16 Dec 2017

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Chocolate Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Raspberries

Chocolate Pavlova

Do you love show-stopping desserts? What about show-stopping desserts that are easy to make? Oh, I thought so.

Continue reading "Chocolate Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Raspberries" »

16 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

Meal Plan for December Week 3

Meal Plan for December Week 3

This month, Summer Miller is back and excited to share her family's meal plans for December. Happy holidays, everyone!

Some days dinner inspiration comes together without much thought, while others you stand at the kitchen counter blankly staring to a cupboard full of ingredients with no idea what to pull together.

Not to worry, we've all been there.

Continue reading "Meal Plan for December Week 3" »

16 Dec 2017 3:00pm GMT

15 Dec 2017

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Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog

A traditional holiday drink dating back hundreds of years, eggnog is made with eggs (hence the name), milk, cream, spices like nutmeg and vanilla, and fortified with rum, whisky, and/or brandy.

We grew up with eggnog, the kind you buy in a carton, and every Christmas holiday we kids drank up as much of it as we could.

I didn't even know that eggnog was a "spiked" drink until well into my adult years!

Even now, I prefer my eggnog only lightly boozed, if at all. So this recipe is only lightly spiked; feel free to increase the rum and bourbon to your heart's delight, or omit altogether if it's for the kids.

Continue reading "Eggnog" »

15 Dec 2017 6:30pm GMT

14 Dec 2017

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10 Best Side Dishes to Serve with a Holiday Roast

Holiday Sides

You've got the main event covered-some kind of roasted meat, right?

But what to serve alongside? Well, here are our ten best suggestions to go with lamb, prime rib, glazed ham, or turkey!

Continue reading "10 Best Side Dishes to Serve with a Holiday Roast" »

14 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

13 Dec 2017

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Almond Shortbread Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookie

There can never be too many recipes for shortbread, whether for holiday baking or "just because" baking. That "just because" moment could be a for teatime treat, a gift for a friend, or to finish a dinner party.

Continue reading "Almond Shortbread Cookies" »

13 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

12 Dec 2017

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Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to days when my mother made fried rice for dinner. Like most Asian families, we ate regular plain rice almost every day with dinner, so any time my mother felt inspired to change up our dinner routine felt like a treat to me!

Continue reading "Chicken Fried Rice" »

12 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

11 Dec 2017

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Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale Pesto

Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale Pesto

Kale, oh kale. The craze for kale has not abated, and I, for one, am glad about it. If the general public can embrace kale, who knows what culinary boundaries we can cross together in the future?

Kale has long been a popular vegetable in New England since it can be grown all year round in both the field and cold frames. Luckily, its popularity has really gained traction everywhere lately, giving us plenty of new ways to enjoy it - like this pesto pasta!

Continue reading "Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale Pesto" »

11 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

9 Baking Tools That Will Make Your Life Better

9 Baking Tools

It's the time of year when the kitchen seems to have a permanent dusting of flour on all surfaces. I sort of give up on deep cleaning until the cookie season has ended.

Sound familiar?!

Continue reading "9 Baking Tools That Will Make Your Life Better" »

11 Dec 2017 4:45pm GMT

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!
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

11 Dec 2017 3:31pm GMT

10 Dec 2017

feedSimply Recipes

Quick Sausage, Kale, and Crouton Sauté from Smitten Kitchen Every Day

Quick Sausage, Kale, and Crouton Saute

The beauty of Deb Perelman - herself, her blog, and her books - is her sense of humor, humility and grace. She understands that cooking for a family is different than cooking for your own personal creative expression, or for a group of cherished friends.

When food meets the dinner deadlines of young children, life gets pretty intense. No one is more hardcore than a hungry toddler an hour shy of bedtime.

In her new book, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Deb addresses the reality of feeding a family - and wanting it to be a positive experience.

Continue reading "Quick Sausage, Kale, and Crouton Sauté from Smitten Kitchen Every Day" »

10 Dec 2017 5:00pm GMT

09 Dec 2017

feedSimply Recipes

Mint Chocolate Cream Pie

Mint Chocolate Cream Pie

Ever since I can remember, chocolate cream pie has almost always been a part of my family's holiday dessert spread. It was one of my grandpa's favorites and my brother always requests it.

My grandma was the pie-maker in our family and her classic chocolate cream pie made with homemade pudding was the inspiration for this minty version.

Continue reading "Mint Chocolate Cream Pie" »

09 Dec 2017 5:00pm 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.
©2017 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
©2017 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.
©2017 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.

©2017 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.
©2017 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.



©2017 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.

©2017 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
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Sep 2017 2:19pm GMT

29 Aug 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Cauliflower Hatch Chile Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

There are certain dishes that no matter how many times I make them, I'm always looking for a better recipe. Macaroni and cheese is one of them. You know a good macaroni and cheese when you taste it. For me, it's rich but not oily, gooey with melted cheese and with no graininess to the sauce. It's also got a little sharp edge to it. I usually start with a bechamel, but I've never been convinced that it's the perfect sauce base.

I eat a lot of cauliflower and I'm by no means the first to discover that pureed it can stand in for all kinds of creamy sauces. For this recipe I was inspired by two recipes, one from Mark Bittman and another from Michelle Obama. Yup. Michelle Obama. It's a recipe that is floating around the internet but I really couldn't find very many comments from readers who had tried it, so I just went for it. The whole grain pasta and cauliflower addition make this a healthier recipe than some, but I still wouldn't call it healthy.

My version of this recipe differs a bit from the Bittman recipe in that I use more cheese and a bit of milk. It differs from the Obama recipe in that I use macaroni, not penne and I used a bit less milk. Lots of recipes use different styles of pasta, but there is a reason why this dish is called "macaroni and cheese" it's because macaroni really is the best shape for it. I also flavored my mac and cheese with dry mustard and roasted Hatch chiles. This year for the first time I used mild chiles. My recommendation? Combine a little bit of hot or medium hot chiles with some mild ones to get plenty of chile flavor and just a hint of heat. This recipe is infinitely adaptable, skip the chiles, add more, or use whatever chiles you like best.

Note: If you prefer a mac and cheese with a baked cheesy or crusty top, feel free to add one! I'm generally too lazy to bother.

Cauliflower Hatch Chile Macaroni & Cheese
Serves 6 - 8

Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat macaroni
1 pound cauliower, about 1/2 large head
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard, or more to taste
1 pound shredded melting cheese (I used a combination of jack and cheddar)
1 1/2 cups diced roasted peeled and seeded Hatch chiles, or more to taste (hot, medium, mild or a combination)

Instructions

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente then drain and set aside. In the meantime, boil or steam the cauliflower. When tender transfer the cauliflower to a blender along with the milk and dry mustard and puree.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour in the cauliflower puree, cheese and chiles and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Taste and add more mustard or chiles if desired. Serve immediately

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Mollie Stone's Markets and Melissa's produce for giving me a 5 pound carton of roasted chiles. If you live in the Bay Area there's still several more dates during 2017 to attend a chile roast and stock up.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Aug 2017 2:46pm GMT

24 Aug 2017

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Pesto Veal Meatballs: Recipe

When I was growing up one of my favorite dishes was veal parmigiana. I adored the tender scallops of veal, breaded and fried then coated with tomato sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella. It wasn't an everyday meal by any means, but I do remember requesting it for my birthday. These days when you hear the word veal it unfortunately brings to mind "veal crates." Veal has become the poster child for the inhumane treatment of animals. But the truth is, individual confining veal pens are outlawed in many states and are being phased out altogether.

By the end of this year, veal crates will become a thing of the past. But that's just the beginning of the misperceptions about veal. According to the American Veal Association, 100% of US veal farms are family owned, most are also family run and very small scale. No growth hormones are used and the animal's tails are not docked, their horns are not removed. Recently I met with Julie Rossotti of Rossotti Ranch. Julie comes from a Swiss dairy farming family in West Marin, but she raises animals for meat including veal. Her animals are pasture raised, never separated from their mothers. They are fed only on grass and their mother's milk. Veal is also not "baby cows." Animals are harvested at 6 months, the exact same age as pigs for pork. By comparison, chickens are harvested at just 3 weeks.

In addition to the tender texture and mild yet delicious flavor, there are other reasons to consider eating it. Grass fed veal is a revelation, it's tender and flavorful. Veal from pasture raised animals is better for the environment than beef, because the animals keep native grasses in check, naturally fertilize the land and produce less methane than larger older animals. They also use fewer resources like water and grain. Veal is healthier than beef; it has less fat, and is an even better source of some nutrients like protein, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins, and B-6. It's also a good source of niacin and iron.

Note: I talked to Julie about the classic mixture of beef, pork and veal in meatballs. She told me about her recipe for meatballs made with veal and I was intrigued. I adapted her recipe a bit using some cream of rice cereal in place of some of the bread crumbs and for seasoning I used pesto. The meatballs were incredibly tender and it took barely any time to cook them. Best of all? They were even better the second day. Serve them with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) or pasta.

Pesto Veal Meatballs, adapted from a recipe by Julie Rossotti
Makes 4 servings, about 24 meatballs

1 pound ground veal
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup cream of rice dry cereal
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup pesto
Additional pesto for serving

Heat oven to 400 F. Combine the veal, bread crumbs, cream of rice, milk, egg and pesto in a bowl and gently combine with your hands. Using a tablespoon scoop the mixture into small balls and place in a greased foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with additional pesto.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks for Rossotti Ranch for providing me with veal for this recipe.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

24 Aug 2017 7:09pm GMT

15 Aug 2017

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Peach Nectarine Butter Recipe

I can't help it. I love to experiment with recipes. But when it comes to canning, experimentation is not always a good idea. For safety sake, my canning recipes are usually just very minimal tweaks to recipes that I trust. When my second batch of fruit from Washington State Stone Fruit arrived last week I made low sugar nectarine preserves from one of my pal Sean Timberlake's recipes. Sean is the brains behind the do-it-yourself site Punk Domestics and a canning expert. I also made a combination peach and nectarine butter from another recipe I'd used in the past.

I'm always eager for opportunities to adapt recipes and put my own spin on them and when it came to these recipes I was inspired to use some samples of bitters and an amaro from Greenbar Distillery. While it's typical to use them in cocktails, I asked Sean about the safety of using these ingredients as well as a bit of spice in canning. Here's what he said, "Adding a small amount of alcohol or spices should not significantly impact the total acidity in a preserve of high-pH fruit (such as peaches and cherries). If desired, add a little ReaLemon (5% acidity citric solution) to offset it."

With Sean's reassurance, I used a tablespoon of Grand Poppy amaro in the nectarine preserves, and just a teaspoon of saffron bitters in the fruit butter. You don't really taste it in either, but it adds lovely aromatic properties. With the preserves recipe I didn't use any liquid with the nectarines because some of the fruit was very juicy. If you're wondering about Grand Poppy, it's an amaro that's bittersweet and includes California poppy, orange, lemon, grapefruit, bearberry, California bay leaf, pink peppercorn, dandelion, blessed thistle, burdock, rue, artichoke, gentian, geranium, cherry bark and a bit of cane sugar.

Peach Nectarine Butter, adapted from The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving
Makes 6 1/2 pint jars

Ingredients

10 cups of coarsely chopped and pitted peaches and nectarines, no need to peel
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1-2 teaspoons Greenbar saffron bitters

Instructions

Place the peaches and nectarines in a large pot with the water, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook it over medium heat until the fruit is very tender. Use a stick blender to puree the mixture. Add the sugar and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick enough to cling onto a spoon. Add the bitters and stir.

Lade into hot prepared jars (washed with hot soapy water). Leave 1/4 inch head space, wipe the rim of the jar if necessary. Apply the lid and twist on the band. Gently place in your canner or a large pot of water with a rack in it. The water should be 2 inches above the jars. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove let cool.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Washington State Stone Fruit for the fruit and to Greenbar Distillery for the bitters and amaro. For more preserving recipes, check out Sweet Preservation.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

15 Aug 2017 8:44pm GMT

27 Jul 2017

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Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler Review

Is a spiralizer necessary? I got one to review, but truth be told I'm unconvinced. It turns out there are lots of ways to get strands and ribbons from vegetables and fruit. The most common kitchen tools, a grater and a vegetable peeler work remarkably well. I'm also a fan of the mandolin which can be used to make many more types of cuts. But if you really enjoy creating these textures and want a single gadget, the Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler is really a three in one. It's great for peeling potatoes and carrots, but it's also good for creating those slithery ribbons and shredds for salads. It also has a nifty feature on the side that allows you to remove the "eyes" from potatoes without resorting to a paring knife or use it to create a peel strip from citrus fruit.


I've been using this gadget on zucchini. I use the larger ribbons with chunkier pasta and the shreds with skinny noodles. I blanch the zucchini for a minute or two with the pasta, to get rid of the rawness and cook it just enough so it blends nicely with the pasta. It helps me to lower the carbs and bulk up a pasta meal with healthy vegetables.

It's also good for creating ribbons of cucumber for salads.

Another way I am using it is to make vegetable slaws. The latest one I made with raw carrots, beets and celeraic. I tosssed it with a creamy sesame dressing for a deliciously crunch salad.

This is a small gadget, and I like that it both peels and shreds, the only negative to it is cleaning it. Because it creates such fine strands, it can be a pain to remove them all, the best bet is to use a bamboo skewer if any tiny bits get stuck in the teeth. At just under $10 I think it's a good buy especially if you are in the market for a new peeler as eventually they do become dull.

Do you have a spiralizer? Or do you use something else? If you have any favorite recipes let me know in the comments.

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler for review purposes. This post includes an affiliate link. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

27 Jul 2017 1:06pm GMT

25 Jul 2017

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Discovering Crémant d’Alsace Rosé

When I think of the wines of the Alsace I think white wine. After all 90% of the wines produced in the Alsace are white. But there's growing interest in one particular red wine, Pinot Noir. This is a recent development, in part due to changing climate conditions. The Alsace already has a staggering 15 different soil types and now it has a longer growing season. Limestone and clay ensure that Pinot Noir will develop the right acidity and tannins. Good Pinot Noir never happens by mistake! I recently enjoyed a wine dinner with a number of different bottles of Pinot Noir from the Alsace. They had all the characteristics I expect from Pinot Noir-notes of strawberry or raspberry, smoke, leather, sometimes spice, fresh acidity. Some were fresh and vibrant, others more complex and earthy. But the wine I enjoyed the most? Allimant Laugner Crémant d'Alsace Rosé. It's bright with strawberry and lemon, and deliciously fizzy and can be found for under $20.

I love sparking wines and Brut Rosé in particular. Crémant is the French name for sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region. Made exactly the same way as Champagne, it's the second fermentation that gives the wine bubbles. Crémant is made from several different grapes in the Alsace, but Crémant d'Alsace Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir. Right now I'm drinking a lovely bottle of Crémant d'Alsace Rosé from Pierre Sparr. It spends a year aging on the lees, is lively, fresh and has a smooth finish.

There's something extremely special about all Brut Rosé that every sommelier knows. It's perhaps the easiest wine in the world to pair with food. Really. It goes with just about everything from light seafood to rich barbecue. It's my go to wine when I don't want to do a full wine pairing with a tasting menu. I know that a bottle of Brut Rosé will handle whatever courses I'm served. Of course, I might switch to a bigger bold red for a steak course, but otherwise, I trust that Brut Rosé will work. But by all means enjoy it as an aperitif as well. It's an easy going wine that is good with or without food and the ones from the Alsace are particularly good and generally very reasonably priced. What more could you ask for?

Disclaimer: My thanks to the Wine of the Alsace for inviting me to the dinner and Thierry Fritsch, Head Oeneologist and Educator for the Conseil Interproffesionel des Vins d'Alsace for educating me about these wines. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

25 Jul 2017 2:28pm GMT

19 Jul 2017

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Cherry Jamming in the Miele Kitchen

Chef Rachelle Boucher shows off our cherry jam
If you've been to the store or maybe the farmers market recently you might have seen cherries. The sweetness of bing cherries is both intense and fleeting. Cherries don't last long after being picked, unlike apples or oranges. That's why I'm glad to be a part of the Canbassador program.

The past few years I've received a crate of fresh sweet cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers. Every year I experiment preserving something different. I've prepared cherry barbecue sauce, canned cherries for pie, put up bourbon cherries, made cherry vanilla shrub and even dried and frozen cherries. This year I decided to make cherry jam. It turned out to be a very special cooking experience for me because I wasn't in my kitchen, but over at the Miele showroom in San Francisco, with my pal Chef Rachelle Boucher. She kindly invited me over to do a little cooking. To be honest, working with Miele appliances will spoil you. Here's how it went and the key ways it differed from what I do at home:

Step 1 - Sterlized the jars in Miele's super duper professional dishwasher. No messy hot water bath!
Step 2 - Cooked the jam using a super duper Miele Induction Range. I would take induction over gas anyday. Why? The minute you turn it off, there's no heat at all. Which means while I probably should have used a larger pot, there was no risk of it boiling over since any adjustment to the heat was instantaneous. When you turn of the heat on a gas or electric range, the grate stays hot. The smooth surface also makes moving pots around easy.
Step 3 - Sterilized more jars then processed the jam in a super duper Miele Combi-Steam Oven. Again, no messy and potentially dangerous hot water bath! Because the oven uses steam, you don't need a large capacity, and it heats instantly, no "preheating." What else can you do in it? Well steam obviously but also roast, make yogurt, proof dough, bake bread with perfect crusts.

You really don't know what appliances are like until you use them. You can read all the reviews you want, but nothing takes the place of actually trying before you buy. The touchscreens, the smooth surfaces and the incredible number of settings all make this line of appliances positively dreamy. So you don't think I turned into the perfect cook, I will now share with you the things I did wrong. These are the three mistakes I made that I will not make again:

1. I mostly mashed the cherries instead of chopping them thoroughly. If you don't chop the cherries finely enough, cherry jam doesn't thicken up as much as it should. Oops! The good news is I have syrupy cherry topping which is fabulous on Greek yogurt or ice cream and not bad on toast. I may also use some to make cherry soda or cherry cocktails, so not a complete disaster.

2. The recipe I found online called for a teaspoon of almond extract to 4 cups of cherries. This is way too much. Better to use about a quarter or half that amount. Live and learn! Seriously though, make sure you're confident in your recipe source. I recommend using the recipes at Sweet Preservation on the Northwest Cherries site.

3. I doubled my recipe. While preserving is great for large quantities, when trying a new recipe, it's best to do a small or single batch in case something goes wrong (see #1 and #2).

Disclaimer: My thanks for Northwest Stone Fruit for providing me with the cherries and to Rachelle Boucher for inviting me to cook in the Miele kitchen. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any another post on Cooking with Amy.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Jul 2017 3:58pm GMT

22 Jun 2017

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Easy Shrimp Curry Recipe

Here's one of my strategies for dinner in a hurry--tweak a classic dish by loading it up with vegetables and creating a one pot meal. Recently I worked on a shrimp and feta recipe, it started out very much the same as many other recipes, but I added lots of fresh fennel. Basically this shrimp curry recipe started with a simple coconut curry recipe to which I added sugar snap peas, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I happened to have some sugar snap peas from Mann's produce (another great time saver because they are stringless and don't need any prep), but I could have added broccoli or sweet potatoes or some other study vegetables. Just add rice or noodles and dinner is done!

This recipe comes courtesy of American Shrimp Company, they kindly sent me some more of their fresh wild gulf shrimp. The shrimp are bursting with flavor and can be used in so many dishes. They arrive clean, deveined, peeled, fresh, not frozen, perfect for when you don't have much time for meal prep since they really don't need marinating and cook in just minutes. I don't use all the shrimp at once so some of them go in the freezer to use at a later date.

The benefit of making a one pot meal is that you don't have to bother cooking multiple side dishes and in this case, the vegetables swim along with the shrimp in a delicious curry sauce. I'm going to continue to experiment with more dishes like this. What classic shrimp dishes would you add vegetables to in order to make it a meal? Shrimp and grits? Scampi? Shrimp gumbo? The possibilities are endless.

Easy Shrimp Curry
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
3/4 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, optional

Instructions

Heat a large deep skillet or wok over medium high heat and add the coconut oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds then add the onion and peppers. Stiry fry until the vegetables have slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the curry powder and the snap peas and stir for a minute then add the coconut milk and soy sauce. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until they shrimp are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. You can add more soy sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like. Serve with rice (or rice noodles) and garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to The American Shrimp Company and Mann's for providing me with shrimp and sugar snap peas. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Jun 2017 3:10pm GMT