Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Patricia Wells’ Easy Steamed Cod with Rosemary and Seaweed Butter

Embrace the steam.

Embrace the steam.


I always think that steaming is an under-appreciated and so often under-utilized cooking technique.

I think people fear that steamed foods will turn out bland, mushy, almost hospital-like sterile in nature.

But when done right, steaming is a gentle way of cooking that preserves moisture and flavor.

Case in point: fish.

I love grilling fish or sauteeing it, especially to get the skin crisp. But being Chinese-American, I also adore steamed fish. There’s nothing like a whole steamed fish brought to the table at a banquet meal. The flesh falls apart with impossible tenderness. Its texture is rendered beyond silky. And there’s just a lovely delicacy to it, no matter how small or large the fish.


Patricia Wells knows fully well the merits of steaming. In fact, the five-time James Beard Award-winning writer and cooking teacher devotes an entire chapter to steaming in her new cookbook, “My Master Recipes: 165 Recipes to Inspire Confidence In the Kitchen” (William Morrow), of which I received a review copy.

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You Barely Have To Lift A Finger For Featherweight Slaw

A crunchy slaw with loads of flavor to make in a flash.

A crunchy slaw with loads of flavor to make in a flash.


This slaw may be featherweight, but it’s a heavyweight in flavor.

With a flurry of napa cabbage, sesame seeds, almonds and green onions, it’s a little like Chinese chicken salad. But not.

The secret is freshly grated ginger that really gives a ka-pow of bright, sharp throaty warm heat. Since I’m an avowed ginger addict, I even added a little more ginger, well, because why not, right?

“Featherweight Slaw” is from “Food52 Mighty Salads” (Ten Speed Press) by the editors of Food52.


The book, of which I received a review copy, features 60 recipes for an array of salads perfect for dinner or lunch. There is everything from leafy salads such as “Chard Salad with Garlic Breadcrumbs & Parmesan” and grain salads such as “Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts & Crispy Quinoa” to pasta salads such as “Half-Blistered Tomato Pasta Salad” and meat salads such as “Thai Pork Salad with Crisped Rice.”

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Planked Wild Salmon with Nectarines, Thyme, Honey, Almonds, and Ricotta — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Dinner is served -- right off the grill.

Dinner is served — right off the grill.


This might be the ultimate summer dish.

“Planked Wild Salmon with Nectarines, Thyme, Honey, Almonds, and Ricotta” combines summer’s prize of wild local King salmon with some of the season’s most luscious stone fruit — all co-mingled on a cedar plank that imparts a ravishing smokiness on the backyard grill.

Best yet? You can devour it all in good conscience because it’s all sustainable.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes From the West Coast” (Figure 1), of which I received an advance review copy, before it is released publicly in October.


It was written by Ned Bell, who founded Chefs for Oceans to raise awareness for responsible seafood choices, and is a member of the Seafood Watch’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. He wrote it in conjunction with Valerie Howes, the food editor of Reader’s Digest Canada.

Doing the right thing when it comes to seafood can be daunting. Species that seemed plentiful often find themselves over-fished in no time flat. Do we have to give up eating what we love? Or is there another way?

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Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Asian Dressing

Grilled eggplant dressed up with a quick soy sauce-serrano dressing.

Grilled eggplant dressed up with a quick soy sauce-serrano dressing.


In the Bay Area, we are blessed to be able to grill outdoors nearly year-round.

Heck, even my husband has been known to grill in the rain.

One of my favorite grilled veggies is eggplant because it takes to being smoke-kissed so well. And its texture turns nearly custardy.

“Eggplant with Spicy Asian Dressing” is a quick and easy dish to enjoy at this time of year when eggplants of all sizes are showing up at farmers markets.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Weber’s Greatest Hits” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by master griller Jamie Purviance, of which I received a review copy.


The cookbook contains 125 recipes culled from the more than 2,500 that Purviance has developed over the years for Weber. His greatest hits are tried-and-true dishes such as “Peach and Blue Cheese Bruschetta Drizzled with Honey,” “Curried Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce” and “Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.”

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Give It Up For Nopalito’s Tacos De Pescado Al Pastor

Fish tacos with a rich adobo marinade -- from Nopalito's new cookbook.

Fish tacos with a rich adobo marinade — from Nopalito’s new cookbook.


Not to interject too much politics here, but I had to laugh last year when a political supporter tried to inflame anti-immigrant fervor by decrying that if this country didn’t take measures, we’d end up with a taco truck on every corner.

We should be so lucky.

In fact, if we had a Nopalito in every neighborhood, we’d be quite fortunate, indeed.

The beloved San Francisco restaurant is headed by Executive Chef-Partner Gonzalo Guzman. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, he came to the United States as a child. His first restaurant job was as a dishwasher at Kokkari in San Francisco. He soon rose through the culinary ranks there, as well as at San Francisco’s Boulevard, Chez Nous, and Nopa.

In 2009, he partnered with Nopa owners Laurence and Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak to open Nopalito on Broderick Street. It was so successful, it led to a second Nopalito location on Ninth Avenue, near Golden Gate Park.

Just one taste, and you know why the restaurant has such a devoted following. This is food that is vivacious, with flavors that are punchy and complex, yet also clear and true.


Even if you don’t live near Nopalito, you can now enjoy a taste of its craveable dishes in the new cookbook, “Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen” (Ten Speed Press) by Guzman with food journalist Stacy Adimando.

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