Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Heidi Swanson’s Exceptional Miso Tofu

Tofu -- as pretty and tasty as it gets.

Tofu — as pretty and tasty as it gets.

 

Long before most of us started blogging about food, Heidi Swanson led the way with her 101 Cookbooks site.

The San Francisco photographer and writer still remains the one to watch, always imparting class and authenticity to whatever she does.

She does so again with her newest cookbook, “Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

With her trademark expressive photography and no-nonsense way, she takes you by the hand on a journey to discover delicious dishes inspired by her global travels and by her life in the Bay Area.

NearandFar

The 120 recipes are vegetarian and offer up divine twists that cast the familiar into unfamiliar, thought-provoking territory for things like “Nori Granola” (yes, a savory take), “Quick-Pickled Rose Petals” (to add to a shrub or dollop on flatbread), and “Wine-Washed Arugula” (a fresh salad made with a splash of dry white wine and croutons from day-old croissants).

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Sammy Hagar’s Osso Buco

Osso bucco fit for a rock legend.

Osso bucco fit for — and by — a rock legend.

 

Sammy Hagar knows there are those who will roll their eyes in skepticism at his new cookbook, “Are We Having Fun Yet? The Cooking & Partying Handbook” (Harper Collins).

After all, the Grammy-award-winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and charismatic front man for Montrose and Van Halen, has made a formidable mark as a singer and song writer in an industry so often characterized — rightly or wrongly — by booze, drugs and munchies of the lowest common denominator.

But Hagar has been cooking since he was a kid. Back then, it was for survival, having grown up dirt poor.

Over the years, it turned into a true passion — and a huge business. He now owns 10 restaurants, including El Paseo in Mill Valley with business partner Tyler Florence. He founded Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum in Hawaii. And he built his Cabo Wabo Tequila into a much-lauded brand before selling it for more than $90 million.

Yours truly and the Red Rocker in the kitchen of his Mill Valley home.

Yours truly and the Red Rocker in the kitchen of his Mill Valley home.

Nowadays, he counts chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Julian Serrano, and Mario Batali as close friends, whom he’s cooked for or with regularly.

So why a cookbook? And why now?

The 68-year-old rock legend answered those questions for me recently when I had the pleasure of interviewing him at his Mill Valley home, where he can be found when he’s not in Maui or Mexico.

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Christmas Biscuits? Why Not!

Merry Christmas with out-of-the-oven, homemade biscuits!

Merry Christmas with out-of-the-oven, homemade biscuits!

 

As you ready to open presents this Christmas morning or prepare for the big holiday feast to come tonight, wouldn’t a pan of fresh, warm biscuits hit the spot?

Imagine them slathered with sweet butter and marmalade for breakfast today or alongside glazed ham tonight.

Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine sure is.

Biscuits don’t get any easier or more irresistible than these from Howard Bulka, chef-owner of Howie’s Artisan Pizzeria in Palo Alto and Redwood City.

The Palo Alto location is all about pizza. The Redwood City one, with its much larger and fully equipped kitchen, goes beyond the charred, flavorful pies to include everything from house-made pasta to classic burgers, too.

What’s more, the Redwood City one also offers weekend brunch, which includes an astonishingly great array of baked goods. This is where you’ll often find these heavenly biscuits offered.

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Saluting Sunchokes (With A Caveat)

Get to know sunchokes.

Get to know sunchokes.

 

They look like the love child of ginger and potatoes.

They taste deliciously nutty, sweet and a bit artichoke-like, and have a a texture akin to a creamier water chestnut.

Do you know sunchokes?

These knobby tubers are also known as Jerusalem artichokes.

They’re a pain to peel, as you can imagine. They’re also not easy to find in stores. I’ve bought them at Sprouts and Draeger’s in the past.

And for some people, unfortunately, they are not easy to digest. In fact, their nickname is, um, “fartichokes.” You can read more about that in this enlightening — and slightly amusing — Bon Appetit article.

If you’re trying them for the first time, you probably want to go easy on how many you eat just to see how well your body takes to them.

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Crazy For Cauliflower With Cumin, Turmeric and Lemon

Golden cauliflower with curry spices.

Golden cauliflower with curry spices.

 

You have to love a woman whose mantra is: “Be naturally suspicious of any food which is not home-cooked. Always take your own food with you wherever you go, even if you’re not going far.”

Given that, it’s not surprising that Meera Sodha has written an Indian cookbook that celebrates the best of Indian home-cooking.

She acknowledges at the start that cooking Indian food can be quite intimidating to make at home. So often it necessitates special trips to Indian markets or even ordering online to find the necessary ingredients.

Not so with her “Made In India: Recipes From an Indian Family Kitchen” (Flatiron Books), of which I received a review copy. A best-seller in the United Kingdom, her cookbook was published in the United States for the first time this year.

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