Better Sweet-And-Sour Spare Ribs

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

 

This is not your battered to oblivion, deep-fried, unnaturally red, gloppy sauced sweet and sour pork that’s a standard at Chinese restaurants.

No, this is a home-style version that eschews all of that — and tastes even better as a result.

“Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs” is from the new cookbook, “Chinese Soul Food” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Hsiao-Ching Chou, a Seattle food writer and cooking instructor.

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She grew up in Columbia, MO, where her parents settled in 1975. At the time, there were no Asian markets there. In fact, the family had to drive 10 hours to Chicago to stock up on decent soy sauce and other Chinese provisions. Her parents eventually opened a Chinese restaurant in 1980, which lasted for 23 years.

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Cape Cod Potato Chips Make Waves

Dangerously delicious.

Dangerously delicious.

 

You can’t eat just one.

No way. No how.

Cape Cod Potato Chips, which indeed originated in Cape Cod, has come out with thick-sliced, wavy-cut chips just made for dipping.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples of the new product, Cape Cod Waves, which come in three flavors: White Cheddar & Sour Cream, Sea Salt, and Reduced Fat Sea Salt.

The chips are kettle-cooked in small batches. I love how substantial they are, with a nice thickness for emphasized crunch. The ridges definitely help you pick up a lot of dip, if you like, too.

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Saffron Bistro’s Unique Brunch

Owner Ajay Walia debuts an inventive new brunch pop-up at his Saffron Bistro.

Owner Ajay Walia debuts an inventive new brunch pop-up at his Saffron Bistro.

 

If you’re tired of the same ol’ waffles, scrambled eggs and corned beef hash for brunch, then you’re in for a treat at Jugaad Cafe.

That’s the name of the pop-up brunch offered on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Saffron Bistro in San Carlos.

Owner Ajay Walia, who also has Michelin-starred Rasa in Burlingame, started this hybrid brunch in March. It features a few classic Americana dishes, but also a bevy of Indian-influenced ones so potently flavorful that they’re sure to jolt anyone to rise and shine.

The name “Jugaad’’ is a colloquial term in Hindi and Punjabi that roughly means “hack.” It’s what Walia did to traditional brunch, turning it on its head.

Who wants hashed browns when you can have masala tater tots instead?

Who wants hashed browns when you can have masala tater tots instead?

He was prompted to create the menu from his own experience of craving a more adventurous brunch on weekends, even if his kids only wanted pancakes with maple syrup. As such, this menu has something for everyone — expected fare like a strawberry-topped Belgian waffles for the kids, plus more unusual items such as savory South Indian lentil beignets with coconut chutney for folks desiring something different. Walia invited me in as his guest a few weeks ago to try some of the dishes.

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Siggi’s Introduces No Sugar-Added Yogurt

All the flavor and body, but less sugar.

All the flavor and body, but less sugar.

 

Siggi’s has been my go-to yogurt for awhile. I love its creamy, velvety texture that’s as thick as all get out. It’s slightly tangy, but not as tart as traditional Greek yogurt. There’s something almost luxurious tasting about it, too.

So when I had a chance to try samples of its new no-added sugar variety, I jumped at the chance.

Right now, there are only two flavors offered in this line: Peach & Mango, and Banana & Cinnamon.

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Carrot Cake Perfection By The Artful Baker

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

 

Simply put, “Carrot Cake with Blond Chocolate Frosting” is perfection personified in every single forkful.

Like the creator of this recipe, the uber talented baker Cenk Sonmezsoy, I, too, was skeptical that a carrot cake made without walnuts would prove completely satisfying. After all, I love nuts in almost anything for their added texture, richness and flavor.

But in his cake, you don’t miss the walnuts at all. That’s because browned butter takes its place, getting incorporated into the batter to add a divine nutty aroma and taste all its own. Moreover, the frosted cake gets ringed with toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a big dose of toastiness and crunch.

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This dynamite recipe is from “The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From An Obsessive Home Baker” (Abrams, 2017), of which I received a review copy.

You may already know Sonmezsoy for his award-winning food blog, Cafe Fernando. If you don’t, it’s high time you got to know this Instanbul-based writer, photographer and food stylist, who received his MBA from the University of San Francisco before going to work for a high-tech PR firm.

Ironically, during his time in San Francisco, Sonmezsoy lived in an apartment so small that he never cooked or baked. It was only when he returned to Istanbul that found himself longing for the food he left behind in San Francisco. So, he began baking like crazy, starting with brownies. He started his food blog in 2006, which took off like mad, capturing the fancy of so many influential bakers and publishers that he quit his corporate job in 2010 to devote full-time to blogging.

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