David Chang’s Clam Juk

Tuck into a big bowl of clam juk by David Chang.

Tuck into a big bowl of clam juk by David Chang.

 

If ever a book captures just what a delicious, beautiful and bountiful buffet of cultures and peoples we are, “America The Great Cookbook” does.

The cookbook (Welden Owen), of which I received a review copy, was edited by Joe Yonan, food and dining editor at the Washington Post. It features iconic recipes from 100 of America’s best chefs and food heroes.

What is American food? It is “Creole Gumbo” by Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. It is “Yun-Hui (My Mother’s) Red-Cooked Pork” by Cecilia Chiang, ground-breaking San Francisco restaurateur. It is “Maple-Glazed Roasted Acorn Squash with Toasted Pepitas” by Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef in Minneapolis. It is “Soft-Shell Crabs with Shishito Mole, Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Balm” by Daniela Soto-Innes, chef of Cosme in New York. It is “Baklava Cheesecake” by food blogger Amanda Saab, founder of “Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor.” And it is so much more.

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For me, Asian rice porridge, congee or jook (or juk) is a comforting taste of America, because I’ve grown up enjoying it here. I’ve spooned up its thick, creamy deliciousness countless times when my Mother would make it, typically after Thanksgiving, using the turkey carcass as the base for its broth. Or anytime my stomach was upset, when she would whip it up to soothe me.

“Clam Juk” is by New York’s David Chang, chef and founder of Momofuku. It’s a slightly more fanciful version of the basic congee, with its addition of pickled clams, which are quite easy to make.

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Getting Saucy For Ginger Carrot Fixer

A healthier take on your favorite Japanese restaurant salad dressing.

A healthier take on your favorite Japanese restaurant salad dressing.

 

My friends and relatives have been known to ask for extra dressing on their salads at Japanese restaurants. That’s how much they love its creamy, nutty taste.

Of course, drowning your greens in dressing, and probably one made with a generous amount of Kewpie mayo, may not be the most heart-healthy action.

That’s why they’re sure to be as glad as I am to find this alternative recipe that has all the delightful flavor they’re accustomed to, but makes use of canola oil and carrots to create its sweet creaminess.

“Ginger Carrot Fixer” is from “Secret Sauces” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. The book, which contains 65 recipes, is by Vanessa Seder, a recipe developer and tester for cookbooks, and magazines including Martha Stewart Living, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Cooking Light.

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She understands how a great sauce can transform even the most basic of ingredients — be it “Avocado Green Goddess,” “Fig and Balsamic Agrodolce,” “Waikiki Teriyake,” “Secret Ingredient Caramel” and many more. Seder also provides recommendations on what to use each sauce for.

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A Fondness For Farro Torta

A most versatile torta filled with eggs, veggies, fresh herbs and nutty farro.

A most versatile torta filled with eggs, veggies, fresh herbs and nutty farro.

 

Is it a frittata? Or a quiche?

It’s a hybrid that is definitely authentic.

After all, “Farro Torta” comes from the new cookbook, “Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way” (St. Martin’s), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Rolando Beramendi, founder of Italian fine food importer Manicaretti, who splits his time between San Francisco, New York and Florence. His expertise on all things Italian has been lauded by the likes of Ina Garten, Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, and Nancy Silverton.

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As he writes in the intro of the book: “I cook food in its most authentic form. I cook to break preconceived notions of what food should be — no overcrowded plates, no recipes with too many disparate ingredients, no out-of-season ingredients, no need for a lot of equipment. I make no-fuss food for my guests and myself that nourishes both hearts and our stomachs.”

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Move Over Ramen; Make Way For Marugame Udon

Feast on Sanuki-style noodles at the first Marugame Udon in Northern California.

Feast on Sanuki-style noodles at the first Marugame Udon in Northern California.

 

You might expect crowd control ropes outside a swank night club, a rock concert venue or even an Apple store poised for a new iPhone release.

But for an udon cafeteria-style restaurant?

Yet that’s just what you’ll find outside the Marukame Udon on Waikiki in Honolulu, with throngs of people lined up to get inside, no matter what day or night.

Now, Bay Area folks can get a taste of this noodle sensation, with the opening last week of the first branch of this worldwide Japanese noodle chain in San Francisco at the Stonestown Galleria. It’s only the second one on the mainland, with the other being in Los Angeles.

The entrance is on the outside of the mall.

The entrance is on the outside of the mall.

Gotta love the T-shirts that workers wear.

Gotta love the T-shirts that workers wear.

Time will tell if the San Francisco outpost surpasses the Waikiki one, which is the highest grossing location for the company.

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Brunch Time At The Incomparable Clove and Hoof

Now, that's a burger -- at Clove and Hoof.

Now, that’s a burger — at Clove and Hoof.

 

What’s better than a neighborhood artisan butcher shop that takes care to sell sustainably raised beef, pork, lamb, chicken, rabbit, and duck?

One that also spotlights its prime products in delicious dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Clove and Hoof in Oakland is such a place. The light-filled, hip butcher shop and restaurant is owned by John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell. It’s the kind of place you wish every neighborhood could be so lucky to have.

The casual spot gets crowded at brunch, so be warned that you may have to wait in line. My husband and I lucked out when we arrived on a Sunday morning, right before the crowds. You order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for the food to be brought out to you.

Place your brunch order at the counter -- or pick up provisions to cook at home.

Place your brunch order at the counter — or pick up provisions to cook at home.

The C&H signature burger ($14) is a whopper, weighing in with two four-ounce patties, caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, chopped romaine, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo — all wedged inside a soft potato pepper bun.

Be sure to get plenty of napkins because this is a dripper — loaded with deeply beefy juices.

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