Who Can Resist Candy Pork?

The most appropriately named Candy Pork.

The most appropriately named Candy Pork.

 

If there were two things that my Dad loved, it was candy and it was pork.

After all, when you are of Chinese ancestry, pork is practically in your DNA.

And when you live most of your life in San Francisco, where boxes of See’s Candies are apt to be offered up as gifts for most any occasion, you can’t help but develop a fondness for all things sweet.

That’s why if my Dad were still alive this Father’s Day, I would cook up a batch of “Candy Pork” for him. Because it’s like the best of both of his favorites combined into one.

The recipe is from San Francisco food writer extraordinaire Jessica Battilana’s new cookbook, “Repertoire: All the Recipes You Need” (Little, Brown and Company), of which I received a review copy.

Repertoire

After collaborating with chefs on a half dozen cookbooks, this is her first cookbook filled with her own recipes. After she and her wife had two kids, Battilana’s life became so time-pressed that her style of cooking had to change. The result is this cookbook of 75 recipes, most of them completely do-able on a harried weeknight, and others not that much more involved for weekends or special occasions.

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Why Harbor House Inn Needs To Be On Your Radar

Vermillion rockfish caught just off the waters at Harbor House Inn.

Vermillion rockfish caught just off the waters at Harbor House Inn.

 

ELK, CA — A good three hours drive north from San Francisco through winding roads of vineyards and redwoods, this place is definitely off the beaten path. But it is making quite the splash.

Built in 1916, Harbor House Inn reopened this spring with decidedly new life. New owners bought the 9-room inn in 2005, and have spent the past few years not only meticulously restoring but improving it — most notably, with the restaurant.

They doubled the size of the restaurant kitchen and managed to lure an incredible team to oversee it: Executive Chef Matthew Kammerer, former executive sous chef at Michelin three-starred Saison in San Francisco. Husband-and-wife, Sous Chef David Hopps, formerly of Saison, and Pastry Chef Elise Hopps, previously of Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco. Chef de Partie Holden Tal from Michelin two-starred Commis in Oakland. And sommelier Corrina Straus, a veteran of both La Folie in San Francisco and Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos. Amanda Nemec, former program manager for media operations at Facebook and Kammerer’s partner, is the inn’s general manager.

The entrance to the inn and restaurant.

The entrance to the inn and restaurant.

The magnificent view from the back of the property.

The magnificent view from the back of the property.

Executive Chef Matthew Kammerer (right) in the kitchen that doubled in size.

Executive Chef Matthew Kammerer (right) in the kitchen that doubled in size.

A few weeks before it opened to the public, I was invited to be a guest to come check it all out. (Full disclosure: I was hired to write some of the inn’s marketing materials.)

The Mendocino Coast town of Ellk has all of 200 people, and this inn, situated on a bluff right over the ocean, really does make you feel a bit like you’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s little else directly around it, save for a herd of shaggy-haired Highland cattle across the road.

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Syrian Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Sumac

A simple chicken with sumac, onions and pine nuts, for the times.

A simple chicken with sumac, onions and pine nuts, for the times.

 

I know this may sound sexist and simplistic, but I truly believe if more women were in charge there would be fewer wars and conflicts.

Women just have a natural tendency to want to talk it out — rather than use their fists or other weapons — to resolve situations.

Just imagine if a woman were the head of state of Syria rather than the long-standing brutal male president whose crimes against humanity have left this once beautiful country devastated beyond imagination.

Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi know only too well the tragedy that has befallen the country. Azzam was born in Syria and moved to the United Kingdom in 2011, where she’s produced theater productions with refugees, as well as the Peabody and BAFTA-winning documentary series, “Exodus: Our Journey to Europe,” which chronicles the migration crisis.

Mousawi, who grew up in Baghdad, produced and directed “Terrestrial Journeys,” a theater piece devised with Syrian women living in Beirut’s refugee camps.

OurSyria

Through their nonprofit theater project, avid cooks and friends, Azzam and Mousawi met dozens of Syrian women refugees. As they got to know one another, the conversation naturally turned to food.

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Join The Food Gal and Chef R.J. Subaba of Viognier For A Cooking Demo

MacysViognierJoin yours truly and Executive Chef R.J. Subaba of Viognier restaurant for a delicious cooking demo, 2 p.m. June 9 at Macy’s Valley Fair Santa Clara.

Subaba has cooked at such illustrious establishments as the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, Murray Circle at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, Madera at the Rose Wood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and the Village Pub in Woodside.

At Viognier, located on top of Draeger’s market in downtown San Mateo, he’s bringing an approachable elegance to the fare.

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Crepe Cake Perfection at Anton SV Patisserie

Anton SV Patisserie's tiramisu crepe cake.

Anton SV Patisserie’s tiramisu crepe cake.

 

It is a different kind of Silicon Valley engineering feat.

Slathering delicate crepes with a luscious cream filling, then placing them perfectly level, perfectly straight, one on top of the other until the stack rises a majestic 20 layers or higher in complete precision.

Anthony Tam not only possesses the skills to do this, but the business acumen to have turned this into a delectable phenomenon.

The former supply chain manager at a Fremont tech firm started his Anton SV Patisserie just over two years ago out of a Milpitas commercial kitchen.

Anthony Tam traded tech for cakes.

Anthony Tam traded tech for cakes.

Now, his handmade $88 crepe cakes have become a sensation, gracing special events at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies. He now even offers delivery of whole cakes to select Bay Area cities. The crepe cakes also can be enjoyed for about $10 a slice at six cafes in the South Bay and San Francisco.

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