A Food Blogger’s Dream

At the beginning of 2015, I was randomly offered a chance to attend the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show. I stepped inside the huge San Francisco convention center and I WAS HOOKED. I was amazed at the variety of cheeses, wines, snacks, sauces, and small businesses that were featured at the show. We got to try things that hadn’t even hit the shelves yet, that were in beta testing with the specialty food market. And the samples! All the samples. I left with two tote bags full of seasonings, salts, cheeses, dips, drinks. It’s enough to fill your pantry for a month.

unnamed

Luckily, I managed to get in and register so I get to go again this year! Serious foodie excitement happening here.

If you’re interested/hungry, the tickets are still in pre-sale: Fancy Food!

Now, I’ll be having dreams until January of imported pate and gorgonzola.

Until then, I guess we should focus on Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, right?

Bon appétit,

Lisa

 

 

Make It: Fall-ing Into Julia’s Boeuf Bourguinon

San Francisco is celebrating what the is normal October with shorter, warm days and cold, brisk nights. On nights like these, nothing warms my bones more than old country, rustic French beef stew, as dictated by the Queen of the Kitchen herself, Ms. Julia Child herself.

Some basics before you attempt this classic recipe, re-envisioned for the modern chef:

Julia, the Master

Julia, the Master

  • You absolutely need a nice, heavy dutch oven/casserole type of pot to do this type of slow roasting cooking in. Using cheaper pots won’t conduct heat the same way and the long period of 3-5 hours in the oven could potentially ruin your cookware. Check out the major brands like Le Creuset (because the French do it best when it comes to slow cooking, let’s be honest.)
  • Your heavy dutch oven will be getting very, very hot during this process. Make sure you have some heavy duty oven mitts so you don’t break it when you drop it from sheer shock from taking it out of the oven.
  • Never cooked in a dutch oven before? You might need to look into seasoning it beforehand, especially if it is just straight up cast iron with no enamel coating.

Ingredients:

  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (or half a pack of regular thick cut, grocery store bacon. I prefer pre-smoked in this application, it added additional depth of flavor.)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra, to add if your veggies and meat dry out too much.)
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 large carrot, sliced (or I used four small seasonal rainbow carrots here.)
  • 1 white onion, diced (an important part of the mirepoix triumvirate.)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (adds flavor and soaks up some of that broth.)
  • Salt and pepper (I prefer kosher sea salt, it tastes better than iodized here.)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (this is an estimation.)
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy) ((I used the whole bottle of Cabernet because why not? It for sure did not hurt anything!))
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock (about one box)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (again, I used the whole mini can, just to save waste.)
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic (I added about two heads of garlic here. This is really up to personal preference. You need a lot of garlic to stand up to the wine.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small (about one bag that you can get in the veggie section)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered (Don’t miss this part! Buttery, stock mushrooms are the best.)

Let’s get cooking:BoeufBourguignon_5

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté bacon lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in your dutch oven over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish that has a paper towel draped draped over it with a slotted spoon; it’ll soak up some extra grease.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. (One of Julia’s most famous tips. Check out her explanation of it here at 3:15.)

Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Take it off the head, and put it off to the side and add it to the lardons.BoeufBourguignon_10

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees. (This is where your oven mitt comes in handy!)

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.BoeufBourguignon_15

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. (Don’t crowd the mushrooms! Use a pan that has a big enough surface area that can brown without overlapping.)

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.BoeufBourguignon_26

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

BoeufBourguignon_27Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley. (I served it next to these super convenient garlic and herb baby potatoes with lots of those yummy mushrooms and onions. Some wheat beer goes great to offset the heavy meat here, too!)BoeufBourguignon_29

BON APPÉTIT!

Lisa

 

The Hearty Serving meets Personal Tech: GoodEggs

 

logo-header-large.07de513bSo as people get busier, the Internet is scrambling to catch up to the rapidly growing demands of the American schedule. Whether it’s standard grocery delivery which most large and local grocery chains offer, start-ups are looking at home cooking as a new way to spice up the market.

In doing research about what high end, organic and sustainable food delivery companies existed out there, I became particularly enthralled with a company called Good Eggs. Founded a few years back, the company employs local growers and farms to source all of their seasonal offerings as well as gives the chance to local makers of things like jams, nut butters, and sauces a reliable place to sell their wares.

The best part was, after my first order, they threw in a free container of walnut butter. Gotta love that!

Check out the NY Times write up on Good Eggs here.

Happy eating,
Lisa

 

 

Coming Home Again: A Year Away, Returned To Cooking

Pumpkin soup, my favorite part of Fall!The gap between posts is hideous, I know. From December to October, three jobs and a career change, 2014 has thrown me for a loop that made me put my beloved blog on the back-burner, and it definitely wasn’t one that I was expecting.

Things seem to be calming down and I can hear my dusty, untouched Kitchenaid food processor calling my name, I’ll be making these a regular thing again, sharing what I can: my passion for food.

Let’s get Autumn started,

Lisa

Make it: Shrimp Po’ Boy Wrap/Tartine

ingredients

Such a gorgeous day in San Francisco today! Perfect for drinking some summer shandy’s and frying up some shrimp.

My favorite culinary exploring partner/boyfriend had his heart set on sandwiches for lunch today. We decided to spruce up this recipe for the classic Shrimp Po’ Boy by Jeff Mauro a.k.a Food Network’s The Sandwich King.

 

 

 

summer_shandy

In an effort to cut some carbs and focus more on the the contents, we switched out the hefty dutch roll for a low-calorie, high fiber wrap. We then piled high with more veggies than the King asked for, so it basically turned into an open-face tartine/shrimp salad hybrid.

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil, for frying
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay (we used regular cajun seasoning instead)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper shrimp
1/2 cup buttermilk (we switched it out for regular 1% milk)
2 teaspoons Sriracha (consider adding more or less to taste)
1 egg
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
4 Soft Hoagie Rolls, brushed with butter and slightly toasted in the oven
Horseradish Remoulade, recipe follows
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into rounds
8 leaves green leaf lettuce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced


Onions

Directions:
Fill a Dutch oven halfway with oil and heat to 375 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, seafood seasoning and sprinkle with salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, Sriracha and egg and set aside.

Place the shrimp into the buttermilk mixture, let the excess drip off, then dredge in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Place the shrimp onto a wire-racked baking sheet. Repeat until all shrimp are breaded.

wraps

Fry the shrimp in batches, not overcrowding the oil, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Place the shrimp onto a paper-towel-lined-plate. Repeat until all the shrimp are fried. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spread both sides of the rolls heavily with the Horseradish Remoulade. Place the shrimp on top and then the tomatoes, lettuce and some onions.

Horseradish Remoulade: (Worth buying all the ingredients, this makes the dish!)
1/2 cups mayonnaise (we switched out low-fat mayo)
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice (we love our lemon so we put in half a fresh lemon, it offsets the horseradish)
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard (chunky! the type of mustard you’d find in a German restaurant)
1/2 medium shallot, cut into chunks (1/4 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

End

Add the mayonnaise, capers, Sriracha, horseradish, lemon juice, relish, vinegar, mustard, shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until slightly chunky.

Whether you choose to make it his way or with my changes, this one is a winner. The shrimp turned out crispy and well-seasoned, pairing perfectly with the fresh veggies and remoulade.

Thanks for reading and happy eats,

Lisa

Local Shoutout: Tapas and Scoops

garlic_chicken

Honestly, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t explore the Mission district of San Francisco enough. Such delicious yummies to be discovered there!

My fellow foodie friend and I decided to try a tapas bar we’d never been to: Picaro. This spanish-themed rustic gem is right in the heart of the Mission, near 16th and Valencia. Of course, a large pitcher of their highly acclaimed sangria was a must!

 

artichokes

We decided to pair it with some garlic chicken (which ended up being more red sauce than garlic), grilled artichoke hearts, snapper strips with garlic mayo. Side note: bones galore, in both the fish and the chicken. Eat slowly and carefully.

 

 

 

 


toffee
Struck by the bright idea that sweets were needed badly after our tapas, it was time for a trip to the legendary Bi-Rite Creamery

I decided to try their seasonal Honey Lavender flavor. Two words: MIND BLOWN. It got even crazier when I decided to make it the base of my sundae. BEST CHOICE EVER. Splash of orange infused olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, topped with hot fudge. Quirky yet amazing.

 

 

TDG_sign

My foodie partner in crime decked hers with oodles of toffee on top of her cinnamon snickerdoodle ice cream and never looked back.

DAREDEVILS OF DELICIOUSNESS.

Another night in the San Francisco complete due to yummy food feats. Both locations serve up locally sourced ingredients and amazing options, worth a trip next time you’re willing to take a walk from BART.

 

 

thedaintygentleman

Thanks for reading and happy eats,

Lisa

Local Shout Out: East End Pizza Company

The Bay Area is a foodie’s dream, with thousands of restaurants with fantastic fare. Every flavor, every style, every price range.
Image

With that said, I’ve found that quality artisan pizza places that won’t cost you your first born child are few and far between. The answer to the gap in pizza brilliance: East End Pizza Company.

East End, located in my hometown of Alameda, is small and quaint. Specializing in select handcut meats, their small corner of the Alameda Marketplace always perfumes the air with fresh baking bacon. Bacon: the welcome addition to any and all pizzas, especially when done right.

I’ve only eaten a few pizzas there so when my boyfriend and I were in the mood for some properly done pie, we headed on over. We tried one of their standard offerings, The Supreme. (trust me, this is far from The Supreme that chain restaurants offer.)

Recipe DNA:

  • red sauce
  • spring onion
  • crimini mushrooms
  • classic cheese blend
  • ADDED: East End’s DAMN FINE BACON (No, really, that’s what its called.)
  • finished with shaved ricotta salata

Cooked at 450 degrees in their beautiful woodfired oven, and the crunchy crust with the crafted sauces and well-paired meats and finishing touches, all of the love comes out in the taste. With fantastic Yelp reviews from other pizza-enthusiasts like me, this place is so worth a visit.

Thanks and happy eats,

Lisa


Image