Category Archives: General

Cooking (And Sourcing) Monkfish

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

 

Known as the “poor man’s lobster,” monkfish is a seafood I’ve enjoyed quite a few times in restaurants. But I had never cooked it before.

Until last week.

Part of the problem was that it’s not an easy fish to find at local seafood markets. But thanks to DailyFreshFish, I was able to finally give it a go.

The new online seafood source was launched recently by Hayward’s Pucci Foods, which was established in 1918 by Joe Pucci, an Italian immigrant. Pucci Foods has long supplied restaurants and retail stores. Now, it’s making that same seafood available directly to consumers.

The company, which sources seafood from all over the world, has a sustainable seafood certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. It also follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide and the NOAA Fish Watch Program.

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Shhhh, Stolen Fruit Mixers

Stolen Fruit Mixers turn any gathering into a party.

Stolen Fruit Mixers turn any gathering into a party.

 

OK, no fruits were actually pilfered for these non-alcoholic mixers.

Stolen Fruit Mixers is just a fun name for this new Healdsburg company that makes mixers from the fresh-pressed juice of green varietal wine grapes and their skins (also known as verjus).

But unlike so many mixers that taste way too sugary or are so processed to death that they lose their vibrancy, these have real elegance and distinction.

Not surprisingly, since they were created by a chef, Peter Brown of Healdsburg, and long-time grape growers, Doug and Susan Provisor.

The company makes five flavors: Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Jasmine Juniper Viognier, Hibiscus Grenache, Blood Orange Muscat, and Fig Grains of Paradise Zin.

Mix with alcohol or sparkling water.

Mix with alcohol or sparkling water.

They are concentrated, so it’s suggested you use 1 part mixer to 1 part alcohol (for a cocktail), or 1 part mixer to 2 parts sparkling water (for a mocktail).

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Sons & Daughters: Grand Food From A Tiny Kitchen

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

 

When you step inside the doorstep of San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters, you can’t help but notice the open kitchen smack in front of you — mostly because of its size.

Put it this way: Walk-in closets are larger.

To see four chefs working so seamlessly in such close quarters gives you pause.

And to see the caliber of the food they manage to turn out there takes your breath away.

The elegant restaurant, dressed up with charcoal linens, chandeliers and large framed mirrors, was opened in 2010 by chefs Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara. These days, McNamara also lives on and works the 83-acre Dark Hill Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which supplies the Sons & Daughters Restaurant Group that also includes The Square in North Beach.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

I had a chance to dine at the cozy 28-seat restaurant, when I was invited in as a guest a week ago. When you are seated, along with the menus (which have the name of your party printed at the top in a welcome message), you are presented with a leather-bound booklet that includes information and photos of the farm. Food scraps are composted on the farm, which produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, and rabbits that inspire every menu. Indeed, on the back of the menu is a list of the season’s harvest that may be in the dishes that night — everything from redwood sorrel to apriums to ice plant to Buff Orpington eggs.

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The Surprise of Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

 

Something miraculous happens when you roast thin slices of lemons and oranges at high heat.

They get all jammy, intensifying their sweetness and taming the overt bitterness of their rind.

I’ve added plenty of orange supremes — juicy segments devoid of their pith and membrane — to plenty of salads. But never had I added roasted slices to one before, where the flesh has largely disappeared in the cooking process, leaving behind mostly rind.

Even my husband, who normally blanches at anything remotely very bitter or sour, remarked how wonderfully refreshing this salad was.

A miracle, didn’t I tell you?

“Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad” is from the new book, “Farmsteads of the California Coast” (Yellow Pear Press), of which I received a review copy. The book was written by Bay Area food writer Sarah Henry, with beautiful photography by Erin Scott of the YummySupper blog.

FarmsteadsBook

Whether you live in California or not, this book will make you appreciate the state’s farms even more. Twelve coastal farms are spotlighted with stories about the farmers, including what they grow, which farmers markets sell their wares, and whether there is a farmstand on site that you can visit. The farms span the gamut from Pie Ranch in Pescadero to the Apple Farm in Philo to Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall.

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Pickle Nostalgia and A Food Gal Giveaway with Ball Canning

Pickling my way to savored memories.

Pickling my way to savored memories.

 

When I was a kid growing up in my parents’ San Francisco home, there were two refrigerators — the main one in the kitchen, and an auxiliary one downstairs in the garage.

It was the latter one that was filled with extra provisions — tubs of tofu, cartons of orange juice, and big glass jars of pickles.

My Mom’s pickles.

She would save big glass jars and reuse them, packing them with cauliflower florets, slices of carrots, and stems of mustard greens. She’d pour in hot white vinegar diluted with a little water and mixed with a few mustard seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns, before capping the jars, and storing them in that refrigerator.

As the days and weeks went on, we’d enjoy the pickles of her labor. Their snap and tang would jazz up simple green salads or sandwiches. But often, I’d just fish out a few pieces to eat solo for an entirely satisfying snack.

So when Jarden Home Brands, maker of the Ball brand of home-canning products, sent me its “The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving” (Oxmoor House), I leafed through the more than 350 recipes, and came to a halt at one in particular.

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