Friday, November 15, 2019

Panama Trip

The house lake side bar and dock

Secluded Lake on property

Main and guest houses

Downtown Panama City

Panama City Skyline

 The huge capital city with high rise buildings everywhere. Sadly I found it not too much of a food city or even country, it seems like most of the people just want to eat and they don't care too much about what it is, it seemed like half the food was some form of burger or fried chicken. Small road side markets are mostly owned by Asian families and there was always a display of hot pork buns, pot stickers and other dim sum.

Dim sum in every market

The local beer, always welcome on a hot day.

Housemade restaurant hot sauce, really good with the fried fish.

Side of the road produce market. Great for stocking up on fresh produce.
The big markets don't have much of a produce section.

Coffee beans drying in the sun, coffee is big business up in the mountains.

Coffee beans roasting.
Known as "Tipico" the small road side meals that are served by families. Stewed pork, rice, beets and  plantains.

In the small towns and along the highway the restaurant scene is normally small and family run. The menu will have a couple of choices, chicken, pork or maybe locally caught fish. Its always served with rice and plantains. Really good and the price is cheap, anywhere from $5 on up. locals will get a cheaper price.

Small open street cafe

Our water taxi on a secluded beach

Island paradise

Boca Chica region of western Panama is a vacation spot for travelers and locals. The many islands are accessible by boat only and water taxis are easy to get. We had a hired a private boat to take us from island to island to visit restaurants and beach side bars.
Local moonshine rum

Rum is the drink......

My drink is rum, dark and aged on the rocks with fresh pineapple juice.
We of course went through a lot of this while sitting on the deck at night looking at the millions of stars. We also had access to really good Cuban rum as well.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Fresh eggs from the girls

The girls "Lola, Cookie and Lucky"
Barking Crow Farms
We give these away to our lucky friends and family
Not all eggs are created equal 

We got these local hens from a family that were no longer able to keep them because of summer vacation plans, their loss our gain. We had a new chicken coop that was just built and waiting for a opportunity like this. They quickly moved in and adapted to their new home, much bigger and with lots of room to explore during the day. They produce on average a egg a day during the summer and will slow down during the darker colder winter months. They are fed organic grains and ground oyster shells (for calcium) They hungry birds eat any other food that is given to them and they love to peck at corn on the Cobb and watermelon.

Long time away

I took a long break from this blog but now with more free time I will start back sharing what I see and do.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Meyer Lemon, a Bay Area Favorite

Meyer Lemon

Of the many varieties of lemons the most common in the Bay Area is the Meyer lemon, known for its soft thin skin and slightly sweet juice. Perfect in all recipes requiring cut lemon, zest or juice. Available year round but winter is abundant.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Molinari Italian Delicatessen

Great Sandwich with a Great View

Lots of Choices

The Aroma of Cured Meats and Cheese is Amazing
Made and Sliced to Order

New York might have Katz deli but here in San Francisco we have Molinari, the famous North Beach store selling all things Italian, wines, meats, pasta, etc. I always go for one of the made to order sandwiches on a fresh crusty roll. Today I went with the Molinari Special combining Roasted marinated sweet peppers, fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes with plenty of good olive oil, that's it and all I needed, perfect.

Molinari Delicatessen
373 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, Ca

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Tamales

The Basic Chicken Tamale Ingredients

Red Chili Sauce Simmering

Chicken Stewed in the Pressure Cooker

Finished Sauce Blended and Strained

Tamales Assembled 

Steaming Tamales

Ready to Eat with a Dash of Hot Sauce and Cilantro

Its that holiday time of year again and I always make the Mexican Christmas tradition of Tamales, little corn husk wrapped dumplings of ground corn and meat with chili sauce. I am attending to a Christmas party tonight and no surprise was asked to bring food, what to make for a crowd? How about tamales which can be made ahead of time and reheated on site? perfect. A few basic ingredients and with the aid of my pressure cooker its pretty quick too. Now on to the party!

First the dry corn husks are soaked in hot water to soften, the chicken is cooked in the pressure cooker with seasonings and garlic till fall off the bone tender, the dry chills are simmered with garlic, onion and tomato then blended and strained. Masa is made with instant masa flour. Now its simply a scoop of masa on corn husk with a spoon of shredded chicken and chili sauce, folded up and placed in a steamer for about a hour, done and ready eat or serve later.

Note: Any kind of meat, vegetable or sauce can be used.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Thanksgiving Tradition??

A Rare Flawless Day at Sea

Brendan "All Good"

Cooler Full, Lets Head Home

Simmering Tomato, Fennel and White Wine

Cracked Crab and Mussels Added and Steamed

This years thanksgiving holiday plans changed when my friend Brendan Moylan called with the idea to go crabbing, a perfect weather forecast and the promise of fresh crab was all I needed. A quick morning motor on his fishing boat took us five miles offshore to the Pacific fishing grounds and our six crab pots were quickly baited and soaking. What to do for three hours while we wait? Hint Brendan owns two breweries! We got lucky fishing and were able to bring Dungeness crabs home for our holiday dinners. What to make? well there is two very famous ways to cook San Francisco crabs, one is simply cooked and chilled served cracked with sour dough bread and local white wine and very popular at local crab feeds. Two is the Italian style Cioppino seafood soup with a tomato and garlic based broth. Being a chilly rainy day I chose to make the hot soup. Amazing and perfect.

Cioppino My Way

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weeknight Surf and Turf

I cooked a special dinner for my girlfriend this early this week and when I was stumped on what to make I decided to do a popular surf and turf menu, its the best of both worlds. For the sea I chose large dry pack scallops, which were flawless, meaty and sweet without that horrible brine that a lot of scallops are packed in. For the land its got to be lamb loin chop which is very elegant and flavorful. Next question was the accompaniments? for the scallops a sauce of pink grapefruit beurre blanc which is a fine diced shallot and grapefruit reduction with butter whisked in served on a bed of slow braised leeks.  For the lamb, a marinade of red wine and herbs then served on simple potato puree. The lamb is grilled outside while the scallops go into a smoking hot sauté pan to sear and cook till just medium rare. Everything then makes its way to a warmed plates with a chilled flutes of vintage Billecart-Salmon Brut, Ah life is certainly good.

Perfect Scallops ready for the Sauté Pan

Marinated Lamb Grilling

Scallops with Pink Grapefruit Beurre Blanc and
Leeks, Grilled Lamb with Potato Puree

Monday, September 22, 2014

Its Hot Sauce Time

The warm end of Summer produces the best produce including a bounty of chili peppers. I was given a variety of red ripe peppers from Barking Crow Farms in Marin County and the idea of making hot sauce instantly came to mind. To make the sauces I used Red Fresno, Cayenne and Thai Birds Beak slowly simmered in white vinegar, garlic and a touch of salt, then allowed to cool before being blended. I kept half to use as a slightly chunky sauce and the other half strained to fiery liquid. Both with intense hot pepper flavor and a tartness from the vinegar. I think they will be perfect with a Southern Gumbo or maybe stir fried Asian rice noodles.

Ripe and Ready

Freshly Bottled and Ready to Use
Just picked

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last of the Season Green Beans

Mature Plants bearing lots of Beans

Ready to Pick

Around the end of July I thought I could get one last crop of beans grown before the rainy fall season. So I planted from seed about 20 bush beans and in a short month later its time to start harvesting these small thin beans. Perfect by themselves or in a salad. This was easiest vegetable I have grown, just plant and forget till harvest.

Wine Country Farmers Market

Locals Gathering for Live Music in the Square

Tomatoes Everywhere

Local Grapes

Theres is a farmers market going on everyday somewhere in the bay area including the Northern wine regions of Sonoma and Napa Valleys. For the town of Sonoma its on Tuesday evenings during the summer located in the historic town square. The market includes a wide range of food trucks, booths and vegetable stalls with a live band in the center providing music for the event. What is different is the large amount of wine industry people who gather after work and sharing there wines and talking shop.