Food for Happy Wanderers: Acini di Pepe in Brodo in Point Reyes

Acini di Pepe in Brodo - Stellina Osteria_A Little Yumminess

Luca and I did not spend the Lunar year school holiday feasting on dim sum and exploring the amazing collection of cultural treasures at the Asian Art museum as we had planned. In fact there was not even a chopstick in sight. We woke up and the lure of grassy slopes and ocean breezes was just too strong so our year of the snake celebration found us instead driving north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Reyes where we hiked, explored a Miwok village and ate a super delish lunch at Osteria Stellina.

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Destination Sandwich: Salumeria SF

We haven’t made it to Flour + Water, the much hyped San Francisco pasta hot spot  but we’re inching our way closer with a recent visit to Salumeria, Flour + Water’s new little brother at 20th and Florida’s Streets. Salumeria as you might guess from the name, is an artisan Italian deli where you can find a hand-picked selection of cured, meats, cheese and condiments, but it’s also a worthy eat-in or take out sandwich destination. In other words, Salumeria is our new latest excuse to drive across town to the Mission.

While my heart still belongs to SF’s old school Italian delicatessens (Molinari’s in North Beach, Lucca in Marina and Luca Ravioli in the Mission), Salumeria has plenty to drool over and the stylish surroundings and cool neighborhood are a pretty nice treat too.

Check Out:

  • 2-3 daily sandwich specials, salads, soups, antipasti and cheese plates. We  split one of the daily sandwiches featuring housemade salami, mortadella and a tasty briny-mustardy tapenade with a perfect little kick. But one look at the chicken salad made us wish we had tried that too. The sandwiches are about $10 but they are big enough to share with a friend possibly (hopefully!) leaving you enough room to  try one of their other offerings.
  • Salumeria’s deli counter is an antipasto platter’s dream come true. Think house made salami, antipasti and a hand-picked selection of cheeses, oils, honeys and other goodies.
  • Grab and go or dine-in in style. Salumeria borrows Central Kitchen’s dining room during lunch so there’s ample seating if you decide to have a sit down lunch. The industrial, concrete fountain entertained my little squirmer while we waited for our food (happy mom!) and unlike many places we go, there was plenty of room to roll the old stroller in and stow it in a quiet corner.
  • If you drop by Salumeria on Saturday, look for the Weekend Pasta Project. It’s a pasta kit created by the team at Flour + Water containing all the components and instructions to make a stellar pasta creation at home. A recent kit included tagliatelle, braised pork, summer squash, tomato confit and pinenuts. Just say yum!


Nearby places to eat, shop or play:

  • Pop in for a little art at Southern Exposure is just down the street. The gallery is open noon to 6 (closed Sunday and Monday), and features the work of up and coming Bay Area artists.
  • Just on the other side of the 101 freeway, The Potrero Hill Community Garden is a  great place to take in views of the Mission and Twin Peaks. The kids will probably be interested to know that the garden stands on the site where the famous “Goat Lady” of Potrero Hill used to graze her herb of 18+ goats in the 50’s (there’s more about the Goat Lady on the garden’s website).


You might also like some of our other sandwich and salumi-related adventures:

Tortellini in Brodo

Have you ever had one of those ultimate meals — one your mind wanders back to, even years later? Tortellini in brodo at a little restaurant in Bologna (I can’t even remember the name of the place!) ranks in there as one of the best things I have ever eaten. A few humble tortellini swimming around in some broth — but somehow impossibly delicious. Tim says his grandmother’s cousin Alina used to whip up homemade tortellini for lunch whenever they came to visit her in Lucca, Italy. I regret that I never had the chance to sample them. You can’t get much better than homecooking from an Italian nonna!

So, peeking into my refrigerator the other day and seeing a half of a package of gyoza wrappers and a few pieces of prosciutto, I got the inspiration to take a try at tortellini. It’s really not too hard but it does take some time, so better saved for when you’re not rushed to get dinner on the table. You can do some of it in advance (the broth, the filling) and it’s a nice way to use up extra roasted meat you might have on hand.  This definitely falls into the category of something extra special to cook for people you love! Most kids love simple, uncomplicated food, so this should be a big hit.

This will make 100+ tortellini. You can freeze the extra tortellini on a cookie sheet  lined with waxed paper and transfer to a freezer safe container once they are frozen.

Shopping List:

  • 1/2 pound chicken (breast or thigh, your choice)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • Several slices proscuitto and/or mortadella
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ~100 Fresh pasta squares (wonton wrapper will do)

Extra Chicken-y Broth

I got a little inspiration in the broth department from Charlie Trotter’s “Egg Drop Soup with Ginger-Braised Chicken” recipe from the “Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home” cookbook. He makes a super flavorful broth by simmering chicken in stock and using the resulting braising liquid for the final dish.

  • In a hot pan, sear the chicken for a few minutes on both sides until golden.
  • Roughly chop 1 small onion, 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk and add to the pan, cooking 5-10 minutes until caramelized.
  • Add 2 quarts chicken stock and simmer 30 minutes or so or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken.
  • Put the stock through a strainer and skim off the fat. Or to make things easier make the stock the day before, strain and refrigerate, removing the fat after it has cooled.

Tortellini:

  • Remove skin/bones from the cooked chicken and finely mince. (BTW: In lieu of or in addition to the chicken, you could substitute any combination of cooked meats you might have on hand… a good opportunity to use up leftovers)
  • Add a few slices of minced prosciutto and/or mortadella, one egg yolk, and a cup or so of grated parmesan cheese, and just a teeny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. You could add well-drained ricotta or whatever herbs or seasonings you desire.  Mix until well combined. Since all but the egg yolk is cooked, definitely taste and adjust the seasonings — you could even mix in the egg yolk after tasting if you’re concerned about it.
  • Fill each pasta square with a tsp of filling. Lightly wet the edges and fold in half to form a triangle. Press to seal making sure there are no air pockets. With the triangle point facing up, bring the 2 bottom corners together around your finger and pinch to seal. Gently fold back the triangle point (the one that was facing up). Place on a kitchen towel without letting the tortellini touch. I used circular gyoza wrapers just because I had them and it worked out fine. Homemade pasta if you really have some time on your hands, would be phenomenal, of course.
  • Here’s a video if you want a quick little video tutorial on folding tortellini.

Serve

  • Heat the broth. If you want you can throw in a handful of peas and some steamed, diced carrots (I know, not traditional, but I’m always trying to get more vegetables on the table).
  • Cook the tortellini in well-salted water for 8-10 minutes.
  • Spoon the cooked tortellini into bowls and ladle the broth (with the optional vegetables) over. Add some grated parmesan cheese on top.