Category Archives: General

Summer’s Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork

Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.
Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.

Times were when I’d make a special trip to the grocery store at the drop of a hat just to get the precise -sized tomatoes needed for this recipe.

These are not those times, obviously.

Which is why you see this mismatch of tomatoes in this dish instead.

But I’m happy to report that like many things in life, well, size doesn’t matter so much.

Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they'll do in a pinch.
Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they’ll do in a pinch.

“Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork” will work out perfectly well, no matter if you have all the same-sized tomatoes or not.

This fun recipe is from “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press, 2019), the best-selling cookbook by my friend Andrea Nguyen.

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Perk Things Up with Spice Tribe

Spice Tribe's Porcini Paradiso blend coats smoked duck incredibly well.
Spice Tribe’s Porcini Paradiso blend coats smoked duck incredibly well.

You know shelter-in-place is getting to us when even a few chefs admit they are sick of cooking at home now.

So rev up your cooking with some new small-batch spice blends with global flavors.

Chef and world traveler Trent Blodgett was inspired to found the San Francisco company, Spice Tribe, after exploring countries from Thailand to Haiti, and marveling at the unique aromas and tastes of each place’s cuisine.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 7

Khachapuri adjaruli -- a bread lover's dream at Bevri.
Khachapuri adjaruli — a bread lover’s dream at Bevri.

Bevri, Palo Alto

When it debuted in downtown Palo Alto in 2018, Bevri was thought to be the first Georgian restaurant in all of Northern California.

Russia-born Pavel Sirotin, who also works at Google, opened it with his brother and sister-in-law because he missed his favorite homeland noshes. Over the years, word has spread about this unique gem of a place, and even more so now after the restaurant was featured on a recent episode of “Check, Please! Bay Area Kids Special.” Sirotin says a lot of newcomers have discovered Bevri as a result of that show, with many of them racing in and declaring, “I want what those kids had!”

It’s all available for takeout, too. If you are a carb lover like I am, you simply must order the iconic khachapuri adjaruli ($21), the soft, puffy, canoe-shaped bread whose center is molten cheese. The bread comes packed in a pizza box so it won’t get smooshed on the drive home. A separate container of butter, and a raw egg yolk is included. Warm up the bread in a toaster oven, then plop the yolk and butter in the center, and mix it into the warm cheese. Tear off a hunk of bread, dip it into the center like fondue, and prepare to experience bread-and-cheese nirvana.

The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.

If you don’t want to contend with a raw yolk, there is also the khachapuri imeruli ($18), which is more like a flattened round bread that has a filling of soft, stretchy, mozzarella-like cheese. It’s also wonderful, but not as quite as special.

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And the People’s Choice Is…Beef Jerky

People's Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.
People’s Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.

The Blanchetti founded Peoples Old Market in downtown Los Angeles in 1929, an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness neighborhood butcher shop.

It flourished, eventually being renamed Peoples Sausage Company to reflect its specialty. Over the years, succeeding generations of the family joined the business, adding their own new products, including an all-natural, hand-crafted beef jerky made from a 1920’s recipe that became a runaway hit.

People’s Choice Beef Jerky now offers a range of dried meat products, which I recently got a chance to sample.

Now, admittedly, I’m not one to normally chow down on beef jerky. But in the time of a pandemic, I can readily see how these meaty snacks can come in quite handy.

This is beef jerky that actually tastes of beef, not an old shoe. It’s got chew to it, so if you prefer softer, flabbier jerky, this might not be to your liking.

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