Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

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.

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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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Summer’s All Right With Beach House Pasta with Shrimp & Grilled Limes

A load of grilled shrimp accent this easy pasta dish.

A load of grilled shrimp accent this easy pasta dish.

 

Even if you don’t have a beach house — yeah, that would be me, too — you’ll find yourself kicking back with pleasure when you dig into this dish.

“Beach House Pasta with Shrimp and Grilled Limes” is from the new cookbook, “Food52 Any Night Grilling” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Austin cookbook author Paula Disbrowe and the Food52 team.

As the name implies, the book includes 60 grilling recipes easy enough to make any night of the week. There’s a primer on gas versus charcoal, basic information on setting up your grill, and judging its heat.

Enjoy everything from “Crispy Greek Pies with Dandelion & Feta” and “Grilled Branzino with Thai Basil Butter” to “Smoky Tomato & Red Lentil Soup” to “Tipsy Chicken with Smoky Pan Drippings.”

Food52AnyNightGrilling

With this shrimp pasta, I know what you’re thinking: Why start up the grill just for cooking some shrimp and a few limes when making pasta?

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The Joy of Summer Tomatoes and Bread

Add ricotta to your equation of bread plus tomatoes for a summer treat.

Add ricotta to your equation of bread plus tomatoes for a summer treat.

 

Few things are as simple and sublime in the summer as tomatoes on bread.

Be it as a grilled cheese or Catalan-style with the ridges of grilled bread rubbed with garlic, then smeared with the juices of a cut tomato, it doesn’t get better than that.

“Quick Pickled Grape Tomatoes on Ricotta Toast” offers up another way to enjoy that delightful duo.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Just Cook It!” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Justin Chapple, of which I received a review copy.

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Chapple is the deputy test kitchen editor at Food & Wine magazine and the host of “Mad Genius Tips,” the magazine’s video series. He’s all about time-saving tricks and clever hacks to get recipes perfect, such as browning beef for “New-School Beef Bourguignon” in a rimmed baking sheet all at once rather than in batches in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. It’s faster — and less messy.

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