Friday, December 31, 2010

Foodie Gossip: 2010 Top 10 Food and Beverage Trends

Foodie Gossip: 2010 Top 10 Food and Beverage Trends: "2010 was a great year for culinary advancement and culinary entertainment, thanks to the Food Truck revolution, Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Gordon ..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Foodie Gossip: Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2011

Foodie Gossip: Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2011: "2011 is just around the corner and I’m always blown away by the culinary strides that have been made over the past year. Extreme cooking and..."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gail Simmons' Toasted Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Want to make a dessert that’s guaranteed to please? Follow Gail Simmon’s lead and try out her Toasted Coconut Macaroons recipe. After all, how could the Food & Wine editor/Top Chef Judge be wrong?

Ingredients (Makes 24):
- 3 egg whites
- ½ tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 20 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
- 7 oz. dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa)

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Beat egg whites in electric mixer on low. Once whites are broken up, add cream of tartar and sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat until whites are frothy.
3. Shut off mixer and fold in condensed milk, vanilla and lemon zest. Add coconut and mix until well incorporated. Let mixture sit for 2-3 minutes.
4. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop 12 heaping tablespoons of the batter on each tray, spacing them apart evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
5. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over low heat or in the microwave. Dip half of each macaroon into the chocolate. Place on tray to allow chocolate to set. Serve when cooled.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr shares her Silver Dollar Cookies Recipe

Jessica Szohr whips up silver dollar cookies with her grandmother, and boy do they look yummy!

(Makes approx. 36 cookies)

- 1 cup butter
- 4 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup finely ground almonds
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling

1. Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and ground almonds.
2. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll up into a 10-in. sausage shape and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into ¼-in. rounds. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Can Beer Replace Milk in the Ultimate Cookie Pairing?

Watch out Milk – There’s a new player in town! That’s right. Beer is making it’s move to replace the “milk” in “Milk & Cookies”. I was skeptical at first – and I’m still not 100% sold on the concept – But the pairing doesn’t exactly suck.

What sparked the idea of pairing beer and cookies? A strong declaration my friend made, swearing that any type of beer and chocolate chip cookies equalled a grat pairing. I looked at him cross-eyed, but realized I couldn’t "knock it ‘til I tried it". So I bought a selection of beers and cookies and rounded up a few friends to help me test out this new “beer and cookies” theory. And, of course, I made my poor friends rank each beer and cookie combo on a scale of 1 through 10 so that I could more precisely measure our findings.

Before you look at the results, please keep the following in mind:
1. Unlike wine and food pairings, the results of each beer and cookie pairing sometimes varied significantly, person to person, because some combinations played out differently on each of our palettes.
2. The graph is an average of the results of 5 different people. Based on #1, there isn’t a huge sway between what pairing was most loved and what wasn’t. I’ll be testing this on a larger audience the next time.
3. The results of this graph should only reflect these specific combinations. There could very well be other beers that could pair well with the selected cookies and vice versa.
4. Most importantly, none of us had ever had beer to wash down our cookies.

And the results are as follows (drum-roll please)…

As the averages show, most beer and cookie pairings didn’t exactly knock our socks off. However, Indian Wells’ Spicy Pumpkin and Pipeline’s Porter were definitely the best matched to our selection of cookies. And we all agreed that pairing Bison’s Gingerbread Ale with ginger snap cookies made our taste buds happy.

In the end, this eccentric taste test did make me a believer in the beer/cookie theory. However, I’m not sure if beer will ever replace milk in my heart.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home Blender: Jill Silverman Hough’s Lamb Chops with Fig and Ora...

Home Blender: Jill Silverman Hough’s Lamb Chops with Fig and Ora...: "So, for the past few years, I’ve been really into pairing the perfect wine with the dishes I cook up. Sometimes it’s not always just about t..."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brazil Grill

There are few things more scrumptious than an all-you-can -eat Brazilian Churrascaria-style meat-fest. What is Churrascaria (shoo-rah-sko) style you ask? It’s a Brazilian type of rotisserie BBQ, that is served to you tableside by wandering gaúchos bearing large skewers of Chili-Lime Pork Loin, Beef Tri-Tip, Marinated Lamb and much more.

I must be a true carnivore, because just thinking about this meat parade gets my mouth watering! When I went to the Brazil Grill in Portland, OR I was in protein heaven. I began by eating some mixed greens (for good measure), but quickly made come-hither-eyes at a strong and tan man holding a sword of bacon wrapped beef medallions. That was just the beginning of the feast.

Juicy prawns, delicious sausage, and the tri-tip steak satisfied my palate for hours, the tri-tip being my favorite of all. Even though I was completely fulfilled and absolutely stuffed, I was still able to make room for the icing on the cake: the Roasted Pineapple Covered in Cinnamon. All the sweet, spiced juices only made the pineapple more perfect. If you get a chance to experience this restaurant, or one like it, come prepared* and experience an Adult Meat amusement park!

Preparation Check List:
  • Do not eat at least 8 hours before being seated.
  • Drink plenty of water, brackish meat may parch the dehydrated.
  • Come with your wallet, this dinner runs at $32 per person.
  • Bring a note pad to keep track of your favorites when seconds roll around.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hell’s Kitchen Café

During my trip into New York City, I stopped in to the Hell’s Kitchen Café hoping for a heavenly lunch. I enjoyed the modern, almost industrial look of the restaurant that was offset by single flowers resting in tall shot glasses on each table. One whole wall had the seasonal option to open up for fresh city air, similar to a three-car garage. It had a smoothie bar, in addition to a full bar, which always sweetens the deal in my book. The lunch menu was pretty approachable with some distinctive sandwiches that seemed to have a little extra class. I went with the Turkey, Brie and apple sandwich because of a fond memory I had of a small country cafe in Oregon that served it. I treated myself and chose the side of fries over the salad. I couldn’t resist having some “Liquid Passion”, a champagne cocktail with a bright, bitter kick of passion fruit.

The food came out and looked great, but after my first few bites I was disappointed, the food was decent, but by no means great. That cute little country store had made up a more flavorful version of the same sandwich, but on sourdough with crisp contrasting apples. What I got here was a sandwich loaded with turkey, two or so globs of brie and long thin strands of apple that sadly tasted like more turkey. It was cozy for a rainy day, but really could have been improved with better harmony of the ingredients. I could have skipped the fries which seemed to come from the bottom of the fryer. They were more like fry crumbs that were a little too far on the soft side. A salad would have been a better call. The cocktail was decent, I’d say I’m a passionate woman, but it would have taken four more “Liquid Passions” to bring it out at 1pm.

The wait staff was friendly and hip. They added to the atmosphere, which over all I did enjoy. It was trendy, while still being comfortable, which is hard to find. It wasn’t terrible; it just didn’t do anything out of the ordinary for me. I probably went in with too high of expectations to this little sister of Hell’s Kitchen. I wanted it to wow me, something I hope for in Hell. One thing I do hear is that they have unlimited Mimosas during brunch. I think that would have changed the tone of this whole review.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

La Honda Wine & Treats

How lucky am I to have a wonderful mother that invites me to her work event: a "make your own appetizers" + wine tasting event, sponsored by La Honda Winery, CuisineStyle & Morrissey/Compton: and the staff was a MAJOR bonus. Getting to chat up Ken (the founder) & Cynthia Wornick was such a highlight.

And the wines... Oh the wines... My faves were the Chardonnay & Pinot (the Pinot paired w/wasabi peas was a delightful and bizarre discovery, but I tested it on a couple of party-goers and the confirmed the perfect pairing). I ended up buying a couple bottles of each (and a bag of wasabi peas on the way home)….

They split the guests between 4 tables, where they were instructed by the La Honda Winery chefs, including head chef, Pamela Keith, in creating amazing appetizers for all to share. And the winning appetizer? Mozzarella/grape tomatoes:

- Mozzarella Bocconcini
- Fresh Grape Tomatoes
- Pesto Sauce
- Melba Toast

It’s so simple and, yet, so deliciously good! I watched one person take seven off the tray – I would have done the same if I could’ve gotten away with it. I’ll give you the deets on the rest of the apps (description and recipes) in a day or so, with pics.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blowfish Sushi Blows My Mind

I went to Blowfish Sushi, in Santana Row (San Jose, CA) with one of my dearest friends tonight. We started off with the Pyramid of Tartar: layers of very fresh tuna, salmon, avocado with honey glaze, sweet ginger sauce and house made potato chips. It was such a fantastic dish.

We also ordered a few maki rolls: the $o$uMi, the Dragon, & a blazing variation of the Spicy Tuna roll (can't remember the name) that could literally blow a small town to pieces. The rolls, overall, were pretty good, but not very memorable...

That said, what did absolutely blow my mind was dessert - the Treasure Twenty: banana flambé crepe and lychee ice cream, served with fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries). While I was bummed that there wasn't a fire show with the flambé, the dish was soo light and well balanced that we ended up consuming the entire thing.

And though I feel as if I may give birth to a Japanese food-baby at any moment, the cause was TOTALLY worth it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Counter: Meat & Accessories

My roommate and I were on a mission for meat, we opted out of the club scene and headed to The Counter for lunch. If you’ve never been there it’s a build your own burger joint with class. She and I went all out splitting a basket of half sweet potato and half regular fries. Delish. For the burger I didn’t mess around: (the oh so longed for) beef, brie, sautéed mushrooms, fried onion strings with garlic sauce. An afternoon delight that will leave you winded and sadly, with no chances of sex. The possibilities were endless and tasty. It was your typical burger place offering fries and shakes, but with a bar inside seemed like it could turn into a hoppin’ place later. I enjoyed the feast; I just recommend channeling your inner savage before so you don’t look like a fool by having to request a fork.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Perfect Yuppie Tea Retreat

Samovar: Practice Peace. Drink Tea. Easier said than done. The airy little restaurant intrigued me with its head-to-toe sanctuary appeal, all for tea. Though how relaxed can you feel when everyone is wearing their suites awkwardly working to eat over the thin wooden tables? Or worse the 2 foot high table that seemed to be made out of a Chinese gong. Original none the less. Seeing the place packed with business men took the authenticity out of the place for me, with such a passion for peace I expected 90% more hippies to be present.
I was a little overwhelmed by the bilingual menu with dishes like Ginger Quinoa Waffle or the Jook( I’m still baffled as to what these are). Since I knew I needed to try their tea I went with a pairing: the Russian Chay Platter & Bottomless Samovar House-Blend Black Tea. I was then taken to the majestic Samovar (aka where you get the refills.) Delicious black tea, I must have had 4 cups at least. Potently caffeinated (I went strong ‘til 1 am!).
My meal was basically an elaborate fruit platter. I did enjoy the variety and everything on the plate was a great quality. Smoked white fish took the cake, except for the brownie which had a lovely hit of cinnamon. The only thing I didn’t finish were the wheat crackers. Yes, that’s right, this dry diet food appeared on my lunch plate. No thank you. It was a nice place to land in San Francisco and I would recommend it, especially if you thirst for tea.