My mother was a master of the one-pot meal. From chicken cacciatore to coq au vin, to jambalaya, to French puy lentils with sausage, her dishes her dishes were always laced with garlic and wine and a good dose of fines herbs.
Each family member had his or her favorite dish- mine was chicken with vinegar and cream, a recipe my Uncle Johnny begged off of the chef at Oak Hill Grocery in Yountville. He was sworn to secrecy, but I loved it so much as a girl, he agreed to share it with my mother. Now, of course, I have it, but I will never publish it, so don’t ask. My brother’s favorite was chicken cacciatore- he called it red chicken. My dad’s was easily boeuf bourguignon- which he loved to pronounce in his terrible French accent. Incidentally, all of my father’s French centered around food, his favorite expressions being “á table”, “passé moi le beurre”, and “merci pour le bon dinner”
My mother never wrote down a recipe in her life- ever. I am not sure how she made her chicken cacciatore or her jambalaya or any of the one-off improvised dishes she invented. But, some of the dishes she made are in my culinary soul and I go back to my own version of them time and again.
Like my mother, some of my best creations come when I’m improvising in the kitchen, but in the last several months, I’ve had to start documenting what exactly goes … get the recipe
I have always been intrigued by the idea of canning and I LOVE the rustic charm of mason jars. Last summer, I bought 10 lbs of heirloom tomatoes with the intention of jarring up the bright red taste of warm summer days. Upon reading Ball’s canning instructions, I gave up on my plan fearing there was too much room for error. As time marched on, my wariness of canning grew, but so did my varied collection of mason jars.
This holiday season, I stared down my canning fears. I resolved to finally can, and in doing that, I’d preserve the essence of the holiday. Though I’d missed out on those summer tomatoes, now it was the season to combat cold by catching warmth itself, trapping it in glass, and giving it as a gift.
At the farmers market, I found comice pears- still firm, speckled green and brown, smelling wet and sweet. A few stalls down, I was greeted with the bright and woodsy scent of apples and my mouth began to water. Though countless varieties were piled high upon the market stall, my eyes immediately jumped to a basket brimming with red fruit whose shoulders kissed by the sun, glowed yellow- the gala. Apples and pears, every day fruit, comforting and familiar would be transformed into an exotic, heady, winter chutney.
- 3 lbs comice pears, peeled, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 lbs tart crisp apples, peeled, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups
… get the recipe
The other night we ate dinner at the St. Francis Fountain. I ordered The Poor Man. It’s a steaming hot bowl of chicken and cilantro soup with a lovely biscuit plopped right down in the middle of it. It is, simply stated, perfection.Of course, I’ve been craving biscuits ever since.
Since I still had lots of chilies left over from my Thanksgiving meal and a whole bunch of cotija cheese, I thought I’d whip up a batch of fluffy yummy bicuits with a little Mexican kick to them. They’re not particularly spicy, but the green chilies look beautiful and the cotija gives just a little tang. The raw sugar also ads a beautiful layer of crunch and sweetness. This became one of those embarrassing nights where we ate bread for dinner.
PS: Oh you can make these veggie by going half shortening– non hydrogenated of course- or all butter.
- 2 cups of flour sifted then measured
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 seranno chili sliced
- 4 tbsp cotija cheese
- 1 tbsp raw sugar
- scant ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp good quality lard
- ¾ cup skim milk
- Preheat oven to 400º
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Sift two cups of flour then measure
- Add baking powder and salt & pepper then sift again
- Add cotija cheese, sugar, and sliced serranos
- Cut in butter and lard until mixture resembles coarse corn meal (I do this with my hands
… get the recipe
This dish came about when I was trying to figure out a way to make brussels sprouts and cauliflower fit into my
Latino-influenced Thanksgiving menu. The first thing that came to mind was, to replace the ever-popular bacon with chorizo. The rest came together in the kitchen when I started tossing things right into the bowl of my Cuisinart.
This was one of the last dishes I made during our massive meal (for which I lost my sous chef [read:husband] at the last minute) and it was so easy and pain free, I can happily recommend it any time you’re cooking for a crowd.
It was also one of the most favored dishes at the meal. People were going gaga for brussels sprouts and cauliflower, ladies and gents. You may be thinking to yourself that I doused them in Chorizo made from Heritage Piggies from the grand people at Marin Sun Farms. It’s also true that it was sold to me by the nicest grocery store in the world Bi-Rite Market, and I believe that makes a difference. But the fact remains, people were still totally mad over their veggies. That’s a feat!
- 3 small heads white cauliflower
- 1 small head yellow cauliflower
- 1 lb brussels sprouts
- 1 lb chorizo no casings
- 3 tablespoons butter very well softened
- ¼ – ½ cup olive oil *
- ½ cup parsley
- ½ cup cilantro
- 4 cloves of garlic
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- or you can
… get the recipe
I am so grateful for the richness of my life. I am surrounded by loving, vibrant, funny, and talented people and a pretty adorable dog. I live in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District– a neighborhood where Latino families and artists have traditionally lived side by side- where the demographics are changing, but for the most part peace and vibrancy still preside. The land around me is some of the most fertile in the world and provides the most beautiful & abundant produce, cheeses, meats, & wine. Gratitude is a big part of my life and to have a whole day dedicated to it, suits me just fine.
Local food is always a mainstay of our table, but for this meal, I decided to focus not only on the local foods, but also on the local flavors, and the local merchants. I shopped for everything within three miles of my house (excluding the pork leg) every ingredient was sourced rom a small local business or a farmers market in an effort to honor my community on fthis special day as well.
Having grown up in California, Latin foods have always been a part of my life. As I developed my own cooking style, my French heritage and my deep appreciation for the foods of Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina and Puerto Rico have often seen a lively interplay. This Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude, un dia de gracias, I set about creating a menu that would highlight some of my … get the recipe
There is always so much food on Thanksgiving and much of it can be heavy, rich, and just downright hard to consume. I’ve had several requests to create vegetarian and vegan dishes for the holidays for friends and readers.
These green beans are a great alternative to a goopy green bean casserole. Fresh, light and lemony with a sweet, tart, olive oil glaze, they satisfy with a crisp green bean and a crunchy pecan. We had these with steak and potatoes, but they’ll be fantastic added to your vegetarian Thanksgiving, a vegan Thanksgiving, or a traditional Thanksgiving feast alike.
- 1 lb green beans (or mixed green and wax beans) trimmed
- 1 cup pecans
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375º and toast pecans for about 5 minutes on baking sheet lined with parchment watch carefully so they do not burn
- Boil 3 cups water in a saucepan over high heat, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- Whisk brown sugar and lemon juice over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Add olive oil, salt, and cayenne and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened
- When pecans are done transfer to a bowl then drizzle half of glaze over the top and toss with half of the zest. Then toss very well. Sprinkle the pecans out on
… get the recipe
Isn’t it the strangest thing when you have two long time friends who have never met? Heather has been my best friend for more than 20 years. Sean and I have been dear friends for more than 11 and even lived together twice. It just so happens that these two friends have never met due to our extremely glamourous jet setting lifestyles. Well, it’s really due to the fact that Heather and I only recently started living in the same metropolitan area again and Sean lives in Southern California, now.
So, you can imagine, I was thrilled when Heather decided to come over for dinner on Thursday while Sean was in town visiting from LA. I’d love to tell you that I decided to make a bright orange soup to support my home team in the world series, but I can’t say I really think about things like baseball. Truth is, I’d been thinking about a spicy carrot soup with pepitas ever since I saw this spicy pumpkin soup from Pinch My Salt. This carrot soup is topped with a spicy pepita butter, requeson, an apple salsa crudo, & Salvadorean chorizo, but could easily become veggie or vegan if you just omit the chorizo the requeson and the tiny amount of cream in the soup.
Joshua, Sean, Heather, and I had such a great time eating, laughing, and drinking some pumpkin beer from Dogfish Head. We also had a little Steak with the pepita butter on top and a carrot … get the recipe
Vegan baking… wow! Though I was a vegetarian for 10 years and even flirted with veganism, I never attempted to anything too complex. As a veggie, I ate lots of stir fry and plenty of omelets. I have to admit, my vegan diet looked a lot like soy milk, peanut butter and naked produce.
Luckily, San Francisco reader, Heather, gave me the best first assignment ever for my weekly cooking challenge. You see, this quintessential San Francisco family has a vegetarian daughter with a nut allergy (there went my idea for tamale pie with homemade cashew cheese) and a niece who’s a vegan. Everyone else eats varying degrees of red meat, no meat, pescatarian, etc. So, what Heather needed was an amazing seasonal vegan entrée for a Halloween brunch and it had to please even the most hard core meat eater’s palate.
Heather’s one request was that it be a tart. What a perfect challenge for Halloween- because until this week, I couldn’t have conjured anything more frightening than baking a pastry crust without my beloved butter. Hell, normally, I might even lean on a little Boccolone Lard in crust for a tart like this. But I jumped into this challenge with both feet first and I had a blast doing it.
This dish is bursting with autumn flavors. After lots of testing (I mean LOTS) we have an amazingly flaky and delicious crust filled with a butternut squash custard and topped with earthy wild mushrooms … get the recipe