Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Okara Parfait

Breakfast Parfait.
Naturally I had to try the Tropical Okara Granola in something besides milk, so I created this parfait. Just layer plain yogurt, tangelo and tropical okara granola together in a pretty glass, and voila! a nourishing and satisfying breakfast! I like the tang of the plain yogurt against the sweetness of the granola, but if you prefer less contrast, just sweeten up your yogurt before layering.

By the way, the recipe for Tropical Okara Granola made enough for a minor army, so some of my friends have been getting surprise treats!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Italian Table - mid-supper

Supper Club - Regions of Italy.
Saturday evening was the meeting of chefs around an Italian menu. Everyone spoke about their dish and region and we enjoyed a leisurely culinary tour through the regions of Italy, accompanied by some great Italian red wine. The menu and photos of dishes follow, no words needed.


Herbed Feta and Olive Oil Appetizer

Calamari Ceviche (Glenn)

Warm nectarines with Goat Cheese and Honey

Warm Apricots with Goat Cheese and Honey (Sardinia) - Jennifer

Tuna and Chicken Pate

Tuna and Chicken Pate (Rimini) - Tom M

Stuffed Roasted Peppers with Romano and Parmesan

Stuffed Roasted Peppers with Romano and Parmesan - Janis

Primi Piatti

Ricotta Spinach Ravioli in Meat Sauce

Homemade ricotta/spinach ravioli with sauce - Kathryn & Robin and sauce by Karen

Herb-infused Papardelle with Duck Confit

Herb-infused Papardelle with Duck Confit and Duck Crisps (Piedmont) - Glen

Sausages and Peppers with Spaghetti

Sausages and Peppers with Spaghetti - Isadora


Mama's Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Mama's Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce (Abruzzi/Sicily) - Janis

Coda alla Vaccinara - Roman Oxtail Stew

Coda alla Vaccinara/Roman Oxtail Stew - Emil

Bowl of Coda alla Vaccinara

Bowl of Conda alla Vaccinara


Fenoci in Salata - Fennel Salad

Fenoci in Salata/Fennel Salad (Veneto) - Anna


Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers - Judy


Roasted Pears with Candied Celery and Meyer Lemon

Roasted Pears with Candied Celery and Meyer Lemon (Puglia) - Tom

Cheese with Roasted Pears

SF Drake Cheese accompaniment to Roasted Pears - Tom

Grandma Poggianti's Ricotta Pie

Grandma Poggianti's Ricotta Pie (Padua) - Leslie

Piece of Ricotta Pie

Slice of Grandma Poggianti's Ricotta Pie - Leslie

Cream Cheese/Sour Raspberry/Summer Strawberry Jam Cookies

Cream Cheese/Sour Raspberry/Summer Strawberry Jam Cookies - Leslie


Bonetta - Caren

... and Karen's coffee followed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fenoci in Salata. This weekend was quite packed with enjoyable events, one being the Supper Club, this time the theme was Italian. I'll follow with a full posting, but I'll share here my dish for the event - Fennel Salad. It hails from Veneto; the region's capital is Venice where both Marco Polo and Vivaldi were born. I wanted to make a winter vegetable, and this dish seemed just right. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out; the recipe's definitely to be used again!

Fenoci in Salata (Fennel Salad)

  • 4 large fennel bulbs
  • 2 anchovy filets of the sort packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A tablespoon of flour
  • One small lemon
Wash the fennel bulbs, cut off the tops to leave just the bulb portion, and boil them until fork tender in a pot of water with the flour and the juice of one squeezed lemon, which serve to keep the fennel from discoloring. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and put them to drain on a plate covered with a kitchen towel.

While they're cooling, put the following in a blender: olive oil, anchovy filets, parsley, grated cheese, salt and a grind of fresh pepper, vinegar, and blend well until the mixture becomes creamy.

Finely slice the fennel bulbs, pour the sauce over them, mix carefully, and serve at once.

Serves 4 (large portions)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

ZAP 2007

Viva Zinfandel!
Yesterday I enjoyed attending the 2007 Zinfandel Festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
ZAP 2007

I was lucky enough to attend with a trade member, so got in before the crowds were unnavigable. There was no way to even taste a reasonable sampling of the show, so I just ambled along enjoying randomly. Zinfandel is considered the wine and vine of America, although the origins are from Croatia originally. I enjoyed my old favorite, Ridge Vineyards various offerings. Someone standing behind me in line said that Ridge's Lytton Springs old vine zinfandels are the standard against which all other old vines zins are compared. One can never go wrong with a Ridge wine.

The new taste I enjoyed most at the show was a 2004 Zinfandel from Rombauer Vineyards. I am not facile with wine tasting descriptions, I just know what I like, and this one I would add to my collection.

I put all the tastes I tried from the show into the slide show above... There were two huge buildings filled with rows of wineries -- wow! It was a treat to go, and I would recommend the show as a wonderful way to educate your wine buds and an unparalleled opportunity to compare so many zinfandel wines side by side to find out what your individual tastes are.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I can't believe I've walked past this one.
Right past the Chocolate Cow in Sonoma, where I've brought the twins, and been in the company of Miss Olivia, is LaSalette. When in child attention mode, I guess my restaurant radar is off. I enjoyed a leisurely lunch here while my father said good bye to his friends at Merrill Gardens. LaSalette offers contemporary Portuguese cuisine in a warm and ambient setting. The tables are made of old port cases, and the colors are earthy autumns.

Portugese Pork & Clams Stew

My first time to try Portuguese cuisine, I decided to try something traditional, PORCO à ALENTEJANA, the classic Portuguese stew of marinated pork, tomatoes and clams. It also included thickly cut bacon and Caseira Linguica, a rustic style Portuguese Sausage, as well as lightly pan fried potatoes. I feared that I might have ordered something rather heavy/oily, but to my delight it was in a fresh light sauce and was absolutely flavorful. The rolls served with lunch were also a special Portuguese variety, crisp on the outside with a soft, dense and slightly sweet interior, accompanied by a sweet cream butter.

Portugese White Port

Needing to burn some more time, I checked out the dessert menu - very promising with lots of dishes having a fig component. (I love figs!). But when I saw the Port selection, it was all over. Being totally decadent I tried a Barros White Port from Portugal to finish off my meal. It was just as the menu note said, made with predominately muscatel grapes, a fruity white port light amber in color, with an intense aroma of honey. LaSalette also offers a small "Portuguese Market" where some authentic foods are available, including the dinner rolls in half dozen. The menu also offers a nice selection of cheese and charcuterie plates, inviting one to think of lingering in a corner just sampling these and great wines off their extensive list. A very cool find to have happened upon!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tropical Okara Granola. It's time again for hosted this week by Ed at Tomato. I am happy to also tell you that Weekend Herb Blogging will be hosted here for the week ending February 25th!

As you all know, I am having fun and health making my own soy milk and that leaves me with a lot of OKARA - the bran left over from the beans! Okara was taking over my refrigerator, so it was time to come up with another recipe.

An interesting fact I learned since last posting about okara, is that Japanese researchers have determined that okara is the only known vegetable source of bivalent iron easily assimilated by the human gut. Important for vegetarians!

This takes some time, but is well worth it!

Tropical Okara Granola

Tropical Okara Granola

5 cups okara (if homemade, 'fluff' it first, then measure)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 fluid oz. coconut essence (a small bottle)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread mix no more than 1/2 inch thick over a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally until desired color/crispness is attained. Cool and store in an airtight container (in refrigerator for longer life).

Made with homemade okara - fluffed, it got to the desired color while still retaining a lot of softness/moistness. This is my own recipe, and the first time making, so I'm not sure how much crisper commercial okara would become. The sesame oil and brown rice syrup probably help retain the moisture as well. It tastes really great as a cereal, and I think it would be marvelous layered in a yogurt parfait too. And there is a fringe benefit of a house that smells marvelously of toasted coconut!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pacific Catch

Catching Fish in Corte Madera.
Dad and I enjoyed lunch today at Pacific Catch, a restaurant in the Town Center Mall in Corte Madera that opened a year ago September. We were greeted promptly, and since it was a busy lunch our name went on a list for a 10 minute wait. The 10 minutes was actually 5, and we were quickly shown to a comfortable booth.


They started us off with a little treat of fish pretzels and edamame beans. The menu was quite pan-Asian with California influences.

Fresh Salmon Teriyaki Bowl

I chose to have their fresh Salmon Teriyaki Bowl. The salmon was on a bed of pineapple rice, and surrounded by grilled bok choy and asparagus. The rice also had marinated shitake mushrooms in it as well. It was quite good!

Fresh Tilapia Fish & Chips

Dad wanted to have something more tried and true, so he went with the fish and chips, made with the fish of the day, tilapia. He said he'd try the sweet potato fries next time, opting for regular fries for his chips. The place got my Dad's seal of approval -- he wants to come back. I agree, definitely a keeper.

UPDATE: On Saturday I visited the sister restaurant in the San Francisco Marina district with a friend. The experience was completely different. Tiny, crowded, noisy, poor/rude service, mistaken order.. no cute appetizer to start. When my crab salad wasabi bowl finally arrived correctly after sending back the unordered surprise, the crab was good, but the sushi rice was simply horrid mush. Definitely skip the one in the Marina district and head on over to Marin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lovely Luvli. I tried a surprisingly tasty tomato juice at the Fancy Food Show called "Smashing Tomato". Since it comes out of a jar, my expectations weren't high, but it was quite fresh and vital tasting. Enough for me to try sometime when it's offered at retail on the West Coast. Luvli hails from Boston and is making its way west. Wish I had some right now, sounds like a healthy thing for a cold.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are you a food adventurist? I picked up a free magazine at the Fancy Foods Show - Foodspring the magazine for the food adventurist. It is thin, nicely put together and has lots of fun food items to drool over. To get a free subscription, just go to There are a lot of high end things in it, but I also noticed a piece about 100% recycled aluminum from If You Care. Nice eye candy and some interesting recipes too.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Winter Fancy Foods Show SF: A biased report. How could it not be with 80,000 food products on display from 1,100 exhibiting companies and just a few short hours? So this is a taste of my experience of a few short hours wandering around and sampling. Fellow bay area bloggers' Becks & Posh and Bunrab have written about their experiences there as well. I didn't bring a camera as the materials stated only credentialed press could take photos. But I have a new flatbed scanner, and I picked up materials!

My favorite taste of the day was of White Truffle Cream from Italy, scanned image above. It was an amazing taste! It had a sharp earthiness that resembled garlic, but garlic is not one of the ingredients. It's basically pure cream and truffles. It would make a great flavoring for risotto, perhaps, as my chef friend suggested - one that included scallops and champagne. ohh - decadent! A gentleman from PanExotic is the local contact and this company will also sell this product as a retailer.

Then there was the kind young man from Lykovouno who taught me to be an olive oil connoisseur. And now I've tasted #4 of Food & Wine's 100 tastes to try in 2007, although I'm sure I've had Greek olive oil before.

I have to close with a fun one. Monkey Treats by Emma's Edibles. You eat the Monkey face, filled with real frozen fruit, and the stick underneath reveals a plastic replica of the monkey face you just ate. So fun for kids!

I intended to return this afternoon for more, but alas, I've come down with a cold and am not up to par. I tasted a lot more yesterday, but I'll save some of the goodies for future posts so as to not make this too long.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tasty Terroir. It's time for the "A Taste of Terroir" round up. I had so much fun reading through the posts from around the world -- so many unique things, some I'd heard of but with a twist, and others completely new. is a one-time event, but hey!, it's so much fun, maybe I'll try it annually.

The first entry to come in is from Anna of Morsel & Musings in Sydney, Australia who writes about Sydney Rock Oysters with Greek Salad Smoothies. These use amazingly hardy local oysters outlast any I've ever heard about!

Next in comes from Ulrike of Küchenlatein in Kronshagen, Germany. Not only are we told of a local Fisherman's Lunch, but we are treated to a slide show of typical local dishes.

Hailing from Canada, Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas sends an entry for Venison and Morel Stew with Dumplings, looks like you could eat it off the page!

Sarina Nicole of TriniGourmet, in Trinidad offers up Barfi, a fudgey white dessert with some cross-cultural history.

From central Pennsylvania, Lydia of Kitchen Exhibitionist describes Grilled Stickies so well that I feel like I could eat one off the page!

Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms gives us Twice the Terroir with The Oregon White Truffle AND The Gravenstein Apple. Elle is here in Northern California, near the home of the Gravenstein Apple Festival, which I've visited and enjoyed several years running.

From Tampa, Florida, Rachael tells us about Tampa's Cuban Food: Red Snapper "Alicante", on her blog, Rachael's Bite. She also describes Ybor City so vividly I'm plotting my trip to visit its uniqueness!

Haalo from Melbourne, Victoria Australia who is the blogger behind Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, brings us Tuna Sashimi with Pickled Daikon, Cucumber and Baby Coriander, which is stunning and the description of the freshness makes my taste buds tingle. She also included the recipe for Pickled Daikon for the round up.

Mia at Nosh takes us all the way to Sicily to swoon over the purest white ricotta cheese. And then she teaches us not only how to make it, but several ways to use it!

Cookiecrumb hailing from Santa Venetia, California - another neighbor of mine, has a great blog combining protest with good food in I'm Mad and I Eat. Cookie was trying to really be contentious about the localness of her entry, and had some disappointing surprises. However, she created the most fabulous golden beet based salad with the local offering -- a dressing which pairs nothing but the local tastes of Marin, and a surprise twist!

Next, Bee in New York City of One More Bite tells us why we can't get 'real' bagels anywhere but there. I have to agree. She also illustrates the literary aspect of living in NYC by including a poem no less on topic!

Lastly, I posted a several pieces for the event -- for Marin, a Blue Cheese and Restaurant, and for Sonoma a yogurt. Thanks to everyone who participated - this was fun, and it's been a great way to savor local uniqueness from our chairs (and kitchens!)