Pain Free Latkes


Although I didn’t make it Saul’s Deli this year for their annual Neverending Latke sidewalk fest, a lingering craving for piles of crispy potato cakes convinced my husband to brave the task of grating and frying.

He more or less followed a straightforward recipe from Gourmet and managed to deliver, with his first try, a most excellent feast. Some crème fraiche, homemade applesauce and leftover oil from donut frying may have gilded the latkes, but they’re so good, we don’t really need much more than a plate or fork. Of course, some of us who hover around the cook right at the stove don’t even need those.

Continue reading “Pain Free Latkes”

Campfire Shrimp Boil

campfire-shrimp.jpg Every Labor Day weekend, Joshua and Jineui gather 30 or so lucky friends for a four-day camping extravaganza by Manresa State Beach. This is not a hardcore outdoor experience — this year, there was a badminton game going near a very well stocked bar and a four-burner kitchen set up within snacking distance of our tents. For the price of an hour of downtown parking, some of us could even enjoy a hot shower. It’s definitely more about extreme eating and drinking that any thing resembling “camping,” but there aren’t too many things that bond people together better than wide, shaded hammocks or Scrabble marathons or jumping and screaming together in the ocean’s cold waves.

Continue reading “Campfire Shrimp Boil”

California Coolers

ca-cooler.jpgIf you live anywhere near the Northern California coastline in a house that was built during the first two decades of the 20th century and if you haven’t had a chance or don’t have the heart to remodel your home completely, then you probably still have a strange, little cabinet in a corner of your kitchen. Unlike the other cabinets in the room, it has open shelves of wire or slats or perforated wood. It also feels very cold and breezy, and you might even be able to glimpse sunlight through the back of it if you stand at a certain angle and tilt your head a certain way. It may have a lock or, at the least, a secure latch.

This, my friend, is a California cooler.

Continue reading “California Coolers”

Homey Soybean Milk


My Midwestern parents live at the epicenter of the soybean industry, but tracking down whole beans still requires a 45-minute drive to the nearest Asian market. We all consume soybean in some form every day, yet few know what the bean even looks like. Tofu has come a long way in the US from its commune days. Yet, it’s not that bland, white cube that is behind soy’s success. Worth ten times more than a bushel of unprocessed beans, derivatives drive the soy market: soy’s emulsifiers, proteins and oils appearing in everything from paint to paint stripper, polyester to protein shakes.

Continue reading “Homey Soybean Milk”

Smoothies: Youth-Powered Sweetness

smoothie-glasses.jpgTeaching kids to eat and drink healthfully requires much more than admonitions. After carting away the vending machines and abolishing the Big Gulps, we can’t leave the kids empty-handed. Rachelle Boucher from Generation Chefs is working hard to fill the void. From the popular Pizza Smack-Downs at COPIA to her weekly cooking classes (free to high school students) in the beautifully outfitted kitchen at the Marin Youth Center (MYC a.k.a. “Mike”) she’s bringing fresh, whole, homemade food generously flavored with reaffirming messages and lots of common sense to a wide and diverse group of kids.

A visit to one of her cooking classes reveals her consummate skill in converting teens to the cause of healthy eating. Endowed with humor, warmth, and endless energy, she’s a master of choreographing 25 wary bundles of apathy and hormones into productive teams of excited, skilled, fruit-and vegetable-loving cooks.

Continue reading “Smoothies: Youth-Powered Sweetness”