Sourdough English Muffins

They were pretty damn good, I must say. Toasting one right now….

Here’s a recipe, or as close as possible since I was free-styling it that morning.

The night before, take out of the fridge your sourdough starter (see my feature “Taming the Wild Yeast“). Transfer to a clean bowl and mix in the hootch (dark liquid on top) if you like more assertive sourdough flavors; pour off the hootch if you don’t. You’ll need about 1 cup of starter. Stir in about 2 cups of unbleached AP flour and 1 cup tepid, filtered water. Covered with a cloth and let ferment overnight.

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Saul’s Seltzer Saga — Save The Deli

sauls seltzerIf you’re reading David Sax’s recent book, Save the Deli, or follow his blog or moan, as many do, about the general state of the Jewish delicatessen, then you know that it’s a pivotal time in this most hallowed bastion of comfort food.

For years, locavores and vegetarians, calorie-counting suburbanites and couscous-loving Sephardim and even heeb-hopping hipsters have been bringing their own favorite dishes to the Jewish table. You might not know this upon stepping into a deli, where piles of salty, fatty meat and schmaltz in the chopped liver and never-ending free pickles every day of the year define good eating. It’s supposed to be a carefree zone where all the generations and sects can enjoy some chicken soup in relative peace.

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Chile Lindo Empanadas

(Photo courtesy of Myleen Hollero.)

If, from high above, you could pick up California, stretch it out thin from tip to tip and then flip it in a graceful arc over the equator, you’d have a piece of land that looks pretty much like Chile. Last month, CEOs and politicians met in Santiago to discuss Plan Chile-California, a trade agreement that would create a “partnership for the 21st century” in areas such as education, energy and agriculture.

For the past 10 years, though, Paula Tejeda has been quietly working her own brand of business development and cultural exchange, one empanada at a time, in San Francisco’s Mission District. Stroll by the Redstone Building on any Saturday or Sunday to taste for yourself her efforts to connect Chile and California.

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Duc Loi Supermarket

A shopper at Duc Loi Supermarket carefully selects large chunks of freshly fried chicharrones, while rendered lard begins solidifying on the counter nearby.   

For over twenty years, seven days a week, Howard and Amanda Ngo have sold fresh, affordable produce and a quirky blend of both Latin American and Asian ingredients at the heart of the Mission District.

Looking for purple corn and whole-blossom jamaica in bulk? They have it. Ube yam and cashew fruit and banana leaves in the freezer section? Check. Dried peruvian beans or dried tofu nuggets? Check. Goat ribs and ox tails and whole, fresh pig heads? It’s all there at the meat counter. Young, watery coconuts chilled and ready to hack open for sipping on a sunny afternoon? Most definitely yes.

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Event: Taste of Tamales By The Bay


Slim as a finger or big as a fist, wrapped in papery corn husks or supple banana leaves, sweet as spring or spicy as summer — the humble tamal in all its forms and flavors has become the star of an annual fundraising event in San Francisco. Taste of Tamales By the Bay will be coming again to the Fort Mason Center on Sunday, April 26, 2009.

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