5 Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad
News and Fun Facts News Alert! For those of you who live on the SF Peninsula I have sad news for you. Mayfield Bakery in Palo Alto has closed, my all time favorite place to buy sliced bread. To support my other treasured bakery, head on over to Mademoiselle Colette’s in Menlo Park and Palo Alto to show your support. This newsletter highlights peaches as we head to the end of the peach season in California.
Classes this week: watermelon salad, salsa, tuna melt, pasta alfredo and vanilla peach pie.
What I’m Reading Here’s a peach article a friend sent me this week. Lots of ideas for those end of the season peaches! Stone me! 17 ways with peaches and nectarines – from delicious compotes to a freekeh salad
What I’m Watching I am watching not a bit about peaches this week but rather fantasizing about food and travel with Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix streaming. It’s fun and a great show to help you build up your future “must visit” restaurant list.
What I’m Cooking This week’s recipe is a rather crazy one from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple Cookbook, 5 Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad. We’ve made it at cooking school in past years. Although I do love it I sadly didn’t snap a photo.
Mustard Chicken in Phyllo
News and Fun Facts I am afraid I don’t have any fun facts this week, just fun classes. The Lunch Bunch menu for this week is tuna sandwiches, beef tacos and cheddar biscuits. Friday’s Baking Blowout class is almond biscotti. Well, I guess my fun fact is that “biscotti” just means “cookie” in Italian but we Americans have come to think of it as those crunchy twice baked crescent shaped cookies.
Top Tip After years of making hard boiled eggs with shells sticking to the whites, I triumphed this week. Kenji Lopez of The Cooking Lab fame and now a part of the New York Times Cooking team has done so many experiments about the cooking of hard and soft boiled eggs. Here’s what he learned from his experiments and perfecting the art of non clinging shells. How to Boil the Perfect Egg
What I’m Reading I’m thinking a lot about lunch due to my Lunch Bunch class series. So, when I came across this article I decided to include it here. How I Make My Lunch Every Day Without Losing My Sanity
What I’m Watching I had the pleasure of dining at Atelier Crenn a few years back for a very special anniversary dinner. It was so fun to watch Chefs Table, Dominique Crenn, on Netflix learn more about this unique chef who starts each meal with a poem. I’ve put Petite Crenn on my restaurant “wish list” now. It’s my list of places to go once restaurants open up. Are you making one too? Chefs Table, Dominique Crenn
What I’m Cooking It’s I tried out a New York Times recipe for Chicken in Mustard Sauce. It was so easy you’d really love that aspect of it. However, despite the Dijon mustard and mustard powder, I found it rather bland. Try it out if you want something simple that even picky eaters will devour, Since I wasn’t wowed by it I am giving you a recipe along the same lines, Mustard Chicken in Phyllo. I have loved this for many years and my niece and I served this for so many dinner parties.
Spicy Chocolate Morsels
News and Fun Facts I see chocolate trending with a lot of students signing up for my chocolate classes. So I thought I’d put some focus in this newsletter to chocolate. The recipe I’m including this week is an all time favorite of my students. When I see them years after taking Chocolate Champions camp they still are making this recipe. So I’m including it here for you for free. This week at Lunch Bunch we’re making fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, cornbread and chicken quesadillas. At Friday’s making class we’re making a lemon almond pound cake with lemon glaze. Come join one of the online classes.
Top Tip Consider using demarara sugar The Mondon Salt of Sweets
What I’m Reading Chocolate is my comfort food of choice. If it’s yours, too, head on over to the NY Times artible, “Our 100 Best Chocolate Recipes”. We have made some of these in class, such as the “World’s Best Chocolate Cake”. You’ll need a subscription for this.
What I’m Watching Want to boost your mood? These days we all need that from time to time. How about eating chocolate? See what Linda from Spice Box Travels has to say about the wonders of chocolate and a healthy (yes healthy) chocolate recipe. I met Linda some years ago when agreed to write a chapter for a book of culinary essays. She has gone on to teaching classes at Kaiser, a food blog and now cooking videos.
What I’m Cooking I gave my students last Friday a free demo of this recipe as a “bonus round” for the class but it’s easy enough that you can just follow the recipe. Enjoy these Spicy Chocolate Morsels and don’t be alarmed by their name. They aren’t that spicy!
Green Beans in Walnut Sauce
News and Fun Facts Online classes are in full swing with the Lunch Bunch series starting yesterday in which students learn how to cook lunch with me and I’m aiming to teach a baking class each Friday. Come join those either as a series or individual classes. Thursday is hummus today and we end the week with Friday’s milk chocolate cookies.
Top Tip To sift or not. That is the question. Here’s some advice on just skipping that step when you bake. The Baking Step You Can (Pretty Much Always) Skip
What I’m Reading Those at New York Times Cooking are a bit tired of zoom socializing. If you are, too, read their How to Host
a Socially Distanced Barbecue
What I’m Listening To For all of you Totam fans out there (and you know I am), her’s a recent interview with Yotam Ottolenghi on “Splendid Table”
What I’m Cooking I am still in the mode of backyard socializing as this activity is definitely picking up speed in my neighborhood. So I’m including another recipe which would be perfect for yours from my favorite cookbook, “Nantucket Open House”. The list of ingredients is a kind of crazy combo in this Green Bean with Dill Walnut Sauce but trust me. It works! And, oops, I forgot to take a photo in my rush to get this on the table. It was gobbled up before I could snap a picture.
Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti
News and Fun Facts I’m short on fun facts but you may want to try out my class on Wednesday, with a chicken nugget type recipe. No class on Friday so you can enjoy the 4th of July holiday. Here’s a photo of a flag cake we made at cooking camp a while back. Two six week series are starting up next week, once called Lunch Bunch in which your chef can make lunch alongside me and a set of six baking classes (you can sign up for milk chocolate cookie class individually with the first one being Milk Chocolate Cookies). Sign up here
Top Tip If you’re in the market for White Wine Vinegar Ratings, check out the ratings from Cooks Illustrated.
What I’m Reading Backyard social distancing get togethers can be as simple as crackers and cheese. I am a fan of camembert. If you are, too, I suggest you read this article to learn why David Lebowitz (of Chez Panisse fame but now living in Paris) thinks the great camembert comes from Normandy. I recently had some from Denmark and it was positively flavorless. Making French Butter and Camembert de Normandie at Isigny Ste-Mere
What I’m Watching A few issues back I mentioned I was watching Julia Child’s shows. A British friend of mine then pointed me towards an even more hilarious British chef, Fanny Cradock, of that era. Play close attention to the fabulous outfits and fanfare when you watch these snippets from their shows.
What I’m Cooking My favorite experiment this week was “Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti” from Gourmet’s 2006 magazine. For those of you who yearn to bring Gourmet magazine back to life and are nostalgic for it, check out this recipe. I brought it to a friend’s backyard socially distancing dinner to rave reviews. For a simple snack or appetizer, top it with something yummy. I tried mission fig jam and some with caramelized onions. How about some camembert?
News and Fun Facts My all time favorite cookbook is “Nantucket Open House Cookbook” based on a popular gourmet shop, Que Sera Sarah, on Nantucket Island. One can tell by it’s condition, stained and falling to pieces aka well used. What’s your favorite cookbook? Vote here. Classes next up are this week’s raspberry/peach salad on Wednesday and lemon bars on Friday.
Top Tip This week I don’t have a cooking tip per se for you but rather an idea for moving the gamers off the video games. If they love Overwatch check out this cookbook. I’m gifting it to my Overwatch enthusiast son for his birthday.
Cook up more than ninety recipes inspired by the heroes of Blizzard Entertainment’s hit game with Overwatch: The Official Cookbook. Based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon Overwatch, this official cookbook is packed with scores of authentic recipes inspired by the game’s diverse heroes hailing from all corners of the universe. Building from the game’s compelling narrative and variety of characters, this cookbook features international food and drink recipes from each hero’s homeland. Each recipe includes straightforward step-by-step instructions, mouthwatering full-color photos, pairing suggestions, and more.
What I’m Reading
The Best Cookbooks For New Home Cooks, According To 8 Professional Chefs
What I’m Watching Michael Pollen explores the four basic elements: fire, water, earth, air in “Cooked” available on Netflix streaming.
What I’m Cooking Great tomatoes are just about to hit the market (or maybe they already have near you). While I wait patiently for the tomatoes in my garden to ripen I’m dreaming of making this simple and delicious bruschetta recipe from “Nantucket Open House Cookbook”
Peach and Almond Tart
News and Fun Facts Peaches are in season. Hooray! Come join this Friday’s Sour Cream Peach Pie class at noon. Salad with peaches class up next week. If you don’t have time for that or would rather try out peaches on your own, go back a few newsletters to learn how to make a peach shrub or read on for more information on peaches.
Top Tip You’ll want your baking pantry well stocked for all of those delicious peach recipes. Here are some tips on Stocking a Baking Pantry
What I’m Reading
A Letter to Sheila Lukins, a Matriarch of American Home Cooking.
What I’m Watching
A Chef’s Life Pretty in Peach. Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill’s canned peaches
Did you know that there are more than 1000 types of peaches? Or that they originally came from China? And why do peaches have fuzz? Watch this to learn even more. Peach: How does it Grow?
This show, Iowa Ingredient, has some know how about peaches but also creative recipe ideas
What I’m Cooking With my peach trees supplying me juicy peaches every day I’m baking a LOT of peach recipes. Typically at this time of the year cooking camp keeps me so busy I don’t have time to test out peach recipes so I’m taking this golden opportunity to do so. One of my favorites is this recipe for an Peach and Almond Tart my dear sister passed on to me. I am having it for breakfast today 🙂
No Knead Bread
News and Fun Facts Bread making class last week was comforting in our time of social unrest and unsettling times. I’m posting the no knead bread recipe I taught. This Friday I’m teaching an online eggplant parmesan class. Even if you’re not an eggplant fan, you may find yourself LOVING this recipe. Sour cream peach pie will be taught next week. If you’re like me, I’m harvesting buckets full of peaches every day.
Top Tip Cooks Illustrated printed a very handy article which answers many of your Top Bread Questions Answered. If your burning question isn’t answered in this article, send me an email. I’m always here to help and I love even tricky questions I call “Stump the Chef”
What I’m Reading Flour is still a bit hard to come by as Costco was sold out last week. The Altantic writes “Americans Have Maked All the Four Away”.
What I’m Watching Get inspired to make bread by watching this video on growing what and baking bread (this is a long video but about minute 6 is the amazing part about bread. Tassajara bread book, Julia Child mastering French Bread
Here’s how to make Sourdough Starter and Fermented Dough from San Francisco Baking Institute. A friend of mine in SF sent this to me!
What I’m Cooking While on the topic of bread, I decided to go back to a New York Times, all time favorite, No Knead Bread. This bread is so awesome it has its own Wikipedia page. It’s sticky and gooey but it works like magic. The technique of baking with a covered Dutch oven for the first part of the baking traps in steam to create a fabulous crust.
Short Ribs Alla Genovese
News and Fun Facts Last week’s newsletter was about getting tired of cooking. Today’s is about inspiration. The website Yummly is a great place to get inspired. It’s chock full of recipes from many sources and famous chefs. Check out some of those and, at a click of a button, order the groceries for your recipe to be delivered right to your door. ! The online Zoom pie class went well so now I’ve posted a bread making class which some of my readers have suggested. Bread making is indeed a long process so I’ll do some hocus pocus to capture the key points in an hour lesson.
Top Tip While watching “The French Chef” Julia Child shows an easy way to peel and prepare those delicious mini onions aka pearl onions. In class we slaved away at the peeling when we made this dish a few months ago. She makes it look so easy. Just toss the onions in boiling water to loosen the skin. Put a cross mark with a knife on the root end to allow them to cook well but not fall apart during the cooking. If using a French recipe calling for bacon it means fresh bacon which is hard to come by in the U.S. The workaround is to blanche your American smoked bacon in water for a minute or so then use it as specified in the recipe.
What I’m Reading I’m reading the A16 restaurant cookbook, “A16 Food and Wine”. A16 in San Francisco is well known for their pizza A16’s menu focuses on the cuisine of Campania, Italy. A16 is well known for its wood-fired pizza. Other dishes include braised octopus, fettucchine made with black pepper served with pig’s trotters, sirloin steak and goat chop.
What I’m Watching TIt’s been fun to watch the iconic show “The French Chef” by Julia Child. I didn’t see her drop a chicken on the floor and an not entirely sure if that really happened or if that’s a cooking myth. In her “Beef in Red Wine” episode watch closely to see her “oops” moments. I saw an onion roll out of her hands onto the table, she clangs the lid on the counter and spills a bit of the sauce. It was refreshing to see even Julia isn’t perfect. Just fun, write to me if you see others. What is also funny is her old fashioned electric stove with ringed burners and her usage of basic mined salt in a cylindrical cylinder. What is also a bit funny is that it’s funded by Polaroid and Hillsboro coffee. Now when is the last time you heard mention of those companies?
What I’m Cooking The A16’s Short Rib recipe was a crowd favorite. Okay, I’m getting a bit ambitious as my “crowd” was just our immediate family of 5, including my 92 year old mother. She loved it so much she packed up a few to take home. It’s not too challenging and it’s so worth the time hanging around the house while it cooks for 2 ½ hours in the oven. The sauce with it’s red wine vinegar and reduced red wine is a must so don’t skip out on it. It’s seriously good.
Smashed Chickpea Salad
News and Fun Facts Online classes coming up soon! The online pie class is coming up this Thursday and I posted an online bread class for next Friday. We’re into week 10 of shelter in place and you may still be loving to cook. But I bet some are starting to get into a cooking rut. I’m offering in this newsletter some sympathy via an article I’m reading and an easy peasy recipe, perfect for a quick meal and perfect for a blazingly hot day.
Top Tip Today’s tip is a shopping tip rather than a cooking tip. Cooks Illustrated conducted a taste test taste of Comparison Supermarket Olive Oil and there’s what they had to say about them. By the way, did you know there is a lot of fraud on the olive oil world? Much of it is laced with non olive oil, sadly. It’s hard to know what is the “real deal” but I trust Cooks Illustrated.
What I’m Reading Move over fancy food. In comes easier home cooking and lower pressure cooking: easy and with pantry staples – Foodie Culture as We Know It Is Over
Or how about this for a bit of sympathy for those who have reached their capacity of cooking enthusiasm – I Fell Into a Deep Cooking Rut—Here’s How I Got Out
It’s not that I”m suggesting you all pitch your plans to cook dinner at home tonight but I wanted to know about a good source of restaurant information on the San Francisco Peninsula. Do you know about Peninsula Foodist
What I’m Watching Nadya’s Time to Eat. Many of you know me and how I teach my classes – no shortcuts! We make mayo from scratch, ditto with harissa. For those who are getting weary, Nadya shows you how to cut some corners to save time. I loved Nadya on the British Baking Show and was so happy a friend tipped me off that she has her own show.
What I’m Cooking If exhausted from all of the cooking in the past two months, try out this Smashed Chickpea Salad. It’s what the New York Times calls a “no recipe recipe”, meaning that you can virtually throw it together and serve. So easy and delicious! This was posted in one of Smitten Kitchen’s Newsletters. That’s a great read btw and it’s free to subscribe to it.