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Gourmet Beef Jerky and A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 25. February 2013 5:25

Look closely and you'll see real orange peel on this variety of Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky.

I had to chuckle upon clicking on Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky site to hear a rousing and rather whimsical tune about kissing away the “Shoe-Leather Beef Jerky Blues.”

Owner Jeff Richards is that confident that his jerky will banish any blues or horror experiences you’ve had with convenience-store jerky that nearly took out your molars.

He’s sure his will convince you that jerky can actually taste good and be kind to your teeth.

Richards made his jerky for years as a gift for family and friends during the holidays. Finally, in 2006, after giving away more than 25 pounds of the beefy stuff, he decided to give it a go as a business.

Jeff’s Famous Jerky, made in Mission Viejo, CA, now comes in eight different flavors, including Jalapeno Carne Asada and Habanero Heatwave. Recently, I had a chance to try some samples.

The jerky is toothsome with some chew, but not so much as to cause your jaw to ache. The first thing you notice is the richness of this jerky. It tastes like real marbled beef. That’s because Richards uses sliced, whole muscle beef rather than the highly process, extruded meat that other manufacturers do.

This jerky also doesn’t taste primarily of salt, as so many others do. Instead, the Orange Peel variety actually has bits of real orange rind still sticking to the meat, giving it a subtle, rounded citrus flavor. The Sweet Teriyaki tastes of soy, sesame oil and brown sugar. The Cranberry Jalapeno is mid, with the pepper adding more of a grassy note than full-on heat. Indeed, the Black Pepper and Sea Salt carried much more of a kick, with its coating of ground peppercorns. It’s tongue-tingling, but balanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and pineapple juice, and the fruitiness of tamarind.

A serving is about 70 calories with 20 percent of that from fat. Sodium content is 80mg to 560mg, depending upon the variety.

A 2-pack of jerky (in two 3-ounce bags) is $13.95. Every few months, Richards also donates a box of jerky to U.S. troops to share the jerky love.

The contest winner will get to try three different flavors of their choosing.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win three free bags of Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky in the flavors of your choice. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 2. Winner will be announced March 4.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Meat, New Products | Comments (12) | Author:

New Columbus Farm to Fork Naturals Salumi

Friday, 30. November 2012 5:25

New Columbus Farm to Fork Naturals Uncured Genoa Salame (foreground), Honey Roasted Turkey (center), and Uncured Fennel Salame.

With so much artisan-made, specialty salumi to be found these days, it’s easy to find yourself turning up your nose at the standard selection in the local supermarket.

San Francisco’s Columbus salumeria wants to change that mindset with its new Farm to Fork Naturals.

Founded in 1917, the company has launched a new line of products made with sustainable practices. The animals used are hormone-free. The meats are also nitrate-free, except for those that occur naturally during the curing process.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples of the new products, which are available in Sprouts grocery stores. More supermarkets are expected to carry them soon. They come pre-sliced, so they’re ready to use in a jiffy.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Meat, New Products | Comments (7) | Author:

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: