Tuesday, October 30, 2012

California Little Neck Clams

Northern California Little Neck Clams

I love eating these tender little neck clams whenever I get a chance and I had the chance this last weekend. It was a quick local road trip to Tomales Bay, California where our group visited the popular Tomales Bay Oyster Company. This company is more of a blue-collar company then the expensive Hog Island Oyster Company down the road. It is a fully self-contained area with picnic tables, BBQ grills, ice and lots of oysters. A good find on this trip were little neck clams which are ready to harvest and available now. I bought a dozen to eat raw and some more to take home to cook. These clams when eaten raw have a nice firm texture with a sweet, briny flavor. The ones I took home were simply cooked with diced smoky bacon, sliced garlic, thyme, green beans and white wine. They quickly steamed open and were served with crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices; delicious.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Francisco Fall Fest 2012

San Francisco Style Crab Cakes 

Beets and Goat Cheese

"The crowd favorite" BBQ Pork Belly

Smoked Trout with Plantain

San Francisco Skyline

On a recent Saturday I attended San Francisco Magazine's Fall Fest at Justin Herman Plaza. This was a perfect spot for it with the historic Ferry Building just across the street. Its a nice event and a way to enjoy some of the best local restaurant foods and wines while benefiting its charity Meals on Wheels, this great organization delivers food to people in need. It seemed like the crowd favorites this year were no surprise all the seafood dishes and the two booths serving crispy seared pork bellies. They were my favorites too.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Just a Simple Weeknight Salmon Dish

Salmon with Vegetables

I like when my refrigerator is fully stocked with food; it makes fixing a meal really easy with a wide range of ingredients available. Last night it was Seared Salmon with a sauté of spinach, artichokes, potatoes and bacon. It can all be cooked in the same pan to make cleaning up just as easy.

Weeknight Salmon

2 4oz Salmon Fillet
1 small russet potato, diced
2 strips Smoky Bacon, diced
3-4 small cooked Artichokes, quartered
1 handful Spinach
1 dash olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. In a large oven proof pan, sauté the bacon and Potatoes till crisp.
3. Add the artichokes and spinach, move mixture to one side.
4. Season the Fish and place in pan.
5. Put pan in oven till fish is cooked, about eight minutes.
6. Remove pan and place a mound of vegetables in center of plates, add fish on top.
7. Drizzle with Olive oil.

Yield = 2

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken Ballotine with a Spicy Twist

Just this past weekend at my local market, I was eyeing the whole chickens and came up with an idea for my dinner. The famous old-school recipe of chicken Ballotine which is close to a Galantine, but not poached and served cold. A ballontine is a whole bird or leg with all the bones carefully removed leaving the skin intact with the meat; it's then stuffed, roasted and served hot or cold. Many years ago when I last did this recipe for my mom, she was shocked when I was able to slice the cooked chicken and there were not any bones!
For this recipe I decided on a Spanish theme by using rice, chorizo sausage and smoked paprika for the filling. The hardest part was carefully cutting the bones out with removing the meat or cutting the skin, known in the industry as "tunnel boning" because it's like a tunnel going through the bird. Next I cooked the stuffing with garlic, onions, rice, paprika, chorizo, parsley and chicken stock made with the bones. The filling is placed inside and the bird is trussed up and slowly roasted till fully cooked. It's ready to serve and will make a dramatic presentation at the dinner table.

Chorizo and Rice Stuffing

Fully Cooked and Ready to Slice

Completely Deboned and Stuffed

Thursday, October 04, 2012

More Food Trucks Giving More Dining Choices

Off the Grid Presents Food Trucks

Trucks lined up at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur

The Chairman's Pork Belly Steamed Bun with Pickled Radish

The Taco Guys doing what they do best
Food trucks are defiantly not a fad anymore and seem to be here to stay. This is a good option when you need a quick bite of food and do not want to sit down in a restaurant or even lower yourself to eating in a fast-food place. The San Francisco Bay area has a organization called Off the Grid; it's almost like a co-op for food trunks and groups them together in high traffic areas or near a sponsored event like farmers markets. Locally here in Marin County on Sunday is a gathering of these food trucks at the Larkspur Country Mart which is directly across the street from the Golden Gate Ferry Terminal. It is a good spot because of easy parking and great views of the Bay and Marin's famous Mt. Tam. This last week we went right to The Taco Guys truck for fish tacos and The Chairman for pork belly steamed buns- the perfect amount of good food on a lazy Sunday afternoon.