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.
Top-selling Italian ricciarelli cookies at Market Hall Bakery.
More than three decades ago, this lot on College Avenue in Oakland sat empty except when it transformed into a pumpkin patch every Halloween.
But siblings Sara, Tony and Peter Wilson had a vision that it could be so much more.
The New Zealand natives set to work to turn it into the first European-style food court in the Bay Area.
This year, Rockridge Market Hall Foods celebrates its 30th anniversary, a remarkable achievement in this day and age when fewer and fewer family-owned markets seem able to survive yet alone thrive.
The bakery case.
A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.
Just part of the cheese selection.
To celebrate, the marketplace is hosting monthly events all this year that feature fun free activities and treats. To see what’s upcoming, check out the calendar here.
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?
Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers’ market.
If you haven’t yet checked out the new summer farmers’ market at Santana Row, you’re missing out.
Le Marche takes place every Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., through September. The main Row is closed off to cars, so you can stroll both sides of the street easily to check out the wares of more than 50 vendors.
A bevy of stands to check out.
Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.
There’s everything from organic produce to fresh seafood and meat to cheese to baked goods.
An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!
Fried rice is typically a frugal dish, something you slap together at the last minute with meager ingredients on hand.
This is not that fried rice.
Not when it is enveloped in whipped uni butter, and crowned with fresh uni.
And certainly not when it is on the menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino for $25.
When Food Gal reader Kristy implored me recently to get the recipe for the uni fried rice after falling for it at Alexander’s, I could commiserate.
After all, I had enjoyed it at the restaurant only once — and I still dream about it. It’s that kind of dish — loaded with bold flavors that grabs you from the get-go with its uncanny mix of comfort and luxuriousness.
Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.
Executive Chef Jared Montarbo was kind enough to actually provide the recipe. As chefs are wont to do, there weren’t precise measurements for every single ingredient, so I tinkered a little. After making it at home recently, I can tell you confidently that his recipe does indeed make for a fried rice dish just about as delicious as the one he makes at the restaurant.