22 Nov 2019

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The Friday Buzz: Tofurky, Samosa Wraps, and Peppermint Skinny Almonds!

Welcome to our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It's the happy hour of blog posts! On the docket for today: Tofurky, frozen samosa wraps, peppermint almonds, and so much more!

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22 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

Simply Recipes 2019 Gift Guide: The Cookbook Lover

Shopping for the cookbook lover in your life? Let the Simply Team help! With ten standout books, this year crossing people off your list has never been easier.

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22 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

Spiced Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a must-have drink for the holidays - spicy, warm, perfect for parties, and super easy to make, especially if you use a slow cooker! This one is simmered with ginger and brandy for a little extra oomph.

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22 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

21 Nov 2019

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How to Make Crème Brûlée

Looking for the best, most perfect, most foolproof creme brulee recipe? This is it! This creme brulee is rich and creamy, and we walk you through every step.

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21 Nov 2019 10:00pm GMT

5 Easy Tips for Setting a Gorgeous Thanksgiving Table

Wondering how to decorate your Thanksgiving table? It's easy-we promise! From flowers to place cards, here's what we recommend for beautiful, budget-friendly Thanksgiving table decor!

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21 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

20 Nov 2019

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How To Use an Air Fryer: A First-Timer’s Guide

New to air frying? We'll walk you through everything you need to know-from how it works, to the best foods to cook in an air fryer, how to clean an air fryer, and other helpful tips for getting the most out of your air fryer!

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20 Nov 2019 8:00pm GMT

Whipped Goat Cheese 7-Layer Dip

Need a festive make-ahead appetizer for your holiday party? Try this Whipped Goat Cheese 7-Layer Dip, topped with pistachios, dates, raisins, bacon, sunflower seeds, and honey. Yum!

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20 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

19 Nov 2019

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Mom’s Stovetop Turkey Stuffing

Classic Thanksgiving turkey stuffing recipe made with French bread cubes toasted in butter, walnuts, onion, celery, apple, green olives, and stock made from turkey giblets. No stuffing is better than Mom's!

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19 Nov 2019 10:00pm GMT

20 Slow Cooker Recipes You Can Prep in 20 Minutes or Less

No-fuss, slow cooker recipes that take 20 minutes or less to prep because the whole point of having a slow cooker is to make life easier!

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19 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

18 Nov 2019

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Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

These Homemade Cinnamon Rolls only taste like they came from a bakery! Soft and fluffy, and topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. A make-ahead dough breaks up the work.

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18 Nov 2019 10:00pm GMT

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Soup! French onion soup is comfort food at its finest. Rich, intensely-flavored broth and caramelized onions, topped with crusty, cheese-covered bread is sure to warm anyone on a cold winter's night. Make this delicious soup in half the time by using your Instant Pot!

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18 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

17 Nov 2019

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Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls are a must-have for potlucks, Game Day parties, and holiday gatherings. Made with pizza dough and fresh sausages, they're like grown-up pigs in a blanket!

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17 Nov 2019 10:00pm GMT

Slow Cooker Banana Bread Pudding

Whipping up a batch of bread pudding doesn't get easier than this! The slow cooker creates a smooth and custardy texture. This version is rich with bananas, warm spices, and caramel sauce for a bread pudding twist on the famous New Orleans dessert: Bananas Foster!

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17 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

16 Nov 2019

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Simply Recipes 2019 Meal Plan: November Week 3

This week's meal plan has a little something for everyone! Take yourself on a mini-vacay with Tuscan meatloaf or Austrian schnitzel, go a little lux with shrimp dressed in Parmesan lemon cream sauce, or keep it simple with stuffed sweet potatoes or a vegetarian pasta dish.

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16 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

Vegan Mushroom Gravy

Vegan Mushroom Gravy is rich with the earthy flavor of cremini mushrooms and intensified with an umami kick from soy sauce and miso. Pour this vegan gravy over mashed potatoes on your Thanksgiving table. Freezes well, too!

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16 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

15 Nov 2019

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Simply Recipes 2019 Gift Guide: The Baker

Shopping for the baker in your life? Let the Simply Team help! With ten standout gifts that'll help your favorite baker churn out perfect cakes and cookies, crossing people off your list has never been easier.

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15 Nov 2019 3:00pm GMT

01 Nov 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

The Art of Escapism Cooking Cookbook Review

Lady and Pups is a blog by Mandy Lee an expat living in Hong Kong. But perhaps living is not the best word to describe it. She is suffering in Hong Kong, and before that, she suffered in Beijing. Cooking is her refuge and her blog is a chronicle of how she throws herself into cooking as an escape, hence the cookbook title, The Art of Escapism Cooking. In many ways, her blog and cookbook, are like any others - lots of great photography, impressive recipes and personal stories. Except for one thing, Mandy Lee is unapologetically negative and dark. She does not try and sell some happy vision - real or imagined. She wallows. The politics and pollution are major downers in China, I totally get that. Though I could be wrong, I am fairly certain she does not work outside the home. Her recipes are not the "quick and easy" type, but rather the type that relies on ingredients many Americans are unlikely to have on hand and take a degree of preparation and time that is at times daunting. That isn't to say her recipes aren't worth cooking or at very least, using as a jumping-off point. The book includes recipes for things like Poached Eggs with Miso Browned Butter Hollandaise, Buffalo Fried Chicken Ramen, Cumin Lamb Burger and Mochi with Peanut Brown Sugar and Ice Cream. Most of the recipes are very rich and indulgent, not terribly healthy and with very little to no vegetables.


I spent quite some time looking through the recipes for something I could cook that wouldn't take too much time or shopping and I ended on a recipe with a rather unpleasant name - Saliva Chicken Meatballs. As Lee explains the Chinese have a quirky sense of humor when it comes to naming food. I would say the name does not translate well into English. While I love the recipe, I don't love the name. I also have to admit, I needed to adapt the recipe to make it work. Lee cooks the meatballs in a takoyaki pan. Surprise! I don't have a takoyaki pan. She says you can broil them for 12-14 minutes, but I would certainly recommend baking them instead. If you broil them, they cook too fast on one side and have to be rotated to cook evenly, which is a bother.

The meatballs are made from chicken and seasonings and no filler ingredients, the sauce is an emulsion of tahini, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and ice. The finished dish also includes some of her ultimate chili oil but frankly, making two recipes was enough for me, so I substituted a chile oil I already had and that worked fine. Speaking of which, I would recommend adapting the recipes to your liking and using them for inspiration, rather than following them exactly as written Would I make this recipe again? Absolutely. While Lee says it's a popular appetizer, I found with rice and some quick pickled cucumbers the tender meatballs with a boldly flavored and creamy textured sauce made a great weekday dinner. I look forward to using up the rest of the sauce soon.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: Lady and Pups, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me as part of TLC Book Tours, this post does not include any affiliate links.
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

01 Nov 2019 5:52pm GMT

29 Oct 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Infuse the Holiday Season with Flavor


Photo by Lee Sherman
I've been a fan of Sonoma Syrup Co. ever since I discovered the brand at the Winter Fancy Food Show 15 years ago. Bursting with bright flavor, Sonoma Syrup Co.'s infused syrups are made with fresh ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Over the years I've written about them and their founder for KQED's Bay Area Bites, over at SF Station, and on my blog. Because of my long relationship with the company, I'm happy to partner with them to share some of the ways I love using them the most.

While infused simple syrups are a great everyday ingredient that adds pizzazz to everything from iced tea to cocktails, they are particularly wonderful for entertaining. During the holiday season, we all want easy ways to impress family and guests, and Sonoma Syrup infused simple syrups fit the bill perfectly. Here are three great ways to boost the flavor at your holiday gatherings.

1. Breakfast and Brunch
Whether it's Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas day or New Year's day, an easy way to satisfy your guests is with a brunch buffet. Even if you're just using pancake mix, a little infused simple syrup will make your crepes, waffles or pancakes special. Simply add a tablespoon or two in place of other liquids such as milk or water. I've also added it to the batter for French toast but it's also good as a topping. Offer guests a selection of different infused simple syrups to drizzle on their hot cereal instead of brown sugar or make Toasted Vanilla Coconut Oats from Toot Sweetness.

2. Winter Drinks
The first thing I ever made with Sonoma Syrup was a sparkling cocktail with Sonoma Syrups lavender simple syrup and sparkling wine. It couldn't have been easier, just a splash of simple syrup in a glass that was then filled with sparkling wine. It took something already festive-bubbles-and made it even more fun. With raspberry syrup you could also make a pretty Raspberry Champagne Spritzer from Design, Eat, Repeat.

Simple syrups were originally designed for use in cocktails, but they are also great to sweeten any kind of drinks-alcoholic or not. Consider vanilla almond syrup in hot chocolate, Meyer lemon syrup in tea, white ginger syrup in hot apple cider or lavender syrup in coffee. Of course, there's also Vanilla Egg Nog from Cali Girl Cooking.

3. Desserts
Let's face it, holiday season is dessert season. There is no Thanksgiving without pie and no Christmas without cookies. There are so many ways to use Sonoma Syrup flavored simple syrups in baked goods and desserts of all kinds. The easiest might be as a sweetener in whipped cream. Vanilla, vanilla almond or white ginger are great flavors to complement pumpkin pie, gingerbread and apple pie.

Bakers recommend using simple syrup on cake layers to keep it moist. Use a pastry brush to coat each layer before frosting. Infused simple syrup also is the key to making the easiest 2 ingredient glazes. Combine 1/4 cup of infused simple syrup with a cup of powdered sugar to make an icing or glaze to go on cakes or cookies. Try the glaze on cinnamon buns or on to turn a plain pound cake into Meyer Lemon Pound Cake.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. My thanks to Sonoma Syrup Co. for partnering with me.
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Oct 2019 6:02pm GMT

22 Sep 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Snøfrisk Waffle Tartines Recipe

Snøfrisk means "snow fresh" in Norwegian and is a goat cheese blend made from 80% goat's milk and 20% cow's milk. It is an extremely creamy, smooth and spreadable cheese that has all the tangy freshness of chevre but is as soft as sour cream. It's not aged, and has no additives or stabilizers, just a bit of salt. Made by a farmer-owned company in Norway, it's being introduced in a 3-pack at Costco in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two packages are plain and one is flavored with red onion and thyme.

There are lots of ways to use Snøfrisk. Not surprisingly it's great to spread on toast, crackers, bread or vegetables. You can also toss it with pasta or add fresh herbs to it to make a dip. I also created a recipe for Snøfrisk Zucchini Risotto for the brand. But I found it's smooth enough that you can even spread it on waffles. I make waffles from a mix but I skip adding any sugar or honey and keep them slightly savory. Waffles, just like goat cheese can pair well with both sweet or savory ingredients.

After smearing Snøfrisk on freshly-made waffles, I topped them with various things--slices of avocado, flakes of salmon, sliced strawberries and even blueberries. But really, the only limit is your imagination! I think they would be good topped with smoked salmon, cucumbers, arugula, tomatoes, peaches, you-name-it. I made my waffles with a mixture of buckwheat and whole-grain mixes, but use any waffle recipe or mix you like. This is more of a serving suggestion than a recipe and infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

Snøfrisk Waffle Tartines
Makes 5 waffles

Ingredients

4 waffles, buttermilk, whole grain or buckwheat
1/4 cup Snøfrisk
Toppings such as sliced fruit, vegetables, seafood, jam or chutney

Instructions

Spread each waffle with about a tablespoon of cheese and top with slices of fruit, vegetables or topping of your choice. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Norseland Inc for providing me with the cheese. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post on this blog.


©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Sep 2019 10:57pm GMT

28 Aug 2019

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All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California and their nut oils are all expeller pressed and are GMO-free. Their walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan and pistachio oil are made in house and their almonds and walnuts come from California.

Earlier this year I got a chance to visit the La Tourangelle mill and also a farm that supplies some of their nuts. Bullseye Farms grows tomatoes, cucumbers, hay, and nuts sustainably on about 16,000 acres. They have 500 acres of walnuts and they use a black walnut rootstock which is resistant to diseases. The walnuts are a cross between different varieties and are self pollinators. You might be surprised to learn that ugly nuts make the best oil. It's the variety of different nuts rather than uniformity that makes the oil taste better.

The process La Tourangelle uses to make their oil is unique and combines two different styles-refined and unrefined to make an oil that is full-flavored and yet affordable. All their oils are made in small batches and they use only French presses for their limited edition oils. All the nut oils are handcrafted by the master roaster who relies on years of experience to know exactly how to roast the nuts for maximum flavor.

The scent in the mill is intoxicating! Luscious and buttery, roasted walnut oil is the essence of walnuts. Walnut oil has a very short shelf life. Unopened it will last about two years, but once opened it's best to use it within six months. So don't hoard it! Use it! If you don't think you can use a whole tin of it, La Tourangelle now sells it in convenient single-serving pouches. While making a vinaigrette is probably the most common way to use roasted walnut oil, there are plenty of uses. Here are some of my favorite ways to use roasted walnut oil:

+ Use on top of pancakes or waffles instead of butter
+ Add to pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped toasted walnuts
+ Drizzle over grains such as farro, bulgar or freekeh, top with fresh herbs
+ Combine with toasted walnuts and use on top of brussels sprouts, green beans or asparagus
+ Use in place of olive oil in pesto
+ Substitute it for butter or vegetable oil in granola recipes
+ Dip bread in it instead of olive oil or butter
+ Use in shortbread recipes
+ Add a few drops to soup before serving
+ Use in a carrot walnut slaw salad with Dijon mustard
+ Drip on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream
+ Add to popcorn instead of butter

More about the visit from my colleague Anneli Rufus over at Oakland Magazine.

Disclaimer: My thanks to La Tourangelle for hosting me, I was not compensated monetarily for this post.
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

28 Aug 2019 6:38pm GMT

25 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Cherry Cranberry Chutney Recipe



It's #canbassador time again. That means I get a big box of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers and head into the kitchen to do some canning. Last year I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canner. It's not terribly expensive and stacks inside one of my stockpots. I generally can small batches and this time around I decided to make chutney with the help of my pal Alison. She shared the ingredients she would use and I tweaked the proportions.

The first rule of cooking with fruit is you need to taste it. How sweet is it? How juicy is it? That should guide your recipe. Adapt the recipe based on your preferences and the quality of your fruit. My cherries turned out to be very juicy so I added some dried fruit towards the end of the cooking to thicken the mixture. While this chutney has a great sweet and sour flavor, someone in my household actually used it in place of jam on toast. So far I've used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and on lamb chops. How you use it is entirely up to you!

Cherry season is short, but there are so many great ways to preserve the fruit. In past years I've made cherry barbecue sauce and cherry vanilla balsamic shrub. When Winter comes, I'll be making cocktails with bourbon cherries and eating turkey with cherry cranberry chutney...

Cherry Cranberry Chutney

Makes about 5 1/2 pint jars

Ingredients

9 cups pitted cherries
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
2 onion chopped
Zest of two oranges
3 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 heaped teaspoons allspice
1 heaped teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes.

Roughly chop the cherries and in a large stockpot combine them with the vinegar, sugar, onion, orange zest, ginger, allspice, garam masala and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until the fruit is cooked and soft about 30-40 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for another 15 minutes. Chutney will thicken further after being processed.

Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the chutney and the inner surface of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Northwest Cherry Growers for providing me with fruit. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.


©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

25 Jul 2019 10:52pm GMT

12 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread Recipe

I always crave pizza but I am trying to cut back on carbs, so when I saw little street taco sized whole wheat tortillas at the store, I was inspired to revisit a recipe I created a few years back for Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas. This time I went in a slightly different direction, making flatbreads that are not very pizza like at all-no grated cheese, no tomatoes, no sauce, no meat.

Right now it's corn season and the combination of corn, smoked salmon, a little crunchy cucumber and goat cheese is a real winner. What takes this recipe from good to even better, is the addition of a bit of Chili Onion Crunch. Chili crisp has been a condiment I've been seeing all over the internet and I finally bought a jar from Trader Joe's. It was so good I decided to do a little taste test and compare it to the more well known Lao Ganma brand.

A comparison-

Lao Ganma Spicy Chili Crisp, 7.4 ounces, $2.19. available online or in Asian markets
Ingredients: soybean oil, chili, onion, fermented soybeans, MSG, salt, sugar, prickly ash powder, sulfur dioxide and sodium sulfite
- Very oily and very crunchy, more salty than sweet, not much heat at all

Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch, 6 ounces, $3.99 availabe at Trader Joe's stores
Ingredients: olive oil, dried onion, dried garlic, dried red bell pepper, crushed chili pepper, toasted dried onion, sea salt, natural flavors, paprika oleoresin (color)
- Fine texture, more crisp than crunchy, not very oily, balanced sweet and salt, heat on the back end

Both are delicious, but I prefer the vegetal sweetness, texture and heat of the Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch. I also appreciate that it doesn't have any artificial ingredients. Also, doesn't garlic make everything better?

Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread
Serves 4

4 small whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons water
1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 ear corn on the cob
4 slices smoked salmon, torn into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons or to taste, chili oil, crisp or crunch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Strip the corn off the cob and place 2-3 tablespoons of the corn on a piece of foil. Prick the tortillas with a fork to minimize puffing. Place the tortillas on a non stick pan along wit the corn on the foil, and bake for 5 minutes, flip the tortillas at about the halfway point. You want the tortilla to be crisp and browned, but not burnt.

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese with the water in order to make a spreadable texture.

Spread each tortilla with a tablespoon of goat cheese, top with the salmon and cucumber slices and scatter about 2 teaspoons of the corn. Drizzle the flatbread with the chile oil.

Enjoy!
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

12 Jul 2019 7:25pm GMT

10 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Ten Grapes to Know Book Review



Over time I've tried selling wine books back at a used bookstore with very little success. I'm sorry to say it's because many wine books just aren't that good and quickly become out of date. Sure there are some exceptions, but it can be hard to find a book that hones in on just the useful stuff you really need to know. That's exactly why I'm so enthusiastic about Ten Grapes to Know by Catherine Fallis, the "grape goddess of Planet Grape." Fallis is a master sommelier but is not in the least bit snooty or pretentious and doesn't fall into the trap of writing for other wine writers and sommeliers. She's all about enjoying wine and makes learning about it fun. And she lets you in on many of the secrets that sommeliers know and many wine drinkers don't know.

The book begins with what feels like the best cheat sheets on tasting wine, pairing food with wine and buying wine in a store or restaurant. She walks you through exercises for your senses and how to properly store wine (as well as explaining which wines will last longer once opened) and even explains how markups typically work. The main sections of the book are devoted to ten wine varietals. Each chapter follows a set pattern-there is a description of the varietal, the history and geography, taste profile and styles, a sense exercise, a section on matchmaking (what to pair with the wine) what to look for when shopping or dining out (with specific labels and price points) and "branch out" which gives you some other varietals to consider that are in some way related. There are also plenty of personal stories and anecdotes along the way all written in a light and breezy manner.

You can use the book in several different ways. You can use it to learn about wine (there are even quiz questions to test your knowledge), to shop for wine or as a general reference guide. Now about the varietals. They are Pinot Grigio (Gris), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah (Shiraz), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Now if I had chosen the varietals, I would have swapped out the Viognier for Riesling and the Sangiovese for Tempranillo or maybe even Grenache, but those are just minor quibbles. The book is really entertaining and easy to understand and one I do not plan on parting with anytime soon. It would make a great gift for anyone who is interested in learning more about wine.

Disclaimer: This post includes an affiliate link
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

10 Jul 2019 4:42pm GMT

04 Jun 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

StarChefs San Francisco 2019

Courtesy of StarChefs

I've long been impressed by the Rising StarChefs awards. Unlike chef awards, their process is transparent and has a rigor that is often missing. I spoke with Antoinette Bruno, the CEO and Editor in Chief of StarChefs to discuss the upcoming awards and the diversity that they reflect. The StarChefs Gala takes place on June 11, 2019, buy tickets or learn more.


What's the process for selecting Rising StarChefs?
Antoinette Bruno (AB): The selection process has more or less remained the same since 2002. The awards program has just grown in size and scope. StarChefs covers four cities or regions a year. From the nomination process through the Gala, it takes about six months per city. Today, we have a network of more than 1,200 Rising Stars alumni who contribute their nominations. We also accept recommendations through social media, our website, and during in-person interviews. We do in-house research as well, and candidates are vetted through a "pre-interview." Generally, an editorial crew of two, sometimes more, visits the restaurants for an in-person interview, tasting, and photography, and then reports back to the editorial team at StarChefs HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Many times we will return to restaurants for more than one visit.

Often the StarChefs Rising Stars Award is the first major award or national recognition a young chef, sommelier, bartender, or artisan may receive. Because StarChefs is on the ground in restaurants interviewing and tasting with hundreds of chefs and other industry professionals across the country every year, we have insights into the hospitality industry on a micro level. No other publication in the country has been able to do this kind of grassroots work.

The current list of Rising Star Chefs in San Francisco is incredibly diverse, was that intentional?
AB: Talent is talent. Identifying the talented young leaders of the hospitality industry is our intention. We intend to find winners that represent the diversity of the industry and the city or region they represent. We have gotten better at this over the years by expanding the pool of communities we reach out to for nominations and from whom we gather information and recommendations. Unless the people involved in our process are diverse, generally the group of winners won't be terribly diverse either.

How important is diversity in the restaurant industry?
AB: The diversity of the workforce in the restaurant industry is what drives it forward. It's the industry's greatest asset and strength. Some of the most exciting restaurants in America right now are run by immigrants or the children of immigrants-San Francisco Rising Star Chefs Robert Hernandez of Octavia, Nicolas Delaroque of Nico, Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Noosh, Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage, Reem Assil of Reem's, Janice Dulce of FOB Kitchen, and Bartenders Emilio and Miguel Salehi of The Beehive are among them.

It's been a few years since StarChefs had an awards gala in San Francisco, what brought you back this year?
AB: We've been taking a deep dive into the San Francisco Bay Area every three years since 2005. We return to a city in search of a new class of Rising Stars based on the city's size and depth of the restaurant industry there. For example, we cover New York every other year, Chicago and Los Angeles every three years, and Washington, D.C. every four years.

How would you characterize the San Francisco dining (and bar) scene?
AB: The Bay Area has always been a region of peaks and valleys, and indeed we saw a metropolis bouncing with growth and change. Still, in a challenging city for cooks, we found no shortage of talent-in San Francisco and Oakland. StarChefs gave out 23 Rising Stars Awards this time around, to a total of 26 winners. Eleven of those award winners are women-the most of any class of Rising Stars in the 17-year history of the program. The San Francisco Bay Area's diversity-including the second largest population of Filipino Americans in the country-is reflected.

2016 Rising Star Chef Yoni Levy is now the chef of Salesforce HQ. He left his post at beloved Outerlands so that he could spend more time with his growing family. Chefs are now taking care of themselves and their staff more than ever. We saw these trends of self-care and tech influence merge at Rising Star Chef Adam Tortosa's restaurant Robin, where he has created an extraordinary benefits program (including a trip to Japan!). We found San Francisco and Oakland in love with natural wines, with Rising Star Somm Louisa Smith leading the charge. And, of course, so much outstanding bread-more than you can stuff in a suitcase.

In what ways is the dining scene in San Francisco different from other American cities?
AB: The Michelin stars for California were released today, and Northern California has the highest concentration of stars in the country. No surprise there. So, the bar is high in San Francisco. StarChefs is an industry-facing publication, rather than consumer. I encourage all young cooks to come to San Francisco to stage around if they can swing it. Because the city is such a tough one for young cooks to survive financially, the labor shortage is acute. Kitchens need the extra hands and it can be relatively easy to get in the door and gain valuable experience at some of the best restaurants in the country.

Looking forward, any predictions for how dining will continue to evolve?
AB: I hope that we will continue to see more of what we found in this class of Rising Stars: more women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community represented in leadership roles. I also hope we continue to see the expansion of proper benefits programs for restaurant workers, like we have seen in the Bay Area, as well as a continued focus on the work/life balance and the mental and physical health of chefs and hospitality professional on the whole.

Thanks StarChefs!

©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

04 Jun 2019 10:50pm GMT

08 Mar 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

7 Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2019

The Winter Fancy Food Show is a great place to identify trends. It's also a way to see how trends are evolving. Here is a short list of what caught my attention.
Cauliflower is everywhere! This isn't new and you've probably seen cauliflower rice in stores. From the Ground Up makes gluten free pretzels and crackers from cauliflower. I wasn't crazy about the pretzels, but the cheddar crackers taste a lot like Cheez-its. The other brand I liked was Caulipower. They make gluten free cauliflower pizzas, pizza crusts and tortillas. They each have the right texture, something I found lacking in other brands.
I wrote about mushrooms before but this year I saw even more innovations, including snack bars with mushrooms, from a brand called Shrooms offering a sweet and savory version as well as one with chocolate. Mushrooms are also showing up more in tea and coffee including one from the Republic of Tea called Restore and Reset that combines Reishi and cocoa.
Long a favored ingredient in skin care, collagen is moving into food. I saw it in fuel bars and drink mixes from the Paleo focused Primal Kitchen, teas and added to random products like a sweet and creamy "granola butter" from Kween. Will ingesting collagen peptides help support healthy joints, tendons, and muscles, skin, hair, and nails? From what I've read, the jury is out.
One of the coolest things I noticed at the show this year were all the new ways food is being packaged, new form factors in particular. Lots of individual packets of things like ghee from Fourth and Heart, extract pastes from the British company Taylor & Colledge, nut oils from La Tourangelle. Remember the Altoids tin? It's back but ingeniously filled with teas for travelers from Numi, and with tubes of curry and harissa from Jacobsen Salt. Fit Fit Bites offers fruit snacks in little pucks. Uncle Dougie's solves the frustration with barbecue sauce bottles by packaging their product in a squeeze-able pouch. Another cool innovation is the Slingshot with chia granola to add to an accompanying yogurt based drink.
Hummus has been trending for a while, but now in addition to being available in tons of flavors, it's showing up as an actual ingredient. A couple of examples include Firehook's hummus crackers and O'Dang hummus dressing which comes in a variety of flavors.
Turmeric is another trendy ingredient. This year I saw it in ghee, in "shots" that a coming soon from Numi, in a particularly delicious hummus from Blue Moose of Boulder, in tonic from Turveda, in crackers from RW Garcia, in bone broth from Nona Lim, in pinchetti pasta from Al Dente Pasta, in ice cream from ReThink and even in Ritrovo balsamic vinegar.
Frico is a cheese crisp from Italy, traditionally made from heating Parmigiano Reggiano until it melts and forms a thin crust. But companies have created products that mimic this treat, Sonoma Creamery, Whisps and Parm Crisps were a few I noticed this year. Crunchy, cheesy and available in a variety of flavors and shapes, these snacks are gluten free, low in carbs, high in protein.

A few other things I took note of this year that were new to me included:

Schizandra which sounds like the name of a Disney princess, but is really a berry and showed up in an elixir from Rebbl called Schizandra Berries & Creme as well as in the Daily Beauty tea from Republic of Tea. It's used in traditional Chinese medicine for and is adaptogenic, which means it supports the adrenal system and combats stress on the body. It supposedly tastes sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty.

You know about probiotics, but what about prebiotics? Prebiotics complement probiotics, basically providing food for probiotics grow, which in turn help promote better digestive health. When you see prebiotics on labels it means generally some kind of fiber.

My favorite prebiotic product was Zen Basil, a line of organic drinks made with basil seeds. Basil seeds are similar to chia seeds, they plump up when added to liquid but compared to chia seeds they have more iron, fiber, potassium and calcium. Used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine they purportedly have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antifungal properties. The drinks which are made from a family recipe are fruity, juicy and delicious. They also offers bags of the basil seeds.


Last but not least, I don't remember seeing eggs at the show before. This year several companies were featuring eggs from pasture raised chickens.
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08 Mar 2019 6:39pm GMT

01 Mar 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Traditional Italian Almond Biscotti recipe

"There is no beating grief. There is no getting over it. Yet, the beauty of grief is that it stretches your emotional bandwidth. Joy, happiness, love, compassion: The degree to which you can feel them is directly proportional to the amount of pain, grief, sadness, and devastation you have felt." This is a quote from Beautiful Grief, a book I read recently. It came into my life at a time when I was experiencing more than my fair share of grief. I'm trying to focus on this idea of letting my grief expand my capacity for joy. Baking is where I often find joy.

One of the reasons I am grieving is the loss of my dear friend Susan Russo. I met her in the early days of blogging. She was a terrific writer and recipe developer but mostly just a wonderful person. I am trying to hold on to my happy memories of her and celebrate her with one of her recipes, Traditional Italian Almond Biscotti.

The cookies are chock full of toasted almonds, scented with vanilla and orange. The recipe makes a big batch, so there are plenty to keep and to share.

I associate many recipes with Susan-Italian American dishes of course, and ingredients like fennel and olives. Her two blog posts, one on Kitchen Window and another on her blog about biscotti capture so much of what I loved about her-the way she shared her heritage, humor, and warmth, all while caring for others. I hope these cookies bring you, and anyone you share them with, some joy.



Traditional Italian Almond Biscotti

The recipe is from Susan Russo's mother, I've adapted the instructions.

Makes 36 (3/4 inch-wide cookies)

3 cups whole raw almonds
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 jumbo eggs (if you don't have jumbo eggs, use 4 medium eggs)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 large orange (about 1 -2 teaspoons)
1 egg, lightly beaten for brushing the tops of loaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the toasted almonds, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and flour.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 3 jumbo eggs, vanilla and orange zest and whisk until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Work the batter together with lightly floured hands. The mixture will be very sticky. Squeeze the dough and once it comes together, form a ball. Divide the ball into four equal pieces.

On a lightly floured surface place one piece of dough, and roll into a log approximately 8 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 3/4 of an inch high. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of dough. Place two logs on each baking sheet. Brush the tops of the dough with the beaten egg.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the tops of the loaves are shiny and deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack for about 20 minutes before slicing. Place a loaf on a cutting board, and using a large serrated knife, slice cookies 3/4 of an inch thick on the diagonal. If the slices crumble, then let cool a few more minutes before slicing. Place slices on their sides back on to the baking sheets; place in the still warm oven with the temperature off and the door closed for 30-60 minutes. The longer they stay in the oven,the harder they will become. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing up to one month in a tin or another air tight container.

Disclaimer: This post includes an affiliate link

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01 Mar 2019 4:59pm GMT

25 Feb 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

15 Discoveries from the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show

The Fancy Food Show provides a terrific opportunity to discover new and delicious things. Some of these things are new, some are just new to me, but all of them are worth seeking out.

Satsumas are a tangy sweet hybrid citrus fruit. Blackberry Patch has recently introduced three satsuma products, a syrup and two preserves intended to be served with cheese. The Satsuma Cane Vanilla is also delicious as jam on toast. It's very intense and juicy.

I've had honey infused with different ingredients including lavender and citrus, but I've never had any as heady as Makabi & Sons, rosewater infused honey. Based in Los Angeles, they also make beautiful boxes of gourmet cookies, but it was the honey that really won me over. They also make cardamom honey.

If you've been to France you've no doubt seen that the supermarket brand Bonne Maman has a much larger line of jams and preserves available there than they do here. In France, you'll find flavors like pineapple with rum and vanilla as well as Mara Des Bois Strawberry. At the show, they were introducing a new line called "intense" and I loved the Red Fruit Intense. Looking online I now I see they are offering Strawberry Intense instead which includes some black currant juice. Might it be the same thing as Red Fruit? I'll have to buy a jar to be sure. The Intense line has less sugar than conventional jams, and true to the name, a more intense flavor.
I wish I could tell you that Liege waffles were trending, but I only saw two companies exhibiting them at the show. Mountain Waffle Co. sells wholesale and Belgian Boys sells retail. What sets these waffles apart is their crunchy almost crackly texture thanks to the inclusion of pearl sugar that does not melt. Belgian Boys offers plain as well as chocolate covered Liege waffles.

Roons are definitely the best macaroons I have ever tasted. They are moist inside, toasty and crunchy on the outside and dipped in Guittard chocolate. Smaller ones called Lil Roonies are completely coated in chocolate, the espresso chocolate ones are particularly good and are "coming soon." Right now most of their macaroons are available primarily in Portland OR or online.

Choffy is a product developed by an engineer who had a dream about chocolate that could be brewed like coffee. After three years of experimentation, he found a way to make it work. It tastes a bit like chocolate but also a bit like coffee. It's good black or with milk or sugar if you prefer. The ground roasted cacao also can be used in recipes.
I really like sweet treats with a bitter edge. Infusions are a line of chocolate covered almonds from Canada with tea. They start with crunchy roasted almonds cover them in toffee, dip them in chocolate and then coat them with powdered tea-matcha, rooibos or raspberry rooibos. The matcha is my favorite. Available at Costco in Canada, I hope they make it to our side of the border.
Good Catch fish free tuna tastes like tuna, not just the texture of tuna, but also the flavor of tuna. It's high in protein, made from plants and in particular a blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans along with algae oil which gives it a fresh from the sea flavor. It's just launching in stores now.

Ramen noodles from Sun Noodle. I've known about Sun Noodle since I started writing about ramen. I'd say the majority of ramen shops in the US use noodles from Sun Noodle. Their base line includes 200 different formulas, but of course, each restaurant generally puts their own twist on it. Now you can find fresh ramen noodles from Sun at many Japanese specialty grocery stores and even at some Whole Foods stores.

You may have seen egg bites, the little souv-vide cooked eggs at Starbuck's. I go to Starbuck's so infrequently I hadn't seen them but I tried the version from Trois Petits Cochons and was impressed! They are tender and flavorful and come in a variety of flavors including bacon and swiss and prosciutto and gruyere.

I eat a lot of almond butter. But I had never had walnut butter until recently. Walnut butter from Wellnut Farms has a bit of sugar and RSPO certified palm oil but it's generally pretty healthy. The sugar is necessary to cut the bitterness. I might try making my own with a bit of walnut oil.

Angkor Cambodian Food is a food company started by two ex-engineers. They have a whole line of Cambodian sauces, but my favorite is the award-winning lemongrass paste. It's a beguiling blend of lemongrass, garlic, onion, jalapenos, fish sauce, galangal, lime and lime leaf, and a few other things. Use it for stir frys, marinades or even as a soup base.

Muso from Japan produces a line of umami products-hot sauces, miso pastes and more. They add a savory quality without seeming overly salty. Most of their products are organic. If you're interested in specialty Japanese ingredients, check out their booklet. Some of their products are available on Amazon, but only one umami paste. I hope they find distributors and more of their products become available soon.

Smoky red mustard from Freak Flag is a unique condiment that has notes of garlic, tomato and mustard and a balance of honey and vinegar. But it needs another name. Heinz is selling a mayo-ketchup combination called "mayochup" so maybe "mustup"?
Red Duck makes condiments and their latest ones are taco sauces. If you love Korean tacos, you're in luck. Their Korean Taco Sauce is definitely my favorite, and is good in a taco or quesadilla but I imagine it would be good in a marinade for meats, in meatloaf, chili or in a gooey bean dip. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.

Chile crisp is having a moment. It's a Chinese condiment that has gotten a lot of press with plenty of copycat recipes online. Don Chilio offers basically a Mexican version that consists of thin slices of chile peppers fried to a crisp in olive oil. I tried the jalapeno but they also offer a habanero and serrano version. It's super crispy and plenty spicy. I'd eat it by the spoonful. It's heavenly over a slice of cool avocado.
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

25 Feb 2019 11:20pm GMT

13 Dec 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Kitchen Gift Guide 2018 & Giveaway

This year my recommendations are short, sweet and all really practical but are things I genuinely enjoy using. Without further ado…
Save space
I used to have two big clunky wooden knife blocks. My knives only fit in certain slots and the blocks took up a ton of room. Worst of all, they tended to tip over. So I bought this good looking bamboo knife block to replace them and am sorry I didn't buy it sooner. It holds an amazing number of knives! One block replaces two, and holds 14 knives of varying sizes and shapes. It takes up little space and won't dull knives the way wood blocks do. If you or someone you know are still using a wooden block, I highly recommend upgrading to this bamboo block with plastic needles. $22.99



Season away
I have had various ceramic salt cellars and none of them quite suited me. I like to grab a pinch of salt and most cellars use a spoon or are too deep to reach into. This triple salt box has 3 levels and easily swings open so kosher salt, smoked salt and flaky salt are all within reach. But you could use it for other seasonings like ground pepper or dried herbs if you prefer. They also make a 2 tiered box. It's reasonably priced and something I genuinely enjoy using. It's also rather handsome. $21.89

Cook it
Non-stick pans have come a long way since the days of Teflon. Today you can find pans that are free of harmful chemicals, yet affordable and durable. Everyone should have a good nonstick pan for frying eggs and making omelets. The light weight DiamoTech nonstick pan features a 4 layer design and is made with aluminum. It can be used in the oven up to 500° F and is scratch resistant. It's free of PTFE/PFOA/PFOS and dishwasher safe but I cannot imagine ever needing to put it in a dishwasher. I used this pan consistently for 3 months and even made a huge batch of crepes and never needed to use any butter or oil. It's the best ceramic nonstick pan I've ever used. The 9.5 inch pan with a glass lid is just $19.99

If you're the kind of person who prefers cooking with nonstick (I can't blame you!) the Circulon Symmetry Merlot Twin Pack Skillets Set nonstick French skillets are incredibly durable, made from hard-anodized aluminum and have a magnetic stainless steel base so they are compatible with all cooktop ranges, including induction. The pans feature a unique cooking surface of raised circles that reportedly lasts 10 times longer than ordinary nonstick coatings. Unlike many other nonstick pans they are metal-utensil-safe, in addition to being PFOA-free and oven-safe to 400° F. and are dishwasher safe, though I find them easy to clean. The high sides to these pans make them perfect for frying, sautéing, as well as making pan sauces and gravies. A 10 and 12 inch pan set in gorgeous Merlot color is $67.39 (other colors are a bit less)

Drizzle it
Laudemio extra virgin olive oil is made from Frantoio, Maraiolo and Leccino olives that come from an estate near Florence. It's a very "green" olive oil with notes of artichoke and grass. It's one of the best you can buy and because Laudemio is celebrating their 30th anniversary the bottle is a stunning gold this year. Great quality extra virgin olive oil must be used fresh, so don't save it, savor it! I wouldn't use this olive oil on salads, it's too good. But I would use it on plain cooked beans, grilled meats, potatoes, steamed vegetables, toast, vanilla ice cream, any "blank canvas" that will allow you to fully enjoy the flavor. $44.95

Bake, toast, roast or slow cook
I know everyone is going nuts for the Instant Pot but I'm still a fan of this great counter top oven. I just replaced my original Breville Smart Oven with a newer model and am really loving it. It heats quickly, has a convection feature, a light, and now has a slow cooking function so I can put a Dutch oven in it for hours and hours. My last Breville SmartOven lasted 8 years. It costs $215.95

GIVEAWAY!

Deiss Kitchenware is offering one of my readers a lemon zester/cheese grater (value $10.98). I have an earlier model and use it practically daily. It would make a nice gift or a stocking stuffer. To win you must reside in the United States. Please leave a comment telling me what's on YOUR kitchen wish list this year. I will choose one winner at random on Monday December 17, 2018.

Disclaimer: I purchased some of these items, but received the oil as a gift, the pans for review purposes. This post does include some affiliate links. I was not paid to write this or any other post.

©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

13 Dec 2018 6:12pm GMT

21 Nov 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Interview with Jim Kempton author of First We Surf, The We Eat


There are many parallels between surfing and cooking starting with the fact that both can be an adrenaline rush. But has there ever been a surfer's cookbook? That was the question I asked Jim Kempton, a jourmalist, chef, restaurater and surfer. Kempton is the author of First We Surf, Then We Eat: Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel. The answer? Not like this one. Even though I'm not a surfer (yet!) I love this book which combines the best of a memoir and travelogue with recipes. Recipes run the gamut from banana pancakes from Hawaii, Basque tuna steaks, machaca and eggs from Mexico and Rujak, a spicy sweet fruit salad from Bali.

How important is the communal aspect of dining to you and to surfers in general?
It's important to me because it's part of what attracted me to certain cuisines, even though we don't always practice it everywhere it is very important in some places. It's especially true for surfers. A lot of surfers don't cook so they dine with whoever does! Surfers travel a lot and so it's also practical. Also bringing it [BRINGING WHAT?]brings back the communal aspect of living, the idea of hanging out with people is missed and is being revived. Eating together is a way to do that.

How have you gathered recipes from so many places? From chefs, other surfers?
Every recipe I have is something I came across somewhere-a friend, at a hotel, a restaurant-and I was so taken with it that I had to learn it. The hardest thing was standarizing the recipes because I'd been cooking them for so long I never thought about it. Recipes were on the back of envelopes or tucked into books or in books I'd received as gifts. I learn so much from reading cookbooks.

How did you learn to cook?
The same way I learned to surf! Unless you go to school, there's no way to learn except by doing it. Both my parents loved to cook. We lived in a lot of places where you cooked differently. I always enjoyed it and was an observer of it.

You grew up in Guam and have some recipes from Guam, what can you tell me about it?
I would say, it has some of the best fish dishes, although no match for Tahitian restaurant cuisine which has a French influence. The fresh fish and variety there is incredible.

What are your favorite surf destinations for food?
People don't think of the Atlantic coast of France but it has great waves. It's also a beautiful coastline, the Basque country with rocky ledges and long stretches of beach are amazing. Stop anywhere and the food is great and the quality is high.

The food in Bali is really a fusion of different Indonesian elements and the Caribbean with different cultural influences from other places. It's tropical but there are different kinds of dishes you wouldn't find ther. The food in Morocco is getting better all the time. Peru is a booming place for food.

What's your favorite comfort food recipe from the book?
I was raised in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. My wife was born in Southern California. She wants rice and beans and I grew up on rice and noodles. So the first recipe is Pancit noodles. It's one of the first things I learned to cook along with fried rice, I have one fried rice recipe from Peru and another from Hawaii and another from Central America. Fried rice is a good way to clean out the fridge! Another is soups and I have quite a few soup recipes. Soups are better the next day. The eggplant and shrimp soup is a favorite.

What's your most impressive recipe from the book?
The Moroccan lamb with fruit. You can't screw it up. Cooking with fruit is not something Europeans have done since the Middle Ages but the Arabs have always done it. The combination of savoriness and sweetness, and the textures, is a real mind blower. It's got the wow factor.

Thanks Jim!

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book and this post includes an affiliate link

©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

21 Nov 2018 6:35pm GMT

01 Nov 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Remembering James Beard at the Stanford Court

Erica Peters, Marelene Sorosky Gray, Jacqueline Mallorca and John Phillip Carroll
In the 1970's and 80's James Beard, the "dean of American cookery" took up residence at the Stanford Court hotel. The hotel was his home for three months out of the year. The San Francisco Professional Food Society recently hosted a conversation with three of his friends and co-workers, John Phillip Carroll, Jacqueline Mallorca and Marlene Sorosky Gray who reminisced about his time at the Stanford Court. It was moderated by food historian Erica Peters.

Here are just a few highlights from the event:

On his time in San Francisco:
This city and this hotel room were great refuge for him. It was chaos in New York. Julia Child once referred to his New York house as being full of loonies but here he was invited to everyone's home for dinner and he was taken care of. He said, "the city just gets into my blood." - John Phillip Carroll (JPC)

He loved the West Coast and he had a lot of friends here from years back that pampered him. Chuck Williams would have him for dinner at least once a week. He kept his private life private. He enjoyed his life, he had a good time and he lived it up. - Jacqueline Mallorca (JM)

Even towards the end of his life he loved to party, he would tell me--"Jackie don't get old." - (JM)

On his career:
He had a genuine interest and admiration for American cuisine and how special it was. In his hands it was new and fresh. - JPC

I think he knew he was doing something important but he was humble. - JC

During his entire career as a freelance writer he did not make a ton of money off his books and he was never good on television. He was a bit envious of Julia Child's success but they were very good friends and spent time here together. - JPC

Illustration of James Beard by Jacqueline Mallorca
I worked with Julia Child and James, Julia was a teacher, that was what she loved to do, she was curious Jacques is the best technical cook in the country, no one can touch him and James was like an encyclopedia when it came to food. If you wanted to know anything you could ask him and he would go into a dissertation on it. - Marlene Sorosky Gray (MG)
Kraft offered him a huge amount of money to promote squeeze Parkay. Marion Cunningham and I made toast and he wanted to like it but he hated it and said no. - JPC

He told me, "I wouldn't do Aunt Jemima. I don't look good in a bandana." - JM

Some funny anecdotes:
Jim (James Beard) was a very jovial man. We had gone to New York for a book signing at Bloomingdales and Jim walked very slowly. We were making very stately progress and a drunk came up and said, "Aren't you Winston Churchill?" Jim roared with laughter and said, "I wish I was!" he was always fun and very social, he loved to party. - JM

In a cookware shop a woman came up to him and said excitedly, "I can't believe it, James Child, aren't you the famous chef and he responded not unless there is a Julia Beard. He was never insulted; he just made light of the experience. - MG

In the holiday season in the mid 70's in the corner suites, on the top floor was Julia and Paul Child, James Beard on the 7th floor, Marcella & Victor Hazan on the 6th floor and Craig Claiborne on the 5th. If the hotel had crumbled the food world would have changed. For me it was a golden age to be involved in any aspect of food, wine and hospitality. It was a much smaller world. We were all very good friends. We were lucky to all be there are the same time. - JPC
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

01 Nov 2018 8:03pm GMT

26 Sep 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Instant Indian Cookbook Review


Indian cooks have discovered the Instant Pot and how well it works for Indian cuisine-it can be used to cook everything from rice to yogurt to complex layered meat and vegetable dishes. There are at least 10 Indian Instant Pot cookbooks on Amazon at the moment, and I suspect there are more e-books out there on the topic as well. There are also a ton of blogs that focus on Indian recipes made in the Instant Pot.

I recently purchased an Instant Pot but had never used it. I tried it out with a recipe from Instant Indian: Classic foods from every region of India made easy in the Instant Pot! By Rinku Bhattacharya. The recipe I chose was Cozy Butter Chicken. The instructions for this dish were incredibly clear, so much so that I was able to make this dish without having ever used the Instant Pot before. The author points out that timing is an issue "You need to factor in the time it takes to come to full pressure, the actual pressure cooking time, and the time for steam release. I have accounted for the complete cooking cycle by noting a total time needed with all my recipes." But that was the problem I had with the recipe which states:

TOTAL TIME: 40 MINUTES
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Sauté Time: 15 minutes
Pressure Cook: 10 minutes
Pressure Release: 10 minutes

I found that this does not include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to full pressure, and an accurate time for pressure release. It took almost another 10 minutes to reach full pressure and over 15 minutes to release naturally rather than the stated 10 minutes. That is a considerable amount of additional time.

Cozy Butter Chicken
Cozy Butter Chicken, on the right according to the instructions and on the left with the sauce reduced

The other issue I had with this recipe was that the finished dish was incredibly watery and the chicken was somewhat overcooked and falling apart. The sauce did not resemble the thick creamy sauce I know from having had this dish in the past. I spent almost another 10 minutes reducing the sauce in a saucepan. Once I did, the sauce and the dish were absolutely delicious.

I struggled with the decision to purchase an Instant Pot because I really don't have room for it. But I thought perhaps I would be able to replace my rice cooker and my pressure cooker with it. But I found it took longer for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure than it takes my old pressure cooker, so I'm not sure that it will replace it after all. The biggest convenience factor to making this dish was the built in timer which allows you to set the cooking time. I also like that it has settings for things like yogurt and rice.

So would I recommend the Instant Pot and using it for Indian Recipes? Probably, but I will need to do some more experimenting.

Disclaimer: A pdf of this book was given to me for review purposes

©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

26 Sep 2018 6:53pm GMT

25 Sep 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

All About White Peaches

Recently I received a flat of white peaches. I was planning to preserve them but I quickly realized that wasn't such a good idea. White peaches are lower in fruit acid so they are extremely sweet. They have a lovely almost floral fragrance and a very soft juicy texture. All of this makes them great to eat out of hand, but not so great for canning or cooking. If you can them you need to add a lot of acid such as lemon juice and if you bake with them they lose their shape and can get very mushy.

White peaches are the most popular kind of peaches in Asia, but in the West and in Europe we tend to prefer yellow peaches. White peaches ripen very quickly and require refrigeration once soft or they will spoil. Freezing them is also an option. Since using them raw is best, I had to figure out what to do with them as fast as I could.

I decided to freeze most of the peaches. Frozen they can be added to smoothies. I also pureed some peaches and froze the puree to use to make the Bellini cocktail which is just prosecco and peach puree. But what else can you do with white peaches?

Here are a few more ideas:

Use them in simple syrup

Make a shrub

Add them to kombucha

Include them in fruit salad

Use a few slices to sweeten iced tea

Mix up a peach smash with bourbon or whiskey

Disclaimer: My thanks to Washington State Stone Fruit Growers for the peaches. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2019 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

25 Sep 2018 6:49pm GMT