Battersby’s Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Arugula

Pasta that's virtuous and naughty at the same time.

Pasta that’s virtuous and naughty at the same time.


Who doesn’t love the combo of bacon and Brussels sprouts?

In fact, many a so-called sprouts hater has been turned by that irresistible pairing.

So imagine the two together with rigatoni pasta.

That’s just what you’ll find in this dish, “Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Arugula.”

It’s from the new cookbook, “Battersby: Extraordinary Food From An Ordinary Kitchen” (Grand Central Life & Style) by Joseph Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, co-chefs and co-owners of Battersby restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s co-written with veteran food writer Andrew Friedman.


As the title implies, Battersby is all about dishes that can be prepared in any kitchen. That’s because the restaurant’s own kitchen is nothing to brag about. It’s no bigger than a studio apartment’s kitchenette, the chefs write. It is outfitted with only one oven, a six-burner stove and a slim-to-none prep counter. Yet somehow, three cooks manage to make magic every night, turning out as many as 70 meals in just a few hours.

In other words, if they can make the food in this book under those constraints, there’s no reason you can’t do so, too, in your home kitchen.

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The Taste of Sriracha In A Rub

A lamb chop gets even more yummy with Sosu Sriracha Rub all over it.

A lamb chop gets even more yummy with Sosu Sriracha Rub all over it. Plus a few home-grown Padron peppers as a garnish.


Imagine the fruity heat of Sriracha crossed with the unmistakable aromatic, earthy smokiness of cumin.

That’s what you get in the new Sosu Sriracha Spice Rub.

Lisa Murphy of Oakland’s Sosu Sauces makes what is probably my favorite Sriracha sauce around. It’s aged and fermented in whiskey barrels to give it even more fruitiness and smokiness, adding to its overall complexity not found in other run-of-the-mill Asian hot sauces.

Very much like a winemaker, she produces the sauce only once a year — when peppers and tomatoes are at their peak in summer. It’s a controlled frenzy to take all that fresh produce and turn it into her Sriracha and Srirachup (Sriracha ketchup).

As a small producer cognizant of the importance of not wasting anything, she developed the rub as a way to use up the peppers used in aging the Sriracha. She was inspired by the cumin lamb skewers famed in Xi’an, China.

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Tofu Disruption


Chef Brandon Jew preparing his tofu "burrata'' at the San Francisco Cooking School.

Chef Brandon Jew preparing his tofu “burrata” at the San Francisco Cooking School.

For some people, the thought of tofu is enough to disrupt their appetite.

But for others in the know, tofu is poised for the same geeky-chic disruption as so many other tech ventures.

Minh Tsai, former investment banker turned tofu master, is leading that charge.

The founder of Oakland’s Hodo Soy Beanery, Tsai brought together a group of the Bay Area’s top chefs and food writers last week at the San Francisco Cooking School to ponder and taste tofu 2.0 — the next iteration of thinking and cooking with the much maligned soybean product.

Tofu laab with shrimp, Asian herbs, quince and chicharron.

Tofu laab with shrimp, Asian herbs, quince and chicharron.

“We want people to talk about tofu differently, to take it to another level,” says Tsai.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Pradeep Kumar of Vedas Restaurant For A Cooking Demo


Enjoy a taste of spice and all things nice when yours truly is joined by Chef-Owner Pradeep Kumar of Vedas restaurant for a cooking demo, 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

With outposts in Milpitas, San Mateo and Pleasanton, Vedas restaurants offer up a bold taste of the various regions of India. They are known for their proprietary spice blends, made in traditional stone grinders to preserve their robust flavors.

Born in Delhi, Kumar worked in New York City restaurants, Silicon Valley tech cafes, and with Food Network celebrity Robert Irvine of “Dinner: Impossible.”

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Bryan Voltaggio’s Baked Applesauce

The beginnings of this applesauce.

The beginnings of this applesauce.


The applesauce of my youth was light and bright, the taste of sunshine in the park.

This applesauce, in contrast, is like autumn by a crackling fire.

“Baked Applesauce” is by Bryan Voltaggio, chef-owner of Volt, Lunchbox, Family Meal, Range , and Aggio restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virgina.

You probably also remember him as a finalist on “Top Chef” Season 6, my personal favorite season of the show because of the outstanding caliber of its contestants that year. Voltaggio lost to his brother Michael, who owns MVink in Los Angeles.

The recipe is from Bryan’s first cookbook, “Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends” (Little, Brown and Company), of which I received a review copy.


As the name implies, these 100 recipes are the ones he makes in his family kitchen.

Sure, a few recipes do call for a whipped cream canister or xanthum gum, items not necessarily found in your everyday home kitchen. But in general, these are recipes that are not geared for a brigade of cooks or fancy equipment. In short, they are accessible with familiar flavors and a sense of fun and comfort.

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