I bought some special eggs the other day. I mean, there are special eggs, and there are special eggs. I'm talking about the kind of eggs some people might feel compelled to roll their eyes at. But I had to buy them. Try them. Bring them home with me. And I wanted to do something straight-forward yet special with them. So as I drove back from the Saturday market - through North Beach, up the Fillmore hills, and down into Hayes Valley, I settled on egg salad. Not earth-shattering, I know. That was sort of the point. But the twist? I was going to shred the hard-boiled eggs on a box grater into a fluffy pile. I'd toss it gingerly with my fingertips working in a bit of salt and pepper, add a few herbs and whatnot, and not much beyond that. Well, maybe the tiniest dollop of creme fraiche or thread of olive oil, enough to add a hint of cohesiveness, but not enough to weigh the salad down. I was after an egg salad that was fluffy, light, bright, and vibrant. Nothing wet, damp, or heavy about it....Continue>>
I thought I'd share another QUITOKEETO lunch with you today. This one in particular was a stand-out. It went something like this: a boisterous green curry porridge made with pan-toasted brown rice, spicy herb-packed green coconut broth, all punctuated with winter squash and lots of green onions. It's the kind of bowl that keeps you warm, and full, and happy - inside-out. I spent most of last week preparing for a shop update. One shipment I was particularly excited about was from India. For any of you who ever plan to go, or just want to day-dream about it, Fiona Caulfield's Love Travel Guides are hard to beat. The boxes of books actually smelled of saffron.Continue>>
Bartavelle is a sweet little spot nestled into a venerable corner in Berkeley, California. It's tucked into a pocket just to the right of Acme Bread, to the left of Kermit Lynch, in the space Cafe Fanny used to be. It's my favorite size - not too big, not too small with a menu to match - breakfast, lunch & later....Breakfast was a wonderland of avocado toast, slow-cooked porridge, nearly-but not-quite hard cooked eggs (which you should enjoy with labneh, cucumbers, and feta as part of a beautiful Persian breakfast board). Throughout the day there's great coffee and wine to be had, outdoor space to enjoy. when I was there a couple of weeks back, I noticed their sweet little cookbook shelf, and couldn't resist taking a few photos. I thought it would be a nice followup to the series I kicked off a while back with Le Bal Cafe... Continue>>
I know you all like a simple, goes-on-anything sauce. It has been a while, so I thought I'd shoot this gem in your direction. It's a good one. The main ingredient: horseradish. If you're anything like me, you enjoy most encounters with this feisty little root, yet(!) rarely deploy it in your own cooking. True? I find it intensely invigorating and think of the boost it adds to food as a more mustard-y cousin of wasabi. Horseradish has long been used for medicinal purposes, and this particular citation made me laugh a bit, "...the traditional treatment for sinusitis is to take a half teaspoonful of grated horseradish sauce without dilution both morning and afternoon. Do not drink anything or eat for at least ten minutes after the dose. There will be a powerful feeling in the head, followed by a sensation of the sinuses clearing, sometimes accompanied with sweating and perhaps tearing..." Sounds about right. Especially the tearing part.
I have a pretty incredible old cookbook by George Lang written in 1971 - The Cuisine of Hungary. There are a number of horseradish recipes in it, and they've compelled me to play around lately. I'll include a simple horseradish sauce down below - it's great on everything from baked sweet potatoes to egg salad, as a dollop on stews, on sandwiches, and alongside pan-fried pea shoots...Continue>>
Do you all keep piles of *very important things* around? Bills, notes, magazine clippings - that sort of thing? I do, but inevitably, the most important documents disappear into the depths of the piles. Sadly, I've taken to taping things to the walls of my house. It's a last ditch effort to keep important things in my line of sight. Any flat surface is fair game - walls, cupboards, doors. I regularly go through the piles, take the most pressing items from said pile, and attach them to the wall. Sometimes I find real gems! For example, I was going through my kitchen stack the other day, and found a note to myself, a recipe to try. The note simply said: big mushrooms, dunk in sake, dredge in rice flour, sauté, salt, dot with miso butter. Bruce Cole via Hank Shaw. I can't remember if I encountered it on Bruce's instagram feed (probably), but it sounded like a great idea...Continue>>
If pressed, I could tell you how to make good guacamole in one sentence. Something like this - mash ripe avocados with finely chopped white onions, a minced garlic clove, a squeeze of lime juice, then salt to taste. But to make great guacamole, it's the little decisions going between those commas that make all the difference. If you were standing next to me throughout the guacamole-making process, you'd pick up on the dozens of choices and considerations that actually matter. So, I thought I might try to go longer-form with you on this one - walk you through my thought process, step-by-step here, related to one of my favorite things to eat.
Like most things that end up on the table, your success or failure depends on how you do at the market. The most important step in this entire process is procuring the perfect avocados. Ripe. But not too ripe. Beautiful, buttery, green-fleshed decadence - that's what you're after. Sometimes easier said than done.Continue>>
I tend to pop off photos of cookbook shelves when I come across them. In the moment, just a couple frames with my cell phone, for browsing later. It occurred to me that you might like to see them as well. How about starting with Le Bal? Le Bal Cafe is a place I sneak off to often when I visit Paris. Tucked up an alley in the 18th, behind the bustling Place de Clichy, the space is airy, bright, and casual. It sits next to a robustly-stocked photography book store (and gallery). You'll find rare books, small editions, one of a kind photo projects - it's a gem of a place. I like to browse the books, or exhibit, then pull up a stool. After a look around, you might order a noisette, or an afternoon tart framboise, or sit for a proper lunch while you flip through a new book or magazine...Continue>>