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Yigit Pura’s Spiced Hazelnut-Almond Mirliton Cake

Friday, 12. December 2014 5:26

Yigit Pura's sublime cake that's flavored with warm spices and nuts.

Yigit Pura’s sublime cake that’s flavored with warm spices and nuts.

 

There’s no shame in going simple. Not even during the holidays.

Take this lovely cake, for instance.

“Spiced Hazelnut-Almond Mirliton Cake” is the easiest cake recipe in San Francisco Pastry Chef Yigit Pura’s repertoire. But that doesn’t mean it’s not special.

On the contrary, it’s everything you want in a cake — moist, airy and delicately fragrant. It’s a most elegant, light spice cake imbued with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and citrus zest. It’s also gluten-free, owing to the fact that it’s made with hazelnut and almond flours, which are roasted in the oven to really bring out their wonderful nuttiness.

The recipe is from Pura’s debut cookbook, “Sweet Alchemy” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

Would you believe this is gluten-free?

Would you believe this is gluten-free?

Pura, the inaugural winner of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and the owner of San Francisco’s Tout Sweet patisserie, has created a book that builds on the fundamentals as you go along. Learn how to make Citrus-Scented Panna Cotta and Blood Orange, Grapefruit & Campari Gelee. Then combine both in a gorgeously layered Negroni Creamsicle. Learn how to make a basic Crepe Cake. Then add on Vietnamese Cinnamon Brittle, Butterscotch Sauce, Orange Flower Water Diplomat Cream and Bosc Pears Roasted in Caramel & Indian Spices to create the knock-out Layered Crepe Cake Brulee.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Food TV, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (5) | Author:

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:

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:

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:

Cranberries — But Not For Sauce

Wednesday, 26. November 2014 5:26

One way I enjoy fresh cranberries at this time of year.

One way I enjoy fresh cranberries at this time of year.

 

The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family about a dozen years ago, I made cranberry sauce from scratch.

It was my first time doing so. And my last.

I simmered fresh cranberries with orange zest, sugar and a dash of Cointreau, until the berries started to plump and pop, and the whole mixture thickened nicely.

It was fresher, zingier and more lively tasting than anything out of a can. When I set it on the table, I sat back proudly, waiting for everyone to dig in.

Everyone tried it. Then, everyone asked pretty much in unison, “Uh, where’s the stuff from the can?”

And that is why I have never made it again.

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Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (5) | Author: