Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hazelnut Mousse Torte

I decided to call this a torte because it justifies how rich this cake was. It's very important to give dishes and cakes the right name because it has a huge psychological effect on the eater. I just made a devils food cake (split into 3 layers) and filled it with a nutella mousse. Then I gave the cake a ganache blanket for the icing. I used spun sugar and sugar curly q's to make the design. And finally, I topped it with a few chocolate curls and pressed some toasted chopped hazelnuts around the edge. This cake was featured at the neighborhood inagural ball.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Broccoli Waldorf Salad, Pork Ribs, Roasted Potatoes

The roomies and I decided to make dinner together tonight. When we decide to cook together, it means...I get to explain to Rene and Rod what vegetables are and they decide that potatoes are best roasted in the juices of the pork loin. I like our cooking styles...they play off each other, and in the end we create a delicious dinner. Tonight it was Broccoli Waldorf salad which was a great combination of bitter green, sweet fruit, and tangy lemon. Pork ribs and loin were baked at 350 for one hour (two for the ribs) with Shit Yeah sauce (courtesy of Christopher Richard...the recipe includes chipotle peppers and tamarid) and the potatoes were roasted for 1-1.5 hours at 350. After the pork loin has been cooked and the juices are flowing, stick the potoates in the juices and roast for an additional 20 minutes.

Broccoli Waldorf Salad
blanched broccoli
shredded gala apple
dried currants (or raisins)
lemon juice
salt to taste

combine in salad bowl and toss

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oysters by the Bay

Rene and I got a hands on lesson about Oysters on the half shell from John Myers, head oyster chef of Aquatic Culture. We learned what knives to use when shucking oysters, how to "finesse" the oyster open, and how to make three different oyster preparations. I liked oysters before, but after this little lesson, I simply adore these salty delicacies. John taught me how to shuck the oysters and Rene and I got to try all his different preparations. We had the oyster served three ways: Chili Lime Granita, Seaweed Shallot Mignonette, and Herb Butter with Sourdough Crumb. They were all amazing! My favorite was the Seaweed Shallot Mignonette. I'll post the recipes soon. Until then, you can gawk at the little beauties below......

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Farmer's Market Tacos

These tacos were inspired by the fresh farmer's market produce. It all started with some of the most rich and tender avocados I've ever had. They were melt in your mouth good. I then had to try my very first bag of Rancho Gordo beans. These beans quite famous for their freshness and flavor. I went for the black beans, recommended to me by a friend, and they stood up to their reputation. Next time I think I'd try the garbonzo beans. The taco's were slowly coming together. I found some great looking green and purple cabbage and I knew I was getting close. After I grabbed some cilantro and green onions, taco's were going to be on the menu. I made these babies with pulled chicken sauted with onion and cumin. I also fried up some corn tortillas (don't eat them raw....I tried....it was a mistake). All together they came out beautifully and quite tasty. I added some lime on top and yogurt or sour cream.They were so good!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cheese Tour San Fran

Last weekend Maryn and I had a great idea to go cheese shop hopping around some nearby neighborhoods in the city. Our first stop was the friendly local cheese shop called Cheese Plus." Right on Polk and Pacific, we stepped in a got to sample some of the lovely cheeses along with a slew of tapenades made with some very interesting combinations like the fennel and blood orange ( pictured here). We moved on down Union Street to Sputino, a cute little cheese enclave with other italian treats. While on Union Street, we stumbled upon Cocoa Bella, an adorable little chocolate shop with some exotic flavored treats. We sampled the hazelnut truffle and the rosemary truffle. The rosemary was surprisingly good. I ended up getting some strawberry balsamic truffles, one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time! We saw some blue cheese truffles (pictured) which were intruiging, but I was not daring enough to expose my pallet to that tempting oxymoron of flavors. Then we strode down fillmore in search of the closed down Artisan Cheese shop....apparently it had been closed for 2 years! We took a long walk down California to our final destination....AG Ferrari, where I stumbled upon some of the best italian cheese I've ever tasted. After having been in florence for over a week, I had to buy the Buchetto a la tartufo. It had wonderful truffle flavor (the mushroom that is all over Tuscany) and reminded me of the cute little osterias of Florence.