Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

An Indulgent Chocolate Treat From My “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Cookbook

Dark chocolate and mint make one arresting dessert. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Dark chocolate and mint make one arresting dessert. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

 

I love the dichotomy of dark chocolate and fresh mint.

On one hand, you have the deep, rich weightiness of the chocolate. On the other, the breezy lilt of the tingly mint.

Put them together and you get the best yin-yang: one ingredient so devilishly decadent it can’t help but lure you in, and the other so fresh and vibrant, it clears your palate to egg you into enjoying another mouthful — and yet another — of chocolate.

Chef Sarah Rich of the wildly popular Rich Table in San Francisco knows this. Trained in both the savory and sweet side of the kitchen, she knows just what is bound to tempt.

That’s why I couldn’t have been happier when I asked her to contribute a recipe to my debut cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Lyons Press), and she chose “Mint Chocolate Sable with Mint Chocolate Cream & Iced Milk.”

It was one of the first recipes I tested. (Hey, I’m no fool!)

Think of this as a fanciful yet rustic version of an ice cream sandwich. (You see why I wanted to try this one right off the bat.)

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“Here’s Your Damn Strawberry Ice Cream”

Yup, it's damn good, too!

Yup, it’s damn good, too!

That’s what Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe refers to the one flavor he’s never sold in his irreverent, gourmet ice cream shop in San Francisco.

Oh sure, you’ll find other versions sold by the scoop there such as “Strawberry Candied Jalapeno” or even “Strawberry Olive” (with Kalamatas no less).

But plain ol’ strawberry is just not in the equation for a madcap ice cream-maker like him who’s known for creations such as “Peanut Butter Curry,” “Hibiscus Beet,” and “Secret Breakfast” (with the flavor of corn flakes soaked in bourbon boozy-milk).

In his “Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book” (Chronicle Books), which he wrote with operations manager Sean Vahey and San Francisco Chronicle food writer Paolo Lucchesi, he states that he created “Here’s Your Damn Strawberry Ice Cream” for a special sundae smackdown with New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Godby decided to include the recipe in his book because everyone likes strawberry ice cream.

Indeed, what makes this one even more of a winner is its simplicity. There are no eggs nor any stovetop cooking required. You simply puree fresh strawberries in a blender, then mix with cream, condensed milk, sugar, salt and a splash of red wine vinegar before churning in an ice cream maker.

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Of Fathers, Husbands and Vanilla Ice Cream

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love -- if not everyone else on the planet.

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love — if not everyone else on the planet.

 

My husband likes to joke that I married my father.

And it’s true — they are uncannily alike in many ways.

My Dad couldn’t get enough of cop shows on TV. Neither can my husband.

Both like to eat and run. I’d barely have time to swallow the last spoonful of dessert at a restaurant, before my Dad would be jingling his car keys and pushing his chair back to head home. My husband, as much as he hates to acknowledge it, has been known to do the same.

My Dad also liked nothing better than to end a meal by indulging in a scoop of ice cream. He’d go to the freezer, take out the tub and carefully fill a coffee cup, before digging a spoon in, contently. If there’s no ice cream in our house, my husband will feign wanting to go for a walk, just so he can stop by the neighborhood ice cream shop on the way home.

Their flavor of choice? Vanilla. Always.

Me? I usually zero in on the Chunky Monkey, the Sicilian Pistachio, the Basil, the Strawberry Balsamic. Anything but vanilla.

I never understood why, when faced with so many more unusual flavors, anyone would choose vanilla.

But now that I’m older, I get it.

You always hear how the tell of young chefs is that they’re prone to adding as many ingredients and techniques on one plate as they can. But as chefs mature, they pare back, realizing that simplicity is not only harder to execute, but also in the end if done well, more meaningful and memorable.

The same with vanilla ice cream.

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Rah-Rah for Raspberry Almond Bars

My freezer is a repository of odds and ends, a treasure chest packed with the promise of delicious culinary endeavors to come.

Rinds from parmesan wedges saved for hearty vegetable soup pots in the days ahead.

Over-ripe bananas tucked away for spur-of-the-moment banana bread-baking.

Heels of bread for making crumbs to dredge chicken thighs in.

And for this recipe.

“Raspberry Almond Bars” appealed to me because they make use of almond flour (also found copiously tucked away in my freezer) and bread crumbs. In fact, there’s no need to measure out any all-purpose flour because the batter gets its foundation from the former two ingredients, plus a generous amount of eggs. The recipe calls for 6 extra large eggs. Since I only buy large ones, I just upped the number of those to 7 for this recipe. It also calls for superfine sugar. You can just whirl regular granulated in a food processor to make it finer. Or truth be told, I just used the regular granulated as is without a problem.

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A Glutton for Butter Mochi

Butter mochi -- my downfall.

Butter mochi — my downfall.

 

Last week, I gorged myself.

And I blame Chef Jeffrey Stout for it.

You see, after a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to post a photo on Facebook of a unique sweet treat that I enjoyed there that was quite new to me: butter mochi.

Stout, former chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino who’s now building his own restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, did what any self-respecting chef would do when he spied the photo and sensed my longing — he emailed me a recipe for it.

Curses!

It was far easier to make than I thought it would be. When I tried a piece, I immediately ate a second, then had to restrain myself from reaching for a third.

Chef, what have you done!

The recipe comes from Stout’s neighbor, Taryn Esperas, who has been known to make this for neighborhood block parties, where it’s always one of the first things to be gobbled up.

It’s cake. But not. It’s custard. But not really. It’s sort of its own delightful hybrid.

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