“Grilling” Fish Inside Your Kitchen

My first summer in San Francisco, I bought a little Weber and installed it on my fire escape. Within two minutes of lighting its inaugural pile of charcoal, I answered my doorbell to find an irate neighbor pointing at the flames and reminding me that all the houses in our neighborhood were constructed of wood. My poor Smokey Joe was instantly retired. Since then, I’ve explored various safer ways to char my food and finally, after quite a few years, settled on a system that actually works.

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Picnic in the Park: Bacon Bites

We each need a good food buddy or two. Mine is a petite Filipina who can eat anyone under the table. Cindy modestly claims it’s all about the pacing, but those of us who’ve had the pleasure of dining with her know that it’s really 1) her absolute love of anything sweet, sour, spicy or savory, and 2) a secret second stomach.

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It’s Still Strawberry Season

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As one of my colleagues said the other day, the farmers markets are “lousy with strawberries.” I don’t mind the glut, as my own last meal would be a bowl of strawberries, a taste of life short and sweet.

The best way to eat the fruit is whole, out of hand, one after the other until they’re entirely gone. There are, of course, many ways to gild the lily: strawberries and balsamic vinegar, strawberries and brown sugar, strawberries and red wine, strawberries and cream, strawberry shortcake, strawberries and rhubarb pie….
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Old Krakow: Going Out for Home Cooking

My friend was planning to start his 37th year with a proper feast at his favorite restaurant, Old Krakow. Before the call, I was trying to decide what to do with a few random ingredients that were taking up space in my small kitchen: some spotted bananas, some milk chocolate, a bag of toasted hazelnuts, a block of cream cheese. After the call, I pulled out my cake pans and began baking.

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Bob’s Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake included layers of moist banana cake, chocolate ganache filling, sliced fresh bananas, cream cheese frosting and toasted hazelnuts.

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Asparagus on a Bun

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My parents travel light, so when they told me they were waiting at the baggage carousel, I knew some food had made its way from Missouri to California. I’ve been treated before to freshly dug potatoes, bags of dewy herbs, a catfish with its whiskers still intact, gooseberry jam, homemade beef jerky, and a selection of Kansas City’s finest BBQ sauces. As we approached the airport, I wondered what treats we’d be unpacking this time.

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