Category Archives: Chefs

Join the Food Gal for a Macy’s Cooking Demo with Tin Pot Creamery

MacysTinPotCreamery

Do you scream for ice cream?

You’ll yell even louder then for ice cream sandwiches.

Join yours truly as I host a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 with Becky Sunseri, owner of Tin Pot Creamery in Palo Alto and Los Altos.

Since the demo is just two days before Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t resist enticing you with something not only sweet, but creamy and extra decadent.

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Run — Don’t Walk — To Orchard City Kitchen

"Beets & Butterfish'' -- one of the delights on the ever-changing menu at the new Orchard City Kitchen.

“Beets & Butterfish” — one of the delights on the ever-changing menu at the new Orchard City Kitchen.

 

It’s been a long two years in coming for Chef Jeffrey Stout.

The former opening chef-partner of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino, Stout was let go rather unceremoniously back then from that establishment, where he earned a Michelin star and maintained that rating for three years.

He set about to start over — this time with a more casual-style of dining with eclectic small plates that he could really put his own spin on.

The result is the wonderful new Orchard City Kitchen that opened just two months ago in Campbell’s Pruneyard. Last Wednesday night, the lively dining room was packed, a promising sign for a restaurant that has not done any marketing or public relations work. Indeed, Stout says he’s averaging over 200 covers a night already.

Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout in the kitchen.

Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout in the kitchen.

It’s easy to understand the restaurant’s appeal. It’s a come-as-your-are kind of place with favorite cookbooks and a Japanese Lucky Cat decorating shelves, and bare wood tables with a nifty bracket underneath to slide your wood board-backed menu into when you don’t need it anymore. A glass-fronted walk-in is visible at the back of the restaurant, lined with fresh fruits and veggies for all the world to see and to emphasize Stout’s farm-to-table philosophy. White subway tiles line the large open kitchen that Stout jokes is the “most open open-kitchen” there is because of the fact that the floor-to-ceiling, retractable windows opposite it in the dining room can open up and fold back completely, giving passersby a front-row view of the cooks at work.

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David Tanis’ Wok-Fried Lamb with Cumin

Cumin, chiles and lamb make this one good dish, indeed.

Cumin, chiles and lamb make this one good dish, indeed.

 

I’ve always loved the no-nonsense, forthright title of Chef David Tanis‘ 2013 cookbook, “One Good Dish” (Artisan).

I’ve enjoyed even more the recipes inside, created by the former co-chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

So many recipes from other chefs come packed to the gills with flourishes and garnishes that are a project in and of themselves.

Tanis pares that all away in this book. As he rightly states: A meal  doesn’t have to be complicated, complex or cumbersome. Sometimes all it takes is one splendid dish to satisfy.

OneGoodDishBook

This  book is full of those kinds of dishes, the type you really want to make — and can make without tearing your hair out.  Find everything from “Cornmeal Popovers” to “Potato Salad with Peppers and Olives” to “Quick Scallion Kimchee” to “Spanish Pork Skewers.”

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Napa Truffle Festival

Black Perigord truffles. The darker ones have been peeled already, hence their deeper black color.

Black Perigord truffles. The darker one has been peeled already, hence its more pronounced color.

 

Carefully tucked inside Chef Ken Frank’s walk-in at La Toque restaurant in Napa last weekend sat 20 pounds of prized black Perigord truffles. Valued at more than $13,000 — wholesale.

They were destined to be the highlight of dinners, cooking demos and special restaurant offerings during last weekend’s Napa Truffle Festival.

And they all came from Italy.

For the past five years that this festival has been held, all the truffles used have been picked in Italy and flown in three days later to Napa.

But some day soon — possibly as early as this coming winter — black Perigord truffles may be harvested right here in Wine Country.

That’s because a burgeoning industry is taking root in Napa and Sonoma counties, as vintners and other property owners are gambling on growing truffles.

The American Truffle Company, which organizes the festival, has partnered with these interested folks to sell and plant filbert and oak trees that have been inoculated with the truffle fungus.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Chef Ken Frank holding a plate of black truffle risotto with quail that was made in a demo by Chef Roberto Donna.

Close-up of the risotto.

Close-up of the risotto.

Once the trees are planted, it takes about five years for truffles to form. This winter, the trees of vintner Robert Sinskey, the first local client that signed on with the American Truffle Company, will be reaching that mark. His may become the first Perigords to be harvested in Sonoma County. Already this year, teams of truffle-hunting dogs have shown a much greater interest in his 1 1/2-acre orchard than ever before, Sinskey says, indicating truffles may indeed be forming under his trees.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

 

He has been dubbed a genius with vegetables.

His cooking may not be vegetarian per se, but Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef-owner of four London restaurants, definitely is a champion of putting vegetables front and center, in especially vibrant ways.

His three previous cookbooks have all been best-sellers: “Ottolenghi,” “Jerusalem,” and “Plenty.” No doubt, his fourth one, “Plenty More” (Ten Speed Press), also will top the charts.

In this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, Ottolenghi continues his foray into dazzling veg-centric dishes such as “Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Green Onion,” “Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime,” and “Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb.”

PlentyMoreBook

At this time of year, I love roasting winter squashes. But I’m always looking for new ways to accent them. “Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce” fit the bill perfectly.

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