Posts for June 1st 2009
Since blueberry season has begun, I couldn't help but go overboard and buy several baskets from my local farmers market. While I enjoyed one basket raw, I used the rest to make these mini blueberry shortcakes with lemon and thyme biscuits.
The moist biscuits are simple to make. The final dish is not too sweet, so the pure flavor of blueberries shines through in each bite. Although the original recipe calls for a larger biscuit, I decided to use a shot glass (instead of a cookie cutter) to make them mini. The shortcakes are delicious with a dollop of heavy cream or scoop of ice cream. To try these bite-sized blueberry shortcakes, read more
The first couple have continued to convey political messages about food with their recent dining choices. The Obamas spent Saturday evening in Manhattan, where they dined at James Beard Award-winning chef Dan Barber's restaurant Blue Hill before catching a Broadway show.
Within hours, news sites were awash with commentary on the first couple's romantic dinner. "Is it possible to be too political at mealtime?" the Washington Post posited, noting the couple has adopted a pattern of choosing eateries with strong local ties and sustainable food agendas. The Times' Frank Bruni called the decision "too pat and controlled," portraying the president as overly somber and self-restrained when it comes to enjoying food.
Ironically, the same day the Obamas were chided for overthinking dinner, the Times also criticized the First Lady for not going far enough in her message about food. Writer Amanda Hesser lauded Michelle Obama for bringing attention to the local foods movement, then criticized her for stopping short of promoting cooking. Wrote Hesser: "Terrific local ingredients aren't of much use if people aren't cooking them . . . Just as she highlighted American fashion by wearing the clothes of young designers, she could call attention to cooking by bringing America's talented young chefs to the White House for a food summit meeting."
Shouldn't the Obamas be commended for making educated dining choices? Is the media coming down too hard on the presidential couple? How do you feel about the food selections the Obamas have made thus far?
Generally speaking, I love red wines as much as whites, but summertime is the one season when I have a preference for white wine. Few things surpass the gratification of sipping a smooth, crisp, cool white while basking under the warm sunshine.
St. Supéry's 2008 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($18) is exactly what I'm talking about. Perfect for pairing with picnic foods like roasted beet salad, grilled vegetable muffalettas, or provoleta, this pale, straw-colored Sauvignon Blanc has notes of lime, grass, tropical fruits, and pear. It ends with a tart, clean finish.
Do you find yourself drinking more Sauvignon Blanc during warm weather? Have you ever tried St. Supéry's version?
Last week the San Francisco Chronicle ran an interesting article that discusses the role of music in the commercial kitchen and features the favored playlists of several Bay Area chefs. With so much time spent prepping, it's no surprise that "music cuts through the monotony of the day," according to one chef. Although cooking at home is very different from being in a restaurant kitchen, I too enjoy listening to some groovy tunes. My favorite cooking music is Chambao, a Spanish group whose flamenco fusion is fabulously chill. How about you? What tunes do you listen to while cooking?
Last night, the season finale — and Lauren Conrad's last episode — of The Hills was filled with monumental moments. Lauren and Lo move out of their house, Lauren tells Kelly Cutrone she's moving on from People's Revolution, and Spencer — declaring he's a "changed man" — marries Heidi. Spencer and Heidi's dream wedding, however, isn't without a few surprise guests. Did you pay attention to the juicy tidbits of the most dramatic finale yet? Find out when you take our quiz!
To get all the fashion from last night's episode, check out CelebStyle!
Photo Courtesy of MTVTake the Quiz
When hosting a dinner party, I like to get as much prep work done in advance as possible. This includes assembling large green dinner salads. To ensure that each vegetable remains flavorful and crisp, I like to layer them in the bowl. Place heavy, juicier ingredients, like beans, beets, tomatoes, mushrooms, or peppers, on the bottom of the bowl. Layer greens on top. If nuts are a part of the salad, place these on top of the greens — that way they won't get soggy by being in contact with the moist veggies. Prepare the salad dressing in a small jar with a lid. Grate any cheese and store in a plastic baggie. Place the bowl, the dressing, and grated cheese in the fridge for up to two hours. When it's time to enjoy the meal, sprinkle the cheese over the greens, shake the jar to combine the vinaigrette, and pour over the bowl's contents. Toss the salad and serve.
Like New York, Los Angeles, and most other major cities, San Francisco imposes a cleanliness grade on all dining establishments, and requires that these inspection scores are placed prominently where customers can view them (often in the front window). These ratings are meant to reflect how clean a restaurant's kitchen is and create incentives for a higher level of food safety. Are these marks important to you?
One of my favorite ways to liven up tired weeknight favorites is to give them a seasonal twist. Switch up the same old vegetarian tacos by swapping canned beans for farm-fresh roasted vegetables.
Slip leftover portobello mushroom caps and slices of roasted zucchini squash between warm corn tortillas to add a delicate earthiness to your meal. Add in spicy red onion and juicy fresh salsa, and your Mexican meal is complete.
For a tasty, wholesome meal, read more