Voila! Finally, the big reveal: Presenting the cover of my forthcoming cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1 Publishing).
I couldn’t be more excited to show off details of my newest cookbook, due out on Sept. 10, which will feature 41 of the best restaurants and bakeries in the East Bay.
To whet your appetite, that’s the paella from La Marcha Tapas Bar in Berkeley, and the lamb larb from Belcampo in Oakland’s Jack London Square prominent on the cover. The photos are all by the incredibly talented photographer Eva Kolenko.
What else will you find inside?
Tart cherries make this streusel-topped yogurt cake extra delightful.
It is not easy to find sour cherries — unless you have a friend with a backyard tree who takes pity on you. In fact, just the other day on Facebook, I saw someone blasting out a plea for a source that sells them, where you don’t have to buy a ton at a time.
Oregon Specialty Fruit to the rescue.
The Willamette Valley fruit company sells canned and jarred locally grown fruits. As luck would have it, I was recently sent samples of its jarred Red Tart Cherries. They feature hand-picked, pitted, non-GMO Montmorency cherries, a tart cherry variety that some studies have found may help lower blood pressure and muscle soreness, and improve sleep.
What’s especially great about these cherries is that they are packed whole in their own unsweetened cherry juice. That’s right, there’s no added sugar. What’s more, you can use that juice. Drink it straight from the jar or add it to cocktails, a glass of sparkling wine or smoothies. Or freeze it for a granita or popsicle.
Tart cherries packed in their own juice — with no added sugar — from Oregon.
The cherries and their juice have a measured sharpness, nothing too wincing and definitely less sour than cranberries. The flavor makes for a nice sweet-tart balance. Plump and juicy with a softer texture than frozen ones, these cherries make a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream. They would also be fantastic spooned over roast pork or duck.
A Dozen Cousins Mexican Cowboy Beans.
For some endeavors, it might take a village.
But to create some deliriously delectable beans? It simply takes A Dozen Cousins.
This new Berkeley company has launched a line of gourmet, ready-to-eat beans with global flavors that will win you over from the first taste.
Ibraheem Basir, a former marketing manager at General Mills who worked on natural foods brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, named the company after his daughter and her 11 cousins.
Made with avocado oil, the beans are non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free. They come in 10-ounce BPA-free, microwaveable pouches that serve two (about 1/2 cup each). They boast 6 to 8 grams of protein per serving and 7 grams of fiber.
They come in handy microwavable packages.
They are available in three flavors: Mexican Cowboy Beans, Cuban Black Beans, and Trini Chickpea Curry.
It looks like rice, but…
When is rice not really rice? When it’s RightRice, a just-launched, rice-like product that’s actually made from lentil flour, chickpea flour and pea fiber.
While it does contain a little rice flour (less than 10 percent), it’s designed to be a viable alternative to folks who love rice, but want to cut down on carbs and starches.
It was created by San Francisco’s Keith Belling, the founder of Popchips, that wildly successful, addictive potato snack that is neither baked nor fried but ends up crisp as can be from a combination of heat and pressure. It also boasts half the fat of regular potato chips.
It’s actually RightRice.
With RightRice, he’s created a product that has more than double the protein, five times the fiber, and almost 40 percent fewer net carbs than a bowl of white rice. It’s also non-GMO and vegan.
So just how does it taste?
A great start to a Valentine’s Day.
Yes, roses are lovely.
But chocolate is where it’s at.
At least that’s my philosophy for Valentine’s Day.
And nobody makes chocolate like Burlingame’s Guittard Chocolate Company, a family-owned craft chocolate maker that celebrated its 150th year in business in 2018.
In honor of that monumental anniversary, Guittard created a limited-edition Eureka Works 62 Percent bar, named after the first factory that founder Etienne Guittard set up in San Francisco in 1868.
It’s a blend of cacao beans from its earliest sourcing locations: Indonesia, Hawaii, Ecuador and Brazil. What’s more a portion of proceeds from every bar sold will go to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund, a not-for-profit that works to preserve the rarest cacao trees that produce the highest quality chocolate and to help the farmers who grow them.
Guittard’s special, limited-edition Eureka Works chocolate.
The huge 500g bar ($29.95 on the Guittard Web site) is lovely to look at — molded with a nifty cacao bean imprint design. And the taste? I was fortunate enough to receive a sample recently. It’s a smooth, complex chocolate that tastes prominently of dark cherries and a touch of pineapple. It has some acidity and bitterness, but in measured amounts to let the fruitiness of the bar shine through.