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Bruce Aidells Part I: Turkish Lamb Shoulder Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 19. November 2012 5:25

A lamb dish strewn with pretty pomegranate seeds for the holidays.

If there’s one cookbook that I always recommend homecooks have on their shelf, it’s “The Complete Meat Cookbook” by the Bay Area’s meat expert, Bruce Aidells.

I’ve cooked numerous recipes out of it. I’ve also referred to it countless times for information on meat cooking times and the differences between various cuts. It’s a carnivore’s best one-stop resource.

So, I was counting the days for Aidells’ new version, “The Great Meat Cookbook” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), to be published.

It’s been more than a decade since Aidells, the founder and former owner of Aidells Sausage Company, wrote that first book. The new meat book is even more comprehensive. It’s updated with information on the “grass-fed” label, heirloom pork varieties, and includes recipes for not only lamb, beef, veal and pork, but bison and goat. What’s more, there are hundreds of handy-dandy color illustrations of just about every cut of meat you can think of, making it easier to pick them out at the grocery store.

The recipes span all-American comfort to global-inflected dishes. When I received my review copy of the book, it was the recipe for “Turkish Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Shoulder Chops and Carrots” that caught my eye first.

First, I love lamb. Second, it’s such a pretty dish with jewel-like pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and fresh green herbs strewn over the chops.

Pomegranate seeds -- as pretty as rubies.

Third, the folks at Pom Wonderful had just sent me samples of their newest product, Pom Poms fresh pomegranate seeds or arils. Yes, they’ve eliminated the messy, stain-inducing task of digging the seeds out of a whole pomegranate. The new Pom Poms come in both 8-ounce and a 4.3-ounce sized containers. The latter even has a fold-able plastic spoon included so you can just open the container to start enjoying them.

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Category:Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (5) | Author:

Willie Bird Brined Turkey & A Fast Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 12. November 2012 5:25

How'd you like to sit down to this magnificent turkey for Thanksgiving? (Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

Love the juiciness of a brined turkey for Thanksgiving, but at a loss as to where to store a big bird in gallons of salted water overnight?

Wonder no more.

Sonoma’s Willie Bird has done the work for you. That family farm now offers a free-range turkey that’s already brined in rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic and salt. It is shipped fresh and vacuum sealed.

Exclusive to Williams-Sonoma, the already brined turkey is available in five sizes: from 12-14 pounds on up to 24-26 pounds. Prices range from $90 for the smallest to $175 for the largest.

Normally, I brine the turkey in a cooler on wheels filled with ice water that I park to the side of my kitchen overnight. So, I’m quite intrigued about a turkey that allows me to bypass that step.

Although, I won’t get to try mine until Thanksgiving week, reviews on the William-Sonoma Web site already tout the bird. Of the 45 customer reviews online, the majority rave about the brined bird. A couple folks complained the turkey tasted too much of garlic, another was disappointed not to receive the giblets with the turkey, and a few said the high price was not worth it.

Want to try one for yourself? Here’s your chance…

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a Willie Bird Fresh Pre-Brined Turkey from Williams-Sonoma. The turkey, 12-14 pounds (serves 9 to 11), is valued at $90.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted only through 7 p.m. PST Nov. 13. Winner will be announced Nov. 14. This is a quick contest because the turkeys must be ordered by noon PST Nov. 16 in time for Thanksgiving delivery.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Meat, New Products | Comments (18) | Author:

Afternoon Tea at Craftsman and Wolves, Boozy Otter Pops & More

Monday, 8. October 2012 5:26

Not your ordinary afternoon tea at Craftsman and Wolves. (Photo by William Werner)

Craftsman & Wolves’ Spin on Afternoon Tea

When the very creative Pastry Chef William Werner decided to offer up a new afternoon tea at his Craftsman & Wolves patisserie in San Francisco, you knew it wasn’t going to be the usual staid cucumber sandwich affair.

Instead think apple gruyere scones, buckwheat crumpets, clotted cream and olive oil curd.

Not to mention beet root madelines and salt cod with brioche.

Choose either a pot of Naivetea’s oolong or tisane to go along with it all.

The menu will change with the seasons.

Afternoon tea, available Monday through Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., is $22 per person or $40 for two. Reservations are recommended by calling (415) 913-7713.

Some of the creative sweets and savories served with tea at Craftsman and Wolves. (Photo by William Werner)

Veteran San Francisco Chef Carlo Middione Hosts Two Special Dinners

Long-time Chef Carlo Middione and art connoisseur Daniel Friedlander are teaming up for two nights of wining and dining amid magnificent artwork in an 1908 landmark building in San Francisco, Oct. 18 and Oct. 20.

Middione who for decades owned the stellar Vivande and Vivande Porta Via, both in San Francisco, lost most of his senses of smell and taste four years ago following a car accident in which his small sedan was broadsided by another vehicle. Despite that, he’s still able to cook rather magnificently, as evidenced by the lunch he cooked for me when I profiled him two years ago for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Chocolate, Enticing Events, General, Meat, Restaurants | Comments (6) | Author:

Prime Time at LB Steak in Menlo Park

Thursday, 16. August 2012 8:00

Meat isn't the only thing to indulge in at LB Steak. How about this beautiful veggie terrine?

You’d think there was a run on meat the way throngs are packing their way into LB Steak in downtown Menlo Park.

On a recent Saturday night, every table was nearly taken by 6:30 p.m., filled by retirees, young couples and families celebrating an occasion.

In the space that once housed the white tablecloth, French-inspired Marche, LB Steak opened in June. It joins its sister restaurant, LB Steak in San Jose’s Santana Row.

Both restaurants feature USDA Prime beef, the highest grade possible. But the menus differ slightly, with the Menlo Park one a bit smaller.

Chef Ryan Ellison, formerly of Oliveto in Oakland and A.P. Stump’s in San Jose, oversees the glass-enclosed exhibition kitchen.

I had a chance to sample some dishes when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Large windows flank two sides of the restaurant, allowing in a profusion of natural light on a summer evening.

The contemporary dining room, bathed in loads of natural light.

For your bread-dipping pleasure.

With bread comes a trifecta of spreads: butter, olive oil and a stonefruit chutney that’s sweet-tart like ketchup.

For a time, Ellison featured an Escoffier-like vegetable terrine on the menu ($10.50) that you rarely see these days outside of a cooking school restaurant. Featuring cucumbers, mushrooms and artichokes, it was beautiful to behold with its varied hues and layers. On a warm night, the chilled terrine was a wonderful way to get your veggie groove on.

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Category:Chefs, General, Meat, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

Beefy Burgers and A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 13. August 2012 5:25

Juicy grilled burgers made from Piedmontese beef.

Nothing says summer backyard gatherings like a great grilled burger.

These are particularly flavorful, made from the Piedmontese breed of cattle, which originated in the foothills of Italy.

Raised on ranges, where they grow up eating grass and are finished on grains, these cows produce meat that is less marbled, and therefore lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Because of their genetic makeup, the meat doesn’t have the usual stringy fibers of regular beef, making it naturally tender.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples of these burgers from Montana’s Ranch Brand Natural Meats, which contain no antibiotics or growth hormones. The sizable 8-ounce patties are dense, almost just shy of sausage-like in texture. They are very beefy tasty and despite being on the leaner side are quite juicy.

A package of 12 Piedmontese Steak Burgers is $38.54. They are shipped on ice packs to their destination.

They’re just one of many items available via FromtheFarm, a California company that bills itself as an online farmers market. It partners with growers and producers around the country to ship produce, meat, flowers, baked goods and jams directly from the farm to your house.

Through Aug. 27, Food Gal readers can get 10 percent off the purchase of Piedmontese beef. Just use the code: FOODGAL.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a dozen Piedmontese burgers, courtesy of FromtheFarm. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Aug. 18. Winner will be announced Aug. 20.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Health/Nutrition, Meat, New Products | Comments (31) | Author: