Posts tagged food

The Queen of all Chowders

Every true San Franciscan foodie will agree that come the middle of November we temporarily forget about our longing for roasted turkey and gravy hidden mashed potatoes to come our way in the near future. We instead strive to do nothing more than desperately attack the local sea food restaurants for a messy chow down with a hideously oversized bib and local Dungeness crab,  that is freshly caught at sea and brought back to the city on that cold and misty morning for one purpose only. However as many of us are aware, this city wide celebration was put on a two week halt when price disagreements between commercial fishermen and buyers, resulted in a strike that seemed to drag on forever. Sunday evening hoping to finally crack into one of the little beasts, I walked up the street to my favorite neighborhood raw live seafood eatery, Bar Crudo at 655 Divisadero Street. As I typically do, I sat at the bar and looked to the place where our exceptionally fresh crustacean friends usually reside, but not to my surprise found the spot vacant with slow melting ice. Even as a supporter of the fisherman cause and deep appreciation for the local seafood market, as a desperate mid November San Franciscan I could not help but feel disappointment. I got to thinking that like many strikes these days, it was certainly influenced by all of this current political occupy upheaval. I could not help but have a hilarious image come to me of my fellow city foodies and I running down to “occupy the sea”, and beg for a final consensus. With my solemn need for comfort food, I dove into what I thought might be the next best thing for me; Bar Crudo’s seafood chowder, and BOY WAS IT GOOD! This small cup of hearty yet creamy heaven is not like any chowder I have ever encountered. I could not believe the variety of sea food critters; halibut, mussels, squid, clams, and jumbo shrimp coming together in such a harmonious and delectable manner. The seafood cooked to perfection, swims around big chunks of red potatoes, apple wood smoked bacon and a decent sprinkle of white pepper to add a kick of spice. While experiencing this perfectly crafted cup of pungent perfection, I forgot all about the lack of crab in the city, Bar Crudo making my visit worthwhile as always. I highly recommend washing this heart attack in a cup down with a crisp cold glass of one of their well selected glasses of Ugni Blanc. Brace yourself for this chowder readers!  One little cup goes a long way; there is a reason they don’t offer a bowl of it on their menu!

image of Bar Crudo seafood chowder

Bar Crudo’s Happy Hour: Tuesday- Sunday 5:00 PM-6:30

Where you can dive into this exceptional experience for only $5!!

image of bar crudo

*Image source: Travel + Leisure.

Something I Ate Today

I ended my day with one of my favorite desserts, homemade Pecan, Caramel & Fudge Pie (it’s delicious with ice cream).

image of Slice of Pecan Pice

I made this pie on Sunday since we were having a dinner guest. Note: I dislike cooking & baking…sad I know, but I get absolutely no pleasure in the kitchen. The only time I really attempt to make tasty food is when we have guests over. So in hopes of getting better at this domesticated eating style, I’ll be inviting more friends over for dinner to gain the skills and maybe force myself into liking this whole homemaker lifestyle.

This Pecan, Caramel & Fudge Pie is super easy to make (I buy the crust rather than make it myself). You can find the recipe here on Epicurious.

Coming in 2012: “The Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook”

image of nobus vegetarian cookbook
Rizzoli is set to deliver a new Nobo-centric cookbook in 2012. Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook is a focused look at healthy Japanese eating. Nobu Matsuhisa keeps the eye on the vegetable dishes with insight and expertise that travels across more than 60 recipes.

Nobu uses a wide range of cooking techniques—from marinating and pickling to steaming, roasting, boiling, frying, grating, etc.—to bring out the full flavors and textures of the vegetables. He also introduces tofu and yuba, both traditional Japanese ingredients made from soybeans, and offers ten recipes for vegetable sweets and fifteen for cocktails.

Pre-order from Amazon.

Make a Rhubarb & Strawberry Pie

If you’ve ever read my blog ( you’ve heard me rattle on and on about a farm I had the good fortune to grow up on and if you’ve read my blog recently you’ll know that I was lucky enough to visit it this past weekend. I was excited to see the ocean, walk the fields of my youth and drink and eat (the farm’s answer to professional sport) with my family. What I had forgotten was I was visiting during prime rhubarb season, a clear indication I’d been in the city too long.
image of Rhubarb Stalks
You cannot imagine my excitement when I took a quick look behind the farmhouse and saw rows and rows of dark green leaves the size and shape of elephant ears sheltering ruby red stalks.

I have a strong attachment to the farm’s rhubarb patch. When I was kid my grandmother used to give us kids raw stalks of rhubarb with a teacup of sugar for dipping. I used to love the color the rhubarb dyed my hands (I was in the midst of an intense pink phase), the crunch it made as I bit into it and the thrill of being allowed literally a bowl of sugar. I have no idea if this treat is common amongst fellow cultivators of rhubarb, but if you’ve never tried it I suggest you give it a whirl. You won’t be sorry… unless you don’t like rhubarb, in which case I can’t help you.
image of Strawberries on cutting board

There is a reason strawberries and rhubarb were made for each other. Rhubarb can be quite tart and strawberries have a more pronounced sweet flavor that keeps you from puckering as you eat a slice of rhubarb pie. Plus they look so pretty cuddling up next to one another. I’ve heard pink and red clash but good food breaks all the rules.

image of pastry dough

The pastry is all butter. I don’t often mess around with shortening. I just don’t like the taste. Butter is a little more difficult to work with than shortening but it improves the flavor and color of the finished pastry.

I’ve also made an odd addition to the pastry. One I’m sure your grandmother would never have thought to add… unless she had a drinking problem.

Great! Now I sound like I have a drinking problem… I don’t!

You believe me right?


image of strawberries in a bowl

Vodka is the mysterious ingredient and no you can’t taste it, but if you want to chase a slice of pie with a martini I won’t tell anybody.

image of Rhubarb Pie

Liquid brings the pastry together and makes it workable, but add too much and you can be left with a chewy crust rather than a flakey one. Vodka evaporates faster than water meaning the liquid you added to form the pastry quickly bakes off in the oven leaving you with a dry flakey crust with no excess moisture.

Phew! Thank goodness.

image of Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie

It important to remember fresh fruit often contains more moisture than it’s frozen counterparts so, if you’re using fresh up the amount of flour you use in the filling to thicken it. The pictured pie turned out a touch too watery. I normally can’t get fresh rhubarb, because I have a nasty habit of craving it when it’s not in season, so because it had been a while since I’d worked with fresh rhubarb I forgot and failedto follow my own advice. But you won’t make the same mistake will you.

image of lattice pie top

You may be wondering where the pictures of the finished product are… well, I got distracted and out numbered by my wild but adorable little cousins while the pie was baking. When I returned I found that my family was kind enough to remove the pie from the oven… and eat it!

The pie was gone before I could sneak a piece or a shot of my gorgeous pie. Well family, I hope you all burned the roof of your mouth, because I’m out a money shot!

image of lattice pie

Anyway, follow the recipe and I can guarantee this pie will be beautiful inside and out. Indulge in this classic and take full advantage of rhubarb season, because there really are a million uses for this gorgeous ingredient, like rhubarb compote on pancakes…


You’ll have to excuse me I have urgent business in my kitchen I must attend to.

All Butter Pastry:

2 ½ cup pastry flour (or all-purpose), sifted

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tsp salt

¼ cup cold water

¼ cup cold vodka

Zest of one lime

Rhubarb and Strawberry Filling:

1 ½ cups fresh rhubarb, cut into one-inch chunks

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

¾ cups white sugar

4 tbsp all purpose flour (use 2tbsp for frozen fruit)

Juice of one lime


1 large egg, beaten

Coarse sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 425°

Sift together flour and salt in a food processer or large bowl.

Cut butter into the flour mixture using a food processor and a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal.

Add water and vodka and mix thoroughly until the mixture forms a ball.

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut in half.

Flatten each half into discs, wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

While the dough is chilling, place filling ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

When ready to roll out place discs on the counter and let rest for fifteen minutes.

Place one disc on a well-flour counter top or marble slab.

Using a well-floured rolling pin roll the dough out from the middle out avoiding the edges.

Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.

Pour filling into pastry shell and dot with additional butter.

Roll out the second disc and cut into strips (if making a lattice top as pictured).

Weave the strips of pastry over the filling can trim and crimp the edges of the pastry.

Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Fit tin foil around the edges of the crust and place in the preheated oven.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil and back for an additional fifteen minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Baked goods

Recently my boyfriend brought home some molasses and I wasn’t sure what he (or myself) was going to do with it.  Turns out, molasses is great for baking and the recipes are fairly simple to follow.

Ginger molasses cupcakes with almond whip cream frosting


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced + 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Ground ginger, for garnish
*Whip cream recipe below
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Almond whip cream
  • 2-3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract


  1. Whip the cream on a medium speed, whipped to soft peaks
  2. Slowly stir in almond extract

Wait about 30 minutes or until cupcakes are cool to frost them with the whip cream.

*Plain whip cream works just fine, I just wanted to add a little more sweetness to my cupcakes.

Alex from Ponyfeathers enjoying her Ginger Molasses cupcake!

Add these 3 fat-burning snacks to your diet…

It’s safe to say that working out is great and very much a necessity when it comes to losing or maintaining weight, but diet is probably even more important. Eating right not only helps you look good, but feel good as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if food helped burn calories? Believe it or not, there are plenty of fat burning filler foods out there that satisfy hunger strikes and provide energy to help fuel workouts.

I recently read some great advice on some foods to incorporate and why they’re so important to keep us going.  Here are some foods that not only fuel your workouts and keep you full, but they also help burn more calories aside from being active. Try to incorporate these foods into your daily diet and see how much they can affect your weight management or weight loss goals.

Cottage Cheese – This provides calcium and ladies need calcium, especially when you can see your 30’s creeping near. Some can’t take the taste, some love it. The key is to eat low fat and in moderation – like a few spoon-fulls. I add sugar-free apple sauce and a dash of cinnamon for flavor. Cinnamon is known to suppress the appetite and apple sauce fills some of your fruit requirement for the day. Cottage Cheese is also a dairy protein and supplies casein and amino acid glutamine to burn fat and assist in recovery after exercise. What a multi-tasking snack eh?

Quinoa – This will fill your grain intake and it’s great to have for lunch, dinner, or snack. It took me a while to acquire the taste, but once I found a way to add flavor I had no problem having about a cup a day. It’s high in fiber which stimulates the release of appetite-suppressing hormones and increases the time it takes for food to move through your intestinal system, meaning fewer calories stored as fat (in other words, keeps you feeling full). This is great with a dash of hot sauce and roasted peppers. I mix mine with a veggie like butternut squash to give it some sweetness while also getting in that veggie requirement.

Veggies – It’s important to eat vegetables, but if you’re anything like me, you probably go into the store with the intention of using them, then before you know it, they’re gross and rotten. Not anymore. As soon as you get home from the store, get the baking sheet out, chop away, mix with salt, pepper and olive oil, and then roast. Put them in little to-go containers and munch on them at work. Or, mix with the quinoa – so good! Veggies like broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes are superfoods because they saturate the body with health-building nutrients. Incorporating veggies in your diet keeps your body functioning properly and burning fat (even in between workouts).

When adding what’s required daily like dairy, fruits, veggies, grains, and protein it’s amazing to see the energy level spike so workouts, and even the workday, are easier to get through.

Food is Fashion This Holiday at Barneys

image of barneys-new-york-food-is-fashion

Barneys New York will take holiday shoppers on a culinary journey through their “Have a Foodie Holiday” window displays. In a partnership with the Food Network/Cooking Channel and Illycaffe, Barneys says the windows will feature the “rock stars” of the food world.

The windows will be unveiled Nov. 16 at a book party for Lee Brian Schrager’s new book, “The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America’s Hottest Chefs.” One window will highlight the Bad Boys of Food (Bobby Flay, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Mario Batali), another will display the Ladies (Paula Deen, Cat Cora, Rachael Ray, and Anita Lo) a third will display Trailblazers like Julia Child and Jamie Oliver.

Insiders say that this collaboration is just one more example of how “the cultural power of food is on the rise,” with a special appeal for Gen X shoppers. “Chefs have become tastemakers in so many ways, from gentrifying urban neighborhoods with their restaurants to inspiring the fashion world with their bravura.” Others are saying that this collaboration should help Barney’s holiday performance.

I’m not sure a department store that has high-end cafe’s within select stores should plan to bank on food celebrities, and their fans. To me, it’s a long stretch. Do you think the average Paula Deen fan makes it to NYC, let alone to shop at Barneys? I feel like the Barnes and Noble would have a better shot of success with windows displaying food since they sell the books. Maybe I just have to wait until 11/16 to get more perspective on the windows.

Designer Chocolate for Halloween

I was surfing the web late last night (I keep drinking too much coffee at work) and I came across some gorgeous chocolates that were produced specifically for Halloween. Now, I should note I’m not the biggest Halloween fan out there, in fact when asked what I will be for Halloween, I usually reply “at home”. But I am a HUGE sucker for designer chocolate…well really any kind of chocolate – but I like to at least pretend I’m a chocolate snob.

Take a look at these pieces. They are to die for!

image of armani-dolci-chocolate-halloween-sweets

When it comes to chocolate art for Armani / Dolci, every last bit is a luxury. Armani’s Halloween chocolates are sure to be a royal treat for your taste buds!

image of compartes chocolate Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

Compartes Chocolatier makes a box of Skull and bones dark chocolate truffles ($24). The truffles are infused with a sinful blend of Mexican hot chocolate spices (including cayenne and cinnamon). They will spice up anyone’s Halloween!

image of godiva chocolate-scream

Gourmet truffles go gory in this box of white and dark chocolate tombstones, bats, skulls, and ghosts by Godiva ($18).

image of recchiuti halloween chocolate

Recchiuti chocolates have been known for their artistic colored cocoa butter designs, and this Halloween version does not disappoint. When you find edible things this beautiful in front of you, you’ll actually find it’s quite difficult to take a bite.

image of compartes Chocolate Skulls (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

Compartes dark chocolate skull pops ($5 each) are made from single-origin dark chocolate and infused with our blend of Mexican hot chocolate spices (including cayenne and cinnamon) and hand-painted with gold glitter. Skulls with a kick!

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