Sunday, August 31, 2008

Slow Food Event

The first ever U.S. Slow Food event came to San Francisco this weekend with perfect weather. The main event was held in a large hall at Fort Mason, thousands of foodies ready to sample everything. Some of the highlights were over tastes of 600 wines and 100 beers available, wood burning ovens cooking pizza and Indian flatbreads, local cheese & seafood samples. It was a good opportunity to talk to the growers and producers about there products. These simple quality made and grown foods are what California cuisine is all about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Slow Food San Francisco

I have been driving past San Francisco's city hall for years as I come and go to work, recently I saw a unusual project going on, trucks were dumping tons of soil and building a low wooden fence around it. Next week came planting in what turned out to be a large urban vegetable garden for San Francisco's slow food event. Slow food nation as its called was started in Italy in protest to a McDonald's that opened at the famous Spanish steps, its cause is to get back to real cooking and eating and doing away with fast food and a hurried eating lifestyle. It sounds good to me, for more information check out

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer salad

I found everything for this colorful and delicious salad from the local farmers market. Yellow wax and green beans, ripe tomatoes, Sonoma goat cheese and fresh made basil pesto. I used a simple sherry vinaigrette along with the basil pesto to dress the salad. I tossed in some of my home grown arugula for added for flavor too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Roast Chicken at the farmers market

If you have ever been to any of the local farmers mark
ets here in the San Francisco bay area then you would have experienced the fragrant smell of rosemary and garlic marinated roast chickens, then you would see the line of people waiting to get these amazing birds. Get in line with the other people, you will want one. They turn slowly on a huge truck mounted rotisserie, golden brown and crispy, ready to be carved to order,.full,half or quarter birds are available. The side dish of roast potatoes can't be missed and these are cooked under the chickens in all the herb scented fat dripping off the birds. Try the chicken and potatoes and maybe get some fresh berries from a nearby vendor for dessert.

farmers market

We are at the end of our summer and also the hottest time of the season, this perfect for ripening all the Summer fruits and vegetables. The display of all the amazing Summer produce is huge at local farmers markets. Some of the highlights now are all the different tomato varieties. Fresh basil is always displayed next to the tomatoes. Stone fruits such as peaches and plums are also here and at the peak of there season. Now is the time you should buy and eat these foods because winter is coming fast.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vietnamese Style Grilled Squid

I did a quick road trip to my mom's house nearby where my Brother and his Wife were visiting. It seems everything centers on the evening meal and there is somewhat of a tradition to cook some kind of exotic food in addition to our regular meal. On the way to the house I stopped at a local Asian market and purchased three pounds of fresh squid and some other key ingredients I would need to make this Asian inspired dish. Give it a try, its really good on a hot summer night.
3 pounds squid, cleaned**
1 big splash fish sauce*
1 small knob peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 bunch fresh mint
1 dash soy sauce
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon spicy chili paste*
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar*
1.Blend all ingredients till smooth in a food processor, it should be a balance of sweet and sour, spicy yet cool. Use a little of the sauce to quickly marinate the cleaned squid before cooking.
2. Prepare a hot fire and preheat the grill before adding the squid.
3. The tentacle's are easy to cook when skewered, place skewers on grill, after about a minute flip and do the other side, repeat with the body tubes, do not over cook or they will become tough and rubbery.
4. Toss squid in sauce and serve, garnish with sliced lime, chopped cilantro and peanuts.
Yield= 4-6 small plates
* Available at Asian markets
** To clean squid: Cut the tentacles off just in front of the eyes, next starting at the tip, use the back of a knife to push all the insides and head out of the tube, the tube can be left whole or cut into rings, wash all parts well and they are ready to cook.

Monday, August 11, 2008

BBQ Oysters

One of the great things about living on the coast, is the selection of fresh seafood available. Here there is a small sheltered bay just North of San Francisco called Tomales bay, home of many oyster companies. I often do the quick scenic drive out to the bay to get fresh oysters. There are many companies to choose from including the somewhat expensive and touristy Hog Island oyster company, I go to the tomales bay oyster company, no frills, just good oysters. I get 50 small oysters of the four different sizes available, I end up eating about a dozen with lemon then head home at sun set. I like eating them raw the best but I chose to BBQ some on my boat. Just grill them till they crack open, shuck and top with your favorite BBQ sauce. They are better when only slightly cooked and still soft.

Roast Potato and Arugula Salad

Another great tasting and colorful side dish is potato salad. I like using vinegar and olive oil as a dressing instead of mayonnaise which can be too heavy and needs to kept chilled. I started this salad with a variety of small waxy potatoes like fingerling's and butterballs. Cut them in half, season and roast along with sliced onions and garlic, when cooked and cooled, they are simply tossed with baby arugula, sliced green pitted olives, extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar,salt and pepper to taste then a little shaved Parmesan on top to finish.

Couscous salad

I wanted to make a simple grain salad using all the middle eastern flavors I love, I started with imported Israeli couscous which is a form of pasta about the size and shape of a peppercorn, I really like the nutty flavor and chewy texture of it. I toast it in a pan with olive oil till it browns then add water or stock to cook it. When its done I simply combine with sliced olives, toasted almonds, lemon juice and zest, extra virgin olive oil, yellow onions, ground cumin, turmeric, saffron, parsley and kosher salt to taste. It is really good by itself or I like it with grilled fish.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mexican Comfort Food

Grilled marinated beef, Fried local mahi, Ceviche, Cactus paddle salad, Refried beans and Guacamole
Los Cabo's, South Baja California

Just back from a week long trip to Mexico with the kids, beside the beach and warm sun, I look forward to eating all the good Mexican food. Growing up in California and being surrounded with foods from Mexico and other Latin America countries, these foods are as comforting to me as traditional American comfort foods. Grilled marinated meats and fish, flavorful beans, rice, avocado's and freshly made salsa. Also less common ingredients like octopus, catus paddle (leaf) Its all good and I can eat like this everyday.