Sunday, October 23, 2011

Anthony Bourdain, Vegetarian Converter

While in SF, I also had the pleasure of participating in a LitQuake event, titled Read Good Food: how cookbooks inspire change. There, I read from Kitchen Confidential and described how Anthony Bourdain unwittingly convinced me to end my 9-year stint of vegetarianism. Although I was nervous, I actually really enjoyed telling my story, and I'm not too proud to say it was fun being the center of attention! So there.

Butter Date write about it, with photos!

Fabulous press for Eat Good Food!

I'm back from my trip to San Francisco, where I celebrated the release of my first cookbook, Eat Good Food, which I co-wrote with Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market.

I feel so lucky to have gotten such positive feedback about the book, not just from friends and colleagues but also from folks outside of the Bi-Rite family. Here are just a few:

Dana Velden's lovely write-up on The Kitchn, with recipe for Mom's Pear Skillet Cake (it is so so so good...also, that's actually Sam's mom in the photo!)

video review (who knew those existed?) on The Taste Spot

As well as love on Fete a FeteTriple Pundit, and Progressive Grocer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Red Alert Lunch

There are some people out there who "forget to eat lunch," whatever that means. Not only am I not that kind of person, I am generally suspicious of those who are (after all, aren't we hard-wired for hunger?). But I fully admit that once in a while, I wait way too long to eat. And when that does happen, I eventually enter the zone I call:

Red Alert.


It happened today - I got engulfed in the project I'm working on and I decided to keep at it until I reached a good stopping point. Which was good for my progress, bad for the blood sugar.

When I did finally take a break, I realized there wasn't much around, ingredient-wise, so I slapped together the quickest thing I could find...some skyr (Iceland's answer to Greek yogurt), topped with killer extra virgin olive oil, some zaatar, and a sprinkle of salt. And it was really good! I would have stopped to savor it a bit if I had had any conscious control over my actions at that point.

It was delicious, and took just seconds to make - so fast that maybe next time I'll just sneak it in before I even take a break from work.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The final stretch...and the manuscript is done!

I'm finally back from my latest trip back to San Francisco. The main purpose of the trip was to do a couple of remaining days of photography for the cookbook, and finish the manuscript, but I managed to squeeze in some other fun activities as well.

As per usual, I hit up Tartine bakery my first morning there. As I stood in line for my gougere, I noticed that all the art on the wall featured bread in one way or another, a neat tie-in to the recent release of the (amazing) Tartine Bread book. I was completely smitten with this piece, which features baguette-as-surfboard:

On to work. We took lots of photos, both in the "studio," like this process shot of opening a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The aroma that wafted out once it finally cracked open was divine!

We also went on the road and visited some pretty special producers. Some of my favorites were:

  • Firebrand Artisan Breads.  This Oakland-based company is run by a husband and wife team, both under the age of 30, who make naturally-leavened bread (read: no packaged yeast) that they bake in a wood-fired oven. Here's Matt rotating the loaves to ensure even baking (and yes, that's flour all over the floor!)

  • Don Watson's Wooly Weeders. This man is a genius. He not only raises some of the most delicious lamb in the Bay Area, he's also figured out how to make money off of them before they're even slaughtered. He offers a "mowing" service to vineyards and, pictured here, the Infineon Raceway (which is surrounded by these gorgeous rolling hills). The pasture-raised sheep keep the vegetation in check and become ever-more delectable in the process. With views like this, how could the sheep not be happy? 
  • Saint-Benoit Yogurt. This yogurt is amazing. The milk comes from a dairy less than a mile away, and the yogurt itself is packaged in reusable (or redeemable) ceramic and glass containers. We were lucky enough to be there when they filled and sealed the crocks. Here's a tiny clip (you can't tell here, but they had the music blaring!) 

And after two weeks of photography and many, many final edits, the manuscript finally, finally was finished. With moments to spare, I got on a plane, came back to Honolulu, and popped open a celebratory brew. As they say here in Hawai‘i, hipa hipa!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Biscuits for breakfast!

This morning I made biscuits for breakfast, using one of my favorite biscuit recipes ever. Unlike others I've tried, this one actually produces flaky layers distinct enough to peel apart, as well as a wallop of buttery, buttermilky flavor.

The secret to the fabulous texture is in lamination, which is essentially the same technique used to make croissants and puff pastry. Instead of blending the butter into the flour, you press and fold them together. This creates distinct layers of dough and flattened butter, which in turn bake into lovely puffy strata.

Fear not: while croissants from scratch are indeed a finicky pursuit, these biscuits incredibly simple and easy. You don't even need a rolling pin! (A bench scraper helps immensely, though).    

I'm lazy, so once the dough is pressed to the final thickness, I just cut them into squares, leaving the jagged edges as they are. (There's an added bonus: there are no scraps to re-press and -cut, which eliminates the danger of overworking the dough).

For an extra special treat, you can fold in fresh herbs or grated cheese, too. And for a little extra golden glisten, I brush the tops with another tablespoon of buttermilk. Try them yourself!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bacon: still going strong.

Just when I was starting to think that bacon had peaked, that we'd run out of things to do with it...comes this. A gift from my savvy NYC source:
Bacon marmalade.

It's like a chewy, meaty chutney. Or pancakes and syrup with a side of bacon, but without the pesky pancakes (I never really liked them anyway). It's going to be hard to meter this stuff out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another farm day

Sunday we did another day of shooting for the cookbook, this time at farms in the South Bay. We saw tomatoes, onions, arugula, carrots, corn, strawberries, and epazote, and met the people who grow them all!

Here are red onions poking up from the ground:

And a cool tractor that builds rows and plants seeds at the same time:

(that's Martin, famous for his lovely lettuces)

And here is our photographer, France, who is finding the perfect angle to capture these gorgeous rows:

It was a long but fruitful day, in more ways than one...every farmer we saw sent us off with an armful of veggies!