A “Vegetarian Dinner Party” For Me, Myself — and Meat Boy?

Tofu that's pretty enough for company, don't you think?

Tofu that’s pretty enough for company, don’t you think?

 

My husband likes to say he will gladly eat a vegetarian meal.

(Insert eye rolling here.)

But when I cook a vegetarian entree at home, I will see him sneak a few pieces of salami on the side.

What can I expect from someone nicknamed Meat Boy, right?

When I received a review copy of “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” (Rodale, 2014), though, I had high hopes he might actually keep to his word for once.

Not only was the book named the “2015 People’s Choice Award” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, but it was written by our friends and most prolific cookbook writers, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. After all, if you can’t enjoy a vegetarian dish by two people you know and like, when can you?

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Julian Yeo of Roots & Rye For A Macy’s Cooking Demo

MacysRootsRye

If you’ve spent anytime lately wandering around San Jose’s Santana Row, then you’ve seen the construction currently going on to finish the new restaurant, Roots & Rye, which is set to open its doors any day now.

Be one of the first to enjoy a taste of this new establishment, when its chef, Julian Yeo, joins me for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. July 16.

If Julian’s name sounds familiar, it’s because his father is noted Chef Chris Yeo, a pioneer in bringing Singaporean cuisine to the Bay Area.

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Monsieur Benjamin Est Tres Bien

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.

 

In the Bay Area, it’s Asian flavors that seem to be on everyone’s plate and palate these days.

So much so that French cuisine — though not its classic techniques — seem to have fallen out of favor.

But leave it to Monsieur Benjamin, which opened last summer in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, to remind us why French food — just like a sharp little Chanel suit — truly never goes out of style.

Korean-born Corey Lee may imbue his Michelin three-starred Benu with breathless Asian flair, but with his second, more casual restaurant, Monsieur Benjamin, he stays the course of timeless French dishes yet gives them a touch of modernity.

His right-hand man is Chef Jason Berthold, late of RN74 in San Francisco, who worked with Lee when both were at the French Laundry.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

The bistro doesn’t try to recreate the look of one in Paris. Instead, it very much fits in with its San Francisco surroundings, incorporating a lot of stainless steel, clean lines and striking black walls.

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Get the Fireworks Started with Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry-Corn Tart

A dazzling tart topped with blueberries and corn. Yes, corn!

A dazzling tart topped with blueberries and corn. Yes, corn!

 

On a recent episode of “MasterChef,” the contestants were initially befuddled when asked to make a dessert using the secret ingredient: corn.

It’s not such a daft ingredient for a sweet, as you might first think.

Sure, we may associate it most with the savory side — grilled corn on the cob, succotash, corn salads, corn chowder and the like.

But I can remember digging into a bowl of corn ice cream and a warm, airy corn souffle at restaurants, and breaking into a delighted smile.

After all, corn is naturally sweet, especially modern-day varieties, which are bred to be higher in sugar.

So last fall, when I finally got my hands on a review copy of the newest cookbook by culinary treasure, Dorie Greenspan, “Baking Chez Moi” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), I waited to bake from it. And waited. And waited.

Until fresh corn and fresh blueberries finally came into season, which is now.

Greenspan’s “Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart” is worth all of that patience.

Imagine a crumbly shortbread-cookie crust mounded with a creamy, honey-scented filling that’s heaped with gorgeous jammy blueberries and fresh corn kernels.

It’s a beaut. A real attention-getter. Just the dessert you want on a summer holiday like the Fourth of July.

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Test-Driving (And Cooking) Sun Basket

I made this for dinner from a Sun Basket cooking kit.

I made this for dinner from a Sun Basket cooking kit.

 

There are enough meal delivery start-ups these days to make your head spin and your stomach growl over just which are worth ordering — if any.

When I was invited to try out a free delivery by San Francisco’s Sun Basket, I was swayed to do so by a couple of factors.

First, the recipes for the cooking kits were developed by Justine Kelly, former executive chef at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Second, the quality of ingredients is impressive. The kits include organic, seasonal ingredients from highly regarded purveyors such as Dirty Girl, Far West Funghi, Water 2 Table, and Marin Sun.

Sun Basket was founded by Adam Zbar, a serial entrepreneur who found himself 50 pounds overweight from binging on burgers and pizza like so many young techies. That led him to develop meal kits that would make it easier for busy people to cook nutritious dinners at home.

All you do is go on the site a week ahead of time to order your weekly delivery, which consists of three different meals that you choose from Sun Basket’s menu. Each recipe is designed to take about 30 minutes to prepare, and has 500 to 800 calories per serving. There are also gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian options. Each meal is $9.99 per person.

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