Sep 032014
In Support of Orange Wine

Since trying orange wine for the first time at Beauregard last summer, (my wife declared an immediate intention to fill a camel pack with it and sip it instead of water on a hike), I’ve tried every example I encounter. This culminated in the most amazing bottle I’ve tried to date– the Ryme 2012 Vermentino  (Las Brisas Vineyard, Carneros.) We had it to accompany a lovely meal at Passionfish in Pacific Grove, CA. Ryme produced two versions of this Vermentino in 2012; a “His” and a “Hers” (the winemakers are a married couple). We tried the “His” at dinner. Each mouthful […]

Jun 212013
Frozen Bananas Dipped in Mexican Chocolate Ganache and Spicy Honeyed Peanuts

  These bananas were the result of yet another Food52 contest– the theme of this one was “Your Best Frozen Dessert.” I batted around ideas for a while… I wanted to create something that wasn’t overly sweet, and that might even be a tad healthy. Then I thought– fruit, nuts, dark chocolate– do a variation on that old-time treat the “dipped banana,” and I think we have a winner. Plus Season 4 of Arrested Development just came out, and there’s always money in the banana stand. Here’s my write-up from Food52, (the recipe ended up being a Community Pick over […]

May 242013
The Coco Tamarindo - A Summer Cocktail

Just in time for the start of summer, I give you– The Coco Tamarindo. I developed this recipe for a Food52 contest, too– the theme was coconut. It didn’t make it into the finals over there, but it sure made its way into our hearts around the indieculinary household. It spawned a joke– “when marital projects collide.” My wife came home from work– intending an entire evening of more work– only to find that I was in the middle of a cocktail photo shoot on the deck. My project won. My write-up from Food52, below: The journey to my new […]

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 […]

Sep 042011
Know Your Salmon

  There are many types of salmon commercially available and the types available to you may differ by season, geography, and whether you’re seeking fresh or frozen fish.  If you don’t live where you can get fresh fish that was caught that morning, it’s usually best to go with frozen.  It will have been flash-frozen on the boat and will taste fresher than a “fresh” fish that undertook a journey to get to you. Beyond flavor and technique, it’s important to consider the source of your salmon (and any seafood, for that matter.)  If you’re not already familiar with 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 […]

Jun 202011
Rose Water: Your New Go-To for a Light Summer Dessert.

Rose Water, a distillation of rose petals available bottled in Middle Eastern, Indian, and specialty markets, can lend a fragrant note to your desserts and savory dishes.       The nose is unmistakably of roses, but of their true essence,  (in other words, it neither tastes nor smells like the fake “rose-scented” bath products with which we are all too frequently olfactorily assaulted.)  Added to dishes, rose water imparts a subtle floral delicateness.  Below, I’ve infused it into an olive oil cake, for a dessert that feels like a walk through a summer nighttime garden.  I served it to […]