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mgaretz

eG Food Blog: mgaretz (2011)

58 posts in this topic

With regards to pureed potatoes - you should look at getting a potato ricer, like a big garlic press which you put the boiled potatoes into and then mix with the butter and a bit of hot milk, they come out perfect everytime...

I do the same thing with my food mill, but I just use butter and omit the milk. They come out great, but I wouldn't call them puréed - just very well mashed.

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hahaha! what a little blast from the past. i was a teacher at homechef(pasadena), a sf-based chain of cookware stores/cooking schools, which viking bought. i taught that 12-class basics series many, many times! i really think it gave a solid foundation for students, and was a great value. when homechef folded, i opened my own cooking school--that was 11 years ago. i still have students i met at homechef. will be looking forward to your postings, and to seeing some of those basics reflected in your meals!

Thanks Cherie. I was sorry to see the store/school close. (I still had a free class credit too!) I also took the knife skills class. My folks still live in Orange County (where I grew up) and we get down there about 8 times a year. And my son is about to move to Century City. He also loves to cook, and is pretty good, but I'll see if he wants to take any of your classes and maybe I can come too!

i'd love that!


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Today we picked up veggies from a new CSA we're trying out. (A bit of background: Three faith communities got together with a local farmer to provide produce for a 22 week season that ended 10/31. For a variety of reasons, we aren't continuing with that farmer and we're auditioning this new farmer. The bummer is we're on the tail end of their 28 week season (3 more weeks left after this one) and they won't start up again until May.) My wife, Ellen, is the primary organizer for our congregation. The primary organizer for one of the other congregations had started with this farmer 2 weeks ago and we saw her "box" and were very impressed. Anyway this evening we got our first box, and wow!

csa.jpg

From left to right there were two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, collard greens, carrots, sweet peppers, shallots, beets and butternut squash. The quality and freshness is extremely high. All for $22!! We are impressed!

While we are on the shopping subject, here are some shots of our local (Danville) farmer's market. It's one of the oldest in the area and has the most vendors. San Ramon has tried to get a decent market going, but Danville is still better with about twice as many vendors and that keeps prices more competitive.

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A long shot where you can see about 2/3 of the market.

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A typical vendor.

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And another.

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There's always some kind of music.

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The apple vendor always has some interesting varieties. I came home with some Arkansas Blacks.

I also love to shop at the local Asian markets. We used to have a very large indpendent, but unfortunately they are gone. They had the best selection and prices. Now we just have two Ranch 99s - one is really huge, but it's a little further (Andie - it's in Livermore) and I didn't make it out there, but here are a few shots of the smaller one (Dublin):

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The produce section.

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Greens and herbs. (This shows about 1/3 of the greens.)

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The noodle aisle.

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One of the sauce aisles.

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And the other side of it.

We also have a new Sprouts. A little pricey if things aren't on sale, but not as bad as Whole Foods.

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A longish shot.

sp2.jpg

Some of the many bulk bins.

sp3.jpg

And I couldn't resist these asparagus!

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That's a great looking CSA haul.


Cheers,

Anne

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Dinner tonight was wild caught sockeye salmon and broccoli and carrots from our new CSA.

Ellen wanted her salmon plain and Rebecca wanted her salmon with my normal honey mustard/orange/port glaze. (There wasn't enough salmon left for three, so I finished the last of the Belgian Beef Stew.) So I precut the filet into two pieces. The glaze is next to it. (The pattern on the salmon is from the Food Saver vacuum bags. I buy the salmon at Costco, so it comes in large packages. I remove the skin and cut it into smaller pieces then vacuum seal and freeze.)

salmon.jpg

The glaze is honey mustard, more honey, a little orange extract and ruby port. I didn't measure but the approximate proportions would be 2 tbs honey mustard, 1 tbs honey, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp orange extract and 1 tsp port. You can also substitute any red wine for the port. I used to use Zinfandel, but I now use port because it's always handy.

I cook the salmon on my gas grill, a Weber three burner. I put all burners on high for about 10 minutes then turn off the middle burner and the outside two are turned down to medium. The salmon goes in the middle so it gets cooked by indirect heat. Normally the salmon is seasoned on both sides with 21 Seasoning Salute, a nice spice blend from Trader Joes, but I left it off tonight. The salmon goes on the grill and the top side is brushed with the glaze. Close the lid and cook for 6 minutes. Open, brush again, flip, brush the new top and close the lid. Cook for another 6 minutes and they are done. You can adjust the time lower if you like your salmon less done.

Here is the plated salmon with the the veggies, which were just steamed:

salmon-plated.jpg

I have played with salmon cooked sous vide. Despite brining per Douglas Baldwin, I still get a lot of albumin coating, so I am still experimenting. (In a private conversation, Douglas said he was also seeing a lot more albumin forming lately.)

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That is the reddest salmon I've ever seen! Do you know if it was dyed?

Also I must confess my envy that in November you still have peppers and similar things fresh from the local farm. Here in the frozen east, summer vegetable weather seems like ages ago.

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That is the reddest salmon I've ever seen! Do you know if it was dyed?

Also I must confess my envy that in November you still have peppers and similar things fresh from the local farm. Here in the frozen east, summer vegetable weather seems like ages ago.

I don't think the salmon was dyed. I know their farm-raised salmon is dyed, but I don't think the wild-caught is.

Well it got down to 34f the other night and the farmer said that was the end of the tomatoes, but the peppers survived.

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How about a tour of my kitchen and cooking gadgets?

Here's a couple of shots of the kitchen so you get a general idea of the layout and size:

k7.jpg

Facing left.

k8.jpg

Facing right.

Here is closeup of the appliance counter:

k1.jpg

Left to right there's my FoodSaver vacuum sealer (up against the side wall), a Cuisinart 4 slice toaster, K-cup spinner, the Cuisinart K-Cup coffee brewer, KitchenAid stand mixer, Cuisinart 16 cup food processor and a BlendTec blender. I'm not very happy with the food processor, but I like everything else.

k2.jpg

Here's my latest toy - a Breville Smart Oven. I really like it. In front is my OXO kitchen scale. The display pulls out so you can see the weight when using a bigger container.

k3.jpg

My stove and microwave, flanked on the right by the electic kettle and the ever present collection of bottles (three kinds of oils - peanut, EVOO and canola, balsamic and cider vinegars, hoisin sauce, etc.).

k4.jpg

My SousVide Supreme. It currently lives on the dining room table and gets moved into the kitchen when in use. I like to use it next to the sink becuase it's easier to fill and dump the water that way, but it can't live there!

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Most of my All-Clad pots and pans. My favorite is the D5 4 qt sauté-simmer pan. It, and the 4 qt suace pan, get the most use.

k6.jpg

Here's my pantry "extension" that lives in the breakfast room. To the right are some more pots and pans, below you can't see my rice cooker, 6 qt french braiser, and my All-Clad slow cooker. On the middle shelf to the left you can see a box of the new Starbucks K-Cups - pretty nice.

Here are my knives:

k9.jpg

They are all Wusthof Classics. The Santoku is my favorite - it gets 99% of the usage. The 6" chef's below it I bought on a great sale, but I hardly ever use it. Below them are the boning knife, parer, slicer, and the offset bread knife. Not shown is a new salmon filet knife - it's a Cutco "mercy purchase".

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Not shown is a new salmon filet knife - it's a Cutco "mercy purchase".

You win the nice guy award - letting the girls have the salmon and making a Cutco "mercy purchase" :wink:

On the color of the salmon - I thought that deep red color was a distinctive trait of Sockeye. The Copper River I had this year was also vibrantly red (and delicious).

You've accumulated quite a stock of cooking gear in your relatively short career. The girls must really appreciate your cooking and thus grant you the expansive real estate use?

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Ah. That's entirely different. Dang those tortilla wrappers are really low carb! I've never seen those around here. Didn't realize the lactose problem. My bad. Carry on...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Besides breakfast, today was a day of eating out. I had actually packed and brought my lunch to work, but my co-workers felt like lunch out and they chose my favorite local Chinese restaurant: Uncle Yu's in San Ramon.

I only shot my lunch special:

chinese.jpg

Beef with black mushrooms and vegetables, more vegetables and chow mein. Not shown was the hot and sour soup, which wasn't very spicy today. I'll eat my packed lunch tomorrow!

We had a scheduled dinner with some friends and my daughter at one of our favorite restaurants: Esin in Danville. It's named after one of the owner/chefs - Esin deCarion. The other owner/chef is her husband Curtis.

Here are shots of the exterior and part of the interior:

es11.jpg

(Rebecca would want me to tell you she's sticking her tongue out at me even though you can't see it - she's the one on the left. Ellen's the one next to her.)

es10.jpg

I had a New York steak with mushroom sauce and carmelized onions, served with Yukon Gold roasted potatoes and green beans.

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And a glass of Ancient Peaks Zinfandel from Paso Robles.

es1.jpg

Rebecca had pork chops with bacon and cabbage and a gingered applesauce.

es3.jpg

Ellen had the spinach lasagna:

es6.jpg

Our friends had a beet salad with greens, feta cheese and grilled chicken breast and the pot roast:

es4.jpg

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For dessert, I had a lemon meringue tart on raspberry purée:

es7.jpg

Rebecca had a pecan tart with caramel sauce and creme anglaise:

es8.jpg

And Ellen had a vanilla/banana/butterscotch bread pudding:

es9.jpg

We all came away happy and over-stuffed!

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That lemon meringue tart looks delicious. Well, so does everything else but lemon meringue is a dangerous weakness...:)

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Amazing blog so far. Everything. A very well equipped kitchen. Thank you!

A small unimportant suggestion for your cutting board:

I also have a white plastic cutting board which gets yellow after a while. It does not bother me and it is not a health issue, but if I invite friends over for dinner, I do the following:

I lay a layer of paper towel on top, pour some bleach to wet the towel and cover the towel with plastic bag overnight. The next day the board will be completely pristine white.

dcarch

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Amazing blog so far. Everything. A very well equipped kitchen. Thank you!

A small unimportant suggestion for your cutting board:

I also have a white plastic cutting board which gets yellow after a while. It does not bother me and it is not a health issue, but if I invite friends over for dinner, I do the following:

I lay a layer of paper towel on top, pour some bleach to wet the towel and cover the towel with plastic bag overnight. The next day the board will be completely pristine white.

dcarch

Thanks dcarch! You don't see the yellow in the cutting board in normal room lighting, but it must be there because the camera captures it. I'll remember the bleach trick though.

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Ah yes, one of my first chefs had us do this every night. Now since I bring my own cutting for with me to a dinner it's got to look clean!

Man I love restaurants like those. No frills, filling, delicious food. That's similar to my favorite joint here Wood Tavern.


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

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What a lovely restaurant. Beautiful decor, great lighting and the food looks fabulous. Simple and delicious is something I would never tire of. I can understand why it's one of your favorite places.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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After last night's feast and lunch out (the scale had an extra 2 lbs on it this morning), we were feeling like something lighter. Ellen and I also have minor colds, so soup seemed like the ticket!

I also have salad most nights (Ellen hardly ever does and Rebecca does some of time) so I make up a bowl and it lasts three nights or so.

Here are the ingredients for the salad:

salad1.jpg

Lettuce, carrots and peppers from the new CSA, heirloom tomatoes from the old CSA and organic celery from Costco.

Here's a serving of the salad, along with my ever-popular raspberry vinaigrette.

salad2.jpg

The vinaigrette never fails to please - the recipe is here.

Here's the soup:

soup.jpg

Chicken stock, thigh meat (previously cooked sous vide and frozen), carrots, collards and shallots from the CSA, celery, apsaragus, peas, barley, 21 Seasoning Salute and fresh ground pepper. It was very yummy and hit the spot! Normally I'd put noodles in it, but felt like trying some barley. I didn't use a lot, maybe a 1/4 cup (it was actually a handful) and it gave the soup a nice extra undertone of flavor.

Rebecca wanted me to tell you that I put celery in the soup even though she doesn't like celery.

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Tonight was another simple dinner - chicken with baked potato. Rebecca wanted her breast plain, so I simply grilled it with no seasoning whatsoever. Ellen likes dark meat, so I made her a thigh that had been previously cooked sous vide by grilling it plain and she added BBQ sauce on the plate.

For mine I used a dry rub that I normally use for veritcally roasted chicken, but I grilled it instead of roasting it.

Here's the breast after applying the rub:

chicken1.jpg

The rub consists of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

Here's the breast grilled and plated with half a baked potato, before butter.

chicken2.jpg

I like my baked potatoes with butter, salt and pepper - pretty traditional I guess. Ellen will put just about anything on a baked potato, from my vinaigrette to peanut butter to chocolate. But tonight she and Rebecca has theirs with butter and mozzarella. I had a salad as well.

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Thought you might like to see some pics of a meal I made last week - pulled pork. I make it in the slow cooker, lately without any flavorings or spices. "The girls" have been in and out of the mood for spicy things, so if I make it kind of neutral then we can add whatever sauce we feel like when we eat it, and it lasts a few days so we get a few different meals out of it.

First, here's my slow cooker - the All-Clad model with the aluminum insert you can use on the stovetop. It's pricey but great.

slow-cooker.jpg

Here's the boneless pork shoulder.

pork1.jpg

It goes in the cooker pretty much as is. I'll sometimes add a splash of bourbon and some liquid smoke. That's about it - no other liquids. This time it just went in plain.

I cook it on low for about 8-10 hours. This time I could only give it 8 hours and it didn't have much of crust, so I popped it my new Breville Smart Oven on a 450F broil for about 5 minutes on a side to give it a nice crust:

pork2.jpg

Then I shred it by hand, removing any big chunks of fat. This particular roast has almost no fat.

Here's the shredded pork, ready to get plated with sauce or made into another dish. The first two nights we had it as pork with sauce - BBQ sauce in this case. I used to make my own sauce, but when Bullseye came it it was so close to what I made, that's what I use now. We also like Kinder's, which may be a local brand as they have delis in the area.

The last night Ellen made it into a something like machaca con huevos.

pork3.jpg

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That pork looks amazing! When I visited friends in Greensboro they were highly entertained by my insistence on ordering pulled pork and hush puppies everywhere I saw them listed!


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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That pork looks amazing! When I visited friends in Greensboro they were highly entertained by my insistence on ordering pulled pork and hush puppies everywhere I saw them listed!

Thanks Nikki. I've been to Greensboro once, and I ate as much pulled pork as I could. I don't remember anything about the pork, but I do remember a meal at my hotel. The restaurant had just opened with a new chef. The carmelized baby beet salad was out of this world. But I also remember a steak that had been rubbed with sage and it did not work for me.

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kinder's bbq sauce! when my middle son was at ucla, one of his NorCal buds swore by the stuff. ended up buying a couple cases for the house...they drank the stuff, i think. (when they weren't drinking beer, i guess...)


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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The pork looks delicious. We get pork shoulder roasts on sale all the time here, so I've started making lots of slow-cooker pork. Yum.

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I promised I'd share our meal and experience at the Napa Rose. Since there are lot of photos, I'm going to break this into two parts: Part one will shots of the restaurant and the setup for the meal, and part two will be the meal itself.

nr0.jpg

The Napa Rose is one of our favorite restaurants. We ate there on our honeymoon, anniversary and a few other times. It's located in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, their deluxe property at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim. It forms the border for part of California Adventure and there's an entrance/exit from the hotel to the park.

One would tend to dismiss a hotel restaurant, especially one at Disney, expecting a bad to mediocre dining expereince at best. Not so the Napa Rose! It is amazing and we've never been dissapointed there.

We've always eaten in the main dining room, but they have an option called the "Chef's Counter" where you sit at one of three counters that look directly into the kitchen. They have two seatings per evening, one at 5:30 and one at 8:30. We opted for the later seating seating since Disneyland was closing early that night for a special event.

Here's some views into the kitchen from my seat:

nr19.jpg

nr1.jpg

Directly in front of the counter was the dessert prep table, so in addition to seeing most of the rest of the kitchen, we got closeup view of the dessert prep. Here was part of an order of desserts they were prepping for a large party - it was some kind of strawberry shortcake:

nr2.jpg

When you sit at the chef's counter, you have several options for dinner. You can order anything you like from the menu. You can order what you want to eat, even if it's not on the menu, and they will make it if they can. (Our friend had once had a great filet there and it wasn't on the menu, but they were able to make it for her anyway.) You can also let the Chef make you what he feels like. The last is a fixed price of $90 and includes four courses plus dessert. For an extra $40 you can have wines paired with each course.

One of our two dining companions opted to order from the menu, the other ordered filet that wasn't on the menu, but both chose custom sides to go with their entrees. Ellen and I decided to be adventurous and put ourselves in the chef's hands. I also opted for the wine pairing.

It starts out with Chef Andrew Sutton (who has been there all 11 years the restaurant has been open) asking us what we like and don't, if we have any food allergies or issues:

nr3.jpg

I am lactose intolerant and Chef Sutton said not to worry, he was too, and knew exactly what to avoid. Cool! After just a few other questions, he says "Ok, you're done." Then he goes to the end of the counter and starts to build the menus for your dinner. It's all going to be a surprise!

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