Category Archives: Food

Soup’s On

Our lands are finally getting this much needed rain and there’s nothing more comforting than cooking up a big batch of soup on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I was checking my personal emails and my weekly Love and Lemons email showed up.

Now usually when this blog digest arrives in my inbox, complete with beautiful photos and healthy recipes, immediately I bookmark the posts thinking, “I’ll make this someday.” Luckily, today was a bit different. I love this particular blogger because she inspires me to eat more vegetables, and incorporate more vegan and gluten-free dishes into my diet.

chickpea-photo1

The Chickpea Lemon-Miso Noodle Soup was what caught my eye. After reviewing the ingredients, I was happy to see that I actually had almost all in my pantry! White miso, check. Can of chickpeas, check. Lemons, check.  I didn’t have the brown rice noodles that it called for, so I improvised with a few whole wheat noodles, and I was fresh out of kale, but spinach made a nice substitute! That’s one thing that I love about making soup – you can do no wrong. Without further adieu, here’s my version of Chickpea Lemon-Miso [light on the noodle] Soup.

chickpea lemon miso noodle soup

Ingredients:

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I only had fermented black garlic from Trader Joe’s on hand, which I substituted. A whole clove added a bit of complexity to the soup.)
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth + 1 cup of water (I used chicken because that was all I had on hand, feel free to use whatever broth you want)
  • 1.5 cups cooked & drained chickpeas aka 1 can
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pasta (I used a bit less than what the recipe called for to cut out some of the gluten)
  • 2 cups chopped kale (here’s where spinach came to my rescue!)
  • big squeeze of lemon
  • 2T white miso + few tablespoons of warm water
  • optional: grating of pecorino cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot over low heat and add the chopped shallot and garlic, and a few twists of pink Himalaya salt. Let that cook for a few minutes until they achieve translucency and add in the pepper flakes. I ended up using the whole head of black garlic, chopped into fine pieces, and added a spoonful of crushed garlic to taste.
  2. Combine with the broth and water, let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain out the chili flakes, garlic and shallot pieces (my personal preference).
  3. Add chickpeas, pasta, kale (or whatever green you like), and after the noodles have cooked al dente, reduce the temp to low.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the miso and a few tablespoons of warm water until the miso is thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Add your desired amount of lemon. I used a lot since I really like acidic/lemon flavors  and this lent a nice brightness to the soup. I’m going to use this as a go-to from now on!
  6. The recipe says to gradually add in the miso-water and taste as you go, but let’s be real. I love my salt and so I poured all of it in the concoction, and even added an extra squeeze of miso! The thing I love about soups [again] is that you can really make the recipe your own. Add more lemon, s&p, even some grated pecorino.
  7. For added protein, I actually threw in some cooked shrimp and sprinkled a bit of curry power for some kick. Some of my additions break the vegan rules, but you can absolutely make it that way.

The combo of garlic, miso, and lemon are great for fighting those colds that seem to be cropping up this time of year, and leftovers will make a great lunch!

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Did Someone Say Cheese?

Have you ever had something you’ve been saying you were going to do for years and finally got around to it? Well cheese making is my thing. And in the process of conquering this “goal” I found that making cheese isn’t as difficult as it looks! I had purchased a DIY cheese kit, but put off pulling the trigger for quite some time. On my first go around, I decided to be “health conscious” and use fat free milk. Boy, was I mistaken. You must ensure that you use high quality, full fat milk for best results. I started off making simple farmer’s cheese, but the world is your oyster! Mozzerella, goat, etc. Farmer’s cheese is akin to ricotta and I enjoyed mine atop in-season tomatoes, basil, quality EVOO, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Instructions are below!

Image

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon milk
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1/2 cup drinking water
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt (+/- to taste)

Supplies:

  • Large non-reactive pot (at least 3 quart)
  • Fine cheesecloth
  • Colander
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Large heat-resistant bowl to keep whey

1. Rinse the cheesecloth and place it as a lining in a colander; put the colander over a large bowl if you plan on keeping the whey

2. Mix 1 teaspoon of citric acid with drinking water and let dissolve; set aside

3. Heat the milk in your pot at media heat. I didn’t use a thermometer, so the key is to watch the pot while stirring slowly. Once it gets just slightly foamy and has that smell of warm milk (remember from when you were a kid?) then that’s the right temperature

4. Drizzle in the acid water and stir quickly to ensure that all acid is thoroughly mixed into the milk. You will then begin to see clear separation between the curds (white clumps) and the whey (yellowish liquid). Allow the curds to cook this way for a full minute, then turn off the heat.

5. Carefully spook the curds into the cloth (catch the whey if you want to save it for later use) and allow most of the way to drain from your curds. Then mix in 1 tsp of salt, cracked pepper, chopped herbs, anything else that strikes your fancy! I’ve made one batch plain and another with mushroom salts I made and some Italian herbs.

Voila! There you have it. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them how easy it is to make cheese. Of course, like everything there’s always a period of trial and error, but that’s part of the fun. The whey is okay to be frozen for later use and I have a lot of it, so I’d welcome your suggestions on whey usage. I’ve heard braising meat in it is delicious. Molto bene!

Finished product.

Finished product.

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flour + water

Another night, another phenomenal meal! flour + water hit it out of the park again last Friday when I was in for dinner. Chef Thomas McNaughton was in NYC that night, so clearly he can rest at ease while away traveling! The kitchen was churning out food with a perfect finesse.

We started the meal with a duck salad and then moved on to the marinated artichoke & shelling beans with tonnato sauce & bottarga. Following those two antipasti delights, we moved on to a cold calamari and melon salad with cucumbers, breakfast radish & olive sea salt. All of these dishes were light, bright and refreshing, and added the perfect balance of vegetables for the carbo-loading which ensued shortly thereafter.

Top left: artichokes, stracciatella, duck

Then came the corn & prosciutto tortelloni with chives, a delicious stracciatella scarpiocc with pine nuts and drizzled with balsamic and a cocoa tajarin with butter braised giblets, butternut squash & sage. All pastas were amazing, but ESPECIALLY the last one — it was so buttery and so rich, yet not over powering and I didn’t even think about the giblets that I was shoveling in my mouth.

Top left: calamari salad, corn tortellini, rabbit and giblet pasta

Lastly, the rabbit secondi was crazy out of this world. Chanterelles were stuffed under the little rabbit skin and the meat itself was so moist. Accompanying the meat was an array of vegetables, including turnips and little, lightly fried green olives. As far as I’m concerned, this dish was a keeper!

flour + water: if you can get a reservation, fab! Even if you have to sit at the bar or wait a while for a table, you won’t regret the time spent chatting up good friends and interesting strangers alike. Now I just have to finally try some of that Neopolitan-style pizza! I think that Funghi is calling my name…

Following dinner were two short cocktail stops at Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen and Redwood Room, then foie gras ice cream sandwiches from Humphry Slocombe enjoyed on the steps of the Grace Cathedral. Can you say, divine?!

xo.

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Kettle Whistle with Tell Tale Preserve Co.

Last weekend at @tomatotart‘s Intense Dark Party, I tasted a sweet, creamy Coffee Confiture from Tell Tale Preserve Company and it reminded me of what a talented guy that William Werner is! Though this venture ended due to differences with investors, it’s no doubt that what will emerge at Outfit Generic (as indicated on TTPCo’s Facebook) will be better than ever.

After I carefully spread the Coffee Confiture on a slice of soft bread and bit into this perfect blend, I was taken aback to the Kettle Whistle afternoon tea party I attended at Burritt Room back in June.

I never knew that art could be embodied in pastries, sandwiches and desserts, and served with Naivetea‘s imported Taiwanese oolong teas — well, let’s just say this was a perfect pairing.

Course One.

At 3:30 we were all let into the private room in Burritt Room and seated with our respected party. Vases with a few single lavender sprigs adorned the table and eventually course followed course (three in total), until the afternoon tea came to an end. Other nice touches included an amuse-bouche of cucumber, mint and marcona almond and a coconut-lemon-basil sorbet to complete the experience. Everything was beautifully plated and so creative.

As a parting gift, we were each given a woven satchel to take home filled with Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea and “Damn Good” granola. Perfect for the day after!

Sadly the final Kettle Whistle afternoon tea with Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Naivetea was back in August, but I have no doubt that Werner will be back soon with an even more fun, whimsical concept in no time!

Here’s to knowing we’ll see those Rebel Within’s back at the market STAT!

Click here to check out my Flickr album with all photos.

xo.

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Weekend Recap

Heyooo folks. I might be one day late, but can you blame me?! Monday was extra special with the 2012 Zagat San Francisco Restaurant Guide Launch at Park Tavern with Google! Let’s briefly review my twenty-something meanderings from a weekend out and about in San Francisco!

Friday

  • Don’t: Rickhouse. I love Rickhouse, but it’s absolutely impossible to grab a seat, let alone a drink in the bar after work on a Friday. It’s packed! Their cocktails are top-notch, so I’d recommend going on off-peak hours.
  • Do: Otis Lounge. 2 for 1 drink specials from 5pm to 8pm. Need I say more? Take a seat downstairs at one of the lounge tables, check out the scene and admire the peacock accents at this hidden spot on Maiden Lane.
  • Bruce Hill’s Zero Zero in SoMa: OBSESSED! Start your meal with a punch bowl. All of the food was amazing: Pork and Veal Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Fonduta, Fontina Stuffed Arancini [balls] with Black Garlic Aioli, Ricotta Doughnut [balls] (are we noticing a theme here? tehehehe), Rigatoni with Piquillo Peppers, Pancetta and Ricotta Salata, and Fillmore Pizza with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Leeks, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino and Fontina. BTW I saw this pizza on 7×7’s Top 50 Vegetarian/Vegas Dishes To Try Before You Die. Oh yeah, and did I mention they have soft-serve ice cream? Get the vanilla topped with De Vero Olive Oil and Sea Salt.

From top left: Arancini, Meatballs, Rigatoni and Fillmore Pizza

From left: punch bowl, vanilla soft serve, ricotta doughnuts

Saturday

  • San Francisco Public Library: awesome way to save money on those books! I don’t know about you, but I don’t like keep my fiction books after I am done so as long as you can finish them during your rental period (or at least remember to renew).
  • Figs topped with bacon and goat brie cheese are simply divine, as I experienced at Sabrina of @thetomatotart‘s Intense Dark Party.
  • Chris Cosentino’s Incanto in Noe Valley: Eating for the first time at Incanto, I knew I was in for something special. And that something special began in the form of Ibérico di bellota lardo and Asian pears. I almost didn’t feel bad that I was eating pure, unadulterated fat. Then followed was a crazy special: Truffled Uni Sformato and Sweetbreads alla Puttanesca. My tastebuds could not believe what they were experiencing! So much decadence, and only in the first three dishes.
  • Then we moved on to the Spaghettini with Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk and parsley. Simply amazing: the saltiness of the cured heart and the yolk added another layer of complexity to the dish. After that was the Pork Belly with cabbage, apples, rose geranium and pickled mustard seeds. Is it healthy to eat this much fat? Probably not. Does it bother me? Not in the least.

From top left: lardon, sweetbreads, spaghettini, truffled uni sformato

From top left: Mystery Flight! Guess your wines! Pork belly and delicious bread plate. I know it's just bread. Don't judge!

Sunday

  • North Beach: There are so many fun shops in NB to hit up! Lola, Alla Prima Fine Lingerie and Craig Fonarow Photography were just a few that I admired while strolling Grant and Columbus Streets. After you’ve had your fill of browsing and window shopping, take some gelato into Washington Square Park and enjoy watching the dogs and families!
  • La Mar on the Embarcadero: Always a winner; Cebiche Clásico and the Grilled Chicken Skewer with fried potatoes and Peruvian corn. Tip: spoon the juice or “leche de tigre” from the cebiche onto the rice. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday

  • Gary Danko: “My advice: check your ego at the door” upon receipt of his award
  • Tim Zagat: “Study the service numbers…we’re essentially giving you a free market study [with Zagat]”
  • Tim Zagat “we’re handing our baby over to a great company…Google with local, maps, street view…it’ll be the perfect fit with Zagat.”

Bad pic I know, but the man himself.

I finally had the opportunity to try some light bites from Park Tavern and they were delicious! Especially loved the Fried Oyster “Caesar” Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Pork Belly bites. Also, the Deviled Eggs with bacon was a tasty bite. I  can’t wait to check it out for dinner!

I hope you all had a fab weekend as well! Xo.

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Las Vegas: Jaleo, Raku & Vesper Bar

So I realized that I never wrote anything about the food or drink sitch after my trip to Las Vegas. Whoops!

To save room on this blog (and because I had so many photos), I decided to simply post my iPhone 4 photos to my Flicker album titled Las Vegas: Jaleo, Raku & Vesper Bar.

Jaleo, a Spanish tapas restaurant by José Andrés, is located in The Cosmopolitan. Jaleo offers a large menu, so good luck selecting from the list of numerous, delicious tapas! One thing I always love doing is asking the diners next to you what they would recommend. In fact, this is how my co-worker and I earned a free dinner! Vegas, there must be something in the water….

After Jaleo, we headed over to Vesper Bar where we indulged in James Bond’s drink of choice. I love the menu, which states: “At Vesper, we pay homage to the lost art of the cocktail craft”. And that they do well.

The next evening, we decided to go off the strip to Raku, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant. All of the dishes, from the hot and cold appetizers to the skewers from the Robata Grill, were fantastic. The Agedashi Tofu dish was my surprise favorite of the evening! Tip: if you go with a big appetite, be sure to order ample selections from the Robata Grill menu — they come with 2-3 pieces per order.

Well, that’s all for Vegas — as I said, go check out the Flickr album for pics!

xo.

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Labor Day Weekend Recap

Of course my Labor Day Saturday began with a trip to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. The first stop for breakfast: 4505 Meats. I went for the rather modest Bacon Maple Breakfast Sandwich with maple sausage, gruyere cheese, cress and nasturtium greens, and a runny fried egg. There’s just something about that buttery, seedy bun that makes me all warm inside.

4505 Meats' Breakfast Sandwich

I just had to get a pic of myself trying to take a bite of @thedapperdiner’s massive double double 4505 Burger with Frankaroni, a patty of fried mac ‘n cheese and 4505 house-made uncured hot dog.

If only I could unhinge my jaw...

One thing I love about the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is the samples – I tried an Asian Pear from Frog Hollow Farm that was just so sweet and divine, Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and some baba ganoush from Marin Gourmet. After Chicken and Beef Korean Tacos (2 for $6) from Namu, it was off to La Mar for a Pisco Sour and Lafitte for the 1st of 30 days of Caipirinhas.

Korean Tacos with seasoned rice, daikon & kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, housemade teriyaki sauce on seaweed. Yes, I did eat the spilled over filling with my fingers. It was that good!

Cocktails galore! From top left: cucumber caipirinha, heirloom and pisco sour

@thedapperdiner and @carinaost got the Scallop and Pork Hot Dog with spicy pickles, stone fruit mustarda and skinny pomme frites, of which I had to steal a taste. My second drink at Lafitte was the Heirloom, made with Swans Neck Vodka, Averna, Prado Pastis, tomato and herbs. This drink seriously tasted like an heirloom tomato salad – it even had a nice salty bite to it.

Leave it to the Dissident Chef to come up with a Scallop and Pork hot dog!

How could I top this morning/afternoon? A Giants game with the parents. Sadly the Giants lost this one to the D-backs, but I was able to get in on the Sheboygan Bratwurst Stand and some garlic fries, natch. At the games, you must skip the plain ‘ole hot dogs and go straight for the big honkin’ Sheboygan topped with grilled onions and sauerkraut! You’ll be glad you did. Oh and make sure you have extra powerful gum/mints for those garlic fries.

My giiiiiant Sheboygan and the parentals in front of the park!

Since the Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is ending on September 6th, a girlfriend and I tried to hit up the museum on Sunday – but beware: apparently the tickets for these kinds of exhibits sell out! After attempting to get our culture on in the MoMA store, we decided to stroll up Geary and stop in the free galleries that decorate the street.

I highly recommend this as a cheap alternative, since all of the galleries are free AND open on Sunday! After paying a visit to Cohen Rese Gallery and the Martin Lawerence Gallery (who is holding an upcoming art auction at Stanford Court BTW), we stumbled into Christopher-Clark Fine Arts. And lucky that we did! Insider tip: they had work from Matisse, Picasso, Varya and more – and some of the pieces were actually featured in the Steins Collect exhibit.

Matisse

Picasso

Later on, I was finally able to check out Chambers Food + Drink (in the former Bambuddha Lounge space at the Phoenix Hotel). I highly recommend the Truffle & Wild Mushroom Dip with waffle chips, Panchetta Wrapped Figs with Balsamic Reduction, the Sizzling Kobe Tri-tip (it’s served on a hot stone, medium rare – so cool) and the Sea Bass with big, lovely artichokes. I had high hopes for the PB & L.T., which was basically pork belly atop rice paper filled with heirloom tomatoes and lettuce, and the Burrata Gnocci, but I would skip those. Of course dinner was followed by some dancing at 222 Hyde and some pool-playing action and jukeboxin’ at CC’s Cocktails! Both good haunts for the aforementioned activities!

Sometimes you just need a lazy day and even though Monday was absolutely AMAZING weather-wise, I was just plain old lazy! Kudos to all of you who BBQ-ed and did other fun things outdoors. I did rally myself to meet @thedapperdiner and @carinaost at Tataki South in Noe Valley, a restaurant known for its sustainable sushi. They had some *daring* (re: spicy) sushi rolls, including the Extinguisher with albacore, habanero masago and spicy aioli, and the Russian Roulette with crawfish, cucumber, asparagus, tobiko and topped with scallops. The premise of this roll is that one of the pieces is over-the-top spicy and whoever is the winner (or loser), gets the prize of a shot of nigori sake to cool the burn. Not a game for the weak of stomachs.

Creative, delicious rolls from Tataki South

Tataki South also had a great happy hour from 5pm-7pm: $4 rolls and $3.5 hot sake, yes please!

Can I get a “holla” for the staycation?! I hope y’all had a fun-filled, restful Labor Day weekend as well and happy Tuesday!

Xo.

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