When one of my testers told me that he’d made the recipe for “Short Ribs with Citrus-Olive Herb Salad” not once, not twice, but five times, I was immediately alarmed.
But then he told me why: It wasn’t because anything was wrong with it. On the contrary, he and his wife ended up loving this dish so much that they couldn’t resist making it multiple times to share with friends.
While I’m fond of all the recipes in this cookbook that spotlights 41 restaurants in the dynamic East Bay, that testimonial convinced me right then and there that this recipe by Chef Jen Biesty of Oakland’s Shakewell was truly a winner.
Because of book-publishing timetables, my friend had to test this recipe at the height of summer. But I patiently waited until winter to give it a test-drive, since long-braised short ribs are so made for this time of year.
This is definitely a comfort dish taken up a level. The short ribs cook up fork-tender in an almost mole-like brothy sauce made with ancho chiles, fennel, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, a little ground coffee, some chopped bittersweet chocolate and a whole bottle of Zinfandel. How can that not be good?
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.
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.
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.
Sink your teeth into a pizza topped with piquillo pepper sauce, Spanish chorizo, Picholine olives, Manchego and mozzarella cheeses, and saffron onions.
And help renew a park in the process.
You can — by ordering a new pizza from Zume, the Mountain View company known for its innovative robots that help assemble pies to order. Although the pizzas used to baked en route on specialized trucks, they are now cooked at its headquarters before being loaded onto trucks for delivery.
“The Spaniard” is a new, limited-time-only pizza designed by Jen Biesty, chef-owner of Oakland’s Shakewell. The “Top Chef” alumnus is the first chef to be featured in Zume’s “Pies With A Purpose” program, in which 10 percent of net sales from that special pizza is donated to a local cause. In this case, the proceeds will go to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation to help revitalize Tassafaronga Park, which is located in Biesty’s home neighborhood of East Oakland.
Zume’s unusual circular pizza box.
This also marks Zume’s delivery expansion beyond the Peninsula and the South Bay to certain parts of Alameda County.