe for “Grilled Lime Chicken with Creamed Corn” that nudged me to get to work in the kitchen.

CulinaryBirds

The recipe is from “Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook” (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. The book, by esteemed Chef John Ash, was the recipient of a James Beard Award this year. It includes 170 recipes for a wide range of poultry — from duck and goose to even partridge and dove.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (10) | Author: