Category Archives: Chefs

Nopi’s Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt and Swiss Chard

Meatballs bathed in a rich, warm yogurt sauce.

Meatballs bathed in a rich, warm yogurt sauce.

 

A great meatball is a fine thing.

Especially one bobbing in a rich, creamy sauce that transports you from the first indulgent taste to a faraway land.

That’s what you’ll get with “Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt and Swiss Chard.”

It’s from the new cookbook, “Nopi” (Ten Speed Press) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, of which I received a review copy.

Ottolenghi, of course, is the masterful owner of a slew of restaurants in London and the author of several cookbooks that pretty much land on the best-seller’s list every time he publishes one.

Scully is his head chef of Ottolenghi’s fine-dining establishment, Nopi.

Nopi

The book contains more than than 120 recipes, combining Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern roots with Scully’s Malaysian heritage.

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Pulling Up A Bar Stool At Harvest Table in St. Helena

Smoked trout at the Harvest Table.

Smoked trout at the Harvest Table.

 

That’s exactly where I planted myself.

On Super Bowl Sunday.

While the rest of the Bay Area congregated in San Francisco for all the hoopla or Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for the actual game, I headed to St. Helena.

Not to escape the hubbub, necessarily. But since I had to be in Wine Country bright and early the next day, I decided to stay the night before. It gave me the perfect excuse to check out Chef Charlie Palmer’s new Harvest Table at the venerable Harvest Inn.

Palmer took over the property a year and a half ago. He added a restaurant last spring, taking what was once just a reception area and building it out, though, keeping the ornate staircase and massive fireplace already there to add interest to the modern, clean-lined space.

The grounds have a Mediterranean-country feel with towering trees and a stone courtyard.

The grounds have a Mediterranean-country feel with towering trees and a stone courtyard.

The neatly appinted bar.

The neatly appointed bar.

He installed Executive Chef Levi Mezick, formerly of Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, and he hired Culinary Horticulturalist Laura McNiff to tend the fruit trees and herbs growing on the property.

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Amanda Freitag’s Pop’s Beer-Braised Bold Beef Stew and Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

Freitag's favorite dishes growing up -- her father's beef stew.

One of Amanda Freitag’s favorite dishes growing up — her father’s beef stew.

 

In the winter, there are few things as comforting as tucking into a big bowl of beef stew and creamy mashed potatoes.

It’s a stick-to-your-ribs — and everywhere else — kind of dish that fortifies on a long, dark night like nothing else.

So when I spied “Pop’s Beer-Braised Bold Beef Stew,” I was game to give it a go, not only because of the two bottles of dark beer in it, but also the half bottle of red wine. How good does that sound, right?

The recipe is from “The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef’s Recipes For Fun, Fearless Home Cooking” (William Morrow) by Amanda Freitag with writer Carrie King.

ChefNextDoor

You probably know celebrated New York Chef Freitag from her many TV appearances as a judge on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and a competitor on “Iron Chef America.”

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Valentine’s Baking Class, Lunar New Year Dinners, and A New Brunch

The signature Rachel's Cake. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The signature Rachel’s Cake. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Hands-On Valentine’s Baking Classes

Sure, you can go out to dinner with your sweetie in honor of Valentine’s Day. But why not bake something together for an especially sweet time instead?

Rachel’s Cakes of Burlingame is offering just that — two-hour, hands-on classes designed for couples to bake and decorate homemade sugar cookies.

The classes are: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 13; and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 14.

Each class is limited to four couples, and includes lessons in rolling, baking and decorating. Appetizers and beverages also will be served. You can take home your decorated cookies, as well as any unfinished ones with a supply of icing to complete them at home.

The class is $150 per couple. Reservations are required by calling (650) 393-4514. If you can’t make it to any of these, you’ll be glad to know Rachel’s offers other classes throughout the year.

On the flip side, if you want to leave the baking to someone else for Valentine’s Day, owner Rachel Richanbach will be happy to create a rustic or custom cake.

I had a chance to try some samples recently. Her cakes are all very moist, and taste quite homey.

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Join the Food Gal and 2nd Story Bakeshop For A Macy’s Demo

MacysSecondStoryBakeshop

Can you smell the heavenly butter and sugar yet?

You will at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 when Christy Ikezi of San Jose’s 2nd Story Bakeshop joins me for a baking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

The San Jose bakery specializes in long-fermented organic artisan breads, as well as sweet treats such as pear pie cookies, almond crisps, and dark chocolate sea-salt cookies. Its breads are sold at select South Bay farmers markets, as well as Whole Foods in Cupertino and on The Alameda in San Jose.

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