Oct 042012
Formulating a Salsa Recipe; Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa

  Salsa is my go-to project whenever tomatoes are so abundant I’m not sure what to do with them all. (Which isn’t to say you must be navigating an overabundance of tomatoes in order to make it– it’s delicious even when not strictly necessary.) I’ve made Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa twice recently, due to a profusion of tomatoes on offer from our landlords/neighbors’ beautiful and extensive vegetable garden. This morning my inbox held a last-minute request from friends in Portland looking for a good salsa recipe. (Always a happy occurrence.) The friend that wrote said her husband needs to whip […]

Jun 252012
Summer Breakfast Bread: The Quick Bread, Reconsidered.

  Quick breads are a category of baked goods which walk a line between bread and cake; they’re called “quick” because the use of chemical leaveners (baking powder, baking soda) negates any need to add yeast, or undergo the kneading, rising, and waiting that go along with it. Holiday favorites such as pumpkin bread and zucchini bread are quick breads. Squash, native to the Americas, has been a common component in American baking since colonial times. Quick breads date back to the 1800’s, when leaveners became commercially available. I studied some classic zucchini bread recipes and then took the concepts for a new spin […]

May 272012
The Fruity Habanero Plays Well With Others

Habanero Apricot-Peach Salsa Ingredients9 apricots6 peaches8 cloves garlic4 habanero chiles4 tsp apple cider vinegar5 tsp salt, or to taste sugar, to tasteCooking DirectionsBring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook apricots and peaches, whole, for about 5 minutes (if apricots begin breaking apart, pull them out sooner.) In same pot of water, blanch peeled garlic cloves and habaneros, de-stemmed. Pit and stem the cooked fruit. Place fruit, garlic, chiles, vinegar, and salt in blender; blend until orange and creamy. Taste; adjust salt or vinegar as necessary. If your fruit was under-ripe or sour, you may wish to add […]

May 222012
Dragon Fruit... and Dragon Fruit Sundaes

Dragon Fruit, or Pitaya, looks like everyone’s idea of 80’s teen fashion. It’s a swirl of hot pink and florescent green, curvy and spiky and egg-shaped.  Cut it open and the fruit, speckled thoroughout with small black seeds, resembles nothing so much as a Dalmatian.  Dice the flesh, and suddenly you have dominoes. Native to Central America, it also grows well in many parts of Southeast Asia, and is commercially farmed in Thailand and Vietnam.   The taste can be a bit of a letdown after the flashy promise of its exterior. The fruit is– in a word– bland. In three words, […]

Feb 122012
If Friends Give You Blood Oranges, Make Blood Orange Guacamole

  Blood oranges, (in my opinion, the most decadent of the citrus fruits), are in season. “You have to try this,” said some friends last night over snacks and martinis in their San Francisco kitchen, handing over a particularly crimson fruit. “It’s like candy.” I already had two blood oranges at home, and tossed another in my bag at the farmer’s market this morning to bring my haul to four. I’m not sure if they’re called blood oranges because of their bright vermillion hue, or because when you find yourself compelled to bring them to your mouth and suck them […]

Sep 222011
The National Heirloom Exposition

Last week I attended the National Heirloom Exposition, held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA.  The expo is a celebration of all things traditional, heirloom, and heritage in the realm of fruits and vegetables.  I was there on Wednesday the 14th, when Alice Waters was the keynote speaker.  She was delightful– her speaking style was entertainingly personable, she was humble, and she shared stories and insights I’ve not run across elsewhere– not in her cookbooks, nor on the Chez Panisse website, nor any of the other places I’ve followed her over the years.  She insisted that the […]

Aug 272011
Strawberry Toasted-Coconut Shortcake

It’s fun to mix up a classic a little, and incorporate an unexpected flavor.  Summer weekend nights beg for traditional chilled desserts like strawberry shortcake, and they’re an easy dessert to whip together.  Traditional shortcakes are meant to have a tender crumb, and using the “biscuit” method of preparation, (as in the recipe below), ensures that the dough won’t become over-mixed and develop a lot of gluten.  (Gluten development leads to a tougher end-product, as is typically desired in bread– hence all the kneading.)  The butter, (butter/shortening = “short” cake, say the etymology scholars), helps to coat the protein molecules in the […]

Jul 102011
Rosé-Poached Plums in Parmesan Tuille

This is another of the recipes I’ve submitted to Food 52 contests.  (The theme was picnic foods.) Salty, savory, sweet, herbaceous and tangy– all in one bite– a satisfying crunch gives way to juicy poached plums that echo the bottle of rosé you’ve hauled to the picnic site for just this moment. I came up with this nibble as a perfectly-transportable finger food, best enjoyed on a blanket in dappled sunlight. Rosé Poached Plums with Parmesan Tuille Ingredients1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary3 large red plums1 cup dry rosé1/4 cup brown sugar1 sprig fresh rosemaryCooking DirectionsSlice plums […]

May 232011
Hot Toddy Tart with a Tea Leaf Crust

I developed this recipe for a contest on Food52.com, (under my initial  handle on that site, Srirachayeah, which I’ve since changed to IndieCulinary.)  The point of the contest was to develop a late-winter tart; I used tea leaves soaked in lemon juice, (as a quick approximation of a longer fermentation or pickling process), in the crust of my “Hot Toddy Tart,” to punch up the tea flavor. As I ruminated on the idea of a late-winter tart, my mind turned to seasonal fruits, and I thought of the trees in my neighborhood, still laden with lemons and oranges. Incorporating citrus […]