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27 January 2011 @ 10:56 am
Winter desserts often rely on apples, pears or other fruits that store well for long periods of time. Yet at this time of year in the Bay area, as we are moving into citrus season, a variety of seasonal fruits are available to make even cold weather desserts sparkle.

pot de creme

Pot de crème is one of those easily adaptable desserts. Once you master the basic custard portion of the recipe, tweaking it to match the season is quite easy. Here we are putting chocolate and oranges together. We grabbed some mandarins at the Farmers Market and then nudged the flavor a little more with some orange extract. We’re also using a higher ratio of chocolate to give it a deeper richness. This recipe also scales up or down well for different sized portions. When we served this at a dinner party recently, we served these with sweet butter biscuits and encouraged everyone to scoop the custard with the biscuits. There was a satisfying silence as everyone ceased talking to relish in the richness and complex flavors. You will too.

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16 January 2011 @ 03:30 pm
Sometimes I forget I'm the one who started this damn community in the first place, and that I need to post more :P

Sunday's meal

this turned out pretty well. bratwurst served with a warm potato/green bean salad dressed with a honey dijon vinaigrette. I need to get the proportions right next time...a little less red wine vinegar and a little more honey, I think. but it presents beautifully! blanched the green beans for about three minutes, then tossed them with hot yukon gold potatoes that were chunked and boiled until tender. yum :)
14 January 2011 @ 01:21 pm
One of the intriguing recent trends in food is the whole animal movement. While it usually focuses on offal, it also encompasses some of the less popular cuts, including the cheeks. Since they are full of tissues that can be very tough, they do well in braises that allow the connective tissues to melt into the sauce. Using dense flavorful liquids for the braise accents their texture while reducing down to a thick sauce that pairs well with hearty starches. The hard part is locating beef cheeks. We found ours at the Marin Sun Farms stand at the Ferry Building Farmers Market, but we also recommend talking with your local butcher. Don’t be put off by the time commitment of this recipe, but instead jump in and enjoy the results. We serve them on polenta but pasta or hearty rice would do also.

Braised Beef Cheeks with Mushrooms and Polenta

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With the Holidays behind us, and January’s winter storms blowing through the Bay, it’s time to look towards filling warming soups. Yet it’s also time to return to healthier eating with hearty winter vegetables that can currently be found at the Farmers Market.

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29 December 2010 @ 12:08 pm
Ok...i know this sounds a little weird...but trust me...these come out tasting amazing.

Crunch Bars


1 sleeve of Saltine Crackers

1 cup of butter

½ cup of brown sugar

1 pkg of chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)

1 pkg of pecans or walnuts


Line baking pan with parchment paper

Place crackers on pan in rows

Melt butter and brown sugar together and bring to a boil

Pour over crackers and place in the oven and bake for 15 min (350 degrees)

Take out of oven and pour chocolate chips all over – let melt and spread to cover all crackers

Sprinkle pecans or walnuts on top

Put in refrigerator for 1 hour to cool

Once cooled -cut or break and serve

27 December 2010 @ 08:00 pm
Pate a choux is a classic French pastry preparation that combines eggs, flour, water and butter, resulting in a flakey puff that is a perfect appetizer for New Years Eve. This batter is quite diverse in uses ranging from sweet to savory. Gougeres are traditionally made with cheese. If you’re looking for a sweeter method, you could skip the cheese, fill them with a sweet custard and top with a chocolate ganache for a classic cream puff. Pipe the batter out into strips and you have basis for éclairs.

Puff the Magic Dragon

No matter how you choose to make them, the process is the same. Here’s we’re making gorgonzola gougers. It requires a little more attention than some appetizers you might make, but the raves you’ll get from your guests will make the extra five minutes worth it. Michael Ruhlman’s writings about choux puffs can tell you much more about the process and are worth the read.

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