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March 1-7, 2008
|Friday, March 7, 2008
We got a tip from Sue, a Bunrab reader, about cooking our nettles. Unfortunately, by the time we got her note, we have already powered through the entire bag of these prickly leaves:
They were delicious in our cheese omelets:
... this morning. I just wish they peddled nettles at our local market since they are strangely addictive. Maybe they have a nettle exchange program at the park…
We made a serious dent in the rest of the veggies for dinner and were inspired by the fennel fronds to make a fish purchase. I toasted some grains of paradise with cubeb and white peppercorns:
... before crushing them with some kosher salt. The salmon got a good coating of this spice mixture:
... a splash of vodka and a green muppet coating before I weighted it down and tucked it in the fridge. In a couple of days I will carve off thin slices of fish flesh – yum.
|Thursday, March 6, 2008
The best deal in town
We used to have a subscription for a weekly organic produce delivery. It would arrive at our hutch bursting with fresh and delicious chow, there was only one problem I had with it - it ran my life. The only thing I hate more than wasting food is wasting top quality food and I would let this organic monkey on my back restrict our dining out habits so that I could use the stuff up. I would also neglect my updatable list and wind up with enough potatoes to power all the clocks in the Northern Hemisphere (provided that they were all potato powered.)
What I like about the Mariquita Farm setup is that you choose to participate without a subscription commitment. We emailed our order for their $25 “mystery box”:
... on Tuesday and came to the Slow Club (which acted as this evenings designated meet up point) to pick up our organic veggies:
... consisted of generous helpings of broccoli di cicco, spigariello, green garlic, leeks, nettles, puntarelle frastigliata, escarole, radicchio, fennel, Italian parsley, turnips, purple carrots, baby carrots and French breakfast radishes. The carrots and radishes:
... were so fresh that their little hearts were still beating. They got washed and eaten first.
This type of purchase is a great way to broaden your veggie horizons. I wouldn’t ordinarily buy a huge bag of nettles, but boy were they delicious tossed in a hot pan with olive oil and finished with some Maldon salt. I cooked up a little sample of most of the greens:
... so that I could get ideas on what cooking method I ultimately want to subject them to later this week. There are also recipes on the Mariquita site in case I need some inspiration.
The next pick up date is March 20th at Incanto between 5-7 p.m. A clever move would be to reserve a mystery box and as well as a table. You can tuck your veggies in your car and tuck into one of Incanto’s famous lamb’s necks or a glass of wine at the bar.
We were impressed by Mariquita Farmer, Andy Griffin, during last year’s Gastronomy by the Bay. Not only do he and Julia supply some of San Francisco’s best restaurants with tasty vegetables, he even finds time to do a little blogging of his own.
Mariquita sold out of their boxes this evening, so it’s important to put in an order ahead of time. And you can leave the credit card at home, it’s a cash deal, but it’s the best $25 that we’ve spent in a long time.
|Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Did you see the San Francisco Chronicle’s New Rising Star Chefs of 2008?
Doesn’t it look like each one of them wants to personally kick your ass? It’s the “hospitality industry” not the “hospital-ity industry.” Rising stars? More like seeing stars after they batter and fry you up. I recognize some of them from my local Fight Club so I wouldn’t order the clam chowder or the meringues…
After being lambasted at Poggio in the past, we sheepishly returned to see if their agnello sandwich ($13.00):
... had sprung back from the unfortunate gristle gob I got a while ago. Today’s spit roasted meat was a complete reversal in polarity from the last spin I took.
This one was made with concern for the diner. The meat was of a better quality and the pesto was spread beyond the center of the bread. A definite improvement.
We also split a fennel sausage pizza ($12.00):
... with broccoli di cicco, provolone, mozzarella and red onion. This thin crusted, nicely blistered pie had a nice ratio of toppings to crust with a good combo of flavors and textures. It was very good, but doesn’t knock Picco Pizzeria out of the top Marin ‘za position.
After being put off at first, we’re glad we hopped back on the Poggio stick.
We’ll have to come back for some of their house made pasta before the tourists overrun Sausalito (to get out of harm’s way of those badass San Francisco Rising Star Chefs.)
|Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I asked the server at Citizen Cake:
... what was up with all the arKane references with their latest eatery (named Orson) in addition to their Welles known Citizen Cupcake outlets. It seems that the Elizabeth Faulkner was a film student before she desserted that path.
But no such homage was made (aside from the rosebud crème brulee.)
We both got identical, little, lemon meringue tarts ($5.50 each) with cups of coffee ($2.50 each):
A cookie-like crust held a yellow round of puckery curd topped with meringue spikes. It was good, but not enough of a serving for Chubby (who had to have more dessert later.)
When we got the check, we saw a 4% charge listed as “Healthy SF.”
This added up to an additional 64¢ for our snack. Not an amount of money we are likely to miss, but it got us thinking about the variety of ways we’ve seen this issue addressed and how there appears to be no cure all in dealing with the City mandated health coverage charge.
There are restaurants like Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley that figure health costs into the menu prices. They manage to keep the food quality high without emptying their customer’s wallets. Sadly, many San Francisco restaurants cannot easily imitate this model. Even though most of the cooks in S.F. are grossly underpaid (maybe they should try to cook the books rather than the Prather) there are still ridiculously high overheads in this business (even without health costs.)
To keep afloat, businesses have to take care of their staff without inducing sticker shock when customers peruse the offerings. This is why many choose to keep the health charge separate with a magnificent ampersand that helps to ease the war between the worlds of menu price and out of pocket expense.
What if we take an Orson Welles approach to the whole thing? Get rid of the fine print – just charge a lot of money and the customer will recognize that they get what you pay for. Sadly, it’s not that easy - this whole healthcare thing is a slippery slope. If only they didn’t incinerate our beloved sled…
|Monday, March 3, 2008
The Wall Street Journal is investing in a bank – the San Francisco Food Bank.
Perrier Jouet, Louis Roederer, Domaines Ott, Masi Agricola and Baron Phillipe de Rothchild will be among the wineries pouring their wares in the War Memorial Opera House. This is a great setting for a party since the food and wine stations can be spread out in this gigantor building like some sort of epicurean par course.
You don’t have to listen to one of those Porky Pig talkin’ auctioneers since they are having one of those silent auctions. Besides, if you have an auctioneer at work while people are swirling and sipping wine, accidentally signaled bids would cause the purchasers to spit and miss the dump bucket. Instead, revelers can enjoy live jazz performed by the Bay Area quartet Loosewig.
So if you want to support a good cause while making deposits into your own personal food bank, this is the place to go.
|Sunday, March 2, 2008
Do you know how to make crack cocaine? The recipe on Epicurious with a four spoon rating seems to have gone missing, so in case you were wondering, you basically take some cocaine and cook it up with baking soda.
If (as in my case) your stimulant of choice is sugar, you can apply this same principle to convert your white lines of sucrose into something that registers on your candy thermometer as “hard crack” (fortunately, this does not involve any hard time.)
The thing about making any hard crack item is that it is dangerous (you could burn yourself so badly that they will give you legal pharmaceutical versions of coca.) So it is important to weigh your addiction against the risk involved.
One precaution you can take is to have a bowl of cold water nearby in case you splatter any sugar mixture on your skin. Try to keep your work confined to a small area. You don’t want to risk spilling any of this scorching hot liquid on anyone including yourself.
I was inspired to make this by a great food porn site called Tastespotting which led me to the recipe and great photos on playing with fire and water I added a pinch of salt as well as the chocolate option, but the rest is the free base-ically the same.
You can make honeycomb candy plain:
... or pour it over chocolate to produce an imitation Crunchie Bar.
Place a silpat on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with ¼ cup chocolate bits (if desired):
Combine 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda and a pinch of salt in a small bowl
Heat ¾ cups sugar, 2 Tablespoons honey and 2 Tablespoons of water in a saucepan over high heat until the mixture reaches 300 degrees:
Take off the heat and quickly whisk in the baking soda mixture until just combined. Pour over chocolate chips (or plain silpat):
... and let set up without disturbing the bubbles.
Once it is cool, store in airtight container.
Don’t fool yourself. This is a gateway candy and should only be used under controlled circumstances.
|Saturday, March 1, 2008
The San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park was filled with fermentation fans:
... as some of our favorite local brewers:
...pulled out all the hops during this afternoon’s sold out Slow Beer Festival.
Instead of the swirl, sniff, sip, swish and spit protocol, we went with the “beer me!” and belch approach.
... in the crowd who wasn’t black, but this was made up for by his kettle.
If you like a snap to your sausage with a filling of local, high quality, perfectly textured, beef and pork with a balance of seasonings, accompanied by house made sauerkraut with just the right amount of tang to accent, without knocking the wurst - this is your dog.
Don’t worry if you missed today’s event because they plan to operate a grill at their Oxbow Market shop once they get settled in.
Hog Island never brings out the “Island” in people. They powered through 400 oysters:
... in an hour and a half (that’s a lot of shucking!) 200 had to be sent so that their bivalve obstruction could be put on ice.
Cheesy floral arrangements didn’t translate into FTD deliveries. Harley Farms’ anther to goat cheese ornamentation are tasteful, gastric centerpieces.
We’re lucky to have so many gasterofests in the Bay Area, but the Slow Beer Festival stands out as a heady brew of people of products.
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