Archive for December, 2009

Spirit Vegetables: What would yours be?

Spirit Vegetables: What would yours be?

| December 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

What about vegetables? Might we possess vegetable spirits as well as those of animals? Biologically we certainly have much less in common with them. The edible buds, bulbs, seeds, stems, roots, and leaves of plants, vegetables are inanimate and mute. They don’t procreate or eat like us, show emotion, or play. Identifying with them in such a personal sense requires a significant suspension of disbelief.

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Get Your Spice On: The Bay Area’s Best Gingerbread

Get Your Spice On: The Bay Area’s Best Gingerbread

| December 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

According to The Journal of Antiques, Gingerbread has been around for centuries, first appearing when the Medieval Crusaders returned from the Middle East bringing back spices, sugar, and citrus fruits. Then, Catholic monks started adapting the ingredients into themed cakes and carved cookie boards. Today, the ingredients and method are much the same, although the shape and presentation obviously differ. For this post, I visited many of my favorite local bakeries to check in and see how they’ll be adapting the seasonal favorite this year. From the standard to the standout, here are a few treats that I’m pretty sure will warm your spirits in the weeks to come.

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Latkes

Latkes

| December 13, 2009 | 2 Comments

Since I am not your mother, or your new Jewish husband’s mother, if you already love your latkes, nothing I tell you need influence you in the least. But if you’ve been relying, sadly, on those nasty frozen ones that taste like wadded-up flannel pajamas all these years, or your children have suddenly reached latke-eating age and you feel compelled to hand down a little tradition, here is everything you need to know to make a perfect latke.

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‘Burb Burps: Shokolaat

‘Burb Burps: Shokolaat

| December 12, 2009 | 0 Comments

The first thing you see when you walk into this self-described modern bistro are the sparkling cases stuffed with rich piles of handmade chocolates and pastries. That decadent display alone would be enough to draw one back to Shokolaat, but I was after quite another attraction: a meatloaf sandwich.

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Glögg: A Holiday Godsend

Glögg: A Holiday Godsend

| December 11, 2009 | 1 Comment

This winter, one of my several drinks of choice is a nod of solidarity with my half-frozen Swedish brothers and sisters– glögg. It’s festive without trying too hard, it’s simple to make in large batches, it’s warm, it’s delicious, and, with the help of a little brandy, it really helps take the edge off the Holidays. And, of course, it’s just plain fun to say. If you’re not quite certain how to pronounce it, just sidle up to a Swede– they’re a friendly lot.

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Julie Powell: Video Interview and “Cleaving” Reading

Julie Powell: Video Interview and “Cleaving” Reading

| December 10, 2009 | 0 Comments

Julie Powell visited KQED’s The Writers’ Block to record a reading from her latest book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession. She was open to participating in a video interview and shared her thoughts about the importance of transparency in the process of transforming animals into meat; how the fame she received from Julie and Julia affected her career path and personal life; revealed some themes for her next fiction novel and showed us her tattoo.

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Foodie Holiday Wishlist: Top 10 from the Bay Area

Foodie Holiday Wishlist: Top 10 from the Bay Area

| December 9, 2009 | 0 Comments

This holiday season, support local businesses while giving someone a gift they’ll devour and won’t dream of re-gifting.

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McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama

McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama

| December 8, 2009 | 1 Comment

I’m not interested in reporting on what in the food-verse Panorama has seen fit to report — though that would be an suitably Internet-y concern. Anyone wanting to know the gritty and succulent details of the food section can just buy the newspaper, or read one of dozens of summaries floating around. What I am actually interested in is how Panorama’s food pages might potentially epitomize a new ideal for the framing of food stories, recipes, and related visual content in print, and how that could possibly trickle down to the under-funded and under-valued realm of real daily newspapers.

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A Favorite Family Treat: English Toffee

A Favorite Family Treat: English Toffee

| December 7, 2009 | 6 Comments

I’d been waiting for this day for a few months. I always anticipate Thanksgiving for quite some time, but this year it was the day after Thanksgiving that I was looking forward to the most. Denise, a family friend, was driving up to Marin to teach my sisters and I how to make her infamous toffee, Denise’s Pieces.

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State of Pastry in SF

State of Pastry in SF

Now that you can’t swing a puggle in this town without landing it face-first in someone’s salted-caramel-gingerbread-bacon cupcake, what’s the future of dessert? Four of the city’s most innovative confectionaries got together last week to discuss the current State of Pastry in SF.

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Minestrone and Memories

Minestrone and Memories

| December 5, 2009 | 2 Comments

This month, I had a reason to make minestrone for the first time. A few days before my mother-in-law flew out for Thanksgiving, I recited the contents of our Mariquita Mystery Box to her over the phone. As soon as she heard we were getting butternut squash, baby leeks, and chard, she told me I should think about making Alice Waters’ fall minestrone from The Art of Simple Food. She even brought me a Ziplock bag of the necessary sage, rosemary, and bay leaf fresh from her Virginia garden.

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Elsieberry Pudding

Elsieberry Pudding

| December 4, 2009 | 3 Comments

I have always had this thing for Southern people. I don’t know exactly what it is about them, but I tend to collect them much in the same way I collect Canadians and Edward Gorey first editions. Maybe it was my obsession with Gone with The Wind at age nine, or maybe it was the fact that, at the age of five, I insisted I was a Southerner because I was from Southern California and could argue that Anaheim was at approximately the same latitude as Atlanta, Georgia.. There are lots of reasons, really, but none of them are really very important.

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Trifle: An Easy Holiday Dessert

Trifle: An Easy Holiday Dessert

| December 3, 2009 | 0 Comments

Making trifle shouldn’t be difficult. As much as I love lady fingers drizzled with Anisette, I am rational enough to admit that my good intentions for baking them myself are more idealistic than realistic. I do, however, like to make cake. That said, if you aren’t one to bake anything, don’t let that stop you. Just buy a cake and assemble. The truth of the matter is that trifle can be one of the easiest holiday desserts you can create. In essence, making a trifle should be a trifle (pun intended). Although you can make everything from scratch, you can also simply purchase many of the layered items and then construct your trifle as you see fit.

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The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

| December 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Take a peek into Jaden Hair’s Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and learn to make her irresistible Firecracker Shrimp.

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