Last October the BF and I were invited to dinner at the house of some dear friends. Husband, wife, and two adorable kids. The hubs is a grill-master, and the wife is a wonderful cook who treated us to Indian-spiced grilled chicken, roasted yams and a kale salad that was so good I asked if we could use it for a future blog, and she was kind enough to say yes. She does not know the specific origins of the recipe as it came to her from a friend. No matter. Our benefit, and yours.
Since that dinner the salad has accompanied many meals for the meat-loving BF, and was a highlight of our last Thanksgiving feast. It's almost too easy to assemble, and could not be healthier.
NOTE: Okay, maybe a little healthier. To make this vegetarian dish vegan, simply substitute the mayonnaise with Vegenaise eggless or other vegan substitute.
Adapted from: Our dear friends around the corner!
Number of servings: 2-4
[Ed. note: Quick addendum to give a heartfelt farewell to a man who REALLY loves his kale, former San Francisco Giant outfielder Hunter Pence. As a bay area kid who grew up experiencing a lot of awful Giants baseball (Boo LeMaster!), it was thrilling to watch you patrol AT&T Park's angular right field, preach the championship blood through two World Series victories (2012, 2014), and get that ridiculous three-stage hit that people here will forever be talking about. All love and best of luck to you as you play for your Arlington-hometown Texas Rangers. Yes. Yes. Yes.]
They say, "Don't meet your heroes." They say a lot of things.
Hi, it's the [bracket-happy] BF-editor again. Please forgive the brief indulgence, but another great food date was punctuated by a seriously cool moment I can relate to.
For about a quarter century, in the music-journalist former life I was fortunate enough to meet or interview many people. Some were bona fide celebrities (Adam Levine, Lars Ulrich, Lionel Richie, Alice Cooper), but the ones that hit closer to home were non-household names—serious musicians, producers, or industry business-people.
Like Jac Holzman, who founded Elektra Records. He discovered The Doors, and signed everyone from MC5 and Carly Simon to Queen (in the US). Or Jack Douglass, a producer who spun knobs for John Lennon, Aerosmith, Miles Davis and The Who. Vinnie Colaiuta, a teenage hero of mine who drummers know by his first name alone, has toured with more artists and played on more albums than your phone's cloud account can hold. Among musicians, he achieved legendary status for his otherworldly drumming on Frank Zappa's 1979 album Joe's Garage. Interviewing and later meeting Vinnie at a music-industry trade show, not small thrills.
Last night I got to watch Jacquie meet her Vinnie.
April Bloomfield is a British chef probably best known for her New York gastropub The Spotted Pig and books A Girl and Her Pig and A Girl and Her Greens. The Birmingham, England native studied at Birmingham College and has a staggering culinary teeth-cutting pedigree. She apprenticed under Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray at The River Café (London), spent a summer in Berkeley at Chez Panisse, kicked butt on Iron Chef America, and has Michelin stars and accolades from every food periodical imaginable. She also, along with restauranteur Ken Friedman (the two behind The Spotted Pig), saved the near-century-old San Francisco staple Tosca Café (242 Columbus, North Beach) from imminent-eviction doom in 2012.
Politicians, writers, actors, models and rock stars have graced this former speakeasy for decades.
Chef Bloomfield is known for loving pig, and using every bit of the animal in her dishes. All apologies for lack of food photographs, as again the proper modeling releases were not served. Also, it's dang dark (technical term) in there. A quick rundown of what we sampled:
Basking in the pig-poultry afterglow, Jacquie then got the chance to be escorted to the front of the kitchen, and exchanged pleasantries and kudos with Chef Bloomfield, who we honestly did not expect to be in house. Very thankful she got to do that, considering the kitchen's bustling chaos. They even allowed a quick picture of the crew in full flight.
These guys don't mess around.
Many thanks to Chef Bloomfield and Tosca Café staff. We'll be back for dessert and that House "Cappuccino."
Oh, and that bit they say about "Don't meet your heroes?" Don't listen to them.
Your humble editor with Vinnie at National Association of Music Merchants, 2002.
Pasta. Parmesan cheese. Cream. Prosciutto. Four ingredients. [Ed. note: Can't get The Count from Sesame Street out of my head, "One, two, three, four ingredients heh heh heh."]
Make it vegetarian by omitting the prosciutto. Three ingredients. You're welcome.
An indulgent winter meal that reheats very well, I make it once a year for the BF and he goes clinically insane over it. [Ed. note: Do I need to concur? Folks, she doesn't lie.]
Adapted from: Gourmet, December 2006
Number of servings: 6 (main course) or 8 (side dish)
PS: A year ago we stepped it up to four ingredients to satisfy the sweet tooth with this sumptuous café au lait pudding adapted from Ashley Rodriguez's Date Night In (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/cafe-au-lait-pudding).
So, Valentine's Day is this week, and at some point I usually make a dinner the BF really loves. [Ed. note: Hey we're going out too! Cripes, now we'll get letters.] The main course is a no-brainer: prime ribeye. [Ed. note: Changing reservation to a more expensive place.] For dessert, want to make a treat that we both swoon over. Well aware that chocolate and Valentine's Day are synonymous, it's just not always the case in our house. Now, the BF likes chocolate but, unlike me, he really has to be in the mood for something super-rich chocolatey. He actually can say no to chocolate—I know, gasp! [Ed. note: Watches hate mail pile up.]
This pot de crème is like a turbo-charged version of butterscotch pudding. A decadent custard that's silky, butterscotchy, caramelly, salty-sweet, with deep notes of brown sugar. Squarely in the BF's wheelhouse, and I definitely don't feel like we have to have chocolate every night. Got to spice things up sometimes, right?
Truthfully, this is a solid go-to dessert for guests as it takes no time at all to prep (talking about ten minutes) and looks-tastes pedantically fancy. As easy and straightforward as the directions are, the only vexing part is dirtying two pots and two mixing bowls. It's worth it.
An added bonus, can halve the recipe so it just makes two small ramekins.
This recipe is adapted from Molly of Orangette, who describes these pots de crème as "Cold and rich and almost hyperbolically creamy, the custard yields under the spoon the way a good down pillow does under your head: with a welcoming, slippery whoosh. The gates to heaven have never opened so easily."
She is not lying.
Adapted from: Orangette
Number of servings: 4
PS: A year ago I broke out the Paderno Brand 3-Blade Spiralizer for some kohlrabi "noodles" with bacon, carmelized onion and shaved parmesan (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/kohlrabi-noodles-bacon-caramelized-onion-shaved-parmesan).
PPS: For those of you muttering to yourselves through clenched teeth, "Fake vegetable noodles? Forget that and this butterscotch deal, I want chocolate," let's revisit this chocolate oblivion truffle torte (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/chocolate-oblivion-truffle-torte).
After a wonderful birthday meal at San Francisco's China Live (chinalivesf.com/), detailed in the last blog, am happy to say gong hey fat choy!
Truth be told, the BF and I could eat Chinese food every day of the week. [Ed. note: Confirming.]
Yu choy is a long, leafy Chinese green with yellow flowers and tender stalks. Very mild, with a little sweetness to it. Am very lucky I can find it in almost all of my local grocery stores, as well as farmers markets. It's one of my favorite greens (BF loves it too). It's also easily stir fried, sautéed or steamed, and you can prepare it as a healthy side dish or main course. Serve it alone, as in the picture above, or with a protein like steak, as below.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Pig!
NOTE: I made the dish exactly as written below (although streamlined some of the directions). You can also sauté the greens as opposed to blanching. Either way it's easy and delicious.
Adapted from: The Woks of Life
Number of servings: 4
Pictures below are from my celebratory birthday trip through San Francisco and China Town.
Hey there, folks. Guest blogger here. It's the editor. You know, the guy who chirps pithy, yet spectacularly irrelevant input [in brackets].
Wanted to detail a wonderful birthday meal that came a day early for Chef Jacquie, who of course will be working on her birthday (today) for a client, incidentally one of the first attorneys for Facebook. Goes without saying: please click the ad links, visit a sponsor, like the blogs, share them, spread them far and wide, and thank you so much. It comes out to literally dollars of revenue. Lamborghinis on layaway. But I digress.
Won't lie. Jacquie spoils me with food that makes it difficult for restaurants to impress. Often we visit a place that has high marks from the San Francisco Chronicle, yet find ourselves looking at each other like a deer staring at an oncoming truck, eyes screaming, "Meh."
China Live (644 Broadway), the brainchild of George Chen, is a 30,000-square-foot "education in Chinese cuisine" in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown. Sporting everything from a retail store to a bakery, high-end bourbon bar, demonstration kitchen, flower mart, and multiple restaurants, it's the polar opposite of meh.
For our midday meal we sampled a wide array of their sophisticated–this isn't your grandma's Chinese takeout–dishes. Mostly smaller starters, but we did partake in the highly recommended Crackling Skin Cantonese Fragrant Garlic Chicken, which did not disappoint. Gorgeous.
However, the starters-appetizers stole the show. Am not just saying that because we enjoyed a Szechaun Starlet* during.
Below, Kurobuta Pork Char Siu with Hot Mustard. Food porn that tasted as good as it looked.
Shan Dong Shui Jiao "Water Dumplings" (Chive and Pork) with Dipping Sauce.
The favorite, Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Spring Handrolls with Dual Dipping Sauce. Am considering driving back to San Francisco to order about 400 of these for Sunday's Super Bowl. Again, please like, share, and click those ads. [deadpan-face emoji]
Not pictured, we also had some lovely Peking Duck in Sesame Pockets with Kumquat Glaze and Traditional Condiments. We couldn't get a picture because the kumquats refused to sign the appropriate model release form.
Silliness aside, it's always special to share amazing food with someone who truly knows something about amazing food.
Chef, I love you, and your short arms (#selfieproblems). Happy birthday.
By the way, she is 27.
*Szechaun Starlet: Black Tea-infused Angel's Envy Bourbon, Cardamaro Amaro, Campari, Szechuan Peppercorn Bitters and a splash of bubbles
PS: Hey, the dog writes, too. Marlowe, you're hired. You also look especially cute as a UPS driver. (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples)
PPS: A year ago, she made her own chocolate birthday cake. Because she was tired of cakes that looked better than they tasted. (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/happy-birthday-to-me-chocolate-cake-and-chocolate-sour-cream-frosting)
PPPS: Plans are in place to relaunch this blog in a newer format, where we may or may not start including subjects outside of the regular recipes. This originated out of a sole proprietership business that Chef Jacquie built, which is a big part of the story. So we're considering the occasional foray into the business-side, or an occasional restaurant-meal review. We're an open book, so please comment below on what you would like to see in the future. And again, thank you.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.