I've been waking up on the early side lately, and tend to do a bit of reading before the sun rises. Which means, I have a few things to share with you. Also, if any of you have any podcasts you're particularly excited about, give a shout in the comments. I'd love to add a few to my list...
- Reading this, and reading this.
- Watching this, and this.
- Honey hunters
- Armchair traveling: here, here, here, and here
- The Interpreter
- Find Your Beach
- Lotta + Oaxaca
- Rise & Shine
I'm deep in the middle of a streak where I cook primarily from other people's cookbooks. Every now and then it's a groove I fall into, sometimes lasting a few weeks, other times a month or two. There's something creatively energizing, and at the same time, relaxing about following a recipe written by another cook or writer I admire. I like to mix it up a bit by alternating between recipes from new volumes (like the one today), and recipes from older titles (the Sopa Verde from last week). It's a practice that tends to shake out the creative cobwebs for me. So, that's where my head was at when I turned to a stack of books the other night. I was asked to bring a soup for a group of friends getting together for a casual, coastal overnight in beautiful west Marin. There were a number of recipes that were contenders, but a spicy chickpea soup from Yotam Ottolenghi's upcoming cookbook, Plenty More, caught my attention. It features a seductive, red harissa broth fragrant with cumin, coriander, and caraway, and enough chickpeas and bulgur to make it work as a main course. An herb-whipped feta is the crowning dollop...Continue>>
Not that I need much encouraging, but I've been compiling a good number of older cookbooks - early titles by authors I love, first editions, and such. The intent is to make them available at some point related to Quitokeeto - perhaps not on the site, more likely at the studio so people can pick and choose and browse in person. An example would be a book like this one - Diana Kennedy's Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico published in 1978. It's the sort of title I like to revisit, for inspiration in my own kitchen, but also to understand what was inspiring Diana Kennedy in the 1970s. One of the recipes she highlights is a green corn soup - Sopa Verde de Elote. A soup she describes as "unusual and delicious" from Mi Libro de Cocina, published in San Luis Potosi in 1965. I took a few liberties with the recipe, and have to tell you, the resulting soup is something special. The color is a knockout - bright, vibrant green. And the flavor is surprisingly dynamic beyond the main base ingredients. There is the sweetness of corn and peas off-set by a spike of green chile, a finishing dollop of creme fraiche, and generous squeeze of lime. You get crunch from pepitas, fragrant green citrus notes from a shower of cilantro, and, as a bonus, it's a soup that comes together quite quickly.Continue>>
I'm not much of a menu collector, although I have a small stack of gems in one of my desk drawers. A good number of them are menus from past meals at Bar Tartine. For those of you who have yet to visit San Francisco, Bar Tartine is a much loved establishment in the heart of San Francisco's Mission district, just a couple of blocks from the (deservedly famous) namesake bakery. After Tartine, Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt opened Bar Tartine - nearly ten years ago - and chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns have been at the helm since 2011. It's the place Wayne and I like to go to celebrate a birthday, or walk to on a sunny day for brunch, or just sit for a drink and a couple of little plates. That said, there are a lot of great places to eat in San Francisco, and when I think about why I appreciate Bar Tartine as much as I do, it's not because I love the scale of the space, the nice staff, the old floors, or the hand-thrown plates and drinking vessels - because that stuff is all good. I like to go because, foremost, the food is fascinating to me. The menu is always evolving, the food intensely flavorful - beautiful without being fussy or contrived. It's deeply California in source, but influenced by travel, and family, and life beyond that. There's all sorts of fermenting, drying, and experimenting going on, and the kitchen is open, so you get to watch as everything unfolds. I was incredibly eager to crack the spine on their upcoming cookbook, pestered my pals at Chronicle for an early copy of it, and chose this cauliflower salad to start. It's a crunchy, hearty mixture of cauliflower, seeds, chiles, radishes, chickpeas, and green onions slathered in an enveloping garlicky yogurt dressing, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.Continue>>
Everyone should have a green juice recipe in their repertoire, and this one is a ringer. Its heart and soul is straight green, not at all sweet, with a good amount of lemon-lime tang, and invigorating ginger lift. Like many green juices, it makes you sing from the inside, and is reason enough to invest in a juicer, or dust one off. When I traveled to Paris last year, I spent a beautiful first day and night there, then came down with a (particularly miserable) cold - throat on fire, raspy cough. Being sick away from home is hard, begin sick in a city like Paris, when you're there for just a short time, is spiritually deflating. So, in preparation for my most recent trip, I became a vigilant hand-washing, snotty three-year avoiding, soup eating individual with a juicer on the counter. I religiously drank a glass of this green juice every day, punctuated with a gingery version of this turmeric tea a few times along the way. It's a variation on one of the (many) green juices highlighted in Pressed Juicery's Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing, and Living Well, a book I purchased recently, before realizing we share the same editor! Continue>>
I'm in France right now, for a relatively quick trip. Or, another way to think of it, a quick trip flanked by two long flights. I took it as an opportunity to up my dumpling game, making and freezing an assortment of them in the weeks leading up to my trip. It made it easy to leave some for Wayne to enjoy while I was gone, and to pack a box, bento-style, for my flight. Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. Here's the wildcard. This time I made my own dumpling wrappers. It's only about half as crazy as it sounds. In reality, making your own wrappers is very similar to making fresh pasta (not difficult), and equally satisfying. So, I thought I'd share the basic jist of what I did to make momos - or what I think of as Himalayan dumplings. Little poufs are stuffed with a ricotta cheese base mixed with chopped cabbage, spinach, ginger, chiles, cumin, scallions, and the like.Continue>>
One of the things I love about having a work studio is our location. It means most days, at one point or another, I find myself standing in the middle of San Francisco's Chinatown. It's a neighborhood in transition spanning a handful of steeply sloping blocks east to west, from the dragon gate at Bush Street north to Broadway. There's a new subway stop scheduled to open in the coming years, and a good number of cranes reaching skyward to facilitate the construction of new buildings. My hope was that we'd have a Chinatown dispatch ready to follow our summer one, but here it is, summer gone, and it's not quite ready. Hopefully soon. In the meantime, I'll leave you a few photos, and this beauty of a salad inspired by the much-loved, shredded cabbage composition found on a good number of menus in the the area surrounding Grant Avenue - green layered on green layered on green. It is all about the play between shredded ingredients like cabbage and scallions, and crunch from ingredients like cabbage, and peanuts, and celery.Continue>>