Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Madera: Sneak Peek

Chef Peter Rudolph
Pity the poor venture capitalists. Most of their investments end up being a bust. Relegated to the wasteland that is Sand Hill Road, they have nowhere nearby to commiserate over a beer let alone celebrate, on those rare occasions when everything goes according to plan. Well you can stop feeling sorry for them starting April 2nd when Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill opens.

I had the privilege of attending a preview lunch yesterday and got a chance to chat with the Executive Chef Peter Rudolph and Wine Director, Paul Mekis. Their enthusiasm was a joy to behold as were the food and wine pairings. I had mixed feelings about the food at Campton Place under Rudolph. Sometimes it hit the mark other times it missed it completely. But everything I tasted yesterday was spot on.

Oyster
First up, an oak smoked warmed Hog Island sweetwater oyster with cucumber, avocado and fromage blanc. The herbal vegetal flavors played off the barely smoky oyster and was an inspired combination. It was perfect with sparkling wine. Madera will have a Champagne cart and included on it will always be at least one grower produced Champagne.

Octopus
A tender piece of octopus was well seasoned and surrounded by vegetables, a nice contrast from the typical Spanish style plating with potatoes.

Arctic char
Next a take on "surf and turf", smoked arctic char with artichokes, crispy veal sweetbreads topped with tarragon. This was one of Rudolph's signature dishes at Campton Place and it's a keeper.

Farro stew
Rudoph explained his own meal choices have leaned towards more vegetables these days and it was clear from the farro, mushroom and vegetable stew with oak grilled leeks. The chewy farro with the crunch of walnuts was hearty and satisfying and the vegetables and plump mushrooms were fresh and full of flavor. Vegetarians and meat eaters would be happy with this dish, it's by no means an afterthought and might just become a signature dish.

Kurobuta pork
The Kurobuta pork chop from Snake River was brined and grilled over black oak then served with beans, mushrooms and a bread dumpling wrapped in cabbage. The pork chop may have been the best I have ever eaten. Really. It was intensely flavorful and perfectly cooked. It had more smoky flavor than most of the other dishes which was fitting. The dumplings were tender and had bits of vegetables inside them, frankly I thought they could have been a side dish or main dish on their own instead of a garnish on an already full plate but that's a minor quibble.

Ricotta cheesecake
I'd be remiss in not mentioning how well the dessert fit with the rest of the meal. The pastry chef Shannon Swindle is diabetic and perhaps that influences his less sweet and more adult desserts. The serving of delicate vanilla flecked ricotta cheese cake was creamy but not overly sweet, accented by grilled fruits and a few caramelized nuts.

The wine list has over 600 wines and over 100 are Pinot Noir, a good wine to pair with gently smoked and grilled dishes. The list is impressive and the mark up reasonable, ranging from 2 to 2 1/2 times retail. It features lots of interesting French choices some familiar and others less so. You can view a sample of the wine list here.

While there is no set tasting menu, you can arrange to have as many courses as your would like and to have wines paired with them as well. Rustic but refined in it's food and decor, the restaurant fits well with the surrounding rolling hills and it's easy to imagine the energy you will feel when it's filled with deal makers and holiday takers, even just those sneaking away for a leisurely lunch...

Madera
2825 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park CA
650.561.1540

Opens April 2, 2009

Pineapple Muffins

apple-bread-recipe
One of the best ways to enjoy fresh pineapples is to bake cute little Pineapple Muffins out of them! Next to Blueberry Muffins, these have got to be my favorite snack. I love Pina-Colada, os I decided to combine the great flavor combo of Pineapples and Coconut to bake these baby cakes, that are delicious and filling, and don't take much preparation. You can zest them up by adding orange, lime, or even spices, but I love them as they are, with a hint of coconut essence, fresh pineapple cubes, and nice chredded coconut!

Ingredients
Makes 12-15 medium-sized muffins

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sweetened pineapples - diced or crushed
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1 egg
*** substitute 1/4 cup vanilla or plain yogurt for an eggless version
1 cup castor sugar
1 tsp coconut essence
1/2 tsp orange extract (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (or sour cream)
1/3 cup butter - at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare muffins pans by greasing with non-stick spray, or line them with paper-liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Combine egg, milk, and melted butter in another bowl. Beat a little to combine everything together and make it frothy. Now add this to the dry mixture just until combined. Do not over-beat. Fold in the pineapples and the shredded coconut and gently stir to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the moulds (upto 2/3 full) and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops rise and become golden.

Let the muffins cool in the rack for 10 mins. Then gently remove then from the moulds and transfer to a wire rack to further cool for another 5-7 mins. (If you don't let them cool enough, the tops may sag, like mine did:))

Serve the Pineapple muffins, or baby cakes, as I like to call them, with some fresh Indian Chai. You can even layer it with some orange marmalade, or deck it up with whipped cream! Enjoy the taste of Pina Colada, albeit in a Muffin form!

This is my entry for the BBD#18 - Quick Breads that is currently running on this blog. You still have until April 1st to send in your entries. So bake something quick, and send it over!

Related Recipes:
Mango Streusel Cake
Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins
Eggless Cranberry Walnut Scones

Monday, March 16, 2009

Choosing and Pairing the Best Wine with your Food

port-wine-dessert-wine
Whether its a festive holiday, or a simple dinner with friends, when you are hosting an event, it is always special. Entertaining can be really fun and satisfying when you know what you are serving, and that you have done your best to make great food and serve the best drinks! Holidays are a time to be a bit more extravagant and indulge yourself in a few luxuries. So naturally, there is bound to be some Wine and Champagne at the table. A meal will always be more enjoyable if paired with a great tasting wine. You can go and pick out a good-looking affordable wine for your guests, but unless you are a vintner, how do you choose what wine will go best with the food that you are serving? And what should be the criteria for choosing your wines, besides the price, of course?? Luckily for all of us, here are some simple points to consider that would make your food and wine pairing process, a bit less intimidating.

Wines are characterized by different wine grades, and come in three basic forms: red, white and sparkling. Sparkling white wine that comes from a particular region of France is called Champagne. Generally, Red wine is considered appropriate with red meat and hearty pasta dishes, while White wine is preferred with fish and many chicken dishes. Red wines are benefited by aging, while white ones can served immediately after they are produced, with the exception of some sweet wines and champagne. Without getting too technical, the general idea is to serve lighter wine with lighter food and hearty wine with richer food. Here are some excellent tips that I could gather from here and here to help you in the wine-selection process.

A few obvious questions to ask yourself are these:

1. How much do I want to spend? Keep a budget in mind so you don't get distracted.
2. Do any of my guests prefer red or white wine?
3. Are there some favorite brands you'd like to stick to?
4. What kind of food am I going to be serving it with?

With answers to these questions ready in your head, you can relate to the guidelines given below which show how food and wine can be paired together. These two when combined together, have the ability to alter each others flavors. And usually, the spices, seasonings, sauces, herbs or the style in which the dish is prepared will determine the best-suited wine.

Salty/Spicy or Grilled Foods go best with lightly-sweet or mild fruity red wines. Chardonnay harmonizes with poultry and cheese. There are many variations of this white wine that can run from sweet and fruity to sour. It can even be paired with seafood quite well. Chenin Blanc is also a white sparkling wine and goes well with fish and chicken. A general rule is that wines that blend well with fish and other white meat contain high acidic flavor. The sharp, crisp hint of acid enhances the flavor of fish like a drop of tangerine juice would.

Meat and Seafood are difficult to pair with, especially as it depends on the type of cuisine and the spices. Most oriental food and white meat dishes won't go wrong when matched with a Riesling. Spicy Mexican foods on the other hand are best eaten with Shiraz, which is a versatile wine; it complements many popular meat dishes such as chicken, pork, beef and duck. A medium bodied wine such as Red Zinfandel will always taste better with red meat while White Zinfandel which is a newly-developed wine in the market goes in tune with pasta with light sauce, fish and most light dishes.

Acidic or Bitter Foods have a highly pronounced taste, so these are best paired with light reds or whites with medium-to-high acidic levels. Recommended choices are Merlot or Pinot Grigio.

Rich and Creamy Foods, like meat gravies and cheese sauces should definitely be served with full-bodies high-tannin wines so they can balance the greasiness in cheese or meat. Good choices would be Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah and Bordeaux.

Sweet Foods definitely have to go with mildly-sweet or highly-sweet wines to grasp the flavor. Desserts are best paired with Rieslings, Port wines, or Madeira.

There, a nice and short summary of what I have learned till now. You can also find several wine reviews around the web.With a little bit of preparation, you can surely entertain yourself and your guests in a much better way! There's nothing like the "best" or "perfect" wine; the key is to find the one that will highlight the taste of your meal best. As you try more wines and learn more, your confidence will grow, and you'll develop the knack to mix and match.

Hope this article proves to be a starting point in your "spirit-ual" journey. It's time for celebration, and there's nothing more fun than entertaining with style!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tasty Events

Nibela reaches for a cake


Delicious reception
March 15, 2009 2 - 6 pm
Studio
1815 Polk St
San Francisco

Studio gallery on Polk St annual show Delicious features art work on the theme of food from 90 local artists. This is always a playful, fun show with paintings, prints, sculpture, drawings, photography and even jewelry. The opening reception is this Sunday March 15th, from 2 - 6 pm and the show runs through April 12th. There are plenty of affordable pieces, like this charming woodprint by Ayu Tomikawa called Nibela reaches for a cake.


White on Rice


White on Rice 5:30 reception, 6:45 film
March 17, 2009
Sundance Kabuki
1881 Post St
San Francisco

The Asian American Film Festival is showing the Japanese film, White on Rice. If the trailer is any indication, it promises to be a quirky, humorous slice of life. Tickets are $11 and there is a free pre-screening reception hosted by lyemon Cha where you can meet the director and cast and enjoy appetizers and of course, green tea. Reception is at 5:30 at the Bar Bistro and the screening is a t 6:45 at the Sundance Kabuki Theater


Chocolate Salon


San Francisco Chocolate Salon
March 21, 2009 10 - 6 pm
Fort Mason
Marina Blvd
San Francisco

Chocolate! This year I am a judge at the San Francisco Chocolate Salon. Come to Fort Mason on March 21st and try chocolate and beverages from over 50 chocolatiers, confectioners, and other producers. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Olive Oil Cookbooks, Tastings and Events

The New American Olive OilFran Gage's The New American Olive Oil includes profiles of artisan producers and 75 recipes, each using extra virgin olive oil. Having tried a selection of the recipes I wholeheartedly recommend the tangy Tabbouleh with Meyer lemon olive oil and the Almost flourless chocolate cake, it's a light and fluffy version as opposed to the heavy ones you sometimes get.

Fran Gage is a particularly wonderful baker, experienced in sensory analysis and is one of the members of the California Olive Oil Council tasting panel. She uses extra virgin olive oil in desserts like pound cake in place of butter and in recipes like rillettes where you would expect to find pork fat. Over the next few months there will be plenty of opportunities to attend a olive oil tasting and book signing event with Fran Gage.

Olive Oil DessertsAnother olive oil book I'm excited about is Micki Sannar's Olive Oil Desserts. Sannar was inspired to develop recipes using olive oil for health reasons, and her baked goods are delicious. I particularly like her lemon cookies, but everything I've tried of hers is good.

A sweet book in more ways than one, the recipes are interspersed with funny and heartwarming stories. While Gage uses all extra virgin olive oil, Sannar uses pure olive oil. This is to minimize olive oil flavor and maximize cost efficiency. Like all good cookbooks, this one is clearly a labor of love and I know Micki spent years and years working on it and perfecting her recipes.


Wine Country CookingA final book I have to mention is Joanne Weir's Wine Country Cooking, now out in paperback. Joanne is a terrific cooking teacher, which you undoubtedly know from her successful television shows. She is also a fledgling blogger and has always been utterly gracious to me. I was a big fan of hers, from the moment I reviewed her book From Tapas to Meze, several years ago. Wine Country Cooking, out in paperback, might as well have been subtitled "the extra virgin olive oil cookbook" because almost every recipe uses it. This mostly Mediterranean cookbook includes mouthwatering recipes like Pork and Artichoke Stew, Farmer's Market Risotto with Zucchini and their Blossoms, Warm Olive and Caramelized Onion Tart and Braised Fennel with Orange. You'll want to make everything in it!

Joanne Weir will be signing books and offering samples of her recipes at the newly renovated McEvoy Ranch shop at the Ferry Building. RSVP and take home a bottle of McEvoy Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil with your cookbook purchase on March 19th from 6 - 8 pm. See you there?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Olive Oil Tasting

Fran Gage, olive oil tasting
Olive oil has a lot in common with chocolate, wine and tea. Each has a long history, compelling health benefits and is a staple in just about every kitchen or dining room table. The more I learn about each, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. After the olive oil tasting I attended yesterday, I feel like I've woken up and smelled the, oh, you know what. The tasting was led by Fran Gage, author of The New American Olive Oil and member of the California Olive Oil Council's tasting panel.

I thought I knew a bit about olive oil because the family I lived with in Tuscany produced their own olive oil. We used it for just about everything including frying which many "experts" will tell you shouldn't be done. Most prized was the olio nuovo, a first pressing that is particularly fresh and intensely fruity and peppery. We used it on fettunta which is toasted bread, scraped with a raw garlic clove and sprinkled with a little salt. In my kitchen I usually have several citrus flavored olive oils and a variety of mild and more robust varieties open at one time. Some get used for cooking, others as a finishing touch.

I've tasted a lot of olive oils, but I never knew there was a proper way to taste them. Here is just a little bit of what I learned:

• Each extra virgin olive oil will smell and taste mild, medium or robust

• All extra virgin olive oils should be "fruity"

• A desirable extra virgin olive oil balances the fruity aspects and the amount of bitterness and pungency

• Bitterness you can taste on your tongue

• Pungency you detect in your throat, if an olive oil makes you cough, it's pungent

Official olive oil tasting is done with little blue glasses that hide the color of the oil. Color does not indicate anything in terms of flavor and can mislead tasters. Glasses should be warmed and agitated slightly to release aroma, just like wine. Judge the scent, then the flavor. Sniff the oil and breathe in like you do with wine tasting, then slurp a bit to get the full flavor. Some of the flavors and scents you may detect are almonds, artichoke, herbs, dried roses, hay, grass, green apple, banana, spice (especially cinnamon) Aromas might include tropical, floral or buttery. Gage offers suggestions for how to put together a tasting in your own home, tasting oils on a variety of different foods.

We tasted several olive oils and one of the most robust was from McEvoy Ranch. McEvoy did poorly in a completely amateur taste test done by Cook's Illustrated but was rated highly by our group and also by the professional tasting panel, that is trained to look for complexity and nuances. Panel members like Fran even take olive oil sensory evaluation classes. Like many American olive oils, the McEvoy oil contains oils from a blend of olives. McEvoy uses Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, Maurino, Leccio del Corno and Coratina olives. In California there are 125 varietals alone. While there are a couple of other states beginning to produce olive oil, for now, California is the major producer of olive oils in the US.

Tomorrow come back for reviews of some olive oil cookbooks and information about olive oil events and tastings.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Endive with White Bean Dip: Recipe

Endive with White Bean Dip
It's exhausting being a celebrity! Ok, maybe I'm not famous, but I felt like I was this weekend. On Saturday I spoke for about 45 minutes to a sold out crowd at the Larkspur Library, and then demonstrated four "no cook" recipes, including one adapted from New Flavors for Appetizers. On Sunday I was at the Palo Alto Williams Sonoma store signing copies of my book. We sold about 40 copies! It was fun chatting with customers and accepting compliments on the two recipes that were being sampled, Chilled Green Pea Soup and Dates Stuffed with Chorizo and Aged Goat Cheese. Both of those just happen to be "no cook" as well.

If you'd like to attend my next talk and cooking demonstration at the Larkspur Library it will be on April 4th from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and include a donation to the Friends of the Library, tasting of four appetizers (plus the recipes), St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc and Bionade (non-alcoholic beverage). The recipes I'll be demonstrating are Fava Bean and Ricotta Crostini with Fresh Mint, Chevre Stuffed Apricots, Prosciutto Pear Bites and Endive with White Bean Dip. The event already is about halfway sold out, so call 415.927.5005 or stop by the library to reserve soon if you'd like to attend!

Here is just one of four "no cook" appetizers I demonstrated and served this past Saturday. It's endive topped with a dollop of white bean dip. Canned cannelini beans become very creamy when mashed. This recipe has an Italian flair to it, because the dominant flavors are lemon, garlic and olive oil. It also just happens to be vegan. I'm trying to include a few more vegan recipes in my repertoire.

READ MORE
My post Go Vegan is up on KQED today. Let me know what you think of it and please add your tips in the comment section.


Endive with White Bean Dip
Makes 5 servings

1 15 oz can cannelini beans (I like the ones from Trader Joe's)
1 lemon, 2 Tablespoons juice, 1 teaspoon grated rind
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, stronger flavored the better
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 green onion
20 large or medium endive leaves, discard small ones
Flat leaf parsley to garnish

Drain, rinse and mash the white beans in a mixing bowl using a potato masher. Add the lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the beans and stir to combine. Slice the white and pale green parts of the onion and fold into to the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Scoop one heaping teaspoonful or so on each endive leaf. Garnish with leaf of parsley.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Announcing BBD#18- Quick Breads

quick-bread-recipes
After a long hiatus, its time to stir things up a bit on Fun and Food, so I'm proud to host this month's edition of Bread Baking Day! BBD#18 will be fun and challenging, as always, but just to cut you some slack, we choose to have a theme which can accommodate more participants, be they established bread-bakers, or novices trying out their baking skills! so this month, the theme is Quick Breads, which means plenty of sweet and savory options to choose for breakfast, appetizers or sides. But NO, quick breads does NOT MEAN cakes & brownies. So take a moment to check out the rules below:

BBD is a popular food-blog event that was started by Zorra of Kochtopf, and has traveled through many hosts and themes. The last edition hosted by Lien featured Breads with Potatoes. This time, we choose Quick Breads, something that is less fussy, and more fun!

"Quick Breads", as the name suggests, entails the use of chemical leavening agents like baking powder, baking soda or cream-of-tartar instead of Yeast, so that there is no time wasted on fermentation and kneading like traditional breads, and hence can be made "quickly". So keep in mind these rules before sending in your entries.

Rules for Participation:

1. You can make any sweet or savory bread, be it with fruits, grains, cheese, herbs, nuts or just plain, and you can use any kind of base flour that you like.

2. You can use pre-made bread flour, or other simple leavening agents like baking powder/soda/cream-of-tartar instead of yeast; you can even use ready-made bread/loaf mixes that can be used in bread machines, or bake it traditionally in your ovens.

3. Please DO NOT send in cakes or brownies as entries. These will not be accepted for this category. However, any of the recipes described below are allowed.

4. Quick Breads include Muffins, Fruit/Nut Breads, Biscuits, Scones, Popovers, Coffee-cakes, Crepes, Pancakes, Waffles and other similar breads and loaves.

5. As this is a vegetarian blog, please restrict to vegetarian recipes, which means NO MEAT or SEAFOOD; eggs and cheese are allowed.

6. Send your entries to funandfood@gmail.com with subject line BBD#18, and please include a link back to this announcement or homepage. Please send your entries in English only, or with a link to the page which has English translation on your blog. Re-size your pictures to 200x200px. The deadline for sending in your entries is April 1st 2009.

7. Archived posts are allowed, but only if they are republished during the event period. Also, maximum 2 entries are allowed per blog.

Many people think Quick Breads have to be sweet; that is not the case - cheese, herbs, vegetables, grains, nuts, beer bread are all examples of savory quick breads. Use your imagination and flavor to bake something unique, be it sweet, savory or spicy!

For more ideas and recipes, check out these cool links:
Savory Quick Breads
Quick Bread Recipes - Joy of Baking
Exotic Quick Bread Recipes

So what are you waiting for? This one should be simple, and outright fun, for home-cooks and chiseled cooks alike! Get your hands dirty with some flour and turn on your ovens, for its time to bake some delicious Quick Breads! I look forward to all your wonderful entries!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book signing at Williams Sonoma

Book signing at Williams Sonoma

This Sunday, March 8th I will be signing books and offering samples of one of the recipes from New Flavors for Appetizers at the Stanford Shopping Center Williams Sonoma store in Palo Alto from 1 - 3 pm. Please stop by and say hello!

Williams Sonoma
Stanford Shopping Center
180 El Camino Real, Space 701
Palo Alto, CA
650-321-3486

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contigo: First Impression

Contigo
Is Contigo the next big thing? The future may be unknown, but as the magic eight ball says "signs point to yes." I was one of the few that got a preview of the restaurant and while my expectations were high, having eaten Brett Emerson's food a few times before, I was very impressed. Emerson creates food with big flavors and clearly uses the best ingredients he can find. The staff even in early days, are friendly, helpful and joyful.

The menu is divided into small plates "Pica-Pica" and large plates, "Platillos" and is inspired by the cuisine of Spain and Catalunya in particular. The vibe is San Francisco meets Barcelona. On the small plate menu, the Patatas Bravas were the crispiest I have ever had and the aillioli and salsa brava really whet my appetite. Even something as simple as Setas a la Plancha or grilled mushrooms were intensely flavored and delectable. This time of year nothing quite says comfort like a grilled cheese sandwich and Contigo's is a winner. Slices of salty jamon (Spanish ham) mingle with gooey queso de tetilla cheese and sweet membrillo (quince paste).

My favorite dish might have been Butter Beans with Pork Belly, Ears and Feet. Everything was tender and soul-satisfying and showed expert technique in coaxing the goodness out each of the cuts. The Trout with Baby Leeks was great too, so fresh tasting. Be sure to leave room for dessert. It's hard not to order churros and chocolate. The churros are particularly thin and crunchy, perfect for dipping, but as our waiter pointed out, even when the churros are gone, the chocolate is good for sipping too. Thankfully even when full, the noise level is kept in check. I know I'm biased, but I'm also excited to see this wonderful restaurant make such a terrific debut.

For more first impressions, check out the Bunrabs report and Thy Tran's report on Bay Area Bites.

Contigo
1320 Castro St
San Francisco
415.285.0250

Tuesday - Thursday 5:30 - 10 pm
Friday - Saturday 5:30 - 11 pm

Pasta with Cilantro Pesto Sauce

pasta-cilantro-pesto
Weeknight pasta dinners can get a tad boring if you use the same sauce recipes. So to stir things up a little, I decided to experiment with some flavors, which brought up the idea of using cilantro as a base for my pesto-cream sauce instead of basil. Garlic and Cilantro make a great flavor combination, and though I was a little hesitant in how they would blend with the creamy white sauce, I am happy I tried this unique combination, because it sure turned out great! Touched with a hint of oregano, basil flakes, mixed italian herbs and parmesan cheese, this Pasta with creamy Cilantro Pesto Sauce is indeed a must try!

Ingredients
1 regular-sized package pasta noodles
2 tbsp onions - sliced finely (optional)
2 tbsp bell peppers - sliced finely (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil

Cilantro Cream Sauce
1/4 cup packed cilantro - chopped
1/2 green chilli - chopped
2 garlic cloves - minced
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tsp basil flakes (or fresh basil recommended)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup whipping cream (or heavy milk)
2 tbsp refined flour (maida)
salt & pepper - to taste
1 tsp olive oil

Method
Boil the pasta as directed on the package. Once cooked, drain the water in a colander, set the pasta under cold running water, then add 1 tbsp oil to them to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Making the Sauce
Take the chopped cilantro, green chillies, garlic cloves and salt/pepper and blend them to make a smooth paste(pesto). Add 1 tsp oil to make it smooth, but do NOT add water.

In a deep pan, melt the butter, then add the refined flour to this and roast for 30-40 sec on a low flame. As soon as the flour starts clumping, add the cream or milk, and stir well to form a smooth paste. Cook on low-to-medium flame; add the parmesan cheese, basil and oregano flakes, and keep stirring continuously till the sauce becomes thick and creamy.

Slowly add the cilantro pesto paste to the sauce mixture. Lower the flame, then stir the sauce till everything becomes mixed and smooth. You can add 2 tbsp more milk if you want a thinner consistency. Check for taste and add more seasoning if needed. Let it boil for 2 more mins, then switch off the flame and set it aside.

Take a wok, add 1 tbsp olive oil, and lightly saute the sliced onions and bell-peppers till they become slightly soft. Now add the boiled noodles to this and mix.

Before serving, add a spoonful of the creamy cilantro sauce over the noodles. Garnish with some freshly chopped basil or herbs if you like, and enjoy with a serving of my classic homemade Caprese-style Garlic Bread!

Related Recipes
Spinach Pasta with Roasted Garlic & Sun-dried Tomato Sauce
Cheese Ravioli with Tomato-Basil & Cream Sauce
Fettucini with Almond Pesto

Monday, March 2, 2009

My City

The Examiner


Well it may not be 100 top picks, but The Examiner asked me about a handful of my favorite spots around town. Check it out online to learn where I find homemade sour cream, stock up on candy, enjoy a cocktail, go for Vietnamese soul food and more...