Ferry Building Marketplace

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so my updating habits have gotten a little sporadic. things will be back to normal soon, really. in any case, last week was my birthday and i spent it with with a friend at the ferry building marketplace in san francisco, which happens to be my favorite place in my favorite city.

to begin our day of tasting, we had brunch at tsar nicoulai, where we split a sturgeon chowder in a bread bowl, served with tennessee hackleback caviar on a blini. it was tiny, but the caviar was delicious. (not as delicious as caspian osetra caviar, but you’ve got to be insane to pay for that outside of iran.)

it was so cold outside
birthday wishes in the freezing cold. (seriously, why is it so cold this year?)

afterwards we walked around, sampling and admiring the goods (the scent of the roast chickens for sale was unbelievable), and finally gave in and bought this beauty:
gorgeous
romanesque broccoli. almost too pretty to eat. almost. we decided that it would go into a salad alongside cheese and prosciutto.

we stopped by cowgirl creamery where i salivated for a few minutes before i decided on the roncal – kind of like a manchego but nuttier.
cheese!
in awe of all the choices. can you see why i love this place so much?

our last stop at the ferry building was mastrelli’s delicatessen, where i picked up some prosciutto di parma, and then we drove to north beach for cappuccinos at caffe trieste. before we headed back to the east bay for the evening, we stopped to have one of our favorites – lomo saltado, for dinner at fresca. not bad for a day’s worth of gastronomy.

Oyster Po’Boys

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i don’t cook dishes from the americas (both north and south) very often, not because i don’t like the cuisine, but rather because my few attempts haven’t turned out nearly as successful as my more eastern-oriented efforts.

but i gave it a try again, and i can’t say i did too bad:

more lime juice next time
jicama, cucumber, and orange salad

mmm, masa
mozzarella and chorizo arepitas

gooey
banana and s’mores sandwich (okay so this burned a little)

not enough flavor
yuca fries with chipotle mayonnaise

delicious!
oyster po’boy

here’s the recipe for the po’boys:

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 t salt
2 t pepper
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 t cayenne
2 jars shucked small oysters, drained
vegetable oil
1 loaf soft french bread
1/4 mayonnaise
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

1. beat together egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. whisk together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining teaspoon pepper in a shallow baking dish. whisk together cornmeal, remaining teaspoon salt, and cayenne in another shallow baking dish.

2. dredge a few oysters in flour, then dip into egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, knocking off excess. coat remaining oysters in same manner.

3. heat oil in a large pot over high heat until hot but not smoking. while oil is heating, halve bread crosswise, then cut each piece in half horizontally, cutting all the way through. put bread in oven and heat for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

4. while bread is heating, gently drop half of oysters into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. fry remaining oysters in same manner.

5. spread mayonnaise on cut sides of bread, then make sandwiches, topping lettuce with oysters. halve each sandwich crosswise for a total of 4 sandwiches.

Crispy Chicken and Kimchi Potstickers

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anyone who knows me knows of my affinity for korean cuisine. and of my affinity for kimchi. and more specifically, my affinity for all things banchan. i can think of nothing better than an array of small plates to complement a plate of bulgogi or japchae. naturally, i relish the taste of kimchi in my dumplings.

Kimchi and chicken potstickers

recipe:

1 t toasted sesame seeds
1/3 c + 1 T soy sauce
1/4 rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey
1/2 lb kimchi, drained and finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 t cornstarch
1/2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 pepper
gyoza wrappers
2 T vegetable oil
1 c water

1. in a small bowl, stir 1/3 cup of the soy sauce with the vinegar, water, garlic, 1 green onion, and sesame seeds.
2. in a large bowl. combine and mix the ground turkey with the kimchi, remaining green onions, egg, cornstarch, sugar, remaining soy sauce, salt and pepper.
3. place gyoza wrappers on a work surface and lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. place a spoon of the filling on one side of each wrapper and fold in half to form half moons. press the edges of the wrapper firmly to seal. repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
4. in a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. add half of the potstickers to the skillet. pour in 1/2 cup of the water, cover and cook over moderately high heat until the water has evaporated, the filling is cooked through and the bottoms are browned, about 10 minutes. transfer to a serving platter and repeat with the remaining oil, potstickers, and water. serve with the dipping sauce on the side.

Nutella Bundt Cake

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i don’t know why this is, but i’ll often not go to the cinema for months and then i’ll suddenly begin going at least once a week for a stint of time before i stop paying attention again. i saw babel on saturday (not enough gael garcia bernal methinks) and marriage, iranian style on sunday (hilarious, and dom was a good sport about the buffooning american character).

and of course i’ve been cooking, but i’m beginning to realize i hardly take pictures of anything aside from food anymore. i’m going to try and change that. until then:

not quite as flavorful as i'd hoped
herb and cheese filled chicken thighs

a good accompaniment to the chicken
saffron couscous

i didn't really know what to expect in making this
philadelphia clam pie

delicious, and i don't even like cake!
nutella bundt cake

here’s the recipe for the cake:

cooking spray
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 16 oz carton low-fat sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted
3 T nutella
1 t powdered sugar

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. add vanilla and sour cream; beat lightly until blended.

3. combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stiring until well combined. add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

4. spoon half of batter into bundt pan; sprinkle with nuts. drop small spoonfuls of nutella over nuts. spoon remaining batter over nutella; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. cool completely and sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.

Pasta and Chickpea Soup with Clams

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savory cuts of meat and hearty bowls of soup. to me that’s what fall cooking is all about. well, at least a pretty big part of it. can’t forget breads. oh, and earthy root vegetables. that too.

here’s what i’ve been cooking:

i love beets
beet and raspberry salad

this was fantastic
veal marsala

yum, anchovies!
multilayered anchovy bread

land meets sea
pasta and chickpea soup with clams

here’s the recipe for the soup:

1 cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
5 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 fresh rosemary spring
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lbs small clams
1 cup short hollow pasta

1. place beans in bowl. pour enough warm water over to cover; let soak at room temperature overnight. drain. place garbanzo beans in large saucepan; add enough fresh water to cover. boil 15 minutes. drain.

2. return beans to pan; add 4 cups water, 3 tablespoons oil, 2 garlic cloves, rosemary spring, and crushed red pepper. bring to boil. reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beans are tender, adding more water as needed by 1/2 cupfuls, about 2 hours. discard rosemary spring.

3. transfer 1 cup garbanzo bean mixture to processor and puree until smooth; reutrn to mixture in saucepan.

4. heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. add remaining garlic clove, saute unti golden, about 2 minutes. add clams and 1/4 water; cover and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes. cool clams slightly; reserve pan juices. working over bowl to catch juices, remove clams from shells; discard shells.

5. strain pan juices and clam juice from bowl into garbanzo bean mixture, then add 3 1/2 cups water and bring to boil. add pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, adding more water if soup is too thick and stirring occassionally, about 10 minutes. stir in clams. season to taste with salt and pepper.