Tuesday, September 13, 2016

bluff cove olive oil and vinegars in la

I was recently in LA and my dear friend Brendan turned me on to the most exceptional olive oil and vinegars in the area--Bluff Cove Olive Oil Company.  I am obsessed with the Black Mission Fig balsamic and the Spanish Picual extra virgin olive oil--perfect to dress delicate arugula or marinate chicken--black cherry balsamic is my next puchase--your bottles are filled on site from a huge selection of organic imported oils and vinegars.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

la, food and the pageant of the masters

Just got back from a wonderful visit to LA with my dear friend, Brendan Eisan.  It was a belated birthday celebration for me and an early birthday celebration for him.  One of our adventures included going to the amazing living art show, The Pageant of the Masters, in Laguna Beach.  Laguna Beach is a artsy beach town 2 hours south of LA--yes the traffic was awful getting down there--but worth it.  Part of the world-renowned annual Festival of the Arts, the festival's highlight is The Pageant of the Masters.  The festival was started after the end of the depression as a means to draw business back to the art colony at Laguna Beach.  The Art Association struck on the idea of a summer art festival, to be held the week following the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics in hopes that visitors would travel south to Laguna Beach before journeying home.  A smash hit at the festival was the Living Pictures show created by artist and vaudevillian Lolita Perine. She dressed local residents in costume and seated them behind a makeshift frame.  In 1935 Roy Ropp, a local construction worker, realtor and amateur artist, expanded Perine’s concept and developed the performance into its present-day format---A ninety-minute stage show of “living pictures” – incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater and professional orchestra complete the amazing performance. 

Food wise, we did well!  We had a delicious dinner in Laguna at Tortilla Republic, with salsa verde chicken enchiladas, pork fajitas and great guacamole. Saturday night, birthday dinner at Pace on Laurel Canyon--cedar grilled salmon and molten chocolate cake.  In LA, Sunday brunch at the Little Next Door, featured a wild mushroom/gruyere omelette and creamy potato gratin with coconut cheesecake to finish. For casual lunch in Sherman Oaks--- 8oz Poke. Build your own poke bowl with a variety of fresh fish, sides, sauces and toppings.  My poke bowl was a ridiculous amount of fresh ahi tuna poke and spicy tuna on baby greens with rice, wonton chips, avocado, cucumber and seaweed salad for $10.95??  I dream of a repeat every day!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

waffler pizza recipe

I have been intrigued with pizza made in a waffle iron ever since I saw Ree Drummond make one on the Pioneer Woman.  Something about using your waffle iron more than twice a year and not having to turn on the oven were strong motivations to make this idea work!  I have practiced a couple of times and it really is quite easy.  I use fresh store bought pizza dough--I use about a 1 1/2 cup size portion, let it rise and roll it out on a floured board to the approx size of my waffle iron. My iron is a square Cuisinart waffler that I LOVE.  I also love my JK Adams French rolling pin---gets the dough as thin as you like with no effort! I linked Ree Drummond's recipe but I made a few variations and you can too. Spray your waffler with non stick spray and let the waffle iron heat up as normal.  Lay your rolled out dough on the iron and close the lid and cook dough till the green ready light comes on. I then brushed the dough with olive oil, layered on pepperoni slices, grated mozzarella and Mexican blend cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, more cheese, dash salt and pepper and closed the lid---for about 1 minute till cheese melts. Open lid, brush down any bits that might have stuck to the top (actually much less than you would think for all that cheese) and lift out with a large spatula to your cutting board. For clean up, let the waffle iron cool, and brush away any bits with a pastry brush and layer paper towel on the grates and close lid to absorb any excess oil.  The BEST way to clean it just to make a batch of savory waffles the next morning---spotless!!  Other combinations I have tried are cooked sausage with thinly sliced baby zucchini and onions and sliced black olives. Overly wet/heavy toppings don't work.  You can use pizza sauce, but use a light hand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

book club dinner at iThai in san francisco

Just had another great meal at iThai in San Francisco!  iThai is one of our Book Club destinations when we don't feel like cooking--but want delicious dishes with super fresh ingredients.  Some of our favorites are the panfried chive dumplings, the crispy calamari (pictured above), larb salad,  BBQ chicken with cashews in a Thai country style glaze and wok-fried filet mignon with basil and peppers, all served with jasmine rice. Make a visit to the Post Street restaurant for many more great dishes.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

san francisco food life has an instagram page!

Just one more way to share great food with my friends and family-- an Instagram page!  Just started posting--here is a snapshot of the page.  Follow me as I journey through SF food and beyond----- with more amazing shots of food to come! Yum!  dianaparkersf@Instagram

Monday, April 11, 2016

sotto mare oysteria in the heart of north beach

For another San Francisco  traditional restaurant experience, check out Sotto Mare at 552 Green Street in the heart of North Beach.  Owned by Gigi Fiorucci, you may recognize two of his former SF landmarks--Maye's Oyster House on Polk Street and Caesar's near Fisherman's Wharf.  Not to disappoint, this seafood haven has a line out the door, cioppino to die for, not a french fry in sight--and they don't do dessert.  On this particular night I had their super thick and creamy chowder followed by fresh petrale sole in a piccata sauce with  perfectly cooked vege's--get in early and sit at the counter--don't be disturbed by the push and shove--it's part of the experience---Sotto Mare also sells seafood retail for the extreme home chef in all of us.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

tyler florence does the most delicious shrimp scampi with linquini

I had a craving for scampi with linguini and decided to make it for my book group.  The problem, finding the perfect recipe for a dish that has many subtle variations.  With great success from Tyler Florence's recipes in the past, I chose Tyler's Ultimate and it was fantastic.  The wine and lemon were the perfect amount of acidity and the shallot added extra depth to the flavors.  My slight change up--I made two pans of sauce so I could fully coat the shrimp in one and toss the linguini in the other. I plated the pasta and topped it with the prawns and extra sauce--yum!  So feel free to double up the sauce recipe and be sure to serve with a crispy, crusty garlic bread.  Makes 4 entree portions.

1 pound linguini
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large shallot, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Cook pasta in salted water for 6-8 minutes.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the shallots, garlic and red pepper flake until shallots soften, about 3 minutes.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.  Return shrimp, pasta and parsley to the pan along with reserved water.  Stir well, heat through and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil ( or extra sauce if you made it) and serve immediately.  Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence