Friday, September 25, 2009

A Carnivore Speaks

This past week, Becky @ChefReinvented, wrote a reflective piece on the ducks she served at a dinner. Our intrepid Chef Becky chose to participate in the butchering of the ducks from start to finish. Her post made me think, and I was a bit shocked by my own reaction.

When Becky spoke of the actual moment the final cut is made, my initial reaction was something like “augh!” followed by a swear word. My secondary reaction was the same swear word, utter less aggressively.

I am not really big on butchery. Having worked the grill, I have had to portion out meats, make sausage patties & hamburger patties and it’s not what I call fun. Yet in my mind I always thought I didn’t care for it because I would never want to kill something.

Chef Becky made me realize I just don’t like to get dirty.

I have known many a female chef who can butcher with no problems, yet I have worked with male chefs who hated it. What I wonder is, if we did have to hunt and kill our own food, who would survive? Who would be the best at hunting? It seems to me that it could be just as instinctual for women as men if not more so.

Add to that the fact that my dad grew up on a farm during the depression, I guess that though I am squeamish, perhaps not as much as I originally thought.

I was a vegetarian for a few years, once as a child and once in my late teens/early twenties. Trust me when I say it wasn’t a fad. A vegetarian in my hometown is like a vegetarian at a barbecue: out of place. Bryant Terry asked me what made me give it up the second time and I was honest: the burgers my family ate finally wore me down.

I think that you have do what is best for you in the end, whatever you are comfortable with. I try to eat at least one vegetarian meal a day and sometimes get in two. I eat meat, though we now favor organic meats with no hormones.

I guess the lesson here is, we really don’t know how certain actions make us feel until we try them. Tanks to Chef Becky for offering an honest and heartfelt post on such a personal life moment.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barefoot Contessa Family Style review

I won’t lie. I am more than a little in love with Ina Garten. After reading her story in the “Parties” book, I am became even more enamored. She made the most of an incredible opportunity and has become a great influence on women in the food industry such as myself.

“Family Style” is in my humble opinion, fantastic. Gorgeous pictures and simple recipes abound, beginning with the basics such as setting the table, cooking together and traditions. One of my favorite aspects of her books is that she talks about making a time table, and what to do in case disaster strikes.

Ina Garten shares recipes for many occasions & people: East Hampton Clam Chowder, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Tuna Tartare, Curried Chicken Salad, Fish & Chips, stuffed tomatoes and Frozen Key Lime Pie.

I love the coconut macaroons, and the sour cream pancakes (I used yogurt). I have made the chive biscuits many times, and they are always flaky, plus you can change out the chives for almost any herb.

There is a wonderful section on entertaining kids that even the most discerning kid would enjoy, while any initiate in the kitchen could make the recipes happen. There is also a recipe for marshmallows, which making with your kids would not only be fun, but would impress them to no end!

This is a cookbook I will still be using many years from now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So Cola, so yummy!

The Sisters of So Cola

What happens when two sisters come together to make chocolate? Tradtion + youth = delectable delights. Wendy & Susan Lieu are very different, yet compliment each other so well that you can see easily how this team is a success.

Making truffles since high school, Wendy is the pastry chef and Susan is her cheerleader. Or so it seems at first. The charm of these two sisters is their passion for making the most delicious chocolates, using the best ingredients & creating new flavor profiles.

Flavors? Oh, they are where the new & old world meet: Vietnamese Ca Phe Sira is a wonderful Vietnamese Espresso with organic condensed milk. Topped with French Chicory grounds, this is a lovely coffee treat.

Give it to Me Guava, I love because the only thing better than Pate de Fruit is chocolate covered Pate de Fruit!

I adore the Burnt Baby Burnt, an awesome burnt caramel with red Hawaiian sea salt that cretaes the perfect balance in a truffle.

The Guiness Truffle is a must try! Perfect for the Guiness lover, creamy & covered in gold dust!

The Notorious H.O.G.- Black Hawaiian sea salt & Applwood smoked bacon. Truthfully, I was was wary as the last bacon chocolate I had left me wanting. So Cola has it just right. Balanced, funky and oh so cool...

Also avail @

Listen to the interview with Susan and don't forget to go their site!

Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whole Wheat Star Shaped Biscuits

What is the perfect bread to go with a roast & potatoes? Biscuits!

I decided to pull out my copper star shaped cutters for a cute treat.

The most important thing to remember is not overknead them and to make sure your butter cut is throughly.

2 c whole wheat flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 tbsp butter (cut into small cubes)

3/4 c 1/2 & 1/2

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

Place flour, baking powder and salt in bowl, cut in butter.

Mix in 1/2 & 1/2 (I use a fork) until you get a cohesive dough. Fling flour on clean counter and knead to make sure it is not to wet or dry.

Preheat overn to 425.F

Roll out (sprinkle more flour if you need to) and cut out with cookie or biscuit cutters. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. You can also brush with egg white before baking or melted butter after, if you like a shiny biscuit.


Adapted from Epicurious.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I learned in my Beer pairing class

If you have a chance to take a beer pairing class, or attend a beer pairing dinner, I highly recommend it. The class was taught by Bruce Paton, aka the Beer Chef and Craig Wathen of City Beer Store.

So what did I learn?

Tasting beer:

*Involve the senses
*start with a 2 oz pour, hold to light, swirl to open and smell
*roll over the tongue
*what is the after taste?


*think about the flavor, what would go best with it?
*compliment, contrast & cut (when the taste buds are assaulted)

I learned about barrel aging, craft brewing, smoked beer and session beer

I am excited to learn more about beer pairing and cooking with beer. Be on the lookout for more on beer as I discover new and fabulous brews!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beer Pairing Class: Craig & Bruce

The beer pairing class I took has to be one of the most interesting classes I have ever had the chance to attend. I learned a lot, such s beer has essential vitamins in the yeast, the difference between session beer, Belgian style and barrel aging and all of the marvelous things you can make with beer.

Chef Bruce Paton and Craig Wathen of City Beer Store in SF were our guides through the world of beer. I am still a novice, so you can only imagine…I took two pages of notes! Since then, I had had the chance to try a few more really fantastic brews and I heartily recommend if you are in the Bay Area, you pop over to the Lake Chalet for the Regatta Red, the best red ale I have ever had the pleasure of trying.

Bruce Paton, aka the Beer Chef, has been serving up beer pairing dinners at the Cathedral Hill Restaurant since 1995. I personally cannot wait to attend one. He provided some nibbles to go with our beers.

The blonde Temptation ale, from the Russian River, was paired with gorgeous prawns & ginger scallion sauce. The ale itself was a crisp, lightly foamed sparkly delight with an unusual bouquet. I am planning in using this in a savory beer cheesecake. Yeah, you heard right!

For the Pliny the Elder, hoppy with a fruit bouquet, we had a deviled egg with scallion aioli & some Hawaiian sea salt. I could taste some spice in the beer, though I couldn’t quite decipher it. Clean and sharp, this is a good double IPA.

The Rogue Mocha Porter is pretty good, but since I first tried Rogue’s Chocolate Stout straight from a fresh keg, I am ruined forever! The Coffee bouquet goes well with the light chocolaty caramel flavor. This was paired with TCHO chocolate.

I highly recommend that you stop by City Beer Store and visit the Beer Chef for a tasting!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kettle Classics review

I was lucky enough to get asked to review Kettle Classic's multiple flavors and did so with gusto!

The Honey Dijon Mustard chips paired with an everything bagel, pepper brie and herbed salami. These are lovely, light flavor that are actually hard to stop eating. They are just the right balance of Dijon & honey that wakes up the tongue.

As a rule, I don’t care for sun dried tomatoes. However, the Sun Dried Tomato Basil chips are actually nice. I had some with San Pietro, an Italian cheese that is nutty & wrapped in beeswax. The texture hard, slightly sweet cheese went very well with the lovely tomato flavor.

The Spicy Jalapeno certainly tastes of Jalapeno, though I didn’t find them especially spicy. They are a pleasing side to a turkey with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a hint of mustard. They add a hint of spice which was just right. Paprika adds an extra kick of flavor, which I found just right.

If you want flavorful treats, these are a sure bet!

I haven't had the chance to try the Wasabi Ranch or African Red Devil Pepper, but will be sure to let you know when I do!

Kettle Classic

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cuisine Noir

Cuisine Noir Mag is leading the charge for a change in the way African-Americans eat. Now is the time for change, and that is just what publisher V. Sheree Williams is bringing to the table.

Armed with chefs such as Robert Dorsey III and articles on everything from travel to etiquette, V. Sheree's plan is to satisfy and otherwise untapped market. Good, healthy food is not just for the wealthy elite and she aims to prove it.

Listen to show and then head over to the website, to see the newest player in the food magazine world!

Listen to the interview, Sat & Sun @ 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST:

Stellkaya Winery