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California’s Only Grower of Real Wasabi

Monday, 7. April 2014 5:25

This is what real wasabi looks like.

This is what real wasabi looks like.

 

If you think that pasty blob of green garnishing your sushi platter is wasabi, think again.

The real-deal rhizome is as rare as it is pricey.

That’s why what you generally find on most sushi plates is actually a cheap concoction of horseradish, mustard and green dye, not the actual Japanese rhizome that’s extremely difficult to grow.

Nowadays, though, if you know where to look, you might find more of the real wasabi around. That’s because there’s now one grower in California cultivating it: Half Moon Bay Wasabi.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products | Comments (3) | Author:

Your Chance to Win A Copy of My “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Cookbook

Monday, 16. December 2013 5:26

SanFrancisoChefsTableCover

After doing so many giveaways on this blog, I’d be remiss not to do one for my own new cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), wouldn’t I?

So, here’s your chance to win a copy of the book that I will autograph to you or to whomever you please.

The cookbook is a tantalizing compilation of 54 restaurants and 79 recipes from the food-centric San Francisco Bay Area.

You’ll find everything from trendy new places to landmark establishments — along with dishes that exemplify their individual spirit and unique cuisine.

Each restaurant entry is illustrated by gorgeous photos, too, by award-winning photographer Craig Lee.

I’ve been having a ball hosting cooking demos and signing events with some of the featured chefs, and look forward to many more in the new year to come.

Yours truly, flanked by chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone of Ame and Terra restaurants. Taken just before the start of our Macy's Union Square San Francisco event. (Photo taken by Craig Lee)

Yours truly, flanked by chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone of Ame and Terra restaurants. Taken just before the start of our Macy’s Union Square San Francisco event. (Photo taken by Craig Lee)

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a signed copy of my new cookbook. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Dec. 21. Winner will be announced Dec. 23.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products | Comments (8) | Author:

From Haute Cuisine to Coastal Farm Cuisine — Meet Chef Amy Glaze

Wednesday, 17. July 2013 5:25

Chef Amy Glaze teaching young students how to cook.

Chef Amy Glaze teaching young students how to cook.

 

She’s cooked on the line at some of the most demanding and exacting restaurants in the world, including Guy Savoy in Paris and Le Bernardin in New York.

Now, Chef Amy Glaze is back in the Bay Area, cooking with a much different crowd — 12- to 14-year-olds, whose parents are struggling farm workers, who have no idea of her illustrious background.

Since its inception two years ago, Glaze has overseen the pioneering “Edible After School” program, Pescadero’s first after-school cooking class for kids. Its aim is to not only teach fundamental cooking skills, but to help strengthen English and math literacy.

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Category:Chefs, General, Health/Nutrition, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications | Comments (6) | Author:

A Hunky Halibut

Friday, 12. July 2013 5:26

A halibut dish guaranteed to make an impression.

A halibut dish guaranteed to make an impression.

When I placed this dish of “Halibut and Spinach with Orange-Pine Nut Vinaigrette” in front of my husband one Saturday night, he exclaimed:

“Wow! Fancy!”

It does look pretty impressive, I must admit. Like a restaurant-quality dish. But would you believe it took mere minutes to make?

The recipe is from the new Curtis Stone cookbook, “What’s For Dinner” (Ballantine Books), of which I received a review copy. Yes, those of you who pooh-pooh celeb TV chefs as nothing more than pretty faces should know that Stone, the host of “Top Chef Masters,” can actually cook. The Aussie is classically trained and learned his craft alongside greats like Michelin three-star chef and notorious bad-boy, Marco Pierre White.

CurtisStoneWhatsForDinner

The 130 recipes in this book are designed for our busy lives today. They are geared toward different days of the week, such as “One-Pot Wednesdays” when you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning up, and “Thrifty Thursdays” when you want something delicious that’s easy on the wallet.

The halibut dish falls under “Time-Saving Tuesdays.” Truly, you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes, too.

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (11) | Author:

San Francisco’s Coqueta — A Tantalizing Triumph

Friday, 10. May 2013 5:25

Michael Chiarello welcoming guests at his new Coqueta.

Michael Chiarello welcoming guests at his new Coqueta.

 

Swoon.

If I knew the Spanish word for that enraptured feeling, I’d be saying it.

Because that’s exactly how the new Coqueta restaurant on Pier 5 makes you feel with its Spanish flair. It’s not only the first restaurant in San Francisco by celeb Chef Michael Chiarello, but it’s also his first foray into something other than his Italian heritage.

Chiarello is no stranger to Spain, though. He’s traveled to that country for years. His eldest daughter also lives there, having married a Catalan man.

Like his smash-hit Bottega in Yountville, Coqueta (“flirt” in Spanish) is all about bold flavors with modern takes on traditional dishes done with whimsy. The former Lafitte restaurant is still recognizable. But it’s been given a major face-lift. The once temporary patio now has permanent walls, as well as a bar, where you can enjoy noshes sans reservations. Inside, the soaring, rustic-chic space is warm with lots of reclaimed wood, oak table tops made from barrel staves, and branded hides on the floors (from casualties from actual bull fights in Spain).

Take a seat at the bar to watch the kitchen in action.

Take a seat at the bar to watch the kitchen in action.

The restaurant imports the melt-in-your-mouth Iberico ham, as well as cures its own ham. In fact, you’ll find the Iberico even infused in gin that’s served in the “Tariff” ($12) cocktail with housemade acorn & apricot tonic, orange and cava. It’s one of the many creative libations by Joe Cleveland, a former mixologist for Jose Andres’ restaurants.

You know a restaurant has got it going, if it’s strong right out of the gate. Coqueta has set exactly that pace, as evidenced by my visit a mere three days after it had opened in April, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

With Chiarello’s track-record of opening hit restaurants, it’s no surprise just how wonderful the food is at Coqueta.

Quail egg “Diablo” ($2.50 each) puts mere deviled eggs to shame. These tiny hard-boiled eggs are spreared with lovely, sweet Serrano ham and a dollop of sharp pickled mustard seeds. The compact little morsel sure rocks the palate.

A pintxos of quail egg and jamon Serrano. Bet you can't eat just one.

A pintxos of quail egg and jamon Serrano. Bet you can’t eat just one.

More jamon draped on crisp tomato bread.

More jamon draped on crisp tomato bread.

Pan con tomate ($5) is the traditional grilled bread smeared with fresh tomato, but made with extra care, by using light airy Cristal, the famous bread of Barcelona, as its base. It gets super crisp on the grill, giving way to the smooth, sweet, jammy tomato sofrito.

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants | Comments (8) | Author: