View all posts filed under 'Great Finds'

Bay Area-Made Sosu Sriracha

Wednesday, 19. February 2014 5:26

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

 

Did you go through withdrawal last year over a feared shortage of sriracha sauce?

When Southern California’s Huy Fong Foods, maker of the ubiquitous Red Rooster brand, had to shut down temporarily after neighbors complained about the chile fumes, hot sauce lovers grew desperate.

But Red Rooster’s not the only game in town. In fact, the Bay Area has its own sriracha savant: Sosu Sauces.

Co-founder Lisa Murphy’s company started out on a whim when she decided to try her hand at making a better ketchup. From her upbringing in China and travels throughout Southeast Asia, she learned that ketchup actually has Chinese origins. So, after creating a Classic Ketchup, she concocted Srirachup (a blend of her ketchup and her sriracha), and finally a limited-edition Barrel-Aged Sriracha that’s available only through her Kickstarter campaign.

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Category:General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (7) | Author:

Exploring California Gold Country, Part I

Monday, 20. January 2014 5:25

Karen Holmes of Karen's Bakery & Cafe in Folsom.

Karen Holmes of Karen’s Bakery & Cafe in Folsom.

As a native San Franciscan, I sheepishly admit I haven’t explored much of California Gold Country.

I vaguely remember playing at panning for gold once as a child somewhere in the vicinity, but beyond that, Sacramento, Amador and El Dorado counties have largely been seen from the freeway on the way to somewhere else.

Thanks to the tourism bureaus in Folsom, El Dorado, Amador and Sacramento,  I finally had a chance to see that area up-close, when I was invited as their guest over three days late last year to taste, explore and experience.

Here are highlights from that trip, which I hope will inspire you to get to know that region better, too.

Karen’s Bakery & Cafe in Folsom

Karen’s Bakery & Cafe is reason enough alone to stop in Folsom.

Karen Holmes opened this wonderful bakery in 2000, which has become so popular that you’ll almost always find a line to get outside, especially since it’s located near popular hiking and biking trails that bring famished weekend warriors right to her door for plum galettes, fig scones, and Tebirkes (a tradtiional almond paste danish).

The pastry case brimming with goodies.

The pastry case brimming with goodies.

Holmes is a former school teacher, whose mother took her family to Europe regularly, especially to its fine patisseries. As a teacher she baked banana bread for PTA events that became such a sensation that colleagues encouraged her to open a bakery.

A talent for baking and cooking obviously runs in the family as her son, Duncan Holmes is the chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters. In fact, in his teenage years, he’d ride his bike over to his mom’s bakery to help wash dishes after school before going home to hunker down to his homework. Both mother and son are self-taught.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Great Finds, Restaurants, Travel Adventures | Comments (4) | Author:

My Top 10 Eats of 2013

Monday, 30. December 2013 5:25

(Cool background courtesy of Background Labs)

(Cool background courtesy of Background Labs)

 

What were my most favorite bites of 2013, the ones I still remember to this day and can’t wait to enjoy all over again?

Take a look. Here are my Top 10 dishes of the year, in no particular order:

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Great Finds, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

“Favorite Asian Dumplings From Scratch” and A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 2. December 2013 5:25

Learn how to make a bevy of Asian dumplings with instructor Andrea Nguyen. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

Learn how to make a bevy of Asian dumplings with instructor Andrea Nguyen. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

 

There is both an art and a skill to meticulously folding, shaping and cooking all manner of precious little Asian dumplings.

I can’t think of any better teacher to learn from than my good friend and Asian food authority bar none, Andrea Nguyen.

After all, she knows Asian food like nobody’s business. She teaches dumpling-making classes regularly at Love Apple Farms in Santa Cruz. And she wrote the book, “Asian Dumplings” (Ten Speed Press).

Now, no matter where you live, you can learn from her, thanks to Craftsy.

The site offers online classes on everything from cooking to knitting to photography. Started by former eBay executives, it allows you to learn in the privacy of your own home and at your own speed, as you can watch the videos over and over, and even with friends and family. You can even ask questions of the instructors in a virtual classroom.

Andrea’s “Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch” includes eight lessons, from “Introduction to Dumplings” to “Making Shrimp Wontons” to “Japanese Pot Stickers” to “Korean Dumplings.” The complete package is $19.99.

Yes, you can make this. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

Yes, you can make this. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

I had a chance to preview the class for free for this review. The videos have nice production values, like a cooking show you’d see on PBS. There are plenty of close-ups of the food, too, which not only get you hungry but help you follow along easily, especially when it comes to learning how to stuff and fold the dumplings. You’ll also learn where each of these dumplings originated and what makes each unique. Along the way, Andrea offers up stories of her love for dumplings and endless words of encouragement. Crafsy even allows you to share your new-found dumpling skills with your virtual classmates through the posting of your own photos and comments.

I’ve actually been lucky enough to stand alongside Andrea as she’s cooked in her own home kitchen. This video class is the next best thing to that.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win “Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch.” The best part about this contest is you can live anywhere in the world to enter.

How to win?

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Category:Cool Cooking Techniques, Enticing Events, General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (3) | Author:

Pomegranate in What? Hot Sauce, Of Course

Friday, 18. October 2013 5:25

A Menlo Park couple's new hot sauce creation with pomegranate

A Menlo Park couple’s new hot sauce creation with pomegranate.

By day, Menlo Park’s Bobby Marhamat is a branding and mobile marketing expert who guides companies on ways to gain greater exposure and prominence.

In his off hours, he continues his creative tinkering — but in the kitchen, cooking alongside his wife, Shima.

In fact, one of his experiments led to his newest creation this year: Bah Bah Hot Sauce.

Kind of like the chocolate and peanut butter moment with Reese’s, Marhamat wondered what would happen if he added pomegranate, a staple ingredient from his Persian heritage, to hot sauce?

As he discovered, something quite delicious, indeed.

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Category:Fruit, General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (13) | Author: