Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Win A Signed Copy of My New “East Bay Cooks” Cookbook

Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Remember when you were a kid, and beamed with pride and happiness the first time you donned a snazzy new pair of red cowboy boots?

That’s how I feel about my newest cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), which debuts this week. Thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, it turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Just get a load of the images here from the book, all of them shot by the incredibly talented Bay Area photographer Eva Kolenko.

Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Whether you’re a Bay Area native or not, this book will have you enthralled with the East Bay, the most populous region in the Bay Area. It spotlights 41 restaurants and bakeries, some brand new, and others that have endured for decades — no easy feat in this challenging and competitive market.

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Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime and Peanuts — As Easy As It Gets

This dish comes together in a flash.
This dish comes together in a flash.

Now that the kids are back in school, and summer getaways have done come and gone, it’s time for quick-cooking dishes that require little thought but deliver way more than anticipated.

“Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime and Peanuts” is that kind of dish.

It’s from “Martha Stewart’s Grilling: 125+ Recipes for Gatherings Large and Small: A Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter), the new cookbook by the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, of which I received a review copy.

I’d already tried out one recipe from this cookbook that boasts more than 125 to choose from. Since it came out so delightfully well, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at another one before the grilling days of summer end.

This shrimp dish takes barely 10 minutes to put together. You’d be hard pressed to find another that cooks up faster with this much punch.

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Banh Mi Fried Rice (Yes, You Read That Right)

No bread needed -- banh mi fried rice.
No bread needed — banh mi fried rice.

If fried rice is an edible blank canvas, then get ready to channel your inner Jackson Pollock.

Fast, easy, and a perennial favorite, this homespun dish veers decidedly outside the box in the new “Fried Rice: 50 Ways to Stir Up the World’s Favorite Grain” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy.

James Beard Award-winning food writer Danielle Centoni, a former food colleague of mine she was at the Oakland Tribune and I was at sister newspaper the San Jose Mercury News, greatly expands on the notion of what fried rice can be.

The book includes globally-inspired 50 recipes. Of course, there are standards such as “Classic Chinese Fried Rice with BBQ Pork” and “Spicy Fried Rice with Chinese Broccoli, Ground Pork, and Szechuan Chili Oil.” But there is plenty more that you’d be hard-pressed to have considered before, including “Fried Rice with Halloumi, Pickled Onions, and Zhug,” “Carbonara Fried Rice,” and “New Mexican Chili Fried Rice with Queso and Pork.”

She also includes tips for making fried rice (always start with day-old cooked rice), proper water ratios when cooking rice, and ways to avoid pests growing in your stored rice (freeze it for three days first).

Her “Vietnamese Pork Meatball Banh Mi Fried Rice” has all the vibrant flavors of your favorite inexpensive Vietnamese sandwich, but its foundation is rice rather than a French baguette. That means this dish is gluten-free, especially if you swap out the soy sauce for tamari instead.

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Turmeric Grilled Sea Bass For The Win This Summer

Take a taste of Cassia restaurant's turmeric grilled sea bass -- in the comfort of your own home.

Take a taste of Cassia restaurant’s turmeric grilled sea bass — in the comfort of your own home.


There was a time when folks poked fun of the dining scene in Los Angeles.

Not anymore. Now, it’s not only the darling of food fanatics looking for authentic ethnic cuisines and exciting push-the-envelope places, but it’s also the location of choice for chefs around the country looking to open new ventures. That includes: San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco-Mexico City Chef Gabriela C├ímara, New York’s David Chang, New York’s Christina Tosi, and New York-Mexico City’s Enrique Olvera.

“EAT. COOK. L.A.: Recipes from the City of Angels: A Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, captures Los Angeles’ dynamic dining scene with stories and 100 recipes from some of the area’s biggest names. Find everything from the “Egg Slut” by, yes, Eggslut; “Tomato Salad with Crispy Potatoes and Whipped Feta” from Sqirl; “Chanterelle Lasagna with English Peas and Parmesan Pudding” from Lucques; “Chinois Lamb Chops with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette” from Spago; “Adobo Fried Rice” from Republique; and “Chocolate Sesame Cake” from Kismet.


The book is by Aleksandra Crapanzano, a screenwriter and food writer based in New York, who is a regular food columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

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Republique’s Dazzling Raspberry-Mochi Butter Cake with Matcha Glaze

Raspberries and matcha flavor this unique mochi butter cake from Republique.

Raspberries and matcha flavor this unique mochi butter cake from Republique.


When Campanile restaurant and its adjacent La Brea Bakery closed in Los Angeles in 2012, I admit I shed a tear.

After all, Chef Mark Peel and Pastry Chef Nancy Silverton (then a married couple) together had created two of the most landmark establishments in the city, with the Wolfgang Puck-proteges turning out stupendous California cuisine, and extraordinary artisan breads and baked goods. In fact, the bakery was always my last stop, where I loaded up on pretzel bread and ginger scones before flying or driving home to the Bay Area.

But the iconic Spanish building that Charlie Chaplin supposedly built couldn’t have gotten better new tenants than Walter and Margarita Manzke. The couple lovingly remodeled it, maintaining its spirit, to open their Republique in 2013. It even features a bakery in the exact same spot that La Brea Bakery once operated, only now it is fully connected to the restaurant.

Baking at Republique Book

If you’ve ever visited the bakery, you know it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off the front-and-center glass case overflowing with cookies, tarts, cream puffs, breads and assorted pastries of about 50 varieties. And if you’ve had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into any of them, then you know just how skillfully they are made.

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