Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

On the Eve of (Steak) Taco Tuesday

A one-pan meal made in a cast-iron skillet.

A one-pan meal made in a cast-iron skillet.

 

There are cast-iron skillets that are handed down from generation to generation like the family jewels.

That’s how coveted they are, especially if they are beautifully seasoned from regular use and care, rendering them the ultimate nonstick pan.

Mine doesn’t have quite that lineage. It came about when I married my husband, who brought the heavy, black pan into my life.

Naturally, what led him to buy it was his fondness for cooking steaks. He is Meat Boy, after all.

But a cast-iron skillet can do so much more. In the new book, “Home Skillet” (Rockridge Press), of which I received a review copy, Bay Area food writer Robin Donovan shows just how versatile that pan is.

homeskillet

You can use it to bake treats such as “Maple-Pecan and Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Bake.” You can steam in it such dishes as “Mussels Steamed in Lemongrass-Coconut Broth.” You can use it on the barbie in entrees such as “Seafood Paella on the Grill.” You can make bread in it, such as “Onion Naan.” And you can whip up desserts in it such as “Sugar Cream Pie.”

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Not Your Average Melon

This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?

This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?

 

Melon and prosciutto.

Ho-hum. Been there, ate that.

But not like this.

Not when the cantaloupe cavity is filled with molten mozzarella before being draped with thin slices of salty-sweet prosciutto, and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and lush olive oil.

“Broiled Cantaloupe with Hand-Stretched Mozzarella Curds and Prosciutto” takes a familiar taste and turns it on its head.

The genius recipe is from the new cookbook, “Around the Fire: Recipes For Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting From Ox Restaurant” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

AroundtheFire

It’s by husband-and-wife chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, with assistance from food writer Stacy Adimando. They are the chefs of the critically acclaimed Ox in Portland, OR.

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Trumpeting the Virtues of Siren Fish Company

California King salmon delivered right to my door from Siren Fish Company that I cooked with mustard and brown sugar.

California King salmon delivered right to my door from Siren Fish Company that I cooked with mustard and brown sugar.

 

So many of us want to eat more fresh seafood.

But finding the freshest, local, sustainable seafood is can be a cumbersome task.

Siren Fish Company makes it easy to do so, though.

The community supported fishery works directly with California and Oregon fishermen so that their fresh catch arrives to you 24 to 48 hours out of the water each week.

Siren has pick-up locations throughout the Bay Area, often at retailers, where you just show up to take possession of your order on the day it is delivered. It also offers home delivery on pre-selected days of the week for an additional modest $3 charge.

You can choose to order a share for two or four (corresponding to how many people it will serve); as well as choose between ordering fillets, whole fish, or “variety” (which can include fillets or shellfish, whole little fish, crustaceans or even sea urchins).

Siren invited me to try a couple deliveries for free to test out their seafood by receiving a share for two (averaging about $23 each week).

Because there is no pick-up site in my area, I had to go with home delivery, which in my case, was scheduled for Wednesdays by 7 a.m.

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Cheesy Zucchini and Olive Bread — For Breakfast or Dinner

A decidedly not-sweet zucchini bread.

A decidedly not-sweet zucchini bread.

 

If given the choice between sweet and savory, I will almost always veer at full speed toward sweet.

But a dinner four years ago at San Jose’s The Table had me backpedaling.

That was when I had Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez’s take on zucchini bread.

It wasn’t served for brunch or dessert, but as an accompaniment to roast chicken. The slab of zucchini bread had been sliced, then griddled until it was slightly crisp on the exterior. Its sweetness had been remarkably dialed down. It was tender with some parts soft, some crispy — and it reminded me very much of Thanksgiving stuffing.

Who knew zucchini bread could be enjoyed quite like this?

Katie Sullivan Morford, for one. A Bay Area food and nutrition writer, she’s written a new cookbook, of which I received a review copy: “Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings” (Roost Books). The lovely photos are by Bay Area photographer Erin Scott.

RiseandShineBook

It’s filled with 75 inventive recipes for the most important meal of the day. Some can be made in a flash, such as “Orange Almond Date Lassi.” Some are remarkably time-saving, such as “Better Than Boxed Instant Oatmeal” and “Make-And-Freeze Buttermilk Waffles.” And some are designed more for weekends, such as “Big Joe’s Huevos Rancheros.”

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Kinda, Sorta Patatas Bravas

A take on a favorite tapa -- without the deep-frying.

A take on a favorite tapa — without the deep-frying.

 

Whenever I think of fried foods, I can’t help but think of two friends, whose opinions couldn’t be more divergent.

On one side, I have my buddy Ben of the blog, FocusSnapEat, who vows no fried foods will ever pass his lips.

On the other side, I have my friend Andrea Nguyen, creator of the Viet World Kitchen blog and a veteran cookbook author, who is an avid home-fryer and chides me for not wanting to fry my own chicken or spring rolls at home.

To Ben, I always say: Relax. A couple french fries or a doughnut now and then won’t kill you.

To Andrea, I always say: Ugh, the mess, the splatter, the leftover oil to deal with.

That’s why I love this particular recipe for patatas bravas. In this traditional Spanish tapa, potatoes are deep-fried, then drizzled with a creamy, smoky and gently spicy tomato-y sauce.

I always order it at Spanish restaurants. I have not made them at home, though, because of the whole deep-frying conundrum.

But “Kinda, Sorta Patatas Bravas” lets me have my crisp potatoes without a second thought because these potatoes are boiled, then roasted on high heat — not fried at all.

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