Category Archives: General

A Better, Safer Canned Tuna From A Sausalito Company

A canned tuna you can feel good about eating.

A canned tuna you can feel good about eating.

 

Our love affair with canned tuna has ebbed and flowed over the years.

Beset by worries about mercury levels and unintended bycatch deaths of dolphins, Americans have cut back on their consumption recently. Still, it’s a good bet that there’s still a tin or two in our cupboards on a fairly regular basis because it’s hard to beat the convenience and versatility of the product.

Sausalito’s Safe Catch Elite Tuna, though, makes it easier for us to enjoy canned tuna with fewer worries.

Every tuna (albacore and skipjack) used by the company is tested for mercury, ensuring a limit of 0.1 parts per million which it touts is 10 times stricter than the FDA action limit. The tuna are wild, sustainably-caught, and additive-free. The fish are packed in BPA-free cans without any added water, oil or preservatives. In fact, the ingredients label on the can is as short as can be — just tuna and salt. You don’t even need to drain the can when you open it because there’s very little liquid in it.

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Anya Fernald’s Jam Tartlets

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

 

Anya Fernald is probably best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Meat Co., the world’s largest sustainable meat company, which owns everything from its animals to its own slaughterhouse to its own stores and restaurants where its meat is sold.

But leave it to me to get a review copy of her new cookbook “Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For A New Way To Cook” (Ten Speed Press), and to not make a meat-focused recipe, but a dessert one instead.

Because, yes, that’s how my sweet tooth rolls.

HomeCooked

That’s not to say the book isn’t filled with tantalizing carnivore dishes. Having had the pleasure of eating Belcampo’s fare on a couple of occasions, I can attest that you taste the impeccable quality of the meat from the get-go. Because Belcampo raises its own animals, it makes a point to use every part so that nothing goes to waste. The recipes reflect that in everything from “Seared Lamb Heart Crudo” to “Chicken Hearts Cooked in Brown Butter” to “Toma Cheese with Green Herbs” to “Pork & Pepperoncino Sausage.”

But when Fernald writes in the book that “Jam Tartlets” is one of her most requested recipes, how could I resist?

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San Francisco Lamb Jam and A Food Gal Giveaway

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

 

How do I love lamb?

Let me count the ways.

I love it so much that if it’s on a menu, I will always make a beeline for it over beef.

I love that my father would take the time on weekends to make his special curry lamb in a pressure cooker on the stovetop, complete with carrots, onions and turnips, all tinged with that golden colored sauce.

I love that my husband enjoys cooking a leg of lamb studded with garlic and rosemary in his Big Green Egg, which we can then enjoy with hummus and pita for nights on end.

And I love that Niman Ranch, when it was still owned by Bill Niman, would host an annual outdoor barbecue bash for media, friends and ranchers, where I was lucky to be introduced to the delights of grilled lamb riblets, which are tiny yet exquisitely juicy.

If you love lamb like I love lamb, then you don’t want to miss the seventh annual San Francisco Lamb Jam, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 17 at the Golden Gate Club.

The American Lamb Board’s multi-city, culinary cook-off competition will feature a dozen of the Bay Area’s best chefs vying for “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice,” and other best-of categories. The winner will face other Lamb Jam champions in the finale in September in New York.

The participating chefs will be:

Robert McCarthy – Thirstybear Brewing Company

Sophina Uong – Calavera

Francis Hogan – Sabio On Main

Jay Abrams – Bi-Rite Market

Alan Fullerton – Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Brandon Rice – Rich Table

Parke Ulrich – Epic Steak

David Bazirgan – Dirty Habit

Wesley Shaw – Presido Social Club

Michael Cassady – Kuleto’s

John Griffiths – Bluestem Brasserie

Mike Espinoza – Hogs & Rocks

Attendees will get a chance to sample all the dishes, too. Tickets are $60 each. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to La Cocina, the non-profit incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs.

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

CONTEST: Two lucky Food Gal readers will each win a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Lamb Jam.

Entries, limited to those who can actually attend the July 17 event in San Francisco, will be accepted through midnight PST July 2. Winners will be announced July 4.

How to win?

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Take A Load Off At El Molino Central

A trio of pork tacos at El Molino Central.

A trio of pork tacos at El Molino Central.

 

When a noted chef tells you the name of a restaurant he thinks is the very best in the Bay Area, your ears can’t help but perk up.

And when he reveals that it’s an unassuming taco joint, you really get intrigued.

Such was the case when I recently interviewed Chef Louis Maldonado for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle Food section about his favorite places in the Healdsburg area.

Maldonado, former chef of Spoonbar in Healdsburg and now culinary director of Mugnaini Imports in Healdsburg, was effusive in his praise for El Molino Central in Boyes Hot Springs. So much so that when I found myself in the area last week, I just had to try it, paying my own tab at the end.

The back of the restaurant.

The back of the restaurant.

El Molino Central is a tiny place with a tamale-sized kitchen. Inside, there’s barely room for two small tables, and the counter where you place your order. Lest you think you’ll have to eat your food standing up, you will find a cheerful patio in the back with picnic tables, covered by a trellis and a revolving ceiling fan. You’ll have to walk through the compact kitchen to get to it, though — or go out the front door and walk around the building to the back.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Josiah Slone of Relish Gastro Lounge For A Cooking Demo

MacysRelishJoin yours truly when I host Chef Josiah Slone for a delectable cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. June 27.

Slone took over the iconic Sent Sovi restaurant in downtown Saratoga from Chef David Kinch, who went on to open Manresa in Los Gatos. After manning the fine-dining restaurant for nearly 13 years, Slone recently revamped the space into a more casual restaurant, Relish Gastro Lounge.

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