Everyone is talking about ramen, and there’s a ramen shop in almost every East Bay neighborhood. But what about all the other delicious Asian soups out there with the same soul-warming potential? Here are ten soups (at eight venues) you might not have thought of.
100 pounds of sugar, 390 pounds of flour, 60 pounds of eggs, and 100 pounds of candy are among the ingredients for a ten foot tall gingerbread house at The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa. Last night at the Claremont’s annual Holiday Open House, over 200 guests showed up to see the unveiling of the big gingerbread house.
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.
As it turns out, Mele Kalikimaka really is the thing to say on a bright Hawai’ian Christmas Day. So, in honor of all my friends from The Islands Big and not-so-Big, I am saying “Merry Christmas” with a big bowl of poke. Of course, since this is a Holiday piece, I felt it necessary to make this raw tuna dish look as Christmas-y as possible, under the circumstances.
Like a lot of Christmas revelers out there, I count A Christmas Carol as my favorite holiday story. Yet my reason for loving this Dickens tale is probably a little different than you might expect. Although I find Scrooge’s metamorphoses from Bah-humbug kill joy to jolly benefactor heartwarming, I adore his transition from gruel eater to Smoking Bishop drinker even more.
One of the things I love about cooking around the holidays is experimenting with all the ingredients in my refrigerator. Although I have a great time planning our Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s feasts, I think I enjoy the impromptu ones even more. Take Christmas breakfast this year: although I had every intention of making cinnamon rolls the night before Christmas so we could have freshly-baked ooey gooey deliciousness in the morning, an ill-timed head cold forced me to bed early. So there we were, Christmas morning with no buns. What we did have, however, was a fridge full of fresh and luxurious holiday ingredients.
It’s no surprise that with the excessive amounts of cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and holiday stress that comes from missing family and friends, Christmas movies can really sock it to your emotional core. Give yourself a night off and huddle up with some classic homey movies, some comforting local take-out, and several boxes of Kleenexes.
Let’s face it — Christmas is not about the joy of giving and receiving. It’s not about the much-disputed birth of Christ, or miracles, or even the tarting up of pagan trees while singing Songs of Cheeses.
It’s about whether you get your chocolate on odds or evens this year. It’s about whether your older sister will force you to give her your day’s haul of chocolate. That’s right my friends, this month is ALL about Advent calendar chocolate.
It’s the Holiday Season, if you haven’t noticed. Sappy music is piped into our ears if we dare venture pretty much anywhere outside. Macy’s is back to putting live kittens in their store windows. People are stressed out at the thought of having to entertain, buy presents, and spend their dwindling piles of money.
And I’m busy– I’ve got lots of parties to go to. Because I’m that popular.
I have decided that this year, in light of my own evaporating bankroll, I shall indulge in the spirit of giving by sharing with my friends and loved ones items I have made with my own little hands. Or not so little– I have more than an octave reach, in piano terms. Not that I play the piano.
This year, I am making Bourbon Balls. No jokes, please. They contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary to get me through the Season: sugar, chocolate, and alcohol. They are relatively easy to make, but look as though I’ve slaved away at them. And they’re good. Chocolaty, not too sweet, slightly salty, and just a little boozy.
Anyone who knows me well would be surprised to hear me recommending a Christmas book. I am a “bah humbug” type who tries desperately to escape the holiday each year. Not only do I not celebrate Christmas but I despise the crass commercialism, forced sentimentality, and find green and red to be the most distasteful color combination of all. But I am loving Elizabeth David’s Christmas. It would seem David was a bit overwhelmed by the holiday as well, in part because her family had many birthdays right around Christmas. Her preference?
It’s getting to be that special time of year again. I will leave the reasons behind its specialness open to interpretation. Holiday party invitations start showing up in one’s mailbox the moment the turkey baster has been dried and tucked away in a drawer. Concurrently, this is the time of year when egg nog starts […]
The original, quick-and-easy recipe from Gourmet (Dec 2000) skips the whole nuts, the fleur de sel, the excess rum and the butter bath that you’ll find in the recipe below. I obviously like booze, crunchiness and that sweet-salty thing, but both versions are equally yummy. The most important part is to splurge on the best white chocolate you can find. Burlingame-based E. Guittard’s wafers are among my favorites.
No dinner party of mine is complete without at least one culinary disaster. I was still reeling from my 36 hour flight back to Paris peppered with 4 stops, rain delays, circling over Wisconsin, a refueling stop in Rockford Illinois, 2 missed connections, lost luggage, stolen items, no water and cranky flight attendants and still […]