Thank you Giada for the Best Green Bean recipe!

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For a yummy way to serve green beans, I have to thank Giada De Laurentiis for the best green bean recipe! It is for Sauteed Green Beans with Tomatoes and Basil served with Parmesan Crisps. Quick and easy to prepare and makes a fantastic side dish. I made a few changes to utilize some of the fresh vegetables that I had on hand from my CSA box and it came out fantastic!

I substituted green onions for the shallots and fresh heirloom tomatoes for a can of diced tomatoes. I peeled the tomatoes by blanching them in a pot of hot water for about a minute and kept all of the juice I got when I chopped them, to use in the sauce. I think the fresh tomato really brought a great flavor to the dish, however you can easily use canned tomatoes when they are not in season. I would opt for San Marzano tomatoes for a better flavor and chop them myself instead of using canned tomatoes that are already diced. These small changes can really make a difference in the quality of your dish!

Sauteed Green Beans with Tomatoes

Sauteed Green Beans with Tomatoes

SAUTEED GREEN BEANS WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL SERVED WITH PARMESAN CRISPS
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large or 3 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped retaining all juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or you can use chicken broth)
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling water until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath. (bowl of ice water) Drain well; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and cook until the juices evaporate and the beans are almost tender, stirring often, up to 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and basil. Simmer 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
  3. Parmesan Crisps: Yield 8-10 crisps
    1. Preheat oven to 400°
    2. Pour a heaping Tbsp of Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. Repeat with remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about 1/2-inch apart.
    3. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool.
    4. Peel off the sheet and serve with the beans.

 

 

Tired of Cabbage Salad? Make this unbelievable Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup!

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I was inspired by my beautiful CSA Napa cabbage and the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana. I was yearning for the tastes and aromas of holiday traditions in my past and decided to work on a recipe for Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup. Who knew that this process would result in the most heavenly, divine soup that it did! So if you’re tired of cabbage salad, I urge you to try this unbelievable Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup!

Aside from cabbage, the most important ingredient for me was some caramelized, tender, falling off the bone beef short ribs. Next was a medley of fresh vegetables and of course something to create both the sweet and sour sensation. Most of the cooking time is hands off, as it needs to simmer for over two hours to gain the depth of flavor and tenderness required to make it exceptional. Another must is to make it the day before serving it so it can mellow and become the harmonious bowl of flavor that will make you coming back for more!

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SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE SOUP

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. beef short ribs
  • 2  tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 4 medium carrots sliced on the diagonal 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and cut in wedges
  • 1 15-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes cut in wedges, including sauce in can
  • 1 large head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle the meat on all sides with 1/2 tsp salt. Place in heavy 8 qt. pot. Place over medium-high heat and sear until browned on all sides, turning often. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add the oil, onion and carrots to the same pan. Saute 5 minutes until onions are wilted, but not browned.
  3. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes and their sauce and stir, cooking another 2-3 minutes until the tomato juices start bubbling.
  4. Add half the cabbage and top with the short ribs. Place the remaining cabbage on top of the meat. Add stock, water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and sugars. Cover and bring to a boil. (If you cannot fit it all in your pot, cover and cook the cabbage and meat for a couple of minutes to shrink it in the pot and then add the liquids and seasonings)
  5. Lower heat and simmer gently for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is so tender it practically falls apart when prodded with a fork.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt, pepper, sugar or lemon juice, as desired.
  7. Remove the beef ribs (and possibly their bones if they have separated in the soup). Shred the meat into large pieces and add back into the soup, discarding the bones.
  8. Let the soup cool to room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on medium heat and serve with a loaf of Challah or other bread for dipping.

Note

  • Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Steeped in history, Fog City – SF get’s Reinvented

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The Fog City Diner which began in 1985 has been reinvented into the new Fog City restaurant serving modern, eclectic San Franciscan cuisine. The site of 1300 Battery Street was a docking point for ships during the Gold Rush Era feeding hungry sailors before their departure to serve in WWII. In 1985 it became the Fog City Diner which some compared to Westernized dim sum; it was the State Bird Provisions of the 80s. Now owned by renowned Chef Bruce Hill, it offers modern eclectic San Franciscan cuisine, with an emphasis on wood-fired meats, fresh seafood and desserts that include house-made custard and French crullers. After visiting there myself, I would say – this one is a winner! 

The long bar in the center of the restaurant is open and inviting and there are tables lining both sides of the bar. It’s a fun energetic atmosphere whose style is clearly San Franciscan. The service was friendly and hip; the exact recipe for a good time. We arrived a bit early for our reservation so we garnered a couple seats at the bar for drinks and an appetizer. Their drink menu contains a nice list of interesting cocktails so I went for The Vodka Fix – made with Square One Basil Vodka, Carpano Bianco, lemon, honey and Proseco. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was the perfect amount of sweet and sour with a nice smooth flavor.

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The appetizer we started with was their Local Oysters on the Half Shell served with oak barrel aged hot sauce and shallot mignonette. The delicate, fresh oysters were yummy and the sauces complimented them without overpowering, so the flavor of the oyster was dominant as it should be.

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At this point, we were enjoying our repartee with the bartender and were perfectly comfortable at the bar, so we decided to continue our dining experience there rather than moving to a table. Our next selection was their Broccoli di Cicco which was broccolini that was flame grilled with lemon, garum (fish sauce), Fiordolio olive oil (from Umbria on the Tuscan border of Italy) and garlic chips. One might think that broccolini by itself is without reward, however, I can tell you that this was simply delicious! Tender crisp coated in a scent of lemon and a perfectly aromatic olive oil with a blast of garlic every so often. Yum!

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Next up was the Short Rib Kimchi Tacos. They were fantastic! The meat was tender and succulent pairing wonderfully with the mild kimchi topped with sesame seed. An inventive departure from a standard taco and supremely done!

IMG_3665Last up; an impressive display of Wood Oven Clams garnished with sweet corn, shishito peppers, cherry tomatoes, scallions and sake butter. Served with toasted crostini’s to soak up the delicious broth. The hint of smoked wood in this dish added to it’s elegance. For the first time in several restaurant experiences, my shellfish was all open and available to procure! Kudo’s to the chef in ensuring a perfect specimen for an amazing entree.

Combining the experience with the food, I would say that this might have ranked my top choice for this trip to San Francisco. If I were local, it would definitely become a regular spot for me. Living three hours away is a bit of a hindrance, but you can be assured that I will return!

 

Feed your soul with Farm Fresh Vegetable Soup!

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Start with almost any assortment of vegetables and roast them for a rich, flavorful stock. Then use additional veggies and your homemade stock to complete the meal and feed your soul with Farm Fresh Vegetable Soup!

You can easily alter the herbs and vegetables accordingly to customize these recipes with items that you have on hand. The process of roasting the vegetables for the stock and sautéing them for the soup brings an amazing depth of flavor out of them!

ROASTED VEGETABLE STOCK

  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 medium celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, toss the herb sprigs, carrots, celery, and onions with the oil, 2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread into a snug single layer. Roast, stirring twice, until the vegetables are tender and browned in spots, about 40 minutes.
  3. Transfer everything to a 6-quart heavy-duty pot, add 3 quarts cold water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and simmer until the broth is reduced by about one-third and has a full vegetable flavor, 20 to 30 minutes more. Season to taste with more salt, if necessary.
  5. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a clean container, pressing gently on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  6. If you are not using the broth immediately, let it cool, then cover and refrigerate or freeze.
  7. Make Ahead Tips

Note:  The broth can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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FARM FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large red potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Kernels from 1 ear fresh corn
  • 6 to 8 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock or store-bought lower-salt vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh kale (ribs removed)
  • 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 6 thin slices Pancetta 
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Warm the oil in a 5-quart heavy-duty pot over medium-low heat. When it’s warm—not hot—add the celery, carrots, garlic, onion, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the carrots have begun to soften, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the eggplant, potato, yellow squash, zucchini, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring often (the potato tends to stick to the bottom of the pot), until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add the corn and 6 cups of the broth; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, partially cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Return to a boil and stir in the kale. Simmer, stirring once or twice, until the kale is tender. Add more broth to thin the soup, if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast the pancetta in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil for 10-15 minutes or until crisp.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano and basil. Let cool to warm or room temperature before serving; the soup will thicken as it cools. Serve topped with a pancetta crisp and additional grated Parmigiano at the table.

(Printable recipes can be found in my recipe index under Soups)

 

Eat your veggies with Maple-glazed Bacon!

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Want a way to showcase that beautiful, crisp, fresh romaine you received in your CSA box?  There’s no better way to do it than in Maple-glazed Bacon, Tomato & Avocado Lettuce Wraps! 

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This is a quick and simple recipe that shows beautifully and tastes healthy and wonderful. The bacon is cooked in the oven on a rack over a foil covered sided baking pan. I use Grade B real Maple syrup to baste the bacon strips half way through their cook time, turning and basting several times. This elevates the flavor of your lettuce wraps to new heights! Fresh chopped heirloom tomatoes, ripe avocado, crisp romaine leaves and a drizzle of pesto mayonnaise completes the dish. It makes a simple, delicious and gorgeous dish for any time of day. Serve it as a breakfast/brunch item with scones, as lunch with a side of fruit, or as a tapas or starter for dinner. You can even sprinkle some blue cheese crumbles on top to add some more pizzaz.

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MAPLE-GLAZED BACON, TOMATO AND AVOCADO LETTUCE WRAPS

Ingredients

8 med-lg Romaine leaves (appetizer size = 3 sm-med Romaine leaves)
6 slices thick cut Applewood smoked bacon
2 Tbsp grade B pure maple syrup
1 large heirloom tomato
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp pesto
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cover a sided baking sheet completely with heavy duty foil. Place a rack on the sheet and spray with cooking oil. Layer 6 slices of bacon in a single layer on the rack and bake for approximately 25 minutes. After 10 minutes, baste the slices with maple syrup. Cook another 5 minutes then turn the slices and baste again with maple syrup. Cook another 4 minutes and then turn the slices and baste one last time with maple syrup. Cook 4-6 more minutes or until bacon is cooked through and nicely caramelized but not overdone. (Cooking time will depend on oven and thickness of bacon. Alter accordingly)
  3. While bacon is cooking, chop tomato and avocado into a large chop. Mix pesto and mayonnaise and fill into a plastic bag or squeeze bottle.
  4. To assemble, put two large or 3 small lettuce leaves on plate. Top with chopped tomato and avocado. Cut bacon with kitchen shears into small pieces and layer on top. If using a plastic bag, cut a small tip out of a bottom corner and squeeze the pesto/mayo mixture and drizzle it across the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles if using, and season with salt and pepper.
Notes

The best way to cook bacon is in the oven using this process. Even if you are not making maple bacon, I always cook my bacon in the oven. It is simple and easy without all the mess. Afterward I just fold up the foil and toss. If needed, I put soapy water on the sheet and lay the rack in upside down to soak for an easier cleanup. Spraying it with oil also helps and may eliminate this step.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Salads)

The Galette, a blank canvas for your Masterpiece!

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There are so many options for what to put in a galette, it is really a blank canvas for your masterpiece. You can make it savory or sweet or a combination of both. For today’s recipe, all it takes is making a simple dough, filling it with a selection of cheeses and topping it with your favorite vegetables. Finished off with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh herbs, you have your own masterpiece! I had some tomatoes, basil and summer squash so that is what I used to create this galette.

The dough is quite easy to make and I use my food processor to mix it up. Since I add sour cream to the dough it stays a bit wet even after cooling so I roll it out on a sheet of parchment. That way I can just slide the dough right onto a baking sheet with the parchment underneath. I use flour on the dough and the rolling pin while rolling it out to keep it from sticking.

Then simply layer your cheese/s on top of the dough and arrange the vegetables above it. I used a mixture of fresh ricotta, manchego and parmesan, but you can use any cheese that you like or have on hand. It is very important to ensure that you don’t add extra moisture to the galette so I salt and dry my tomato slices and dry my squash slices as well. I arranged the tomatoes in the center while alternating the colors of squash slices around the edge. Leave enough space on the dough to fold the edges in, overlapping as needed. Then I use an egg wash to create a nice caramel color on the edge of the galette. Voilla! A beautiful and delicious galette to serve as a side dish or with a side salad or fruit.

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Tomato and Summer Squash Galette served with Blistered Padron Peppers

 TOMATO AND SUMMER SQUASH GALETTE

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling the dough)
  2. 1/2 tsp Kosher salt (plus more for tomatoes)
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  6. Several assorted colors and sizes of tomatoes, including cherry sliced 1/4 ” thick or cut in half
  7. 1 zucchini sliced crosswise in 1/4″ thick slices
  8. 1 yellow summer squash sliced crosswise in 1/4″ thick slices
  9. 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  10. 1/2 cup shredded manchego cheese
  11. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  12. 1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into slivers
  13. Extra virgin olive oil
  14. Flake salt
  15. 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Galette dough: Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Blend just until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Some of the butter can be the size of peas; do not over mix. Add the sour cream and mix until just incorporated. Turn the entire mixture out onto a cutting board and gently push it into a disc. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Filling: Mix the cheeses together in a bowl and set aside. Put the tomato slices and halves in a single layer on sheets of paper towel and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Lay the summer squash and zucchini slices in a single layer on another sheet of paper towel. Blot to get as much moisture out of the vegetables as possible.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°. Lay a parchment sheet onto a cutting board and roll the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Dust the dough and rolling pin with flour if it starts to stick.
  4. Slide the parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet. Scatter the cheese mixture onto the dough, leaving a 3-inch border. Arrange the tomatoes in the center and the squash in an overlapping circle inside the border alternating the colors. Fold the edges of the dough over the vegetables, making pleats as you fold and leaving the center of the tart open.
  5. Brush the beaten egg on the overlapping dough around the galette.
  6. Bake the galette until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
  7. To serve, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with the slivered basil and flake salt.
(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes) 

Pub Dining at it’s Best, The Cavalier, SF

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Looking for a cool ambiance in an English pub atmosphere? Then head for pub dining at it’s best at The Cavalier in San Francisco. The restaurant is broken up into 4 uniquely decorated rooms each appointed with style and distinction. Newly opened in 2012, the Cavalier is the 3rd restaurant opened in just over three years by the group of:  Restauranteur Anna Weinberg (restauranteur of the year, SF mag. Aug. 2012), Managing General Partner James Nicholas and Executive Chef/Partner Jennifer Puccio (multiple 3 star review award winner.) The restaurant is bustling with activity and high on the noise spectrum packed with diners having the ultimate combination of a fun & foodie experience.

We sat at a cozy table in the train station room. Our waiter was exceptional, sharing restaurant history, menu advice and being sincerely friendly. The evening was a medley of fun dishes, great wine and lively conversation! 

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Most wine lists in San Francisco sway heavily to Napa wine, and we were happy to taste one of them. We selected the Scaggs Vineyard Mt. Veeder Montage, a blend of classic southern Rhone varietals: mourvedre, grenache , syrah and counoise. Delicious and a great value.

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First item…you guessed it, Brussels Sprouts!  Continuing my journey for trying brussels sprouts served a million different ways. This time is was Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips with vadouvan and lemon zest. Vadouvan is a ready-to-use blend of spices that is a derivative of Indian curry blend with a French influence. They were fun to eat (used our fingers), lightly scented of curry and lemon, nicely crisp and delicious!

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Ok, this one won the creativity award for wonderful simplicity done well. In their Eggs and Cheese selection list, it was the Hen Egg Hollandaise served with ham and cheese soldiers. Sticks of grilled sandwiches made with toasted country white bread encasing prosciutto and cheese. They were served alongside a delicate flavored hen egg hollandaise topped with fresh herbs served in an egg cup. How clever is that!

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From their entree list, I selected the Pan Seared Black Cod with dungeness crab, english peas, asparagus and morcilla sausage vinaigrette. The dish was elegantly designed and well constructed with contrast and compliment. The sear on the fish was superb while keeping the flesh moist and tender. A wonderful entree!

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The rotisserie list featured an Ale-Brined Berkshire Pork Loin with calvados and apple jus. I found the plain presentation with an oversize gravy bowl a little strange. The meat was high quality and tender, the sauce mild and delicate in flavor. It didn’t capture my senses as the other dishes did, although it was tasty.

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Not that we weren’t full at this point, but we felt the need to taste one of the desserts so we opted for their Steamed Pudding with strawberry, rhubarb, whipped creme fraiche and poppy. I had never tried steamed pudding before and I know that strawberry and rhubarb are a dynamite combination so we couldn’t possibly go wrong with this choice. It was wonderful; plated beautifully, great texture and it tasted scrumptious!

Will definitely re-visit The Cavalier and I’m already making my list of items to try next time! I’m thinking a late afternoon visit for a cocktail and their bar menu…

 

Roasted Golden Beet Carpaccio Salad

Roasted Golden Beet Carpaccio Salad
Serves 2
The delicate flavor of roasted golden beets topped with goat cheese and toasted pistachio nuts make the perfect combination for a delicious salad!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups red leaf lettuce, cut into ribbons
  2. 3 medium golden beets
  3. kosher salt
  4. 3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 Tbsp peach balsamic
  6. 1 small shallot, sliced thin
  7. 1/8 cup toasted pistachio nuts, rough chopped
  8. 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta)
  9. 1 tsp chopped fresh chives
  10. 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
  11. flake salt
  12. fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Scrub and trim beets and dry with a paper towel. Place them on a sheet of foil and drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Wrap the foil around the beets and seal and place the foil wrapped beets on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for about 50 min or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes covered.
  3. While the beets are cooking, toast the pistachio nuts in a small dry fry pan until lightly browned and aromatic. Shake pan occasionally and watch closely so you don't overcook them or they will turn bitter. Remove to a plate to cool.
  4. In a small bowl add the peach balsamic vinegar. Slowly whisk in 2 Tbsp olive oil until emulsified and thick. Add the shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and let sit to allow the shallots to mellow.
  5. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and cut into 1" ribbons.
  6. When the beets have cooled, remove the skins. They should come off easily with your hands or use paper towels to help ease them off. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife uniformly slice the beets very thin.
  7. To assemble the salad, line a platter with the lettuce ribbons. Arrange the beets on top in a circular pattern in the center, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Finish with the pistachio nuts and fresh chopped herbs. Sprinkle flake salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. I love using peach balsamic vinegar in my vinaigrettes with certain vegetables and fruits. In this case, it compliments the beets well and doesn't overpower the rest of the salad ingredients.
Delish-dish blog http://www.delish-dish.com/

The Slanted Door, still a top favorite in SF!

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This was my 4th visit to The Slanted Door modern Vietnamese restaurant in the Ferry Building and it is still a top favorite of mine in San Francisco. You need to make reservations to get in and even though you may arrive with a room full of empty tables, don’t blink…because within a matter of minutes every one of those tables will fill up! It is a favorite in the area and people also come from far and wide to enjoy their food.

View from our outdoor table.

View from our outdoor table.

The service is fantastic and quite fast, especially for a restaurant with so much seating. It has a cafeteria style decor with little ambiance, but it really doesn’t affect anything, because their incredible food is the featured item here. The menu is designed for sharing plates and it’s a good thing because you would be very jealous if you didn’t get to try everything that came to your table!

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Each and every visit of mine required that the first item ordered would be their Crispy Imperial Rolls. They are the most incredible egg rolls filled with gulf shrimp & pork shoulder served with vermicelli noodles, lettuce leaves, mint, roasted peanut and a yummy sweet sauce. They are simply devine!

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I ordered new items this time so that I could try something different. Next up was their Daikon Rice Cakes made with shitake mushroom, shallot and sweet chili soy sauce. They were tasty, nicely crusted and the sauce was yummy. A little too bland for me though and not my most favorite item.

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The Green Papaya Salad  was made with pickled carrot, rau ram,(cilantro) crispy shallot and roasted peanuts. It was crisp and perky with a slight tartness. I really enjoyed it.

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For one of the main entrees I ordered Mesquite Grilled Niman Ranch Flat Iron Steak served with pommes frites and a jalapeño-early girl tomato ragout. The steak was cooked to order and tender. The ragout nicely complimented the beef. However, I didn’t understand the pommes frites. First of all they were not cooked very well done at all and sitting on top of the entree, they just didn’t seem to coordinate well with the texture of the dish. I think it would have been fine with just eliminating them or at least crisping them appropriately.

The other entree was the Caramelized Catfish Claypot with cilantro, ginger and thai chili. It came with a side of brown rice which was the perfect base for the succulent sauce. The fish was tender and delicate – watch out for the bones! A delicious entree.

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 Lunch ended with a couple of their unique tea blends served Vietnamese style.

 

Yes, I do love the Slanted Door and their unique and delicious food. I look forward to my next visit where I plan to try more new items on their menu, except of course, for the Crispy Imperial Rolls that I will have to have!

 

 

Delicata, my new favorite squash!

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Who knew how absolutely yummy Delicata squash was?!! It is so easy to cook, you don’t even have to peel the skin as you can eat everything and it isn’t the least bit stringy. Delicata is my new favorite squash!

I read up a bit before attempting to cook it. I found that many people were using the standard brown sugar, butter, maple syrup sort of recipe and that didn’t appeal to me. It’s so “yesterday!” Then I came across one of my favorite chef recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s “Jerusalem” cookbook for Roasted Butternut Squash. I adapted it to Delicata squash and it was a sure winner! The best part about this is that you can stop at roasting the squash and onions and eat it like that, which is unbelievably delicious. However, the whole process is quick and simple and if you make all of the components and serve them together, you will think you landed in heaven. It is that good!

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ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH

INGREDIENTS

2 Delicata squash (cut in half, seeded and cut into 1/2″ slices)
2 red onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch wedges (or a mixture of red & white onion)
3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 1/2 Tbsp. light tahini paste (I used regular tahini)
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water
1 small clove garlic, crushed
3 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts 
1 Tbsp. za’atar
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the squash pieces on their side and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. (I turn them to get a nice caramel color on both sides) Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  3. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking. (Watch them closely as they turn quickly)
  4. To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

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(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes)