Best Ever BBQ Flank Steak

Saturday, December 30, 2006

This is the recipe my mom is famous for and the one I have raved about time and again to you and everyone I know. It's my favorite dish from my family's kitchen. I'm not kidding when I tell people that this is a dish people will remember.

My sister-in-law Krista put it best when she described it to Rob, her words were "From then on, whenever you eat steak - any steak - you'll always say, 'Remember your mom's flank steak!?'" It's that good. If you ever try one recipe from this blog, this is the one.

It's juicy, zesty, flavorful, sweet, and just melt in your mouth shibby-orgiastic good. You'll need a cigarette afterwards. You might think I'm exaggerating if I say it's better than sex, but you would be wrong.

Not only is this dish mighty tasty, but it's surprisingly easy, requires little work, and can be prepared days in advanced. This dish goes well with a simple fresh salad with an Italian dressing, and maybe a baked potato with some baked potato trimmins'. Leftovers are great in salads or sammiches.

Here's the family recipe. Enjoy.

BBQ Flank Steak
From the Capune & McCord family kitchen

What You'll Need...
3 lbs of good quality flank steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger (freshly grated could work too I suppose)
3/4 cup of salad oil
1 cup of chopped green onions

What You'll Do...
1) Combine the ingredients into a marinade. Marinate steak in a wide, shallow dish for 2-4 days, piercing with a fork and turning in the morning and at night. Keep covered with plastic wrap.

2) BBQ steak for 7 minutes on each side.

3) Slice diagonally in thin slices.

Cheesy Broccoli Custard

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another recipe from my mom's/grandma's kitchen. Always a pleaser and totally fatty due to all the dairy and butter, but who gives a shit when it tastes this good? A good way to get kids to eat their veggies I guess. I never got a pic because we just ate the damn thing to fast, but it's yumtastic so no worries.

What You'll Need...
2 lbs of broccoli, cut into 2 in. pieces
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups creamed/small curd cottage cheese
1 8oz can of whole kernel corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped green onions
dash of hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of butter
2/3 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

What You'll Do...
1) Place the broccoli in a greased 11x7x2'' dish.

2) Combine eggs and cottage cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Add drained corn, onion, cheddar, and pepper sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the broccoli.

3) Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet and combine with bread crumbs/ Sprinkle over the top.

4) Bake for 325 degrees (F) for 45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Deli on the Beach (Harbor Delicatessen - Dana Point, CA)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Visiting my family in Mission Viejo always has some plusses. Yeah, there's family, friends, love, blah blah blah, but then ther'e the fact that you can go visit a deli on the beach in December and it be a sweet 75 degrees. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Nor Cal weather.

Rob, my mom, and my brother and I had all decided to go have lunch with my Godmother Amy and her husband. After a slight restaurant mishap (the place we had originally planned on had a sign reading "We no longer serve Saturday lunch") we headed towards the deli. Now the Harbor Deli is a place you might not expect to find good food. Amongst the kitchy tourist crap stores, lines for whale watching tours, and vapid but beautiful beach slaves, its a bit of a gem.

The place was throughly packed and we literally got what seemed to be the last table. We all sat down and were warned that we should only order hald sammiches. We all looked at the menu and passing plates to understand why. They're as big as your face. A half order would do just fine. Potato salad, slaw, or fries also come with with each order, so you can promise yourself a full belly. Another plus was we were offered a plate of pickles. And not flacid pickles (get your mind outta' the gutter), they were fresh! Crisp! Zesty! Full of bite!

I had ordered a corned beef sammich because let's be honest, is there a tastier sammich meat? Oh no, my dear reader, I think not. It was stacked high with corned beef on yummy sourdough bread. It wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped, but nothing to complain about. The steak fries were also quite tasty, though they went a bid lukewarm rather quickly.

Rob had a brisket burrito. It was, well, blah. It had a taste of a mexican spice packect found in Albertson's. Yawn. It was good, just nothing exciting. The potato salad however was fabulous, and due to the table setting, I was unable to distract Rob in a way that would allow me to steal more.

Everyone else was truly happy with their meals. Really, the food here is damned good and while it's nothing to write home about, you won't be leaving disappointed either.

It was super packed and close to the holidays so the service seemed sparse as half of their servers seemed to be out for the holiday, and indeed they were. As such, Amy got fries instead of potato salad, which made her dish free. My brother got a lemonade that was literally all syrup. That was not made free, but quickly taken care of. My iced tea was forgotten. Still the waitress had sass and was lots of fun, and considering the situation it was easy to see that she was falling into the weeds and there was no other servers who would be able to save her. She was a saint of a server.

All and all, it was a good lunch. Nothing to write home about, but I would go again. Maybe after a whale watching excursion. Try to hit this place if you get the chance, just try to avoid the tourist traps.

Harbor Delicatessen
Dana Point Harbor
34667 Street Of The Golden Lantern
Dana Point 92624

Chocolate Cupakes with Cognac Soaked Plums, Chocolate Ganache, & Walnuts

Monday, December 25, 2006

These were decadent little cupcakes perfect for celebrating the holidays with family. They possess a sense of demure propriety while at the same time have that seasonal cheer and whimsy one should expect from a cupcake.

I don't know where the original idea for this came from, just somehow the flavor combination had nestled in my noggin and slowly churned and developed. It kept breaching to the surface of my thoughts and evolving into something elegantly fudgy.

I used some dried, unsulphured Fortune plums I found at my local farmer's market. Really, any type of dried plum will do and if you find a good vendor, be sure to taste the various varities to find the one that suits you. Apriums and maybe apricots will work nicely as well. Just be sure to find something sweet, tart, and with a slightly dark even wine-like undertone.

The cognac was meant to be armagnac, but lo' I could not find any so cognac it was. Really though it was fantastic; most of the alcohol cooked out but left it's flushed, spicy flavor.

The walnuts had come from a local orchard and were provided by one of my co-worker's, Laura, who had an abundance of them. Freshly shelled, slightly bitter walnuts give a perfect crunch to this cupcake.

The dark chocolate cake and ganache were simply... oh, what's the word? Joyful. Christmasy. Rich. Seductive. All of the above work well.

Tis' the season. But really for these cupcakes, any season will do.

Plum Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

What You'll Need...
200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao chocolate
3 sticks of butter, room temperature
2-1/4 cups of sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 pound of dried plums, preferably unsulphured but don't fret about it, go for color and taste
bottle of good cognac or armagnac

What You'll Do...
1) Chop the plums and place in a small, non-metal bowl. Cover with liquor and let plump overnight.
2) Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath.
3) Add sugar and stir, let sit for about 10 minutes.
4) Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5) Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each one.
6) Mix the try ingredients, and sift them into the mixture. Mix until just blended.
7) Drain the plums and lightly pat them dry. Fold them in to the batter.
8) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for 20-24 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Quick n' Easy Meathod
If you want there is a quick semi-homemade cupcake recipe that will work great for this recipe too, that my friend Sooraya taught me and seems to be used by many other home bakers. Use a Bette-Crocker box of devil's food or dark chocolate cake batter. Follow the directions and add a cup of sour cream. This will make the cupcake rich, moist, and fudgier. Add the cognac soaked plums as usual, scoop into cupcake papers and bake. This method will also yield about 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Ganache with Walnuts
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop

What You'll Need...
4 oz of semisweet chocolate
5 oz of bittersweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of powdered sugar
shelled walnuts

What You'll Do...
1) Chop chocolates and transfer to a heat proof bowl.
2) Heat cream in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over chocolate.
3) Let sit for one minute then stir until combined.
4) Add butter and vanilla, stir until combined.
5) Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and let cool for 10 minutes.
6) Sift powdered sugar in and mix until combined.
7) Continue to beat until light in color and creamy. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes and top with walnuts.

Mentions in the Press

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Davis Enterprise - "Techno Food" By Claire St. John. Section C. January 28, 2007

ThisNext - Interview with Sean Timberlake. September 5, 2006

Sacramento Bee - Food on the Web featured website. Taste Section. 2006

Sacramento News & Review - "The Price is Right." Interview with Kate Washington. May 10, 2007

Sacramento Magazine - Moshi Moshi restaurant review published. April 2007, pg 266

Sacramento Bee - "The Internet is Cooking" & "Local Blogger: Vanilla Garlic". By Bob Sylva. Pictures by Kevin German. May 23, 2007. Taste Section.
-Reprinted in The State, June 14, 2007
-Reprinted in the Miami Herald, June 16, 2007.
-Reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 5, 2007

Epicurious: Epi-Log - "Crazy Flavors, Great Blog". By Amy Sherman. October 5, 2007.

Sacramento Bee - "Drive-By Pomegranate Heist" published in Blog Watch section. October 14, 2007

Serious Eats - Photo of the Day. November 29, 2007.

The Kitchn - Good Eats: Grandmother's Recipe Box. November 30, 2007.

CBS 13: Good Day Sacramento - Lunch Break Featured Chef. June 5, 2008.

Sacramento Magazine - "You're the Reviewer: Mochii". August 2008.

Sacramento Magazine - "Hot Blogs". By David Watts Barton. September 2008.

Sacramento News & Review - "Cheese O.D.". Interview with Ann Martin Rolke. May 13, 2009.

Sushi Sushi (Moshi Moshi - Davis, CA)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Good sushi, as we all know, is hard to find. Like finding a needle in a haystack the size o' yo mama. Seriously, it's a daunting task. You go through nasty California rolls. Sick sashimi. Flacid and mushy edamame. It's a mission filled with pit falls, disappointment, and possibly food poisoning.

But when you find something that works, it's like angels freakin' sing.

That's what I've found at Moshi Moshi. Sure there are great places in Sacramento like Mikuni's and Dragonfly, but let's be honest, the sushi selection in Dixon, Woodland, and Davis is just paltry. Moshi Moshi truly quenches one's thirst in a sushiless desert.

They can be pretty packed, and they may ask your for reservations so you may want to call ahead and make them. If you get there a bit early though I wouldn't worry. I've never been turned away, even when I showed up with four co-workers all without reservations.

We were all wet and cold that day, and were happy with the prospect of bowls of well prepared miso soup and shibby individual pots of green tea, all coming in at $1 each. For an astoundingly cheap price, we were all able to cut the cold right out of us. The brown rice green tea is hit and miss, so you may like it, you may not.

The sushi is varied and innovative, and while time honored staples are present (spider rolls, California rolls, veggie rolls, and so on) a plethora of vivaciously colored and supremely prepared dishes are available. I myself had a spicy tuna roll, known there as the Zero Roll. Big pieces of extremely fresh tuna were rolled with cucumber and topped with paper-thin fillets of avocado. It was all generously served with a potent chili sauce that pointedly delivered blazing spice but not heat; a balance very few restaurants seem to be able to meet.

The sashimi was apparently to die for. My friend Cara seemed to be soley entranced with each bite and had to be roused ouy of a trance so we could gather her opinion. "Wonderful," was her only response before she would delve into the next pink jewel of fish. As an avid sushi fanatic, this approval is golden.

My friend David had ordered the Green Dragon Roll, a decadently sweet unagi based roll. The unagi (eel) had been tempura fried, and while I myself can be picky with it, this was melt in your mouth good. Rich, sweet, and just a little bit salty it almost felt like this roll could qualify as a dessert. The mix of textures from the buttery avocado, delicious give of the rice, and the crunchy soft and slightly oily taste of unagi, decadent sauce and pops of seasame all created a gustatory image that trasnported you to teahouse in Kyoto.

Bento box lunch specials are pleasing as well. For about $7 you score a mixed green salad with a pepper vinegarette, rice, huge helping of your main dish liek teriyaki chicken, and a small 6 piece sushi roll. The potions are filling and leave you pleasantly satiated. Sushi detractors will be happy here as well, as there is enough on the menu to please anyone with an avarice towards raw fish, so feel free to drag them along.

With all sushi freshly prepared, and with such attention to intricate details, you may have a small wait. Nothing horrid, but you may wonder if the chef fell down and broke a hip or something. Luckilly the staff is very approachable so feel free to ask any questions about your order, or if you have yet to order they'll happily guide you through the menu. There's even a board with the most popular menu items, specials, and new menu items to help guide you through your choice.

Overall, Moshi Moshi is, in my opinion, the only place to eat sushi in Davis. They have a new loyal customer as will they with everyone who sits down to a warm bowl of miso.

Update 2/28/07: I still visit this place almost once a week. Still fabulous. Service is friendly and fun. They recently update some of their rolls as well it seems, so go check it out.

Moshi Moshi
2120 Cowell Blvd.
Ste. 143
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 758-8889

Filler Post!

Friday, December 22, 2006

So I'm about to start my drive from Davis to Mission Viejo in Orange County. I'm doing this with two cats, and a rainy Highway 5 for 6-8 hours. I expect traffic through Sac, Stockton, and L.A. I have some posts, but they will be delayed a bit. I won't say happy holidays, though I wish them, because saying it would take on the idea that this would be good-bye, and it's not. This is really just a filler post until I can sit down and finish the restaurant review I wrote; also expect a special overly decadent Christmas cupcake, a Christmas dinner, the world's best flank steak recipe (I kid you not), and a few other surprises!

Pray I don't die on the car drive!

On Olive Oils

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Many of you may have recently partaken in the recent artisan olive oil opportunity that Alejandro & Martin recently finished. If you did, then you know how insanely good these olive oils are. If not, then sucks to be you.

Honest to God, I never knew that you could have such variety in olive oil based on it's year, region, and varietal. Though in retrospect it makes perfect sence, I never fully grasped the concept until I literally took a tiny shot (yes, in slightly filled shot glass) of each of the four oils provided in the sampler box and the regular jug oil I get from Costco.

Holy. Crap.

The box came with four varieties: Mild & Delicate: 2004-2005 Spanish, Fragrant & Fruity: 2004-2005 Greek, Olivey & Peppery: 2004-2005 Italian, Green & Grassy: 2004-2005 Californian. Each one a true effen', balls to the wall, sensation.

Alejandro is truly passionate about his oils, and honestly, I don't think any description I give will really convey just how dedicated he is to his product. Thus, let me provide you with a transcript of some e-mail correspondance...

We fallen in love with these olive oils. Last night we had a wonderful snack by cutting up some fresh apples and giving them a light coating in the fruity olive oil. We even taste tested it against the (for shame) Costco jug olive oil we normally buy. It didn't stand a chance. Who knew that olive oil could vary so much based on it's year and varietal? I guess it's only a matter of time before we see the olive oil lists in restaurants. =)
-Garrett McCord

To which he replied:
I'm very glad you experimented a bit. I have loved the Greek Fragrant & Fruity on peach. My neighbor here in rural Massachusetts home cans peaches. I had an incredible slice of his peach laid on a raft of fresh mozzarella with the 2003-2004 Greek (now extinct) and a blade of rosemary. It was transcendent! That particular year was very good for European olive oil. A drought reduced the yield by 30% rendering the remaining oil more potent. And the single sprig of rosemary really made a difference. I tried it with clementine, with thyme, and with nothing.
I also made a fruit salad a couple of years ago with a light fruity oil from California on diced plumbs tossed with a bit of this amazing chamomile grappa. That was outstanding! I can still remember the taste. Anyway, I rant. Thanks again for trying and for your support.


PS: there *are* restaurants already offering lists. Frantoio in Mill Valley, CA is one. But there are others.

We even had a slight whoops with the shipping, and Alejandro personally took care of it within the hour. That's truly top notch service, even after dealing with shipping out 1000 boxes of the oils!

Do yourself a huge favor, and try some of their oils, or at least some artisan olive oil. I promise, you'll never go back to the grocery store for it again.

Some Images From the Farmer's Market

Monday, December 18, 2006

Radishes from Everything Under the Sun farms. Apple cider sitting in a hot water bath. Yeah, it's not a lot, mainly cause some of the other photos (and maybe these ones) may be utilized for another purpose. That being an article in Edible Sacramento,where you can find Ann and Jennifer's hard work put to print. You also might find me there as well in future issues, so super-shibby yayness there. Make sure you check out Edible Sacramento, it's a wonderful resource to local food here in the Sacramento Area.

Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This is a fabulous little recipe that Meredith gave me when I was asking for a good cilantro recipe. I can't say that there's a recipe per se to this, as this is something that really goes by taste. We used it over some leftover tri-tip we had in the fridge. Fantastic.

Cilantro-Mint Chutney
Take cilantro, mint, a clove of garlic, a seeded chili pepper, knob of ginger, coconut milk, and a dash of salt and chuck it into the food processor. Keep tasting to make sure you get it how you like it.

Food Blog Awards 06'

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's time for the annual food blog awards. Have a blogger you love and want to them to know they're loved? Then get your keester over there and tell the world how much you love so-and-so's writing, recipes, reviews, firm behind or whatever. Even if you only read blogs but never post or comment, go do this (and participate in the Menu for Hope). Nominations end tonight so hurry and vote cause all the kids sitting at the cool table already did. You want to be cool, right?

Plea for Cilantro

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've been hankering for the taste of cilantro the past few days, but I want to try something new. So why not reach out the the food blogger community and see what we can collectively pool together. Anyone out there have a really good recipe that showcases cilantro really well that you personally love to cook and serve?

Things That Make You Go, Ahhhhhhhh...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rusticly gritty, salty-sweet cornbread from a box of Alber's corn meal; recipe from the box. Fresh spiced fuyu persimmon butter, canned from my friend Sarah's kitchen. Sometimes, the best way to relax after a long day, is something oh so simple.

Recipe for the persimmon butter? Well, we just winged it. About 14 persimmons pureed in a blender, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, two packets of gelatin. Go through the usual canning process which I do not know well enough to faithfully relate it to you by memory.

Make sure you take a moment for yourself at somepoint today to sit back and have a bite to eat.

Update 12/16/06: I have the recipe for the persimmon butter recipe! Thank my friend Sarah for it!

Sarah's Persimmon Butter

Peel and core approximately 20 Giant Fuyu persimmons . Cut them into bite-sized pieces and blend them until smooth. Pour the blended persimmons into a large pot with a lid (the mixture is going to splatter, so try to get a pot large enough that you are only going to half fill it).

In another large pot, place 10 pint-sized canning jars and cover them with water. Turn this burner on high and cover the pot.

Cook the persimmons on medium, stirring constantly. Add the juice from and the following spices to taste: 1-2 Meyers lemonsnutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.

Mix 1 packet pectin with 1/2-1 cup white sugar. Pour this mixture into the persimmon mixture slowly while stirring constantly.

If the mixture is creating a lot of foam, add 1 tbsp. margarine.

Cook the persimmons at barely a simmer for approximately 30 minutes to get a smooth butter, longer if you'd like it to gel more. Remember to keep stirring, or it will burn.

About 15 minutes before you finish, put the jar lids into a smaller pot of boiling water and boil them for at least 10 minutes. Remove them and dry them well. When you are pouring the persimmon butter into the jars, fill them to 1/2 inch below the rim and be sure to wipe the rim and threads of the jars so they are clean and dry before putting the lids on.

Once the jars have been filled and sealed, put them back into boiling water for approximately 30 minutes. Then take the jars out, tighten the lids, and let them cool. If the jar lids do not seal, refrigerate them and try to use within the next month. Sealed jars will keep for at least 6 months

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Bark

Monday, December 11, 2006

I was feeling particularly festive and been hankering to make a chocolate cupcake for some time. I've always been a big fan of peppermint and chocolate mixed together, it's one of those flavors that define the holidays and always relaxes me after coming in from the nippy weather, and makes a perfect culinary companion to sit by the Christmas tree wrapped in a flannel blanket with. I admit part of the inspiration came from 52 Cupcakes, as I was thinking of this idea but she gave me that bit of boost, but I decided to make my own bark and do the cupcake from scratch.

I usually always bake an angel food peppermint cake for whatever holiday party seems to be approaching, but this year I decided to take a cupcake approach and utilize some rich, slightly bitter dark chocolate. This cupcake really is a winner. The cupcakes are fluffy and moist, and really have an old fashioned taste. The frosting varried; I used regular buttercream on some, and peppermint buttercream on others as some prefer a less punchy peppermint taste. Really, they were fantastic either way, but I prefer the plain buttercream as did others. The bark adds a festive touch to the whole cupcake, and that touch of peppermint. I wish I had red dye for the frosting, but that's just me.

I have to say this was probably the most popular cupcake I've ever served, and I have plans to make it a few more times before the holiday season ends.

I hope that this cupcake finds you well, and that your Christmas, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and Hannukah shopping isn't driving you too crazy. If it is though, this will be the perfect cure.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop
24 cupcakes at 350 degrees

What You'll Need...
3/4 cup of butter (room temp.)
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs (room temp.)
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of cocoa powder (Valrhona!!!)
1-1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of sour cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

What You'll Do...
1) Beat butter until softened. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

2) Add eggs one at a time, about 30 seconds for each.

3) Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Place milk, sour cream, and vanilla in their own bowl and whisk together.

4) Mix in some of the dry mixture, followed by the wt mixture, and repeat dry, wet, dry. Be sure to end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

5) Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 22 minutes, rotate the pan if needed, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness.

Peppermint Bark
What You'll Need...
8 oz of high-quality white chocolate
peppermint candy
wax paper

What You'll Do...
1) Break up peppermint candy into little shards. Break or chop up chocolate and place in a microwave safe container or double boiler pot.

2) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or melt in your microwave. Careful to not scorch the chocolate by checking and mixing every 30 seconds. Pour out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out. Sprinkle the candy shards on and gently press them in.

3) Let it sit and cool in the fridge or freezer. Break apart and eat. The candy may melt and sweat a bit, so you want to keep the bark cold.

Note: As always with chocolate, quality really does make all the difference. Good quality can be a bit steep, but it's worth it. (Hence, why I do not make chocolate cupcakes often.) Do yourself a favor and shell out the extra couple of bucks.

Vanilla or Peppermint Buttercream
What You'll Need...
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or peppermint extract

What You'll Do...
1) Cream the butter until soft.

2) Add the sugar and then the milk and extract. Cream till soft. Spread on cool cupcakes.

Note: If you cannot decide, make to small sample portions. I found most people preferred the vanilla buttercream over the peppermint.

A Cookbook Made for a Home

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I recently got hold of The Good Home Cookbook, and have finally had a chance to test it out. Honestly, I have to say I was more than pleased with this cookbook for a multitude of reasons.

To begin with, this is not an esoteric coffee table cookbook that will have you braising artichokes, or creating elaborate appertizers with ingredients you'll only find in your local black market. The recipes that comprise it's 500+ pages are comfort foods and reminders of home. It's as if every mom in America - from every Italian, Armernian, Spanish, Thai, Mexican, East Coast, Southern and every other family - got together and brought all their best recipes and compiled them into one cookbook.

You'll find meatloaf, clam chowder, chicken masala, fish tacos, spaghetti, chocolate cake, ceasar salad, and every other homey recipe you can think of that came out of grandma's old recipe box. The directions are clearly laid out and while there are no pictures, you find yourself lost. Plus, it's more than likely you've had every one of these dishes once before, so you have an idea of what the end product should be. Pictures in fact probably would have taken from the charm of this boo, as it's layout has a blue retro groove going for it which is uncluttered and pleasing to the eye.

Another bonus is that each section has a few helpful instruction pages. The seafood section for example has direction of shucking oysters, storing clams, buying and handling crabs, and so on. A definite bonus if you're encountering a new ingredient or cooking meathod.

The cookbook also boasts more than 1000 recipes, and while it's true, you'll find some basic repition. In the dessert section they give a recipe for buttercream frosting. Following it are recipes for mint frosting, and lemon frosting, which was just the original with the addition of a flavor component.

This cookbook in my opinion falls into the category of The Joy of Cooking, a tome perfect for the beginning or experienced cook. For anyone who is just learning to cook for the first time like a new college student, this book is a perfect starting place for them. The knife nicked hands of the experienced home chef will also find this as an invaluable resource as it will perfectly as a quick idea guide for a satisfying meal during the work week.

Another interesting aspect is that this book was tested out in a blog and sent to tons of people across the U.S. to test out the recipes. This helped ensure that all the recipes were easy, simple, and accessable.

Overall, has I not already been given a copy, I would have gone out and bought one for myself, and will probably purchase this as a housewarming gift for years on end.

The Good Home Cookbook website

Interview with Guy Fieri - Part II

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Here is part two of the interview, normally I swear to God, I am better at interviews than this. I have plenty of them under my belt from my freelancing days to prove it. Just no tape recorder and 5 days of flu killed me. Readers and especially Guy, please forgive me and my petardedness. I am still writing this with a hacking cough and a runny bleedy nose (this food blog making you hungry yet?), so forgive me.

Recently, at the Best of Sacramento Party, Guy was recognized for his awesome chefness by the people of Sac and for many good reasons. He attended American River College right here in the Sac area so he's a homegrown boy who rose up to become a celebrated Food Network Star.

"I'm not a atypical chef." Guy expressed that he felt far more at home working in his restaurant than being a big TV star. "I do what I feel good about. You gotta love what you're doing, and I want to stay in the restaurant [buisness]." It is here that he can create and hone his own unique food concepts in his own freestyle way.

I then asked him a very sincere question; with S.F. so close and a hub of the food world, why open up here in Sac? Guy replied with gusto, "We love Sac. I can't thank Sacramento enough for voting for me [during the show]. Sac is so gifted. We're a big city and a small town, we have killer weather, you can afford a house, we have a major state school! We're celebrating the chance to for this restauarant to come town!"

Sac reseidents have plenty of reason to celebrate as well. Guy is happy with Tex Wasabi's being able to offer a family menu, catering, music, dancing, and prides itself in the work that it does working with local charities and schools in Santa Rosa and soon in Sacramento.

"Our buisness isn't cookie cutter. I'm not the boss, I'm a leader. We have team members and we have guests." Here each team member is encouraged to reach out to the community and work with each and every guest to ensure that they are happy."

Good buisness policy I say, and one that seems to be working. Make sure you take time to drop by Tex Wasabi's when it opens later this month!

Read Part I of the Interview

Space Sushi?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

First I want to thank everybody for their well wishing comments, e-mails, and phone calls. I guess you don't really realize the solidarity and friendships you can form through blogging communities. It's really nice to know that all of you are out there. >^.^<

I am feeling better and went to work today, though I was hopped up on Rod Stewart amounts of cough medicines and so on, so my gaze would sometimes go into a deep nothing, and I was distracted by every pretty/shiny object.

That still being the case, and the fact that I have had to re-write a few of these sentences more than once in order to get them syntatically correct and spelling error free due to the brain haze brought on by drugs and fever, I give you this article about sushi... IN SPAAAAAAACE! (but not really).

Space Sushi Not on the Menu -- Yet
TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japan's space agency plans to cook up Japanese "space cuisine" for hungry astronauts at the international space station, but the country's best-known dish is unlikely to make the menu.
JAXA, Japan's space agency, is developing a full menu of Japanese cuisine after astronaut Soichi Noguchi slurped instant noodles in a pouch called "Space Ram" during his Discovery space shuttle mission earlier this year.
With help from companies such as Nissin Food Products, JAXA has developed space rice balls, space seaweed soup, and space green tea, said agency official Yoshinori Miyazawa. It is also experimenting with Japanese beef curry, mackerel in miso sauce, and red bean cakes.
"So far, nobody has been able to make space sushi," Miyazawa said. "I think shelf life may be a problem."
To meet space standards, foods must have a shelf life of at least a year, be nutritionally rich, and be easy to prepare and eat in a zero-gravity environment.
Foods that are too runny or grainy are banned because portions might float off and interfere with equipment, Miyazawa said.
Astronauts at the international space station currently eat food supplied by Russia or the United States, though "bonus meals" from other countries are sometimes served.
JAXA plans to market its culinary creations as "Japanese Space Cuisine," and hopes to supply the space station starting next year.
Copyright 2006 The
Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Expect part two of the Guy interview, a cookbook review, a new cupcake, a restaurant review, and a bit on persimmon butter.

*cough cough*

Monday, December 4, 2006

Sorry for the lack of updates but I'm very sick with the flu. Check back later today or tomorrow when I find a moment to write something up.

Interview with Guy Fieri - Part I

Friday, December 1, 2006

So I was lucky enough to recently score an interview Guy Fieri. That’s right, the dude who won The Next Food Network Star. Why the interview, you ask? Well, Guy is doing us all a favor and opening up a new restaurant here in Sacramento called Tex Wasabi’s. Tex Wasabi’s will be opening up on Arden, east of Howe and will bring some definite fun to the Sacramento dining scene. It also plans to shake up and all preconceived restaurant conceptions you had when you hear is genre: California style sushi and Southern BBQ.


Now, a bit of back story first. Yesterday when I was to conduct the interview I cashed in all my bad karma so I completely lost my voice, and Eat Beast in a repeat performance knocked my tape recorder on the tile floor whilst I brushed my teeth, leaving me to find it in about four pieces. Nice. Guy was kind enough to move the interview to the next day when my voice had a chance to work. So this afternoon, I gave him a call from my bed, still in pajamas, my shaky hand attempting to scribble down everything he said. I’m also typing this in bed with a fever, as I do not want to forget anything so bear with me here if I seem a bit disconnected.

Anywhose, Guy was more than personable, and extremely engaging and friendly. I really wish I had taped it so I could put it online so you all could hear the passion in his voice when he talked about his restaurants and his food. It was inspiring, tons of fun, and the definition of shibby. He really is that boisterous fun-loving chef you see on TV.

I had interview questions set up, but Guy answered them all before I asked them and really, the whole thing became more of a laid back conversation. His excitement when it came to Tex Wasabi’s drove the conversation; as he described himself he was like a kid going 80 miles a minute with A.D.D.. Loves it.

I’ll do my best to relate to you the contents of our conversation and get these quotes as on as possible:

“Our first place was called Johnny Garlic’s – which is why I like the name of your blog *I squealed inside at this* – and it was a California pasta grill that was really successful.” Successful indeed, Guy and his partner Steve Gruber were able to open up 3 of them in a little more than 10 years, the market in Santa Rosa and the quality of the food insured it’s stability.

So why sushi and why BBQ? With gusto Guy replied, “I love to go out with sushi, but my wife just wasn’t having it. She’d never go, so it was always my son and me. And that’s how it always is - one person in a group says they don’t like raw fish so everyone’s forced to go to Applebee’s.” I assented to this notion, remember times that others had squashed any possible plans for sushi. And you sushi squashers know who you are! *cough cough Rob cough*

“For people who really know and love sushi, they know it doesn’t mean fish. Sushi means ‘seasoned rice,’ and in Japan it’s common to find plenty of cooked ingredients that aren’t fish in your sushi. Tempura, beef, and veggies are pretty everyday.”

As for the BBQ, Guy informed me a lot of people up here don’t really understand BBQ. “What they do up here is grilling. Now BBQ is low and slow.” Grilling is the process of throwing a piece of meat (or whatever) into a BBQ and an intense heat for a short amount of time. The juices are quickly sealed in and heated. In BBQ, the juices are slowly boiled and cooked inside the meat a very low heat for an extended period of time. Here the juices and flavors can all meld together for a truly sinful, full-bodied flavor.

The two however were combined when Guy was at a BBQ competition down in Houston, he was feeling creative and threw some BBQ sauce on a maki roll, “My friend said, ‘You jackass! You can’t do that with sushi!’ I wrapped it all up in a tortilla and called it the jackass roll. It was nuts.” Made with some pulled pork as well it’s also a popular item on the menu.

Thus the sushi/BBQ combo was born. Guy was eager in telling me that he enjoyed getting crazy in the kitchen. “Combining eastern traditions of making sushi and using western cultural ingredients like brisket, French fries, avocados, BBQ sauce, makes it real fun. It also acts as a chance to really introduce people to sushi, and not just raw fish.”

Guy iterated the idea that people seem to lose grip of the food and cultures that define other societies. For example, in the U.S. people think sushi solely means raw fish, and in Japan people think hamburgers and hot dogs are what culinarily define America, “They don’t know about Southern food or Tex Mex or New England styles of cooking.” In response, most Americans don’t know Japanese food beyond fish sushi and tea. Tex Wasabi’s aims to hopefully change that a bit by introducing new dishes and new ideas, “A real popular sushi roll in Japan and Hawaii that most people don’t know about is the musubi roll, which uses spam and egg.” Interesting indeed, and definitely worth trying. (Don’t let hype fool you, spam rocks. If you disagree, then you obviously suffer from head trauma.)

"Here we took a small pause so Guy could talk to his dad for a minute. So far, Father Fieri has acted as the foreman for all of his son’s restaurants. “He’s been an instrumental factor in our success. He’s really helped us out a lot.”

That’s all for now kiddies. I need to get back to sleep so I can heal. Tomorrow, Part II of the interview! We’ll go over his motivation to open in Sac and get a look at the inner working’s of Tex Wasabi’s.

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