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Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

Wednesday, 19. November 2014 5:26

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.


Imagine a holiday cake that’s rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene.

OK, so it does have chocolate chips, too. Plus a wicked chocolate-coffee glaze.

“Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake” has all that going for it and more. After all, it’s the creation of Chef Tanya Holland, who’s famed for her soulful comfort food at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland.

This cake is from her new cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It was written with former San Francisco Magazine editor Jan Newberry.


You’ll find all your Brown Sugar Kitchen favorites here, including Holland’s legendary Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. All in all, you’ll find more than 80 recipes from everything from Creole Gazpacho to Smoked Buttered Rum. What’s really special about this book, though, is its sense of place. Holland’s restaurant is an intrinsic part of this West Oakland neighborhood. The book celebrates the people that make this area what it is by including profiles of its entrepreneurs, musicians and community leaders.

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

A Tacolicious Time at Home

Friday, 7. November 2014 5:26

Lamb shanks -- Tacolicious-style.

Lamb shanks — Tacolicious-style.


Few of us are lucky enough to score a dinner invitation to San Francisco Magazine writer Sara Deseran’s house.

Because if we did, we apparently would find ourselves chowing down deliriously on “Lamb Adobo Taco with Spices and Oranges.”

For Deseran, co-owner of the Bay Area’s Tacolicious restaurants with her husband, Joe Hargrave, this is one of her go-to dishes when entertaining.

Fortunately for us, she’s sharing that recipe in her newest cookbook, “Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook features the seasonal, bright flavors of Tacolicious at its best in such recipes as “Shrimp Cakes with Corn-Basil Salsa,” “Albondigas in Tomato-Chipotle Sauce,” “Lone Star Breakfast Taco” and “Pineapple-Coconut Aqua Fresca.”


After one taste, I can see why this dish is such a favorite of hers. Lamb shanks braise in a rich, dark sauce that resembles mole but is far easier to make. It’s one of those sauces that announces itself immediately with boldness and deep complexity, as well as a kick of heat that starts off slow and gentle, then builds the more you eat of it. The taste is very earthy, with a touch of fruitiness from the chiles, and just the merest hint of tanginess.

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

Jacques Pepin: On His 14th — and Final Cooking Series

Wednesday, 5. November 2014 5:25

Jacques Pepin and his grand-daughter Shorey preparing to film an episode of his last cooking series.

Jacques Pepin and his grand-daughter Shorey preparing to film an episode of his last cooking series.


When Chef Roland Passot informed his kitchen recently that none other than his longtime friend Jacques Pepin had just made a reservation for dinner that night at La Folie in San Francisco, his young cooks flew into a tizzy. They were disappointed that they didn’t get the news sooner so that they could have brought in their books for him to sign. As it is, a few intrepid cooks ran out to the store on their break to buy Pepin’s cookbooks just for the chance to get them autographed that night.

Such is the appeal and admiration of the renowned Jacques Pepin — Emmy Award- and James Beard Award-winning chef and former personal chef of French President Charles DeGaulle — who for generations has proved an inspired teacher not only to home cooks but to countless professional chefs.

Last month, I caught up with Pepin, who left his home in Connecticut to spend most of October in San Francisco, filming his 14th — and final — cooking series, “Jacques Pepin: Heart & Soul.” It will air next fall and include a companion cookbook.

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications | Comments (10) | Author:

Join the Food Gal and Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez of Parcel 104 for A Macy’s Cooking Demo

Monday, 3. November 2014 5:25


You’re in for the ultimate sweet time when I host Chef Carlos Sanchez of Santa Clara’s Parcel 104 for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Nov. 6.

Born in Columbia, Sanchez crafts delightful, dainty sweets served in trios that are always worth the calories. His smooth, eggy flan is the stuff of legends.

Trained in both the savory and dessert sides of the kitchen, Sanchez has incorporated such unusual ingredients as bell peppers and candy cap mushrooms into his memorable desserts.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person | Comment (0) | Author:

A Taste of Pan dei Morti

Friday, 31. October 2014 5:25

Have you had your Pan dei Morti yet?

Have you had your Pan dei Morti yet?


All Saints Day, Nov. 1, and All Souls Day, Nov. 2, just got a little sweeter.

Thanks to Emporio Rulli, that is.

In commemoration of All Saints Day, which honors all saints, and of All Souls Day, which is a day of prayer for the deceased, the Italian bakery is baking a new bread, Pan dei Morti.

I recently had a chance to try a sample of this new treat, which will be available through December at all Emporio Rulli locations, plus on its online site.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, New Products | Comments (4) | Author: