19 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Meal Plan for May Week 4

Meal Plan for May Week 4

This month, Megan Gordon is back with us sharing her weekly meal plans! Megan is a writer and recipe developer living in Seattle, WA, the author of Whole Grain Mornings, and mom to a 2-year-old. Please welcome Megan!

I can't believe we're staring down at the end of May already! Our son is too young to think about summer camps or activities, but we're all starting to get pretty excited about getting outside and taking short hikes, packing picnics, and riding our bikes on the weekends.

To allow for more time outdoors and a little less time in the kitchen this week, I chose recipes that are easy to make in advance (or that, like Monday's meal, basically make themselves).

Continue reading "Meal Plan for May Week 4" »

19 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

16 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Brookies (Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies)

Brookie Cookie

Have you ever had a brookie? It's a tempting combination of chewy chocolate chip cookies and fudge brownies!

Continue reading "Brookies (Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies)" »

16 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

15 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

10 Easy Bites for Your Graduation Party

Graduation Bites Round-Up

Graduation season is nigh-what are you making to feed the happy graduate and your friends and family?

Continue reading "10 Easy Bites for Your Graduation Party" »

15 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

14 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Curried Chicken Salad with Mango

Curry Chicken Salad

Adding curry powder to a dish is like sewing a few sequins on a dress. You haven't done much, but the whole dish sparkles.

Continue reading "Curried Chicken Salad with Mango" »

14 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

13 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Crumble Bars with Rhubarb and Strawberry

The appearance of rhubarb at the market is the first sign of spring for me! I look forward to seeing bright red stalks of this celery look-alike every year-it's one of my favorite ingredients.

Perhaps I love the fleeting nature of the produce, available for a few short months (or less, depending on the season or where you live). Or maybe it's the vibrant red color of the stalks, which I just adore.

Either way, I can't wait to get my hands on it, and when it finally shows up, I buy it by the bagful.

Continue reading "Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars" »

13 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

12 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Sparkling Strawberry Sangria

Sangria with Strawberries and Sparkling Wine

Like moths to a flame, we are drawn outside the moment the early spring chill leaves our bones and the sun has officially, and finally, warmed us all the way through. Dinner parties, family get-togethers, and long evenings watching fireflies ensue.

Continue reading "Sparkling Strawberry Sangria" »

12 May 2018 2:30pm GMT

Meal Plan for May Week 3

Meal Plan for May Week 3

This month, Megan Gordon is back with us sharing her weekly meal plans! Megan is a writer and recipe developer living in Seattle, WA, the author of Whole Grain Mornings, and mom to a 2-year-old. Please welcome Megan!

This week is all about simplicity!

I'll be out of the house for a handful of evenings this week teaching cooking classes, so I want to plan to have a few meals all set and ready for my husband to assemble while I'm gone. (He cooks too, for the record, but is much more of an impromptu 'what's in the cupboard' kind of cook!)

Continue reading "Meal Plan for May Week 3" »

12 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

10 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Cherry Almond Granola with Vanilla Crumbles

Homemade Granola with Cherries and Almonds

Granola is a morning staple for my family. It graces our smoothie bowls and tops our yogurt cups. We even eat it by the bowlful, drenched in milk.

Over the years, I've sampled plenty of store-bought and homemade varieties. While I have many favorites, this Cherry Almond Granola with Vanilla Crumbles is at the top of my list.

Continue reading "Cherry Almond Granola with Vanilla Crumbles" »

10 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

09 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

What’s in Season in May?

May Produce Guide

Hello May and welcome to month 5 of our Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!

May means peak spring mode at the market. We are still awash in spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, leeks, favas, radishes, carrots, and peas. But now we also welcome fruit, including pineapple and the first berries of the year-strawberries.

Rhubarb is still going strong, and in many places we'll see it carry through the summer. Rhubarb loves strawberries so use them together in pies and crisps!

Continue reading "What's in Season in May?" »

09 May 2018 3:27am GMT

Sautéed Asparagus with Morels

Sauteed Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

A spring trifecta-Morels, asparagus, and green garlic

This week I picked up some morels at the market and decided to sauté them with some asparagus and green garlic in a little olive oil and butter.

So good! Like seriously good. My sweetheart took one tentative bite and then devoured the rest. I've made it 3 times already this week.

Continue reading "Sautéed Asparagus with Morels" »

09 May 2018 2:00am GMT

08 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

10 Best Recipes for Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother's Day Round UP

Oh, holidays can be loaded, can't they? What to make/get/do for Mom on Mother's Day? What should we cook? Should we go out? These are common questions, and these recipes will help you answer them.

Continue reading "10 Best Recipes for Mother's Day Brunch" »

08 May 2018 3:43pm GMT

07 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Turmeric and Honey-Glazed Chicken

Roast Chicken with Turmeric and Honey

With just a few spices you can turn a plain ol' roasted chicken into something special to make on a weeknight or for an outstanding dinner for company.

Continue reading "Turmeric and Honey-Glazed Chicken" »

07 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

06 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

How to Make Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes from Scratch

We make pancakes weekly in our house. Most of the time, I substitute half of the all-purpose flour with spelt or whole wheat pastry flour and top our pancakes with fruit, but sometimes it's nice to go with a classic like Buttermilk Pancakes.

For this recipe, I wanted to make fluffy, light, and airy buttermilk pancakes with crisp edges, and a slightly sweet, buttery flavor. Forty pancakes later, I was happy with my results: I finally figured out how to avoid the common pitfalls of dense, chewy, eggy, or rubbery pancakes.

Continue reading "How to Make Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes" »

06 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

05 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Meal Plan for May Week 2

May Week 2 Meal Plan

This month, Megan Gordon is back with us sharing her weekly meal plans! Megan is a writer and recipe developer living in Seattle, WA, the author of Whole Grain Mornings, and mom to a 2-year-old. Please welcome Megan!

I spent some time last week stocking up on spring produce - nothing gets me feeling more inspired to step into the kitchen than new, seasonal veggies!

Continue reading "Meal Plan for May Week 2" »

05 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

02 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

Rhubarb season is here, and I'm excited to make anything and everything with it!

For most folks, strawberry rhubarb pie is the immediate go-to dessert. Although I adore that classic pie, making a crisp is not only significantly easier, but it allows you to serve it to a larger group of people-everyone can scoop out as much as they want!

Continue reading "Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp" »

02 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

01 May 2018

feedSimply Recipes

8 Ways to Show Your Love for Avocados this Cinco de Mayo

Avocados for Cinco de Mayo

Guacamole tends to gets all the love when it comes to avocados-and don't worry, we've got two guac recipes here for you-but there's so much more you can do with this fruit. (Yes, it is actually a fruit!)

Continue reading "8 Ways to Show Your Love for Avocados this Cinco de Mayo" »

01 May 2018 2:00pm GMT

06 Apr 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Indian Spiced Rum Punch Recipe



Rum puts me in a happy mood and I know I'm not the only one. It conjures up tropical destinations and pairs beautifully with a variety of fruits, spices and even herbs, which brings me to this rum punch. The idea was to have a welcome cocktail that would be celebratory and special but also complement Indian food being served at an intimate anniversary get together.

Rum punch is often a Caribbean affair, which makes sense since rum is produced there. But this punch had a few Southeast Asian ingredients to boot. It was created by award-winning bartender Christopher Chamberlain who has worked with an incredible number of brands. The base of the drink was built around RumHaven, a particularly delicious coconut rum, made with coconut water. It's sweet but not cloying and has a lovely freshness.
The recipe is rather involved. Seriously. I've made full dinners that took less preparation! But in the end I have to say, it was worth all the work that went into it. I only made a couple of changes to the original recipe. I used fresh turmeric rather than the dry powder. I really love the depth of flavor in fresh turmeric and it's pretty easy for me to find. I also substituted Thai basil for regular basil. I thought since this drink had an Indian vibe that Thai basil would be a better fit. If you don't make this rum punch I would like to suggest that you consider the technique of grilling pineapple and macerating it with rum. The result was absolutely divine! Both the rum as well as the incredibly boozy pineapple.


Indian Spice Rum Punch
Makes about 10-12 servings

1 pineapple, peeled and sliced and heavily grilled, plus a few fresh slices for garnish
1 bottle RumHaven coconut rum
1/2 teaspoon corriander seeds
1 thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric, thinly sliced
6 ounces agave syrup
9 ounces cold freshly pressed lime juice
10-12 Thai basil leaves, plus additional leaves for a garnish
12-16 ounces cold ginger beer (Fever Few brand recommended)

Begin by combining the rum with the grilled pineapple and macerating overnight. I used a large plastic tub. Crush the corriander seeds and combine with the sliced turmeric and agave syrup in a small saucepan. Heath generly and cook over low heat until fragrant. Let cool then strain.

Place the basil leaves n a large bowl (not the punch bowl)and lightly press with a muddler to release the flavor and oils. Strain the rum into the bowl, reserving the pineapple to enjoy later. Stir together to incorporate flavors. Strain the mixture and measure 24 ounces into into the punch bowl. Add the lime juice, spiced agave and ginger beer and stir to combine. Add a large block of ice and garnish with fresh Thai basil and fresh pineapple.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to RumHaven for supplying both the rum and cocktail expertise. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Apr 2018 11:15pm GMT

06 Feb 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Top Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

I've already shared some of my favorite finds from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018, but another reason I attend the show is to try and identify what's trending. Here are my topic picks.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms seem to be everywhere and showing up in ways that are a bit unexpected. I first discovered crispy oyster mushroom "chips" in Taiwan, but at the show this year I saw Yuguo shiitake chips from China.They are light and crunchy and supposedly healthy. I like them a lot. There were also two kinds of mushroom jerky, one made from mushroom caps and another made from mushroom stems in "Zesty Thai" flavor, available from Pan's Mushroom Jerky. Last but not least there were somewhat medicinal elixirs, cocoa and "coffee" made from lion's mane, chaga and reishi mushrooms by Four Sigmatic. I wasn't crazy about how they tasted but they are being sold more as a health product than a gourmet one.

Coconut snacks
Coconut is nothing new, but it's being used as a component in lots of different and frankly delicious snacks. If you like coconut, you will like these. Some top picks for me were the wafer-like Sejoyia coconut thins, the clusters from Creative Snacks Co with cranberries cashews and almonds, and Cocomos toasted coconut chips with orange and sunflower seeds, which were somewhat in between a cluster and a wafer.

Vegetable Chips
Vegetable chips have been in vogue for quite some time, but I'm seeing more and more unusual options like red rice and quinoa crisps from Grounded from Lundberg Family Farms, pea puffs from Peeled cassava crunch and beet snacks from Plant Snacks, carrot and beet chips from HardBite, kumara and parsnip crisps from Proper Crisps.

Legume Snacks
Pea protein is big, and it's especially evident in snacks. I also saw crispy broad beans and puffs from peanuts. Other products I noticed included colorful "chickbean crisps" from Saffron Road, chickpea snacks from Kay's Pass the Peas, quinoa and lentil snacks from The Daily Crave but I'm sure there were even more. New guidelines now recommend introducing infants to peanuts to help ward off allergies, so snacks like puffs may prove popular with kids.

Non-dairy yogurts
Just as non-dairy milks and "cheeses" have become more popular, more non-dairy yogurts are popping up. I particularly liked the coconut yogurt from Anita's but also the Greek style almond yogurt from Kite Hill.

Aloe
Aloe has been on trend in Japan since the 1990's but it seems to be gaining in the US as well. I saw it in Alove yogurt from Japanese manufacturer Morinaga as well as in a myriad of drinks. Aloe is hydrating and can help with digestion.

Cold Vegetable Soups
This is an interesting one I didn't see coming. Anyone who has been to a supermarket in Spain has been amused by the refrigerated cartons of gazpacho. I saw several lines of cold, ready to drink soups, with unique flavors like cauliflower cashew, pumpkin cinnamon sage and beet orange basil from Zupa and carrot yellow tomato and spicy avocado from gazpacho maker Tio. Most were vegetarian but at least one, Bonafide uses a bone broth base and calls their products "drinkable veggies."

Cold Brew
If cold brew coffee is big in coffee shops, it's perhaps even bigger in retail stores where you can buy it in cans or bottles. I saw so many brands this year it was hard to keep track but they included Jittery John's, Coffee Blenders, Fog Dog, Peerless and Grady's. While I mostly saw cold brew coffee, I also saw "ice steeped" cold brew tea from Japanese maker Ito-En.

Drinking Vinegars
Drinking vinegars have been gaining momentum and this year I saw more than ever. Some are traditional apple cider vinegar based while others use balsamic or add other ingredients like ginger or fruit juices. There were two I particularly liked, Fire Cider's apple cider vinegar-based tonics made with horseradish, onions, black pepper, and garlic, organic habañero peppers, turmeric, lemons and oranges. It tasted like it could banish a cold. The other was the deliciously fruit forward one from Olitalia in blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Drip tea and coffee packs
Last year I was excited about a Vietnamese drip coffee as part of the DIY kit trend, from Copper Cow, this year they are introducing Thai ice tea packs. Meanwhile I saw other companies like Vietnamese grocer Lee's are also selling Vietnaemese drip coffee packets, albeit without the condensed milk.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Feb 2018 10:38pm GMT

29 Jan 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

10 Highlights from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

This year I'm sharing several posts recapping the Winter Fancy Food Show. Kicking things off are a few of my favorite things (cue The Sound of Music). Stay tuned for posts on trends and the newest products.


Tropical Fruitstand Jackfruit jam
In my round up of all things bananas last year I mentioned a unique banana jam. This year I tried the latest jam from the same producer, made from jackfruit. You may know jackfruit as a fiberous vegan replacement for pulled pork. In this jam it has an incredible tropical flavor that tastes like a combination of mango, pineapple and banana--think Juicy Fruit gum but so much better. It's like a little tropical vacation in a spoon.

New couvertures - Valrhona inspiration passion fruit, inspiration almond and Cruz 1879 coffee thins
I'm lumping these three things together because they fit in the category of couverture, that's chocolate speak for a product that has a very high percentage of cocoa butter. Coffee thins are made with a unique coffee product and cocoa butter, no cocoa solids at all. It's has the texture of chocolate, but it's coffee. It's available in three different varieites, latte, espresso and cruz special blend and makes use of a proprietary technology that transforms coffee into something smooth and creamy. Valrhona is introducing two new couvertures, one with passion fruit and one with almond, neither of them contain cocoa solids either. They won't be available in a retail product but expect your favorite chocolatiers to start using this divine stuff in their confections.

Flavored maple syrups
I talked to a retailer who told me that this past holiday season his company saw an incredible increase in sales of maple syrup. Having tasted some of the more recent flavored maple syrups I can't say I'm surprised. My favorites come from a company called Runamok. They infuse maple syrups with flavors such as makrut lime leaf, cardamom, ginger as well as bourbon and rum barrel aged maple syrup and my favorite, pecan wood smoked maple syrup.

Humphry Slocombe Black Sesame ice cream
You may have had black sesame ice cream before but the black sesame ice cream from Humphry Slocombe is a game changer. It's made from their base with ground black sesame seeds but the secret is an addition of toasted sesame oil which is fragrant and lusicous.

Wadaman organic white sesame oil
While we're on the topic of sesame oil, I have to say, this one is the best I've ever tried. It's has a lusicous buttery flavor and an almost floral aroma. It's so good, and much more delicate than the typical toasted sesame oil which can be overly intense and almost bitter. It's available in Asian speciality stores and online from Japanese Pantry.

Sauerfrau squeezable sauerkraut
I was already a fan of sauerkraut, but not only is this sauerkraut delicious and comes in 3 varieties, classic, sweet Bavarian and craft beer mustard. It's ridiculously convenient because it comes in a squeeze bottle. It's tangy, but not too juicy, still raw and filled with probiotics, but it will keep in the fridge for ages. Good stuff and coming soon to stores.

BakWa eggplant bacon
I wrote about Bakwa a few years ago. Of course pork jerky is delicious but now Little Red Dot Kitchen has applied their magic touch to eggplant to make something they call jerky. I just call it good. I'd love to layer it on a baguette and make sandwich with it.


Axel Provisions pickled onions
Axel Provisions launched with three versions of their chimichurri sauce. It's very good. But what I really liked was their pickled onions. The founder ate these onions in Argentina and decided to make them himself. You could make them too, but his are really, really good. They come in two versions, one is red and spicy with habanero and the other sweet with jalapeno. Both are irresistable.


Heirloom grain pasta
This year I saw more pastas made with different grains, including heirloom varieties of wheat. I sample pasta from two different companies, Monograno Felicetti from Italy and Sfoglini from Brooklyn, Monograno uses several different types of wheat, I tried the pasta made from a variety of durum wheat called matt. Sfoglini uses a variety of different grains but in blends that keep the pasta al dente, something that can be tricky when experimenting beyond wheat.

Vitali Prosciutto di Modena
Which is the best prosciutto? Generally speaking, he one in front of you. But in tasting San Daniele, Parma and Modena, I have to admit, Modena won me over. The texture and flavor of prosciutto is dependent upon not just origin, but also which part of the prosciutto it comes from. It's formed in a pear shape, then often trimmed and formed into a block for easier slicing. One end is saltier than the other. The prosciutto I had from Modena was from the center and it was rosy, meltingly tender and delicate. It was the perfectly mild balance of sweet and salty. Prosciutto from Modena may be new to us, but it has been made in Modena since the 16th century. The meat is massaged with salt twice, and allowed to rest for 70 days. Once dried it's massaged with a mxiture of lard, salt, spices and flour. The entire process takes 14 months. It's recently gained entry to the US and like San Daniele and Parma prociutto it is a DOP (protected denomination of origin) product, look for it at a deli or gourmet shop.

©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Jan 2018 8:29pm GMT

15 Jan 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Ramen Heads - Movie Review

Ramen Heads is a documentary about ramen in Japan. As the name implies, it's about the obsession of both ramen makers and ramen eaters and dives deep into more bowls in more styles than you can possibly imagine. The film focuses on Japan's number-one ramen master Osamu Tomita, who has won the highest ramen honors 4 years in a row. Unlike other ramen masters, Tomita is happy to expose every part of his process. He reveals the highest-quality ingredients and his constantly evolving approach to cooking the perfect bowl with equal attention to both noodles and broth. Surrounded by apprentices there is still much he insists on doing himself. His shop is so popular he sells tickets ahead of time to decrease the long wait for seats.

Tomita proclaims, "if you're not a ramen head yourself, you can't possibly satisfy other ramen heads." and so perhaps not surprisingly, he spends his one day off a week eating ramen on his own and with his familly; next to his bed are ramen magazines and recipes. He's singularly focused on ramen, not just for his customers but for himself and for his appreciation of ramen in Japanese culture. It is and has been his calling since he had a bowl of ramen that changed his life. After that he became an apprentice to a top ramen master before opening his own shop. Ramen it seems, is so much more than just noodles and broth, it's truly a way of life.

As you probably already know, ramen is a big deal in Japan. There are magazines, guidebooks and websites devoted to it. As the films narrator explains, ramen is "cheap, immediate and deeply satisfying", and in Japan, unlike many other iconic dishes, it allows for great creativity.The film introduces viewers to some of the other top ramen masters in Japan and their individual styles of ramen, briefly explores a ramen festival and offers a quick timeline of the rise of ramen in Japan. All along the way the cinematography will make your mouth water. The soaring and majestic music can seem cheesy at times, but it is the cinematography that cements this film as the ultimate ramen food porn and I warn you, if you decide to see this movie you better make plans to eat ramen afterwards because you will seriously crave it. Check out the trailer below and you'll see for yourself.

Ramen Heads plays at the Roxie as part of the SF Indie Film Festival on February 10th and 13th, 2018 in San Francisco. Learn more or buy tickets.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

15 Jan 2018 3:49pm GMT

29 Dec 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Miyagi Oyster Mushroom Bisque Recipe

A few weeks ago I received a dozen and a half miyagi oysters from Real Good Fish as part of my my seafood subscription. Because miyagi oysters are delicate and small, I generally just serve them on the half shell, but this time I decided to make bisque. Bisque is a creamy soup traditionally made from seafood and in particular broth from seafood shells.

Searching around online I found a recipe for oyster bisque from Chef Greg Atkinson in Seattle that called for cooking the oysters in the shells. While I have gotten better at shucking oysters with practice, this appealed to me greatly! It's a stunning recipe but I only had half the amount of oysters required so I could only make a half batch. The second time around I was inspired to make a bisque with both oysters and oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms look a bit like oysters in color and shape. They have a very mild earthy flavor that reminds me of oysters as well.

My recipe uses less heavy cream than the original and I puree the mushrooms as well as the bits of onion along with the oysters. The resulting soup is rich and complex and the luxurious topping of whipped cream really takes it over the top. This is a soup worthy of a special occasion. Maybe New Year's Eve? Next time you find yourself wiht some oysters, I hope you'll give it a try.

Miyagi Oyster Mushroom Bisque
Adapted from a recipe by Greg Atkinson
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 dozen live miyagi oysters
2 cups water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced white onion
1/2 pound chopped oyster mushrooms
Pinch freshly ground pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg, or to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, chives or tarragon

Instructions

Scrub the oysters to clean off any mud or shell chips. Bring 2 cups of water to a full rolling boil in a 1-gallon Dutch oven or pot over high heat. Put the oysters in the pot, cover, reduce the heat to medium and let them steam until they open or become very easy to pry open with an oyster knife, about 8 minutes.

Remove the steamed oysters from their shells and put them and their liquor in a blender. Strain the liquid in which the oysters were steamed into the blender as well.

Rinse or wipe the Dutch oven and add the butter, heat over medium-high heat and add the onions, Cook for about 2 minutes or until softened then add the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to dry then add the sherry. pepper and nutmeg and cook until the sherry has evaporated and the mixtures sizzles in the pan. Add 1/4 cup cream and bring this mixture to a boil.

Transfer the mushroom mixture into the blender with the oysters and blend to make a very smooth purée. Return the mixture to the pot, add the milk and heat through.

Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped herbs.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I received the oysters from Real Good Fish I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Dec 2017 5:58pm GMT

22 Dec 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Cooking from the Books in 2017

Because I've been cooking all my life and it comes easily to me, I can generally take a look at a recipe and anticipate with some degree of accuracy, how it will turn out. But that's not the same as actually cooking a dish from a cookbook. On this list I am covering only the cookbooks that got a "trial run." For each of these cookbooks I cooked at least one recipe, sticking as close to the recipe as I could. I'm hoping my results along with my comments will help you to decide which of these books are for you.


So far I've just made one recipe from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark and I really liked it. It was the Tofu Spaetzle with Gruyere Gratin. It's more of a main dish than a side since the spaetzle is actually shredded extra firm tofu, baked with gruyere and caramelized onions and topped with bread crumbs. My problem with the book is that in addition to really inspiring creative recipes like Fusili and Roasted Cauliflower with Capers, Kimchi Pork Chops with Kale and Blood Orange Chicken with Scotch Whiskey and Olives, there are other recipes that frankly seem like filler. There's nothing wrong with recipes for Black Bean and Roasted Poblano Pepper Quesadillas, Smoky Fish and Potato Chowder or Mexican Tortilla Soup but none of them are anything new. They are the kind of dishes I can certainly make without a recipe. I love how many recipes use ingredients like tofu and farro, and the idea of "changing up" dinner from meat and 2 sides into something more free form.
Yemek is written by three women who I believe are German, but live in Turkey. They share the recipes for things you will commonly find in Istanbul. I was extremely excited to make cezerye, a candy that is similar to Turkish delight or "aplets and cotlets" if you ar familar with those. They are made from carrots and sugar and studded with nuts then rolled in coconut. The recipe was easy to follow and the results pleasing. The book is "kebab free" but features the kind of things you typically find in Istanbul including breads, salads, sweets, vegetable dishes, stews and dumplings. The book has a lovely design and features little insets with Istanbul locals and informative pages on ingredients and small gifts to buy for foodies. It's a great introduction to Turkish cuisine and if you've been to Istanbul you'll rejoice in having a source for things like manti dumplings, pide flatbread and gozleme spinach and feta stuffed bread and mercimek koftesi lemony lentil dumplings.

Instanbul & Beyond is a landmark book but almost the opposite of Yemek. Despite Istanbul being in the title, it features in large part the things you don't find in Istanbul. There are all kinds of unusual dishes and interesting techniques to learn. I made the meatballs with spice butter and will be making them again! The book also offers information about ingredients and often very detailed head notes with each recipe.You'll find many recipes from regions like the Black Sea and the Hatay Province. There are lots of vegetarian recipe, seafood recipes as well as recipes with lamb I plan to try. See my interview with author Robyn Eckhardt.

Burma Superstar the restaurant has an almost cult following and now so does the cookbook. If you love Burmese food you need this book! Many of the recipes require ingredients that will take a little sleuthing to find, but not all of them. I made the Egg and Okra Curry. It's filled with onions and garlic and mild spices and very comforting. The recipes are very solid and clearly written.The book includes reicpes for curries, vegetables, stir fries, noodles, soups, salads, drinks, snacks, rice and snacks.

The Farm Cooking School is a book from two food magazine veterans and it offers a compelling combination of the basics like how to bone a chicken, how to make puff pastry and croissant dough, and veal stock but then surprising recipes like an Elvis Pavlova, Roasted Whole Carrot Tart Tatin and the recipe I made, the roasted Delicata and Celery Salad. I'd say this is a particularly good book for "advanced beginners" in other words, people who already know how to cook, but want to take their skills to the next level.

Autentico is written by Rolando Beremendi who is an importer of fine Italian food. His enthusiasm for quality ingredients makes him the perfect author of a book that is the very definition of "ingredient driven." I made his recipe for Farro Soup which consists of just farro, water, olive oil, Italian fish sauce and oregano. The book is filled with Italian soul food, simple recipes but the essence of why we love the cuisine. It's always about using the best ingredients even if it's just simple day old bread. As an Italian food fanatic, I basically want to make everything in this book! The recipes are from different regions but most have very short ingredient lists and easy techniques, nothing fussy. Now that Winter is here I plan to make the Sausages with Lentils and Tuscan Kale, Fennel Braised in Chianti, Sweet and Sour Onions and Risotto with Radicchio.

The memoir with recipes category seems to be holding steady, and books like Unforgettable show why the category is so popular. This book spans a lifetime so there are recipes from many countries and using different techniques. You will absolutely find things in the book that you have not seen before. I made the Egg and Mint Salad repeatedly! If you're already a fan of Paula Wolfert or never heard of her, I feel certain you will find this book as endearing as it is unforgettable. Most of the dishes are French, Mediterranean or Moroccan. If you've been intimidated by Wolfert's recipes in the past, this book is particularly good as there are plenty of very, very easy unfussy recipes and basic techniques that can be used again and again such as her oven steamed salmon, decontructed hummus and the book also has many classics in one place, from hand-rolling couscous to making preserved lemons.


I became a fan of chef Jeremey Fox when I dined at the groundbreadking Ubuntu in Napa. Since then he has moved on to Los Angles but is still known for his incredible approaches to vegetables. On Vegetables is a book to inspire you! His recipes are incredibly original such as Parnsip Cream, Meringue and Citrus or Rhubarb, Ricotta and Radish Toast. His flavor combinations like goat cheese and horseradish are fresh and exciting. I made the Miso Bagna Cauda. It's delicious but I felt the recipe needed a little tweaking to get the consistency right. His vegetable based bacon, stocks, powders, crumbles and "soils" are all wonderful building blocks for imaginative new dishes.

Disclaimer: I received all but one of these books as a review copy. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Dec 2017 8:33pm GMT

19 Dec 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Bay Area Chocolate Gifts

The Bay Area is a wonderful place for chocolate. We have bean to bar manufacturers as well as talented confectioners and pastry chefs all crafting wonderful treats. Today is the deadline for 2 day delivery, so if you're looking for gifts to arrive in time for Christmas, here are some of my top picks:
Recchiuti is famous for their burnt caramel truffle, fleur de sel caramels and their wonderful s'mores kit. This year I got a chance to try their Dark Hot Chocolate. Please note, this is not cocoa, it's real chocolate pistoles, made with a custom South American blend. What are pistoles? It's the French name for a Spanish coin; the chocolate coins melt into a rich, yet mellow and smooth drink when dissolved with water or milk (or a combination). Or you can add some to your coffee, as my mother-in-law likes to do. It's won raves from many publications and is a great winter time treat for kids or adults, just under $20.
One of my favorite local confectioners is Charles Chocolate. I'm crazy about their triple chocolate coated almonds and their sweet salty cashew bar, this year I tried two more recent additions to line of chocolate bars, the Toffee Coffee dark milk chocolate bar and the Caramelized Crisped Rice bittersweet chocolate bar. The Toffee Coffee bar has chunks of almond toffee and coffee beans in it, the toffee flavor really comes through deliciously. The Crisped Rice bar has caramelized crisped brown rice that might remind you of a Nestle Cunch bar but it's much darker and with just a light crunch.The bars are available in mini versions for about $3 each.

Kika's Treats makes all kinds of things, including outstanding Salted Crunch Caramels and Salted Nutty Caramels. They also make a line of chocolate covered cookies including different flavors of shortbread and graham crackers. The Caramelized Graham Crackers coated in chocolate are a favorite of mine and you can get them coated in dark chocolate, milk chocolate or 70% Dandelion chocolate. You've never had graham crackers like these before, they are thick, crisp and crunchy, and positively irresistible. Each box is $8-10.
Earlier this year I got a chance to try the chocolate panettone From Roy studded with Guittard chocolate. I had never had a panettone as luxuriously airy yet moist, rich and delicious. From Roy recently received an investment in cash and is expanding, offering panettone year round and in a variety of different flavors. It's made with an Italian starter made from wild yeast and takes 40 hours to make! Last week I ordered one for a friend, but I'm sorry to say they are now sold out. The cakes are $50, but lofty and worth every penny.

Another choice for chocolate lovers would be a book on chocolate, and this year there are two I strongly recommend, neither are cookbooks per se, but both include some recipes.

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America's Craft Chocolate Revolution this compact volume starts by explaining just what bean to bar means and how chocolate is made. It has a lot of Bay Area connections including pages devoted to Scharffen Berger and Guittard, both "chocolate pioneers" and a profile of Dandelion Chocolate.

Along the way there are wonderful features on pairing chocolate with cheese, tea, spirits and more plus recipes including a few from locals Michael Recchiuti and Alice Medrich.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate and wants to know more about the American chocolate makers, and is looking for new ways to enjoy chocolate.

Making Chocolate from Bean to Bar to S'more, written by Todd Masonis, founder and CEO of Dandelion Chocolate. It's a gorgeous coffee table volume that covers everything form how to temper chocolate, how to source cacao and even the equipment used to process chocolate.

The recipes come from Dandelion's in-house pastry chef, Lisa Vega. Vega gives away the secrets to recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes, drinks and more.

This book is for chocolate aficionados, especially those who want to try their hand at making it or just want to learn more about it. It's also good for those who want to use different percentage chocolate in recipes. The recipes don't call out specific brands.











Disclaimer: I purchased each of the items featured in this post, with the exception of the hot chocolate. The books were review copies and this post includes affiliate links. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Dec 2017 11:43pm GMT

11 Dec 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Fig & Almond Crisps Recipe

If you've been to a party recently, there's a good chance you've come across raincoast crisps®. They are highly addictive crackers filled with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, created by Lesley Stowe, a Parisian-trained chef based in Vancouver. They come in all kinds of flavors such as apricot and ginger, and fig and olive and have a sweet and savory flavor so they pair exceedingly well with cheese. A slim little sleeve of them is about $7 so I was thrilled to see a recipe for a copycat recipe from Dinner with Julie blogger and genius cookbook author and food writer, Julie Van Rosendaal. I was lucky enough to meet Julie a couple of years ago and in person she's just as funny and charming as she comes across on the blog. She's also has mad skills as a recipe developer.

Julie's recipe is for Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, but I happened to have plenty of figs and almonds so I went with those and added a healthy dose of cinnamon rather than rosemary. The recipe is really easy, it just requires a lot of ingredients. It's basically like a biscotti recipe, you make a batter, bake a loaf, then slice it and bake the slices again. It does requires the ability to slice the loaf very thinly. Julie recommends freezing the loaf but I'm not nearly patient enough. I make my slices a bit thicker than she does and reduced the recipe by half, so I get just about 3 dozen crackers per batch. Obviously if you want to make more, you can simple double it.

These crisps were a bit hit at Thanksgiving this year. They are great for any cheese or charcuterie plate or just for snacking, and a package of them would make a nice hostess gift. They are also incredibly easy to adapt. You can pretty much make them with any combination of dried fruit and nuts you like, just adjust the herb or spice to complement your choice (or leave out the spice entirely if you prefer). For my next batch I'm considering apricots, pistachios and cardamom or cherry, walnut and nutmeg.

Fig & Almond Crisps
adapted from a recipe by Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie
Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons flax seed, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. and grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir, then fold in the figs, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax and cinnamon and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden and springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack (the bread needs to be very cool in order to slice thinly).

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice the loaves thinly and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake until crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Let the crisps cool on a rack. If they aren't crunchy enough, return them to the oven set to 200 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen crisps.

Enjoy!
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

11 Dec 2017 3:31pm GMT

27 Nov 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Greek to Me & MyHeritage Special Offer

Do I look Greek to you? I don't think I do but my dad and my uncle both have olive skin and brown eyes, as did their mother who was sometimes misidentified as Italian. Recently I got a chance to try out one of those DNA tests and it estimated my ethnicity at 89.1% Ashkenazi Jewish, 2.2 Balkan and 8.7 Greek. The Ashkenazi and Balkan are not surprising but the Greek is. Of course, Greece isn't all that far away from Romania and I know that some of my ancestors did come from Romania.

If you would like to either take one of these DNA tests or give one as a gift, MyHeritage is offering the kit for half off the normal price, just $49 today only and you can get free shipping by going to https://www.myheritage.com/dna and using the code MHCOOKINGWITHAMY

Whether or not I'm Greek is up for debate since DNA tests cannot definitely determine your ethnicity, but they are fun. Also have I mentioned I love Greek food? Unfortunately many Greek restaurants in the US have rather limited menus. My two favorite Greek restaurants that go way beyond the most typical dishes are Kokkari in San Francisco Molyvos in NYC. And for rotisserie pita sandwiches or salads I frequent Souvla in San Francisco (don't miss their frozen Greek yogurt with baklava crumbles or Greek sour cherry syrup).


If you want to cook Greek food, I'd like to point you in the direction of two fantastic Greek food writers, Diane Kochilas and Aglaia Kremezi. They both have wonderful recipes on their websites. What I love about these two writers is that they really delve beyond the dishes everyone already knows and are part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Kochilas wrote Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die and Kremezi is author of Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts. I was fortunate enough to meet them at a culinary conference a few years ago. On my wish list? Taking Greek cooking classes from them in Greece, Kremezi teaches at Kea Artisanal and Kochilas teaches on Ikaria.

Disclaimer: I received the MyHeritage kit free of charge I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. This post does include affiliate links.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

27 Nov 2017 9:02pm GMT

20 Nov 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Giovanni Italian Specialties by Tony Gemignani

I have a soft spot for all things Italian. I love the language, culture and especially the food. When I first moved to San Francisco (after living in Italy) I lived on Telegraph Hill and I did a lof of my shopping in North Beach, which has traditionally been San Francisco's Italian neighborhood, dating back to the early 1900's. I loved being able to speak Italian in the delis and buy fresh pasta and focaccia and a bit of Pecorino Toscano-just as I had in Florence. But North Beach is changing and Italian delis in particular have been in a decline all over the city.
So I'm really pleased to see that a new Italian shop has opened up in North Beach. It's Giovanni Italian Specialties by pizza impressario Tony Gemignani and is named for his 3 year old son. The shop is jam packed with high quality ingredients and prepared food. They are making extruded pasta on site and offer fresh pesto and jars of imported ingredients. Because it's across the street from Washington Square Park it's a perfect spot to pick up a piadina, slice of focaccia or pressed focaccia sandwich to go. The focaccia by the way is from Liguria Bakery just across the park.
The shop carries a lot of products from Ritrovo, an importer from Seattle including oils, vinegars and tapenade and also offers some housewares and gift items including some cookbooks, linens Tony has brought back from Venice and small local ceramic pieces. While compact, the details to the shop like the collection of old transistor radios and fruit crate labels are very endearing and give it a personality all its own. The shop is run by general manager Lydia Faiella an artist who produces beautiful watercolors on wood cards-you'll find them on display at the counter. Stop by next time you're in the neighborhood.

Giovanni Italian Specialties
629 Union Street @ Columbus
San Francisco
415-576-8806
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

20 Nov 2017 10:01pm GMT

18 Nov 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Istanbul & Beyond Author Robyn Eckhardt

Istanbul & Beyond has been named as one of the top cookbooks of Fall 2017 by Epicurious, Publisher's Weekly and Tasting Table. But the reason I'm so excited about it is that I've had wonderful food on my two trips to Turkey. There is so much beyond just the typical kebabs you find in Turkish restaurants in the US. Recently I spoke with author Robyn Eckhardt about the book.

How many years did the cookbook take to write and how many trips did you make to Turkey?
We started research in 2011 and turned in the manuscript 5 years later. Probably about 13 or 14 trips, our first trip was in 1998. We were living in China and moved back to the Bay Area and I began studying Turkish and then we started going almost every year for 2-3 weeks. At this point I can talk to anyone in Turkish about anything food relatied.

After all that research, how did you decided what should go in the book?
I focused on things that were not in other books, I wanted to highlight things that were not paid attention to. It's about home food what people eat everyday.

Like many tourists, I've been to Istanbul, Ankara, Capadocia and the Mediterranean coast. What are the regions that you recommend visiting for foodies?
Unfortunately some of the regions are not safe to travel to right now. But the Black Sea coast is one of my favorites. The climate is a bit like the Pacific Northwest, you can expect rain but you're there for the food. September to May is the fishing season. The anchovies get an extra layer of fat, they call them the prince of fishes. Don't go in the Summer, there are no fish and it's packed with tourisits.

What were the most surprising recipes you came across in your research?
Cornbread, whole dried corn kernals, collard greens. It was a trip to the Black Sea that inspired the book. We'd spent 4-5 months and were discovering dishes we never thought were Turkish like cabbage rolls-I assoicate those with the Balkans and Russia. I didn't really think of things like baba ghanouj and hummus made from a dried fava bean puree were Turkish. All of the ways they make meatballs. I'm used to grilled kofte from Istanbul but in the East they are made with pumpkin and spiced butter. I would never have imagined also curry. I never associated curry powder with food in Turkey.

What misperceptions do people have about Turkish food?
So many! That all Turks eat a lot of meat. That everyone eats lamb which they don't in the Northeast. Meat is eaten in cities but in rural regions animals are raised for dairy and meat for income. So more dairy is consumed, chickens. Also syrup sweets, dried fruit, grape molasses. One more thing is that mezze are part of the Turkish diet. Mezze is food to go with drinking and In Eastern Turkey there is not much mezze culture.

What are the 2-3 recipes you most hope readers will try?
I hope they will try the meatballs with pumpkin and spice butter because it is delicious and surprising. It uses purple basil but I have a substitution if people can't find it. The technique for chopping in seasonings to the meatballs can be applied to other recipes too, it makes them lighter. I hope they will try one of the cheeses, they aren't hard at all. The Hatay chile cheese is really simple and mind-blowing and it's versatile and can be eaten with flatbread. And I hope that people will try the okra dishes-either okra soup with a tiny bit of meat and another from the Southeastern with meat and pepper paste. It has converted okra haters! And you can easily find okra frozen if not fresh. (You can find the recipe for the meatballs in this recent article in the Wall Street Journal)

Where do you recommend for Turkish food in the Bay Area?
Istanbul Modern is a pop-up in SF run by a husband and wife team, he's Turkish and she's Mexican. They both worked at top restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They are doing different and interesting things. Note: There are still seats available for the Istanbul & Beyond cookbook event they are hosting on Sunday November 19, 2017 in San Francisco.

Disclaimer: I received at review copy of the cookbook Istanbul and Beyond, I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. This post does include an affiliate link.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

18 Nov 2017 6:53pm GMT

01 Nov 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pairing Merlot & Steak #MerlotMe 2017

I love pairing food and wine. While a wonderful food and wine match can bring out the best in both the food and the wine, I also believe you should drink what you like and not let classic pairings get in the way of a good thing. Last year I took part in #MerlotMe and this year I was drawn to same bottle as before, a J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot, this time the 2015. But I went in a totally different direction with it.

The 2105 vintage has 9% Malbec in the blend and that's what made me think, why not pair it with steak? Of course I know Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic wine pairing for steak but I actually prefer steak with Malbec. In general I also prefer Merlot to Cabernet. The J.Lohr 2015 Los Osos Merlot has big berry and cherry aromas as well as a ton of mocha. It's fresh, fruity and youthful and I was surprised to learn it has 13.9% alcohol because it certainly didn't seem like it did (but for all I know it might even be higher). I served it with slices of a fantastic New York dry aged strip steak.

I'm not going to go into all the technical specs, but I will say that in reading the notes on the wine I saw that "splash decanting" was recommended. That was a new one on me. Apparently it just means a more vigorous decanting as opposed to the gentle kind of where you run the wine down the side of the decanter as opposed to dumping it in all at once. It's not about removing sediment but just giving the wine some more breathing room. Personally I found that opening the bottle about 30 minutes before drinking it and giving it a good swirl in the glass was just fine.

Happy #MerlotMe and Halloween!

Disclaimer: I received sample bottles of Merlot as part of #MerlotMe. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.

©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

01 Nov 2017 2:37am GMT

26 Oct 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

G.H.Cretors Giveaway!

I've learned a few things about myself lately. I took one of those genealogy tests and got the results. Do I look Greek to you? More on that later. I also discovered that despite my age, I may have a thing or two in common with millennials. According to the results of a survey sponsored by G.H.Cretors, 65% say "I've eaten popcorn I picked off my clothes" and 64% admit licking their fingers after they are done snacking on popcorn. I fit right in with those millennials!

As long as I'm in a confessing mood, I'll tell you the photo above represents the sad remains of a deluxe shipment I received including quite a several organic flavors of popcorn from the aforementioned G.H.Cretors. While I pretty much like all their popcorn I will admit that nothing so far has topped my favorite flavor, The Mix, which is a combination of caramel and aged cheddar cheese popcorn, an addictively delicious salty sweet snack. If you've flown through Chicago O'Hare airport you may find this flavor reminds you of the popcorn you'll find there.

GIVEAWAY

Currently G.H.Cretors is hosting a quiz anyone can take to determine their ultimate TV and snack pairing. Feel free to check it out and leave a comment with your pairing OR choose your own ultimate pairing of snack and TV show. I will choose one winner at random who will receive several different flavors of popcorn plus a deluxe canvas zippered tote bag and a snazzy S'Well bottle that keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours or hot drinks hot for 12 hours. You must have a US mailing address to win. The comment form includes a field for your email address, so no need to include it in your comment. One entry per person please. Winner to be chosen at random on November 1, 2017.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: My thanks to G.H.Cretors for sponsoring this giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

26 Oct 2017 10:57pm GMT

22 Oct 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Chimay

If I were to ask you to name a Belgian Trappist beer, I bet you'd say Chimay. But I also bet you don't know all that much about Chimay. I certainly didn't until I met the utterly charming Luc "Bobo" Van Mechelin, US brand ambassador. We sat down over a beer or two so I could learn more about all things Trappist and Chimay.

Trappists originally came from La Trappe in Normandy, but were expelled from France by Napoleon and settled in Belgium. Today there are 170 Trappist monasteries around the world, and 10 of them are in the US. In Belgium Trappists first made cheese, but then began making beer (they still do make cheese). In 1992 six Belgian and one Dutch Trappist monastery came together to protect the designation, "Trappist beer." They agreed that to be a Trappist beer it must be brewed inside the walls of the monastery, there can be no commercial investment and 90% of the net profits must be given away to charitable causes. Chimay has given proceeds to support orphanages, schools and clean water.

The Trappists of Chimay are particularly intellectual and have an impressive theological library. The Chimay Trappist monks arise between 3:30 and 4 in the morning and pray seven times a day. They are vegetarian and maintain silence in the monastery. Their beer takes 3-5 days to ferment and the yeast used to make it was lost during World War II (it took 3 years to recreate it). Unlike other beers, no imagery of monks is used on their labels out of respect for the monastery.

Chimay was introduced to the US in 1983 and really took off in '97-98 and is currently available in all states. Chimay makes about 300,000 cases and the vast majority is sold in Belgium, only about 25% is exported to the US. There are 4 kinds of Chimay beer you are likely to find:

Chimay Gold - a pale ale, it has the aroma of hops and spice. It's made from water, malted barley, sugar, hops, yeast, bitter orange peel and coriander. It's 4.8% alcohol.

Chimay Premiere - the oldest brew, a double, it has more malt and has a slightly sweet flavor of fruit and spice. It's red colored and is 7% alcohol.

Chimay Cinq Cents - is a balance of dry, floral and bitter and is a golden blonde color. It's a tripel, made with triple malt and a higher alcohol level, 8%.

Chimay Grand Reserve - was originally brewed as a Christmas beer. It's dark strong ale and has earthy, spice and caramel notes. It has the highest in alcohol at 9%.

Disclaimer: My thanks to Chimay for inviting me to learn more about their beers and try some samples. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.



©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Oct 2017 11:33pm GMT

10 Sep 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Ramen Summit at J Pop Festival 2017

Kaz Tsutsumi showing off ramen noodles
Part of the annual San Francisco celebration of all things Japanese, the J-Pop Summit is the Ramen Summit. There are five different ramen shops offering a different style of ramen. This year I tried each of the bowls. And so can you! Tickets are still available for Sunday September 10, 2017 for the J-Pop Summit and the Ramen Summit is located outside the entrance. Each bowl is $8, and definitely large enough to share. Here's my take on each bowl featured this year.

Marufuku Ramen

This Hakata style ramen is one of my current favorites. I really love the creamy texture of their tonkotsu and their ultra thin noodles which still manage to remain al dente. It's made under the guidance of Kaz Tsutsumi, who has been a ramen chef for 11 years.

Marufuku has a shop in Japantown in the old Sapporo-Ya space. I wrote about it for Tasting Table, it was one of my picks for cheap eats. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan.

Yoroshiku

Yoroshiku is a ramen shop in Seattle, Washington and serves 150-200 customers a day. The ramen they served is Sapporo style, from the North of Japan.

It's made with a blend of red and white miso. It's sweet and spicy, not too salty and comes with fresh corn, scallions and bamboo shoots. I liked it very much. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan.
Orenchi Beyond

The ramen at Orenchi Beyond is tonkotsu style but "beyond." What does that mean exactly? A
boosted flavor thanks to garlic, fish powder and shoyu.

Their classic style is shio and is served in Santa Clara. But in San Francisco, it's an over the top style ramen that's the signature bowl. The noodles are the thickest I've ever seen, almost like linguine. I liked the topping of mizuna and crunchy garlic chips. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan.
Hinodeya Ramen

This is perhaps the most unusual ramen, it's served with a dashi broth. It's intensely
flavored but still light.

The noodles are a bit thin but thicker than those at Maufuku. It's less of a gut buster bowl of ramen. Their noodles are custom made by Yamachan.
Nojo Ramen Tavern

A year and a half ago this ramen company with 200 shops in Japan came to San Francisco. Their specialty is chicken ramen. In Japan they have their own farm, but here they source the chicken locally.

The ramen has a tender chicken meatball, chunks of bamboo and a tangy yuzu garnish that complements the ramen, but I found the ramen a bit too salty for my liking. Their noodles are custom made by Sun Noodles.

©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

10 Sep 2017 4:17am GMT

06 Sep 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

LUCKYRICE Feast & Interview with Danielle Chang

The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, and the more eights the luckier. This year represents the 8th anniversary of LUCKYRICE, an Asian food festival and it's being held on September 8, 2017, general admission tickets are $88. That's a whole lot of luck!

While this may be the 8th year, it's also in one way the first. It's the first year of a plant based edition feast. This is noteworthy because if you go to chef gala events you see a lot of the same kinds of dishes and they aren't plant based. Tuna tartare is popular, a seared scallop, perhaps something with pork belly or foie gras will make an appearance. But as dining evolves so too do these events. In San Francisco some of the finest restaurants are focusing more on vegetables than ever before. I spoke with LUCKYRICE founder, Danielle Chang to learn more about the event and the second season of her PBS show, Lucky Chow.


How many galas and "feasts" have you produced?
In the eight lucky years that I've been at the helm of LUCKYRICE, we've produced over 100 curated events that spotlight Asian culture through the lens of food and drink.

Why did you decide to do a plant based theme and why in San Francisco?
I think when people think "Asian food" they're still thinking mystery brown sauce, rice and packaged ramen noodles. I wanted to really spotlight Asian cuisine in an entirely unique way with this plant-based menu so people could really experience and taste the evolution of Asian cuisine in America and embrace its green potential, it's come a long way! No General Tso's chicken here.

What dishes and ingredients are you particularly excited to see showcased at the event?
With a fabulous line-up like this one, I think it's hard to pick just one but I've definitely got my eye on the Pinakbet Onigiri with Stuffed Garlic Fried Rice Ball with Kabocha Squash, Green beans, Eggplant, Okra, Vegan Bagoong, Nori seaweed from Buffalo Theory in collaboration with Alchemy

How did this season of Lucky Chow and your visits to farms in particular influence you and your future plans?
Since so much of the Asian-American immigrant experience is rooted in the soil of Bay Area farms, it makes sense to pay homage to that history while celebrating the new culinary expressions being created by the younger generation. And, while filming season 2 of my PBS show Lucky Chow, I was so inspired by the featured local farmers, like Kristyn Leach of Namu and Ross Koda of Koda Farms. They, like so many other Bay Area residents, are committed to seasonality, locality, and innovation in sustainability.

Does Asian food fit into the "vegetable centric" trend in dining?
From mizuna to bok choy, people will walk into an Asian grocery store and run the other way when they're confronted with the different varieties of Asian greens and vegetables because they're intimidated, begging the questions, "what do I do with this?" or "how do I cook that?" There's still a lot of unharnessed potential when it comes to Asian cooking fitting into a "veggie centric" motif. I think we can only expect to see more and more chefs and restaurateurs seeking out Asian vegetables as they're expanding their flavor palates and looking for something "new."

Thanks Danielle!

Here's the full line up of tantalizing dishes from some really outstanding restaurants:

ASIAN BOX
Roasted Eggplant & Shiitake Mushroom Rice Noodle Roll, Marinated Cucumber, Spicy Soy Vinaigrette

AZALINA'S
Char Koay Kak
Salted Duck Egg Bubur Chacha with Fermented Black Sticky Rice

BABU JI
Local Brentwood Summer Tandoori Corn & Grape Salad with Chaat Vinaigrette

BUFFALO THEORY COLLABORATION WITH ALCHEMY
Pinakbet Onigiri: Stuffed Garlic Fried Rice Ball with Kabocha Squash, Green beans, Eggplant, Okra, Vegan Bagoong, Nori

E&O KITCHEN & BAR
Lemongrass and Vanilla Bean Sticky Rice Pudding: Heirloom Kokuho Rose® Rice, Coconut, Tropical Fruits

HAKKASAN
Beijing Dumpling

ICHI SUSHI
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Cucumber & Kani Miso Yuzu Dressing

M.Y. CHINA
M.Y. Veggie Bundle

PABU
Heirloom Tomato Salad: Nori Green Goddess Dressing, Creamy Tofu, Nori Cracker, Shio Kombu, Avocado, Cucumber, Ponzu, Micro Shiso

SOCOLA CHOCOLATIER
Truffles: Vietnamese Coffee, Passion Fruit, Jasmine Tea, Durian

DRINKS & COCKTAILS
Toki Highballs by Suntory Whisky Toki
Sake by Mutual Trading Co.
Boba Guys
China Live: Effen Vodka, Ginger & Cucumber, Fresh Lemon, Peated Scotch & Sparkling Wine
Anzu: Hornitos Reposado, Agave, Grapefruit Juice, Lemon Juice, Green Chartreuse, Habanero Tincture, Soda
Asahi Beer


I hope you'll join me at the LUCKYRICE Feast:

September 8, 2017
Bentley Reserve, from 8-10 pm

Purchase your tickets today
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Sep 2017 2:19pm GMT