Category Archives: Great Finds

A Complete Thanksgiving Meal — Rendered In Ice Cream Form

Turkey fat caramel ice cream with candied turkey skin brittle mixed in. I kid you not.

Turkey fat caramel ice cream with candied turkey skin brittle mixed in. I kid you not.

 

I just downed a scoop of turkey ice cream — and I loved it!

If you’re looking for a way to jazz up Thanksgiving, look no further than Salt & Straw.

The Portland-based ice creamery that has become a sensation with its highly unusual offerings has encapsulated the quintessential flavors of the Thanksgiving feast in its new holiday ice creams.

I had a chance to try samples of the five festive flavors, when pints were sent to my home.

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Dinner on the Farm — In Sunnyvale

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.

 

With new condos and tech buildings going up at a dizzying pace in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to believe that in the midst all this concrete and glass, one can actually still enjoy the bucolic experience of a dinner on a farm here.

But you can — right here in Sunnyvale at 1055 Dunford Way. At an 11-acre organic oasis owned by the Santa Clara Unified School District.

After taking over the property last year from Full Circle Farm, the district hired farmer Dave Tuttle to over see it. And how fruitful the SCUSD Farm has become. This season, 1,500 pounds of tomatoes were harvested and turned into sauce for use in lunches at the district’s 28 schools. In fact, every day, there is something featured from the farm on school menus, most notably in the salad bars.

Pumpkins galore.

Pumpkins galore.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Persimmons ripening on the tree.

Twenty tons of pumpkins were grown, along with 3,000 pounds of watermelon. There are persimmon, avocado, pomegranate and lemon trees thriving. Rows of fava beans, Persian cucumbers, and kabocha squash were planted. There are nine laying hens, and beehives, too.

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The Countdown Begins — For My Next Cookbook

Photographer Eva Kolenko arranging potential images for my "East Bay Cooks'' cookbook.

Photographer Eva Kolenko arranging potential images for my “East Bay Cooks” cookbook.

 

For most of this year, I’ve immersed myself in writing a new cookbook, “East Bay Cooks” (Figure 1 Publishing), which spotlights the diverse, progressive and talented chefs of the East Bay Area.

Writing a cookbook is a major undertaking involving a multitude of interviews, fine-tuning a heap of recipes, and conducting scores of interviews.

For so long, it’s lived mostly as text in my manuscript. But last week, it all came to vivid life when the photography on the project began.

Chef Paul Canales of Oakland's Duende with a salmon dish ready to go before the cameras.

Chef Paul Canales of Oakland’s Duende with a salmon dish ready to go before the cameras.

Chefs from all around the East Bay descended upon the incredibly equipped Rule & Level Studio in Berkeley, where they and their dishes were photographed by the incomparable Eva Kolenko.

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Baked Brie En Croute — For Your Holiday Entertaining

An elegant brie en croute fit for company -- or just spoiling yourself.

An elegant brie en croute fit for company — or just spoiling yourself.

 

Who doesn’t love warm, melty, gooey cheese?

Swaddle it in flaky, buttery pastry and it’s even more irresistible — if that’s possible.

That’s what you get with Marin French Cheese’s Baked Brie en Croute.

America’s longest continually operating cheese company that was founded in 1865, Marin French Cheese brings back this popular product for the holidays through the end of this year. I had a chance to try a sample recently.

Its brie, inspired by the luscious triple cremes of France, gets encased in pastry dough made by La Boulangerie of San Francisco. It’s a simple idea. But the execution is top-notch.

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Snapshots, Snippets and Cheese Ice Cream

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt's Farm Shop.

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt’s Farm Shop.

 

SEATTLE, WA — Yes, I said, “cheese” ice cream. Not “cheesecake” ice cream. But ice cream made with actual cheese. Have I got your attention now? I should — because this ice cream is worth making a special trip for.

Hats off to my friend Tami, who lived in Seattle for a few years, and suggested I make time for the ice cream at Kurt Farm Shop on Capitol Hill. Tucked inside the Chophouse Row building food hall, this sliver of a shop sells cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and glorious ice cream.

The custard base is made at its Kurtwood Farm using Jersey cream and milk from its own cows.

Gotta love the cow art work.

Gotta love the cow art work.

They’re generous with samples. I knew I wanted the Flora’s Cheese flavor from the get-go. The ice cream is super rich and smooth, with a pronounced naturally sweet milky taste. There are actual bits of frozen feta-like cheese in this flavor. It’s cheesecake-like, but not quite as tangy. There’s more of a developed cheese flavor, though, no funkiness. It’s ever so savory and just a twinge salty. It’s one of those flavors that’s an instant classic.

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