Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

How to Make Alexander’s Steakhouse’s Sensational Uni Fried Rice

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

 

Fried rice is typically a frugal dish, something you slap together at the last minute with meager ingredients on hand.

This is not that fried rice.

Not when it is enveloped in whipped uni butter, and crowned with fresh uni.

And certainly not when it is on the menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino for $25.

When Food Gal reader Kristy implored me recently to get the recipe for the uni fried rice after falling for it at Alexander’s, I could commiserate.

After all, I had enjoyed it at the restaurant only once — and I still dream about it. It’s that kind of dish — loaded with bold flavors that grabs you from the get-go with its uncanny mix of comfort and luxuriousness.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Executive Chef Jared Montarbo was kind enough to actually provide the recipe. As chefs are wont to do, there weren’t precise measurements for every single ingredient, so I tinkered a little. After making it at home recently, I can tell you confidently that his recipe does indeed make for a fried rice dish just about as delicious as the one he makes at the restaurant.

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Indian Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin

Corn with cumin -- as simple as it gets.

Corn with cumin — as simple as it gets.

 

Most times, I enjoy summer corn right off the cob that’s been charred on the grill or even nuked in the microwave for a few minutes.

But other times, I want something a little less basic.

That’s where “Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin” comes in.

It’s from the new “Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn” (Ten Speed Press) by Chitra Agrawal, chef-owner of the cleverly named Brooklyn Delhi line of condiments.

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Melissa Clark’s Peachy Pork

One-pan magic that makes the most of summer peaches.

One-pan magic that makes the most of summer peaches.

 

Every summer, I turn fruity.

As in batty for plums, pluots, peaches, nectarines cherries, strawberries, blueberries, figs and the like.

So much so that I practically have to restrain myself from buying a few of everything that I see at the farmers market, lest I end up with a load of fruit at the end of the week, when I am ready to set out to the market again on my regular weekend jaunt.

Just last Saturday, my favorite strawberry vendor asked me pointedly, “Do you really go through this many strawberries every week?” as I bought my usual three baskets from him.

Why, yes, I do. I really, really do.

Hey, it could be worse. At least he didn’t ask, “Do you really go through five buckets of chicken every week?”

Instead, I’m proud to be fruity to the core. Most of my haul is enjoyed as is — out of hand or topped with Greek yogurt or tossed into salads. Some get baked into sweet treats such as galettes, muffins or financiers. And every now and then, some actually end up in something savory.

Like “Peachy Pork or Veal with Pomegranate Molasses and Charred Onion.”

DinnerChangingTheGame

The recipe is from “Dinner: Changing the Game” (Clarkson Potter), the newest cookbook by Melissa Clark, of which I received a review copy.

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Burma Superstar’s Chicken with Mint

Loads of mint and cilantro give this minced chicken dish vibrancy.

Loads of mint and cilantro give this minced chicken dish vibrancy.

 

If you’ve been to Burma Superstar in San Francisco, you’re all too familiar with the constant lines of diners waiting to get in.

Who can blame them, because once you get a taste of Burmese food, you can’t help but crave it again and again.

Now comes a way to satisfy your hunger while bypassing those queues — by making it yourself.

The restaurant’s first cookbook, “Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes From the Crossroads of Southeast Asia”
(10 Speed Press), was released this year. It was written by Burma Superstar owner Desmond Tan and San Francisco food writer Kate Leahy.

The restaurant opened in 1992 on Clement Street. But it wasn’t until Burma-native Tan and his wife Jocelyn Lee, who were regulars there, bought the restaurant in 2000 that Burmese food really found a foothold.

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Paella 101 At Duende

Chef Paul Canales holding his finished squid ink paella at Duende.

Chef Paul Canales holding his finished squid ink paella at Duende.

 

Last week, I got a lesson in paella-making from the source: Chef-Owner Paul Canales of the Duende in Oakland.

And what a delicious and inspired one it was.

After all, the Uptown restaurant is all about Spanish and Basque food spotlighting the best of Northern California’s bounty. Duende features four paellas on the menu, including the very popular Arroz Negro, made with squid ink for an unmistakable bold color.

Along with a handful of other food writers, I crowded into the restaurant kitchen to watch Canales demonstrate that dish. The Moors brought rice to Spain, he explained, and paellas first gained popularity in the 1840s in and around Valencia. Canales’ father is of Basque heritage, a region that didn’t necessarily specialize in risotto. But it’s a specialty Canales has long loved, and studied, having traveled throughout Spain.

Paella can be made with various Spanish rices, as well as short or broken Spanish pasta.

Paella can be made with various Spanish rices, as well as short or broken Spanish pasta.

Saffron from northern Iran.

Saffron from northern Iran.

Like Italian risotto, it’s a dish that’s really all about the rice, with the toppings accentuating it, but not smothering it.

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