Category Archives: General

Join the Food Gal and Chef Hector Figueroa of Pintxo Pote for A Cooking Demo

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Fall in love with the flavors of Basque-Spanish cuisine when Chef Chef Hector Figueroa of the delightful Pintxo Pote in Los Gatos joins me for a cooking demo, 2 p.m. July 24 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

Pintxo Pote specializes in authentic tapas, particularly those traditionally served in the seaside city of San Sebastian, Spain. These delectable small plates are meant for sharing with alongside glasses of Spanish wine.

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Big City-Eats At Small-Town Rancho Nicasio

The stunning rabbit liver appetizer at the Western Room inside Rancho Nicasio.

The stunning rabbit liver appetizer at the Western Room inside Rancho Nicasio.

 

You’ll be excused if you’ve never been to Rancho Nicasio in Marin before.

The out-of-the-way roadhouse and live music venue may not have been on most people’s radar before. But it sure is now.

That’s because about four months ago, it added a new chef.

Not just any chef. But Ron Siegel, former executive chef of Michael Mina Restaurant in San Francisco, who previously headed Masa’s in San Francisco and Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco. And the first American-born chef to beat an Iron Chef on the original Japanese TV cooking competition.

Chef Max Brown who has been at Rancho Nicasio for 18 years since his father Bob Brown, former manager of Pablo Cruise and Huey Lewis & The News, bought the property is still there. He still oversees the main dining room and the massive backyard barbecue festivities.

The unassuming facade of Rancho Nicasio.

The unassuming facade of Rancho Nicasio, built in 1941.

The Western Room.

The Western Room.

But Siegel now serves up an entirely separate menu in the Western Room inside the rustic Rancho Nicasio.

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Joyce Goldstein’s Dazzling Fish with Charmoula

An easy fish dish full of the haunting flavors of saffron, preserved lemon, and sweet paprika.

An easy fish dish full of the haunting flavors of saffron, preserved lemon, and sweet paprika.

 

I remember eating at Joyce Goldstein’s game-changing Square One restaurant in San Francisco.

My best friend and I had saved up our money to dine there, having heard how Goldstein was pushing the envelope of Mediterranean cuisine, which back then was largely relegated to Italian fare. Instead, she expanded greatly upon that, serving up the flavors of Morocco, Turkey, and beyond.

The restaurant did not disappoint. The earthy spices were new to my palate then, and thoroughly captivated me.

So when I received a review copy of her newest cookbook, “The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home” (University of California Press), I got doubly excited when I spied a recipe for “Fish with Charmoula.”

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As Goldstein writes in the book, quite a few diners at Square One took to calling her the “Queen of Charmoula” because this signature fish dish was often on the menu.

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Doing the Herky-Jerky for Golden Island Jerky

Golden Island Jerky's Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.

Golden Island Jerky’s Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.

 

Beef jerky is not normally a go-to snack for me.

But I admit that when I received samples of Golden Island Jerky, I found myself coming back to them again and again, especially after a brutal spinning class at the gym.

Yes, leave it to me to reach not for a banana after a sweaty workout, but beef jerky.

But when you’re in need of a protein pick-me-up with a bit of salt and a lot of flavor, it hits the spot.

Golden Island originated in Taiwan in 1952. When the family immigrated to the United States in 1981, it started producing Asian meat products. In 2007, it debuted its jerky products.

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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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