Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
It may come as a surprise, but the best thing about being a food writer isn't the food, it's the people you meet. And Joanne Weir is certainly one of them. I met her years ago and we quickly became friends. I've given her advice on blogging and social media and she has always been there when I needed career counseling and the inside scoop on folks in our industry. She's a genuinely nice and generous person full of enthusiasm and desire to help others learn to cook and have fun. Which brings me to her new show-Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence. It's a natural progression from her most recent shows where she takes individual students into the kitchen and in no time gets them cooking.
"You stayed longer than anyone!" said Joanne as I was leaving. Despite the cramped space, I had a hard time tearing myself away. I wanted to see her at work and to share some tidbits about her new show. First of all it's shot in her home kitchen which gets transformed into a television studio for filming. As executive producer this time around, Joanne has assembled a crack team including director Paul Swenson who has worked with Lidia Bastianich, Eric Ripert and Christopher Kimball, culinary producer Chris Styler who has worked with Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Jamie Oliver and a cameraman she has worked with since day one, eleven years ago. The result is a smooth quality to the process where everyone seems to know exactly what they are doing and anticipate each other's needs.
So what's different about the new show and what can you look forward to?
* A wider range of recipes
While Joanne is known for Mediterranean cuisine this time you'll get her take on all kinds of food including Indian, Asian and North African. Everyone on set was raving about her Moroccan chicken and sweet potato salad with pumpkin seeds. The day I was there she made an ahi burger with wasabi mayo and a crunchy slaw with grapefruit spiked with ginger and also an Italian pasta with tomato and cream and a salad made with ribbons of zucchini, summer squash and daikon radish. Look for ways to use more unusual ingredients too like farro and fregola.
I always learn something when I watch Joanne's shows. From little things like how to peel ginger with a spoon to making mayonnaise with nothing but mustard, an egg yolk and oil. I've always wondered what the heck to do with red pepper jelly and in this series she make corn muffins stuffed with a spoonful of it. And did you know if a label on produce begins with a "9" it means it's organic?
* Video app
This series will not only have an accompanying cookbook but also an app that has 20+ recipes and exclusive content. Look for it this Fall on iTunes.
You'll see it in the students and you'll see it in Joanne who literally seems more "at home" than ever before. I talked to her director about it and he said "She's evolved, you're seeing more of the real Joanne." Without missing a beat, she balances responding to student's questions with making sure every cooking step is explained. On the day I was there everything was being shot in real time, there was no swapping out of dishes. She's the quintessential cooking teacher on PBS and really what more could you ask for?
Also visit Pixie Dust Miniatures:
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
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Thursday, August 25, 2011
Finally my Alice in Wonderland Tea Party table is ready! Two tables with all kinds of treats and tea cups, cake, butterflies and confetti.. This is how I imagine the tea party from my beloved whimsical story.
Everything you see on the pictures except for the glass and ceramic ware, metal tea pot and forks is handmade by me - tables, cloth, food, tea and teapot, sugar..
Scotland is as well known for its Food, as it is for its history, folklore and festivals. Some people think Scottish food is not for the faint-hearted - they use varieties of meat and spices that might not gel with everyone. However, when it comes to Desserts, they are a safe bet, and Scottish pastries are famous for being not overly-sweet, with a flaky crust and nice fresh fruit filling. But even if someone is not familiar with Scottish food, I am sure they will know about the Scottish Shortbread. [photo courtesy of Rita Maas via Fine Cookingcourt]
Shortbread is the simplest of preparations, flour, butter and sugar, and also one of the fastest cookies that I have baked! The end result relies heavily upon the flavor of the butter, so don't compromise here, and DO NOT think about calories when you bake a Shortbread. This recipe is adapted from The Edinburgh Book of Plain Cookery Recipes. It has loads of authentic recipes that you will love, and if you are in the area, and would love to sample some Scottish food, check out foodie deals in Edinburgh!
Scottish Shortbread Recipe
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour
8 ounces salted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer, paddle until the dough clumps together. You can even do this by using a ladle or your hands. Break the butter into chunks and slowly mix it in with the flour to form the dough.
Press the dough in a 8-9 inch cake pan, pressing it gently to attain 1-2 inch thickness, depending on how you like your shortbread. Line the pan with heavy aluminum foil, letting the foil extend over two sides of the pan, then press the dough. This will help to lift out the shortbread after it is baked, and cut it into pieces.
Prick with a fork to decorate if you wish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Cut into appropriate sized pieces while it’s still warm, and allow to cool completely before removing it from the pans.
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Chocolate Nutella Cookies
Coconut Cookies with Vanilla Icing
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Is there a more old-fashioned word than cobbler or cobbled? It brings to mind a shoemaker in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale or those stone streets in Europe (the ones that are so treacherous if you're wearing high heels). Just the word alone is quaint, charming and feels handmade. Which of course brings me to the culinary version of cobbler. A cobbler is basically sweet biscuit dough formed into tiles and "cobbled" together on top of baked fruit. It's the kind of thing you can make year round, just varying the fruit with the season. Because it's so chilly in San Francisco in August, it's really the perfect dessert at the moment. We'll have to a while longer before making ice cream I'm afraid.
My most recent cobbler combines organically grown peaches I got from my friend Gayle who annually adopts a tree from the writer and farmer Mas Masumoto, dark as night blackberries from Driscoll's and a spice I am crazy about, cardamom. I recommend combining a couple types of fruit, it makes the cobbler prettier thanks to the contrasting colors, but also adds more texture, complex flavor and sweetness. I also recommend adding a bit of spice. If black pepper and mint had a love child, it would be cardamom. It's an exotic and aromatic spice, common in both Indian cuisine and in Nordic baking. I added a touch of it to both the fruit and the biscuit topping but it's still very subtle.
This cobbler is based on a Sara Moulton recipe. She makes a scaled down version that bakes in a one quart pan in the toaster oven (I use an 8x8 inch pan instead). It's really smart for small households because cobbler is best fresh from the oven. In fact, if you preheat the toaster oven and then get cooking I find it reaches temperature just at the point the cobbler is ready to bake.
Note: You can blanch and peel the peaches if you like, but I prefer leaving the skins on.
Peach Blackberry Cobbler
Makes 4 servings
4 peaches, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cup blackberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk plus more for the tops of the biscuits
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the peaches, blackberries, cornstarch, cardamom and sugar and toss gently to combine. Transfer to an 8 inch square baking pan.
In a bowl combine the flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. Stir in the buttermilk to form a soft sticky dough. Knead into a ball then turn out onto a well-floured work surface and roll to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Use a biscuit cutter or wine glass to cut out 4 biscuits gathering the trimmings and rolling again as necessary. Arrange the biscuits over the fruit. Brush biscuits lightly with additional buttermilk using a pastry brush, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with or without vanilla ice cream.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
I never expected to visit Dijon. But on my first trip to France, I asked my Parisian friends for suggestions for where to go and they said Dijon and nearby Beaune, so off I went. The historic capital of Burgundy, Dijon is a dramatic looking city with lots to do and see. It has many museums, churches, medieval buildings with gargoyles and stunning geometrically patterned roofs of green, white, yellow, black and terra cotta ceramic tiles.
When most people think Dijon, they think mustard. But Dijon is in wine country, home of Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguinon and lots of other rich and rustic dishes including the classic preparation of Escargot in garlic, butter and parsley. In addition to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and Aligoté, the region is also known for Cremant de Bourgogne and cassis. It's worth noting that you can get to Dijon in under 2 hours from Paris if you take the TGV.
But let's talk mustard. If I had to choose one mustard only (currently I have 7 open jars in my fridge) it would be Dijon. It's mellow and sophisticated in color but with a spicy bite. It's made from brown or black mustard seeds and usually from white wine vinegar, though initially it was made with verjus, a kind of unripe grape juice. Dijon is where you'll find the original Maille shop, founded in 1747, the windows filled with handsome ceramic mustard jars of all sizes. There is another Maille boutique in Paris (right near Fauchon and Laduree at place de la Madeleine).
I'm rather fond of the Maille brand (now a subsidiary of Unilever), it works particularly well in recipes and is not very expensive. If you substitute Grey Poupon (owned by Kraft), you will notice a difference (and it does not work as well in vinaigrette recipes). In France you can buy Dijon mustard flavored with everything from cassis to blue cheese to cognac, nuts, mushrooms, and piment d'espelette. Having been on the giving and receiving end, a small jar of flavored Dijon mustard makes a fine gift.
Here are some ways to use Dijon mustard (other than on sandwiches and hot dogs)
* Combine with oil and vinegar to make a classic vinaigrette
* Add to quiche recipes, especially quiche lorraine
* Slather on fish fillets before baking
* Mix with honey to make a dipping sauce, also great on salmon
* Add a touch to macaroni and cheese
* Use in baked beans
* Combine mustard and olive oil with red potatoes then roast until crusty
* Coat pork chops or chicken in mustard then crust with panko and bake
* Add to potato and egg salads
* Spread it on bread instead of butter
* Simmer mustard with pan drippings, wine, broth and cream to make a sauce for roast chicken
* Add to barbecue sauce
|Want to learn more about Dijon cuisine? August 23, 2011 Michelin star chef chefs Jean-Pierre and Alexis Billoux from Dijon will be doing cooking demos at the CUESA kitchen at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market from 10 am - 2 pm as part of the Dijon Must’art tour.|
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
The SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS Tour includes more than 40 baseballs designed by young artists and signed by celebrities and athletes including: musician Katy Perry, actor Zac Efron, rock band Maroon 5, gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, pro football’s Drew Brees, baseball star Ryan Howard, basketball Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, celebrity chef, Robert Irvine and Jared Fogle (the “SUBWAY® guy”) among others.
The tour will visit four U.S. cities concluding with a final stop at the Little League® Baseball World Series (LLBWS) from Aug. 19-28, where the baseballs will then be auctioned off to the general public with all proceeds benefiting the Little League® Baseball Urban Initiative program which helps fund start-ups, developments, equipment, clinics and field maintenance for inner-city youth leagues and teams.
"As the world’s leading youth sports organization for over 70 years, Little League® is focused on providing a community program that includes the opportunity to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through participation," said Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League® Baseball and Softball. Baseball legends and Famous Fans of SUBWAY® will participate in the tour’s various stops including Cy Young Award winner and ESPN baseball personality Orel Hershiser and former Los Angeles all-star outfielder Shawn Green, who will also serve as honorary coaches in the 2011 National Little League® Baseball Appreciation Game.
For more information on the tour, consumers can visit SubwayKids.com and the Official SUBWAY® Facebook page. Online auctions for the celebrity-autographed baseballs will open to the public Aug. 19 and will run through the Little League® Baseball World Series, which concludes Aug. 28
About Little League Baseball & Softball
Little League® Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest and most respected youth sports organization. With players in every U.S. state and more than 70 other countries, the program is led by more than 1 million adult volunteers. It serves children ages 5 through 18, including physically and mentally disabled children (Challenger Division) and children in urban areas (Little League Urban Initiative).
Does your kid have creative design ideas? Then this is your opportunity to help your kid's talent shine through. Participate in the Baseball Design Tour, and your kid's design could be among the final 40 selected to be auctioned for charity. Check out the links above for more details.
Note: This post has been sponsored by Subway to promote the Baseball Designs Initiative.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
2 tbsp rice flour
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Oil as required
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
There are so many reasons to go to the San Francisco Street Food Festival it's hard to know where to start. First and foremost, for just a few dollars (nothing is over $8) you can eat things you love like chicken wings, cheeseburgers and ice cream to things you may not have tried before like chicken mole croissants or wax moth larvae tacos(!) The festival takes place in the Mission district along Folsom Street between 22nd and 26th. It begins at 11 am and goes until 7 pm. It's also a fundraiser for the presenter, La Cocina.
La Cocina is a non-profit incubator that has helped many successful local food businesses get up and running and the festival showcases many of the entrepreneurs in their program. Some of their graduates include Clairesquares maker of the highly addictive milk chocolate crunchy oat flapjacks, Azalina's luscious Malaysian food an Off The Grid stalwart (and featured in Bon Appetit not long ago), and Kika's Treats. Cristina aka Kika is currently offering a gooey Brazilian cheese (gluten free) bread you must try. Other clients include Donna of Love & Hummus. Her organic hummus is silky smooth and comes in unique flavors including my favorite, roasted lemon and thyme. More favorites? Anda Piroshki and El Huarache Loco who makes the antojitos or Mexican snacks that Alemany farmer's market shoppers adore (count me among their fans).
You will also find some famous local and not-so-local restaurants at the festival too. Been dying to try the food at Flour + Water, Commonwealth, Wise Sons Deli? They will all be there. Last year I fell hard for the chicken wings from Nombe, the succulent cheeseburger from 4505 Meats and the matcha gobs from Gobba Gobba Hey. I have no idea what will win me over this year but I can tell you I am planning on trying the banh mi taco from the Peached Tortilla from Austin TX, La Victoria Bakery pan dulce (you may have read that Luis Villavelaquez has revamped the recipes), Beijing's lamb skewers and the sweet potato pie waffle with bourbon caramel sauce from Pinx. Plan ahead by perusing the full list of vendors.
Last but not least, the festival could just as easily be called the International Street Food Festival. There will be food from all over the world with vendors who are originally from places like Japan, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico and Africa. If you still need encouragement, check out the slide show to see just a few of the smiling faces and to get a preview of the ridiculously delicious food. See you there?
Bay Area Bites (for vegetarian only picks)
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Adapted from original recipe over at Epicurious
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons bottled Asian red-curry paste such as Thai Kitchen brand
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1-lb) package frozen mixed vegetables such as broccoli, corn, and red peppers
1 (14- to 16-oz) block firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (optional, omit for vegetarians)
1/4 cups water
Cook the onion in oil in a wide 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate, then add garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Stir in coconut milk, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Stir in vegetables and return to a boil. Cover pot, then reduce heat and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Gently stir in tofu and simmer curry, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and stir in fish sauce and salt to taste.
To make Jasmine Rice, rinse rice briefly in a sieve and drain, shaking sieve to remove excess water. Bring rice and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan over high heat, then cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook rice over low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the delicious Thai Red Curry with Tofu in a serving bowl, garnish with some basil and lime wedges, and serve hot with Jasmine Rice.
Need more Thai inspiration? Then check out these basic Thai sauce recipes and Thai Pineapple Fried Rice recipe
She says -
Taste Junction is my way of exploring the changing styles of a modern Indian kitchen. It would have not just lovely Indian recipes, with focus on North Indian (that's where I am from), but would share some tasty dishes from all over the world. And that's why the name Taste Junction, a meeting ground, a melting pot of different flavours and aromas. But baking would form a great part of it, for sure since that's my current love.
While getting my way around in the kitchen, I'm also trying to learn the ropes of photography, food photography. I really like to see well photographed and well written posts. Yes I like a bit of writing too, samples of which you can see on my page - Scribbles. Other than that I'm a regular simple girl, who likes to travel, shop, read, eat chocolates, get gifts and basically all the simple pleasures of life.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
1/2 cup oil
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
1/3 cup greengram dal
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
There are days when you feel like eating the most simple and nutritious things in life, and naturally, the first thing that comes to your mind is a Salad. There are loads of salad dressings available in the market these days, but if you closely look at the labels on them, you'll find they are not always less in calories. It's best to stick to simple and traditional home-dressings when you are trying to fill yourself up with something nutritious. Here's my favorite salad, which I call a bowlful of protein, as it's made of lentils, spinach and peppers, no fancy dressing, no additional pizzazz, just plain old simple Indian salad!
2 cups of washed fresh spinach leaves
2 cans of boiled chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 cups of boiled green mung beans
1 green or yellow bell pepper
1 small onion - chopped finely
1 green cucumber - diced
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 firm tomato - chopped finely
salt and pepper - to taste
chaat masala - to sprinkle on the top
a handful of coriander leaves - chopped
Mix all the ingredients except the spinach leaves in a large bowl and add the lemon juice to it. Let it refrigerate covered for at least half an hour, allowing the lentils to soak the lemon juice.
Before serving, add the spinach leaves, salt, black pepper powder and chaat masala and toss well so it is evenly combined. Add finely chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately!
This Chickpea and Mung salad is a healthy and highly nutritive salad, and can keep you full for quite some time, thanks to all the protein and fiber content that it has!