Category Archives: General

Cauliflower with Raisins — Indian-Style

Embrace the raisins in this dish.
Embrace the raisins in this dish.

Admit it, we all have our unusual food predilections.

My husband doesn’t enjoy sour foods, but loves ceviche. He is not fond of raw carrots, but will happily chomp on them if they’re cut into sticks.

Me? I am typically not the biggest fan of coconut. Yet I dream of Tom Douglas’ famed coconut cream pie, and the coconut layer cakes I devoured in South Carolina. Neither am I usually a fan of raisins in baked goods. Yet I somehow adore them in savory dishes.

Go figure.

That’s why the recipe for “Cauliflower with Raisins” stopped me in my tracks in the best of ways.

It’s from the new “6 Spices, 60 Dishes” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Ruta Kahate, a veteran cookbook author who own Ruta’s, an Indian cafe in Milwaukee.

Kahate recognizes that the intoxicating array of spices that makes Indian cuisine so exciting can also prove intimidating to a home-cook. With this book, she demonstrates that with only six spices in the pantry — cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds, and asafetida — you can make 60 vibrant and distinct dishes that aren’t taxing.

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Dining Outside At Tasting House

The beef Wellington at the new Tasting House in Los Gatos.
The beef Wellington at the new Tasting House in Los Gatos.

Husband-and-wife, Mike and Denise Thornberry, might seem like an unlikely duo to open a wine bar-restaurant.

He is a senior director at Apple. She was executive vice president of global sales for Beats by Dr. Dre.

Neither has ever owned a restaurant before or even worked in one.

But they must know have a natural knack for it because their Tasting House in Los Gatos, which only opened in January, is already a hit. It garnered “Best Restaurant,” “Best Atmosphere,” and “Best Wine List” in the 2022 Best of Los Gatos list, and scored a “Best of Award of Excellence” this year from Wine Spectator. And when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant last week, the place was packed, even at all the tables on the patio where I dined on a toasty summer night.

The exterior of the restaurant-wine bar-gourmet store that has tables outside.
The exterior of the restaurant-wine bar-gourmet store that has tables outside.
An abundance of goodies awaits inside the store portion of the business.
An abundance of goodies awaits inside the store portion of the business.

Located in what was formerly Cin-Cin Wine Bar & Restaurant, Tasting House sports both a restaurant and an attached gourmet provisions shop.

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Stuffed Mushrooms Get A Makeover — With The Ingenious Addition of Hummus

New-way stuffed mushrooms showcasing portobellos filled with hummus and chickpeas.
New-way stuffed mushrooms showcasing portobellos filled with hummus and chickpeas.

When it comes to putting a new spin on hummus with the unlikely additions of chocolate, caramel, or even cake batter, for the life of me, I just cringe.

But leave it to Melissa Clark to come up with a novel and genius use for hummus that actually makes sense.

She takes portobellos and stuffs their generous-sized caps with homemade hummus, then crowns them with chickpeas, before roasting them.

If you’ve been there, done that with classic itty-bitty stuffed button mushrooms filled with chopped mushrooms, butter, cheese, and toasted bread crumbs, this more sizeable riff will make you see them in a whole new way.

“Stuffed Portobellos with Creamy, Lemony Chickpeas” is from Clark’s newest cookbook, “Dinner in One” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

The book’s release was delayed this year, after its shipment was purportedly lost at sea during a rough storm in January. Thankfully, a new shipment finally made it to our shores, because the arrival of a Melissa Clark cookbook is always an occasion to celebrate. That’s because her recipes always tempt, and always work.

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Brown Sugar Angel-Food Cake — Or What To Do With A Dozen Egg Whites

When life gives you a ton of egg whites, reach for brown sugar, and make this beauty.
When life gives you a ton of egg whites, reach for brown sugar, and make this beauty.

It’s not often that you’re left with 24 egg whites in your fridge.

But that’s exactly what you’ll end up with if you make Chef Missy Robbins’ handmade pappardelle like I did.

Just think of it as the perfect excuse, though, to bake up a “Brown Sugar Angel-Food Cake.”

This recipe comes from “Martha Stewart’s Cakes” (Clarkson Potter, 2013) from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living.

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Missy Robbins’ Chickpea Pappardelle with Chickpeas, Rosemary, and Garlic

Wide, fluted ribbons of pappardelle made from scratch, then tossed with chickpeas, garlic, rosemary, and plenty of lemon zest.
Wide, fluted ribbons of pappardelle made from scratch, then tossed with chickpeas, garlic, rosemary, and plenty of lemon zest.

Even though I can never resist handmade pasta on a menu, it’s only once or twice a year that I actually clear off my countertop and screw in the pasta sheeter attachment on my KitchenAid to make a batch at home, myself.

Because while it’s not a complicated process to make your own pasta from scratch, it is a production.

Like making bread, there’s just no getting around the fact that it’ll take an entire afternoon to make. And that’s just for the pasta, itself. Add on another hour or two for the sauce, and, well, you see what I mean.

So, for my annual — or bi-annual — undertaking, I figured I’d attempt a recipe by a chef with such prowess with Italian food that she’s won two Michelin stars and countless other accolades.

I’m talking about Missy Robbins, the James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of Lilia and Misi restaurants in Brooklyn.

Her book, “Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of italy’s Greatest Food with Recipes” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy, was co-written with Talia Baiocchi, founder of the media brand, Punch.

The book will guide you through making most every kind of pasta dough and shape imaginable, and show how to spotlight them in both regional classic and modern classic dishes.

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