Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Kronner Shrimp Burger

KronnerBurger's Shrimp (and Sweet Potato) Burger.

KronnerBurger’s Shrimp (and Sweet Potato) Burger.

 

With Labor Day on the horizon, look no farther than Chris Kronner for all your burger needs.

After all, Kronner, late of the now-shuttered Slow Club and Bar Tartine, as well as Serpentine in San Francisco, has been perfecting his burgers for more than a decade.

The burger impresario, who now heads Henry’s in Berkeley’s Graduate Hotel, is best known for his KronnerBurger restaurant in Oakland, which closed following a fire earlier this year.

In his new cookbook, “A Burger to Believe In” (Ten Speed Press), written with the San Francisco Chronicle Food & Wine section editor Paolo Lucchesi, Kronner takes you through the fine points of making the ultimate burgers, as well as salads, sides, drinks, desserts and condiments.

KronnerBurgerbook

There’s every iteration imaginable, from the “Patty Melt” made with bechamel to the “Earth Burger” made with mushrooms, mushroom powder and a host of other veggies, and “Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken” burger in which you will need 3 cups of pickle juice to submerge chicken thighs in before further soaking them in buttermilk.

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The Glories of Berkeley Bowl — And Smoky Snake Beans

Long beans in a saucy dish of tomatoes, smoked paprika, garlic and shallots.

Long beans in a saucy dish of tomatoes, smoked paprika, garlic and shallots.

 

You know how some women can spend hours at Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s?

I could totally lose track of time inside Berkeley Bowl.

With two locations now in Berkeley, this incredible grocery store has one of the most far-ranging produce departments imaginable. It’s the only place I found a few years ago that carried ramps, that East Coast darling of ingredients beloved by chefs.

This family-owned store was established in 1977 by Glenn and Diane Yasuda. He hailed from a family of Southern California farmers; she came from a long line of grocers. At a time when supermarkets mostly bought from large distributors, the Yasudas championed small farmers from the start, sourcing from them directly to fill their store’s produce bins. The more unusual or exotic, the better, too.

In fact, in 1987, David “Mas” Masumoto was on the verge of giving up his Suncrest peach farm because there was no market for the intensely flavored fruit because they bruised easily, and thus, could not be shipped easily nor stored for long periods. But Glenn Yasuda saw their value, and started buying them, helping to save the Masumoto farm.

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You’ll learn all of that history in the new “The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook” (Parallax Press) by Laura McLively, a registered dietitian and food writer in Oakland, with photos by Berkeley’s Erin Scott.

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Feed Your People Traci Des Jardins’ Chile Verde

Comfort food at its finest -- brothy, tangy chile verde.

Comfort food at its finest — brothy, tangy chile verde.

 

In this day and age when so much in life seems to be driving people apart rather than closer together, we should never underestimate the power of food to bring people to the table with open minds and hearts.

That’s the spirit behind the wonderful new cookbook, “Feed Your People: Big-Batch, Big-Hearted Cooking and Recipes to Gather Around” (PowerHouse Books) by Leslie Jonath with 18 Reasons.

Jonath, a former editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, has teamed with 18 Reasons, a San Francisco non-profit that not only strives to teach people the importance of good food, but offers a free six-week nutrition education program in low-income communities on how to make healthy and affordable meals.

Feed Your People Book

The cookbook features recipes by some of the most well-known names in the food industry, including Bay Area cookbook author Andrea Nguyen’s “Chinese Dumplings,” Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters’ “Minestrone,” Tartine co-founder Elizabeth Prueitt’s Whole-Loaf Garlic Cheese Bread,” and pastry doyenne Alice Medrich’s “Ultimate Butter Cake.”

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Dig A Big Spoon Into Foreign Cinema’s Buttermilk Spoon Bread with Shiitakes, Corn and Scallions

Fluffy and delicious, this buttermilk spoon bread has the fresh taste of corn.

Fluffy and delicious, this buttermilk spoon bread has the fresh taste of corn.

 

I still remember it as clear as day, waiting around at the August 1999 opening party for Foreign Cinema for a helicopter to make its splashy arrival to deposit a massive Jesus statue in the interior courtyard, replicating the scene in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.”

Talk about making a grand entrance into San Francisco’s dining scene.

Unfortunately, after that mega buildup, it actually never came to pass — the statue was deemed to heavy for the helicopter. But the party went on, a prescient symbol of how this restaurant would roll with the punches, not only surviving but flourishing, in the years to come.

Today, when the Mission District has become ground zero for the changes that the booming tech economy has brought to the Bay Area, Foreign Cinema is still going strong. At a time when animosity grows as working-class families are priced out of the neighborhood, new pricey condo complexes get built, and hipster businesses move in, this vibrant restaurant is still embraced and beloved.

ForeignCinemaCookbook

The cavernous space once housed at various times a 99-cent store, a See’s Candies store, a sportswear retailer, medical offices and a shoe emporium. When the properties were connected and transformed for the restaurant, pinewood flooring and metal railing were scavenged from an old Latino theater across the street that was being dismantled, immediately giving it a sense of place.

Gayle Pirie and John Clark took over the restaurant in 2001, when it was teetering on bankruptcy following the dot-com bust and turned it around.

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A Potato Salad Brimming with Herbs

Potato salad with yogurt, lemon and a plethora of home-grown herbs.

Potato salad with yogurt, lemon and a plethora of home-grown herbs.

 

In my mind, I’m a passionate gardener.

In reality, I’m often a disgruntled one.

Martha Stewart sure makes it look easy. But does she have to contend with lightening-fast squirrels that seem to think they have squatter’s rights in my yard? I think not.

I water and fertilize diligently, nurturing my plants and trees, and waiting for that moment when they give forth their riches in fruits and veggies. Apparently, the squirrels play that same waiting game. And more often than not, they trounce me at it.

Who will be first to snag the ripe tomatoes and peaches? Usually them, alas. This season, I got so fed up that I picked all my peaches off my dwarf tree just a hair before they ripened — just so I could enjoy them before the critters did. Take that, varmints!

Maybe that’s why I actually get joy from growing herbs. Because for whatever reason, my herbs are mostly left alone, able to flourish undisturbed, enabling me to get my pick of soft green leaves to enjoy.

Saladish

On a recent afternoon, I felt fairly smug, going through my backyard, snipping chives, lemon basil, Italian basil, shiso, tarragon, and thyme, all in pristine condition.

Yes, it was all mine — to incorporate into “New Potatoes with Soft Green Herbs.”

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