Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Challenge: beer.

So, the secret ingredient for Saturday's cookoff was beer, chosen by the chooser of ridiculous ingredients, Nate. I'm sure you'll be surprised to see the winner:

Yes, that is ice cream. Bailey's ice cream, actually, with Jameson marshmallows and Guinness syrup. Quite good, although a bit of a sugar overload. Mr. Chef, Josh, thinks that the winner, Christian, is a pastry chef in disguise.

And something a little more expected, beer can chicken. This was my entry, along with some fizzy beer margaritas and although it barely got an honorable mention, I was super pleased. Not counting the trek to the Bayshore to get a new propane tank, it was very easy to make, the skin was perfectly crispy and the chicken itself was full of spice and not dry at all.

Adventures in easy Japanese food.

I would like to say that this chicken katsu recipe is from my favorite new cookbook, "Let's Cook Japanese Food," but all of my katsu skills are courtesy of the katsu master, Kiko's mom.

Omelet with chicken tomato rice. This was surprisingly good, although I have yet to make an omelet that isn't a bit overcooked. Unfortunately, we lost our appetites a few minutes into Slumdog Millionaire as the protagonist was zapped with a car battery.

Not actually Japanese food, but leftover Easter brunch made into mu shu. The pancakes were surprisingly easy, but Nate didn't really appreciate the collard greens in lieu of cabbage.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I couldn't let another Easter go by without lamby cake, so here are the remnants, trapped under a cheese dome.

All alone in Mendocino.

Don't be scared, we're still married. It was just so nice to be away from the hubub that was Phoenix the week before the wedding.

The best burgers ever. Really.

Ignore the bratty girl in front and admire the view.

Why can't you find this at Walgreens?

When we own a winery and are making the best late harvest muscats in Sonoma, we will have poppies like this in our charming terrace boxes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Last night we finally tried Farina. It was very busy when we arrived at 8:30 PM without a reservation, but we were seated at the focaccia bar within twenty minutes. Luckily, we had stopped at Minimum (my new favorite bar) on the way there to have a glass of cava and cheese plate, so the wait wasn't painful.

The focaccia bar is awesome. There are lots of old marble blocks acting as counters and attractive young chefs make pasta and focaccia. We were there during the Festa del Pesto and I was very excited to try the pesto that Shaina has been raving about. Nate, however, was absolutely insistent that we try the ravioli filled with veal and sweetbreads, and I backed down.

The star of the night was something they called Focaccia di Recco, two thin layers of dough filled with Stracchino and baked until crispy. Oh Stracchino. When I lived in Italy, my host mom would often pull the aluminum foil wrapped package of Stracchino out of the fridge, and we would slather it on hard dusty rolls from the bakery downstairs. It's sour and smooth and a little astringent. A great snack cheese. Like Laughing Cow but less fake (maybe) and more complex.

My attention kept drifting away from the conversation and towards the enormous pasta roller three feet away. Then I was mesmerized by the girl chef rolling out dough for Focaccia. Nate said, at one point, "I hope someday we win the lottery so you can go to cooking school." See, this is why I love him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I never get sick

Everyone at my office has had a cold for the past few weeks. I was feeling very smug with my clear airways until Friday, when they were no longer so clear. I got the cold. Not the horrible version that a few of my offcemates have had, but unpleasant enough. I have alligator scales on my cheeks from blowing my nose, I had to lay my head on the table during a massage instead of in the face donut thingy (which made my neck hurt), and I cannot smell. This last bit is really the most upsetting.

Not being able to smell is horrible. I cannot taste my food and wine, and I cannot smell my house or Nate. My day slides by without asserting itself. Somehow, I was in charge of food for the non-Valentine's dinner party on Saturday night. I think it turned out okay, but who am I to judge? I found myself making pronouncements on the wine, but who was I kidding?

However, I think I may have developed the perfect dinner for a cold, rainy night and a cold. Last night, I had rice and creamed kale with a sunnyside up egg on top. I may have it for lunch again. The richness of the egg is detectable without functioning scent receptors and the whole thing is salty and a little bitter. I feel like it's reasonably healthy, too (but I also thought the Greyhounds I was drinking yesterday during poker were good for my cold).