Category Archives: Cheese

Kimchi Mac and Cheese Ups the Game

A delightfully crisp panko crust, along with kimchi and gochujang take this mac and cheese to another level.
A delightfully crisp panko crust, along with kimchi and gochujang take this mac and cheese to another level.

Get ready to raise your mac and cheese game.

All it takes is a little kimchi and gochujang.

“Kimchi Mac and Cheese” is from the new “The Honeysuckle Cookbook: 100 Healthy, Feel-Good Recipes to Live Deliciously”(Rodale), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Dzung Lewis, a financial analyst in the Bay Area who moved to Los Angeles and pursued her real passion of cooking. Born to Vietnamese immigrants, she started the popular YouTube channel “Honeysuckle.”

Lewis’ forte is taking familiar dishes and adding a fun spin, such as in “Matcha-Almond Breakfast Loaf,” “Miso Udon Carbonara” and “Ginger-Cardamom Lemon Bars.”

Kimchi is a staple in my fridge, so I was eager to add it to mac and cheese. It did not disappoint, adding a touch of acidity and a real depth in the way that Dijon mustard often does in this classic.

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Keep Calm & Eat Cheese

Loads of spicy, smoky flavor -- that's why Cypress Grove's Chipotle Cocoa delivers big-time.
Loads of spicy, smoky flavor — that’s why Cypress Grove’s Chipotle Cacao delivers big-time.

When it comes to cooking, it’s the little things in life that make such a difference now — crunchy sea salt, olive oil with a real personality, and an exceptional cheese with flavor to spare that elevates anything it touches.

That’s why I felt like I had truly hit the culinary jackpot when Humboldt County’s Cypress Grove sent me samples during this just-the-basics-ma’am, hunker-down-and-make-do kind of time.

Because it’s soft-ripened goat cheeses are anything but banal. Since 1983, this Arcata, CA-based cheesemaker has been turning out award-winning wheels. Since 2017, it’s taken a fancy turn each year to its classic Humboldt Fog by making limited-edition remixes that feature herbs and spices added.

This year, Cypress Grove ups the equation by not only adding the familiar ripple of flavoring at the center of the cheese, but also mixing it into the cheese paste through and through. The result is wallop of flavor.

This year’s line-up includes the Dill Remix, which was released in April; the Chipotle Cacao that will debut in summer; and the Haze Remix due in the fall.

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Find Your Way to Tapas Tokki

Fried tofu with spicy pork and kimchi at Tapas Tokki.
Fried tofu with spicy pork and kimchi at Tapas Tokki.

You have to be in the know to find Tapas Tokki. Even then, you may be rather confounded when trying to find the location of this small, tucked-away Korean small-plates restaurant in Santa Clara.

Chef-Owner Jin Jeong says even people who do find their way, sometimes poke their head in the door apprehensively, and timidly ask, “Is this a restaurant?”

Why, yes it is. And a delightful one at that.

Not only is it located in a compact, nondescript strip mall you could easily drive by without a second glance that also houses a beauty salon, a Filipino restaurant and the Eritrean Community Center, but it’s in a spot that you might never think to venture to.

Just look for the sign to find it.
Just look for the sign to find it.

It is located in the alleyway to the side of the mall. The fact that there’s no sign with its name on it doesn’t make it any easier. But once you spot a sign with a leaping rabbit on it, you know you’ve found it.

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If It’s Monday, It Must Be Time For Burgers & Burgundies

The Selby's burger.
The Selby’s burger.

There is Meatless Monday. And there is Meatball Monday at some establishments.

But for the ultimate highbrow-lowbrow experience, there is Burgers & Burgundies on Monday nights at Selby’s in Redwood City.

Bacchus Management Group, which operates Selby’s, had featured Burgers & Burgundies for years at its Michelin-stared Spruce in San Francisco. Although discontinued there, the tradition has been brought over to Selby’s.

Last week, I had a chance to try this irresistible combo when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

The three burgundies offered by the glass last Monday night.
The three burgundies offered by the glass last Monday night.
Enjoy one glass of burgundy -- or a flight.
Enjoy one glass of burgundy — or a flight.

The burger-wine combo can be enjoyed either in the dining room or at the bar. Think of it as a more low-key dining option at the posh restaurant when you don’t want to linger for hours over a multitude of courses.

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Tear Into Lemon, Broccoli and Garlic Deep-Pan Pizza

A thick, focaccia-like crust forms the foundation for this veggie pan pizza.
A thick, focaccia-like crust forms the foundation for this veggie pan pizza.

Pan pizza is definitely having a raging moment in the Bay Area.

A decidedly thick one.

With more Detroit-style pizza being offered at places around the Bay, you don’t need to get on a plane to the Midwest to dig into a slab.

You can even try your hand at making your own at home, thanks to the new cookbook, “Perfect Pan Pizza: Square Pies to Make at Home, from Roman, Sicilian, and Detroit, to Grandma Pies and Focaccia” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by bread-making authority Peter Reinhart.

This is the ultimate tome with everything you need to know about making thick-crust-style pizza, with detailed directions and photos about making, folding, dimpling, and baking the dough. Reinhart also provides a variety of dough recipes so you can choose according to your preference: “White Flour Dough,” “Whole Grain Country-Style Dough,” and “Naturally Leavened Dough.”

He breaks down the differences between Roman, Sicilian, Detroit, Grandma-style and focaccia-style pan pizzas, and provides recipes for all those styles with inventive toppings, including “Beef Brisket with Burnt Ends,” “Banh Mi,” and “Avocado Scampi.”

The “Lemon, Broccoli, and Garlic” caught my attention because I figured when consuming that many carbs, I ought to at least try to squeeze some veggies in at the same time.

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