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.
This silky, creamy vegetable soup gets a burst of flavor from extra lemony pesto. It’s special enough to kick off a holiday dinner, and easy enough to serve it for a cozy winter weeknight supper.
Kim Laidlaw shares her elevated version of classic stuffing baked alongside the bird with the addition of creamy chestnuts, fresh sage, a leek and some sherry.
My trip to Italy got me thinking about why we don’t see chestnuts as publicly available in the Bay Area. I had a minor eureka moment and remembered that years ago the Chronicle had mentioned that you could collect chestnuts somewhere in San Mateo County. Upon my return I took a quick trip down to Skyline Chestnuts and did some gathering. Apparently, the chestnut season is fairly brief. It started mid-October and ends this weekend before Thanksgiving so if you are interested in DIY chestnut collection don’t delay!
The autumn harvest is here, brilliant with salads laced with pomegranates and red Starkrimson pears, poached quinces, shredded Brussels sprouts sauteed with pancetta. And chestnuts, lovely, shiny brown chestnuts, here roasted and pureed into a rich and elegant soup, perfect for starting any holiday meal.
Thanksgiving cooks will be brining, stuffing and roasting their way into next week’s turkey feast. Foodies looking for a bigger culinary challenge can find it at a San Francisco market where home cooks can learn to be their own butcher.
If you’re into eating locally grown food and plan on including roasted chestnuts with your holiday meals, we have good news for you. California is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can still find American chestnut trees. Four types of them grow on Skyline Chestnut Orchard — a grove perched above the Northern California town of Woodside.