Cooking up a storm in a CourseHorse class. (Photo courtesy of CourseHorse)
One of my great regrets in life is not learning Cantonese as a child.
I blame my oldest brother for this.
You see, my parents sent him to Chinese school so he would learn the native tongue of my grandparents. They thought he was doing great — until my uncle let it slip that he saw my oldest brother playing basketball after school every day, which is when he should have been in Chinese school.
So much for that.
My parents, no doubt defeated by that experience, never even tried to send my other brother or me to Chinese school.
In high school, I had another chance to study Chinese. Mine was one of the few high schools at the time that offered courses in Mandarin. Not exactly my family’s mother tongue, but at least in the ballpark.
But what did I do instead? I took French, because I thought it sounded so pretty.
Yup, that one I have only myself to blame.
If only there was an easy way to learn now. Well, there just might be. CourseHorse is a start-up educational program that offers access to classes on everything from — yes — Mandarin to architecture to computer programming to pilates barre to sushi making.
Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.
What is a burger without meat?
Diehard carnivores might answer, “A travesty.”
But even they might change their minds after a bite of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger. Both are entirely plant-based patties that closely mimic beef burgers. And both are now available in the Bay Area for vegetarians and the curious to enjoy.
Impossible Burger is the creation of Redwood City’s Impossible Foods. It is fashioned from wheat, coconut oil, potatoes, and heme, a compound in plants and meat, which gives meat its characteristic aroma and taste.
Compared to raising cows for burgers, the Impossible Burger uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about slaughterhouse cross-contamination.
El Segundo’s Beyond Meat Burger is similarly environmentally-friendly, and is fashioned from pea protein, yeast extract, coconut oil, beet extract and annatto extract.
Fresh Tomales Bay oysters that I got at my local library, of all places, thanks to Real Good Fish.
Just-caught fish, delivered conveniently to pick-up locations in your Bay Area neighborhood each week, with reasonable prices and no long-list of middlemen to tack on more costs.
That’s what Moss Landing’s Real Good Fish is all about.
Established in 2012 by founder Alan Lovewell, who studied international environmental policy, it was one of the first community supported fisheries in Northern California. It operates in much the same way as a CSA. But instead of buying a “share” in a farm that provides you with a box of produce each week, you buy a “share” in the group of local fishermen that Real Good Fish partners with.
Not only are you getting impeccably fresh, local, sustainable, seasonal fish, but helping to support fishermen and their families in your community.
I shucked some to enjoy on the half shell with mignonette sauce.
I was invited to try some sample deliveries, receiving a weekly full share (1 to 2 pounds of seafood), which is normally $22 per week.
Plain broccoli becomes practically gourmet with dollops of Maio.
Now, you can have your mayo — and eat it, too.
If like me, you’ve shied away from mayonnaise in the past because it’s such a calorie bomb, now you can indulge with a whole lot less guilt, thanks to Maio.
It’s not bona fide mayonnaise made by whipping egg yolks and plenty of oil. Instead, it’s made of yogurt, given a substantial mouthfeel from the additions of cornstarch and gelatin.
While store-bought mayonnaise weighs in at 100 calories for 1 tablespoon (with 100 of those calories being fat), Maio has all of 20 calories for 1 tablespoon (with half of those calories fat).
La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.
I had to type that in bold all caps — with an exclamation mark — just to emphasize how incredibly buttery tasting these cookies are.
La Mere Poulard cookies were first baked in 1888 by Annette Poulard, the local baker’s wife in Mont Saint-Michel, France at the inn she opened. La Mere Poulard pays homage to those original cookies with its own versions, made with no preservatives or GMOs. Produced in France for 15 years, they are now readily available in the United States.
The cookies are made with eggs from free-range hens and sugar from beets. It’s not surprising that after the first ingredient listed of wheat flour, comes butter. Because these cookies taste unabashedly of sweet, creamy butter.