California’s Only Grower of Real Wasabi

Monday, 7. April 2014 5:25 | Author:

This is what real wasabi looks like.

This is what real wasabi looks like.

 

If you think that pasty blob of green garnishing your sushi platter is wasabi, think again.

The real-deal rhizome is as rare as it is pricey.

That’s why what you generally find on most sushi plates is actually a cheap concoction of horseradish, mustard and green dye, not the actual Japanese rhizome that’s extremely difficult to grow.

Nowadays, though, if you know where to look, you might find more of the real wasabi around. That’s because there’s now one grower in California cultivating it: Half Moon Bay Wasabi.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products | Comments (3)



Join the Food Gal and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company at Macy’s Valley Fair

Friday, 4. April 2014 5:27 | Author:

MacysHalfMoonBay

Who wants to try some beeramisu?

I thought that would get your attention. Yup, it’s the classic Italian dessert, only made with beer.

You can learn how to make it and sample some at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 6 p.m. April 10 when I host a cooking demo with Chef Gaston Alfaro of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants | Comments (2)



Endive — Your New Best Friend

Wednesday, 2. April 2014 5:25 | Author:

Endive braised with gorgonzola that can top so many different things.

Endive braised with gorgonzola that can top so many different things.

 
Every winter, when I get a “bouquet” of endive from California Vegetable Specialties,” it’s always a welcome delivery.

That’s because it makes me rediscover how versatile this year-round vegetable is.

Europeans consume as much as 15 pounds per year of endive. But Americans? We partake of a mere ounce a year.

I admit I often don’t do much better than that, myself, reaching for the slender white or red chicory occasionally to spiff up salads for company.

The Rio Vista company is the only producer of endive in the country. And yes, that’s “on-deev,” in the French manner, which are grown in the dark.

But there’s so much more you can do with endive than just separate the leaves to toss into salads.

“Braised Endive with Gorgonzola” is one example. This incredibly simple recipe is from “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Deborah Madison, former chef of Greens in San Francisco, and expert on vegetable-based cooking. It includes more than 300 recipes for 12 different plant families. She gives fascinating insight into what vegetables are related to one another, how to use the entire vegetable, and best flavorings to use with each.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (7)



Bay Area Chefs Event, New Seafood Restaurant Coming to Mountain View & More

Monday, 31. March 2014 5:26 | Author:

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

“Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love”

Enjoy gourmet noshes by 15 Bay Area chefs matched with wine and cocktails at the annual “Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love” fund-raiser, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 13 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The participating chefs are:

Executive Chef Ross Hanson, Oak & Rye Restaurant
Executive Chef Philipe Breneman, Lexington House
Executive Chef John Burke, Liquid Bread Gastropub
Executive Chef Jeff Fitzgerald, Dio Deka
Executive Chef Jarad Gallagher, Chez TJ
Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez, The Table
Executive Chef Brad Kraten, Park Place
Executive Chef Lan Le, White Shallot
Executive Chef Randy MustererSushi Confidential
Executive Chef Justin Perez, Justin’s Restaurant
Head Baker Avery Ruzicka, The Manresa Bread Project
Executive Chef Josiah Slone,  Sent Sovi
Executive Chef Nanci Wokas, Hewlett Packard
Executive Chef Chris Yamashita, Brown Chicken Brown Cow
Bee Whisperer Tim Dauber, Bee Friendly

The best dishes will receive a People’s Choice, Chefs’ Choice and Judges’ Choice award. Yours truly is proud to be one of the judges for the evening.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants, Wine | Comment (0)

The Counter Debuts A New Menu

Friday, 28. March 2014 5:26 | Author:

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

 

It’s not every burger joint that offers quinoa, kale and deviled eggs.

But The Counter, which has locations worldwide now, started in Santa Monica, where gourmet, healthful grub is definitely appreciated.

That’s why the build-your-own burger chain has introduced a new menu this month at its Northern California locations that will eventually expand to encompass all its outposts.

Don’t worry — you can still design your own burger to your heart’s content from type of bun, meat and cheese to a full arsenal of toppings. But there are now new salads, drinks and set burger options, as I found out when I was invited in recently to be a guest of The Counter at San Jose’s Santana Row.

The Santana Row outpost.

The Santana Row outpost.

Among the new selections are a Veggie Club ($7) with grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, grilled carrot, avocado, tomato, mozzarella and pesto; the Un-Brie-livable ($9.50 for 1/3 pound or $12.50 for 1/2 pound) ground turkey patty with brie, organic mixed greens, dried cranberries, tomato, and apricot sauce on a multigrain bun; and the Sonoma Bowl ($10.50 for 1/3 pound or $13.50 for 1/2 pound) beef burger in a bowl with organic greens, quinoa, herbed goat cheese, red onions, roasted tomatoes and pesto.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:General, Restaurants | Comments (4)