Saturday, December 15, 2012

thanksgiving dinner


This year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at my house--something that hasn't happened in many years.  Usually I go to a friend's or out to dinner.  I was all set to do a traditional turkey when Joseph suggested we do something different--had I ever done a crown roast of lamb?  Well, no.  But hey, how hard could it be?  Turns out it is one of the easiest roasts, as long as you have the butcher french the bones and tie up the roast.  ( I did two 7 bone racks). Then, season well and roast at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let it rest 10 minutes and slice into chops.  I served it with a wild mushroom stuffing and a cherry relish thanks to my dear friend Troy Huff's homemade cherry jam. Pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese filling was a decadent finish.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

recipe for scampi with linguini

I experimented with making a scampi with a creamy butter/wine sauce with a little zest--alot like the linguini with white clam sauce I had in Italy.  This was really delicious--but do taste for salt, I did add more at the end. Parmesan cheese is non-traditional, but a little does create a creaminess.

4 servings:
1 lb  raw, shelled, deveined large prawns (about 32)
8 oz. dry linguini
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2  shallots finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic 
1/2 cup dry white wine
½ cup pasta water, set aside
Red pepper flake—pinch
2 tbsp capers (optional)
Salt/freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped Italian parsley

Cook linguine in salted water for 7 minutes.  Drain. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.

While pasta is cooking, in a large non-stick pan, saute shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add prawns, white wine, garlic, salt and pepper, reducing the wine as prawns cook, about 2-3 minutes.  Add pasta, dash of red pepper flake, capers and Parmesan cheese tossing well.  Add the last two tablespoons of butter and olive oil and a little bit of pasta water if necessary—sauce should be loose and creamy.  Taste for more salt.

 Pour onto large pasta plate and garnish with parsley.

Friday, October 26, 2012

october trip to the wine country

Mom was here to visit recently and we had a wonderful time.  As usual the city was filled with dozens of activities: street fairs, concerts, ball games, World Cup trials, conventions, and Fleet Week to name a few.  We tried to do everything, dinner out with friends, two dinners at the house, the Ferry Plaza and the Farmer's Market and front and center at the wharf for the Blue Angels and World Cup trials.  We really felt like we were on vacation when we booked a wine country tour.  There is something so magical when you meet the tour guide and que up to get on that tour bus--hard to explain, but I love the feeling--you step out of your world and let someone or something transport you away.

This trip included stops at Franciscan (elegant showroom and delicious wines), V. Sattui (super deli and gifts), Andretti Winery (with catered lunch) and Rutherford Ranch (outstanding olive oil).  We also returned to the city via the ferry rather than by bus, which added a pleasant ride on the Bay. Another too short but wonderful visit with mom.

Monday, September 24, 2012

beso hollywood and more . . .

Had a great time in LA recently, visiting my best friend, Brendan and helping him celebrate another great birthday.  (Last year we went Las Vegas).

We had his birthday dinner at Beso Hollywood, co-owned by Eva Longoria.  It is a very cool space located right in the heart of tourist mecca on Hollywood Boulevard, one block off of Vine.  The place, with it's huge high ceilings and dimly lit glass fixtures feels smoky/noir, a bit of another era, especially with the cool booths and diamond tuck upholstery.

Food was delicious, we started with Eva's guacamole, continued with lamb rack w/rosemary and pepito paste and sea scallops with truffle oil mashed potatoes and pomegranate sauce.  We ended with a deconstructed banana split.  The restaurant gets more interesting later in the evening, when the bar scene turns into a full blown night club, very LA.

The weekend continued with a great off, off production at the Ruby Theater at the Complex on Santa Monica called Geeks vs Zombies.  This wacky production about the end of the world was great fun and had a packed house on Saturday night.  On Sunday, we drove down to Malibu and had a delicious lunch at Malibu Seafood, Market and Cafe.  This casual outdoor picnic table spot features really fresh seafood--our fish and chips perfectly cooked and washed down with fresh lemonade.

You know we couldn't go without a Mexican fix, and Brendan has found an amazing new taco place on Beverly at Stanley called Escuela Taqueria.  A simple concept--a small menu with daily original combinations of mouth-watering tacos.  Think braised beef short ribs with dill pickle, shrimp with chorizo or pork belly with pickled onion.  Add sides of rice and beans and voila!  Yum.

Friday, September 7, 2012

roostertail rotisserie


I stopped in for lunch at this charming spot with a couple friends after seeing it listed by SF Magazine as Best of the Bay: Food & Drink 2012.  Located at 1963 Sutter at Fillmore, Roostertail is co-owned by chef Gerard Darian, formerly of Spago and Post Trio.  He has created a warm and casual restaurant based on not only rotisserie chicken, but wonderful beef brisket as well.  The chicken drumettes are to die for, moist and juicy, tossed in a unique green herb sauce.  Try them with the smashed potatoes and country gravy and the rooster salad, a great combination of apple-wood smoked bacon, spiced walnuts, apples, beets and Laura Chenel goat cheese.  And guess what?  If you live in the neighborhood, they offer free delivery.

Friday, August 10, 2012

the chemex coffee maker

There is something so elegant, sleek about the glass coffee maker.  It's part the sensual hourglass shape, the sheer glass and the organic wood and leather collar and part the pure art of the laboratory style, giving the coffee maker a permanent home in places like the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Smithsonian in Washington.

No wonder it's called the Chemex.  This iconic piece was invented in 1941 by Peter Schlumbohm, a chemist, originally from Kiel, Germany who settled in New York.  His goal was to brew coffee without imparting any other flavors.  He achieved this by using a simple one piece funnel style brewer made of non-porous borosilicate glass that included a steam channel and a measuring "belly button" blown right in the glass.  Today, this simple, functional design is often touted as one of the best designed items of modern times.  Well, I sure love it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

10th anniversary party

I helped Joseph Leon and Dan Jordan celebrate their 10th anniversary a couple of weeks ago and had a lot of fun doing a few dishes and helping set up the buffet in their beautiful home.  Joseph had a special request for classic chicken salad with sliced almonds and quinoa tossed with lemon vinaigrette, spinach, feta and avocado.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

a sunday of great concerts

Well, we started summer right on Sunday, June 24th beginning with a concert in Golden Gate Park at Hellman Hollow sponsored by Alice@97.3,  featuring Graffiti6, Boys like Girls and Adam Lambert.  Joseph, Scott and I packed a great picnic, got a strategic spot and listened to some good music until it was time to race to Stern Grove at 19th and Sloat to hear Anita Baker. 

It's Stern Grove's 75th anniversary and in response, the beautiful redwood grove is featuring free Sunday concerts at 2pm, June 24th through August 26th.  Anita Baker's beautiful voice floated through the trees like the ultimate surround sound, amazing.  A great way to kick off summer!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

clam dip recipe

Since it is the beginning of June and the time is here to start cooking all our great summer recipes, I thought it was the perfect time to share my most requested recipe. But be careful, this dip is seriously addictive!

Clam Dip
2 8oz. cans of whole baby clams, drained
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
16oz. sour cream
2 8oz. pkg. of cream cheese (room temp!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 green onion chopped very fine

Leave cream cheese out for 2 hours at room temp. When ready to mix, remove foil wrap from cream cheese and place in mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds so cream cheese is very soft. Add all the other ingredients except the green onion and mix well. No lumps! Chill 2 hours. Place in decorative bowl and garnish with chopped green onion. Serve with Ruffles with Ridges!
Makes one large batch. (5-6 cups)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

a birthday and bartel's giant burger, redding ca.

Just got home from a wonderful weekend in Redding to celebrate my aunt, Sara Resse's, 80th birthday.  Sara is an elegant lady and Bank of America veteran who doesn't look or act her age--beautiful inside and out.  Happy birthday Sara!

My aunt Jan and uncle Roger picked me up from the airport; of course we were hungry and Jan suggested Bartel's Giant Burger, a family favorite and a Redding institution since 1975.  The great thing--it's not fancy, just the perfect fluffy (wrinkled) bun on a perfect medium patty, with cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion, or a fat, split polish dog, you choose, plus fry sauce.  Both are perfection.  Opt for a creamy frosty freeze cone or shake to add to the decadence--an American classic--yum!  The family birthday get-together--one of the best ever and one great family!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

a great visit to healdsburg, ca.

If you haven't been to Healdsburg in awhile, it is time to plan a day trip to this wonderful town.
My aunt is lucky enough to live there, for me, I only get there occasionally and it is truly a treat.

This past weekend Joseph Leon and I went up to check out a few collectible and antique stores, do a little wine tasting and have a wonderful lunch.  We accomplished all three easily.  First stop on the square, Oakville Grocery.  Not only is the fresh food outstanding, you can't resist picking up some great sauce or in this case some gorgeous crisp crackers perfect with brie or pate.  Down the street at the JCB tasting room we experienced a sparkling to die for, No. 69 Brut Rose Cremant, dry, citrusy and delicious and only $20.00 a bottle.  Stop by Seasons of the Vineyard and visit with Al as he pours your choice of 3 Ferrari-Carano tastes for only $5.00.  We walked about 50 feet for brunch at Bistro Ralph, an established Healdsburg eatery and sampled a morel mushroom omelet and a divine lamb burger smothered in whipped blue cheese.  Oh, they had No. 69 on the wine menu, what a surprise--we had another glass.

After lunch we walked the square with stops at Lime Stone, owned by Charlie Palmer's wife (Dry Creek Kitchen is right next door) and a quick stop at Barndiva a top recommendation from Al at Ferrari-Carano. A wonderful day; Healdsburg really has it all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

original joe's is back

As many of you know, I love the old school restaurants (as well as classic hotels, motels, original downtown storefronts, signage,  mid-century modern and on and on).  Original Joe's in San Francisco really meets all the criteria and has been terribly missed since it burned down in 2007.  But that was not the beginning of the story.  The first Joe's was called New Joe's and was located on Broadway in North Beach, having the first open (exhibition, as we call it now) kitchen.  In 1937, after a falling out, one partner teamed up with Louis Rocca and Ante Rodin and opened Original Joe's at 144 Taylor, establishing a SF landmark.

Original Joe's is now re-opened at another famous address in North Beach, 601 Union Street, the former home of one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the US, Fior d' Italia.  The restaurant sports an original sign on the outside, and original sign inside with a few fire scars for character, the exhibition kitchen with counter seats,  most of the classic menu items, black jacketed waiters and the dark wood interior design of Joe's, including the burgundy-red booths, a few saved from 144 Taylor.

Stop in and say hello to Marie Duggan, the owner and her beautiful daughters and be greeted warmly like old friends returning for a long overdue visit.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

las vegas raises the bar

Las Vegas, it changes and  morphes faster than one can know.  Brendan's birthday in August was fantastic, a heat wave with all of our friends and family at Vdara. This last week I was a guest in town, that included a visit to a couple of top clubs:  Bond, at the Cosmopolitan, and the Foundation, at Mandalay Bay.  Awesome.