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A Unique Cookbook That Celebrates Women Around the Globe and A Special Event

Wednesday, 31. July 2013 5:26

Eggplant curry from a very special cookbook.

Eggplant curry from a very special cookbook.


Did you know that 70 percent of those living on less than $1 a day are female?

Women also are disproportionately affected by war. We’ve all read the horrific stories of women in conflict-torn countries who have been raped, who have lost their husbands, forced from their homes and are left the sole providers for their family.

Zainab Salbi set out to help when she founded Women for Women International in 1993. The organization helps women rebuild their lives. It now operates in eight countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and Sudan.


Now comes a remarkable cookbook, “Share: The Cookbook That Celebrates Our Common Humanity” (Kyle). The book, of which I received a review copy, features a collection of recipes from celebrities involved in humanitarian issues, including Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Emma Thompson, Desmond Tutu, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, Nelson Mandella, America Ferrera and Christiane Amanpour. The book also includes recipes by renowned chefs who have taken up the cause, including Alice Waters, Jesse Ziff Cool, Greg Higgins, Jamie Oliver, Susan Spicer and Rene Redzepi. Moreover, 16 recipes and stories are included from women in these strife-torn countries, whom the organization has helped.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (12) | Author:

A Hunky Halibut

Friday, 12. July 2013 5:26

A halibut dish guaranteed to make an impression.

A halibut dish guaranteed to make an impression.

When I placed this dish of “Halibut and Spinach with Orange-Pine Nut Vinaigrette” in front of my husband one Saturday night, he exclaimed:

“Wow! Fancy!”

It does look pretty impressive, I must admit. Like a restaurant-quality dish. But would you believe it took mere minutes to make?

The recipe is from the new Curtis Stone cookbook, “What’s For Dinner” (Ballantine Books), of which I received a review copy. Yes, those of you who pooh-pooh celeb TV chefs as nothing more than pretty faces should know that Stone, the host of “Top Chef Masters,” can actually cook. The Aussie is classically trained and learned his craft alongside greats like Michelin three-star chef and notorious bad-boy, Marco Pierre White.


The 130 recipes in this book are designed for our busy lives today. They are geared toward different days of the week, such as “One-Pot Wednesdays” when you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning up, and “Thrifty Thursdays” when you want something delicious that’s easy on the wallet.

The halibut dish falls under “Time-Saving Tuesdays.” Truly, you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes, too.

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (11) | Author:

Cooking in Embers a la Michael Chiarello

Wednesday, 3. July 2013 5:25

Grilled potato salad with ember-roasted garlic dressing -- to put pizzazz in your Fourth of July.

Grilled potato salad with ember-roasted garlic dressing — to put pizzazz in your Fourth of July.

Men like to play with fire. And male chefs sure like cooking with it.

In fact, cooking in embers is all the rage now at places like Saison in San Francisco, and the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena.

What’s the appeal? First, the primal aspect of it all. Second, the technique makes use of the residual heat that would otherwise just dissipate and go to waste. Third, it adds a gentle yet deep smoky quality.

I thought I’d give it a try, particularly when a free copy of the new “Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire” (Chronicle Books) landed in my mailbox for reviewing. Chiarello is a major fan of live fire. Every Northern California he’s worked in or owned — Tra Vigne, Bottega and Coqueta — all feature grills with live fire.


The book includes 125 recipes for cooking everything from seafood to pizza to desserts over a live fire. Of course, not many of us may have the space to cook a whole baby goat on a spitjack in our backyard, but there are plenty of recipes easily do-able even on a compact grill.

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Category:Chefs, Cool Cooking Techniques, General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants | Comments (9) | Author:

My First Close Encounter with A Certain Vegetable

Friday, 28. June 2013 5:25

Classic leeks in vinaigrette.

Classic leeks in vinaigrette.


When I was a senior in high school, my friends and I saved up our money to dine at Chez Panisse in Berkeley for the very first time.

We four thought ourselves so grown up and so in the know.

Of course, that feeling of confidence dissipated immediately when the first course arrived.

A platter was set before us, containing mystifying long, tubular things that looked for all the world like overgrown green onions. They had been simply grilled with good olive oil, and finished with salt and pepper. We glanced at one another, perplexed, wondering what they were and just how we were supposed to eat them.

Yes, that was my first encounter with leeks.

And I admit that I didn’t necessarily appreciate them then.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants | Comments (10) | Author:

Fall in Love with Roasted Carrot Dip

Friday, 3. May 2013 5:27

An addicting dip made with roasted carrots.

An addicting dip made with roasted carrots.

I don’t know if this “Roasted Carrot Dip” will guarantee you 20-20 vision.

But with four large carrots in it, this dip will have you seeing this common root veggie in a whole new light.

The recipe is from “Modern Mediterranean: Easy, Flavorful Home Cooking” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), of which I received a review copy. Raised in Greece and New York, Melia Marden, executive chef of The Smile in New York City, offers up 125 Mediterranean-inspired recipes made for the home-cook. You’ll be inviting friends and family over in no time flat for a Greek-style feast with everything from fava bean crostini to Moroccan meatballs to Greek-yogurt panna cotta.

What caught my eye about this particular dip is how relatively healthful it is. So many favorite dips that we can’t stop dunking into are loaded with mayonnaise or cream cheese, leaving us with a caloric-hangover before we know it.

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Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants | Comments (11) | Author: