Category Archives: Ingredients

(Recipe) Try Delicious Cauliflower “Steaks”

Cauliflower is definitely having a moment, being discovered in recent years by chefs and home cooks who resonate with its mild, goes-with-anything flavor and appealing texture. I love, love this veggie and cook it frequently, including making up recipes using a relatively new offering from Trader Joe’s called “riced” cauliflower that looks a lot like the grain and can be whipped up as a non-starchy substitute. TJ’s also sells riced broccoli but I prefer the white stuff.

Thus I was primed to like a new recipe from UK-based Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi that appeared in Bon Appetit that is the best thing I’ve tried from this popular cookbook author.  The dish consists of “steaks” of thick-cut cauliflower with a puree of the veggie underneath, punched up with a “salsa” of walnuts, capers, parsley and currants that takes the delightful dish into new territories of delicious. Continue reading

Where to Taste the Finest Olive Oils

fresh-olivesOlives turned into luscious oil is not only healthful but this oil can be tasted in the Bay Area.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October, 2016.)

It may often be called “liquid gold” but olive oil actually comes in a range of luscious hues from pale yellow to deep green, with an exquisite range of aromas and flavors that vary from oil to oil — grassy, acidic, buttery, bitter, floral, fruity, nutty, spicy and more.  This agricultural crop is booming in Northern California, where some have said it’s starting to  parallel our state’s thriving wine-grape sector while being heralded by foodies and health professionals as a beneficial, delicious substance. And like wine, it can be challenging to select an olive oil due to the abundant choices available as well as controversies that have muddled the minds of many consumers regarding what should be an essential culinary staple. Fortunately, it’s easy to get savvy about olive oil in the South Bay and beyond, including tasting this wondrous product right where it’s made. Continue reading

Where to Find the Most Delectable Strawberries

fraises-blog

Strawberries may have moved up into the most popular category of fruit but that doesn’t mean all strawberries are equal in the taste — and health — department. We present the most delicious, good-for-you varieties  along with some unforgettable strawberry cousins to grow at home. Read all about it on KQED’s food blog here.

Fresh Pasta Guide – Peninsula and South Bay

rav closeupWhere can you find the yummiest fresh pasta locally to cook at home?

In the running for most addictive carb has to be pasta, whether formed in toothy noodle strands or in fat ravioli pillows.  Although it’s abundantly available in markets everywhere — typically dried or mass produced — pasta purists often seek out the fresh, local variety.   Some better groceries and farmers markets are now fresh pasta destinations but our guide identifies local producers on the Peninsula and South Bay where purveyors are offering the tastiest pasta around. Read about in KQED’s Bay Area Bites here.

Wine Salt – Magical Ingredient for Improved Outcomes

wine saltHow can something so simple be so transformative?  I read about wine salt in a New York Times article some years ago and the concept intrigued me. Combining the properties of marinades (adding flavor and tenderness) and dry rubs (helping create a crispy exterior and adding yet more flavor), wine salt is what it sounds like:  wine and salt (and a bit more). But its impact on proteins is magical. Besides tenderizing, it encourages juiciness and adds subtle but enhanced flavor.  Continue reading

The “Vanilla Queen” Working to Save Vanilla from Extinction

vanilla farmer MexicoWhile consumers likely aren’t paying much attention to the source of their vanilla fix, Patricia Rain of Santa Cruz has long headed a one-woman army attempting to raise demand for real vanilla — the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural product and in danger of following the carrier pigeon to extinction, she says. Sadly, almost 99% of “vanilla” products are made from fake flavorings while real vanilla has a rich, complex aroma that’s far superior. Read all about it on KQED’s food blog here.

“The Mulberry Guy” is Palo Alto’s most local farmer

at marketThe most hyper-local grower at a Bay Area farmers market must surely be Kevin Lynch, “the mulberry guy,” who travels all of two miles from his suburban micro-farm (otherwise known as his backyard) to the downtown Palo Alto farmers market. Now local chefs are using his delectable fruit and he has expanded into mint-and-mulberry-leaf tea, jam and lip balm, among other creations utilizing this ancient plant. The only problem with his candy-like fruit is that he doesn’t have enough of it to satisfy his many rabid fans. Read all about it on KQED’s food blog here.