The Aptly Named Aphrodisiac Biscuit

Resistance is futile.
Resistance is futile.

If Valentine’s Day is all about showering the ones you love with an overload chocolate, then this biscuit is sure to do the trick — and then some.

“Aphrodisiac Biscuit” is aptly named because it not only has chopped chocolate inside a tender interior but glossy melted chocolate spread lavishly all over its top.

This decadent treat is from “The Big Bottom Biscuit: Specialty Biscuits and Spreads from Sonoma’s Big Bottom Market” (Running Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Michael Volpatt, who opened the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville in 2011, a combo retail store and cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, and of course, biscuits.

It includes more than 50 recipes for biscuits, biscuit dishes and things that go with biscuits. In short, it will expand your horizon on just what biscuits can be.

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Udon Noodles Go Green

These springy udon noodles get their color from a freshwater algae.
These springy udon noodles get their color from a freshwater algae.

These udon noodles may look much like ones tinged with matcha, but their deep moss hue actually comes from green algae.

Chlorella Udon Noodles by Sun Chlorella contain the freshwater algae known as chlorella that’s billed as one of the newest superfoods that’s rich in minerals and vitamins like D and B12.

I had a chance to try samples of the dried noodles, which cook up in all of 5 minutes. Drain, then rinse in cold water, and they’re ready to use in soups, stir-fries or salads.

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Scenes From Chefs’ Holidays in Yosemite 2020

The Ahwahnee Hotel.
The Ahwahnee Hotel.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — It may have been a challenging few months for this glorious national park, what with an outbreak of norovirus and the Ahwahnee Hotel’s loss of one star, dropping it to a AAA three-diamond rating instead. But I’m happy to report that all seemed well when I was there last week as moderator for the last two sessions of the 2020 Chefs’ Holidays event.

This popular winter-time extravaganza, which consists of fun chef demos and grand gala dinners, celebrated its 36th year this January.

There might not have been any snow on the valley floor this time around, but there was plenty of sunshine, as well as more than enough action on the demo stage to keep everyone entertained.

All roads lead to good food here.
All roads lead to good food here.

Husband-and-wife chefs John Stewart and Duskie Estes got things rolling first, recounting the devastating loss of their Zazu restaurant in Sebastopol after last winter’s deluge flooded their place, and how local high school students kayaked in with a generator to help them pump out the water.

John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu Farm & Catering.
John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu Farm & Catering.
Yours truly with chefs Loren Goodwin of the Gastropig, Jason Fox of the Proper Hotel, and John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu.
Yours truly with chefs Loren Goodwin of the Gastropig, Jason Fox of the Proper Hotel, and John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu.

Stewart and Estes may not have a restaurant at the moment. But they continue to do catering, as well as sell products from their farm, including their magnificent Black Pig Meat Co. bacon.

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Love Birds and The Chemistry of Love

The Love Birds box.
The Love Birds box.

I doubt if anyone ever needs an excuse to indulge in Recchiuti chocolates. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, you indeed have the perfect reason to treat yourself or someone you love to some of the finest artisan chocolate confections around.

For more than two decades, Michael Recchiuti has been making exquisite chocolates by hand with flavoring ingredients sourced seasonally from Bay Area farmers markets.

You can find the confections at the Recchiuti storefront at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the retail shop, Recchiuti at the Lab, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Or you can shop on its own web store.

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to receive samples to try of two holiday offerings.

The Love Birds Truffle Box ($48) is a collection of 16 pieces, an assortment of the most popular flavors, including Tarragon Grapefruit, Pearl Mint Tea, and Piedmont Hazelnut.

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Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style

Move over romaine, make your Caesar "salad'' with roasted Savoy cabbage instead.
Move over romaine, make your Caesar “salad” with roasted Savoy cabbage instead.

Cabbage is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables.

It doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves. It seems too plain, too basic, too cheap to be worthy of much attention.

But just consider how integral it is to slaws, salads, soups, corned beef, and so many Russian and Polish staples.

If that doesn’t convince you, surely “Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style” will.

This incredibly easy dish features all the arresting flavors of Caesar salad — but with roasted cabbage instead.

The recipe is from All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice” (W.W. Norton & Company), of which I received a review copy. It’s the fabulous new book by James Beard Award-winning Molly Stevens, a gifted cooking instructor, recipe developer and food writer who lives in Vermont.

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