Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Archive for April, 2009
There are certain books that are such a part of one’s life, that it’s hard to believe that not everyone knows about them. In fact, when I sat down to write this blog post, I found it unbelievable that I have never mentioned this book to you before. 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery was published in 2000 and written by Seppo Ed Farrey. I bought it soon after, and have been cooking with it ever since.
Slim as a finger or big as a fist, wrapped in papery corn husks or supple banana leaves, sweet as spring or spicy as summer — the humble tamal in all its forms and flavors has become the star of an annual fundraising event in San Francisco. Taste of Tamales By the Bay will be coming again to the Fort Mason Center on Sunday, April 26, 2009.
There is a tradition in my house around this time of year. Come Easter Sunday, a cake must be made, and it must be made in the shape of a bunny or a lamb, using a special bunny- or lamb-shaped cake pan (preferably the one passed along to me by my mother, from her mother). Once the cake is baked, it’s frosted with white icing and lavished with pastel-dyed coconut (to represent bunny fur or lambswool, if bunnies had a thing for Manic Panic hair color). Jelly beans stand in for eyes, mouth, and general bejeweling. The type of cake–white, yellow, lemon–is less important than the fabulousness of the decoration.
Wedding season is upon us! Well, almost. When it comes to wedding cakes, there are lots of choices starting with the type of cake. According to wedding cake specialist Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette, there are several different major categories to choose from.
I’d never thought much of the carrot in terms of dessert food. Before you ask the obvious “But what about carrot cake?” question, yes, I know it exists. I just choose not to acknowledge it any longer, thanks to my volunteering to bake that particular dessert for a friend’s wedding several years ago. 150 people to feed and a Barbie-sized oven left me exhausted, but proud of the mission accomplished. I have since moved on. I don’t think I’d even uttered the word “carrot” in years.
And then I went to a potluck dinner at a home I onced partly owned, hosted by a man I used to live with, and a dog who used to know me.
Last month, the Obama administration vowed to upgrade food safety laws for the 21st century. Just last week, traces of salmonella in a central California pistachio processing plant sparked a nationwide recall of the nut. What does the future hold for food safety?
Some of you may have read my post last week about Google dining. I was fortunate enough to be asked to have lunch on the Google campus, and while I was there, Google was incredibly accommodating. They set up a time for me to interview Scott Giambastiani, one of their Executive Chefs, and tour some of the Google cafés. But what was the food like? Eclectic, fresh, and small. Let me explain.
Pizza Nostra’s Cannibal Pizza floored us, leaving us with that lusty, satiated, glow in our eyes. Topped with tomato, mozzarella, chunks of full-flavored ground beef, oregano…and crowned with a single egg cracked on top, baked to soft perfection so that the golden yolk spilled out in a lava of velvety richness. Brilliant. Yes. More please.
On Tuesday, April 7 at 6pm, the Red Vic movie house hosts a benefit for Pie Ranch, the farm and urban youth education center that also runs the popular Mission Pie. On the bill is a showing of the documentary King Corn the story of two hapless city guys who enter the world of Midwestern commodity farmers by leasing and growing a single acre of Iowa corn. King Corn will be followed by a 12-minute video exploring Pie Ranch and the farm-to-school education programs that it’s established with students from San Francisco’s Mission High.
I am an absolute freak for ginger. Anytime you see me, I will have one or two different ginger candies on hand and love trying out new types of candies. I personally love the taste, and find that it helps if I am feeling motion sickness on public transportation or in a car. Ginger is used in Chinese medicine and is recognized for multiple health benefits including increased circulation and help with digestive problems.
But what were these fuzzy oval things in a basket above the baby artichokes? They looked like green almonds (but too skinny) or mutant edamame (only too chubby). Green garbanzos, the sign read, $6/lb, and it struck me that never before had I seen garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas) in their fresh, unprocessed state, before they’d been rattled into cans or dried to wrinkled golden bullets.
Is there a drink for every occasion and mood? When one reaches for the bottle for any given reason, Deborah Pardes of Get Smart Radio wanted to know “which one?”
On April 1st, Pardes invited mixlogist Brian MacGregor of Jardenière and wine wiz Debbie Zachareas to discuss The Heart of Drinking: The Psychology of Mixology and Enology at Coffee Bar– a place where, appropriately, the beverages of choice are much less about caffeine and more about alcohol in the darker hours of the day.