Category Archives: Meat

Better Sweet-And-Sour Spare Ribs

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

 

This is not your battered to oblivion, deep-fried, unnaturally red, gloppy sauced sweet and sour pork that’s a standard at Chinese restaurants.

No, this is a home-style version that eschews all of that — and tastes even better as a result.

“Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs” is from the new cookbook, “Chinese Soul Food” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Hsiao-Ching Chou, a Seattle food writer and cooking instructor.

ChineseSoulFood

She grew up in Columbia, MO, where her parents settled in 1975. At the time, there were no Asian markets there. In fact, the family had to drive 10 hours to Chicago to stock up on decent soy sauce and other Chinese provisions. Her parents eventually opened a Chinese restaurant in 1980, which lasted for 23 years.

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Dinner’s Only One Pan Away

Lamb steaks, barley, apricots and pistachios make this a one-dish wonder.

Lamb steaks, barley, apricots and pistachios make this a one-dish wonder.

 

Since I do most of the cooking in my house, my husband graciously rolls up his sleeves for dish-washing duty.

Even so, he would be more than thrilled if the entire dinner could be made in one pot.

Yes, salad, roast chicken and apple pie all out of the same pan. Or jasmine rice, stir-fried pork, and ginger panna cotta all from the same pot.

That’s not gonna happen. But I will say we are both loving this latest craze of one-pan or sheet-pan cooking. For the cook, it’s a simplified way of getting dinner on the table. For the dish-washing spouse, it makes for a lot less clean-up afterward, too.

“Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy, exemplifies that philosophy. The book is by Rukmini Iyer, a former lawyer turned food stylist and food writer.

DinnersInTheOvenBook

The cookbook is filled with recipes for one-pan dishes, with everything from “Olive & Pine-Nut Crusted Cod with Roasted Red Onion & Cherry Tomatoes” to “Paprika-Roasted Corn with Scallions, Feta & Lime” to “Rhubarb & Ginger Oat Crumble.”

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Hawker Fare’s Flavor-Bomb Grilled Pork Chops

Thinly sliced pork chops grill up fast and sweet, and get a potent dipping sauce.

Thinly sliced pork chops grill up fast and sweet, and get a potent dipping sauce.

 

Hawker Fare — it is far more than a restaurant and a cookbook.

It is the deeply personal embodiment of Chef-Owner James Syhabout. It is a love letter to his mother, a reckoning with his Laotian heritage, a symbol of respect for an often misunderstood cuisine, and a testament that fortitude, passion and determination can lead to greatness and awakening.

Syhabout may be known best as the only Michelin-starred chef in the East Bay — for his fine-dining Commis restaurant (two stars, thank you very much). But it is the down-home Hawker Fare where his heart lies.

That’s immediately evident in the pages of his first cookbook, “Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes From a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots,” of which I received a review copy. Syhabout wrote the cookbook with assistance from James Beard Award-winning food writer John Birdsall of Oakland.

HawkerFareBook

It was published by Ecco, Anthony Bourdain’s publishing imprint of HarperCollins.

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Brunch Time At The Incomparable Clove and Hoof

Now, that's a burger -- at Clove and Hoof.

Now, that’s a burger — at Clove and Hoof.

 

What’s better than a neighborhood artisan butcher shop that takes care to sell sustainably raised beef, pork, lamb, chicken, rabbit, and duck?

One that also spotlights its prime products in delicious dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Clove and Hoof in Oakland is such a place. The light-filled, hip butcher shop and restaurant is owned by John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell. It’s the kind of place you wish every neighborhood could be so lucky to have.

The casual spot gets crowded at brunch, so be warned that you may have to wait in line. My husband and I lucked out when we arrived on a Sunday morning, right before the crowds. You order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for the food to be brought out to you.

Place your brunch order at the counter -- or pick up provisions to cook at home.

Place your brunch order at the counter — or pick up provisions to cook at home.

The C&H signature burger ($14) is a whopper, weighing in with two four-ounce patties, caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, chopped romaine, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo — all wedged inside a soft potato pepper bun.

Be sure to get plenty of napkins because this is a dripper — loaded with deeply beefy juices.

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Head Over Heels — And Doing Cartwheels — Over RT Rotisserie

In my happy place at RT Rotisserie.

In my happy place at RT Rotisserie.

 

Dear Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich:

Please open an outpost of your RT Rotisserie in the South Bay or Peninsula. Pretty please.

Signed,

Your Number One Fan, aka the Food Gal

 

If you have tried the roast chicken and fixings at RT Rotisserie in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, you’ll be tempted to implore chef-owners Evan and Sarah to open a branch in your hood, too. One taste is all it takes to find yourself swooning over what is the most glorious roasted chicken you’ll ever experience.

After all, these are the same chefs who own the newly minted Michelin-starred Rich Table in San Francisco.

Chef Evan Rich manning the rotisserie.

Chef Evan Rich manning the rotisserie.

My husband and I ordered a veritable feast — and paid our tab though Chef Evan threw in a few extra dishes gratis — when we visited this more casual establishment recently. You order at the counter, then take a seat to have your food brought out to you when it’s ready.

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