Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Enjoy your Shrove Tuesday...

Happy Pancake Day!
Oh for the memories: Last year's Pancake Post says it all!

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Enjoy your Shrove Tuesday...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bay Area Blog of the Week # 33

Diary of a Mad Food Blogger
Before you turn away from this post because you do not live in the Bay Area, STOP! This is a post that food bloggers anywhere in the world will enjoy. Tea and Cookies, a new San Fransico blog I have been tracking ever since I discovered it via a comment to Catherine a few weeks ago, has a really amusing post on having become a food blogger.

I am sure I do not need to urge you to say hello to Tea, I am pretty confident that when you read her fun piece (already picked up by Food Musings, I might add, so please don't give me any credit for its discovery), I am sure you are going to leave a congratulatory little comment of your own.

Previously Featured Bay Area Food & Drink Bloggers:
Albion Cooks Blogher | Bay Area Bites | Hungry Hedonist | Mighty | Chez Pim | The Blue Bottle Clown College | The Novato Experiment | Amuse Bouche | Feeding Fashionistas | All In | Dr Five Pints | SF Gourmet | Small Farms | In Praise of Sardines | Life Begins @ 30 | Gastronomie | Confessions of a Restaurant Whore | Bunny Foot | Sweet & Savory | I'm Mad and I Eat | Yummy Chow | Nosheteria | Vivi's Wine Journal | Epicurian Debauchery | Food Musings | Pfiff | Marga's Food Blog | Where the Wild Things Are | Eggbeater

Archive Alert! This week in 2005: Gourmet Magazine made me homesick.

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Bay Area Blog of the Week # 33

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Warming Hut

This post is based on my latest article for SFist in which I eat my way around the Bay Area in alphabetical order.

photograph picture cafe review of The Warming Hut Crissy Fields San Francisco

You may have noticed that my alphabetic journey around the restaurants of San Francisco has missed out the letter V. The closest I came to V last week was when my friend and potential dining partner, Penny, was stuck at home with Victory V throat lozenges and Vick's Vapour Rub. That's my excuse, during the season of snuffles and sickness, for skipping forward straight to the letter W and a place that sounds as if it will cure all ills, The Warming Hut.

You have all heard of stay-at-home-moms. right? A visit to The Warming Hut will expose their existance as a myth. In fact, the moms aren't at home at all. Instead they are hanging out in a beautiful stretch of San Francisco, right at the end of Crissy Fields, where the Bay waters gently lap up against a sandy little beach. A backdrop of The Golden Gate Bridge completes this idyllic postcard view and I wonder exactly why I wasn't even aware of the existance of this outpost of calm until a few of weeks ago. (Thanks for the tip, Amy!)

The Warming Hut takes an admirable stand. It sells itself as a model of environmental sustainability that is reflected not only in the freshly prepared food, but also by the items that are sold in the little shop attached to the cafe. Biodegrable soaps and honey made from local bees are things that you might not be able to resist dropping into your shopping basket. The building itself was even renovated using "green" products like recycled-denim cotton wall insulation, formaldehyde-free cabinetry.

The Warming Hut's menu is not one that will hold up well to regular visits. The salad special only changes once a month and the mainstay sandwiches number only three main choices which do include a vegetarian option. There is a daily soup special and an extra sandwich choice too, like the grilled, artisanal smoked Gouda and Niman Ranch ham on walnut bread I sampled on my last trip.

photograph picture cafe review of a sandwich from The Warming Hut Crissy Fields San Francisco

The food, although it has its heart in the right place, isn't spectacular enough in itself to draw the crowds. (I suspect it is the location that does that.) But even if you feel you are paying a little more than you should do for a self-service snack, when you take your lunch outside to feast on the view from a picnic table, you at least might feel a little warmer from knowing you have done your bit to support the Crissy Fields Center who benefit from The Warming Hut's proceeeds.

The Warming Hut
West end of Crissy Field,
Near the fishing pier.

Weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:

23 19.5 17.5 17.0 15.0 14.0
Much as I am enjoying seeing the pounds fall off, today is a slightly unsettling Weightwatchers day for me. WW give you a daily number of points to eat based on your weight. Unfortunately, as you lose weight you become smaller and therefore (at somepoint, like today) it is determined you need to eat even less to keep on losing weight. In real terms this means my 22 points food allowance drops to just 20 today. Perhaps this will be the incentive I need to get out and do a bit more exercise. (Exercising earns extra eating points).

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Jammy Vodka - Hangar One wins an award from me in the First Annual Independent Food Festival

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The Warming Hut

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cut Backs at Becks & Posh

The Cheese Sandwich is Going to have to Wait!

photograph picture of a very special cheese sandwich

Ok, ok, I already ate the sandwich, I am sorry I didn't save any for you. And with even more apolgies to my audience, I am going to take a little break here at Becks & Posh. (Please don't be jealous, we are not jetting off anywhere exotic!) It could be several weeks until I start posting regularly again, but I'll try and stop by and say hello every once in a while. In fact, I'll probably get severe withdrawal symptons within a few hours, so I'll just see how it goes.

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:

23 19.5 17.5 17.0 15.0

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Mulderbosch Rose - A great wine find!

Cut Backs at Becks & Posh

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

photograph picture valentines

Fred just heard on the news that $14 billion will spent on Valentines day. You can rest assured that not one cent of it will come from either of us.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005 Heart Failure.

Monday, February 13, 2006

On Expanding My Palate

with thanks to my teacher, Jen Knapp at Tante Marie

photograph picture chicken liver crostini tante marie

Sadly, the Slow Mediterranean cooking course I was taking at Tante marie has come to an end. I am almost heartbroken. It was so much delicious fun, with such a great bunch of people, I wonder what will I do without it?

Knowing of my love affair with food and cooking it, people often ask me "why on earth do you need to take a cooking class, you can already cook?" Before I went to cooking school I would simply have answered that there are always some new techniques to learn. Although this is true and indeed I have learnt so much over the last 6 weeks, like how to bake fish in salt, how to prepare artichokes, how to make mayonnaise successfully every time, how to cook paella and how to make Zuni's famous chicken with bread salad, if someone were to ask me that question again, my answer would now contain another level.

I go to Cooking School, these days in order to broaden my palate as well as to learn new techniques. Every week we prepared about a dozen recipes which we communally feasted on at the end of the class. I have been introduced to so many foods that I simply thought I didn't care for as much as others and would never have experienced left to my own devices. There is no choosing from this menu, we get to try everything. Even foods I thought I hated have come up trumps in this unique environment where the choice about what I eat for my dinner was made by our teacher, not by me. I have retired many of my own prejudices thanks to Jen. Mum - listen to this - I ate raisins, I ate currants, I enjoyed brussel sprouts in my pasta, I greedily devoured not one, but two chicken liver crostini and from this year forth I absolutely love anchovies! What has happened to the pinickerty, fusser eater daughter you once knew? I am now more food brave than the rest of the family put together. This is progress on my part, to put it mildly.

It is also why, when Fred treated me to dinner at Zuni on Saturday night, after I got home late from work, I chose to have Cured anchovies with olives celery and cheese, followed by Oxtail where the old Sam would undoubtedly have picked Ricotta cheese and then Duck breast. It's an adventure and I can't wait for the next chapter!

PS. And as for missing cooking class? If truth be told - since I signed up for the next class, starting this Thursday, Flavours of Latin America with Penelope Alzamora chef, I guess my palate is going to continue expanding at an alarming rate!

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005 Fred is the Pasta King. You have to check this one out.

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On Expanding My Palate

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tarty Behaviour

Restaurant Critic beds Clint and Elvis!

photograph picture collage of gael greene restaurant critic

When the news broke on Friday that New York restaurant critic Gael Greene had bedded some very famous men, as well as a male porn star, the first thing I wanted to know was what she looked like. The interesting thing was, that in all of the photographs thrown up by google image search, Gael was hiding under a hat. Pah!

Great food is like great sex - the more you have the more you want.
Gael Greene

Although there are at least two food bloggers I know of who have shared kisses with pop stars and actors, don't expect me to spill the beans on who they or their suitors were. You'll have to wait until I am on my death bed writing my food blogger memoir, for that. (Ha, ha, no links in this paragraph!)

In the meantime, if you were behaving badly like Gael Greene, which three super stars would you choose to indulge in a tryst with?

1) Nicholas Cage
2) Sean Bean
3) Alan Rickman

Or someone else, perhaps?

PS I know this is a silly, not very serious post, but this is a silly not very serious Sunday, so there!

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005 - Paper Chef Winner.

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Tarty Behaviour

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bay Area Blog of the Week # 32

No longer am I the only English-bred woman blogging about food in the Bay Area. I recently discovered a really new blog, Albion Cooks, by a writer, reviewer, mother, and booklover who loves to write about food and cooking. She grew up in England and now lives in Marin, California.

Catherine writes about vegetarian food, cooking, and eating experiences for the whole family. Check out her site here, say hello and please give her a warm welcome to the food blogging community. Thank you.

Previously Featured Bay Area Food & Drink Bloggers:
Blogher | Bay Area Bites | Hungry Hedonist | Mighty | Chez Pim | The Blue Bottle Clown College | The Novato Experiment | Amuse Bouche | Feeding Fashionistas | All In | Dr Five Pints | SF Gourmet | Small Farms | In Praise of Sardines | Life Begins @ 30 | Gastronomie | Confessions of a Restaurant Whore | Bunny Foot | Sweet & Savory | I'm Mad and I Eat | Yummy Chow | Nosheteria | Vivi's Wine Journal | Epicurian Debauchery | Food Musings | Pfiff | Marga's Food Blog | Where the Wild Things Are | Eggbeater

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: A review of San Rafael Japanese, Tomoe, which has since, sadly, closed down.

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Bay Area Blog of the Week # 32

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Classic Fijian Dish

photograph picture image of fiji friday logoCan you Guess What it is?

photograph picture Fijian Food

Four different versions of the same Fijian Classic.
- Do you know what is it called?
- What do you think is it made from?
- Which of the four pictures above was my favourite?

Clockwise from top left:
Bad Dog Cafe | Suva | Viti Levu | Fiji
Vilisites | Korolevu | Viti Levu | Fiji
Oasis Cafe | Pacific Harbour | Viti Levu | Fiji
Bula Re | Savusavu | Vanua Levu | Fiji

Previously on Fiji Fridays:
Pit Stop - On the Road | Fresh Coconut Juice | Catch of the Day | The Sweetest Girl | Exotic Fruits | Forbidden Food | Nature's Communal Oven | Lovo | Nama Sea Grapes |

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Music in My Kitchen Meme

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A Classic Fijian Dish

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do You Believe in Ferries?

The Farmers Market Turns to Magic when you take an illustrator shopping with you...

photograph picture simple poached egg on toast
(Click to enlarge: Shopping Companion and Illustration courtesy of Del4Yo from Non Dairy Diary)

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Yoghurt | from St Benoit
Jam from | June Taylor
Blossoms | from Hamada Farms
Charcuterie | from The Fatted Calf
The Ferry Building | Market Place
Saturday Morning | Farmers Market

Other Resources:
Car | from Honda

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Stinson Beach Grill

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Do You Believe in Ferries?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Phancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers

Who Ate all the Pies? (irresistable would be an understatement!)

photograph picture recipe how to make fancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers pasties pies

At cooking school last week we learnt the recipe for a great savoury pastry dough and filled it with spiced lamb. The turnovers were difficult to resist and I instantly knew I wanted to make a version of them for the Super Bowl party I was going to on Sunday. On my way to work on Saturday morning I stopped off at the Ferry Building and Farmers Market to buy some ingredients. I still hadn't decided what to fill my little pies with, but in the back of mind I wanted to make something linked to one of the two teams. Being the clueless not-sporty, non-American that I am, all my little brain could remember was that one of the competing teams came from a city that began with the letter P. I searched my grey matter and concluded that it must be Philadelphia. It was the only place I could think of that fitted the bill. Brilliant, I thought to myself, I can make a philly cheesesteak filling for the mini-pasties. When I later learnt that the team I was thinking of was, in fact, Pittsburgh, I was a little bit embarassed to say the least. But once I tasted the delicious result and witnessed the speed with which the morsels disappeared from their little tin-foil nest at the Super Bowl gathering, I figured maybe my idea was not quite so dumb, after all.

If you are looking for a regular, standard version of cheesesteak, you have come to the wrong place. This is most definitely a recipe for people who appreciate top quality ingredients. Some might even say it's a recipe for food snobs.

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick (4 oz) butter cut into cubes
8oz cream cheese or fromage blanc
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients together in a food processor or Kitchen Aid until a dough forms. Wrap in waxed paper and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the filling:
2 finely-minced serrano chilies
Half a large or one medium onion, finely diced
1 oz butter
One ribeye steak, trimmed of any major fat deposits (about 8oz)
8 medium button mushrooms
3oz Ubriaco Cheese
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper to taste

-Melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently saute the onions and serrano until soft over low heat.
-Either mince the meat and the mushrooms in a meat grinder or finely chop into little cubes.
-Turn up the heat and add the steak, stirring until browned.
-Add the mushrooms and salt and turn down the heat. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the meat and the mushrooms are cooked through.
-Finely cube the cheese and stir into the meat combination until it melts into the mixture.
-Add a generous shake of cayenne and further salt and black pepper to taste.
Resist the temptation to eat all the mixture, it's time to make the pies.

To Assemble the pies:
1 egg beaten and thinned out with a little water or milk.
Small bowl of cold water.

-Preheat oven to 450F
-Remove dough from fridge.
-Roll out until about an eighth of inch tick on a large floured board.
(This dough rolls out to about the width of a kitchen counter in both directions, so when I say 'board', actually 'entire counter' would be better.)
-Use a cookie cutter to cut out 3" wide circles of dough. You should be able to get at least 30 circles, probably more.
-One at a time, take each circle, dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the circle. Put just a teaspoon of the meat filling mixture into the centre of the circle.
-Fold the dough over to make a little moon-shaped pie and seal the edges by pressing along them with a fork.
-Transfer turnovers to a baking sheet.(I did mine in two batches.)
-Brush each pie with the beaten egg mixture and and then prick an air hole in the top of each one with a fork.
-Bake for 15 minutes in the top third of the oven until golden.
-Serve warm (not hot).

photograph picture recipe how to make fancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers pasties pies

You might have a little bit of filling left over. Don't worry - it is great heated up the next day as the filling for a toasted wholewheat pitta bread!

The beauty of this recipe is the dough. It handles really well. The possibilities for fillings are endless. Vegetarian, fish, meat, cheese, maybe even fruit? Just make up a mixture of something that sounds delicious to you and try it out. Make sure you cut whatever it is that you use into very small pieces so that you can get as much flavour as possible into that small one teaspoon of filling.

PS- Please save one for me!

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Organic Butter | from Straus
Cream Cheese | Cowgirls own brand fromage blanc
Mushrooms | from Far West Fungi
Seranno Chilies | From Capay Organic
Onion | from Chue's Farm
Sustainable, organic Ribeye Steak | from Prather Ranch
Ubriaco Cheese | from Cowgirl
Eggs | Marin Sun Farms
Cooking School | Tante Marie

Other Resources:
About | The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak
Orginators | of the Philly Cheesesteak?
The Best | Philly Cheesesteaks?

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:

Only half a pound lost this week. This could be due to one of a number of factors, or a combination of all of them: 1) I totally lost it at cooking school last week and consequently stopped counting points for the rest of the week. 2) Superbowl Sunday didn't help - I have no idea how much the turnovers above were worth point-wise, and I ate at least eight. I also ate cheese and chocolate and licked the spoon many times whilst I was making a dessert. I drank 3/4 bottle of sparkling wine at the party, nibbled on copious amounts of nuts and took a small slice of Brian's devillish cheesecake. 3) It's the time of the month for water retention. 4) My scales are only accurate to every half a pound (unlike official WW scales which I don't have access to), so I am not sure how much rounding up and down is going on. 5) For the first two to three weeks of a weight loss programme, you lose a lot more weight and then the weight loss slows down to of a rate of around 1 lb a week, so I can't expect thing to carry on with the resounding success of the first two weeks. What I do know is that I have to get back on track and restart counting those points again this week. I have strength, I will conquer.
23 19.5 17.5 17.0

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Is just a Myth, or is it something more than that?.

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Phancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Breakfast On Mars

Nudity, Giant Prunes, Watch Out!

photograph picture simple poached egg on toast
(Photograph courtesy of NSSDC/Nasa)

Today had been a pretty cool day, I had eaten, shopped, rolled and hovered through the streets and shops of all the major cities in the solar system. And now I was coming to the last stop, Mars.
Martians are a pretty backwards bunch, they drive on the ground with so called ‘wheels’. (They say its keeping with good old human tradition but I think its just weird.) And they start the day with dinner and end it with breakfast. (Luckily they make a darn good breakfast.) Also they live on a planet with fluctuating gravity so their clothes have a horrible tendency to get ripped off mid discussion. [Read on...]

This essay found on the blog of my nephew, Dillon. It amused me to remember what it was like to be lost inside the imagination of a twelve year old. Thanks Dillon!

PS. I didn't get off work early enough last night to catch Heidi, Alder, Bruce and Pim give their Commonwealth Club talk on food blogging at the Ferry Building so I hope somebody writes a report about it. Later yesterday evening, the hottest food bloggers and doyenne of the internet, the Bay Area's own bunny girl as well as paparazzi favourites, Becks & Posh were partying over in the East Bay at Hangar One for the lauch of their new lapsong souchon tea spirit, Qi. Smoky, mysterious and definitely a drink for adults, Qi makes for some intriguing cocktail mixes. For a full pictorial report, go see the Bunrabs.

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: The First time, but not the last: The Fatted Calf makes its first appearance on my blog.

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Breakfast On Mars

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mabel's Just For You Cafe - 22nd Street - San Francisco

Hanging in My Hood

This post is based on my latest article for SFist in which I eat my way around the Bay Area in alphabetical order. Today it's Just for U.

photograph picture restaurant review of Mabel's just for you cafe in dog patch / potrero hill san francisco
Or rather, Just for You.
Or more precisely, Mabel's Just For You Cafe, and to be quite honest, I'd rather it was Mabel's Just for Me Cafe, so Fred and I would always be guaranteed a spot at this busy, off-the beaten track little cafe nestled in Dog Patch at the bottom of Potrero Hill. But I must confess, on Sundays when the pair of us are at our most lazy, we can only just manage to drag our arses down to Mabel's just before it closes at 3pm. By that time, the more spritely brunchtime crowds are usually thinning out and we don't have to wait a second before being seated and served.

Mabel's is just a simple little cafe with a counter for singles overlooking the busy open kitchen and lots of wooden tables scattered around the L-shaped room. There are even a couple of prime spots outside if you can manage to snag one of them on more temperate days. I really love the staff here. They make you feel welcome, whatever your style. The clientelle, usually more varied than Mabel's wide-ranging weekend menu, might include a middle aged woman with spikey green and red hair, a shy and clingy young couple perhaps celebrating their first breakfast after the night before or another pair, all squeaky clean and sportily dressed, who've arrived straight from exercising their right to eat home fries. On other occasions you might just find us .

One of us will never stray from the same order. It's an addiction with him. Two Eggs any style, scrambled, with home fries, Louisiana hot sausage and homebaked white bread. Oh, and a glass of beer. Yes! A little cafe that sells alcohol for breakfast, a hair of the dog for when it is needed. The sausage really is HOT! I reckon it might even be a bit of an aphrodisiac. (Eh? What can we say? Isn't that what Sundays are for?)

photograph picture Louisiana hot sausage and scrambeled egg from restaurant review of Mabel's just for you cafe in dog patch / potrero hill san francisco
But if you think that sounds good, and before you get too carried away with the sausage, request something soft on which to lay your bed-head. The Just for You special order of three wonderful beignets arrive as piping hot, golden little pillows of soft, springy dough, dredged in pure and virginal white powdered sugar. Contrary to appearance, the beignet themselves are not that sweet at all, so the blanket of sugary dust doesn't go to waste.

photograph picture of powdered sugar beignets from restaurant review of Mabel's just for you cafe in dog patch / potrero hill san francisco
Now that Mabel's has become such a little favourite with us, it's hard to believe that after our very first visit I almost vowed never to return again. On that occasion they royally messed up my favourite Eggs benedict by perching them on a slice of toast. Call me a purist if you will, but there is something quite wrong about finding a slice of bread where an English Muffin would do a far better job. Paired with a bowl of innocuous grits, I might have thought Mabel was off her trolley if she hadn't pre-warned me that grits are pasty white stuff… like you had in prison. Next time I'll heed her wise words and steer clear of the grits. And anyway, such honesty has to be forgiven, especially when it is washed down with a pint of mimosa made with fresh juice. Yes you read it right, - they serve the champagne and orange sparkler in a PINT glass. I can't argue with that, and I often don't, on Sunday afternoons, sometimes, just before three.

photograph picture of housemade bread restaurant review of Mabel's just for you cafe in dog patch / potrero hill san francisco
PS. You can even buy the house-baked bread to take home. The $3.50 loaves contain no preservatives so it's a good idea to slice it and then freeze ready for toasting. Yum!

Just For You Cafe
732 22nd Street (at 3rd Street)
San Francisco CA 94107
tel. (415) 647-3033

PS Blogger will be having an outage tonight between 7 and 8pm PST at which time this blog will be unavailable.

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:
Counting Weightwatcher's Points and a Superbowl Party do not good partners make.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Paper Chef Winner - Very Posh Cheese & Biscuits.

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Mabel's Just For You Cafe - 22nd Street - San Francisco

Sunday, February 05, 2006

To Her Egg Master

It's time for End-Of-The-Month Eggs-On-Toast Extravaganza!
"Pick your favourite poet or poem and write something eggy in the style of said poet/poem" so says Jeanne from Cooksister. I am a closet poetry fan. I love reading it and writing it and I have many favourites. None moreso, perhaps, than Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress. It is the perfect example of the lengths a 17th Century Puritan gentleman might go to, to get into a lady's knickers. If someone had written me such a brilliant and romantic poem, I am sure I would have surrendered immediately. Who knew they were so hot and sexy back in the olden days?? I suppose I don't really to his verse justice by turning Marvell's masterpiece into an ode to an egg on toast, so please forgive me in advance. It was fun writing it, but maybe not quite as much fun as being the object of Marvell's affections might have been.

photograph picture simple poached egg on toast
Had we but no blog and time
Fine cooking, readers, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To cook our eggs and take all day
My vegetable love should grow
Frittata-like and oh so slow
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine yolk, and on they pure white gaze
For egg you deserve this state
Nor would I love at lower rate
But at my back I always hear
Time's sell-by-date hurrying near
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity
Thy beauty shall no more be found
In broken shell, upon the ground
Your untouched fruit would turn to dust
And into ashes, my famished lust
The trash, a fine and private place
But none, I think, would there you taste
Now, therefore, while youthful hue
Sits on thy shell like morning dew
Rather at once our egg devour
Than languish in denial power
We'll crack it open, strength and all
And poach it fast into a ball
And swiftly serve it up on toast
Simplest pleasures please the most
Though still we cannot make the sun
We'll pierce the yolk and make him run.

photograph picture simple poached egg on toast

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Eggs | Marin Sun Farm
Bread | from Mabel's Just For You Cafe

Other Resources:
Delia Smith | How to poach an egg
I Like It | IMBB23 is announced

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:
Poached egg on toast with a teaspoon of butter is about five or six WW points depending on the bread you use. How to survive a superbowl party on Weightwatchers? I have no idea - I'll let you know later!

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants.

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To Her Egg Master

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bay Area Blog of the Week # 31

I find writing original content for any blog other than my own difficult to say the least. (Every time I agree to do it, I struggle with it, and then regret having agreed to do it in the first place.) But giving props to other peoples' blogs and helping to foster community is absolutely my bag, which is why I almost didn't hesitate when Elise invited me to be part of the BlogHer Food & Drink Editing team.

The BlogHer Network is a guide to women bloggers, organised into 20 popular topics, where you'll find lists of blogs by women and constantly updating guides to what's hot. Contributions come from women all over the globe, but Blogher has its roots here in Northern California which is my excuse for including it, today, as my Bay Area Blog of the week.

Some of the editors will be creating original content, but no, not me. I promise my posts will give you no more than a brief sentence or two that points you in the direction of women who write reviews of restaurants and guides to eating outside of the home. I am trying to make my picks as diverse as possible - from high-end dining to street food, in all corners of the world.

If dining out isn't your bag, then check out one of the other Food and drink contributing editors:

Vegetarian | Alanna Kellog | A Veggie Venture
Desserts | Jennifer Hamilton | The Domestic Goddess
Food Industry | Jennifer Maiser | Life Begins at 30
Weight-Loss | Kalyn Denny | Kalyn's Kitchen
Cooking Methods and Tips | Elise Bauer | Simply Recipes
Gluten-free | Shauna James | Gluten-free Girl
Epicurean, High Cuisine | Toby Bloomberg | Diva Marketing

And don't forget - Blogher isn't just about food and drink, it's a great place to discover all sorts of blogs on a wide range of subjects, all written by women. Check it out!

PS. If you are a woman who blogs about any subject, you can add your own site to the Blogher Blogrolls here.

Previously Featured Bay Area Food & Drink Bloggers:
Bay Area Bites | Hungry Hedonist | Mighty | Chez Pim | The Blue Bottle Clown College | The Novato Experiment | Amuse Bouche | Feeding Fashionistas | All In | Dr Five Pints | SF Gourmet | Small Farms | In Praise of Sardines | Life Begins @ 30 | Gastronomie | Confessions of a Restaurant Whore | Bunny Foot | Sweet & Savory | I'm Mad and I Eat | Yummy Chow | Nosheteria | Vivi's Wine Journal | Epicurian Debauchery | Food Musings | Pfiff | Marga's Food Blog | Where the Wild Things Are | Eggbeater

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Duck Confit and Lentils at Tabla.

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Bay Area Blog of the Week # 31

Friday, February 03, 2006

On the Road - Pit Stop

photograph picture image of fiji friday logoin Pacific Harbour

photograph picture Deuba Mini Mart Pacific Harbour Viti Levu

I had a lot of fun driving this big right-hand-drive, stick-shift truck across Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu from Nadi to Suva. Pacific Harbour is a good place to stop for refreshment. On our first run through Pacific Harbour we stopped at Deuba, a not-very-touristy mini-mart advertising Pizza, Takeaway and Fast Food.

photograph picture Deuba Mini Mart Pacific Harbour Viti Levu

Around half the population of Fiji is Indo-Fijian and so curry is now as common-place as more traditional Fijian Food.

photograph picture Deuba Mini Mart Pacific Harbour Viti Levu

Lamb Curry | Roti | Rice | Dhal | FJD$4.50
Lamb Sausage | Chips | FJD$2.50
A Nice Cup of Tea | FJD$0.70
Total | FJD$7.70
That's the equivalent to $4.50 US. Not bad for a spicy little lunch.

Previously on Fiji Fridays:
Fresh Coconut Juice | Catch of the Day | The Sweetest Girl | Exotic Fruits | Forbidden Food | Nature's Communal Oven | Lovo | Nama Sea Grapes |

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Wikipedia | All about Fiji
Population | The People of Fiji

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:
Cooking School is the Devil.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Outside dining at Ti Couz

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On the Road - Pit Stop

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

wine shops that feel the love!

K&L Wines
638 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 896-1734

photograph picture recipe of K&L wines

For this, the Eighteenth Edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, Dr Vino challenged us, not to feature wine, but to feature a seller of wine instead. Our favourite wine shop perhaps?

I have two favourite places to buy wine in San Francisco. The first is the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants who I have written about before. When I visit the Ferry Building, I am usually on foot, with not much more than a shopping basket to carry all of my market wares, so at the most, I only ever buy two bottles of wine from FPWM at a time.

When I need larger quantities of wine I drive to K&L, just over a mile from my house. They have plenty of parking and they also stock some neat spirits as well as a wide selection of wines from all over the world. What I particularly like about them, is that whatever strange question I throw at them (and believe me, I have asked some unusual ones), they are completely unfazed and they do their utmost to help me come up with a solution.

K&L helped us find Alsace wines to go with choucroute.

K&L helped me find three different sparklers to pitch against the English Nyetimber in a blind tasting.

K&L staff have an assuring way with words.

K&L staff helped me find an "off dry" red, and patiently tried to help me understand what "off dry" meant.

K&L helped me put together wine pairings for my 2004 Christmas dinner menu.

photograph picture recipe of K&L wines

Last Sunday I took K&L a new challenge. Tomorrow it's my turn to take wine to my Slow Mediterranean Cooking class at Tante Marie. I asked for help choosing a sparkling wine and a red wine from Meditteranean countries at around the ten buck level per bottle. My preferred choice, the Proseccos, were a little bit pricey, so I ended up with three bottles of Segura Viudas Brut Cava which I was assured was much better than Frexinet (it better be). My helpful assistant had such great things to say about the 2003 D'Angelo Aglianico "Sacravite" described as a value-packed red with layers of exotic spice and rich, dark fruit notes, I can't wait to try it. Apparently, the Aglianico grape which I had not heard of before, came from Greece with the Romans way back when. Roll on cooking class...

PS - Even if you don't live near K&L, do check out their website - it's a great read and full of well-written descriptions of the wines that they stock. It's clearly set out and informational as well. Don't despair if you are not in the vicinity, you can buy from them online too!

Daily weight loss, Weightwatchers and diet notes:
Tuesday nights are my favourite night of the week, Weightwatcher-wise. It's the end of my WW week and I have to eat any spare weekly points before they reset again on Wednesday. This means it's time to feast. Last night I had toast and foie gras and rillettes and grilled gruyere and a couple of squares of Scharffenburger chocolate. And after all that I weighed myself and I had still lost two pounds. Whoever said dieting can't be fun?

23 19.5 17.5

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wine shops that feel the love!