November 2010

Apple and Cranberry Crisp

November 24, 2010
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This post will be short and sweet because I know we all (at least here in the US) are getting ready for the biggest foodie holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. I simply wanted to illustrate that substitution can be the backbone of any good cook’s repertoire. When you find a good basic recipe, you can switch out ingredients and easily create something new to fit the season.

Case in point; this Apple and Cranberry Crisp. All you need is to do is take my Strawberry and Nectarine Crisp recipe and replace the nectarines with 4 pounds of apples (I used Granny Smiths and Fujis), peeled and sliced. Then replace the strawberries with 3/4 of a cup of dried cranberries and follow the rest of the recipe. That’s it! You could use fresh cranberries if you want, but you may want to add a bit more sugar if you do so.…

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Spinach Salad with Persimmons, Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and a Toasted Hazelnut Vinaigrette

November 22, 2010
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Every year we try to change it up somewhat when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. But there are so many “traditional” dishes that we have to make (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes…) that the options for change really only come within the green-vegetable-side-dish category. This year I thought a salad might be a nice, lighter choice to counterbalance the heavy (but oh-so-good) starches that dominate the traditional sides.

I have a persimmon tree, and this year have a surplus of fruit as those of you with fruit trees know how that happens. I thought that perhaps people would be looking for something to make with those persimmons other than the typical cookies, or even my own Persimmon Cranberry Bread. I’ve set some of my Fuyus aside in the refrigerator to keep them firm until Thanksgiving day because rather than ripe soft fruit, this salad needs to be made with the …

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Pig Candy (Bacon Peanut Brittle) and the Good Meat Book

November 15, 2010
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It seems like everywhere you look in the last couple of years bacon is a key ingredient in everything from savory to sweet, from casseroles to cupcakes, so I guess putting it in candy makes sense in some weird way.  I’m not late to the party here, I’ve simply been trying to avoid the bacon frenzy and not buy into the hype. Bacon is trendy, and like all trends it will be replaced by something else soon enough and then we can all go back to having it with our eggs in the morning. I was happy to ignore the trend until I saw the recipe for “Pig Candy” in the book Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat and suddenly, my mind was changed.

Good Meat, is a weighty hardcover book filled with over 200 recipes and absolutely stunning photos of both raw primal cuts …

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San Francisco Dining 2010

November 13, 2010
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In early September my husband and I took a quick three day trip up to San Francisco to celebrate our wedding anniversary. When discussing what we wanted to do for the big event, we decided that rather than have a party, we just wanted to go to San Francisco to eat. We took a similar trip last year and had such a good time we were really looking forward to our return. Below are some of the places we went while in San Francisco. If you want to see more of our trip in detail, please check out the San Francisco 2010 page on my travel blog.

Out The Door:
Out the Door is owned by the same people who own the Slanted Door Restaurant in the Ferry Building. There’s no big sign outside, just a small “OTD” painted on the front door. This is upscale Vietnamese street food …

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Persimmon Cranberry Bread

November 9, 2010
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Sometimes chefs (and former chefs) make mistakes. Sometimes we don’t bother to read the recipe, so confident we are in our kitchen skills. And sometimes that confidence comes back and bites us in the ass.

I’ve made this Persimmon bread for what feels like forever. As long as I’ve lived in my house, I’ve had a tree which bears these strange special fruits once a year and I’ve made this bread. I even gave the recipe to my grandfather and before he passed away, it was his favorite thing to make with the persimmons from his tree. My point is that it’s good, and I’ve been making it for so long I should be able to do it in my sleep, right?

Yeah, right.

I must have been sleeping when I made it for the first time this year because not only did I leave out the baking soda, but …

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Final Update for Summer Garden 2010 & Giveaway Winner

November 6, 2010
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In Southern California our gardening season begins early and contrary to popular thought, ends early too, or at least it did for me. Despite my best efforts at staggering the planting, most of my garden was finished by early September when others were in the full flush of their tomato days.

Many of you have been following along with the saga of my garden this past summer be it the battle with my digging monsters or the desire to answer the question of  “what price gardening?” Below are photos of the devastation I found when I came home from 2 weeks in Cambodia. Even though there was nothing growing in the beds, and nothing covering them or preventing the animals from climbing inside to dig to their little heart’s content, they persisted in digging under and ruining my nice pathways. All those boards and bricks were tossed asunder …

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