A sherry-laced ice cream to fall head over heels for.
Pedro Jimenez, so glad to finally make your acquaintance. Just where have you been all my life?
It was only recently that I got to know this fabled white Spanish grape that’s typically dried in the sun to make a dark, syrupy dessert sherry wine.
A friend had gifted me a bottle of Bodega Dios Baco Pedro Jimenez and I was waiting for just the right moment to open it. When I did, I was greeted with a heavy-bodied inky wine fragrant with the scent of raisins and dates. The taste was figgy, almost sticky toffee-like, with a bit of aged balsamico on the finish.
It would be great alongside cheese, salumi and almonds. Or used in a sauce to finish duck or quail.
But what caught my eye was a recipe for “Pedro Jimenez Ice Cream with Orange Zest” in the new “The Basque Cookbook: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito” (Ten Speed Press) by Chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero with food writer Rebecca Flint Marx of San Francisco Magazine.
Chef Tokunori Mekaru of the new Sushi Hashiri in San Francisco.
To say I felt like a one percenter last week is to put it mildly.
It’s not everyday that I dine on a $300 three-hour kaiseki meal at a sushi bar, even if I was invited in as a guest of Sushi Hashiri, the new Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, two days before it officially opened to the public.
I realize few people will have the means — or even the inclination — to spend that princely sum at a sushi bar. Instead, we nonchalantly throw a $9 package of nigiri rolls into our cart at the supermarket, no matter if the rice has gotten a little hard and the seaweed too flabby. So accustomed are we to the run-of-the-mill stuff that we almost forget how transcendent sushi can be in the right hands.
Then along comes an establishment like Sushi Hashiri to remind us of that fact. It is the sister location to the smaller Hashiri that opened in Tokyo in 2012.
Chilled snap pea broth with ebi and sturgeon caviar.
Glistening silver shad nigiri.
The 42-seat restaurant, which includes a 10-seat sushi bar, is led by Executive Chef Takashi Saito, who helped open Ame in San Francisco; Chef Shinichi Aoki, late of Kaygetsu in Menlo Park; and Chef Tokunori Mekaru, who hails from Hashiri in Tokyo.
Join yours truly when I trek to Macy’s Cellar in San Francisco’s Union Square to host cookbook author and Asian foods expert Katie Chin for a cooking demo, 6 p.m. May 26
It’s all part of the salute to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Los Angeles-based Chin is the author of “Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook” (Tuttle Publishing); and creator of the blog, The Sweet And Sour Chronicles. She’s also appeared as a judge on “Iron Chef America” and a contestant on “Cutthroat Kitchen.”
Dry-aged beef to go with a wine made with semi-dried grapes.
With a charred juicy steak, my drink of choice is usually Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.
So when the folks at Masi Agricola asked me to try a sample of one of their Amarones with a prime steak instead, I was game to see what that pairing would be like.
It’s an unusual type of wine in that it’s made from semi-dried grapes. An age-old tradition in Italy’s northeast Veneto region, it involves laying out the grapes on drying lofts for up to four months to concentrate their sugars before pressing.
Masi Agricola is the leading producer of Amarone. Its Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 ($62.99) is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. Of the three varietals, the Corvino is the only one to develop botrytis or noble rot, the prized fungus that causes the grapes to lose nearly all their water content, thus concentrating their flavors to the max.
Comfort noodles — Asian/Italian-style.
Imagine a tangle of noodles that’s the “bastard love child of Bolognese and mapo tofu.”
How could that not be good, right?
That’s the apt description of this “Sichuan Pork Ragu” from the cookbook, “Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes” (Clarkson Potter) by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach magazine.
The clever cookbook is a showcase of familiar Asian dishes (“Green Papaya Salad”), with some creative liberties taken at times (“Miso Clam Chowder), that’s highly seasoned with irreverent musings.
Take the “Rotisserie Chicken Ramen,” in which the editors anticipate your question of “Do I really need to cook this for TWO HOURS??” The answer is yes, if you want the flavor at its peak. There’s the recipe for “Dashimaki Tamago,” the traditional Japanese sushi egg omelet, in which the editors offer encouragement by writing, “I always thought making this kind of omelet was some next-level ninja thing until we started working on this book. Now I know it can be made in 10 minutes flat, and the worst thing that will happen is that it won’t be as pretty as the one in this picture.”
This Sichuan ragu is a simplified version of one from Chef David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York. I love this sweet-spicy, chunky ragu because it’s a change-up from the usual Italian pasta dish, yet it’s as easy and comforting as one. It’s also faster to make than an authentic bolognese.