Tuesday, December 16, 2003

At Cafe de la Paz:
A stringy, overpriced smoothie.

Llapingachos (Ecuadorian potato cakes)--browned mashed potatoes stuffed with cheese, served with fried plantains and chile cream drizzled on.
Corn pancakes with chile cream and an almost puddinglike consistency.
Caramelized fried plantains with chile cream.
Grilled zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

From Britt-Marie's:
Spinach salad with marinated red onions and feta.

Chicken breasts with a cream sauce, stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and hazelnuts and served with rice and veggies.

Lemon mousse with whipped cream.

But the pork chops, oh, the pork chops...!
Pork chops with stewed apples, goat cheese, and walnuts, on garlic mashed potatoes, with lemony, crisp-tender carrots and broccoli.


Monday, December 08, 2003

I made turkey stock after cutting off bits of turkey for sandwiches:
Cover turkey carcass in stockpot with cold water.
Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer, skim off foam and "impurities."
Add a quartered, peeled white onion, one stick of celery cut into one-inch pieces, one carrot cut into one-inch pieces, and a bouquet garni (a spoonful of dried thyme, a bay leaf, and 8 or 10 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley tied together in a piece of cheesecloth). Simmer for 3 hours. I watched "The Core" on DVD while this was simmering. It has congealed into a gelatinous but tasty stock. I peeled the poached turkey meat (which still has some flavor) off the bones and then the next day made a turkey stew with them (canned Italian-style tomatoes, currants, cilantro, spices, a carrot and a potato and a bit of stock) which I served with a saffron-turmeric-cinnamon pilaf.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

1 chicken
1 pint of milk
1 stick (4oz) of butter
olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
good handful of fresh sage leaves - picked
ten cloves of garlic skin on
Salt and pepper

Find a pot that will fit snugly around the chicken (I used a stockpot with the plastic handles removed so it would be oven safe)
Melt the butter in a dash of the olive oil in the pot. Season the chicken generously with s and p. Fry the chicken in the pot until all sides are golden brown. Discard or find another use for the oil and butter (I poured it over veg that had yet to be roasted carrots+parsnips in cumin)bearing in mind that it will need to be cooked thoroughly since it was used for an uncooked chicken. Do not scrape the bottom of the pot - there will be bits of brown goodness that you want for flavor. Put the chicken back in the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. What happens is the lemon and heat split the milk causing clumps of it to caramelize. Roast in the pot for about 11/2 hrs at 375. Pour over the juices and bits of caramelized milk and garlic when serving - yum!


Sunday, November 23, 2003

I had a small dinner party last night--last-minute as usual; I'd planned Sunday, but Marianne was the first person I called and she could only make it Saturday, so I planned it for then and then called a bunch of people.

Eventually the guests were, in addition to me and Kyle (Rahul is in Missouri):

The food was:
* Dip contributed by Kyle (refried beans, hand-made guacamole, salsa, olives) with chips
* Baguettes
* Romesco sauce (1/4 c. hazelnuts, 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted; 2 roasted red bell peppers; 1 ancho chile, softened in hot water then diced; 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded; salt; 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar--this was too much; a few Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; 2 slices wheat bread, toasted)
* 2 eggplants, about 5 small white potatoes, 1 onion, a bundle of asparagus spears, 2 zucchini, all cut into spears or wedges and roasted with olive oil, oregano, and salt, and eaten with the bread and romesco
* Mixed green salad with an olive oil-mustard-lemon juice dressing, reduced-fat feta cheese, some delicious grapes (which we also had on the table for munching), and candied walnuts
* Pasta with a tomato sauce (Paul Newman marinara, Tofurkey Italian sausage of a strange and spongy consistency, and a can of diced peeled tomatoes)
* Bahlsen Contessa Lebkuchen cakes contributed by Sarah--spiced and fragrant gingerbread-like round cakey cookies, with bittersweet chocolate on the bottom and a light glaze on top
* Vanilla fudge Haagen-Dazs, also contributed by Sarah
* Reese's Peanut Butter Bells contributed by Jason
* McManis Pinot Grigio 2002 contributed by Marianne and Steve
* Heron Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 and another Cabernet bottle that I can't find, contributed by Jason and Marianne and Steve
* Some kind of fruity Clearly Canadian-type soda--don't remember who brought this. It smelled strongly of strawberry yogurt.

We all chatted for a while, played with piggies, eventually after I took Sarah home played some Secret Weapons Over Normandy (I lent Steve the PC version) and Soul Calibur II.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Kyle and Fernando and I went to Cesar last night and had tapas.

I drank a sour apple drink made with Calvados but I didn't like it (and it was $8.25!)

Something I did like was the food, even though they ran out of the fried herb potatoes. The whole menu is pasted below.

We had:
Fried shrimp and squid (very yummy!)
Canape de boquerones (which was not that great weirdly fruity from the orange zest they added--Kyle initially thought it was cranberry, which I guess shows how cranberry relish-esque the zest made it)
Roasted eggplant and new potatoes with romesco (very good, came with bread as well)
Salt cod and potato cazuela (the waitress described this as "like a baccala" though she meant "like a baccala mantecato"--also yummy)
Bread pudding (orange overkill--the caramel sauce was too tangy, not rich and velvety enough for my liking)

tapa del dia: rabbit & wild mushroom stew with leeks & fried garlic, $10.25
roasted marcona almonds, $2.75
a plate of jamón serrano, chorizo soria & lomo embuchada, $7.75
hearts of romaine with red wine vinaigrette & valdeon, $6.75
fried shrimp & squid with mojo picón, $8.75
canapé de boquerones (pickled anchovies) with black olive relish, $6.75
membrillo & aged manchego, $5.75
roasted eggplant & new potatoes with romesco, $6.75
endive & watercress salad with smoked trout & persimmon, $7.25
*fried potatoes with herbs & sea salt, $5.25
datiles y tocino (roasted bacon-wrapped dates), $6.25
salt cod & potato cazuela, $3.75
spanish cheeses: murcia al vino, urgèlía & iberico, $6.75


*lomo de cerdo (roast pork loin), $7.25
spicy tuna & egg, $6.75
manchego & greens, $6.00


rice pudding with burnt sugar, $4.75
mel i mató with dried cherries & almonds, $4.75
bread pudding with orange-caramel sauce, $4.75
crema de chocolate, $4.25

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Made interesting oat cakes (kissing cousins to supplí):

Made one recipe steel-cut oats oatmeal (1 cup of steel-cut oats into 4 cups boiling salted water, simmer 1/2 hour or till thick) and ate one bowl.

That night, with the leftover oatmeal, I mixed 2 beaten eggs, about 4 sprigs chopped fresh Italian parsley, salt and pepper, a handful of shredded Parmesan, dried oregano, and dried basil. I formed little patties on the palm of my hand with the mixture, dropped a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top, then another dab of oat mixture, and fried till golden and crunchy on both sides. The cheese was melty and gooey inside. It would have been better with some chopped nuts, but the oats were nice and chewy and savory.

I also ate some guava and didn't like it much, although the piggies did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Before dinner, I had an apple pear. Then I cooked a crab: froze him for 15 minutes, then dropped him headfirst into boiling water, simmered for 20 minutes. Ran him under cold water and scrubbed him. Pulled off his legs and cracked them with a nutcracker. Pried off the top of his body, then pulled off the fleshy gill things, broke the stiff little body separators with a knife and pulled out the meat with my fingers. Dipped the meat into Chinese red vinegar. Ate strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Friday, October 31, 2003

At Britt-Marie's yesterday: Goat cheese crusted on the outside with something--breadcrumbs maybe--and baked till crisp on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, served on a greens with vinaigrette salad with plump, red, seeded grapes, halved grape tomatoes, and caramelized pecans.

A latte.

Soft focaccia-type bread flecked with pumpernickel, with butter and salt.

Monday, October 27, 2003

This has nothing to do with food, but I like it.

On Googlism, I have one description so far:

"huan-hua chye is a self"

Oh, and yesterday's meal:
Fresh green salad, dressed with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, stone-ground mustard, salt, and pepper.

A Magnani's lemon-rosemary roasted chicken.

Slices of potato-rosemary bread from Grace Bakery.
I woke up and showed Rahul the progress of the compost heap this morning. He left for Sunnyvale to see his brother. I was by then in a cheerful and energetic mood and had a banana for breakfast, then convinced Kyle to go for a bike ride.

Daylight savings time was awesome--I thought I was up so late, but it was still early because we had fallen back. I had a cup of bad coffee and worked in the garden--planted white and pale pink nemesia cascading with tiny flowers in a cloud of vanilla fragrance, like heliotrope, mixed with the cinnamon-scented soft ruffled spikes of stocks--cream, pink, lavender--and purple pansies, a mixture of bright and dark purples, like Roman robes.

We rode our bikes down to the animal shelter on Second Street and took a skinny, brindled pit bull for a walk down by Aquatic Park. There was another pit bull there named Kyle--she was a girl dog, and had a chest a mile wide with those funny bow legs you see in so many massively strong little bulldogs. There were guinea pigs, a brown and white one and a baby TSW hiding under newspaper, and a black and white-spotted, incredibly soft rabbit. We didn't pet any cats except for Squirrel, although we saw a little black cat make a run for it from the ferals room in the cat room. She was nabbed and brought back by the scruff of her neck yowling and complaining.

Then we rode over to Vik's Chaat House and had aloo tikki cholle, mango lassi, and masala dosa, which took forever.

The aloo tikki cholle were little fried mashed potato cakes drowned in a spicy watery sauce with garbanzo beans, tasting of tamarind and chile and cilantro. The savory flavor of the fried surfaces of the cakes stood out well against the spicy sauce. We ate them all while waiting for the masala dosa, which took ages to prepare. A small girl kept trying to get more water from the fountain. I was trying to let her fill up my cup and her parents came over and said it was her third cup of water and that she kept going back to the fountain.

When the dosa was done, we took it outside and tore into the two-foot-long lentil-flour crepe with its glassy, crisp, golden surface and slightly spongy white insides, scooping out the spiced potato filling, and dipping it into one of the two provided sauces--one a watery yellow color, laced with potato chunks and spiced deliciously with little black mustard seeds, and the other a spicier, thicker yellow pool the color and texture of a gritty ballpark mustard. I bought a 10-pound bag of basmati rice in an enchanting cloth bag with an elephant on it.

Next time I want what I think is the bhatura puri--a huge puffed fried dough ball, bubbly on the surface like fried won ton, the size of someone's head.

We ate caramel-laced brownies in the afternoon--far too many.

Then for dinner, late at night, I sauteed nameless Chinese greens (chopped) in a spoonful of garlic paste and red pepper flakes and olive oil, salted and peppered them, then stirred them into spaghetti along with a handful of chopped Italian parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The spice was uneven--it clung to the greens--but all in all it wasn't half bad.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Rice and beans from John Thorne
Pick over and soak 1 cup raw beans (I used pinto) overnight
Simmer in 8 cups unsalted water for about an hour, then while leaving on heat,
Add 2 cups coconut milk
2 cups raw rice (I used jasmine)
2 chopped tomatoes
Sauteed mixture of minced onion and 6 pieces fake bacon
Salt and pepper
Simmer till tender

Later I added a soffritto (minced saute) of Chinese celery, shallots, carrot, and green bell pepper.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Butternut Squash Soup:
Microwaved the squash with holes poked in it and covered in Saran wrap for 14 minutes.

Cut up 5 medium golden beets and half a red onion and roasted at 400 degrees in EVOO till tender.

Added oil to a soup pan, toasted coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and paprika, then added the cubed, peeled squash and beet mixture. Barely covered with water and then simmered till tender and pureed, salted and peppered.

Good stuff!

As sides I made pan-fried curried potatoes (oversalted) and a little dish of cut-up red pear, crumbled blue cheese, and toasted walnuts.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Last night was yet another roasted chicken night.

This time I didn't brine it as long (maybe an hour total?) and roasted it on a seltzer can instead of a beer can. It didn't come out as crispy and delicious. I think I also cooked it a little less time as well.

I pried out the pieces of fat from under the skin and made a Green Pea Pie with those and the giblets:
Diced the fat and the liver, heart, pieces of neck, etc. and fried everything up in a pan (they exploded everywhere in the hot oil, scary!) till crispy, then scraped out the bites and sauteed one shallot and half a red onion, minced, in the chicken fat. Stirred this in with 3 cups (one package from Trader Joe's) frozen (unthawed) green peas and should have added salt and pepper and parsley, but didn't, because I forgot... then poured the lot into a homemade pie crust (Joy of Cooking basic recipe with 2 sticks butter instead of 1 butter and 1 shortening), rolled out a second crust on top and crimped it to the bottom crust and cut slits for steam. Baked at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Delicious, buttery, savory, chickeny! The recipe was from John Thorne's Serious Pig.

I also made corn chowder adapted from this book: simmered wedge-cut potatoes (I cut myself while chopping them) in salted boiling water, then sauteed one yellow onion and bits of about 3 strips of fake bacon and dumped them into the pot with milk and frozen corn. The potatoes should have been russets--these held together too well so the broth was thin and there was too much solid material (corn and potatoes). It tasted pretty good even though I accidentally boiled it instead of simmering.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Roasted a beer can chicken last night. Delicious! Crunchy, savory skin--just don't take it down off the beer can or the skin gets soggy.

Brined chicken for a few hours (1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water and a few spoonfuls sugar)

Rubbed with orange zest, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, cayenne, red pepper flakes in cavity and on and unders skin.

Roasted on half-empty Sapporo beer can in 400 degree oven for about 1 hr 20 mins.

Ate with:
Fig jam (onions and Mission figs and shallots diced and sauteed for a long time, added water, balsamic, orange zest, thyme, salt, pepper, orange juice)
Blanched garden green beans with melted butter.
Sauteed mushrooms (button and wild)
Basmati rice.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Sauteed chicken breast pieces in olive oil with minced red onion and jalapeno, crushed garlic, cilantro, and salt and pepper, all till brown and caramelized. Deglazed with dark beer (OK--not great).

Served with salsa made of Roma tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, and (for Kyle and I) a firm-fleshed plum.

Also served with corn. The mottled red and white from Monterey Market wasn't very good.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Gemelli with tomato sauce:
6 red ripe Early Girl tomatoes, $2/lb at the farmer's market, seeded and diced.
1 can diced Italian-style tomatoes (ran short)
1 yellow onion, minced
5? cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
A splash or two of Cabernet (Forestville, which we drank with dinner)
Vegetarian meatballs (disintegrated, not so good)
2 small cans sliced black olives
1 large spoonful capers
1 small handful pine nuts
Red pepper flakes
Dried oregano
Around 1 cup chopped fresh basil
Butter and EVOO base to fry in.
Freshly grated parmesan to sprinkle.

Cranky mood turned good with strange Mad Libs and substances.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I ate raw food this weekend at a cooking class.

Nori rolls with dill, nut hummus, carrot, bell pepper, celery, and raisins
Dehydrated flaxseed crackers with guacamole and tasteless "almond mayonnaise"
Carrot soup with red bell pepper
Spicy mango curry salad (mmm) with cilantro
Salad with orange pieces, avocado, almonds, radishes
Dehydrated strawberry and raspberry pies on almond-date crust

Sesame milk
Almond milk
Hazelnut milk with vanilla
Raw oatmeal with cinnamon (like paste)
Fruit salad
Carob pie (tahini, honey, carob, OJ in an almond-date crust)
Pasta Salad

Treat this as 3 separate items which are combined just before serving.

1) 1 package small-sized pasta (ca. 16 oz.). Boil until just done in unsalted, unoiled water. Drain immediately in colander and run lots of cold water over pasta. You may do this step up to 24 hrs. before serving pasta salad. After draining, put in closed container in refrigerator.

2) Ingredients to add to pasta. Choose from among the following, but make certain to have at least one ingredient that's crunchy (like celery or onion). Approximately ½ cup of each for a total of about 2 to 2 ½ cups ingredients

Chopped celery; Chopped Bermuda (red) onion; Roasted red bell pepper; Sliced
cooked or canned mushroom; sliced black olive; sliced salami (small pieces);
chopped parsley

You can do this step 24 hrs. in advance and keep ingredients together in sealed container in refrigerator

3) Dressing. You will want about 1 ½ to 2 cups dressing. Try pouring most of it over mixed ingredients and see it it's enough. If not, add the rest. You can use the remaining dressing for a regular salad.
Approx. 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons best food real mayonnaise
Add some apple cider vinegar to the mayo and shake. Mixture should move around in jar but not be very runny
Pour in a bunch of olive oil to make a little under 2 cups.
Add minced garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano.
Check out the taste. It should be a bit salty because it needs to flavor the unsalted pasta

At the end:

Empty pasta in large bowl. Dump ingredients over it and mix with big spoon. Pour over most of the dressing, if you need more, pour some more on until it's moistened to suit you. Empty container of 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Roma cheese. Mix together and serve.

Refrigerate any remaining. It will need more dressing since the pasta absorbs the dressing.

Friday, June 13, 2003

The egg sampler at Drunken Fish, $14.95:
Rice mixed with sesame seed-seaweed furikake and topped with a quarter each of salmon roe, flying fish roe (sparkly and crunchy and orange), smelt roe (dull and crunchy and orange) and mackerel (I think) roe--tripe-like, pale and thin and spongy-crunchy and cut into little tiny squares and mixed with green onions. In the middle was a raw quail egg.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Asparagus with Egg Relish

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 eggs and boil for about 12 minutes. Add washed, broken asparagus and boil for another 4 minutes or so. Drain and shock with cold water.

While this is going on,
Fry a spoonful of capers in olive oil in a medium pan until they open up into little flowers. Drain on paper towels and put in a bowl.

Toast a handful of pine nuts in a toaster oven set to medium darkness, one cycle, or until the nuts are brown. Remove the nuts and chop and add to the capers.

Gather about 4-5 heads of basil flowers and shred them into the bowl.

Grind black pepper in and add kosher salt.

Chop one clove garlic and cook briefly in olive oil, till fragrant but not brown. Add to the bowl.

Peel and coarsely chop the hard-boiled eggs and add them to the bowl. Add about a tablespoonful of olive oil and stir everything together. It should be somewhat moist.

Eat the asparagus with spoonfuls of the relish.

I also ate fried plantains and fried sliced Yukon Gold potatoes with this.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Some days echo with bliss: food and sun and laziness.

I woke late this morning, around 11, just missing the new Car Talk; I called Sarah and then I called Molly and we decided (it being too late to catch high tea in Pleasanton) to go to Toutatis in downtown Oakland (719 Washington at 7th St) for crepes. "Oakland is so depressing sometimes," I said, and Molly agreed, saying, "I wonder if it was always this way? I mean, I remember as a kid thinking, 'Oh, so that's what a prostitute looks like' but not feeling depressed by it." We drove on past the empty dead sunny streets, the high-rise apartment buildings like the outskirts of Barcelona drained of all the people, the clean square grass yards, and she said "Maybe I just wouldn't be depressed by it as a kid, but I'm depressed by it now." Seventh and Washington was similarly empty, as downtown Oakland inevitably is on weekends. Toutatis inhabits the ground floor of a Victorian, just beside the Oakland Library bookstore (which was closed); when Molly and I walked in, we were the only two customers, although an older lady and her husband came in a little later and sat down. We were seated in the table by the front window. Maps of Brittany (St. Lo, Mont St. Michel, Cherbourg, Manche) and postcards of fishing village harbors and windswept stone cottages were pressed under the glass tabletop, and magazines were arranged on the bay window's countertop--San Francisco Magazine's Cheap Eats issue and Us Weekly and CFO and many others.

I got a Galette Provencale with cheese--tomato coulis (thick chunks of tomato, not the thin jam I was expecting from the coulis served in Thailand), onion, Kalamata olives (pitted, which Molly pointed out is extremely inauthentic), and rosemary-fragrant, crunchy dried herbes de Provence strewn over the top. The thin, lacy, buckwheat crepe was folded into a triangle whose crispy edges pointed off the edges of the plate, and cheese was melted between the layers, bumping the price up to $8 instead of $6.25 for the vegan version. In the center of the crepe the coulis and cheese melted the crepe into a mush and I understood why their menu specified that they would not package their crepes to go. I had an Orangina as well. Molly had a cafe au lait served in a big bowl with a marshmallowy cloud of white foam dolloped on top, and a dessert crepe with caramelized apples and whipped cream.

Although the staff was hurrying us along a bit, I decided to get a dessert crepe as well--mine was topped with whipped cream and napped with a homemade caramel sauce--thick, luscious, sweet and voluptuous, making my pitiful hazelnut brittle hang its head in shame. The crepe had considerably less presence than the savory galette (it basically served as a soft thin sponge for caramel sauce).

Afterwards, we walked around the empty streets of downtown Oakland, past an art gallery with birds and a big brown boxer-type dog lying amidst the sculptures, and discussed LA and whether Molly would go crazy from moving there, and the relative merits of conferences versus those of business trips. Chinatown was much more populated and we looked at the beautiful blue-glazed dishes and cheap woks and packages of almond jello and tins of curry sauce in the big store on the corner, and frozen durians and longans in boxes on the street.

We went to Elephant Pharmacy and I got a Chimp Mint to benefit the Jane Goodall foundation. It contained a trading card of a low-ranking but ambitious chimp named Mike, who would display using four empty kerosene cans when other chimps only had one.

We went to Molly's and I ate walnuts and feta wrapped in mint leaves.

I came home and saw the Satsuki Arts festival at the Buddhist temple on Channing. Nothing of interest--fish prints with rubber fish were cool.

Made the following:
Line-caught wild salmon (2 fillets, $10.65, fillets costing $8.50 a pound): flesh so deeply colored it was still almost red when it was cooked, instead of anemic pink. I marinated it in white miso paste with a little soy sauce, sliced garlic, ginger powder, mirin, and bergamot juice. Scraped off the marinade and cooked the thick, wedge-shaped fillets skin-side down in the handleless nonstick frying pan at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes. The skin was blackened but tasty.

Purple asparagus (1 bunch) and 1 zucchini and 3 yellow sunburst squash. I cooked one white onion and 2 cloves garlic till soft, almost caramelized, then added a handful of pine nuts to toast in the pan and stirred in 2 spoonfuls of blackberry jam and a pat of butter to melt together. I added a little soy sauce and mirin. I added the veggies and stirred them to coat in the glaze and then cooked till crisp-tender and added salt and pepper.

Wild rice/brown rice mix. 2 cups rice, 4 cups water. Chewy but still a little too soft.

Meal greatly appreciated by all.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Bergamot pots de creme with hazelnut brittle topping:

4 egg yolks
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one bergamot

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Simmer the cream with the bergamot zest and vanilla bean (scrape the seeds into the cream). Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together with the sugar. Remove the vanilla bean, add the vanilla extract, and pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk together and pour into 4 ramekins. Bake in a water bath, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Brittle = bad (too bitter and hard as a rock), but if you want to make it:
Toast 1/2 cup hazelnuts and rub off the skins while still warm. Chop coarsely and divide over the tops of the custard cups.

Mix 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and boil until the sugar caramelizes. Pour over the nuts. Chill till caramel hardens.

Hit caramel with hammer until it breaks and try to suck the custard off the rock-hard pieces of nut brittle.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

lemon cream pasta:

chop garlic, saute in butter, add heavy cream, add lemon zest, simmer and reduce, add mint leaves, nutmeg, thyme, lemon juice, salt, pepper.

boil fresh fettucine with asparagus and peas.


Friday, May 02, 2003


Friday, May 2, 2003 A Menu For Peace

Ruby grapefruit and wild fennel salad, $8.25
Star Route Farm Little Gems with beets and green goddess dressing, $8.50
Willey Farm cucumbers with spring onions, anchovies, and olives, $7.75
Full Belly Farm asparagus with pickled artichokes, rosemary, and egg, $8.75
Half Moon Bay sand dab baked in the wood oven with sweet onions,
pine nuts, raisins, and bay, $11.00

Pizzetta with tomato sauce, Monterey Bay squid, and aïoli, $14.00
Garden lettuce salad, $6.75
Baked Sonoma goat cheese with Viki's lettuces $8.75
Spring onion and green garlic soup with farro and herbs, $6.75

Fedellini pasta with morel mushrooms, peas, crème fraîche, and mint, $17.00
Local king salmon with spinach, sorrel, Bintje potatoes, and rosé butter, $18.00
Grilled Niman Ranch pork loin with snap peas, little turnips, orange zest, and sage, $18.50
Pan-fried Hoffman Farm chicken breast with caper salsa and celery root-rocket salad, $17.00
Pizza with wild nettles and pecorino, $17.00
Crostata di Perrella with goat cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, garlic, and herbs, $17.00

Side orders: a plate of olives, anchovies, Parmesan, or Tuscan olive oil, $3.50 each


Artisan cheese selection:Pleasant Ridge Reserve, St. Pat, and Ouray, $8.50

Rhubarb galette with muscat ice cream, $8.75
Bittersweet chocolate-almond torte with Cognac cream, $8.50
Cardamom coffee caramel custard with chocolate wafers, $6.25
Strawberry-orange sherbet with gingersnaps, $6.00
Candied Meyer lemon ice cream with ossi dei morti, $6.25
Jim Churchill's Pixie tangerines and Black Sphinx dates, $6.50

Service charge: 15 percent Sales tax: 8 1/4 percent
Corkage: $20 per bottle, limit two (750 ml.) per table.

Most of our produce and meat comes from farms and ranches that practice ecologically sound agriculture.
The Café now accepts advance reservations one month ahead to the calendar date.
Please refrain from cellular phone use within the café and restaurant.

Also a very fruity glass of a 2002 Sauvignon Blanc from Cheverny in the Loire Valley (Domaine du Salvard?), and French roast coffee.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

I had my dinner party last night and it was good! The food took longer to cook than I had expected (I made the gelatin 2 days before, thankfully, but I didn't get any other cooking done in advance.)

Here was the menu:
Prosecco-Ginger Ale-Lemon Juice Gelatin with Pansies, Strawberries, and Blackberries
The juice from the cut-up strawberries tinged this a pale pinkish color, and it tasted light and refreshing and looked absolutely beautiful. I used one big box of strawberries and one small box of blackberries and one package of edible flowers and 4 cups liquid and 4 pkgs gelatin.

These came out a bit too oily, heavy, and eggy, but they were still pretty good. I doubled the recipe and grated the cheese with my new awesome Microplane grater. It's not very good at going into the corners of pieces of cheese. I used chopped thyme as the herb, and had to put batter into my 2 muffin tins as well as 2 baking sheets (well, 1 baking sheet and the roasting pan.)

Fennel and Potato Soup
Came out a little dark because of the vegetable bouillon and possibly because I cooked the vegetables too long, but overall quite tasty, esp. with a dash of anisette. Pei said it was too sweet.

Baked Brie en Croute
Christy said this was the best thing she'd ever tasted. The sticking point with this was that I had forgotten to defrost the puff pastry beforehand. I wrapped the brie in the puff pastry with the apricot jam inside. This was slightly disastrous because one or both of them started leaking and dripped brie onto the bottom of the oven and caused a lot of smoke. It was very rich and liquidy.

Very good. I sliced, salted, weighted & drained, rinsed, and broiled (about 3 mins on either side, till golden) about 7 eggplants. I minced four onions and one red pepper and left them to sweat in a pan in olive oil, then minced one bag of brown mushrooms and let those sweat and cook down for a good long time as well, until almost dry. I also added a handful of reconstituted Horn of Plenty dried mushrooms, chopped, and some of the soaking liquid; I let this absorb and evaporate as well. Then I added about four cans of diced tomatoes drained of their puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano leaves, salt, and a large handful of chopped fresh basil. I added two packages of Morningstar (?) fake ground beef, and let them melt and the whole thing simmer a while longer. Then I layered the casseroles and topped them with a "bechamel" made of about 2 cups of plain yogurt mixed with 2 eggs and about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. These went in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees and came out all steaming and browned.

Chocolate Ganache Cake
AWESOME. This is the prettiest thing I have ever made. I made feathered marbling on top with lines of white chocolate ganache, and stuck some mint leaves and white chocolate shavings in the middle of the cake. It tasted great--how could it not, with more than two packages of semisweet chocolate in it?

Hazelnut and Pear Gelato
Anni brought these over from Mondo Gelato. The hazelnut was dairy, and the pear was non-dairy (a sorbet, I think).

Guest List (lucky 13!):
Rahul (gave me a Strange Foods book.)
Molly (is making me a pink necklace.)
Atsushi (gave me Godiva truffles.)
Jameel (gave me a knife set.)
Mike B. (gave me a Chocolate Desserts book.)
Mike R.
Erin (with Mike R., gave me a card and white balsamic vinegar and chocolates)
Christy (gave me Play with your Food magnets)
Paul (gave me a two-volume set of The Life of Langston Hughes)


Monday, April 21, 2003

russet potatoes
gruyere cheese
vegetable broth (for soup and risotto)
heavy cream (for cake, soup, gougeres)
milk (for cake and soup)
eggs (for gougeres and cake)
apple pears
edible flowers
puff pastry
apricot jam
fresh vegetables
Birthday Dinner 4/18:
Mike, Erin, Molly, and Kyle came with me to Udupi Palace. Molly and I shared the masala dosa and South Indian Thali plate, both of which were excellent. My favorite of the thali was a little dish of cauliflower and potato curry with mustard seeds in it. The dosa was smooth and shiny and slightly crunchy. Way too much food! We saw Jerry there and he didn't seem to remember who I was. Then I got lemon and hazelnut gelato for free at Mondo Gelato. It was nice. Mike and Erin gave me a bottle of white balsamic vinegar and some chocolate, and Jameel came up from Hayward and Paul and Christy came over, and Jameel gave me a knife set.

Birthday Dinner 4/19 at Cafe Pro Bono:
I had charbroiled lamb loin chops with merlot-blackcurrant sauce, and an accompanying glass of merlot. Delicate and smoky and with a delicious lamb flavor. It came with a heavenly creamy savory pan-fried piece of polenta, and julienned veggies. Dark chocolate and white chocolate mousse in a hard chocolate shell for dessert, and tiramisu. The candles we burned smelled horrible and soapy.

Mom got some other part of the lamb (it came in thin slices) with a cabernet sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Mine was better.

TSS got linguine with lemon juice and clams which I thought was unremarkable.

Serena got "Susan's Downfall"--herb and cheese ravioli in a creamy browned gorgonzola-almond sauce.

Sunday, April 20, 2003



Active time: 15 min Start to finish: 6 1/4 hr (includes chilling)
4 cups mixed fruit such as berries; peeled and thinly sliced peaches (see cooks' note, below); and halved seedless grapes
2 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-oz envelopes)
2 cups Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Arrange fruit in a 1 1/2-quart glass, ceramic, or nonstick terrine or loaf pan.

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup Prosecco in a small bowl and let stand 1 minute to soften. Bring 1 cup Prosecco to a boil with sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup Prosecco and lemon juice, then transfer to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Cool mixture, stirring occasionally, just to room temperature.

Slowly pour mixture over fruit, then chill, covered, until firm, at least 6 hours.

To unmold, dip pan in a larger pan of hot water 3 to 5 seconds to loosen. Invert a serving plate over terrine and invert terrine onto plate.

Cooks' notes:
• To peel peaches, first cut an X in the end opposite the stem and immerse in boiling water (15 seconds). Transfer it to ice water and peel.
• Terrine can chill up to 3 days. Unmold just before serving.
• To achieve a look similar to that on our cover, use 6 (8-oz) ceramic or stainless- steel molds and 2 cups of fruit and double the gelatin mixture. Once gelatin is at room temperature, spoon 3 tablespoons into each mold, then chill 1 hour to set. (Keep remaining gelatin at room temperature.) Arrange 1/3 cup of fruit in each mold and divide remaining gelatin mixture among molds. Chill, covered, until firm, at least 6 hours.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about 290 calories.

August 2002


The inclusion of fennel and a dash of Pernod puts a sophisticated spin on the classic chilled potato soup. Offer your guests iced tea with the meal.
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 3 small fennel bulbs)
2 onions, sliced
1 pound small white potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock or canned
low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons Pernod

2 cups half and half

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add sliced fennel and onions. Cover and cook until fennel is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in Pernod. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer soup to large bowl. Mix in 2 cups half and half. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Makes 8 servings.

Bon Appétit
August 2000

A Cook on 08/23/01
Excellent! Easy to make, yet very sophisticated flavor. Nice with a garnish of frizzled leeks and/or a drizzle of infused oil.

A Cook on 08/03/00
Very good by the cup, not by the bowl.

( rbond@kentek.com ) from Boulder, CO on 08/02/00
Excellent cold soup for hot summer days. Intriguing taste of fennel in the background. Definitely would make again.



1 fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks discarded, bulb cut
into 1/2-inch dice, and feathery leaves reserved for garnish
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium russet (baking) potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large heavy saucepan cook diced fennel and onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Peel and cube potatoes. Add potatoes and broth to fennel mixture and simmer, covered, until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor purée mixture in batches until smooth and return to saucepan. Stir in milk and salt and pepper to taste and simmer soup, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Garnish soup with reserved fennel leaves.

Makes about 5 cups.

April 1995
Susan A. Hodge: New York, New York

A Cook from Media, PA on 01/17/02
Wonderful! Besides being quick, easy and healthy, the fennel taste is subtle and delicious. And it made the whole house smell delightful.

A Cook from Tucson, Az. on 01/28/00
This soup is great served cold. Make at least 24 hours in advance, cover and refrigerate. I added a little chopped parsley to the top of each serving.

Lovely Chocolate Ganache Cake

Wow your guests with this festive show-stopper. Milk chocolate curls add a decorative touch.

19 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 large piece milk chocolate for making curls
raspberries and fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes plus cooling
Serves 8 to 12

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour 10-inch springform pan. In saucepan, melt 10 ounces semisweet chocolate with butter over medium-low heat; stir until smooth and set aside.

2. In bowl, beat eggs at high speed 5 minutes, until thick. Add sugar; beat 5 minutes, until fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder on top; fold in. Fold in chocolate mixture.

3. Pour batter into pan; bake 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Cool.

4. In saucepan, melt remaining semisweet chocolate in the cream over medium heat; stir until smooth. Pour over cake. Shave curls from the milk chocolate with vegetable peeler; place on cake with berries and mint.


Saturday, April 19, 2003

gougeres by elisabeth prueitt (tartine)

1 1/4 c nonfat milk
2/3 c (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 c bread flour
5 eggs
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp mincecd fresh herbs such as thyme or chives
1 c (4 oz) shredded gruyere
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp heavy cream

preheat to 350, butter a baking sheet or line w/parchment paper.

in a medium heavy saucecepan, combine milk butter and salt, cook till butter has melted and mixture boils. add all flour at once, stirring w/wooden spoon, stir vigorously till mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan, about 3 mins. add eggs 1 at a time beating vigorously until each is incorporated before adding next. fold in black pepper, herbs, 3/4 of the cheese. scoop out tablespoonfuls of hte batter and place 3" apart on prepared sheet. in small bowl, whisk egg yolks and cream together. brush mixture over each puff and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. bake till puffed and golden brown, 30-35 mins. serve warm. makes 2 doz.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

spinach souffle:
1 pkg frozen spinach, cooked

bechamel with 4 tbsp butter and 1/4 cup flour and 2 cups milk. whisk in 4 egg yolks and 1/2 round of herb chevre and some parmesan and let cool slightly.

sautee 1 chopped shallot and 3 chopped cloves garlic with the spinach and then mix in the sauce.

mix egg whites till stiff with a little salt, fold into sauce, bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

came out non-puffy and with a weird pancakey layer on top.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

For breakfast, Rahul made me two Morningstar breakfast patties, which I reheated in the toaster on a slice of Health Nut wheat bread.
For lunch, I had a delicious apple pear and leftover tomato lentil stew over wild rice and some golden wheat puffs (not with the stew, separately).
For dinner, I ate leftover butternut squash spaghetti with parmesan, Acme walnut levain with brie, and a little bit of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (about two spoonfuls).

But for dessert...
we went to Mondo Gelato and I had two of the real-milk gelatos--ACE and hazelnut. And the hazelnut was amazingly good. Obsession-worthy. Rich. Delicious.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash

Cooked minced garlic in butter, then added microwaved butternut squash flesh and some water. Seasoned with nutmeg and parmesan. Cooked till falling apart. Added crushed-up amaretti. Pureed with stick blender and tossed with spaghetti and cubes of fresh mozzarella.

Orecchiette with Asparagus and Trumpet Mushrooms

Sauteed chopped shallot in butter and added asparagus broken into chunks. Sauteed till almost done, then added chopped black trumpet mushrooms and sauteed until cooked. Added the juice of one moro blood orange and a little more butter. Tossed with orecchiette and topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Salad dressed with a very hippie soy/tahini/Meyer lemon/sugar dressing.

Potatoes shaved into a pan of hot oil and curry powder and fried till crisp.

Leftover pork chop from Nizza la Bella.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Went to Nizza la Bella with Mom. BEST FRIES EVER. It was a great meal!

* Bread was unexceptional--like a pale, oily version of the focaccia from the rotisserie place, much as I hate to admit it.
* Mixed salad with a vinaigrette and topped with two delicious crunchy garlic toasts and a warm chevre round with herbs.
* Mussels in a chopped-garlic-and-parsley broth with aioli
* Crusty, golden, crunchy, savory fries with aioli--SO GOOD.
* A pork loin chop in a brown reduction sauce served with a spinach/tomato/salsify gratin and sauteed summer squash rounds (a bit too soft for my taste). By this time I was quite full, so I had only a tiny bite of it.
* Rinquinquin--an alcoholic Provencal peach infusion served on the rocks
* Rich, chocolate-chunk-studded chocolate mousse with creme chantilly and an almond cookie. Good, but not as good as the Food Forum chocolate pots au creme.
Lentil stew:
Saute plentiful chopped garlic and sliced carrots (would have been better diced) in butter in a stockpot until pale golden and fragrant. Add lentils, toast slightly, add plenty of water. Season with a bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, curry powder, and tomato paste. Add chopped veggie bacon. Peel and dice tomatoes and throw them in. Simmer till lentils are almost soft, then add chopped spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, and sliced button mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. (I served it over wild and brown rice, but the rice didn't add much to the dish.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Made a vegetarian carbonara:
Beat two eggs with the remainder of the heavy cream (probably about 3-4 tbsp) and seasoned with a handful of chopped fresh parsley, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Sauteed about 4 chopped Morningstar Farms breakfast strips and about 3 cloves of minced garlic. Chopped up the leftover asparagus and heated it in a pan. Boiled spaghetti, drained, then poured into a bowl on top of the egg mixture and breakfast strips, and tossed it well, sprinkling generous parmesan into it. I mixed my asparagus into it because I thought Rahul had an allergy. Then it turned out that he really just has an allergy to undercooked eggs (sunny side up, etc.) because he ate some carbonara and it made his mouth start itching and he suddenly remembered his egg allergy and concluded that he probably wasn't allergic to asparagus.
I roasted purple asparagus from the farmer's market last night--tossed in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper, and put into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. I fried two eggs sunny-side-up to go along with the asparagus, and had a messy delicious feast, dipping the sweet, juicy, sizzling asparagus spears (the thinner ones overcooked and turned back to green) into the soft runny egg yolk and wrapping the slightly browned bits of white around the stem before taking a big bite... my hands were covered in extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper and egg by the time I was done, but oh, it was good. (Rahul said, "You're like a little kid! You're so excited!" or something to that effect, watching me eat.)

I also made a salad with some of the half-pound bag of salad greens with edible flowers that I got at the farmer's market. Tossed it with tuna and a lemon-juice vinaigrette. Unremarkable but tasty.

And I had a slice of the frangipane strawberry tart, which surprisingly seemed better the next day--perhaps just because I wasn't so hyped up with anticipation. Michael Baker came over and deemed it my "best creation yet."

And I also had one Dreyer's coconut frozen fruit bar. Those are my new addiction--they're so rich and creamy! I hope they're not too bad for you (coconut oil medium-chain fatty acids and all that).

Monday, March 24, 2003

This recipe (from Martha Stewart via the Craigslist food forum) seems good:
Blood Orange Gelato

Makes about 1 quart

- 2 cups whole milk
- Zest of 1 blood orange, plus 1 cup freshly squeezed blood-orange juice (about 4 oranges)
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and orange zest. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove pan from heat. Let steep 30 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan, cook orange juice over medium-low heat until reduced by three-fourths, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and let orange syrup cool completely.

3. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Return milk to a simmer.

4. Add half of warm milk to egg-yolk mixture; whisk until blended. Return new mixture to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat back of a wooden spoon.

5. Have ready an ice-water bath. Remove saucepan from heat; immediately stir in cream. Pass mixture through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Place bowl in ice-water bath; chill. Stir in orange syrup.

6. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I tried adapting the Apricot Tart recipe from Corby Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food, enticed by this phrase: "This tart drove Tasha Prysi, who tested the recipes for this book, wild with desire when she worked at Chez Panisse."

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup ice water

Standard pate brisee practice. Refrigerate, roll out into 14" round on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

1/3 cup (3 oz.) almond paste (this costs over $6 for 7 ounces!)
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
2 tbsp flour
1 egg
pinch of salt

"Cream" the almond paste and sugar, then beat in the butter, then the flour, egg, and salt. This makes 1/2 cup frangipane--twice as much as the recipe calls for. I made two tarts.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Smear the frangipane onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2" border around the edges, sprinkle the flour plus 1 tbsp sugar (and optionally 2 tbsp ground almonds) onto the frangipane, and then arrange the fruit (Kummer's recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs apricots, but since they weren't in season, I used 2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered, pointy edges towards the center of the tart) on the frangipane. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Roll up the edges of the tart into a ropy border that will contain the juices from the fruit as it cooks. Brush the rim of the tart with melted butter, then sprinkle that with sugar as well.

Put into oven, rotating every 20 minutes, for about 45-55 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes, then eat.

I was disappointed with this, although it smelled heavenly. The juices ran out and caramelized my tart to the parchment. I used the excess frangipane and strawberries in a prebaked pie crust I'd laid away in the freezer and was happier with the results, as there was no sticky paper and the crust ended up crisper. However, I think apricots might be a more natural pairing with frangipane than the strawberries, which seemed to bludgeon the delicate almond flavor into submission. Maybe juicing it up with almond extract would work.

My appetite might also have been somewhat affected by watching the pie-eating scene (aka BARF-O-RAMA) in Stand By Me as the tart baked.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ate at Fatapple's last night with Mom:
Green salad with fat-free honey dijon which I quite liked (wasn't very mustardy, just tangy)
Meatloaf (no ketchup crust, disappointingly, just a light gravy)
French fries (yum)
A generous portion of roasted veggies--zucchini, red onions, etc.

Earl Grey tea.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

chicken with ginger cream sauce:

sauteed garlic in oil, sprinkled organic chicken breasts with powdered ginger, browned them in the oil, grated on fresh ginger and sprinkled in chopped crystallized ginger and dried cranberries. poured in a whole bottle of reed's extra spicy ginger beer, covered, and let the chicken breasts cook a while. uncovered to let it evaporate, scraped the pan a little to deglaze. poured in most of a pint of heavy cream and let it evaporate and thicken. added salt and fresh black pepper. ate it over a nice crispy hash brown pancake.

Monday, March 10, 2003

I made baba ghanouj for Pei 2's sushi dinner party last night (in attendance: Pei 1, Jolie, Selena, Doug, Kyoko, Rolando, me, Rahul, Kyle, Kenny):
Thoroughly blacken 1 eggplant under the broiler, then let cool and peel off the charred skin. Don't forget to prick the skin or it will explode with steam when you try to turn it over!

Mince 2 cloves garlic and soften in a pan with olive oil over medium-low heat. (I ended up adding 1 small minced raw clove to up the garlic factor--and my mouth still tastes OK today)

Puree the eggplant pulp and garlic with about 4 tbsp tahini, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, 10 large basil leaves, the juice of 1 lemon, and 3 tbsp EVOO. (All measurements approximate.)

Eat with pita or veggies.

Pei supplied the chopped veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, blanched asparagus) along with sesame soy salad dressing and Japanese mayonnaise. Also spicy tuna rolls, California rolls, inari, gourd/pickle/avocado/cucumber rolls, and tuna sashimi. I think Selena made teriyaki chicken breasts. Pei 2 had "colonization cake"--white cake mix with white chocolate chips from a box, topped with dark chocolate chips. Yum, what a feast!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Best thing EVER = honey puffed kashi!!!!

Rahul made this great spicy soup last night but I forget what was in it. I made a tasty salad with blood orange vinaigrette and albacore tuna fish and avocado over mixed greens. The tomatoes were a little bit shriveled.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

made asparagus risotto last night with boxed veggie broth. cut up and blanched the asparagus tips and stirred them in. butter and parmesan and a little saffron. yum! kyle said it was one of his favorite things of all the things i'd made and even rahul liked it.

then today i made these (from epicurious)--substituting some chopped crystallized ginger and hazelnuts for the walnuts, and adding scharffen berger cocoa nibs to one of the logs. i haven't tried them post-biscotting because we went to dinner with rahul's coworkers pollyanna and anne and i ate too much sushi. but after the first baking they were quite nice.


Unlike most commercially available chocolate biscotti, these have a deep chocolaty flavor.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.

Makes about 30 biscotti.

December 1994

Saturday, March 01, 2003

things i need from the store:
baking soda for deodorizing and also another box for biscotti
coconut popsicles
strawberry popsicles
ben and jerry's (?) not sure if i'm caught up on the coupons from working assets yet
more of that yummy fetzer chardonnay
plans for din din:

apple pie
asparagus risotto

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

rahul made some indian fish dish w/chili powder, curry powder, cumin, yogurt, etc. (leaving out the garlic) and served it over a brown rice/wild rice mix.

i made a yummy salad:
spring mix greens
toasted chopped hazelnuts
pieces of soft goat cheese rolled in herbs
small chunks of avocado

tossed in a well-mixed vinaigrette of:
juice of 1 tarocco blood orange
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup bariani EVOO
a spoonful of unrefined sugar
a squirt of brown spicy mustard
dried tarragon
kosher salt

i later used the rest of the vinaigrette over some rice-shaped pasta and halved grape tomatoes and toasted pine nuts and more goat cheese for another salady thing.

we drank some white wine but it wasn't very good. i really liked the chardonnay from last time. FETZER!

Friday, February 21, 2003

lemon cream pasta: saute shallots in butter, add 1 can chicken broth and simmer away till reduced, add about 3/4 pint to a pint heavy whipping cream and reduce, add a splash of marsala, painfully grate thumb knuckle while grating in lemon zest of 1 or 2 lemons. simmer. in a separate pan, boil water, add frozen peas and halved brown mushrooms, cook a minute or two, and add fresh fettucine pasta and cook 2-3 mins. season the cream sauce with nutmeg, cayenne, salt, black pepper, and then squeeze in the fresh juice of 2 lemons. toss the pasta with the sauce and generous parmesan. mmmm!

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Brown rice and wild rice salad with red beans and carrots and sun-dried tomatoes, cooked in chicken broth with cumin.
Made Moroccan chicken (again) with almonds, cranberries, raisins, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, lemon, tomato paste, black pitted whole olives, spinach, cinnamon, cayenne, honey, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, oregano, saffron, salt, pepper, white Fetzer chardonnay. Served with couscous. Drank a lot of white wine with it too.
Made this recipe twice, once in a pan, once in muffin cups (with liners) with 1/4 cup flour instead of 1/2 cup and it came out fine. Yum yum!


1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups milk

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish or an 8-inch square baking pan. Get out a slightly larger pan, at least 2 inches deep, that will hold the cake pan comfortably.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, the salt and flour in a mixing bowl; stir to blend. Add melted butter, lemon juice and zest and egg yolks; stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in milk.

Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish. Set dish in larger pan and pour in hot water to come halfway up sides of baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 6

PER SERVING: 295 calories, 6 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 135 mg cholesterol, 187 mg sodium, 0 fiber.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

roasted cubed beets w/ olive oil and thyme
roasted curried veggies (sizzle garam masala in butter and stir in before roasting): delicata squash, potatoes, carrots.

good, but i think all that fiber was excessive, and beets cause great alarm and agitation when exiting in the normal course of nature.
chopped cauliflower from the farmer's market and carrots. minced some garlic and tossed it in with generous butter before adding the substantial veggies. minced lemon zest and chopped italian parsley. stirred them in with the veggies later on in the cooking, along with another clove of garlic, finely minced, and the juice of the lemon. and salt and black pepper.

it was quite nice served over a bed of fettuccine tossed with butter and parmesan, although probably not the best thing for a phlegmy cold.

Thursday, January 09, 2003


This dish is not really Portuguese (unless by way of Goa); I modified it to be neither baked nor chicken.

Subbed in Chinese fried tofu puffs and charmingly named Veat nuggets for the chicken, and veggie broth for the chicken broth. Added broccoli. Skipped turmeric. Simmered whole thing on stove and skipped egg-and-coconut-bake thing. It was good. I used a little of the coconut milk to help cook the medium-grain rice (sprinkled it with ginger, too). I also just realized that I completely left the salt and pepper out of the recipe. What the hell is wrong with me? Perhaps the sodium in the Veat and bouillon cubes made up for it.

Portuguese Baked Chicken

This dish is a very good example of Macanese cuisine.
The influences of Malaya and India come through in the
coconut and curry whilst the olives and tomato paste
are distinctly Portuguese.

4 large chicken legs -completely thawed if frozen
2 medium onions
2 large tomatoes
2 large potatoes
1 large bay leaf - torn into pieces
Portuguese olive oil
2 tsp tomato paste
50 g black olives
1 cup thick coconut milk
1¼ cups chicken stock
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1 egg
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp mild curry powder (Malay type is perfect)
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 160C/350F

Cut each leg into two at the joint, sprinkle with
salt, pepper and bay leaf, mix well and leave to
marinate for at least one hour.

Peel potatoes and onions and cut into 1” cubes,
quarter the tomatoes. Fry the potatoes in hot oil
(about 3 tbsp) till just beginning to brown, remove
from pan and set aside. Fry the chicken in the same
oil till golden brown all over. Return the potatoes to
the pan, add the chicken stock and simmer very gently,
covered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken and potatoes from the stock and
place in an ovenproof dish. Add the tomatoes, onions,
olives, turmeric, curry powder and tomato paste to the
stock in the pan and simmer gently, uncovered and
stirring occasionally, till the mixture thickens
slightly (about 10 minutes). Pour it over the chicken
and potatoes, add the coconut milk, and stir gently to
mix through. Lightly beat the egg and pour it
carefully over the top, do not mix in, and sprinkle
with shredded coconut. Cook, uncovered, in the oven
till the chicken is tender and the top browned - about
20/30 minutes.

Serve with hot white rice and crusty bread to soak up
the juices.

Serves 4

rahul's mom's chicken curry (have not yet tried)

1 1/2 lbs. chicken cut into small pieces
2 onions (medium), chopped
1 tsp. ginger and garlic paste
1 4 oz. tomato paste [I think this probably means "1 4 oz. can"]
1 tsp. garam masala powder
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Chop onions into small pieces. Fry them in 2 tbsp. oil (vegetable or canola) till brown. Add ginger garlic paste. Fry some more on medium heat. Add tomato paste and fry 5 more minutes on low flame. Add chili powder and garam masala powder. Fry 2 more minutes. Add cleaned chicken and cook on low heat, covered. Check every 5 minutes and stir well. Cook till chicken is tender--about 1/2 hr. Don't add too much water; you can add a little (1/4 c.) water if needed when cooking. Usually chicken contains little water. That should be enough. Add salt according to taste with the chicken. After the chicken is cooked, add sour cream. Garnish with cilantro if you like.