Archive for July, 2011

Green Market Baking Cookbook Review with Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream

Monday, July 25th, 2011

I received a lovely cookbook entitled Green Market Baking Book: 100 Delicious Recipes for Natural Sweet and Savory Treats and can’t stop looking at the illustrations.  While some may miss real photos or mouth watering desserts I like that this is different with beautiful illustrations of fruits, vegetables and herbs that are part of the recipes.  This book by Laura C. Martin highlights local, seasonal and healthful ingredients as an alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners that are in most baking cookbooks.

I would buy this book for one single stand-out recipe – Honey Strawberry Shortcakes with Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream (photo below).  Actually just the whipped cream would suffice.  Yes, it is so simple, but is so fresh and can dress up anything from a shortcake or anglefood cake to a simple bowl of fresh berries.

Review

Pros: lovely illustrations, good introduction chapter about substitutions, ingredients and stocking a baking pantry. Variety of both sweet and savory recipes.

Cons: pictures of actual creations (didn’t bother me, but might others), organization by season (not my favorite new trend, and not really for a baking book).

Honey Sweetened Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup mild flavored honey, such as orange blossom or wildflower

Make sure bowl and attachments of mixer are very cold. Pour the cream into the bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

Turn off the mixer and remove bowl.  Carefully pour honey into cream and hand whisk into the cream.  Return the bowl to the mixer and finish whipping the cream to desired consistency.

Note: If you pour honey into the mixing bowl while mixer is running the whisk blade will fling strings of honey around the bowl without getting it into the cream.

 

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Restaurants Banning Kids…Your Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

 

So we’ve all heard about it by now…as of this weekend a restaurant in Pennsylvannia, McDain’s, is banning kids under age 6.  Here’s the article.  So should this spark controversy?  Does it bother you?  Would you patronize the restaurant?

 

I understand those that want to dine without whining, screaming or diners who are not behaving.  I am one of those too.  However it’s hard to draw a line.  Can we also ban loud talkers?  How about large parties who are laughing and too loud (acting like they are the only diners in the place)?  How about an older adult with a hearing problem?  What about a foul mouthed couple?  Or what about a 7, 8, and 9 year olds?  How can you prove your child’s age?

 

I don’t have a problem with banning children at some fine dining restaurants (though from the picture of McDain’s, I don’t think that qualifies).  There I said it.  I too like to go out on a date with my husband and not be listening to loud or crying babies and children (my own or otherwise).  But perhaps it’s less about an all out ban of all children with the arbitrary age and more about times and expectations of dining out.  I don’t expect small children to be out at prime date time (say 8 pm), but coming to the same restaurant at 6pm with kids seems reasonable.  And I think it is acceptable for a manager to ask a patron to step outside if there is a crying baby in the restaurant (or a movie theatre or anywhere else a parent isn’t being considerate of other patrons).

 

As always it is more about the parents than the children.  I would like children to be able to eat in good restaurants, whether they be casual or more upscale.  My children enjoy experiencing all types of restaurants both locally and when we travel.  I have met friends for diner at casual restaurants who allow their children to stand up in a booth or crawl under a table.  My kids can’t believe it either.  These are not families I want to dine with at a restaurant or at their (or my) home.  Parents should take the time to teach good table manners at any type of restaurant and at home.  However if never setting the expectation or exposing children to a restaurant better than one with a toy surprise or kiddie menu, then they’ll never know how to be good diners at any age.

 

I don’t blame the restaurant for taking control,  I blame the parents for not taking it.   What do you think?

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Feasting on Fillmore Street

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I had the most wonderful morning in San Francisco.  I feel I am spoiled to live so close to the city, yet sometimes I get too busy and don’t take advantage of getting in as much as I’d like.  As a mom it seems quite decadent sometimes to go to the city by myself and get to do whatever I choose.

So I went to Fillmore Street because I had a doctor’s appointment.  I was wanting a cup of tea and almost went to the medical building lobby stand.  Luckily I thought better of it and promised myself I’d go somewhere good after the appointment.  So I did.  Strolling down Fillmore Street there are lots of great new places.  First I saw Citizen Cake, which recently moved from Hayes Valley.  But next door there is a new (opened 4 months) cafe named Jane (between California and Sacramento).  This quickly caught my attention as it is adorable whimsical black and white decor)and smelled so yummy.   I sat outside and enjoyed a lovely chai tea and birdseed muffin.  The four barrel coffee is apparently a big deal, but coffee doesn’t make my stomach happy.  I was quite happy sitting out front on a bench with my tea and muffin.  Right in front of me, pulled up Elizabeth Falkner, Top Chef Master and owner chef of Citizen Cake, etc.  I felt a little bad that I was sitting right next to her place, but I was quite content, and I’ll be back.   She was carrying blueprints, so maybe a remodel or new restaurant is in the works.  You heard it here first.

I still had a bit of time to stroll Fillmore before I had to get back to volunteer duties at my son’s school.  I spotted a new Vietnamese sandwich shop a friend of mine had told me about called Bun Mee (also opened in the past 4 – 5 months).  They make creative Banh Mi sandwiches, as well as rice bowls, salads and desserts.  Bummer.  I was full and it wasn’t lunch time yet.  Thinking ahead I ordered a grilled five spice chicken (recommendation from patron buying 12 of them for colleagues) for take out and planned for lunch after my school duties.  I was happy with myself as I opened my tasty sandwich when I was hungry later.   This place is open every day from 11 – 10pm.  Can’t beat those hours for anytime you’re out and about.

I only wish I’d had more time to complete my meals and order dinner.  I’ll be back.  In fact I’m going to plan to visit a few of San Francisco’s neighborhoods (Chinatown, Japantown, North Beach, SOMA. etc) with my kids this summer.  Kind of play tourist in our own backyard.

Want to tell me about a new place on Fillmore or in your Bay Area neighborhood I should visit?  Please share.

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10 Worst Food Trends According to Sunset Critic

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Pulitzer-prize winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold dishes out the latest food trends he can’t handle.  Read the entire, sarcastic and funny article.  Here’s his top 10 and my thoughts on a few.

1. “Changes and Modifications Politely Declined”

I agree this works both ways.  Some diners want to create their own meals and menus with their suggestions, ommissions and substitutions.  Just cook at home yourself.  However some chefs can be too dismissive for a simple request.

2. Sous vide

Watch Top Chef like me?  I’m not even eating the sous vide dishes made, but am tired of watching them be prepared.

3. Untranslated menus

This can certainly make one feel intimidated if you don’t recognize a dish or ingredient.

4. $5 tap water

While I haven’t experienced paying for tap water, I don’t like the way some waiters ask if you’d like sparkling, stilled or (lower your voice) tap water.  As if if sounds so bad to accept tap (say loudly for effect).

5. Bartender overreach

6. Chef overreach

7. Tuna surprise

I agree that chefs should know what’s sustainable and what’s in danger and buy and create menus accordingly.

8. Truffle oil

This one I don’t agree with.  Yes, truffle oil is not the same at truffles, but it’s very tasty and I’ll blog more about that next.

9. Third-wave coffee

10. Better living through chemistry O.K. I’ll admit, I would like to go to WD50 and taste Wylie Dufresne’s food.

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