Archives for category: San Francisco

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons butter, for two 9” round pans
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the cake pans and line bottoms with parchment, butter again and dust with cocoa.

Sift the following ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts and vinegar. With the mixer on low slowly pour into dry ingredients until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter into the pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 45 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Mexican Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle on medium speed until smooth. Sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt and add to the mixer. On slow speed add the extracts, brandy and chocolate slowly. Finally add the sour cream and mix until combined.

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My grandmother in the backyard of the house in Hayward in the 40’s and on her last trip to her birthplace Lihue, Kauai mid 90’s.

 

My great-grandparents were born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. They left the island in 1899 as part of only 5000 documented immigrants to work on the island of Kauai in the sugarcane fields after two devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico. They settled in Lihue, just a mile away from where the airport is today. My great-grandparents had 13 children there before bringing them to California and settling in the East Bay during the early 30’s.

They bought a house in Hayward and moved it across town to a small lot where my grandmother grew up as a teenager and would eventually pass away in. I would spend as much time as I could in the kitchen with her. When we sat and looked through old photo albums the images of celebrations from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s reminded me of what a special place this was.

My grandmother didn’t have a written recipe for this dish and things were never labeled on the pantry shelf – most of the time ingredient portions were measured with “just a little bit of that.”

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Arroz con Pollo

1/4 cup achiote oil
6 chicken thighs,
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Sofrito, recipe follows
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, cut in half
2 cups long-grain rice
3 1/4 chicken stock
1 can gandules

Achiote oil:
1 cup lard
2 tablespoons annatto seeds

Sofrito:
2 yellow onions, cut into large chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, washed
1 red bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Soak the rice in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

Heat the achiote oil in a wide, shallow pan (that has a lid). Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry on both sides until brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the sofrito, cooking until most of the moisture is gone.

Stir in the rice and coat with the sofrito and achiote oil. Stir in the olives, gandules and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Arrange the chicken pieces into the rice and let the dish come back up to a boil. Lower the heat and let some of the liquid evaporate before covering with the lid. Cook on medium-low heat for about 40 minutes.

Achiote oil:
Heat the lard and annatto seeds in a small pan over medium heat until the lard turns a deep orange color. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Sofrito:
Place the onion, garlic, cilantro, peppers and vinegar in a food processor and puree until smooth. Any extra can be frozen or refrigerated.

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Pistachio Shortbread with Orange Blossom Glaze

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pistachios

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer combine the butter, sugar and salt mixing until smooth. Add flour and mix until dough forms. Mix in chopped pistachios. Shape the shortbread dough into logs and wrap tightly in plastic. Place in freezer until firm.

Preheat oven to 350*

Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake about 12 minutes until cookies are just done. Slide the parchment paper onto wire racks and cool.

 

Orange Blossom Glaze

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Zest of one orange

Juice of 1 ½  oranges

½ teaspoon orange blossom water

1 teaspoon orange liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Dip half the cookie in the glaze and place on wire racks and let set.

Jane Kim Eats Out

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I’m happy to say that I’ve endorsed Jane Kim for State Senate. She’s currently working on a project to save the fifty year old STUD from closing along with being one of the cities most progressive voices fighting for our homeless.

Wednesday September 28th I’m hosting an event at the Starlight Room which reflects my voting guide for the November ballot. Almost everyone I’ve endorsed will be in attendance and there are no scheduled speeches or fundraising planned. It is just a chance for people to meet and talk to the candidates I feel will shape the future of San Francisco politics.

To learn more about the event read the article over at the Bay Area Reporter.

Floor 21 - 4th May 2016.

Jane and I applying lipstick at Floor 21, Starlight Room / Image Gooch

Jane Kim is a current San Francisco Supervisor and candidate for State Senate, District 11. Jane is a proven progressive leader who has fought to expand access to affordable housing, protect renters, close the income gap and improve public schools.

Jane answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate Chip Cookies with a lot of butter.  Butter is big for me.  I am not really big into sugar or most sweets, but I like a lot of buttery things like croissants.

What restaurant would you call your home?
There are actually like 3 restaurants I spend my time at: Turtle Tower – I LOVE LOVE LOVE their Phô, Tin Vietnamese because it is a couple blocks from my house and their food is delicious and Happy Shabu Shabu – I love hot pot and ponzu sauce!

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
I never ate cereal as a kid; although my family got into cereal after I left the house.  I remember coming home and my mom was eating cereal with kim chi because she always had to have kim chi with everything, and the milk turned orange and she still drank it.  That was too much even for me!

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?
There are always two places that I want go eat at after the club – Korean food because the restaurants usually stay open until 2AM. And, I used to also really love Sparky’s on Church Street when I lived nearby. I’d always get the tomato, cheese and fried egg sandwich with a strawberry milkshake.

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Seared Shrimp and Garbanzo Bead Salad

Dozen shrimp, cleaned and shelled

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 small clove garlic, minced

Pinch chili flakes

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on high and add the shrimp searing on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes and zest and lemon juice. Remove the shrimp from pan and save remaining juices for the vinaigrette.

15 ounce can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup Olive oil

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

1/4 red onion, sliced thin

Radishes, sliced thin

1 stalk celery, sliced thin + celery leaves

1 small cucumber, sliced

Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Watercress

In a bowl combine the red wine vinegar and onions with some salt to macerate for 10 minutes. Prep your vegetables and place in a large bowl. Transfer onions to bowl and make the vinaigrette, whisking the olive oil into the vinegar. Add the juices from the shrimp pan. Mix the vinaigrette, shrimp and salad vegetables together and taste for salt. Serve over watercress.

Serves 4

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I’ve been inspired by San Francisco’s Real Foodie’s Compost campaign to share more about composting. If you live in SF you can order a free compost pail from Recology  HERE! I’m all about meeting the SF Zero Waste goal by 2020. I get pissed when I open the green bin in my apartment building and see that other tenants have dumped the wrong things in it!

 This is what I had left over from this recipe to add to my pail.

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I used to make a variation of these bars when I lived in New York – we called them Gramamore’s. I’ve updated them a bit and they are just as delicious as ever.

Rosemary Cashew Caramel Bars

Shortbread
1 stick butter plus 3 tablespoons, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
Zest from one lemon
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Rosemary caramel & cashew topping
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups salted roasted cashews
Flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

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In a food processor combine the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest, rosemary and flour until crumbly. Press the mixture evenly into a the pan. Bake until golden brown about 25 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Place sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Start stirring when you see the sugar begin to melt and it starts to turn light brown. Once it is a golden caramel color pour in the heavy cream, being careful of it splattering. Stir constantly until it is smooth about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Take mixture off heat and stir in cashews. Pour cashew mixture on top of the shortbread and bake for 15 minutes.

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Sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of finished bars.

Let cool for a few hours to completely set. Refrigerate for an hour and then cut into squares.

Phillip Basone Eats Out

A few weeks ago some boys started asking me if I knew who the hot new chef was in town from New York City. I put down my nail polish and made a few calls to investigate who this guy was. Phillip Basone is originally from Connecticut, his culinary career got on track when he went through the doors of Barbuto, a Greenwich Village restaurant owned by Jonathan Waxman – one of the pioneers of California Cuisine. When I lived in NYC during the late 80’s – it was Waxman’s restaurant Jams on East 79th that I dreamt of cooking at – but fate had me head in a different direction and I ended up under the aprons of some very hot French chefs. I know what tough work it is in a kitchen, especially when you are as talented as Phillip.

I recently stopped by  Waxman’s in Ghirardelli Square where Phillip is spending most of his time while in San Francisco to introduce myself and have dinner. It’s all true – he is even more handsome in person then the boys say and welcomed me with the warmest hug and smile. Dinner was fabulous and the kitchen executed Waxman’s signature dishes to perfection – especially the JW Chicken & Potatoes! I don’t know how much longer Phillip will be in town, so get your butt down there to get a glimpse of him in his chef whites and eat soon. I’m not promising any hugs though.

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Phillip answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?
I hate to admit it but I just love Oreos dipped in peanut butter…..

What restaurant would you call your home?
Barbuto! It is where I started my career at 18 and have been working for Jonathan Waxman on and off for the last 6 years.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
I am a extremely picky eater so for strangest I don’t even know where to begin. As far as most inspiring I would honestly have to say this one meal a friend of my father prepared for me. It was pernil, which is so simple yet so delicious. It really set me on this path of incorporating more Latin flavors into my food and relishing in the simplistic beauty of some cuisines.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
Smacks!

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?
Chicken fingers with french fries and a bacon, egg & cheese. Extra ranch please!

IMG_4234Jackson getting a good sniff of Phillip at Waxman’s.

 

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Roasted Frog Hollow Peaches, Rosemary Biscuit & Creme Anglaise at Waxman’s