Category Archives: General

Blow Off Some Steam With Extra-Anchovy Pasta With Kale

A pasta dish that crushes it.
A pasta dish that crushes it.

This past year has been nothing short of cataclysmic. So, you’d be forgiven if there have been moments when all you wanted to do was cry, curse, curl up in a ball or crush something into smithereens.

At a time when we could all welcome some relief comes the new cookbook, “Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings On the Table’ (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. It encourages you to pound, pulverize, and rip apart your pent-up pandemic aggression — in a tongue-and-cheek way, of course — while cooking up some tasty dishes along the way.

This wonderfully irreverent cookbook was written by Rachel Levin, a freelance food writer who was Eater’s first restaurant critic; and Tara Duggan, a veteran food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, who now covers climate and environmental issues.

This recipe lets you blow off some steam by smashing croutons to smithereens.
This recipe lets you blow off some steam by smashing croutons to smithereens.

With humorous illustrations by Los Angeles designer Stephanie DeAngelis, the book includes 50 recipes sure to brighten any mood. Get your frustration out with “Whacked Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Curry,” “Pummeled Pork Tonkatsu,” “Cry-It-Out Alsatian Tart,” and “DIY Cannabutter” (which is exactly what you think it is).

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 29

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich from Winner Winner Chicken.
The Crispy Chicken Sandwich from Winner Winner Chicken.

Winner Winner Chicken, San Mateo

Chefs Jeremy Cheng and Chef Randy Magpantay couldn’t have been more excited to finally open their Winner Winner Chicken after conceiving of the Nashville-style hot chicken establishment in 2018.

Only, they opened it in March 2020 in San Mateo’s Hillsdale Shopping Center. Five days later, the pandemic put the kibash on it.

Fortunately, with the Bay Area seemingly turning the corner now in this health crisis, Winner Winner Chicken has been able to sling its specialties for the past couple of months. I was invited in by the fast-casual eatery a week ago to try some menu items gratis, which I ferried home as takeout.

It’s a family operation, with Cheng and Magpantay, and their wives, behind the counter overseeing the ordering and cooking. Cheng and Magpantay are veterans of the South Bay’s Avenir Restaurant Group, which includes Nola in Palo Alto, Milagros in Redwood City, and Town in San Carlos.

At Winner Winner Chicken, you can choose how incendiary you like it, from Classic (no heat) to Medium (starting to heat up) and Spicy (That’s hot) to Extra Spicy (Hot as cluck).

Crispy barbecue chicken spring rolls with a center of gooey cheese.
Crispy barbecue chicken spring rolls with a center of gooey cheese.

I went with medium, though I think Magpantay dialed it down a bit and gave me medium-light (which you can request, by the way) that offered up a modest amount of heat on the palate.

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A Mother’s Day Treat with Delysia Chocolatier

A truffle box that's part of the special Mother's Day virtual chocolate tasting from Delysia Chocolatier.
A truffle box that’s part of the special Mother’s Day virtual chocolate tasting from Delysia Chocolatier.

Pamper mom this “Mother’s Day” with a virtual chocolate and tea pairing from Delysia Chocolatier.

Having taken another virtual class recently by this Austin, TX chocolate company, I can attest that it makes for a fun and enlightening time, particularly when you learn that founder Nicole Patel is actually allergic to chocolate. Patel, who began making chocolates professionally after creating some for fun for her husband’s colleagues one Christmas, relies on a keen sense of smell to get her truffle flavors just right.

When the pandemic hit, she began offering virtual tasting events. On May 8, she’ll host “Tea Time with Mom,” starting at 4 p.m. CST, in which she’ll instruct how to pair her chocolates with various teas.

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 10

Not simply gin, but a gin liqueur.
Not simply gin, but a gin liqueur.

Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur

Think of this as gin 2.0

Pomp & Whimsy is actually a gin liqueur. It’s gin that’s been distilled, then twice-infused with a botanical liqueur, then re-distilled with 16 botanicals, including juniper, coriander, grapefruit, orange, lychee, cucumber and jasmine pearls.

It was created by sociologist Dr. Nicola Nice in 2017, and was inspired by Victorian times. Nice was perplexed that there was no spirit that appealed to women in the same way that men naturally gravitated toward flights of whiskey, scotch or bourbon when they got together to unwind. When she learned that gin was sold in barrels during Victorian times and often blended with sugar or other flavorings by retailers to create gin cordials, she ran with that idea.

Pomp & Whimsy ($34) comes in a stout, bourbon-like bottle. Its taste, as I found when I received a sample bottle, is profoundly of lychees, bitter orange, grapefruit, lime, and honeysuckle flowers. Juniper, which often lends a medicinal quality that turns off some folks, is present, but just barely. There’s a sweet, almost syrupy or viscous quality, too.

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Super Natural Simple Sensational Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies

One of the best cookie recipes I've baked lately -- and that's saying something.
One of the best cookie recipes I’ve baked lately — and that’s saying something.

Take a long, deep breath. Now, inhale, imagining the sublime aroma of summer raspberries bubbling away, and turning soft and jammy in a buttery, golden pie crust in your oven.

Yet in reality, what’s baking away is not a pie at all, but cookies.

That’s the magical, irresistible promise of these “Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies.” They eat like cookies, but possess the taste and fragrance of raspberry pie a la mode, thanks to a heap of freeze-dried raspberries that give a concentrated berry boost, plus enough vanilla extract to lend a sweet, milkshake-like taste of nostalgia.

This recipe is from the newest cookbook by renowned food blogger and food writer Heidi Swanson, who created her site, 101 Cookbooks way back in 2003. “Super Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes for Real Life” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is her fourth cookbook.

Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.
Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.

Like her other books, this one is filled with smart, effortless, and enticing plant-based recipes. The 120 recipes, designed to be wholesome and nutrient-dense, will take you through morning, noon and night, with such delights as “Instant Sriracha Oats,” “Coconut-Asparagus Soup,” “Tangerine & Tahini Ponzu Noodles,” and “Minted Mushroom Kebabs.”

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