Category Archives: Meat

San Francisco Lamb Jam and A Food Gal Giveaway

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

 

How do I love lamb?

Let me count the ways.

I love it so much that if it’s on a menu, I will always make a beeline for it over beef.

I love that my father would take the time on weekends to make his special curry lamb in a pressure cooker on the stovetop, complete with carrots, onions and turnips, all tinged with that golden colored sauce.

I love that my husband enjoys cooking a leg of lamb studded with garlic and rosemary in his Big Green Egg, which we can then enjoy with hummus and pita for nights on end.

And I love that Niman Ranch, when it was still owned by Bill Niman, would host an annual outdoor barbecue bash for media, friends and ranchers, where I was lucky to be introduced to the delights of grilled lamb riblets, which are tiny yet exquisitely juicy.

If you love lamb like I love lamb, then you don’t want to miss the seventh annual San Francisco Lamb Jam, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 17 at the Golden Gate Club.

The American Lamb Board’s multi-city, culinary cook-off competition will feature a dozen of the Bay Area’s best chefs vying for “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice,” and other best-of categories. The winner will face other Lamb Jam champions in the finale in September in New York.

The participating chefs will be:

Robert McCarthy – Thirstybear Brewing Company

Sophina Uong – Calavera

Francis Hogan – Sabio On Main

Jay Abrams – Bi-Rite Market

Alan Fullerton – Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Brandon Rice – Rich Table

Parke Ulrich – Epic Steak

David Bazirgan – Dirty Habit

Wesley Shaw – Presido Social Club

Michael Cassady – Kuleto’s

John Griffiths – Bluestem Brasserie

Mike Espinoza – Hogs & Rocks

Attendees will get a chance to sample all the dishes, too. Tickets are $60 each. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to La Cocina, the non-profit incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs.

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

CONTEST: Two lucky Food Gal readers will each win a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Lamb Jam.

Entries, limited to those who can actually attend the July 17 event in San Francisco, will be accepted through midnight PST July 2. Winners will be announced July 4.

How to win?

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Fire Up The Grill For Chicken Thighs With Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.

A crowd-pleaser: Grilled chicken with a sticky apricot-hoisin glaze.

 

When planning a backyard summer barbecue, it’s not always easy to find a fuss-free, yet exciting-tasting dish that will satisfy all guests, from kids to adults.

“Chicken Thighs with Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Glaze” fits that bill perfectly.

Before grilling, the bone-in, skin-on thighs get rubbed with a simple mix of garlic powder, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and chile powder (just a smidge so as not to scorch tender palates).

A quick glaze comes together in a flash on the stovetop. It’s just a mixture of apricot preserves, hoisin sauce, lemon juice and minced fresh ginger that gets brushed on the chicken pieces as they cook.

NewAmericanBarbecueBook

The recipe is from the new “Weber’s New American Barbecue: A Modern Spin On The Classics” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy. It’s written by the Bay Area’s Jamie Purviance, a master griller who not only attended The Culinary Institute of America, but Stanford University, as well.

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Getting To Know Amarone

Dry-aged beef to go with a wine made with semi-dried grapes.

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.

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Stumping for Stumpy’s

Tots and bacon-wrapped dog at Stumpy's.

Tots and bacon-wrapped dog at Stumpy’s.

 

Over the years, Chef Jim Stump has run many restaurants in the South Bay.

Stumpy’s is his tiniest.

The veteran chef and restaurateur, who helped founded the Los Gatos Brewing Company, now draws in the crowds at The Table in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood and his just-opened Campbell bar, The Vesper. Coming soon will be his seafood restaurant, Forthright in Campbell.

In 2014, he opened Stumpy’s hot dog and burger joint on Willow Glen’s well-trafficked Lincoln Avenue. It’s a slip of a place, with just enough room to order your food at the counter and load up on a few condiments at the back station.

Order the food inside; pick it up outside at the window.

Order the food inside; pick it up outside at the window.

When your order is ready, you pick it up at the window outside. There’s really no place to eat inside Stumpy’s. But the old movie theater next door has a few patio tables set up so you can enjoy your food there. Or you can opt to get it to-go and take it home, as I did when I paid my own tab there recently.

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Batty for Bison — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Durham Ranch bison ribs right out of the smoker.

Durham Ranch bison ribs right out of the smoker.

 

Love the brawny taste of beef, but feeling a tad guilty about all that fat and cholesterol that go along with it?

Then, take a taste of bison.

Buffalo meat has much the same satisfying flavor, but with less fat and cholesterol, as well as fewer calories. Consider that a 3.5-ounce serving of choice beef has nearly 19 grams of fat, while the same portion of bison has just 2.42 grams. The bison also has more iron, B-12 and protein.

I admit I’ve eaten far more beef than bison, simply because it’s easier to find in most stores. So, I jumped at the chance when Durham Ranch of Wyoming offered to send me some samples to try.

The 55,000-acre ranch was started in 1965 by Armando Flocchini, a former butcher in San Francisco. It remains one of the largest bison ranches in North America.

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