This bento makes one hell of a delicious and satisfying meal. It’s also a chance to travel with your kids to the Middle East and talk to them a little bit about the countries that make up the Middle East. This is partly why we try and eat food from around the world – because it gives us a chance to talk to our little ones about other countries and cultures, while we enjoy their cuisines. Continue reading
Here’s a zingy, zesty, candy-like, and totally unique gingerbread with an interesting history. It dates back to the mid 1800′s and a country baker named Sarah Nelson who sold her famous gingerbread out of a quaint stone cottage to Victorian tourists visiting England’s Lake District . If you’re lucky enough to be roaming the English countryside in those parts, you’ll find the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop still going strong after more than 150 years and offering up freshly made confections made from Sarah’s original recipes.
One of my faves, Jamie Oliver, loves Grasmere gingerbread and since he was not able to get ahold of the top secret recipe (it’s locked in the National Westminster Bank in Ambleside), he created his own version which he says is almost as good and “some of the best gingerbread you’ll ever eat”…. if that’s not enough of a recommendation to try this recipe yourself, I don’t know what is! Continue reading
Our Sunday Supper tradition is going strong – pretty much every Sunday we try some new recipes and sometimes invite some close friends or neighbors over, or we head out to a casual, fun restaurant for a meal. This past Sunday inspite of all the Thanksgiving uber-excessive overeating, the hubby and I had a seafood cook off. He made some super delicious swordfish kebabs on the grill and I made a gussied up version of my prawn curry in a hurry. It lead to much lobbying, smack-talking and taunting about who made the better dish. No one picked a winner (that’s just lame!) and now another Sunday Supper cook-off is being planned. Sometimes, it is just easier to go out.
And go out is what we did with some friends recently to Starbelly in the Castro for Sunday Supper. We love the back patio at Starbelly and when you go with kids, it is often early enough to get a spot outside. The restaurant does get crowded, so try and make a reservation a few days in advance. The food is best described as Cal-American with family friendly options like pizza, burgers, pastas, soups and salads. I loved the grilled caesar salad with avocado and now think all caesar salads ought to be grilled. The kiddos could not get enough of the french fries with three yummy dips. The food is not earth-shatteringly good (like my prawn curry!), but it is quite well prepared and a notch above most establishments. Not a “food adventure” in the typical sense, but sometimes you just need to well-made good ol’ American food.
I love the idea of Thanksgiving and the deliciousness that surrounds the holiday. However, we also love breaking from tradition and preparing an elaborate Thanksgiving meal that captures some of favorite global cuisines. We have done an Indian vegetarian Thanksgiving, a Mexican inspired meal and Middle Eastern delights from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. This year we have a vegetarian Southeast Asian feast coming up – green beans with flakes coconuts, Indonesian sayur lodeh (a coconut based vegetable curry), stir-fried Asian greens, tempeh and some sambal to give it that special kick. As for desserts we may go traditional, because who can resist a good pumpkin or pecan pie with some creamy ice-cream.
Here are some inspired, global picks: Continue reading
Here’s a little doodle that Luca and I made on a recent visit to the Buena Vista Cafe. This is the spot when you need a dose of real-deal, old school San Francisco. It’s not really about the food (although you’ll never find me complaining about the “straight up” crab sandwich on sliced sourdough — they don’t mess it up with unnecessary garnishes and fancy stuff). The magic of The Buena Vista is more in the ambiance, the sounds of cable cars in the distance, the bartenders in white jackets, the mix of tourists and regulars, and that impressive line up of dainty Irish coffee glasses down the length of the bar.
Weekend brunch in San Francisco can be quite the “international experience” if you decide to be deliberate about it. Most weekends we enjoy exposing our kiddos to breakfast/brunch from around the world/US.
At many of the super popular spots below, if you go early (which is easy with those pesky early risers), you can be done by the time the lines get crazy. Perhaps, it is more breakfast vs. brunch in that case, but it is always good to get out and mix up the routine on weekends. We loathe routine and look forward to having breakfast/brunch out on weekends, just so every day does not look the same. :) We’d love for you to share some of your breakfast/brunch favorites in the Bay Area, especially if they have a unique international or Regional American twist to them. Continue reading
By now you know I am obsessed with the book “Edible Selby“, a super stylish, globe-hopping, sketchbook tour of some of the world’s tastiest eateries. I’ve been staring especially longingly at the feature on Linnéa Thomsen and her gorgeous bakery nestled in the equally gorgeous Stockholm Park, Rosendals Trädgård. Everytime I see those photos, I want to jump right into the pages and grab a cardamon bun and a hunk of one of her wood-fired breads. Heaven! But until my family makes it to Sweden, we can at least make these lovely crackers. They’re super light and crisp and perfect with any sort of cheese, jam or cracker topping you can think of…. or do as the Scandinavians do and have yours with a bit of good butter. Continue reading
Delicata squash, which I am embarrassed to say I did not really know existed till last year, is fast becoming one of our favorites. It is the lazy person’s squash, requiring no fancy Y-peelers to take the skin off. It works particularly well for me, because I loathe with a passion, wrestling with a large butternut squash, even if I have a sharp knife. So much so, that I barely cook with fall/winter squashes, and if I rarely do, I buy the overpriced, cut up, shriveled stuff in baggies.
This squash can be roasted in half moons to yield a soft, sweet and slightly charred delight. We have been devouring it just like that as part of our dinner rice bowls. The squash brings to our rice bowls a coziness and comfort – the warmth and color of fall on your plate. I was missing the bygone summer tomatoes, but these gorgeous squashes have taken their place. And I know I will soon be lamenting their passing….but hopefully I will discover some other seasonal vegetable to obsess with.
Here are some recipes I am hoping to try this fall featuring our current favorite – Delicata Squash:
Roasted Orzo Salad (with Kale and Delicata Squash) from 101 Cookbooks – delicata squash and kale have to be a match made in heaven
Miso Sesame Winter Squash Recipe from 101 Cookbooks – will be amazing for Vegan Mondays
Simple Roasted Delicata Squash from Chez Pim – if I can un-marry myself from roasting half-moons – I will try this
Little fingers love chicken wings and this recipe from one of our favorite blogs Just One Cookbook, is bound to be a favorite at almost everyone’s home. It requires some special ingredients like miso and mirin, which everyone may not have at home. However, the great news is that several regular grocery stores are starting to carry both miso and mirin. If you are interested at all in any type of Japanese cooking, both these ingredients are staples in Japanese cuisine and a worthwhile addition to your pantry.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley, and/or soybeans with salt and the fungus kōjikin, the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru, a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. There is a wide variety of miso available. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory.
Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is a kind of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The sugar content is a complex carbohydrate formed naturally via the fermentation process; it is not refined sugar. The alcohol content is further lowered when the liquid is heated.
We have just started experimenting with using miso and have so far used it on a broiled tofu for “Vegan Monday” and also a killer ginger miso dressing for salads.
- 10 chicken wings (or any parts of chicken)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. Miso – Nami uses awase miso (red & white mixed), we used just white miso
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. mirin
- Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towel. Prick the chicken with a fork and put it in a Ziploc bag.
- Mince the garlic and combine it with miso in a small bowl.
- Add the mixture into the Ziploc bag and rub it all over the chicken from outside the bag. Keep in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours (preferably overnight).
- About 3 hours before cooking, add soy sauce and mirin in the bag and mix well. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
- Line the bottom of broiler pan with aluminum foil (so that you don’t have to clean later) and oil the broiler rack. Place the chicken on the broiler rack skin side down first. Turn the broiler on high (no preheat) and place the broiler rack 6 inch away from the top (middle oven rack) and broil for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Then flip the chicken (now skin side is up) and broil for another 10 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the oven.
- If you use other parts of chicken like chicken thigh or breast, preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place the meat on top. Bake for 30 minutes or more depending on the part you use. Turn the chicken over half way during cooking process. Serve immediately.
Some other yummy chicken wing recipes and a chicken wing food adventure from our blog….
I think I’ve checked out Todd Selby’s “Edible Selby” about a dozen times from the library (perhaps I should finally breakdown and buy a copy for myself!) This beautiful book takes you behind the scenes and into the minds of some of the most interesting chefs and artisan food producers around the world. The combination of fantastic food, gorgeous photography and sketchbook pages really takes me to my food “happy place” and makes me suspect that Todd Selby has the best job in the whole world. My kids love perusing this one with me too.
Simran knows I am a total wanna be Italian, so Elizabeth David’s classic book, “Italian Food” about the ingredients and regional cooking traditions of Italy is an essential reference which I can’t believe I’m only discovering now. It’s hard to imagine that when she published this book in 1954, authentic Italian cuisine was virtually unknown in this country. Things have certainly changed for the better in that regard!