My friend Ed works crazy long hours making sure people are fed well. Fortunately, he also knows how to party. More to the point, he knows how to throw down one hell of a spread and mixes generous, powerful drinks.
Thus, I blame him for my momentary lapse of politics. It’s been roughly a year since I gave up shrimp, confused and frustrated and devastated. Then, at a recent bash, Ed laid out platters piled high with buttery, herby, perfectly poached shrimp. My powers of resistance were strong for a good half hour, then slowly, steadily, the other guests’ swoons of delight and the potency of sangria convinced me to try one…just one….
Continue reading “Shrimp to Die For”
When I was in college, in the dark days before email and Facebook, my roommates and I passed our time with more mundane matters. Like food. From Juli, I learned about Japanese-style curry. Rie taught me how to blanche green beans perfectly, while Ed opened my palate to an entire pantheon of slow-simmered soups. Pierrette’s trick with tuna and egg salad—grating onion into the mayonnaise—still perks up my sandwiches.
From Maria, though, I learned the most important lessons: cooking with my senses.
Continue reading “Intuitive Tamales”
As someone who keeps containers of bacon fat, duck fat, chicken fat, lard and butter along with rank-and-file bottles of olive oil, sesame oil, chile oil, grape seed oil and good ol’ peanut oil always handy by her stove, I was delighted to learn a new term this week: FOG.
No, not the lovely mist that sweeps over our city from the sea.
Unfortunately, in addition to carrying flavor and adding texture, these staples of the kitchen can be as bad for our sewer system as our bodies. Multiply thousands of restaurants by dozens of gallons of FOG and very quickly, the mess builds up.
Continue reading “Donuts to Diesel: SFGreasecycle”
In London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is a small, silver sugar bowl from the late 1700s, complete with a tiny latch for a tiny lock. The mistress of the house would have kept the key herself, as sugar was far too precious to leave unprotected.
Continue reading “Bitter Sweet: The Price of Sugar”
The pot of chives was waiting for me in Moraga. Little did I know there was an entire afternoon of wonder in store for me when I went to pick it up.
With just his hands, a shovel and a wheelbarrow, 79-year old Ze’ev Vered has shaped seven terraces of gardens and orchards. Trees bearing pistachio, quince and pomegranate push up against the golden hills. A 6-foot cyclone fence that encircles his garden, to deter the insistent deer, has long been covered with the rambling vines of eight different varieties of grapes. The paths between each hand-weeded bed switch back several times, a steep trail that leads from one beautiful, delicious plant to another.
Continue reading “Ze’ev Vered’s Garden”