Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

Check In For A Dose of Wellness At the Stanford Court Hotel

Presenting the "Maude,'' made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.
Presenting the “Maude,” made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.

San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel is buzzing — in more ways than one.

Last year, the Nob Hill hotel added an apiary to its rooftop terrace just outside its Seven Stills restaurant. Now, it’s reaping the sweet rewards of those bee hives — from honey that’s accenting fun offerings on the menu.

I had a chance to try a few recently, when I was invited as an overnight guest of the hotel.

The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.

Take a seat at the bar or one of the tables in the restaurant that’s open to the lobby to order one of the specialty cocktails ($15 each) that are all named for movies that were filmed in San Francisco.

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Going With The Grain Part II: Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

 

If you’re a pyromaniac when it comes to cooking, this new cookbook is surely going to stoke your desire to light things up.

“Thank You for Smoking: Fun and Fearless Recipes Cooked with a Whiff of Wood Fire on Your Grill or Smoker” (Ten Speed Press) is not only a cleverly titled cookbook, but a very creative one, too.

The book, of which I received a review copy, is by Austin-based Paula Disbrowe, a grilling expert and veteran cookbook writer.

There are 100 recipes included. What’s really fun is that most go way beyond the norm of just throwing a steak or piece of chicken on a grill or in a smoker. Instead, Disbrowe really opens your eyes to possibilities you may never have even considered.

Just get a load of recipes such as “Smoked Arbol Honey,” “Dirty Martini with Smoked Castelvetrano Olives,” “Smoked Onion and Cheddar Tart,” Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Garlic Aioli,” and “Burnt Marshmallow Krispies.”

Thank You For Smoking

With its luxurious cream center that spills out of a ball of mozzarella, burrata is one of my favorite cheeses. So I just had to take a go at “Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata.”

Is it really worth it to set up a smoker and spend about 35 minutes to smoke barley grains?

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Going With the Grain Part I: Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad

The two F's: figs and freekeh.

The two F’s: figs and freekeh.

 

WTF.

As in what the freekeh?

If you don’t know this ancient grain, summer is the perfect time to give it a try.

It’s a lot like bulgur, except that freekeh is roasted young green whole wheat kernels, while the former is cracked, hulled parboiled whole wheat kernels. As such, bulgur cooks in a flash, while freekeh takes about 20 minutes or so. The tiny grains of both are packed with fiber and protein, and cook up with with a slight chewy texture. I think freekeh tastes just a little toastier.

Grains like these, which are staples of Middle Eastern cuisines, make incredible summer salads or side dishes. You’re probably already familiar with bulgar in tabbouleh salads. Freekeh can be used in the same way.

Enjoy it in this tasty, texture-tantalizing “Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad.”

SaffronintheSouks

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Saffron in the Souks: Vibrant recipes from the heart of Lebanon” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by John Gregory-Smith, a food and travel writer who specializes in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.

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At Lundberg Family Farms, Rice Is Always Nice

Lundberg Family Farms combine corn and rice to make tortilla chips that taste like cheese pizza.

Lundberg Family Farms combine corn and rice to make tortilla chips that taste like cheese pizza.

 

For three generations since 1937, the Lundberg Family has been synonymous with premium rice.

On 6,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley, it grows 18 varieties of rice — all non-GMO, and all certified gluten-free. It was also only the second farm in California to be certified organic.

Over the years, “The family has had many offers for both the land or the company, but they have a legacy they want to continue,” says Janet Souza, public relations and design manager for the farm. “They have never entertained any of those offers.”

Fortunately, for consumers, they just keep looking for new rice varieties to grow and new products to make. I had a chance recently to try samples of some of Lundberg’s newer products.

Bold Bites are small organic tortilla chips — that have the addition of rice in them. That makes them denser in texture. They are not as shatteringly crisp, but still plenty crunchy. They’re also gluten-free.

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Red Duck Gourmet Condiments — And A Food Gal Giveaway

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.

 

With summer weather comes prime condiment season.

Red Duck has got you covered, no matter what you’re grilling.

The Portland, OR-company makes a range of ketchups, barbecue sauces and taco sauces, all gluten-free and certified organic. The tomatoes used are all grown in California’s Central Valley, too, picked ripe in season from late-June through July.

The business is the brainchild of four MBA students who were studying at the University of Oregon when they came up with the idea for the condiments for a class project. The name “Red Duck” takes its name from the color of ketchup, their first product, plus the mascot of their college.

There are 11 products now, sold either separately or in trio samplers: “Quite Traditional” (Original Ketchup, Approachably Mild Taco Sauce, and Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce); “So Unique” (Curry Ketchup, Uniquely Korean Taco Sauce, and Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce); and “Fairly Spicy” (Spicy Ketchup, Actually Spicy Taco Sauce, and Hot Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce).

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