Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

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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My Vietnamese Escargot Vongole

A little bit Italian, a little bit Vietnamese.

A little bit Italian, a little bit Vietnamese.

 

Inspiration comes in many forms.

Reading a clever turn of phrase that captivates. Feeling the bracing spray of the ocean against your face. Viewing the magnificence of a rocket-red sunset.

For me, it came in the form of snails.

Escargot, actually. Loaded up in a saucy dish at Cassia in Santa Monica to be exact.

Chef Bryant Ng melds French and Vietnamese influences in his dishes. His charred naan-like flatbread with a side of chopped lemongrass escargot, which I enjoyed at his restaurant earlier this year, is nothing short of spectacular.

My husband and I attacked the dish, finishing every last drop and crumb. All the while, I kept thinking how amazing this escargot would be tossed with pasta.

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Cooking (And Sourcing) Monkfish

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

 

Known as the “poor man’s lobster,” monkfish is a seafood I’ve enjoyed quite a few times in restaurants. But I had never cooked it before.

Until last week.

Part of the problem was that it’s not an easy fish to find at local seafood markets. But thanks to DailyFreshFish, I was able to finally give it a go.

The new online seafood source was launched recently by Hayward’s Pucci Foods, which was established in 1918 by Joe Pucci, an Italian immigrant. Pucci Foods has long supplied restaurants and retail stores. Now, it’s making that same seafood available directly to consumers.

The company, which sources seafood from all over the world, has a sustainable seafood certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. It also follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide and the NOAA Fish Watch Program.

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The Surprise of Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

 

Something miraculous happens when you roast thin slices of lemons and oranges at high heat.

They get all jammy, intensifying their sweetness and taming the overt bitterness of their rind.

I’ve added plenty of orange supremes — juicy segments devoid of their pith and membrane — to plenty of salads. But never had I added roasted slices to one before, where the flesh has largely disappeared in the cooking process, leaving behind mostly rind.

Even my husband, who normally blanches at anything remotely very bitter or sour, remarked how wonderfully refreshing this salad was.

A miracle, didn’t I tell you?

“Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad” is from the new book, “Farmsteads of the California Coast” (Yellow Pear Press), of which I received a review copy. The book was written by Bay Area food writer Sarah Henry, with beautiful photography by Erin Scott of the YummySupper blog.

FarmsteadsBook

Whether you live in California or not, this book will make you appreciate the state’s farms even more. Twelve coastal farms are spotlighted with stories about the farmers, including what they grow, which farmers markets sell their wares, and whether there is a farmstand on site that you can visit. The farms span the gamut from Pie Ranch in Pescadero to the Apple Farm in Philo to Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall.

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Pickle Nostalgia and A Food Gal Giveaway with Ball Canning

Pickling my way to savored memories.

Pickling my way to savored memories.

 

When I was a kid growing up in my parents’ San Francisco home, there were two refrigerators — the main one in the kitchen, and an auxiliary one downstairs in the garage.

It was the latter one that was filled with extra provisions — tubs of tofu, cartons of orange juice, and big glass jars of pickles.

My Mom’s pickles.

She would save big glass jars and reuse them, packing them with cauliflower florets, slices of carrots, and stems of mustard greens. She’d pour in hot white vinegar diluted with a little water and mixed with a few mustard seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns, before capping the jars, and storing them in that refrigerator.

As the days and weeks went on, we’d enjoy the pickles of her labor. Their snap and tang would jazz up simple green salads or sandwiches. But often, I’d just fish out a few pieces to eat solo for an entirely satisfying snack.

So when Jarden Home Brands, maker of the Ball brand of home-canning products, sent me its “The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving” (Oxmoor House), I leafed through the more than 350 recipes, and came to a halt at one in particular.

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